CD & DVD REVIEWS 2014

CD & DVD REVIEWS 2014

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UPCOMING CD REVIEWS: LADY BEAST, BLINDED BY FAITH, ABSOLON, DYSCORDIA, ULYSSES SIREN, TUNGSTEN, DEMONA, DISTANT PAST, MIND:SOUL, FIRE STRIKE, VIRUS, REZINWOLF, DRAGONS CLAW, TAIPAN, AEPHANEMER, SYNERGY PROTOCOL, VOID MOON, SUNROAD, BACKWATER, ANCILLOTTI, BIOSCRAPE, ROSIE, NO DAWN, BLACKBIRD, PRIMEVAL REALM, THUNDER LORD, NINTH CIRCLE, CHAINREACTION, SEASONS OF THE WOLF (2CD), MEDUSA'S CHILD, REACTORY, DELIRIUM TREMENS, CHANNEL ZERO, DIABLO BLVD, GAME OVER, NAPALM STORM, NIGHTQUEEN, EXORCISM, KILL RITUAL, DESTITUTION, SPACE EATER, ICHABOD KRANE, ZARPA, FORENSICK, THE MEGS, EAR DANGER, SOLACE OF REQUIEM, MALRUN, LUSTFINGER, VLAD IN TEARS, BLACK TRIP, VICIOUS RUMORS, ETC, ETC.....

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AUGUST

ACROSS THE SWARM – Across the Swarm (MCD) Italy August 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Industrial Death Metal Running time: 18:44:00 (Tracks: 10)
Bam straight in your face death metal from Italy with no compromises. These guys are active since 2002 and this is their first release since 12 years. Is that a good thing? YES! This EP only has 5 songs but they are straight in your face with many influences of bands like Origin, Decapitated etc. The guitar riffs are very fast and filled with groove and progressive parts. The drums are straight in face and very fast and furious. Filled with blasting parts. The vocals are grunts that sound very aggressive and deep. The production of this EP is also straight in your face and hard, These guys use between and through the songs samples of beats that also sound really well and give it a bit of industrial idea and that works very well. This band is unsigned and that surprises me a lot. The only thing that I do not like about this album is that it is way too short! If you like fast and technical death metal then you are going to enjoy this album.
Visit their website: http://acrosstheswarm.bandcamp.com/releases
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/acrosstheswarm

65/100

ANIHILATED – iDeviant (CD) United Kingdom August 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 48:11 (Tracks: 11)
If you're looking to find the new Slayer album, you've found it. It's just that they've (gladly) stuck to the eighties sound and feel, and have regained their ability to write kick ass songs again. You are asking yourself if it's that obvious and the answer is plain and simple: YES! Anihilated might have been going since 1981, after 1989 they decided they'd found the sound they love, and are sticking to their guns. I, for one, am happy with the result. The songs rant, rave and thrash around like there's no tomorrow, and that's what old school metal is all about. iDeviant isn't original at all, but who cares if the result is as it is. Once more, please!
Visit their website: http://www.anihilated.com
Recordlabel: http://www.killermetalrecords.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anihilated
Twitter: https://twitter.com/anihilateduk/original

74/100

ASA-NOIR – Fall Of The Idols (CD) Finland August 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 43:41 (Tracks: 10)
Asa-Noir might have started out as a black metal band, they have definitely evolved into something much more impressive than that. This has the rough edges that a lot of the gothic bands seem to like to forget, has the darkness you expect to be available in abundance, but also has metal written all over itself in capitals. It makes Fall Of The Idols into a pleasurable listen, as the mushiness and the wetness of some (especially female fronted) gothic bands seem to love is not at hand. This is much sturdier stuff, and a lot louder. Now please don't expect the earth to move when you are listening to Asa-Noir, but your head will, and also your feet. You will bang that head and tap those feet, when you are drawn in. Because that will happen to you if you let Fall Of The Idols take hold. There isn't a song here that is no good, that doesn't fit the bill. In other words, even if you're not an avid gothic fan, you should give this a try. It won't hurt. On the contrary!
Visit their website: http://www. http://asanoir.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asanoirband
MySpace: https://myspace.com/asanoir

78/100

ASHES TO ASHES – Borderline (CD) Italy August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal Running time: 46:43 (Tracks: 11)
From Genova, Italy comes ASHES TO ASHES, a five-piece female fronted Metal band, that exists of Marta Vassallo (vocals, keyboards), Paolo Schiavi (lead guitar), Enrico Cabona (guitar), Stefano Anentodio (bass) and Paolo Di Lorenzo (drums). The band was formed in 2010, and "Borderline" is the band's debut album, which was recorded in New York. The band name ASHES TO ASHES was chosen from the DAVID BOWIE song "Ashes To Ashes" (which was the first single from the 1980 "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" album). Anyway, "Borderline", which by the way has a great album cover, is a very nice album. And I have to say that the songs on this album are good compositions. Marta Vassallo varies her vocals with clean vocals as well with brutal grunts. I was really astonished, when I discovered the grunts were also done by Marta, because I thought that the grunts were done by one of the other members of the band. Actually, I don't have specific favorite tracks, because the level of the songs, which are titled "Alice's Song", "Ballad Of The Wolf", "Borderline", "Sleep", "Paradox Of Perfection", "Hydra", "Change", "Fire Of Desire", "Empty Bottles And Tears", "Vain" and "Home", is pretty much the same. Well, my conclusion is that "Borderline" isn't spectacular, but it's just a nice debut album, to which I will listen more so now and then. All I can say more is that ASHES TO ASHES are a good and interesting Italian Metal band.
Visit their website: http://www.ashestoashesband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.undergroundsymphony.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ashestoashesband
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ashestoashesgenoa

73/100

BARBARIAN PROPHECIES – XIII (CD) Spain August 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Black Death Metal Running time: 66:01 (Tracks: 13)
Founded in 2000 Barbarian Prophecies from Spain brings you black death with a big dose of melody and groove. This is there 3rd full length and it sounds really good. The guitar riffs are very heavy and technical but leaves a lot of space for melodies that they are using really well. The drums are very bombastic but also filled with double bass parts and technical moves. The drums are filled with groove and double bass. The drums have a great drive in it that keeps you interested through all the songs. The vocals are deep grunts that sometimes reminds me a bit of Amon Amarth. So you can imagine the deepness of the grunts. The black parts of this album are the short screams that they use very minimal but very well. The production of this album is also very good and well done. The variety of the songs are also very good. Every song has a great drive and never gets boring. At first when I heard the name I thought that this would be a pagan kind of band but do not get confused by their name because these guys know how death metal should sound! If you like bands like Grave, Debauchery ot old Amon Amorth then you will like this album!
Visit their website: http://www.barbarianprophecies.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barbarianprophecies
MySpace: https://myspace.com/barbarianprophecies

78/100

BENEATH THE STORM - Evil Reflection (CD) Slovenia August 2014 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 62:26 (Tracks: 6)
Close the curtains, get yourself a beer (or 2) and imagine that the earth will perish. In this way, you can create the best atmosphere to listen to the second album of Beneath the Storm, Evil Reflection. I am quite impressed by the music of this one-man band. There is not much information available of this Slovenian band. I only found out that this is his second album. Last year, the debut album Temples Of Doom has been released. The album contains six songs, but last more than one hour. This is music you need to take your time for, as it is intense. The music is oppressive and sets a scary atmosphere. Listen for example to the intro of Helen. The claustrophobic and scary atmosphere that has been created causes that I keep listening, although it is not really alternating. One of the causes is that there are hardly any sung parts. There are some “spoken” parts (intro of Helen) but at the moment when there are parts which sound like screams, these are all quite vague. I think because of the use of some special effects. However, Beneath the Storm deserves a compliment. It is a big achievement to make such an album on your own. I think that when some black metal elements will be mixed into the music, a golden future in this genre for Beneath the Storm can be possible.
Visit their website: http://beneaththestorm.bandcamp.com
Recordlabel: http://www.argonautarecords.comledeath.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beneaththestormdoom

80/100

BIOSCRAPE – Exp. ZeroOne (CD) Italy August 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Nu Metal Running time: 33:00 (Tracks: 10)
Bioscrape from Italy goes for a more popular style in the metal scene. These guys bring you metal influenced by bands like Machine Head and metal core a-like bands. The guitar riffs are massive but definitely not original. It is very technical and heavy. The drums are also very well performed with massive double bass parts in it and also a great groove. The vocals on this album are also very well performed screams in vain of Bullet For My Valentine and that kind of bands. The production of this album is also very well done, everything sounds heavy and brutal. The only thing that I do not like is that there is not much variety in the songs to make this a one on a kind album. This sounds like it has been done a hundred times and has not the groove to keep me interested. I am not a big fan of this kind of bands but I can hear that these guys play very well but a genre that does not give me what I like.
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
MySpace: https://myspace.com/bioscrape

65/100

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY – Catacombs Of The Black Vatican (CD) USA August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 44:39 (Tracks: 11)
"Catacombs Of The Black Vatican" is the ninth studio album of Zakk Wylde's BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, and was released in April of this year. Besides Zakk Wylde (vocals, guitar, piano, strings) and John DeServio (bass), "Catacombs Of The Black Vatican" is the first studio album with new drummer Chad Szeliga (ex-BREAKING BENJAMIN). "Catacombs Of The Black Vatican" was produced by mister Wylde himself, and sounds fantastic. The first single of the album is the second track "My Dying Time", which is a great song. The album also features three ballads, which are the beautiful "Angel Of Mercy", "Scars" and "Shades Of Gray", which is the longest track of the album. Recently the official video of "Angel Of Mercy" has been released. Anyway, although the band is not innovative, it sounds all very recognizable and familiar. And of course it's a pleasure to listen to Wylde's guitar riffs and solos. Well, I do not have all the albums of BLACK LABEL SOCIETY in my collection, but the albums which I already had are "1919 Eternal" (2002), "The Blessed Hellride" (2003) and "Mafia" (2005). And now with "Catacombs Of The Black Vatican" as the fourth BLC album in my collection, all I can say is that it's again a good BLACK LABEL SOCIETY album. My favorite tracks of this album are "Fields Of Unforgiveness", "My Dying Time", "Believe", the beautiful ballad "Angel Of Mercy", "Heart Of Darkness", "Damn The Flood" and "I've Gone Away".
Visit their website: http://www.blacklabelsociety.com
Recordlabel: http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blacklabelsociety

82/100

CALIFORNIA BREED – California Breed (CD) USA August 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 52:51 (Tracks: 12)
After the end of Glenn Hughes' great adventures in Black Country Communion (early 2013), Glenn Hughes stated that he would go further trying to reform a classic rock based trio with Jason Bonham in the USA. Julian Lennon (yes, son of the late and great Beatles-founder) Glenn and Jason met Andrew Watt, a young guitar player with many Jimi Hendrix stylistic approaches to his sound. The album, named after the band, is a real killer combining themes and sounds from Trapeze, The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, early Led Zeppelin and modern acts like Nirvana and Pearl Jam mixed up with that unbeatable drumsound of Jason Bonham, the screaming vocals of Glenn and the crushing wall of guitar chords and riffs by newcomer Andrew Watt. The album has a great sound, produced by Dave Cobb.
It's the variety that grabs me, the versatility and the musicianship of the characters on this album are fantastic. And the songs are great as well. “Midnight Oil (the first single), Spit you out, All falls down (with a slighly softer sound approach), Sweet Tea and The Way”are songs that will stay in your head for a long time. The rest of the songs are good, sometimes too experimental, it leaves you wide-eyed what this band has to offer in the future. But Glenn and Jason are back with Andrew Watt as a great riffing newcomer….Good album! The band is going to tour in Europe supporting Alterbridge. It will be fun seeing this trio alive and kicking.
Visit their website: http://www.californiabreed.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/californiabreed
MySpace: https://myspace.com/california.breed

80/100

CHAOS CONSPIRACY – Who The Fuck Is Elvis? (CD) Italy August 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Post Rock-Metal Running time: 23:38 (Tracks: 8)
I had no clue as what to expect when I saw the description of the music as you see above. But I can't say I'm disappointed. Opener I Don't Wanna Be Your iPod sets the tone with fast moving rock with twists and turns, and that style is continued throughout the whole album. Most notable fact is that there is no voice used by Chaos Conspiracy. They remind me of a rocking version of Kong, but without the industrial background. And a bit of Primus, because of the way the songs are constructed and how the guitar, drums and bass interact. Even Ephel Duath jumps up here and there, but this is a lot less eclectic. Those names are not be sniffed at, and the same goes for Who The Fuck Is Elvis? I didn't think I'd say this, but I can't wait to hear more from these impressive Italians!
Visit their website: http://www.chaosconspiracy.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chaosconspiracyband
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChaosConspiracy

85/100

CHICAGO - XXXVI NOW (CD) USA August 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Sophisticated Rock / Westcoast Running time: 50:27 (Tracks:11)
Sometimes stylized as "NOW" Chicago XXXVI or Now: Chicago XXXVI, is the twenty-third studio album, and thirty-sixth overall by Chicago. It was written and recorded in 2013—2014, and was released on July 4, 2014. Aside from the sprinkling of new tracks found in the band's many compilation and cover albums, Now is the band's next full album of new compositions in the eight years since 2006's Chicago XXX, it is the next release of original material following 2008's fifteen-year-delayed Chicago XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus. Fans of the Westcoast genre or lovers of smooth soft rock should sharpen their ears. This album has a lot to offer for them.
The way this album hasreached the audience is quite unique. It was recorded primarily in hotels and secondarily in studios along their American tour, constructed mostly from each musician's isolated performances in between concert dates, and then synchronized via a private Web portal site for final overdubbing by coordinating producer and engineer Hank Linderman (producer for America and Don Henley-stuff). The band's songwriting members are each respectively credited as each track's "supervising producer”.
This album is a fresh sounding album with a great variety of material. Hypnotic orchestration, spicy guitars, percussion and horns ( this record features The Chicago Horns), great chorusses and catchy material (i.e. breezy melodies) make this album a great fun to listen to. You can hear a lot of classic Chicago and many details of their AOR-era ( Chacago 16th – Chicago 21st) ( albums in the late eighties and the beginning of the nineties of the former century). Especially the start tracks of this album are worth the price alone……..Great record for the sophisticated smooth and romatic rockers among us……..
Visit their website: http://www.chicagotheband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chicago.official
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/chicagotheband

80/100

CRIMSON CHRYSALIS – Crimson Passion Cry (CD) South Africa August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Symphonic Rock Running time: 56:32 (Tracks: 14)
CRIMSON CHRYSALIS is a female fronted Symphonic Rock band from Pretoria, South Africa. Actually, CRIMSON CHRYSALIS is all about singer René van den Berg, who started her career with African Folk music. But since a couple of years, when René met lyricist Esther Slabbers, she's embarked a total different music direction, which became Symphonic (Gothic) Rock. "Crimson Passion Cry" is the debut album of CRIMSON CHRYSALIS and features 14 tracks, of which the last two (an unplugged version of "Moth Around A Flame" and "Lost") are bonus tracks. The album is produced by Van den Berg herself, and sounds okay. About the songs, well, I've listened several times to "Crimson Passion Cry", and I must say that I couldn't get impressed. To me, most of the songs on this album are way too soft, and also pretty boring. You just have to watch out you don't fell asleep. The heaviest song on the album is the most Gothic sounding "Fatal Lie", which is also the best song of the album. The other songs which I like on this album are the first track "Angels & Demons", "Virgin Death" (which also has some heavy passages) and "Dragon's Roar". And if I have to be honest, the running time of the album is too long. My conclusion is that "Crimson Passion Cry" isn't really an album for me. Symphonic Rock fans who are curious about this debut album of CRIMSON CHRYSALIS, should check it out. But don't say I didn't warn you, because you absolutely will fall asleep.
Visit their website: http://www.crimsonchrysalis.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/crimsonchrysalis

58/100

DESPERADOS D'AMOUR – Wild At Heart (CD) The Netherlands August 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: BluesRock Running time: 44:08 (Tracks: 12)
Opener Can't Resist My Fire (Slight Return) starts this heavy bluesrock album off with a bang. Damn, this riff really sounds good! These guys from the south of the Netherlands have got the feel right and know how to make an album that is fulfilling in every aspect possible. The band consists of a number of knowledgeable and competent players. Singer/guitarist Grant E Love has one hell of a voice and playing style. Together with lead guitarist Richard VanderLinden he makes the heavy sound stand out, and even every solo spot you hear actually fits the bill. Bassist Jesse Brock and Ton 'The Manimal' Van Dijk complete the line-up, and they make sure that the foundations are solid, heavy, rocking and swinging. They are the gel that makes Wild At Heart into this gem I'm listening to.
You'll hear hints of Bruce Springsteen, Thin Lizzy, Jim Steinman, Bodine and Herman Brood passing by. The latter even literally, because by putting his song I Love You Like I Love Myself on the third spot is daring. What's even more impressive is that original master guitarist Dany Lademacher plays the solo. Desperados d'Amour will undoubtedly sound like some other bands, but by writing such good songs they've assured themselves of standing out in a positive way. Whether they're heavy or being downright melancholy, they impress. Although I count myself to be a real metalhead I'm hooked to the bluesrock sound that Wild At Heart has to offer. Even the saxophone solo on the (Meat Loaf) song Dancing Under The Neon Light fits the bill. Hail Desperados d'Amour!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/desperadosdamour

83/100

DRAWERS – Drawers (CD) France August 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Extreme Metal Running time: 30:26 (Tracks: 8)
If Baroness, Keelhaul and (older) Mastodon are your thing, you're set for Drawers. These French guys do know how to ride heavy. Crushingly so, actually. This is so in your face that you feel like you're walking into walls the whole time. That indeed is the impact that Drawers has on you. Thankfully this album is only half an hour long, because if it would have been any longer my lungs would have deflated. It took some time to find this out, but throughout all the debris falling down all around me when playing with my Drawers I discovered that the songs really have head and tail, are different and complement each other. And that, my friends, is how to put on Drawers.
Visit their website: http://drawerskvlt.bandcamp.com
Recordlabel: http://www.kaotoxin.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drawerskvlt

81/100

DUNKELNACHT – Rvelatio (CD) France August 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Ambient Running time: 45:17 (Tracks: 11)
Dunkelnacht from France brings you black ambient since 2005. After releasing a shitload of demos and split albums they released their debut album in 2010. And their second album in 2014. This album contains 13 tracks of black metal that is filled with melody and soundscapes. The guitar riffs are very fast black riffs combined with technical riffs are progressive sounding riffs. The drums are very fast and straight in your face pounding drums that sometimes have the structure and technicalities of bands like Fear Factory. The vocals are screams combined with epic clean vocals but the prime is the screams that are very filthy. They call their self ambient now a days but this album sounds more like a melodic atmospheric black metal album and they do that really well. The programming of the sounds capes are not the front of the music and lay very well in the music. The use of the programming is also used as intros of songs that gives it a nice opening before mayhem begins. This alum is really mechanical of sound but that suits the music very well. It is very technical but also filled with groove and progressive elements in it. This is definitely not the standard black metal but has a lot more to offer!
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/dunkelnacht
MySpace: https://myspace.com/atheistdezekration

76/100

EDGE OF THORNS – Insomnia (CD) Germany August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Power Metal Running time: 56:18 (Tracks: 12)
EDGE OF THORNS is a German Power Metal band and was formed in 1996. The band released the following demos "Transitoriness" (1998; 5 tracks), "Riders Of The Storm" (2000; 4 tracks) and "Carpe Diem" (2002; 4 tracks). The band's debut album "Ravenwood" was released in 2004, and that album featured 3 new songs and 6 songs of the "Riders Of The Storm" and "Carpe Diem" demos (of each demo 3 songs). In 2007 EDGE OF THORNS released their second album "Masquerading Of The Wicked", and now the band is finally back with their third album "Insomnia", which has been released on Killer Metal Records. The line-up of EDGE OF THORNS on this album exists of Dirk Schmitt (vocals), Dave Brixus (lead guitar), Janina Näckel (guitar), Achim Sinziger (bass) and Johannes Schütz (drums). "Insomnia" features twelve tracks, of which "Metal Unity" (4:04) features guest vocals of Ralf Schippers (PRIMAL FEAR, GAMMA RAY, TYRAN' PACE). Anyway, the band exists of very technical and skilled musicians, and the vocals of Dirk Schmitt reminds me of a mixture of Udo Dirkschneider (ex-ACCEPT, U.D.O.) and the late David Wayne (METAL CHURCH). Some songs even go to Prog Power Metal. The album starts with the very short intro "In Your Dreams" (0:25), followed by the fantastic "Dark Side Of Your Life" (3:05). Well, two songs on this album have a running time over seven minutes, which are "A Caress Of Souls" (7:20) and "The 7 Sins Of Arthur Mc Gregor" (7:04). Like I said, the band exists of fantastic musicians, and guitarist Dave Brixus treats us on fantastic guitar solos. Actually, this album "Insomnia" got better every time I listened to it. So, this one will absolutely finds its way to my cd player more often. In my opinion, the best songs are the aforementioned "Dark Side Of Your Life", "Yearning Has Begun" (5:20), the title track "Insomnia" (5:51), "Metal Unity", "The Watchmaker" (5:19), "A Caress Of Souls", "Death Dealer" (5:20) and "The 7 Sins Of Arthur Mc Gregor". The last track of "Insomnia" is the acoustic "…Is This The Way It Ends" (4:12), which is a nice and beautiful song, but to me it doesn't fit on the album. Well, my conclusion is that EDGE OF THORNS is an awesome Power Metal band, that delivered an excellent album with "Insomnia". For Power Metal fans a real recommendation.
Visit their website: http://www.edgeofthorns.de
Recordlabel: http://www.killermetalrecords.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/edgeofthorns
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/edgeofthornsband

84/100

FIREFORCE – Deathbringer (CD) Belgium August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Thrash Metal /Power Metal Running time: 53:47 (Tracks: 13)
Belgian Heavy Metal / Thrash Metal / Power Metal band FIREFORCE rose from the ashes of DOUBLE DIAMOND in the autumn of 2008. Since then, the band from Antwerp did have several line-up changes, and so far FIREFORCE has released the EP "Moonlight Lady" (2009) and their debut album "March On", which was released in 2011. I've seen the band twice so far, which was on October 15th, 2011 at Mario's Metal Meeting V, and recently as the support act for RAVEN on June 6th, 2014. Both times was in the Little Devil in Tilburg, Holland. Anyway, now these Belgian metalheads finally have released their second album "Deathbringer" on Limb Music. And man, believe me…this second album is just awesome. "Deathbringer" features thirteen tracks, of which "Anubis - Lord Of The Dead" is an old DOUBLE DIAMOND song, and the last one (a bonus track) is an excellent cover version of the TYGERS OF PAN TANG classic "Gangland". FIREFORCE, who's line-up on this album exists of Filip "Flype" Lemmens (vocals), Yves Vermeersch (guitar), Erwin Suetens (guitar), Geert van Dyck (bass) and Christophe De Combe (drums), treats us on high quality Heavy-, Thrash-, Power Metal, with strong compositions, excellent musicianship and fantastic vocals. These guys absolutely can compete with American Power Metal bands. Although I do like the entire album very much, my favorite songs of "Deathbringer" are the title track "Deathbringer", "Combat Metal", "Thunder Will Roll", "Attracted To Sin And Lust", "Words Of Hatred", "King Of Lies", and the aforementioned "Anubis - Lord Of The Dead" and the TOPT cover "Gangland". No need to say that "Deathbringer" will absolutely find its way to my CD-player more often. One thing is for sure, FIREFORCE belongs, together with AFTER ALL and EVIL INVADERS, to my favorite newer Belgian Metal bands. Well, this second album of FIREFORCE is absolutely a recommendation. Great work guys.
Visit their website: http://www.fireforceband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/fireforce/71902036678

85/100

FIREZONE – Hell To Pay (MCD) The Netherlands August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Nu-Metal / Crossover Running time: 16:25 (Tracks: 5)
FIREZONE is a five-piece Metal band from Maastricht, Holland, that was formed in 2010. The band exists of (ex-) members of DOWNSHOT (Hardcore / Punk), PIKKATRILLAZ (Hiphop), CONTRADEFUSED / SEVEN ENDS (Thrash- Death Metal), SOUNDMAZE (NWOBHM) and OUT OF REVERSE (Metalcore). Also FIREZONE did have some line-up changes, and "Hell To Pay" is the band's second EP. Personally I am not familiar with the band's first EP, which is titled "Welcome To The Firezone", so this EP is my first acquaintance with FIREZONE. Actually, there are 4 songs on this EP, because the third track is an interlude, which is titled "Interlude: Ride The Tiger" (1:31). The other songs are titled "For Show" (3:37), "Excuse To Recue" (3:37), "Tiger Blood & Adonis DNA" (3:28) and "Who Am I" (4:11). The guitar riffs of "Tiger Blood & Adonis DNA" reminds me a bit of LIMP BIZKIT, and the song does sound nice. Only I am not that impressed by the vocals of Bas Siersema. Well, although I have listened several times to this EP, I still couldn't get impressed about it. The fact is, that all songs on "Hell To Pay" do sound to moderate to me.
Visit their website: http://www.firezonemetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.rvprecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/firezone.metal

60/100

INFLIKTED - Inflikted (CD) Sweden August 2014 Kees Schijven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 34:27 (Tracks: 10)
INFLIKTED is a thrash metal band from Stockholm formed in 2011, when friends Mikael Karlsson and Fredrik Gard the former drummer from Swedish punk legends Total misär (Total misery) decided that after a drunken night that they would join forces and create a old-school thrash band. They found a guitar player in Ukrainian Vardan Saakian, a student at the Swedish royal institute of technology. John-Michael Haugdahl was found as rhytm guitar player to complete the band. After two years of working the club scene of Stockholm, they got in touch with Wormholedeath. The band's Music is influenced by bands like Motorhead, (early) Metallica, Sodom, High on Fire, Annihilator, Venom, Kreator, Exodus and Voi Vod to name a few. Their debut album has a real good sound and production, and consists of 10 heavy, thrash metal songs with some NWOBHM influences in there. Songs like 'Dual Personality' or 'corporate Slut' kick ass, and do sound a bit old school, which goes for most of the album by the way. Heavy and fast riffing, like in 'Heavenly Warfare', only the vocals sound a bit off some times. But nevertheless a very enjoyable album, with some nice thrash tunes, like 'Truck-drivers journey'. All influences are recognizeable in their songs, but they don't really stand out, they do a good job, but should get a more own identity with their sound and Music.
Visit their website: http://www.inflikted.eu
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/infliktedthrashband

67/100

IRON KNIGHTS – Iron Knights (CD) United Kingdom August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Thrash Metal Running time: 46:29 (Tracks: 11)
In April of 2013 I reviewed the debut album "New Sound Of War" of English Heavy Metal / Power Metal band IRON KNIGHTS. In my opinion, "New Sound Of War" was a to moderate album. The best song on that album was openings track "Jericho". And although it musically reminded very much of IRON MAIDEN, the rest of the songs were to moderate to me. And also the vocals of Duke Fang Begley, who sounded a bit like Bruce Dickinson, were not always in tune. Well, in the meantime there has been changed a lot with IRON KNIGHTS. First of all a line-up change, and secondly IRON KNIGHTS changed their musical direction a bit more into Thrash Metal. The new line-up of IRON KNIGHTS exists of original members Paul "Beam" Robbie (bass) and Larry Paterson (drums) and new comers Jamie Gibson (vocals, guitar) and Wayne Mann (guitar). With this new line-up the band released its second album, which is simply titled "Iron Knights", again on Metal Box Recordings. The album features 8 new songs, and the band decided to put three bonus tracks on it as well, which are the songs "Bloodstorm", "The Messenger" and the aforementioned "Jericho". The original versions of these three bonus tracks are on the "New Sound Of War" album, and the bonus tracks are all re-recorded with this new line-up. IRON KNIGHTS have made a slight progression, because now I do like a bit more songs, than I did of the debut album. Okay, the band doesn't sound that original, but a lot of the songs are in my opinion much better. Every now and then you hear some EXODUS riffs passing by. The songs on this second album which I like the most are "Transparent", "Vicious Circle", "Genocide", "Blind" and of course "Jericho". "Iron Knights" is produced by singer Gibson, who is not a real great singer, but just an average one. Altogether, this second album isn't bad at all, just a nice one.
Visit their website: http://www.ironknightsband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalboxrecordings.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ironknightsband

69/100

KLEM - Ritagli Di Tempo (CD) Italy August 2014 Kees Schijven
Style: Alternative Rock Running time: 34:27 (Tracks: 10)
KLEM is an Italian band born from a previous project, Jab, featuring Umberto Patuzzo (bass) and Francesco Schiavi (drums), and during summer 2010 completed by Leonardo Scali (vocals/guitar) project KLEM was born. The band plays powerful alternative rock, in their native language. The band records two songs in 2011, “Spechi Infranti” and “Poi Si Fermera”, and started performing in several venues in their home town Verona to promote their KLEM project. In February 2013, they enter the studio to record their self produced debut album “Ritagli DI Tempo”, which is released in December 2013. In November the band inked a deal with Atomic Stuff Promotion to promote the album. The band is influenced by rock from the seventies to nowadays, and calls their music fluo rock because of its various shades and influences, which is a mix of alternative rock with genres such as funk, metal, stoner, punk, country and pop. Their first single from the debut album is “Quando Cogli Un Fiore” and is already promoted by a videoclip. The music ion this album is very radio friendly pop rock, with an occasional heavier song on the side like “Poi SIi Fermera” for instance, some funky tunes are also present, to be honest, I don't know what they hope to achieve to have their album represented on a metal site like this one, cause they obviously don't really belong here, they did a good job on their self produced debut album, nothing wrong there, but this hasn't got anything to do with metal. For those who like popular pop rock music, and don't mind the vocals being done in Italian.
Recordlabel: http://www.atomicstuff.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/klemfluo

68/100

LEVANIA - Renascentis (CD) Italy August 2014 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic / Symphonic Metal Running time: 49:05 (Tracks: 12)
Levania is an Italian Gothic Metal band formed in 2007. About their debut Parasynthesis I wasn't impressed at all. (see MMM december 2012). It didn't convince on all fronts especially the vocals of the good looking Ligeia (alter Elena). Wormholedeath however showed confidence and here is their new product again presented in a beautiful dig pack. So the package is in order but have they made enough progress to impress ? I must say the progress certainly is made, impressive however is another word. Musically it sounds much better, the production is very good, the songs are more in balance and the feel is much more aggressive and darker. This suits the band well, there's more room for alternation and epic tracks. Songs like “Needles”, “An Icy Embrace” and “My Writings Of Hope” are really far better in comparison to their debut. Vocalist Elena (or Ligeia) also made the necessary progress. Her voice sounds less fragile and more mature but still it's a voice you'll get used to. So this still ain't an impressive record, but the progress certainly is. This album is a few steps up the ladder, enjoyable to listen to but still not one which stands out or lifts them above the middle bracket of their genre. Levania is on their way up and that's more than I expected after their debut.
Visit their website: http://www.levania.net
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/levania
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/levania

68/100

MINDSHADE - Asylum Of The Fallen (CD) The Netherlands August 2014 Kees Schijven
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 48:27 (Tracks: 10)
MindShade is a female fronted metal band from the Netherlands, which started out as a musical project of friends Jeroen (bass/grunts) and Norbert (guitars) in 2007. Later in 2007 Nienke joined in on vocals, in 2008 the band played some live gigs, but mainly concentrated on writing material and working on their live set. In 2009 MindShade recorded a self-titled demo, produced by Andre Borgman (After Forever). In 2011 the band was looking for a heavier sound and Eli joined in as second guitarist. Mischa (drums) completed the band in 2013 and MindShade started recording their debut album 'Asylum of the Fallen', which was released in May 2014. The album contains eight full songs and an intro and outro, each one telling a tale of one of the patients in a mental hospital. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at SBL music productions. After an intro that set's the atmosphere of a mental hospital, 'Equilibrium' set's in, which was also on their demo. As influences the name bands like After Forever, Nightwish, Epica and Within Temptation, although there is a difference in my ears, MindShade has more doom influences in their music too, the music on this album is mostly in a lower pace, except for 'Fire demon”. The sound of this album is however superb, all instruments are well in the mix, as are the vocals, a big plus! Listening to this album The Gathering also comes to mind, especially in the vocals. The album has a lot of variation in the songs, like 'Planet Icarus', great melodies and changes. Also the keyboards bring something extra to the sound, and fit in well. This album has a lot variation, between songs, as well as in the songs, which makes it a pleasant listening. A bit lack of power and speed, compared to other bands of the genre, but that's not their goal, they give their music a twist of their own, which makes it more unique. MindShade is claiming their own place in the gothic metal genre. Makes me curious what the future has in store for them, they have got what it takes, they just need to grow a little more...
Visit their website: http://www.mindshade.nl
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mindshademetal

70/100

NEAL SCHON – SO U (CD) USA August 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock with bluesy and jazzy influences Running time: 56:49 (Tracks: 9)
Neal Schon needs no introduction. The man is a six string genius playing like a God in Santana, Journey, Hardline, Bad English, the guitar player has a remarkable career in music. So U is his sevetnth opus, this time featuring Marco Mendoza on vocals and bass guitar. Marco is a fine musician, playing in Ted Nugent, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy (post Phil Lynott era), Black Star Riders, Straitjacket (great jazzrock act from LA) and a musical partner of a lot of singers and solo-acts. Deen Castronovo is the other musician on the album, on drums and vocals. Deen is Neal's companion from Journey (and former companion in Bad English and Hardline).
The album is very good, instrumentally and vocaly, this nine-song collection captures the essence of a rockin' power trio. There's a lot of adventure in the songs and the three musicians share vocal parts, quite interesting. "Take A Ride," the song that opens his 2014 solo album, features a great guitar theme. The song lifts off with a nasty vocal, singable chorus, chunking organ and a wonderful jam at the end. The album's title track opens with an undertow of strings and floating, bluesy picking antics and there a great fusion-like theme and vocal harmonies. The instrumental "Exotica" showcases each player at their balls-to-the-wall hard-hitting blistering best. "What You Want" is funky . This co-Jack Blades (Nightranger) idea has great vocals and creative rhythmparts.
The power ballad "Love Finds A Way" made me think of (new style) Journey. “On my way” is heavy”. "Serenity" is a fun and fast mover with a great vocal and Castronovo's hard-hitting snare. “Shelter” is a good riffy, meaty song and So U ends with another instrumental, a platform for Schon's flights of synth-like guitar histrionics (Big Ocean). All in all, a great album for the more adventurous listener.
Visit their website: http://www.schonmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/schonmusic
MySpace: https://myspace.com/nealschonmusic

82/100

NO DAWN – Dark Aura (CD) Norway August 2014 Kees Schijven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 42:35 (Tracks: 10)
NO DAWN hails from Steinkjer, in the middle parts of Norway. Formed in 2002 as a thrash metal project. The band started out playing coversongs of bands like In Flames and At The Gates. As time went by, self written material came to life, and the band began to reveal their own sound. Many line up changes been made, as a total of 5 members have been replaced. The biggest change occured in september 2006, as founding member Steinar Forfang left the band. Andreas Bruheim filled Steinars position, and is today the main songwriter. Also, Tor Egil Solberg left in february 2007, without a successor appointed, and the band continued as a four-piece deathmetal band pursuing a much different sound. In november 2007 Paal Andrè Sandnesmo rejoined the band, filling the position Tor Egil left. The band sounds quite different today opposed to the beginning, going from extreme thrash to being a more brutal and technical death metal act. The band has more and more frequently entered the stage and won the Norwegian leg of Wacken Metal Battle to represent Norway in the finals at W:O:A 2010. As part of this they also got to play at the Inferno Festival in 2011, in front of a packed John Dee (Oslo, NO). In 2012 the signed a deal with WormHoleDeath. They travelled to Italy in february 2013 to record the debut album 'Dark Aura'. The Music of NO DAWN on this debut album is a kind of dark and heavy symphonic death metal, unfortunately the production isn't the best you can have, especially the drums are a little on the front in the mix, and don't sound right compared to the rest of the instruments. The vocals aren't my thing either, more kind of spoken growl, they really do have some nice ideas in their songs though, like for instance 'The Voice of the Abyss', or 'God ov Torment', which have some really great guitar riffs and melodies. Not really sticking out this one, I my opinion the vocals sound a little irritating, and better or different production could have done more right to the band.
Visit their website: http://www.nodawn.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nodawnofficial

65/100

PARTY ANIMALS – Light A Fan Cool (CD) Italy August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Glam Rock Running time: 39:05 (Tracks: 10)
Another Italian band which I have to review this month are PARTY ANIMALS, who have released their debut album "Light A Fan Cool" on Street Symphonies Records. Anyway, PARTY ANIMALS are a female fronted Hard Rock / Glam Rock band that was formed in March of 2011, and exists of Andreina (vocals), Max (guitar), Gianmarco (bass) and Ilenia (drums). Before this debut album, these Italian rockers released their first 6-track EP "Rock 'n' Roll" in March of 2012, on which the band's first singer Sabrina sung. Well, also this is not very spectacular stuff. I can listen to it, but that's all. In fact, all songs on this album are of the same moderate level. And the members of the band will be real party animals themselves, but believe me, these songs will not do it very well on a party. About the vocals, well Andreina isn't a bad singer, but also not a great singer. Anyway, although I can listen to this album, I don't think I shall listen much more to it, because it's all just to moderate and cliché. Again, next album please.
Visit their website: http://www.partyanimalsrock.wix.com/party-animals
Recordlabel: http://www.streetsymphonies.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/partanimalsrock

60/100

PERFECT VIEW – Red Moon Rising (CD) Italy August 2014 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 52:55 (Tracks: 11)
Modena based Italian melodic hard rock quintet Perfect View debuted in 2010 with the album “Hold Your Dreams” and caused a bit of a stir. 4 years later the band presents its successor. The result is a highly enjoyable album with nice melodies and fitting sound. Although I couldn't crown one song a hit, there is plenty of good material enough to create a euphoric feeling and urge you to repeat listening. My compliments go to vocalist Max Ordine who lays down some great performances and doesn't sound any “Italian” at all but I wouldn't want to be unfair towards the great guitar work or the beautiful keyboard themes. The band also pays tribute to dominant influence and iconic band Toto by covering “Home of the Brave”. I know there is a plethora of bands and releases out there but I encourage you to invest on this one if you are into melodic rock.
Visit their website: http://www.perfectviewtheband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/perfect-view/101901789873812
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/perfectviewtheband

78/100

PLEONEXIA – Break All Chains (CD) Italy August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 46:53 (Tracks: 10)
"Break All Chains" is the debut album of Italian metal band PLEONEXIA, a sextet that started in 2012. The band exists of Michele Da Pila (vocals, guitar, keyboard), Federico Fondrini (guitar, backing vocals), Leonardo Manoiero (guitar, backing vocals), Davide Arneri (bass, backing vocals), Stefano Clara (drums, backing vocals) and Lorenzo Luca (keyboards). In the attached biography, these Italians describe their music as "philosophical metal, but you could also say that it's an interesting and fascinating mixture of classic Heavy Metal, some epic influences and a small dose of earthly, honest Hard Rock". Well, "Break All Chains" has been released by Pure Underground Records (a division of Pure Steel Records) in January of 2013, but to tell the truth, the entire album couldn't impress me at all. In fact, after one listen I already knew I won't like this album. Okay, I'd give "Break All Chains" a second try, but after finishing listening to it, I still wasn't impressed. Actually, I got really tired of the 10 songs which are on the album. In my opinion, the songs are not really great compositions, and the vocals of Da Pila really began to annoy me. And I also didn't like most of the vocal lines in the songs. I can't believe that there are Metalheads out there who really would like this album. Anyway, to me, this album is a real waste of time. If I want to listen to an Italian band which I like very much, instead of listening to this album of PLEONEXIA, then I would listen to some albums of LACUNA COIL. Sorry guys, for this negative review, but I really don't like it.
Visit their website: http://www.pleonexia.org
Recordlabel: http://www.pureunderground-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thepleonexia

47/100

POSTERITY – The Price Of Greed (CDemo) Lithuania August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Death Metal Running time: 28:25 (Tracks: 7)
Well, I always have mixed feelings about reviewing a CD or a demo when it's already has been released years ago. So also with this CDemo "The Price Of Greed" of Lithuanian Death Metal band POSTERITY, which I got from a friend, with the request to review it for MMM. Anyway, POSTERITY was formed in 2007, and these Lithuanian Death Metallers released this CDemo "The Price Of Greed" in May of 2010. Now four years later I have to write a review about it. Well, the line-up of the band on this Demo exists of Mantas Gurksnys (vocals, rhythm guitar), Vytautas Budvytis (lead guitar) and some guest musicians. Looking on their FB-page, the line-up exists (or existed), besides Mantas and Vytautas, also of Paulius Tumenas (bass) and Gediminas Tumenas (drums). Okay, what these guys present on their demo is old school quality Death Metal, with brutal death grunts and excellent musicianship. And I have to say that the songs on this demo, which are "Choices Made" (4:29), "Price Of Greed" (4:12), "Contrived Terror" (4:36), "Signs Of Apolcalypse" (3:39), "Endless Fight" (3:21), "Born To Raise Hell" (3:45) (not a MOTÖRHEAD cover) and "The Oldest Lie" (4:17), are really good compositions. I'm not sure if the band still exists, but I'm sure that any old school Death Metal fan will like this demo very much. So, check out if the demo is still available or if it's downloadable!
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/posteritylt
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/posteristylt

75/100

RAGING AGE – Regions Of Sorrow (CD) Italy August 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 43:42 (Tracks: 10)
After I pulled my Drawers up it was time to enter the Raging Age. Some good old fashioned Italian death metal to sooth my stomach and brain. And damn, it works. Regions Of Sorrow is fast and furious, as it should be. But the real question is; Is it any good? With all the good (and bad) music being released it's more about standing out than actually impressing musically. On the latter front Raging Age has nothing to worry about, as I can't see any death metal enthusiast dismissing this record as obsolete. But if they stand out enough for everyone to notice is a whole other ballgame. I hope they at least get the chance. Regions Of Sorrow deserves it.
Visit their website: http://www.ragingage.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/ragingageofficial
Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/ragingageita

79/100

RAINOVER – Transcending The Blue and Drifting Into Rebirth (CD) Spain August 2014 Frans Neelen
Style: Symphonic / Progressive Metal Running time: 45:36 (Tracks: 11)
Wormholedeath is a label from which I get a lot of female fronted stuff in all different kinds of metal and from which I still get a descent, complete copy. Thanks for that by the way. Now on this small label the quality sometimes may vary, but with Croatians Agharti (full score with their debut “Change”) and Italian Cadaveria in their stable they have some very good ones under their wings. Both bands impressed me last year with their damn fine releases and I was glad to capture Cadaveria live, who did a great job at the MFVF. Now this Rainover also has everything in them to catapult themselves to the upper class in female fronted bands. This debut was already recorded in 2011 (!!) and was brought out in 2013 but reached my desk only a few weeks ago. That's a shame because this band surprises with an album filled with progressive, catchy and sometimes dreamy rocksongs that are airplay ready. Think of bands like Amaranthe and Lacuna Coil. It ain't all that original but it's all done damn good. Opener “Rebirth” is already a glorious one. Different styles come together in a powerful but beautiful rocker where the enthusiasm and professionalism drips of. The crystal clear production and mastering by Waldemar Sorychta and Dennis Koehne really helps but the exceptional ear candy come from Andrea Casanova simply astonishes me. What a great voice this lady has. Sometimes in the higher regions she reminds to Sharon den Adel but when she's able to add a bit more power in the future she's gonna be even better. Follower “Despair” is even better and my highlight of the album. A true sublime track with additional male, light grunting vocals of Antonio Perea . A killer song which is followed by another great one; “Cycles” in which Antonio shows his clean vocal skills. Further on the level increases a bit because some tracks are a bit flat and create a feeling like you've heard it all before but just a little bit better. Don't get me wrong, there's not a single track which isn't good, but not outstanding. Alternation can be found in the adding of electronica in tracks like the great happy, swinging rockers “H2SO4” and “Oh, My Cross” and the sublime “Dust and Dawn” which remind at Theatre of Tragedy's “Music' album. So the mentioned tracks are very good till outstanding the others ones average. That makes it a very welcome and more than promising debut from a high potential band.
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rainoverband

85/100

RITUAL STEEL – Immortal (CD) Germany August 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 71:55 (Tracks: 10)
Ritual Steel has been serving the underground metal scene since 2001. This is the band's 4th full length album after a 6 year period of studio inactivity. I cannot say I am a huge fan but I respect their work and enjoy their teutonic metal style. But after a couple of listening sessions I must admit that Immortal came out a bit short in my opinion. There is a little diversity between songs, sometimes I get the feeling I am listening to the same tune all over again and the vocal lines sound somehow written in haste and in cases out of tune. The same goes for some of the guitar solos. The album has its moments though and plenty of solid metal riffs and I definitely prefer it over the endless Iron Maiden clones out there.
Visit their website: http://www.ritualsteel.net
Recordlabel: http://www.killermetalrecords.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ritual-steel
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ritualsteelnet

65/100

SALEM – Forgotten Dreams (CD) United Kingdom August 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: NWOBHM Running time: 57:06 (Tracks: 12)
As an old fart I do still love going down memory lane. That's why I love festivals like Brofest in Newcastle (UK) and Very 'Eavy in Stadskanaal (NL), where you get only traditional bands. Salem is one of them, and with their latest album Forgotten Dreams they have brought NWOBHM into the 21st century. Especially the production is as crisp and clear that it almost hurts my ears. Gone are the days of dull or incomplete sounds. The music is also somewhat more modern than they used to play, but hey, these guys have aged as well. I don't know if they'll see this as a compliment, but early Def Leppard and Bon Jovi spring to mind. Salem is very melodic for a band from that era, and they're not afraid to show off that fact. And I must admit that I love it to bits, as all the songs make sense and put together make Forgotten Dreams a very good record. You should go and see these guys live if you can. Such more is the pity that they (and Jaguar) have pulled out of the European Warriors of Metal tour with Vortex, Wizard and (in Tilburg) Avenger. So another time, hopefully?
Visit their website: http://www.salemband.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.purerock-records.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/salemband
MySpace: https://myspace.com/salem.uk

80/100

SECTU – Nefarious (CD) Sweden August 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Technical Death Metal Running time: 42:18 (Tracks: 8)
Sectu from Sweden is active since 2001 and brings you death metal that sounds amazing and technical. With already there 3rd full length on the bill they are a force to be reckoned with. All the members of this band have a massive and rich past of bands that they performed in or still do. This album contains eight tracks of pure and technical death metal that reminds me sometimes of Nile. So not the typical death metal you expect from a Swedish band. The guitar riffs are technical and combined with a lott of progressive riffs. The drums of this album are also really brutal and fast. A constant double bass filled with pounding groove. The vocals are grunts in vain of Vomitory meets Krisiun. But still very understandable and brutal. The production of this album is also straight in your face and everything is well balanced and still has that raw sound. If you like bands like Immolation, old Vader, Krisiun or Vomitory then you are going to enjoy this album!
Recordlabel: http://www.vicisolum.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sectuband
MySpace: https://myspace.com/sectu

80/100

SELFMACHINE – Broadcast Your Identity (CD) The Netherlands August 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Modern Metal Running time: 50:30 (Tracks: 11)
Mix Korn with Slipknot, Dreadlock Pussy and Limp Bizkit and you'll get something in the vein of Selfmachine. I really didn't expect to hear this sound nowadays, as it is a bit like yesterday's news. Having said that, these men actually have ways to make it work, as Broadcast Your Identity isn't bad at all. Not exactly my cup of tea, but there you have it. This is definitely metal, sometimes even quite fast, and the vocals do make a difference, as the typical nu-metal screams and growls are I there and actually do complement the music. And maybe it's harsh, but that's all I can say about this. If you're a modern and/or nu-metal fan, you'll undoubtedly love this and will have a lot more to say. Please let us know. We wish to learn!
Visit their website: http://www.selfmachine.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: https://facebook.com/selfmachineofficial

71/100

SERCATI – The Rise Of The Nightstalker (CD) Belgium August 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 45:27 (Tracks: 11)
Not being funny, but opener Rememberance sounds like it has been recorded by Peter Sellers in his most brilliant roll ever, Inspector Clouseau. They really should have let an English speaking native do this, as the message is now lost in pronunciation. The Hound From Hell comes next, and it is music, of a sort. Very underachieving guitar sounds, a drummer that is trying to keep everything together, maybe even a bass player, although I can't make him out. And then there's the vocals, which sound like they were recorded by Gollem whilst suffering from laryngitis. Or at least a very bad cold. Altogether not the best start to The Rise Of The Nightstalker. Thankfully after this it all improves. Musically it starts to come together, and the result is that songs are beginning to make sense. The guitars are creating songs, the bass is actually there to strengthen the foundations and the drums are underlying what's happening. It's all getting noticed. As does Gollem. Sorry, but I just can't get passed that utterly annoying voice. It ruins the whole experience. Om Hunt Between Fallen there are some clean vocals mixed in, and Sercati should have used that much more often. Altogether very unsatisfying, alas.
Visit their website: http://www.sercati.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: https://facebook.com/sercati
MySpace: https://myspace.com/sercati

55/100

SHALLOW GROUND – The End Of Everything (CD) USA August 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 59:34 (Tracks: 11)
Why on earth should a current day thrash band opt for a sound that is devoid of all high and low noises, just the middle ones? That is a question Shallow Ground should consider asking themselves. The result is that quite good thrash songs sound very bland, don't have the sparkle that well produced albums have. Just listen to the new Overkill, and you'll hear the immense difference. The End Of Everything really does house a number of very well put together old school thrash songs. The speed, the power, the enthusiasm, the exuberance but also the class of these Americans is imminent. Now they just need to get their sound fixed, and they're definitely on to a winner. In spite of my reservations I do urge every thrash lover to listen to Shallow Ground. You'll be pleasantly surprised. Maybe not the whole hour, but still.
Visit their website: http://www.shallow-ground.com/
Recordlabel: http://www.killermetalrecords.de/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shallowground
MySpace: https://myspace.com/shallowground1

73/100

SKYLINER – Outsiders (CD) USA August 2014 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 75:50 (Tracks: 9)
Newcomers Skyliner hail from Jacksonville, Florida. Although the band is based in the U.S.A., debut album “Outsiders” is a europower metal album similar to what fellow countrymen Armory are doing. The band has the potential, musicianship is good and the sound is razor sharp but unfortunately the compositions are a bit typical and failed to captivate me for more than the first couple of listening sessions. I can understand though what German label LMP sees in them and I totally respect bands struggling in the underground and with a sound that is far from popular in their country. Europower metal fans should give them a chance cause this band is not the plastic sound type.
Visit their website: http://www.skylinermusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/skylinermusic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/skyliner

68/100

SONIC STATION – Next Stop (CD) Sweden August 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: AOR Running time: 52:17 (Tracks: 11)
Who says good AOR should be American? I can tell you these Swedes would beg to differ. As they should, as Next Stop is quite an easy listening album. The sound is typical of the musical style, but still packs a punch and houses more than enough versatility to prevent Sonic Station from repeating themselves throughout. What does help is that Johan Boding has a really pleasant voice, whether he's singing hard, soft, fast or slow. He's the gel that makes this work. The rest of the band are also very good, but it is a fact that however good the music might be, the melodic bands with outstanding voices get the attention. That is definitely the caser on Next Stop. This is supposedly the second Sonic Station album, and I'm going to shop around for their debut. This is perfect for those lazy Sunday mornings, when you just want to wake up gingerly, make love and have a light breakfast.
Visit their website: http://www.sonic-station.com
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/sonic-station

80/100

STEALTH – Shores Of Hope (CD) Italy August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Metal Running time: 43:24 (Tracks: 10)
This Italian band STEALTH was formed in 2007 by Luca Occhi (guitar, backing vocals) and Marcello Danieli (drums), and the line-up was completed in 2011 with Enrico Ghireli (vocals), Matia Catozzi (guitar) and Andrea Rambelli (bass). Well, "Shores Of Hope" is the band's debut album, features 10 songs, and was produced by the band themselves. Also this album was released by the band themselves, but in March of 2014 they signed a promotional deal with Atomic Stuff Promotion. Well, I doubt if this album will sell very well, because it's a terrible album. The songs are weak, Ghireli isn't a great singer, and his English pronunciation isn't great as well. Also his voice began to annoy me. Well, the first track is called "Guns!, Guns!, Guns!" (3:00), and every time it's like I hear him singing "Girls, Girls, Girls". Even my girlfriend hears the same, when she heard the song for the first time. Cliché ballads on this album are "Godspeed" (4:15), "Black Century" (4:22), "Uhlans, 1915" (5:07) and "My Heaven" (4:34). Actually, there isn't any song on "Shores Of Hope" that I really like. If they are lucky, the band does have a small following in their homeland, but I don't think outside Italy, metalheads, rock fans are waiting for such a band like STEALTH. To me, STEALTH belongs also to the list of moderate Italian Rock/Metal bands. After a few spins, I really had enough of this album, and now am finishing this review, the album goes straight into my garbage can. Next album please.
Visit their website: http://www.stealthband.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stealthband

49/100

SWITCHBLADE – Heavy Weapons (CD) Israel August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 39:05 (Tracks: 9)
SWITCHBLADE is an old school Heavy Metal band from Israel, that was formed in 2005. Since the band was formed, SWITCHBLADE did have several line-up changes, and in 2011, the band released their first digital single "Endless War". Within a year the band released their second digital single "Metalista". Now in front of me, I have the band's debut album "Heavy Weapons", which was released in November of 2013 on Killer Metal Records. The line-up of SWITCHBLADE on this album exists of Lior "Steinmetal" Stein (vocals), Federico "FedeRock" Taich (guitar), Sascha Latman (bass) and Moshe "Moshpit" Sabach (drums). Well, the band plays traditional 80's Heavy Metal & Power Metal, and reminds me musically the most of IRON MAIDEN and ACCEPT, and vocally of MAIDEN with Bruce Dickinson and a bit to the early FATES WARNING with Jon Arch on vocals. Although it all sounds not that original, "Heavy Weapons" is a surprisingly good and very pleasant album to listen to. The band exists of excellent musicians, and the band has in Lior Stein a fantastic singer. The two aforementioned digital singles are also on this debut album. Of the nine tracks which are on this album, there's one instrumental one, which is titled "The Lost Kingdom" (2:10). And "Lost Lovers Unite" (5:23) is the fantastic power ballad of the album. Well, in my opinion there isn't any weak song on "Heavy Weapons". Like I said, it's a real pleasure to listen to songs such as "Heavy Weapons" (4:27), "Euphoria" (5:07), "Infernal Paradise" (3:48), "Curse Of The Father, Sins Of The Son" (4:49) and "Into The Unknown" (3:57), which are also my favorites of this cd. "Heavy Weapons" is an excellent album, which is a recommendation to anyone who likes IRON MAIDEN and early FATES WARNING. SWITCHBLADE is absolutely one of the surprises for me of this month's update.
Recordlabel: http://www.killermetalrecords.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/switchbladesofsteel

84/100

TED NUGENT - Shut up and Jam (CD) USA August 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 56:02 (Tracks: 13)
Last year I reviewed the Ultralive Ballisticrock- album of Ted Nugent, it was a great live album, fun to listen to, great fun to write about it. And look at this……. Uncle Ted is back with a new album on Frontiers Records, “Shut up and jam”, his fourteenth solo-album, his first solo alum in seven years, after “Love Grenade”. Seeing the cover, listening to Ted's great guitarwork, the funny lyrics and the music on this record, his new opus has a bit of a “Free for all” ( his solo album from 1976) – feel. The music of Ted hasn't changed that much since his heydays. Big bluesy anthemic rock, with that screamy vocals and guitars from hell, a steday and swinging rhythm section (Mick Brown and Greg Smith) and a few suprises. The surprises on this record are from Sammy Hagar, showing off his vocal lines on “She's gone”, the foruth track on the album and Derek St.Holmes, an absolute better singer than his his former boss and also a great guitar player. Derek sings on “Everything matters”, a great track.
I love the sound on this album. It has a great analog-feel, the sound of vintage equpment, the warmth of the production is far better than many fully digital recordings. I think this new Ted Nugent album is good, better than his previous 'new Millennium-stuff.
Visit their website: http://www.tednugent.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tednugent
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/tednugent

87/100

TESLA - Simplicity (CD) USA August 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 60:30 (Tracks: 14)
The Tesla boys from Sacramento are true legends. Their first three albums are one of the best things late-eighties'USA-rock' had to offer and the band always had a huge arena-status, selling fourteen million records in the USA. The band broke up in 1994 and a restart in 2000 was very successful. Dave Rude (former guitar player for The Servants and current guitarist of the Frank Hannon Band and his own band) replaced guitar player Tommy Skeoch in 2006, but the band has quite a healthy (i.e. using no substances anymore) reputation thus far.
Simplicity is their seventh studio album, containing fourteen tracks and a great mix (by Michael Wagener) and a fair, dry production by Tom Zutaut. The album has a great guitar sound a musically there isn't anything wrong with this album. But the songs……. “Bunout to fade”, “Riccochet”, “So divine”,”” Rise and Fall”, Honestly and “MP3” have a lot to offer. But the rest of the songs aren't that good.
I get the feeling that many weaker songs are the vehicle for the great guitarantics of Dave Rude and Frank Hannon. And the vocals of Jeff Keith, on many times the absolute co-hightlights, but this time, they are are too raspy for my taste, although the strenth of Jeff's Keith's voice is admirable.. To be fair: I like Tesla very much, I like their newest album, it's better than the previuos one (Forever More from 2008), but it doesn't have the quality, the impact and the guts from their heydays. With a little pain in my heart. Tesla has a big tour in the USA, I hope we'll see the band on fire in Europe in the next year.
Visit their website: http://www.teslatheband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teslatheband
MySpace: https://myspace.com/teslatheband

80/100

TOTO- Live in Poland (CD) USA August 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 2:06:03 (Tracks: 21)
Last year Toto concerted Europe, Afica, Asia and Australia to celebrate their 35th anniversary and a concert in Poland was recorded for a live offspring on DVD and CD. The DVD is getting rave reviews in many Dutch and English magazines. From Mario, our editor in chief, I've received an audio review copy, it's this album I'll be writing about.
The line up of this Toto has toured approximately five years and this is their first live recording. But what a setlist, what a great craftmanship, what a spectacular renditions of vintage a more recent Toto-material. I'm very, very pleased with this album. Joe Williams (the third real singer, after Bobby Kimball, Fergie Frederiksen (I don't want to talk about their joke-singer Jean-Michel Byron)) sings his heart out, Nathan East and departing drummer Simon Philips form probably the best rhythm section for this melodic fusion rock, Steve Pocaro and David Paich handle the keys and Steve Lukather, what can I say more about this best guitarist in the world. The band is strengthened by some background vocalists and some percussion-artists, which make the songs extra interesting. Toto has made more live albums in the past (Live in Amsterdam, Falling in Between Live), but this one is the best for me.
I saw this line-up performing twice and this live stuff proves again that this band has a lot to offer. The band will bring out a new album (with Keith Carlock on drums), this live in Poland-stuff is an extra teaser for the fans of this band and of this genre. Get it! The DVD will be an extra icing on the cake! The title is available in configurations that include 2CD, DVD, Blu-ray, and a deluxe edition featuring all formats with a 60-page book. The DVD debuted at #1 in The United States, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland and Sweden, while entering the chart at #2 in the U.K., France and Canada.
Visit their website: http://www.totoofficial.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/totoband
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/toto99

85/100

TRIPTYKON – Melana Chasmata (CD) Switzerland August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Black Metal / Doom Metal / Gothic Metal / Avant-Garde Metal / Death Metal Running time: 67:23 (Tracks: 9)
In June of 2010 I reviewed the debut album "Eparistera Daimones" (96/100) of TRIPTYKON and in November of 2010 I also reviewed the "Shatter" (90/100) EP. Now four years later, Thomas Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom Warrior) is finally back with TRIPTYKON's second album titled "Melana Chasmata", which was released on April 14th this year on Century Media Records. And once again mister Fisher has made a real masterpiece. If you already liked "Eparistera Daimones" and the "Shatter" EP, then you can buy this second album "Melana Chasmata" blindly, because from the opener "Tree Of Suffocating Souls" until the last track "Waiting" it's again a real pleasure to listen to this dark atmospheric album. The line-up of TRIPTYKON hasn't changed, so it's still Thomas Gabriel Fisher (vocals, guitar, programming), V. Santura (guitar, vocals), Vanja Slajh (bass) and Norman Lonhard (drums). The album's cover artwork and all illustrations in the booklet of this limited special edition, are again from H.R. Giger (who died on May 12th 2014 at the age of 74), and are as always a real pleasure to look at. Actually, I always have liked the surrealistic art of Giger. This second TRIPTYKON album was again produced by mister Fisher and V. Santura and sounds brilliant. Although I like the entire album very much, because all nine songs are real masterpieces, my favorite tracks of "Melana Chasmata" are "Altar Of Deceit", "Breathing", the beautiful "Auroræ", "In The Sleep Of Death" and the twelve minutes lasting "Black Snow". This is not only music but it's also real ART. Other words I have for this album are beautiful, dark, depressive and very atmospheric. Well, in my review of "Eparistera Daimones" I ended with 'Absolutely one of the best albums of 2010'. The same goes for "Melana Chasmata", which also belongs to the best Metal albums of 2014. No need to say that this second TRIPTYKON album is again a real recommendation.
Visit their website: http://www.triptykon.net
Recordlabel: http://www.centurymedia.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/triptykonofficial
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/triptykonofficial

95/100

VERAEURIDICE - VeraEuridice (MCD) Italy August 2014 Frans Neelen
Style: Symphonic / Progressive Metal Running time: 25:36 (Tracks: 6)
VeraEuridice presents their debut ep with this self named piece of romantic Gothic rock sounding silver. About this band there is hardly anything to find on the internet. The Ep lacks an introduction and even if there's something to be found it's in Italian. Now my knowledge of the talian language is way below zero so you'll have to do it without any history. This band brings some quite acceptable stuff which may be categorized as medieval gothic. It's bombastic, theatrical and pretty creative. Musically and vocally it's all in order but the main reason they sound different is because it's in Italian. That gives it a different, exciting vibe which I've never heard before. The EP tells the story of Orpheus's journey to the underworld to bring back the beautiful Eurydice. Pretty exciting newcomer but I hope the next time I can share some more information about this band. Readers who are in for some Gothic with a new (Italian) bite must check this one out.
Recordlabel: http://www.produzionispb.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/veraeuridice

70/100

WARCKON – High Treason (CD) Belgium August 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 51:58 (Tracks: 10)
WARCKON is a pretty young Belgian Thrash Metal band that was formed in the summer of 2009. I saw the band once so far, when they played as one of the support acts for STRIKER on March 18th, 2012 at the Dynamo club in Eindhoven, Holland. WARCKON released their debut album "The Madman's Lullaby" in 2011 by themselves, and was re-released in December of 2012 by Emanes Metal Records. Now these Belgian Thrashers are back with their second album "High Treason", which is also released by Emanes Metal Records. The band, which exists of Wouter Langendries (vocals, guitar), Jonas Bergmans (guitar), Marijn Lostermans (bass) and Marijn Langendries (drums), plays old school Bay Area Thrash Metal, and they delivered with "High Treason", a fine retro Thrash album. As with many other newer Thrash bands, also WARCKON does not sound that original. But hey, it still sounds great. The album features 10 tracks, of which the last one ("Grief Is In The Eye Of The Beholder") is a bonus track. And to me, "Grief Is In The Eye Of The Beholder" is the least track of the album. The rest of the songs, which are "Mare Tranquilitatis", which is more a kind of an intro, "The Weak", "(My Very Own) Moriarty", the title track "High Treason", "Choir Of Shadows", "Dawn Of The Era Gargoylaes", "Sleeper", "The Samurai" and the instrumental "Mutant Messiah" are all excellent Thrash compositions. The band's popularity is still rising, so check them out if you are into old school Thrash Metal, when they play in your neighborhood. Great work guys, only to bad of that weak bonus track. Anyway, my favorite tracks are "The Weak", "Choir Of Shadows", "High Treason" and "Sleeper".
Visit their website: http://www.warckon.com
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/warckon

79/100

WATCH OUT STAMPEDE – Reacher (CD) Germany August 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Post Hardcore Running time: 31:27 (Tracks: 10)
I'm getting my dancing shoes on for opener The Crucible. For the intro, at least, as that starts like a dance tune. But then Watch Out Stampede (WOS) really kicks in and this becomes a lot heavier. The combination of a growler, a screamer and clear voices on top of the post hardcore music makes this into one hell of a rollercoaster ride, with lots of influences flying all over the place. Reacher does exactly what the tin says, it reaches out over all kinds of plains. This is ultramodern metal music with a melodic twist. The album might only be just more than half an hour long, it is sufficient for me. Any more and you could have scraped parts of me of the walls, as my brains would have exploded, trying to take in everything that is going on. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest this to people who like hardcore in general, but also those who cherish modern (not nu!!) metal. And of course those who are always in for a musical adventure. You might just get out without any nasty side effects.
Visit their website: http://www.watchoutstampede.com
Recordlabel: http://www.noizgate.com
Facebook: https://facebook.com/watchoutstampede
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wosband

77/100

YES – Heaven & Earth (CD) USA August 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 51:29 (Tracks: 8)
Heaven & Earth is the twenty-first studio album from the English progressive rock band Yes, first released on 16 July 2014 on Frontiers Records. It is their first album with singer Jon Davison (also singer of Glass Hammer) in the band's line-up. It was produced by Roy Thomas Baker, who first worked with the band on recording sessions in 1979, and mixed by former member Billy Sherwood. Unlike the previous studio album” Fly From Here”, which was partially based on older compositions by Downes and producer/former member Trevor Horn, Heaven & Earth is made of new material only. The band's new singer (a vocal resemblance of Jon Anderson) had a great contribution to the new songs as well. Fans of Yes and of the genre will be pleased, the album holds many treasures of the Yes'back catalogue. The orchestration, the musical themes, the atmospheres, it sounds familiar, I'm glad the band stays close to their winning formula and the new singer will give the band 'new blood '. Tracks like “In A World Of Our, Believe Again” and the grandeur melodic arrangments on “Light Of Ages, It Was All We Knew, To Ascent en The Game”will convince the fans. Heaven and Earth reached #20 on the British album charts, giving the band its first top-20 album since “Talk” 20 years earlier.
Visit their website: http://www.yesworld.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yeastheband
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/yes

79/100

MAY

ARMORY – Empyrean Realms (CD) USA May 2014 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 50:23 (Tracks: 9)
Armory hails from Massachussetts and was formed in 2001 by Chad Fisher and Joe Kurland, and by 2004 their debut album was recorded, however apparently the original recording suffered quality-wise and the whole thing was redone, released three years later under the same title, The Dawn Of Enlightenment (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews May 2008). If there's one thing to be said about Armory, it's that they are one of the most un-American sounding bands to originate from the USA, as Enlightenment nails the epic Euro power metal style to a T, with the requisite double-bass drums, harmonized leads, galloping upbeat riffs & soaring choruses.
Well this is the bands latest effort and its again a very very nice one! The debut album was reviewed by my Greek reviewer Kostas Kounadinis and already received 80 out of 100 points. Maybe imp a bit more into euro-sounding powermetal than he is and that's the reason I review this new album. Again a very solid powermetal album with great melodies, superb vocals and great musicianship! Curious if this band will ever make it to Europe; when its up to me; they do! Good job!!
Website: http://www.armorymetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metavaniamusic.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/armorymetal

82/100

ASIA - Gravitas (CD) USA May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Symphonic Rock with AOR overtones Running time: 49:53 (Tracks: 9)
Two years ago I reviewed the XXX-album of Asia and their live-opus “Live in Switzerland”, both being great albums. Many fans of the band had hopes for a consistant return on stage and on disc. But the departure of Steve Howe was a big let down for the group and the progrock and symphonic listeners and lovers. Through the internet a successor for Steve was found in the person and the capacities of Sam Coulson, a virtuoso player which enriches the sound of the band, that's for sure. The production of this new Asia record is done by John Wetton and Geoff Downes and the mix is perfectly done by John Mitchell (of Arena- fame). And what about the songs on this first record without Steve Howe since 1985? Well I think it's a good record. Songs like “Valkyrie”, “Gravitas”, the melodic rock / AOR of “The closer I get to you”, “I would die for you”and “Till we meet again” are fantastic, but the other songs didn't grab me that much: too much orchestration, too little good ideas and lack of surprises.
Too bad, I was very fond of the XXX-record. This new opus, to be released by Frontiers Records Italy, is a good record that's for sure, revealing the class of Asia and their new guitar player, but forgetting to hold the tension, the excitement and the quality their former record was filled with.
Visit their website: http://www.originalasia.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiatheband
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/originalasia

78/100

BASTARDOGS – No Pain No Gain (CD) Italy May 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Sleaze Metal / Heavy Metal Running time: 36:53 (Tracks: 10)
"No Pain No Gain" is the debut album of Italian Sleaze- /Metal band BASTARDOGS. The line-up of the band exists of Bonne (vocals, rhythm guitar), Andy K. (guitar), Cosme (bass) and Atta (drums). The band is influenced by 80's Sleaze Rock/Metal, but you can also hear some NWOBHM influences in some of their songs. "No Pain No Gain" was released on December 17th of 2013 on Street Symphonies Records, and features 10 songs. But man…..what an ugly album cover does this debut album have. Okay, of course it's the music what it's all about, but with an ugly album cover, I think people will loose their interest in it and ignore the album completely. To me, this album cover looks more like a cover for a demo CD. Anyway, about the music……it sounds nice, but with that all is said. There are songs on "No Pain No Gain" which are sounding nice, but there are also songs on it, which to me are fillers. I've listened several times to this debut album, and every time the songs which I liked the most were "N.U.S.U." (3:27), "Sex Machine" (3:48), "Last Night" (3:31), "Edge Of Youth" (4:47) and "Bite You Down" (3:38). So, all with all, "No Pain No Gain" is just an average Sleaze/Metal album. If I have to choose between the album of PARTY ROXX (see also this months update) or this album of BASTARDOGS, it's easy for me…… the album of PARTY ROXX.
Recordlabel: http://www.com/streetsymphonies.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bastardogsge

60/100

BATTLEAXE – Heavy Metal Sanctuary (CD) United Kingdom May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: NWOBHM Running time: 47:11 (Tracks: 12)
When I think of BattleAxe, I remember the rickety sounding albums of the eighties. The band was never really tight-sounding, there were always pieces rattling around, taking away the focus and letting down the simple but effective music. I was therefore very amazed when Heavy Metal Sanctuary fell into my mailbox. First off it sounds as tight as a duck's arse, secondly it seems that BattleAxe have opted to shy away from the pure NWOBHM path, but instead stray back in time and mix it with an Accept sound. Only, there are two things that will hold them back: Breaker and Restless & Wild. Those are superb classic albums that never will be surpassed by anyone, not even Accept themselves. So BattleAxe hasn't got a hope in hell. Or do they? Because this is actually not bad at all. The music is still simple and straightforward, but it does rock like hell. So if you're a real BattleAxe adept or like your NWOBHM and Accept, why not give it a shot. As the band showed at this year's Brofest; it does fit them.
Visit their website: http://www.battleaxemetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/battleaxemetal
ReverbNation: http://www.reverbnation.com/battleaxemetal

68/100

BENEATH – Antidote (CD) Sweden May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 60:46 (Tracks: 9)
Swedish thrash/death metal has been an institute over the years because of all the great bands they have produced. Now there's a new name to add to the extensive list of one's that try. But will they succeed? That is not a certainty. What Beneath has to offer is good, quite good, but alas doesn't jump up and make me jump for joy all the time. On Antidote you'll find old school thrash, but also the 21st Century version, accompanied by some death and extreme metal influences. They jump around quite a lot, and that is not always easy, as your brain needs readjusting as well. Plus you need to like the vocals of Emil Kyrk. They're more like screams, and that's not everyone's alley. When he does sing normally, he has a great and warm voice, at least when he stays in key. Something that unfortunately doesn't happen all the time. If you love your thrash and even some extreme metal that jumps around like a kangaroo on steroids, listen to Beneath. If you want it all to be much more organised, this Antidote is noet for you.
Visit their website: http://www.beneath.se
Recordlabel: http://www.metalrevelation.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/beneathband
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/beneathband

68/100

BLACK HARMONIA – Deathroad (CD) Belgium May 2014 Ronny Elst
Style: Progressive Thrash / Death Metal Running time: 43:37 (Tracks: 10)
Black Harmonia, a band from the French part of Belgium, exists since 2007. In 2008 the two guys who formed the band (Franck and Arpad) completed the band with two other metal heads. With their first "real" line-up they recorded a 4 track EP in 2009. Several live gigs followed after that first release in different clubs in Belgium, with national and international bands. In 2010 they released their second EP, this time with only 2 tracks. In 2011 there where 2 line-up changes, so Franck and Arpad where joined by Yannick and Yohann. With these new members the band gained a more powerful sound and they were now finally ready to record their first album. "Deathroad" is the result, an album with 10 diverse songs. Several influences from different styles like heavy/thrash/power/death/progressive/psychedelic metal can be heard. Vocal-wise there is thrash, but also death metal style of singing, so really a lot of variety.
Visit their website: http://www.blackharmonia.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blackharmonia

74/100

BLACK HAWK – A Mighty Metal Axe (CD) Germany May 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 45:29 (Tracks: 12)
"A Mighty Metal Axe" is the fifth full length album of German Heavy-, Power Metal band BLACK HAWK that was released on October 25th 2013. In February of 2011 I reviewed the previous album "Straight To Hell" (2010) for MMM. That album was my first acquaintance with BLACK HAWK. Anyway, the band exists since 1981, and did have several line-up changes. Even on this new album "A Mighty Metal Axe" the line-up of the band is different than on "Straight To Hell". The current line-up of BLACK HAWK exists of Udo Bethke (vocals), Thorsten Bettge (guitar), Michael Wiekenberg (bass) and new members Günter Kruse (guitar) and Dan Schamschor (drums). "A Mighty Metal Axe" is the first BLACK HAWK album that has been released by Pure Underground Records (a division of Pure Steel Records). Just like "Straight To Hell" also this new album features 12 tracks. The band still reminds me of bands such as SAXON, ACCEPT, JUDAS PRIEST. But again, not all the songs on this fifth album are even strong. Well, I have to admit that the band has made a slight progression, but overall it still sounds very average to me. In my opinion the intro "Arise" (2:00) sounds very superfluous to me. The band also re-recorded the song "Burning Angels" for this album (the original version is on the "Dragonride" (2007) album). The least track for me is "Venom Of The Snake" (2:29), which is a pretty boring one. No, the songs which I like the most are the fantastic "The Fighter" (3:37), "Nightrider" (4:20), and "Heroes" (2:35). To me "A Mighty Metal Axe" is again, nothing more than just another average Metal album. I'm sure there will be a lot metalheads who will like this album of BLACK HAWK much more than I do, and I think especially German metalheads. By the way, I do like the album cover very much, that's a great one.
Visit their website: http://www.black-hawk-music.de
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blackhawkheavymetal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/blackhawkmetal

67/100

BLOOD RUNS DEEP – Into The Void (CD) Switzerland May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 66:42 (Tracks: 10)
Some albums really make you sad, extremely sad. Blood Runs Deep has made just such an album with their second album Into The Void. I bought this at their show with A Pale Horse Named Death in de Pul in Uden (The Netherlands) and according to the band members themselves I was the first ever to buy it. Result! Especially as I do like what I hear. It is mainly a combination of Type O Negative with some Tiamat and Mandylion-era The Gathering. Not a copy at all, but it shows where these youngsters have found their feet. If you really listen closely you get the feeling they are very tired of life, that they could end it all at any second, but let's hope they don't. Because there is no way around the truth: this is good. Very good, actually. The desolation in the music is so realistic it just gets to your head and heart. And the only reason you don't feel like ending your life is because the music on offer is so damn good it hurts. And however strange that may sound; that makes me happy.
Visit their website: http://www.bloodrunsdeep.net
Recordlabel: http://www.brethard.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bloodrunsdeep
MySpace: https://myspace.com/bloodrunsdeep1

84/100

BROTHER FIRETRIBE – Diamond in the Firepit (CD) Finland May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Scandirock Rock with poppy overtones Running time: 47:53 (Tracks: 12)
Brother Firetribe was founded in 2002, named after a translation-nickname of a famous Finnish tennisplayer. Brother Firetribe plays smooth melodic rock with class. The vocals are fantastic, the instrumentalists know what to to do, the songs are optimistic but also a bit cheesy, a bit formularic. The keyboards have also a prominent factor in the overall-sound of this band, their music seems to be a bit inaccessible, a bit out of place. Young Scandinavian melodic rockers and AOR- fans from the North of Europe often choose HEAT, Eclipse, WET, Work of Art as their favourites, not Brother Firetribe and their stylistic equivalents of Houston, Sunstrike and Vigelius from Sweden. I was very fond of the first album of the band " False Metal" later reissued as ' Break Out' . But the second one " Heart full of fire" had a a bit of a ' let down feeling' , it got mixed reviews as well. The third record, " Diamond in the firepit" their second for the Spinefarm Records' label, is a bit better, but it has the cheesy, ultra-positve-vibe, (too much) polished character again.
The music makes me think of a very commercial Honeymoon Suite, old school AOR (Fortune, Aviator, Sugarcreek, The Innocent, Touch), with various nods to eighties' Michael Bolton and ' sophisticated adult pop' like Phil Collins, Richard Marx and Chris Rea. The vocals are amazing and the instrumental ideas are just great. I think the keyboards are too prominently mixed to enrich the texture of the songs, it boosts the songs as well, but it takes away a lot of power and spontaneousness.. I don 't think there 's a bad track on this album.But the album lacks adventurous ideas, real emotions, ferocious guitars screaming in pain ( although the guitar work on this record is awesome) and out of the box- AOR. Many fans of the genre will recognize the song ' Tired of dreaming' . It was released by The Magnificent, but the boys of Brother Firetribe were the composers of this great track. They gave it a new glance and it's on this record as well ( although The Magnificent had a better, more powerful rendition of this song). Great stuff for the lovers of smooth AOR! !
Visit their website: http://www.brotherfiretribe.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spinefarmrecords.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brotherfiretribeofficial
MySpace:
https://www.myspace.com/brotherfiretribe

80/100

BRUTE FORCZ - Out For Blood (CD) USA May 2014 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 34:27 (Tracks: 10)
BRUTE FORCZ is a Los Angeles heavy metal band formed in 2010 by ex professional wrestlers Slammer and Jammer, who decided they wanted to make heavy metal music in the style of Motorhead, Judas Priest and Wasp. They recruited guitarist Will Wallner to complete the power trio, and began performing in Los Angeles opening for bands such as Wasp, LAGuns, Loudness, MSG, Y&T, Steel Panther and many more. Then they caught the attention of producers Bob Kulick and Brett Chassen, and recorded their debut album at Office Studios. The result is Out For Blood, straight forward heavy metal, with some nice guitarwork in there, but it tends to get a bit boring, because of the constant tempo beat, which is the same in all songs. The vocals do remind of Nasty Ronny, while the band could be compared to bands like The Rods, Piledriver, Thor, you know what I am talking about I guess. The music isn't too complex and the lyrics could be done by The Mentors, to give you an idea, some titles “Live for Speed”, “Sex Machine”, “Teenage Lover”, “Leather N Chains”, “Thrill Queen” or “Torture Chamber”. Just plain and simple heavy metal, nothing more, nothing less.
Visit their website: http://www.bruteforcz.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/beyondmortalityswe

68/100

CONQUEST OF STEEL – Of Fire & Steel (CD) United Kingdom May 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 42:25 (Tracks: 10)
In November of 2011 I reviewed the "Victorious In Defeat" EP of English Heavy Metal band CONQUEST OF STEEL. And so far I have seen the band once live, which was on February 25th of 2011, when they played together with GUN BARREL and LORD VOLTURE at the Little Devil, Tilburg, Holland (a MMM show). In my review I wrote that I couldn't remember much of the gig CONQUEST OF STEEL did that evening, and I ended my review with "Now I do know why I liked LORD VOLTURE the most on February 25th". Conclusion, CONQUEST OF STEEL didn't make that much impression on me. Now in front of me I have the newest album "Of Fire & Steel" to review for MMM. For more info about the band, see my review of the aforementioned "Victorious In Defeat" EP. "Of Fire & Steel" is the fourth full length album of CONQUEST OF STEEL and it features ten tracks. And also with this 4th album, the band can't impress me that much. Okay, CONQUEST OF STEEL exists of good musicians, but Dan Durrant is nothing more than just a reasonable singer. He's not that spectacular. And about the songs on this album, well, most of them are sounding to moderate to me. There are just a few songs which I like a bit. Also now the influences of a band like IRON MAIDEN are again audible. But according to the band's Facebook page, it seems the band will do their final gig at the 'KIN HELL FEST in the weekend of 2, 3 and 4 of May, 2014. So, after that final gig CONQUEST OF STEEL calls it's quits.
Visit their website: http://www.conquestofsteel.co.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/conquestofsteel
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/conquestofsteel

66/100

CORNERS OF SANCTUARY – Harlequin (CD) USA May 2014 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 61:40 (Tracks: 16)
Corners of Sanctuary is a newcomer out of Philadelphia, U.S.A. and in a period of two years the band has released three full length albums and three EPs! This is a productivity record unheard of! Harlequin is the band's second full length release and the only one I have ever encountered. It is a concept album in two acts but I have to say that I wasn't so impressed. The sound isn't that good, the drums sound annoying and the compositions aren't that special. I really respect the hard work that Corners of Sanctuary put in their releases and the guts it takes to write and record underground heavy metal music in the States during these hard times. But I am looking forward to hearing greater things from them.
Visit their website: http://www.cornersofsanctuary.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cornersofsanctuary
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cornersofsanctuary

67/100

DAWN OF DESTINY – F.E.A.R. (CD) Germany May 2014 Frans Neelen
Style: Power Metal Running time: 63:59 (Tracks: 13)
Dawn of Destiny's new album F.E.A.R. is a killer album! Now that said I'll quote what I had to tell about their former 2012 album Praying for the World. ….. “The mentioned openers, 'Promised Land” and the monster “Beast Human” are by far the best ones for me. To make a comparison with another band that delivers fine releases but just not good enough to make the breakthrough I think of Edenbridge; they just keep on hanging in the wide range of average, ready to drown in the overflooded offer in Power Metal. Very pity because “Beast Human” proves they have much more capabilities. If you live your live up to the more happy variant of Power Metal then you can easily count 10 points extra and you won't be disappointed. For me it's too brave and average but I cling onto the good ones and hope the next one will reboot my Metal Heart”. Now you can forget this 2012 liner because this album really reboots my metal heart. This is a stunning album and it's almost as if this is another band. The progress in vocals and music is almost unbelievable. But yes, it is the same band.
This concept album F.E.A.R. which stands for Forgotten, Enslaved, Admired, Released, is a tragic and dramatic story of a young girl (Eve) who sits in a wheelchair by a car accident caused by her own mother. Finally she finds respect and love but after that moment of joy she's confronted with the fact that her love (Ben) is terminally ill and will die before her. If this doesn't make your eyes wet the musical performance of the story certainly will. The passion and emotion in the, mostly dialogue, vocals really drips of the album. Vocally the album has 4 persons present who play the leading roles, Eve by own female vocalist Jeannette Scherff, Ben by bandbrain and songwriter Jens Faber who both deliver a splendid job, both showing huge vocal progress. For the two other, minor vocal parts they come up with all-rounder Mats Levén as Father in the splendid heavy epic opener “And With Silence Comes the Fear” who's always a guarantee for a fine vocal contribution and no one less but Jon Oliva as Torturer in the best track Savatage didn't wrote “No Hope For The Healing”. Man, what a track that is. It could easily fit on one of the later Savatage albums like “Poets and Madman”. I never heard him sound so inspired and powerful since then and suddenly right her, right now he's back with his vivid, grinny voice. The album is divided in the already mentioned 4 pieces Forgotten, Enslaved, Admired, Released and musically this perfectly reflects the 4 moods the protagonist deals with. Personally I'm very fond of the first two pieces presenting the more dark and heavy side of the album with awesome killer tracks like “Waiting for a Sign”, “My Memories”, Innocence Killed” and the suburb “End This Nightmare”, And With Silence Comes The Fear” and “No Hope For The Healing”. But also the more clean powermetallers “Rising Angel” and “Finally” as the emotional tearjerker's “One Last Time” and “Dying In your Arms” are more than worth listening to. It's a splendid album which represents all you desire in metal; energy, emotion, variety, power, heavy axe work, pounding drums, catchy rhythms, awesome vocals and above all passion. The prestigious textual concept is worked out wonder well in a perfectly balanced emotional rock opera which will make you cry in beauty. Damn great album for everyone who's into music. Recommended highly and for now my album of 2014. A big thumbs up for this awesome record by a band who sets a high standard in this genre.
Visit their website: http://www.dawnofdestiny.de
Recordlabel: http://www.phonotraxx.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dawnofdestiny
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dawnofdestiny

95/100

EARUPT – Belief Relief (CD) Belgium May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Groove Metal Running time: 61:19 (Tracks: 14)
Don't be fooled by the lovely intro of Freakshow, that starts off with excerpts of Swan Lake. Wait for the noise to Earupt, and you'll hear the dirty sounding guitars, the clean and pleasant voice, the pounding bass and the functional drums. All together it makes for a nice flow of Roots era Sepultura sounding groove metal, with hints of Fear Factory, Foo Fighters, QOTSA and even Machine Head. Especially when they up the tempo it all starts to make sense, as this is extremely enjoyable. My head just can't stop nodding while I'm trying to type this review, that's how contagious this is. Maybe this isn't your groundbreaking life changing discovery, but it sure as hell is one bloody good album to listen to when you've just had a shitty day. Earupt will brighten your day up to no end, and Belief Relief will make you sing along to the songs. You might now think that this is an easy listening record, but that's not at all true, as the breaks, twists and turns Earupt take will demand your attention. But they are so in keep with the music, that it comes naturally. Belief Relief does its name justice.
Visit their website: http://earupt.blogspot.nl
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/earupt
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/earupt

84/100

ELEGY OF MADNESS – Brave Dreams (CD) Italy May 2014 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic / Symphonic Metal Running time: 54:35 (Tracks: 11)
Italy's Elegy of Madness second album Brave Dreams is a bit tough one to review. In the Symphonic/Gothic musical style it's a must to come up with a descent production and mix with clear, alternate vocals. These things aren't present enough on this album. Musically it certainly isn't bad and they clearly try hard to come up with original breaks and interludes but it simply doesn't grab me by the balls. With a production and mix with more balls this product should sound definitely more powerful. The vocals of Anja are constantly in the high regions and sound flat and uninspired. Don't get me wrong, she can sing, but after a few songs I want to hear more variation or otherwise at least some “bite”. So musically it isn't bad and the album has it's moments in opener “Suad” and the fine epic “The Spirit of the Sacred Willow” but in the over flooded sea of releases in this genre this one is damned to go under. Nice to listen to once but not good enough to earn a place between the more average ones in the genre. Next time a better production and not only using the high vocals will led to a fine record. Let's hope for them they will succeed in that.
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/elegyofmadness
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/elegyofmadenessband

60/100

ENDLESS VOID – Stars In The Sky (CDemo) USA May 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Doom Metal Running time: 4:52 (Tracks: 1)
In December of 2012 I reviewed the CDemo "Apparitions" of ENDLESS VOID, which is a one man project of James Owen. At that time, while I was listening to that "Apparitions" demo, ENDLESS VOID reminded me of the early BLACK SABBATH, PENTAGRAM and WITCHFINDER GENERAL. In that review I also wrote that I could listen to the four tracks on that demo, but if I had to choose, well, then I'd rather listen to the classic albums of BLACK SABBATH or to WITCHFINDER GENERAL, TROUBLE and PENTAGRAM. Well, James Owen had send a CD with just one song to MMM, and of course I got it again to review. Actually, musically there hasn't changed a thing. The song where it's all about is titled "Stars In The Sky", and it's still in the BLACK SABBATH, PENTAGRAM vein. And it reminds me also a bit of CASTLE. Again, it sounds nice, but with that all's said. And my question is, why did he send just one song? Didn't he have enough songs to complete a full Demo CD? And why doesn't James Owen have a website or Facebook-page of his project?????????? And another question is, is ENDLESS VOID still a project or has it become a complete band with other musicians??? Well, we'll never know!
Visit their website: None
Recordlabel: None
Facebook: None

55/100

GUT-SCRAPERS – Gimme Your Soul (CD) France May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 43:46 (Tracks: 10)
Lemmy is one of a kind. Nobody will dispute that. And if you have a similar voice, you could make it into an asset for your music. Unfortunately the Gut-Scrapers have a cheap version of the man himself, lacking the power and persuasion the real deal has in spades. If you then top that with run of the mill hard rocking songs, you'll understand why Gimme Your Soul isn't scoring high. If the voice had been clean and clear, this might have sounded quite spectacular, but now it just is below mediocre. And that's a pity, as the music does offer enough strongholds to make the songs stand out. Unfortunately the Gut-Scrapers have honoured their name. Maybe next time they'll scratch just that bit more than the surface. Sorry.
Visit their website: http://www.gutscrapers.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gutscrapers
MySpace: https://myspace.com/gutscrapers

64/100

HEART – Fanatic Live at Caesar's Colosseum (CD) USA May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 1:10:25 (Tracks: 14)
Heart is one the most commercially enduring hard rock bands in America. Selling over 35 million records worldwide, making 20 Top 40 charthits, 7 Top 10 albums and receiving 4 Grammy nominations, we're talking about a rock band with history and class. Heart achieved Top 10 albums on the Billboard charts in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2010s, with chart singles in each decade. This span of over four decades gives them the longest span of Top 10 albums by a female fronted band. The heydays of the band (lasting from 1975- 1978 and between 1985 - 1992) are over, but Heart is still making very good rock music with that typical folky twist, also found in many Led Zeppelin tracks. The frontladies of the band, Nancy and Ann Wilson, aged 60 and 63, are still loud and proud making fantastic music. This new live CD / DVD, released on Frontiers Records Italy, is a 2012 live recording from Windsor, Ontario in the homeland of the Wilson sisters. What can I say about this live opus? It's the fourth live album of Heart, but the last one before this album was released more than ten years ago. The band plays songs from all decades, but recent albums like 'Jupiter's darling ' and 'Red velvet car' are not represented by some songs, too bad. The classic Heart anthems make this live album a fair purchase, the band plays great renditions of the seventies'hits (Barracuda, Dogs and butterflies, Straight on, Crazy on you) and from their commercial peak period you'll get top songs like “Alone”, “What about love”and “These dreams”. The band is tight and the vocals are very good. Ann Wilson is still an amazing singer, although you can hear her struggling with the vocal lines on the first verse of “Alone”. Great record. I didn't see the images of this concert, too bad, but this is a fine live release from the Italian melodic rockteam of Serafino Perugiano.
Visit their website: http://www.heart-music.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heart
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/heart

80/100

HEAT – Tearing Down the Walls (CD) Sweden May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 45:03 (Tracks: 12)
Swedish rockers HEAT from Upplands Väsby started in 2007 and their debut album on Storvox was a smasher immediately. The band toured with Toto in Scandinavia and Alice Cooper in Sweden. I saw the band opening for Treat and The Poodles in Belgium and was quite impressed by their melodic hard rock with accessible choruses, nice crunchy guitars and the great vocals of London inhabitant Kenny Leckremo.The band got rave reviews and a song ' 1000 miles' just missed the Swedish nomination for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009. The mighty Sony label picked up the band for their second album" Freedom Road" and the band toured intensively with Edguy on the European continent. But shortly after that dark clouds entered the future of the Swedish rockers. Singer Kenny left the band and the composition mainframe of the band, guitarist Dave Lalonde, left the band also through musical differences.
A new singer was found in Erik Grondwall, Swedish Idol winner in 2009, having two solo albums and nine Swedish chartsongs out already. " Address the nation" was the result of their first collaboration and it was a fine record, getting good and fair reviews on the melodic rockfront. Their new album " Tearing down the walls" is probably the melodic rock killer album of this year, what a " balls to the wall" package of songs! Erik's vocal lines are haunted, fresh and powerful, the guitars of Eric Rivers shine like the sun on this album, also the arrangments on keys by Jona Tee are wonderful. The thick rhythm section of Jimmy Jay and Crash is heavy and pounding on each track. HEAT is heavy on the cliché side, but the beginning and the mid-section of the album is filled with the finest melodic Scandi-rock you can find nowadays. The end of " Tearing down the walls" is somewhat weaker than the rest, but the difference in quality is minimalistic. Great album by these Swedes! Check out this act on stage in Europe!
Visit their website: http://www.heatsweden.com
Recordlabel: http://www.ear-music.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heatsweden
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/heatsweden

88/100

HELSTAR – This Wicked Nest (CD) USA May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 51:32 (Tracks: 9)
I've loved Helstar since their early demo days. They mattered, and they were real. And they had their distinctive sound, not least of all because of singer James Rivera (then known as Bill Lionel). The first three albums still rank as pure classics. So how are they some 30 years later? Well, at least a little faster. But for the rest it seems not much has changed. Most of the old guard are still there, except for drummer Mikey Lewis, who is now serving his second stint since 2011. That does suggest that this band knows what they're doing, and the songs on This Wicked Nest easily confirm that. This is how Helstar always have sounded and always should be. So if that's something that's up your alley, you can buy this album blindfolded. Because the quality of the songs is constant and of a good standard. Not any song stands out in comparison to the others. Neither positively nor negatively. That is the only criticism I can think of; it's all to similar. If that is a bad thing, is up to you.
Visit their website: http://www.helstar.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helstar.metal
MySpace: https://myspace.com/helstar

76/100

HIRAX – Immortal Legacy (CD) USA May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 38:10 (Tracks: 12)
Hirax has always been one of those thrash metal bands that grab you or don't move you at all. As for me, unfortunately I am with the latter. Does that mean I don't like them? Hell no, they were always good to listen to and see live. They just never blew me away. Something's that's not going to change with Immortal Legacy. This is good, solid thrash with a screamer that also has a good singing voice. Katon W De Pena always has been an still is the man, and that is quite evident when listening to Hirax. But again, the quality of the songs just doesn't do it for me. Especially with the large influx of good thrash bands and albums in the latest few years in mind, Hirax is lagging behind. They just can't match what bands like Death Angel, Exodus and youngsters like Evile, Warbringer and many others do. At least, I think so. Pity.
Visit their website: http://www.blackdevilrecords.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katon.hirax
MySpace:: https://myspace.com/hirax

71/100

HOLY CROSS – Place Your Bets (CD) France May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 43:30 (Tracks: 9)
After hearing Place Your Bets i'm quite anxious to hear Holy Cross debut Under The Flag. Why? Because this is first class heavy metal. And before the haters start: no, I agree, you won't hear anything new or earth-shattering. You'll just hear good old fashioned heavy metal with more than just flashes of Megadeth imbedded in the way the riffs and breaks are put together. Just listen to the title track, those riffs could have just as easy have come out of Dave Mustaine's brain. The only thing that is wrecking my own brain is whether Place Your Bets is too short, just good or too long. I feel for the middle option, as I feel that Holy Cross has put everything together in such a way that your attention is held the whole time. That's quite an achievement. And just to reassure: this is not speed or thrash, this is pure heavy metal. From France. And I love it!
Visit their website: http://www.holycrossmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: https://myspace.com/holycrossmetal

81/100

HOLY MOSES – Redefined Mayhem (CD) Germany May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 46:14 (Tracks: 13)
This band is classic. Holy Moses was the first to go this hard and fast and have a woman on the microphone. Sabina Classen was one of a kind back then, and judging by what is to be found on Redefined Mayhem, still has what is needed. Add to that the class of the songs, that have a flow that would be called smooth if the musicians wouldn't have thrashed their socks of all the time. The drums sound majestic, the guitars clear but ferocious, the bass is making my guts tremble and Sabine is cutting through my bones with a blunt knife. The speed ranges from middle speed to furious, but never so that the melody is lost or forgotten. And that's where the Redefined Mayhem makes a difference; it has all the elements of metal, combined in a good thrashing way. Holy Moses, this is great!!
Visit their website: http://www.holymoses.net
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/official.holy.moses
MySpace: https://myspace.com/holymosesgermany

84/100

HORACLE – A Wicked Procession (MCD) Belgium May 2014 Mario van Dooren
Style: Heavy / Power / Speed Metal Running time: 29:52 (Tracks: 5)
Horacle was born in the mind of L.Sabathan (ex-Enthroned) in the late 90's to finally come true in 2007, when he and David D.C realised they shared the same kind of musical interest, being heavy/speed metal. They soon decided to join their efforts together and write material in that vein sometimes around October 2007. From then, they spent most of their time searching to complete the line-up, auditioning plenty of musicians. In 2009 Laurent B. joined the band as a singer, and at almost the same time, Greg War on the drums and Dyno "Cousin Itt" (Lord Dinendhor from the Belgian Black/Death Metal band OIDHEHE BAALTINNE) on the 6 string.
Later on HORACLE decided to part ways with Laurent B. due to a lack of singing ability. After many researches, Terry Fire came to an audition in November 2010, really impressing the band, wich he joined straight on. So the HORACLE's line-up was finaly complete and it was time for the band to return to the Blackout Multimedia Studio in Bussels in February 2011, to finally layer down the vocals and achieve the first EP, previously started a year before.
Horacle is a Heavy/Speed Metal band influenced by such bands as all the New Wave of British Heavy Metal as well as the early days of Speed/Power Metal bands such as early Helloween, early Blind guardian, Abbatoir, Liege Lord and many more...
This was my first acquaintance and damn; it's a good one!! This is indeed, as their bio already says, a mix of NWOBHM and more US- Powermetal. Need to get this band to The Netherlands soon! Well done guys!! Check them out! Especially the bonus song is showing the bands capacities! Awesome !!!
Recordlabel: http://www.dyingvictims.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/horacleofficial

80/100

HOUSE OF LORDS – Precious Metal (CD) USA May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 52:16 (Tracks: 12)
House of Lords was formed in 1987 by former Angel member and keyboardist Gregg Giuffria after his solo project Giuffria. After listening to demos - originally intended for Giuffria's third record - a record deal with Gene Simmons' company Simmons Record was agreed upon, on Simmon's condition that the band's name be changed (to House of Lords) and a new lead singer recruited. James Christian replaced David Glen Eisley, after Christian was suggested by ex-Giuffria and Quiet Riot bassist Chuck Wright after having worked together in L.A. Rocks. House of Lords' eponymous debut album was a killer and tours with The Scorpions and Cheap Trick followed Their next effort was 1990's Sahara and featured a list of guest musicians. Other notable contributions to the album came from Doug Aldrich, Rick Nielsen, Chris Impellitteri, Mandy Meyer, David Glen Eisley, Robin Zander, Mike Tramp, Steve Plunkett and Ron Keel. The album had a small hit single and charted in the US as well.
The third one, Demons Down, had class as well, but it didn't make the breakthrough for this band and House of Lords split in 1993. Eleven years later a comeback release was thrown at the world audience by Frontiers Records Italy. More records followed with (almost) the same line-up and the same quality: Pompeous structures, good songs with a solid backbone, musical virtuoso playing, great choruses, beautiful vocals and and an enthousiastic recording sound. I was very fond of House of Lords' last episodes “Cartesian Dreams”and “Big Money”. “Precious Metal” is their nineth studio album and the recipe hasn't changed dramatically. There is a slightly come back of the classic sound in many songs, but the standards are very high again. James Christian sings like a God, the rhythm section is moody, groovy and very, very solid ( just listen to BJ Zampa's drums!) and Jimi Bell tortures his strings in every song. House of Lords' musical legacy shines through in tracks such as the opening “Battle” or “Action,” powerful guitar-oriented tracks with quintessentially killer choruses and certain flavor of catchiness to them. The band gravitates towards AOR in “Live Every Day (Like It's The Last)” (enriched with great soloing from Jimi Bell again) or more dynamic “I'm Breakin' Free” and flirts with more contemporary sound in “Raw.” There are slightly weaker moments, such as the synthesizer-driven “Enemy Mine”. And as for the obligatory ballads, there is a place for them as well – “Turn Back The Tide” and the eponymous “Precious Metal” are the showcase for James Christian's stunning vocal performances. Great record, great stuff!
Visit their website: http://www.jameschristianmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/houseoflordsofficial
MySpace: https://myspace.com/houseoflordsfans/music

84/100

INSAIN – Enlightening the Unknown (MCD) France May 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Brutal Death Metal Running time: 25:00 (Tracks: 7)
Insain from France bring you brutal death metal since 2007 till now (2014). After releasing a demo in 2007 and their debut “Spiritual Rebirth” released in 2010 they bring you a new EP that is released this year “Enlightening the Unknown”. This is also there last recording because their status changed to Split-up. Seven tracks of furious and ravenous brutality. The album kicks of with an dark intro and the chaos begins. Fast and technical riffs that are filled with solos and weird dissonant riffs. The drums are very fast and filled with blast beats and constant double bass war. The vocals are brutal and deep grunts combined with light grunts and screams. The production of this album is also massive and brutal. The only thing that I personally miss is a bit more resting points in the music because it is a constant fastness and that makes it a bit boring in my opinion. But this album kicks ass from the beginning to the end if you are into brutal death metal, it is a pity that this band has thrown in the towel.
Visit their website: https://soundcloud.com/insain_official
Recordlabel: http://www.kaotoxin.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/insaindeath
MySpace: https://myspace.com/hordeinsain

75/100

JACKAL – Cry Of The Jackal (CD) The Netherlands May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 51:11 (Tracks: 11)
If you were around the heavy metal scene in the Netherlands in the late eighties you might just have come across this bunch. I must admit I didn't. Maybe because at the time I was living in the UK. But the real question is; did I miss anything? Well, according to the music on Cry Of The Jackal I'm inclined to say yes! This was first released as a six song EP in 1989, and those songs put together make for some pleasant old fashioned listening. It is typically Dutch for that era, but is that bad? No way, as it means that there was a distinctive Dutch sound in the eighties. This has that oldy worldy feel that you'd expect. Cry Of The Jackal ranges from midtempo to quite fast paced songs, but always within reason. It ensures that you can hear everything that everyone is playing, and that is never a bad thing. But, as a straight forward rerelease is never enough nowadays, they've decided to add both tracks from their 1987 demo and three of the five songs (why not all?) of their 1991 The Secret Inside demo. The musicianship of Jackal is not to be questioned, as they all know what they're doing. My only regret is that they haven't improved the sound on the album as much as I'd hoped. The production is good, clear and transparent, but could have done with a bit more of a punch, emphasising the heaviness of the songs. Maybe this was as good as they could get it, but in any case, it doesn't take away the feeling that I really did miss quite a good band when Jackal were around. Thankfully they are together again, so I do get a second chance.
Visit their website: http://www.jackalmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackalonline
MySpace: https://myspace.com/therealjackal

78/100

JAVELIN – Fragments Of The Inner Shadow (CD) Germany May 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Progressive / Power Metal Running time: 60:28 (Tracks: 13)
Well, this German Prog/Power Metal band JAVELIN was formed way back in 1982. And believe it or not, their first release was fifteen years later, when the band released their first EP "Seasons Of Grey" in 1997. And yes, twelve years later, 2009, the band's second EP "Dark Broken Land" was released. Both EP's were released by the band themselves. In October of 2013 the band eventually released their full length debut album "Fragments Of The Inner Shadow" on Pure Underground Records. Personally I am not familiar with the two above mentioned EP's, so "Fragments Of The Inner Shadow" is my first acquaintance with JAVELIN, and this band really surprised me with this album. This is high quality stuff, with awesome high vocals, great songwriting and excellent musicianship. JAVELIN exists of the following members: Carsten Hille (vocals), Andreas Waldow (guitars), Carsten Maiwald (guitar), Volker Scholz (bass) and Sascha Sauer (drums). The last two tracks of the album are re-recorded versions of the title tracks of the two previous released EP's. I like this album very much, and I'm sure that "Fragments Of The Inner Shadow" will make a lot more spins in my CD-player after this review. I can't say that there's any weak song on this album. Songs like "The Arrival" (3:47), "The Cenotaph" (4:46), "Birth Of A Plague" (4:59), the semi-ballad "Healing" (6:14), "Now, That I Know" (4:00) and "Dark Broken Land" (5:09) are a real pleasure to listen to. In fact, this is just an excellent debut album. Well, the band has in Carsten Hille a real good singer with an awesome voice. He's in fact a mixture of singers such as Michael Kiske, Bruce Dickinson and Geoff Tate. Anyway, this album is a real recommendation to anyone who likes bands such as IRON MAIDEN, HELLOWEEN, ICED EARTH and QUEENSRYCHE. To me, this album "Fragments Of The Inner Shadow" of JAVELIN is absolutely one of the better albums released by Pure Steel Records, that I have reviewed for MMM. Hopefully it won't take another couple of years before the band will release it's second album. By the way, JAVELIN is playing, together with CAGE, SPLIT HEAVEN and POWERIZED, on 18th of June, 2014 in the Little Devil in Tilburg, Holland. Of course presented by MMM. And I'm looking forward to see them live in the Little Devil.
Visit their website: http://www.javelin-metal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/javelinmetal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/javelinmetal

83/100

LAST FEAR – Incidents (CD) The Netherlands May 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Technical Death Metal Running time: 38:54 (Tracks: 9)
Last Fear from the Netherlands is active since 1996 and released and EP in 2000 and a demo in 2003 and 2009. This is their debut “Incidents” released in 2013 and it sounds really good. I am trying to remember if I saw them live in my hometown Tilburg once but I cannot remember that haha (too much alcohol in those days). There new album contains 9 tracks of well executed technical old school death metal. The guitar riffs are very heavy and sometimes their power cords reminds me of Six Feet Under. The riffs are also very technical and filled with solos. The drums are blasts combined with op tempo double bass that sound grooving and technical. The vocals are deep grunts (performed by a lady!) that bring you right back to the nineties. Think of bands Resurrection (US) combined with Grave. The composing and variety of the songs are also very good. Every song keeps you interested. The production is also straight in your face. This is a band that we can call old school and have been around for a while but is still unsigned and that surprises me because this album kicks ass and deserve the attention of a label!
Visit their website: http://www.lastfear.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lastfear.band
MySpace: https://myspace.com/lastfear

78/100

LECHER - Werewolf (CDemo) Brazil May 2014 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 24:27 (Tracks: 4)
Brazilian heavy metallers LECHER have put out their first recordings in the form of this demo 4 track cd. It's actually already recorded in 2011, and with a nice old school cover, expectations grew. LECHER plays more traditional heavy metal, in the veins of Iron Maiden and such, maybe musically even a bit on the progressive side, but when the vocals set in, something happens. The vocals are more done in a dark and screamy black metal way, which you expect more to be done by a Scandinavian black metal band. Not that it sounds bad, not at all, but different, maybe it just needs getting used to. Production sounds really ok for a demo, and musically it's very interesting, well just the combination with this kind of vocals sounds a bit strange, or different if you will. Well, let's see what the future will bring, and which way they go with their music.
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/strykemanaglecher

68/100

LEGIONS OF WAR – Forced to the Ground (CD) Sweden May 2014 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 40:54 (Tracks: 9)
Legions of War (LoF) comes from Sweden and was founded in 2002. After the release of some demo's (Proclamation of war (2005), In the snipers eye (2007), Mission to kill (2008)), the band released in 2009 their first full length album, called Towards death. The titles of the different albums reveal immediately the central theme of the band: War(fare). This becomes also clear when you see the ominous names of the band members; Hellwind (lead vocals and bass guitar), Zyklon (lead vocals and guitar), Widowreaper (lead guitar) and C.Stalinorgel (drums).
It took 4 years to release this new album, Forced to the ground, although in 2011 a single appeared (Riding with the blitz). The music on the album is heavy stuff. It starts immediately when you hear the opener (Through the barricades; do not think this is a cover from Spandau Ballet….) and it ends with Nights of Revenge. Only during Remains of war, the intensity has been downscaled a bit. It is mainly trash with some black and death metal influences what Legions of War fires on the world. The music has been played mostly aggressive and intensive, exactly as you might expect when you choose war as central theme. A point of criticism is that the voice of the vocalist mostly sounds the same, which song you take. That's quite a pity because musically, the band tries to alternate and that is praiseworthy.
I think that the band will have a lot of success when they will play their new album live. I think it`s aggressive style will be liked by the fans. I only hope that the successor of Forced to the ground will sound a little bit less tedious. (mainly vocals)
Visit their website: http://www.legionsofwar.se
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
Facebook: https://sv-se.facebook.com/pages/legions-of-war
MySpace: https://myspace.com/theworldoflegionsofwar

70/100

MAGNUM – Escape from the Shadow Garden (CD) United Kingdom May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Progrock with AOR overtones Running time: 1:02:41 (Tracks: 11)
The Birmingham based symphonic rockers of Magum deserve a statue. The band started in 1972 and in the decdes after that they have released a lot of good albums. And from the revamped restart in 2002, the band grows with each album again. Their 2012 album ' On the 13th day' was a great record, combining proggy and symphonic guestures (by Marc Stanway on keyboards and pianos) with fierce riffs, huge hooks and evocative, emotional vocals by Bob Catley. The new album ' Escape from the shadow garden' is their 19th studio album and this new opus starts heavy, the band opens firing on all six. I was glad hearing original guitarist Tony Clarkin torturing his six string sting again. And there are more heavy tracks on this album:” Falling for the big plan, The art of compromise, Crying in the rain, Too many clowns and Burning river”. Also the ballad ' The Valley of Tears ' is a great ballad featuring the musicians' qualities and great, deep, vocal lines. The rest of the songs are a bit moody, filled with formulaic orchestration, too little crunchy adventurous guitars and a bit lack of real exciting compositions.
This is a great album by Magnum, the album has no standout-track, but the quality is high enough to please the fans, the listerners of melodic progrock and symphonic rock again. The artwork of this new album is done by Rodney Matthews, bringing back memories of their past albums. Magnum will tour in Europe with their stylistic fellowmen of Saga. Check them out.
Visit their website: http://www.magnumonline.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/magnum
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/magnumuk

80/100

MASSIVE – Full Throttle (CD) Australia May 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 47:01 (Tracks: 11)
"Full Throttle" is the debut album of Australian new Hard Rock band MASSIVE, which will be released worldwide in on Earache Records. The band exists of Brad Marr (vocals, guitar), Ben Laguda (lead guitar, backing vocals), Aidan McGarrigle (bass, backing vocals) and Jarrod Medwin (drums, backing vocals). Wow, and what an excellent debut album "Full Throttle" is. I already liked it with the first listen. "Full Throttle" features eleven tracks, which to me are all sounding great. This debut album ROCKS 100%, and with it's catchy songs it's a very addictive one. So, "Full Throttle" will absolutely make a lot more spins in my CD-player, that's for sure. Musically MASSIVE reminds me very much of BUCKCHERRY. Even the great vocals of Brad Marr are sounding like BUCKCHERRY's Josh Todd to me. The third track, "Bring Down The City" has some LED ZEPPELIN influences in it. Track 8, "Ghost" (6:01), is the beautiful semi-ballad on this album. Although I like the entire album very much, my favorite tracks are "Burn The Sun" (4:33), "Hollywood" (3:09), the aforementioned "Bring Down The City" (4:02), "One By One" (3:56), "Big Trend Setter" (3:53), "Dancefloor" (3:17), "Now Or Never" (3:57) and the title track "Full Throttle" (3:51). Well, if you like bands such as BUCKCHERRY, THE ANSWER, RIVAL SONS et cetera, then you will like MASSIVE as well. To me, "Full Throttle" is absolutely the album of the month. Superb album and a real recommendation.
Visit their website: http://www.massiveoz.com
Recordlabel: http://www.earache.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/massiveoz

87/100

MAYFAIR – Schlage Mein Herz, Schlage .. (CD) Austria May 2014 Frans Neelen
Style: Rock / Prog Running time: 40:37 (Tracks: 10)
Mayfair comes from Austria and bring out a new album after 15 years. Nothing really changed according to their former 1998 album “Fastest Trip to Cybertown”. Their label categorizes them under Prog Metal but for me it's more just Rock with a raw edge. Certainly, musically it has it's influences but hey, who minds, it's about the music. And the music listens away pretty easy. The title track opens in German language and comes a bit slow to start. Follow up “Firestorm” (in English) opens smooth and soft but unfortunately has a weird slow down peace in the middle. The band it's at their best in up tempo stuff like “Drei Jahre Zuruck” and “Abend_rno” which are damn fine tracks and kick ass. Also the doomy “Bitter or Sweet” stands out and shows a surprisingly other side of the band. The alternation in singing songs in German and English suits them both but the in German it sounds just a little better. Nevertheless a typical album for easy car listening with the mentioned tracks as outstanding ones.
Visit their website: http://www.mayfairbrigade.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-reords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mayfair.reunion

67/100

MEKONG DELTA – In A Mirror Darkly (CD) Germany May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Progressive Thrash Metal Running time: 45:52 (Tracks: 7)
This is still a strange bunch. In the beginning the line up of Mekong Delta was a riddle. And everybody wanted to know who they were, because they were so bloody good. Even though you know who's in the band now, that is something that still is in the back of the mind; are they really who they say they are. On to In A Mirror Darkly there is only one conclusion to be made; Mekong Delta are back with a bang. Since they returned from exile in 2005, they have released albums every few years. And like always it is an adventure that these guys take you on. It's a pleasurable one at that, because it does seem like Mekong Delta has mellowed a bit during the years. It's not all as erratic as it used to be, there is a bit more flow to the music. And of course the classical influences are still there to be displayed on a regular basis, especially on opener Ouverture. So if you're u for a good ride, hop aling and let yourself be driven In A Mirror Darkly.
Visit their website: http://www.mekongdelta.eu
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/mekong-delta
MySpace: https://myspace.com/mekongdeltaband

79/100

MIRACLE MASTER – Tattooed Woman (CD) Germany / Denmark May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 42:20 (Tracks: 11)
Very mainstream, this Miracle Master. Constructed from the remains of Pump and with the addition of vocalist Oliver Weers, these guys have made an album that will attract early Bon Jovi aficionados and such. Tattooed Woman swings to no end, and starts off with the catchiest songs on the album. But they also know how to rock. Just listen to the heaviness of Stay With Me, which could have easily been a John Sykes song. And of course the title track is one to bang your head to constantly. And although this does rock musically, it's the too high in the mix voice and lyrics that will make you think of the more commercial bands in the rock genre. They are just too simple, taking the sting out of the music. Best example is Why Religion, with one of the heaviest riffs on the album. Until the singing starts, and it becomes an average run of mill song. Once they keep quiet, the impressive heaviness is back. That ruins the feel. At least for me, but if you're an AOR or pure melodic rock lover it might be right up your street.
Visit their website: http://www.miracle-master.com
Recordlabel: http://www.zyx.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miraclemasterband

75/100

MISCONDUCTERS – Hypnopaedia (CD) Brazil May 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Punk / Crossover Running time: 30:50 (Tracks: 9)
MISCONDUCTERS is a Punk/Crossover band, which was formed in 2008 by Den (vocals, guitar) and started as a trio in England, where Den lived for almost 10 years. This guy recently went back to live in Brazil. So far MISCONDUCTERS have released the following products: the EP "You're Asking For It…" (2008), the EP "Braindead" (2009), the EP "New Blood" (2010), the album "It's All Yours" (2010) and the EP "Reset" (2012). All these EP's and the band's debut album, where recorded in England. When MISCONDUCTERS lived in England, they shared stages with punk legends such as DISCHARGE, ENGLISH DOGS, BROKEN BONES, DISORDER among others of different genres. Anyway, "Hypnopaedia" is the band's second full length album, and was recorded in August of 2013 by Den (vocals, guitar, bass) and Vitao (drums), and is released by the band themselves in February 2014. In the meantime the line-up of MISCONDUCTERS exits of Den (vocals, guitar), Melillo (bass) and Vitao (drums). "Hypnopaedia" features 9 tracks, of which one is an instrumental track, "Vermifuge" (3:09). The album opens very strongly with "Unleash" (3:27), which reminded me a bit of BULLET LAVOLTA. Also the next songs "Control Evasion" (2:31) and "Harmonize" (2:57) are great Punk songs. Also the production of the album sounds okay. Well, I wasn't familiar with MISCONDUCTERS, but I have to say that this second album is a nice acquaintance with the band. With a running time of 5:18, "Passive" is the longest track of the album. It's a nice song, but it doesn't belong to my favorites. Nevertheless, "Hypnopaedia" is a good album. My favorites are without a doubt "Unleash", "Control Evasion", "Harmonize", "Kingdom" (3:30) and "Oblivion To Chaos" (4:07), which musically reminds me a bit of BAD RELIGION. Well done guys.
Visit their website: http://www.misconducters.com

74/100

NICK HELLFORT – The Mask Within (CD) Germany May 2014 Mario van Dooren
Style: Prog / Power Metal Running time: 58:46 (Tracks: 11)
NICK HELLFORT is a band formed and led by TOKYO BLADE and DOMAIN-Singer Nicolaj Ruhnow. Nick Hellfort plays Powermetal with influences from 70's Prog- Rock-Era without excluding modernism.
Those who know Nicolaj as a singer will agree with me that this guy has a remarkable clean voice which is not easy to compare with other singers. He sounds a bit like a mix of Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) and James Rivera (Helstar) but as said with a more prog touch in his voice. Personally I had to listen to this great album at least 15 times and every time it was getting better and better. Its not an easy listening album with an overdose of sing-a-long songs. Nicolaj did not play safe on this record and took a big risk to write such complex songs.
I booked his other band Tokyo Blade a few years ago and he already impressed me with his voice that time. Lately I also booked the band Nick Hellfort as support of Blaze Bayley and believe me (its not that difficult;-), he gave Blaze Bayley singing lessons hahahaha.
Really love this awesome album! If youre into the Tokyo Blade stuff; don't expect this kind of music on Nick Hellfort's debut album. This I more stuff for progrockers and fans of melodic metal. Also great musicianship from the other bandmembers!!! Well done guys!!! My favorite song on the album is “For all Time”!!! Woowww!!
Website: http://www.hellfort.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nickhellfort

88/100

ON FIRE – Old World Blues (CD) The Netherlands May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Hardcore Running time: 28:54 (Tracks: 8)
On Fire have been around for quite a long time. 18 years, to be exact. And it shows when you listen to them. They know what they're doing, from beginning to end. Two guys singing the lyrics prevents them from becoming to lame or slow, as those two know how to push each other to the limits. Musically there is a whole lot of NY style hardcore, punching you in the face as often as possible. And you will hear some metal on Old World Blues as well, with a few solos and riffs having a little Maiden connection. Not as much as on their former releases, but nevertheless. I got the vinyl album, and was quite surprised to find the cd and a bandcamp.com download code in there as well. If that isn't getting your money's worth than I don't know what is. As for the quality, it is more than average, it is good. Every note hits the mark, every song rams right through you. Although I must admit that it took me some listening sessions to realise how much it suited my taste. Don't look for super speedy hardcore, go one slower and enjoy that what On Fire has to say. I know I do.
Visit their website: http://www.setitonfire.net
Recordlabel: http://www.setitonfire.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onfire.nl
Bandcamp: setitonfire.bandcamp.com

81/100

PARTY ROXX – Party Roxx (CD) France May 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Glam / Sleaze Rock Running time: 38:27 (Tracks: 8)
PARTY ROXX is a French Glam-, Sleaze Rock band that was formed around 2008 under the name SHOOT TO KILL. On this self titled debut album "Party Roxx" (2012) the line-up of PARTY ROXX exists of Renaud Espeche (vocals; alias Ren The First; also in KRAGENS), Cedric Sellier (guitar; alias Cedric Sinner), Bastien Malek (guitar; alias Dyna Rox), Denis Malek (bass) and Damien Michael (drums). Looking at the band photo, which is on the info sheet, they don't have a real glam look. These guys recorded 8 songs for their debut album, and all these songs are sounding awesome. This is excellent Glam- / Sleaze Rock what PARTY ROXX presents on their first album. Espeche has a fantastic voice for this music, and the band exists of excellent musicians. I've listened several times to this album, and I like it very much. This is a very delicious sounding album. "Like A Fire" (4:49), "Superman" (3:58), "Jump For The Thrill" (3:53), "Afraid Of Tomorrow" (5:06), "The Law Of The Road" (5:09), "Secrets" (4:46), "You Let Me Go" (4:33) and the longest track "Running Away" (6:09) are all great songs, what makes this a pleasant album to listen to. This album is absolutely a recommendation to any Glam- / Sleaze Rocker. Check this band out, because I'm sure you will like this album, just as much as I do. PARTY ROXX indeed ROCKS with this fantastic album. Thanks guys. Hopefully the band will promote this album by doing a small club tour through Europe. A show at the Little Devil, in my hometown Tilburg, Holland would be nice.
Visit their website: http://www.partyroxx.com

80/100

PRETTY MAIDS – Louder than Ever (CD) Denmark May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Heavy Metal Running time: 54:17 (Tracks: 12)
Last year I reviewed the Live in Switzerland-album and the great Motherload-album of the Danish band Pretty Maids. And they're already back with a new album “Louder than ever “containing eight re-recorded versions of songs from the Massacre-albums of the nineties and four new songs that are whetting the appetite for a new release of these Danish giants. The re-recorded renditions of songs are quite surprising and they sound phenomenal. Songs like “Playing God”, “Snakes in Eden”, “Tortured spirit”, and “Wake up to the real world”are songs you wouldn't expect to be part of a best –of- release, but they are 'reborn 'and made with devotion and class. And there are more of these kinds of songs. The new “Nuclear Boomerang” and “Deranged” are straight-up headbanging heavy metal numbers, and there are two new very soulful ballads in “My Soul To Take” and “A Heart Without a Home.” A very pleasant release by Frontiers Records Italy. But I'm still waiting for that new Danish bomber from the guys.
Track Listing: 1. Deranged* 2. Playing God 3. Psycho-Time-Bomb-Planet-Earth 4. My Soul To Take* 5. He Who Never Lived 6. Virtual Brutality 7. Tortured Spirit 8. With These Eyes 9. Nuclear Boomerang* 10. Snakes in Eden 11. Wake Up to the Real World 12. A Heart Without a Home* (* = new track).
There's also a special edition of this new Pretty Maids'album featuring a DVD with studio footage, interviews and a retrospective footage of their Motherland Tour.
Visit their website: http://www.prettymaids.dk
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/prettymaids
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/pmaids

80/100

PRIMAL FEAR – Delevering the Black (CD) Germany May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic European Power Metal Running time: 51:29 (Tracks: 10)
Primal Fear was founded in 1997 by Ralf Scheepers former singer of Just Priest (a Judas Priest cover band) Gammy Ray and Tyran Pace. The band has released nine albums so far with a lot of chart successes.Their nineth opus' Unbreakable' was a very solid, heavy and good album charting in six European countries, Japan and even in the US Billboards. The band toured extensively in Europe, Asia and South America. Many fans of the genre and the band were enthousiastic and their patience will be rewarded : The tenth album “Delevering the black”was released in the end of January and it's been spinning around in my media player for months. The music of the band is very good, absolute power metal in the vein of Judas Priest (Ralf Scheepers was one of the potential hired guns to replace Rob Halford in Judas Priest in 1996. Tim Ripper Owens got the job, but he was replaced by Rob Halford in 2003), Annihilator and the US metal speed metal bands from the beginning of the eighties. The band took the time to shape the songs of their new album. The House of Music Studios in Winterbach, Germany was the place to record the ten tracks. Matt Sinner, bass player, produced the abum, the engineering was done by Achim Köhler and Jacob Hansen took care of the mixes. The album grabs you by the throat immediately: High pitched vocals, crunchy guitars, kick drum playing, pierce harmonic vocals and accurate musicianship. What an album and the songs fit perfectly to it. The heavy metal isn't full of surprises, but the music is solid as a rock, the songs have the balls of an elephant and the listener knows what he gets. The music on the album slows down on “Born with a broken heart”. Liv Kristine 's vocals can be heard in the chorus of this great song. Check this album out!
Tracklist: 01. King For A Day 02. Rebel Faction 03. When Death Comes Knocking 04. Alive & On Fire 05. Delivering The Black 06. Road To Asylum 07. One Night In December 08. Never Pray For Justice 09. Born With A Broken Heart [Feat. Liv Kristine] 10. Innocent Man [deluxe edition bonus] 11. Inseminoid 12. Man Without Shadow [deluxe edition bonus] 13. When Death Comes Knocking [single edit version] [deluxe edition bonus].
The Deluxe Edition comes with a DVD containing 2 music videos and the making of the album. The Primal Fear members are currently on tour with Alice Cooper, Midge Ure, Joe Lynn Turner and Kim Wilde during their Rock Meets Classic Tour.
Visit their website: http://www.primalfear.de
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/primalfearofficial
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/primalfearofficial

88/100

PRONG – Ruining Lives (CD) USA May 2014 Frans Neelen
Style: Groove Metal Running time: 41:55 (Tracks: 11)
The master and founder of hypersonic groove metal, mr. Tommy “Prong” Victor delivers again a damn fine album filled with razor-sharp, mechanical and danceable monster riffs. Again, because even for Prong two critical hit albums in a row isn't common. Be honest, since their return in 2003 the album Scorpio's Rising didn't rise and 2007's Power of the Damager lacked power, many thought Prong's finest belonged to history. With their 2012 stunner Carved into Stone, which indeed carved them back in metal history, Prong was definitely back in business. Ruining Lives again proves that Prong can go along for years. Some may say that this album is just a Cleansing rehearsal but hey, don't mess with the originals ! Of course some hooks and rhythms are heard before but Prong is inventive enough to put in some unexpected ingredients. Instead of saying Prong I also could say Tommy, because the rest of the line already has been changed. This time Tommy is supported by Jason Christopher on bass and Art Cruz on drums. Sound technically it doesn't matter at all, because the main brain knows how to recruit his sidekicks. Overall this album in comparison to pre successor Carved into Stone sounds more melodic, but on the other hand also more trashier. There's more melody in the choruses and more speed and thrash hooks and riffs during the songs. Just listen when “The Book of Change” takes off like a rocket or the venomous riffs that drip of in tracks like opener “Turnover”, “The Barriers” and “Chamber of Thought”. Also the ultimate grooving “Absence of Light” certainly belong to the high lights. Yes, this is a great album again and live it will perfectly fit in between all Prong's other stunning tracks. Because live they are a guarantee for a fine party nothing stands anyone in it's way to visit a Prong concert. Mr. Victor's renewed enthusiasm for his music comes to live and it doesn't ruin my live, but it does ruin my furniture ! Get this one and experience Prong in optima forma.
Visit their website: http://www.prongmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/prongmusic MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/prong

87/100

PRONG – Ruining Lives (CD) USA May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Industrial Metal Running time: 41:55 (Tracks: 11)
Prong is one of those bands who should have made it big, but didn't. Especially with albums like Beg To Differ, Prove You Wrong, Cleansing, Rude Awakening and the 2012 album Carved Into Stone they should have ruled the world. And their live performances have always enhanced that feeling. Remember Prong headlining Dynamo Open Air? They rocked everyone. Thankfully the lack of great success hasn't dampened the spirit of Tommy Victor. He just keeps on going like there's no tomorrow. We, the audience, should feel blessed he is, as Ruining Lives is living up to its name. Once you enter the world of Prong, everything around you seems to get hazy and vanish once the music takes over. Ruining Lives has the beat, has swing, has balls, has melody, has good songs, but most of all has ROCK written all over in capital letters. Maybe this one isn't going to make Prong's list of classics straight away, but it is damn close. Too close for comfort?
Visit their website: http://prongmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/prongmusic
MySpace: https://myspace.com/prong

84/100

RAVEN BLACK NIGHT – Barbarian Winter (CD) Australia May 2014 Mario van Dooren
Style: Epic Heavy Metal / Obscure Doom Metal Running time: 59:43 (Tracks: 12)
It was late 1999 when Jim Petkoff and Rino Amoriono met over a cold beer in Adelaide, South Australia: the city of churches and where AC/DC found Bon Scott. This would mark the beginning of Raven Black Night's campaign to bring their traditional metal sound to a worldwide audience.
After deciding to form a doom/heavy metal band they began building a formidable live reputation, with a style of metal that appealed to many varieties of metal heads in their home town. Their first album, Choose The Dark, was recorded and released in 2005.
I already reviewed that album in October 2005!! I really loved their mix of bands like Candlemass, Confessor, Solitude Aeturnus, Black Sabbath, Dio, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Saint Vitus, Slayer, Iron Maiden and Cathedral. Some songs are doomy as hell; other are more thrash. In 2007 I also saw the band twice on stage; At Headbangers Open Air and also at the afterparty in Hamburg. Never excpected that the band would one day sign to the mighty Metal Blade recordlabel! But they deserve it!!
Several years of touring and festival appearances were to follow: Hard and Heavy summer nights, the Hamburg ballroom, and more dates throughout Australia. In 2010-2011 Jim, Rino with Chris on bass enlisted Matt Enright to record new material for their long awaited follow up cd. Jim and Rino are prepared to take the Raven Black Night's sound of true metal/doom rock to a global audience and im sure they will fix it!!!. This is an awesome album which has a lot of influences (as mentioned above) but still original as hell! Check these guys out!!! Love it!
Website: http://www.reverbnation.com/ravenblacknight
Recordlabel: http://www.metalblade.tv
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ravenblacknightofficial

85/100

RAZEND – White Goat (Promotional CD) The Netherlands May 2014 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 17:43 (Tracks: 5)
This band is named as the new metal sensation from the Netherlands with members of Acrostichon and Outburst. After Acrostichon split up the remaining members formed Outburst and now a new band arose from the ashes from those two bands .
This is a very small bio but it contains nearly all the information. Acrostichon used to be a female fronted deathmetal band in which singer Corinne was wellknown for her incredible grunts. After she left Acrostichon the band changed their name into Outburst and went on with singer Tjerk Maas. Outburst was in my opinion a mediocre thrashband that never reached the level of Acrostichon.
Well both bands are history and some of the bandmember joined in the newborn thrashmetal band RAZEND (Razend is a Dutch word for Furious). Singer Corinne, who used to grunt in Acrostichon, has had a lot of singing lessons and instead of her famous grunts….she now sings clean!! What a surprise!!. Well her “new” voice fits perfect to the thrashmusic of Razend. Her brother Jos van den Brand and Arvid Kuipers are a great guitar tandem and all together with drummer Tim Verheijden and bassplayer Tijn van der Vloet they create a very nice piece of thrashmetal!! This demo is still not available for sale but you need to check out this “new” band with a very original kind of thrash! I love it!!!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/razendband

80/100

REBELSTAR – II (CD) The Netherlands May 2014 Mario van Dooren
Style: Hard Rock / Sleaze Rock Running time: 39:30 (Tracks: 10)
Starting out as a collaboration of Serge Naberman & Martijn Niggebrugge, it was very clear that there was no turning back from the path they had chosen as their musical direction: oldskool Hardrock with influences of todays Rock and Metal. Heavy and catchy guitar riffs with very strong but melodic high pitched vocals. Also a lot of Sleaze elements are mixed in their songs.
In summer 2013, after recruiting a new pounding rhythm section ((Toine Vanderlinden (ex-Martyr)- bass & Richard van Leeuwen - drums)) and with renewed inspiration, they had only one goal: going back to the recording studios to top their debut album. Well the result is now doing a digital marathon in my cd player! Normally im not that much into sleaze-based hardrock but what these guys are doing is over the top quality! I already booked the band twice (as support of Girlschool and later as support of Vengeance) and believe me; this band is gonna be BIG!!! Great musicianship, perfect production and very good songs!! Some name them the new Sleez Beeze but believe me; this band is much much better!! Check them out live at one of their gigs and buy this album! Support the Dutch scene!
The is also booked for the 9th edition of my own Mario's Metal Meeting on 1 November 2014 @ Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Website: http://www.rebelstar.nl
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebelstar.rock

85/100

RED DRAGON CARTEL – Red Dragon Cartel (CD) USA May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 44:02 (Tracks: 10)
I'm glad Jake E.Lee picked up his guitar again to form a band, to write songs and record an album with his buddies in Red Dragon Cartel. After his heydays and his highlights as an artist, composer and a flashy guitar player for Ozzy Osbourne and Badlands things went down for this magnificent axeman. His solostuff didn't have the quality we had expected and Jake E.Lee even had put his guitar aside for a while, unable to find inspiration, to even listen to rock music in general and to perform songs and solos for an audience. A few years ago a meeting with Mike Varney ( the man behind Shrapnel and Blues Bureau International Records and the guru behind many shred-guitarists in the eighties, like Greg Howe, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Tony Macalpine, Paul Gilbert, Stephen Ross, Darren Householder, Joey Tafolla, Michael Lee Firkins and many, many others) resulted in a bluesrock album where Jake E. Lee showed his enormous capacities and skills. The album gained good reviews, but there was a long period of radio-silence after that. But the man is back, back from the silent planet, back from the rusty strings and skills, back from the alcohol-problem he battled with, back with a label and a record, released by Frontiers Records Italy at the beginning of March. And was it worth the wait?
Well, I must be honest. The guitar playing of Jake E.Lee is solid and the strong riffing on the Red Dragon Cartel album feels good. But the songs are rough, not holding many surprises, a bit undimensional and way too modern for my ears. The vocal of former Harem Scarem drummer Darren Smith are a bit out of focus as well, it's kinda hard for me to follow his structures, his lines. Even the help of a few famous friends (former Iron Maiden vocalist Paul DiAnno, the rhythm section of Slash's band, Pantera bass player Rex Brown, the great Sass Jordan on female vocals, Robin Zander of Cheap Trick and Maria Brink of In This Moment) doesn't make the difference you hear or feel, the Sass Jordan track ( “Redeem me”) is superb although. The production is fair, but a bit dry and straight in your face. I can't hide a little disappointment hearing this album, too bad. I had hopes Jake's return to the scene had been more glorious, more melodic, more flashy and more qualified.
Visit their website: http://www.reddragoncartel.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reddragoncartel
MySpace: https://myspace.com/red.dragon.cartel

75/100

REESE – Under The Carpet (MCD) Italy May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 13:30 (Tracks: 3)
If you just want to dance to the music, don't look any further. Reese is your band. This is quite highly contagious melodic rock with a great atmosphere and a voice that compliments the music instead of overpowering it. And the songs are short and to the point. No lingering, no dragging along, just getting to the point. Quality of the songs is beyond doubt as well. As this is just an EP, it's all I can make of it. Can't wait for a full album.
Visit their website: http://www.reesetheband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.reesetheband.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reesemusic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/reesetheband

80/100

RUNNING DEATH – The Call Of Extinction (MCD) Germany May 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 28:38 (Tracks: 5)
Ten years ago, in 2004, this German Thrash Metal band RUNNING DEATH from Kaufbeuren, Bavaria was formed. The line-up of RUNNING DEATH exists of Simon Bihlmayer (vocals, guitar), Julian Gruber (guitar), Frederik Feyock (bass) and Jakob Weikmann (drums). These four Thrashers recorded their first 4-track demo in 2007, followed by the self released EP's "Raging Nightmare" (2010) and "The Call Of Extinction" (2012). Well, in front of me I have that second EP "The Call Of Extinction" to review for MMM. And I must say, although I was not familiar with RUNNING DEATH, they really surprised me with this 5-track EP. These guys deliver good and technical Thrash Metal. Also the production of this EP, which was done by Jan Kerscher, sounds very good. Well, like with almost every new Thrash band, it's not sounding new, but nevertheless RUNNING DEATH really delivers quality Thrash. Excellent guitarists, good rhythm section and the vocals are a bit harsh sounding. In my opinion there isn't a real weak song on this "The Call Of Extinction" EP. The average running time of the songs is 6 minutes. The band is currently working on a full length album, which will be released at the end of 2014. With this fantastic EP, RUNNING DEATH has made me very curious about their upcoming debut album. Believe me, this is really an interesting Thrash band with potential. Check them out. The songs which are on this EP are titled "Unleashed" (5:38), "Killing For Gods" (6:26), the title track "Call Of Extinction" (3:43), "Celebrate Your Aggression" (6:03) and "Hunting For Heads" (6:46).
Visit their website: http://www.runningdeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/runningdeath

77/100

SACRAL RAGE – Deadly Bits of Iron Fragments (MCD) Greece May 2014 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 29:13 (Tracks: 7)
Sacral Rage is a brand new entry in the Greek power metal scene. Armed with a demo and quite a few live performances, the band caught the attention of the power metal audience and managed to present its debut with the help of Eat Metal records. And what a debut it is. Blessed by the influences of US metal legends such as Agent Steel and Helstar, Sacral Rage presents high octane power metal sprinkled with speed metal dust. Professional, energetic, entertaining. Not mindless headbanging but intelligent musicianship and great songwriting. Not to mention the balls it takes to present a Nasty Savage cover! These guys are definitely in the right path and with the right choices they can grow big. My only objection is that with the addition of an eighth song they could have presented a full length cd cause it's a pity that Deadly Bits of Iron Fragments falls into the category of a mini CD release...
Visit their website: http://sacralrage.bandcamp.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sacralrage

85/100

SEBASTIAN BACH – Give 'em Hell (CD) USA May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 51:02 (Tracks: 12)
Sebastian Bach is here again! Last year former Skid Row singer Bach surprised us with a live album on Frontiers Records Italy spreading the thing he likes to do: singing his ass off and screaming like he has been attacked by the devil himself! He was backed by a list of amazing musical friends then and this companionship and new musical ideas have led to a new Frontiers' album, his third album for this Italian melodic rock label, his fifth studio album as a solo artist. This album is a strong album that's for sure. The production of Bob Marlette is fair, open and in your face and the mastering by Tom Baker is heavy with the main focus on Seb's vocals. But you can't ignore the magnificent instrumental forces of Bobby Jarzombek (drums), Duffy McKagan (bass) and Avril Lavigne guitar player Devin Bronson. What a band! Steve Stevens and John 5 play their guitar antics on a couple of songs as well with high class ease.......it won't get better than this!
And the songs? Well, I like them. They are fierce, anthemic, filled with power and expression and even the April Wine cover " Rock 'n roll is a vicious game" , a song from their “First Glance” album in 1978 is done with style. The only minor point is that Sebastian Bach can't reach the same high pitched notes from his heydays anymore, you can hear the frontman struggling with some pitches in a few songs. Singing in a more relaxed modus will help the man, that's for sure. Great record!
Visit their website: http://www.sebastianbach.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sebastianbach
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/sebastianbach

80/100

SINEZAMIA – Senza Fiato (CD-single) Italy May 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Alternate Rock / Dark Wave / Gothic Rock Running time: 8:25 (Tracks: 2)
SINEZAMIA is an Italian band, which exists of Marco Grazzi (vocals), Federicco Bonazzolli (guitar), Marco Beccari (bass), Stefano Morbini (drums) and Carlo Enrico Scaietta (synthesizer) and sings in their native language. According to their information on their Facebook page, the band exists since 2004. The band is influenced by several music genres like Metal, New Wave, Gothic, Rock. So far, SINEZAMIA has released the following stuff: the 4-track demo "Fotografia" (2004), the 5-track demo "Il Gelido Fuoco Della Notte Solare" (2004), the 7-track EP "Fronde" (2007) and the 4-track EP "Sacralita" (2009), the single "Ombra" (2011), the band's debut album "La Fuga" (2012) and the single "Senza Fiato" (2013). Musically it sounds quite nice, only that the band sings in Italian, is something that I don't like. I don't know the Italian language, and that's of course a big problem, not only for me, but for anyone outside Italy. To me, this reminds me musically the most of THE SISTERS OF MERCY, with a little bit of THE CURE and JOY DEVISION, all equipped with heavy guitar work of Bonazzolli. The two songs on this black disc (yes, it's not a silver disc) are titled "Senza Fiato" (3:17) and "Cenere" (5:07).
Visit their website: http://www.sinezamia.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sinezamia

68/100

SKINFLINT – Iklwa (CD) Botswana May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 53:50 (Tracks: 10)
Within 6 months I'm reviewing another album by Skinflint, the Botswana band that did listen to Iron Maiden, but didn't use the influences at their best. The question is: have they learned something? Well, they have! Of course the accent of the voice is still as African as you can get, but they have toned down the music a bit. The Maiden influences are still very much there, but at least this time they have constructed better songs. There is variety in between them now. They still have a long way to go before they will start to stand out, but still, the first step forward is taken. If only they would have improved on the production as well, IKLWA might have come out as a mature product. Now it's still a third country development. Maybe next time?
Visit their website: http://www.skinflintmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/skinflintmetal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/skinflint123

69/100

SONIQ THEATER – Heroes Of The Past (CD) Germany May 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Instrumental / Progressive / Symphonic / Ambient Running time: 56:53 (Tracks: 12)
SONIQ THEATER is a one man project of German musician Alfred Mueller. And Alfred is a guy who's heavily into Prog-Rock, Prog Metal, synthesizer music, Fusion et cetera, and is active as a musician since 1980. With SONIC THEATER, Alfred is presenting a blend of progressive styles, mainly symphonic progressive rock, with elements of several genres like Metal, Ambient, electronic music, classical music and Fusion. Anyway, the SONIQ THEATER albums which are released so far are: "Sonic Theater" (2000), "a SECOND of ACTion" (2002), "The Third Eye" (2003), "This Mortal Coil" (2004), "Pandromania" (2005), "Enchanted" (2006), "Seventh Heaven" (2007), "Life Seeker" (2008), "Vision Quest" (2009), "Unknown Realities" (2010), "Force Majeure" (2011), "Overnight Sensation" (2012) and "Stardust Memories" (2013). As you can see, Mueller is a very active person by releasing a new album every year. "Heroes Of The Past" is the fourteenth album of SONIQ THEATER, and it is my first acquaintance. With the first listen to "Heroes Of The Past", it reminded me of the early solo work of RICK WAKEMAN (keyboard-, synthesizer-, organ-, piano- player of YES), and even some songs reminded me a bit to the score of a movie. And other bands which came in mind were of course YES and CAMEL, but also PENDRAGON and the Canadian band FM. Anyway, "Heroes Of The Past" is a complete instrumental album, and all is composed, performed and produced by Alfred Mueller himself. Two songs of the album ("Lemuria" and "Uther Pendragon") were already recorded way back in 1987 by Mueller. I don't know why but some parts of "Time Loves A Hero" (4:41) reminds me very much of the theme of the TV-series The A-Team. Nevertheless, I like this album, and I will absolutely listen to it so now and then, when I'm in the mood for it. To me, the least track on "Heroes Of The Past" is the sixth song "Maharajah" (4:28). Personally I don't have any specific favorites, but I'm sure anyone who's into symphonic Prog music will like songs such as "Robin Hood" (4:34), "Pioneers And Heroes" (4:24), "Lemuria" (4:33), "Sailing Columbus" (5:13), "Ancient Dreams" (5:47) and "The Ruins Of Xanadu" (5:53). So, this album is absolutely no heavy stuff, but like I said, do you like symphonic Progressive Rock and bands such as YES, CAMEL, RICK WAKEMAN, MARILLION, ELOY, the Canadian FM and PENDRAGON, to name a few, then you will like this 14th album of SONIQ THEATER as well.
Visit their website: http://www.soniqtheater.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/soniq-theater
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sonictheater

69/100

SYMPTOMEN – Men Against Men (CD) Brazil May 2014 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 33:36 (Tracks: 8)
Symptomen come from Brazil, a country with great heavy metal tradition and a very active presence in today's metal scene. This is the band's debut and the opening track “Back to the 80s” (also the title of their EP released in 2011) leaves little to the imagination. Symptomen crave the traditional metal of the 80s but don't reproduce the classic early Iron Maiden era like most of the new bands. That is an instant win right there. They are mostly into Judas Priest, Riot and Accept with later Maiden influences. Guitars are heavy with good solos, pace is mid to fast but the vocals need some extra work. Other than that the band presents interesting traditional metal that will satisfy the classic metal purists. This is a self financed effort so I advise you to try and track it down. Thus you can combine a future collector's item with some good music.
Visit their website: http://www.symptomen.com.br
Recordlabel: http://www.diefight.com.br
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/symptomen.official
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/symptomen

70/100

THRASH BOMBZ - Mission of Blood (CD) Italy May 2014 Kees Schijven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 40:13 (Tracks: 12)
Thrash Bombz was formed in 2007 in Sicilia, from the ashes of Necrosis, to play thrash metal without compromises. The line up consisted of Giuseppe Peri(guitar/bass) and Salvatore Li Causi (lead guitar/drums). With the help of Tony Frenda on vocals, the band recorded their “Sicilian Way of Thrash” demo tape, which was released in march 2012. In the meantime frontman Leonardo Botta was found, and early 2013 a new demo ep was recorded named “Mission of Blood”. In April 2013 new bandmembers were found in Angelo Bissanti (bass) and Vincenzo Lombardi (drums). With this line up the band recorded their first full album in October 2013, under the same title as their demo ep “Mission of Blood”. Fast old school thrash metal, which could be straight from the eighties. “Mosh Tank”, “City Grave”, “Thrash Bombz” burst out fast and furious the old school way, they keep the speed in their thrash metal way up high. Expect to be thrashed by some metal in the true Exodus way, with some D.R.I., Testament, Slayer influences, with a true old school spirit. Songs like 'Command of Injury” or 'Dead Body Hanged' could have well been on any album of fore mentioned bands from the eighties, and still stand today. Quality thrash metal is delivered here, maybe production could have been a little better, but it suits the music right, so nothing bad to say about this release at all actually. Well some tunes may sound familiar, and you get the thought, where have I heard that before, but nevertheless they did a great job. Maybe not the most original album, but they surely gave it their best shot. If thrash metal is your thing, you gotta listen to this album, you won't regret it!
Visit their website: http://www.thrashbombz.bandcamp.com
Recordlabel: http://www.ironshieldrecords.de
MySpace: http://www.facebook.it/thrashbombzofficial

82/100

THREE LIONS – Three Lions (CD) United Kingdom May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: European Melodic Rock Running time: 51:02 (Tracks: 12)
During the afterparty of the Firefest Melodic Rock Festival 2012 two former Dare members (Vinny Burns and Greg Morgan) made contact with the Frontiers' rocklabel team and a young and skilled bass player/vocalist from England, Nigel Bailey. The three piece band started writing together with Frontiers' mastermind Alessandro DelVecchio and the result of their collaboration is spinning around in my media player. And what a fine record this is! Combining the forces and influences of Ten, the Gary Hughes solo escapades, Dare, Magnum, the Bob Catley albums and typical UK-AOR like Heartland, YaYa and Walk the Wire, these guys deliver a strong set of songs with great choruses, good lead vocals and fantastic guitarwork. From the ferocious opener ' Trouble in a red dress' to the closing instrumental " The Sicilian kiss" the album holds a good balance between instrumental capacity and prowess and melody, hooks and open choruses. I'm very fond of their moody, hookladen athemic songs enriched by the textures of Vinny Burns' amazing fretworks (" the opener, Just a man, Twisted soul, Magdalene, Hellfire Highway, Holy water"). I like the other songs as well, but the ballads are a bit cheesy, a bit clichéd, too bad, these songs get a typical standard treatment, only the guitars give these slowburners that extra vibe. Great encouraging record, Vinny Burns plays like a demon! The band will have their live debut opening for Snakecharmer( with Stefan Berggren and members of classic Whitesnake) in May. Check this record out!
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/threelionsuk

81/100

THOU SHELL OF DEATH – Sepulchral Silence (CD) Estonia May 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Atmospheric Black Metal Running time: 48:06 (Tracks: 5)
Thou Shell of Death from Estonia is an Atmospheric Black Metal band from Estonia that has been active since 2010 and they are amazing. I never heard of this band but I am hooked on this album. They released their first demo in 2010 and a split album in 2011. This is their latest album “Sepulchral Silence” (2013) and brings you in an ecstasy. This atmospheric journey brings you five songs in 48 minutes and it sounds really dark and filled with sphere. The guitar riffs are slow and grooving; think of bands like Verdunkeln and Skepticism. And then you get the vocals that also remind me a lot Urfaust and Verdunkeln. The drums are also very slow and intense, it even has a double bass that is very steady but up tempo. All this is back upped with keyboards that sound really atmospheric and is hard inthe mix to give it an even darker and miserable feeling. This album has a great production and is filled with groove. If you like bands like Urfaust and Verdunkeln then you are going to love this album and band. From the first minute till the last it keeps you listening.
Visit their website: http://tsod.eu
Recordlabel: https://talheim-records.at
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thoushellofdeath
MySpace: https://myspace.com/thoushellofdeath

85/100

THYREOS – I Don't Live To Fail (CD) Sweden May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 48:28 (Tracks: 12)
Thyreos is very much an easy listening product, so maybe this should have been classified as melodic rock. I Don't Live To Fail is a weak attempt to be gothic, if you listen how the band uses the keyboards. For the rest this is commercial as rock will allow. The simple lyrical lines and rather unimpressive voice only enhance that feeling. Thyreos is notexactle being adventurous in their music. It's all so safe. The saving grace for Thyreos is that the songs are good, they make sense and do drag you along. Especially when the riffs are a bit heavier, you will listen, whether you like it or not. Two examples are the title track and Handsome Dreamer. So if you want your rock to be very easily digestible, I Don't Live To Fail might be what you're looking for.
Visit their website: http://www.thyreos.se
Recordlabel: http://www.slipstickrecords.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thyreos
MySpace: https://myspace.com/thyreos

71/100

TOJA – (Sad) Songs Of Hope (CD) Germany May 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Melodic Metal Running time: 52:46 (Tracks: 12)
TOJA is a five piece Hard Rock/Melodic Metal band from Germany and exists since 1997. So far these Germans have released the following albums: "First Step" (1999), "The Spirit Of…" (2006) and "Train Of Life" (2009). "(Sad) Songs Of Hope" is the band's fourth studio album, and it's the band's first one on Pure Rock Records (released on October 18th 2013). The line-up of TOJA exists of Tommy Rinn (vocals, guitar, percussion), Berny Pezalla (guitar, backing vocals), Jan Thielking (guitar, keys, backing vocals), Oliver Dietz (bass) and Tim Dierks (drums). Anyway, "(Sad) Songs Of Hope" is my first acquaintance with TOJA, and although I have listened several times to this album, the band couldn't impress me at all. In fact, this is a pretty boring and very cliché sounding album. And also the vocals of Tommy Rinn don't impress me. Their bio says "Their fourth full-length album "(Sad) Songs Of Hope" is true to their style and convinces with 12 gripping tracks, which all fans of melodic sounds will definitively love". Well, I doubt that. TOJA really can't convince me with these twelve boring songs. There isn't even one track I really like. Also in their biography, the band mentions that their songs are in the tradition of bands as RAINBOW, JOURNEY and PRETTY MAIDS. But believe me TOJA doesn't even come close to these bands. And secondly, I don't hear some RAINBOW, JOURNEY or PRETTY MAIDS influences in their songs. Well, personally I really wonder if these albums of TOJA have sold well so far! Maybe amongst friends and family!! Believe me, it's really a waste of your time to even check this album out, and a waste of your money. There are way more better albums to check out, for example the awesome debut album of MASSIVE (see also this month's update of MMM). Sorry guys, but this boring album really disappears in our trashcan.
Visit their website: http://www.toja-rock.com
Recordlabel: http://www.purerock-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tojarock

49/100

TORCHIA – oNe (CDemo) Finland May 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 13:09 (Tracks: 3)
Torchia from Finland brings you melodic death metal in vain bands like Soilwork etcetera. They have been active since 2010 and this is their first demo (2013). I always get happy when I get a Scandinavian band to review but this band makes it difficult for me. Why? Because everything sounds really good and over the top produced. The guitar riffs are melodic and technical but also very thrash and grooving combined with solos. The drums are also straight in your face and technical and furious. And then you get the vocals that are aggressive grunts that go more in the direction of At the Gates. When you mix all this together you get a great band but is it original? Not in my opinion. It sounds really good and kicks ass but everything sounds like it has already been done by many bands. For me this is good but not something I would listen a lot.
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/torchiaband
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/torchiaband

70/100

V.A.(Various Artist)- MONSTERS! (Six of A Kind) – Maintain the Quarantine, Deadly Force Will Be Used To Protect This Area (Compilation CD) Several Countries May 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Grind Metal Running time: 26:00 (Tracks: 23)
Right Monsters! This a compilation album featuring 6 bands that have the same passion...GRIND. This album kicks of with the band “TOTAL FUCKING DESTRUCTION” and they bring you 3 songs of furious and ravenous anarchy in vain of Brutal Truth and Exhumed. The next band on the bill is “DEPARTMENT OF CORECTION” and they also bring you 6 songs of straight in your face grind that sometimes reminds me a bit of Mumakill. The third band on the bill is “C.O.A.G” and they bring a bit more punk grind with a sludge like vocal combined with grunts. The recording of these 4 songs are also more underground and less pointed on production, fast furious and old school Like Extreme Noise Terror. The fourth band on this album is “MISAREBLE FAILURE” plays grind in vain of the more modern bands but also sound very good with their 5 songs. The fifth band on this album is “UNSU” and that is probably the only band that rings a bell to me. And they also bring you 2 tracks of fast grind with influences of bands like exhumed. Fast and furious with tight screams and punk grunts. The last band on this album is “INFECTED SOCIETY” and they are more into Brutal death grind and that sounds amazing and well produced. Fast and furious on really professional way the guitar riffs remind me a lot progressive death metal filled with groove. And then you got the drums that are really fast and technical ,supported by very jazzy bass player. The vocals are deep grunts combined with fast and aggressive screams. If you are into underground bands you should definitely check this album it is worth it! So check Kaotoxin Records and order this shit!
Visit their website: http://listen.kaotoxin.com/
Recordlabel: http://www.kaotoxin.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaotoxinrecords

73/100

VANDENBERG'S MOONKINGS – Vandenberg's Moonkings (CD) The Netherlands May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Classic Hard Rock Running time: 51:29 (Tracks: 13)
Some albums make you happy, very happy. Vandenberg's Moonkings is such an album. The return of the Big Dutchman Adrian Vandenberg, who has his past in bands like Teaser, Vandenberg, Whitesnake and Manic Eden, is not going unnoticed. If you want a reference for the music and class displayed here, you'll have to look at blues orientated classic hard rock. You will hear some Teaser passing by, but Whitesnake, Bad Company and Manic Eden aren't far away either. The big man has found himself a great band to play with and they all excel on the album. From the very first note of Lust And Lies to the last tone of the remake of Sailing Ships (off Slip Of The Tongue) with David Coverdale on vocals, it all fits. Not only that, the songs are good, no great! After just a few listens you will be singing along to all the songs of Vandenberg's Moonkings and you'll be wondering why nobody is making such great music anymore. Well, look no further! Singer Jan Hoving is a real find and has such soulful and warm voice when he needs it. But he can also shout his lungs to bits if necessary. The rhythm section of Mart Nijen Es (drums) and Sem Christoffel (bass) is solid and playful at the same time. Adrian himself still knows how to play a guitar well, and he also knows how to write music that sticks. Because you do need to take heed: once you have listened to Vandenberg's Moonkings a few times there's no way back, as you won't be able to get the songs out of your head. And you will keep on playing the record, over and over again. Don't say you weren't warned!
Recordlabel: http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moonkingsband

95/100

WARRION – Awakening the Hydra (CD) USA May 2014 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 34:09 (Tracks: 11)
Guitarist Ron Ravi Warrion is behind this newcomer band out of U.S.A. Warrion has recruited the iconic vocal talents of Obsession mainman Mike Vescera (Malmsteen, Loudness, MVP, Animetal etc.) with Aska frontman George Call (ex Omen) contributing in a couple of songs, joining Aska bassist Keith Knight who is a full time member of the Warrion ensemble. Tim Thomas of Abbatoir and Hirax fame is the second axe besides Ron Warrion and the drumkit is filled by Halloween drummer Rob Brug. This is a very promising line-up but the question is if the band can really deliver. The answer is that Awakening the Hydra is a very promising first effort of energetic U.S. power metal. Vescera and Call add points to the typical but enjoyable songwriting which reminds of their main bands. Let's hope this is a full time band with a future and not a onetime project. Looking forward to hearing the evolution of Warrion's music.
Visit their website: http://www.warrionband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ronwarrion

73/100

WE ALL DIE (LAUGHING) – Thoughtscanning (CD) France May 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Extreme Metal Running time: 37:37 (Tracks: 2)
This is the best album of this month for me. We All Die (Laughing) consists of Arno Strobl (Carnival on Coal) and Déhà (Maladie, COAG). Thoughtscanning has only one song on the original album, and it's over half an hour long. It covers everything from an intro that Queensrÿche would be proud of to the screams and extreme heavy music that Baroness would make. And everything in between. Bloody hell, this is so great, I just can't stop playing it. The amount of influences you hear along the way is impressive, but We All Die (Laughing) has turned them around and made all of them their own. It makes Thoughtscanning into an adventurous and impressive song/record. The one thing it really is not is commercial. At least, not as a whole. Parts of it could be considered that, but once they turn into another, much heavier part, that's gone again. As a bonus you get their impression of the Amy Winehouse song Back To Black. That also will make your hair stand on end.
Visit their website: https://www.facebook.com/wealldielaughing
Recordlabel: http://www.kaotoxin.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wealldielaughing

88/100

WE ARE LEGEND – Rise of the legend (CD) Germany May 2014 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 44:42 (Tracks: 9)
A band name which is “We are Legend” creates expectations especially when the music style is Power Metal. This is in my opinion a genre in which it is nowadays quite difficult to distinguish yourself. But the German 5-headed band “We are Legend” reaches a more than acceptable level. Their recently released album “Rise of the Legend” is basically a power metal album but with touches of heavy and progressive metal. This makes is interesting. If you listen to this well produced album, you might think that this a very experienced band. From a band point of view, this is not correct. They founded in 2010 and "Rise of the Legend" is their first full length album. In the meantime, they released an EP (which was called 'We Are Legend”) in 2012. It should be noted that of the nine songs of the new album, three are from the EP: Enemy Within, This Holy Dark, and God Is Dreaming. However, most of the band members gained a lot of valuable experience in other bands (Abraxas, Stormwitch and Coronatus). The songs on the album are all quite energetic and almost all the songs are interesting. A solid rhythm section makes it possible that the guitar players can excel. Interesting are the classical piano parts (like Hungry Mirrors). These really contribute to the different compositions. One of my favourites is the third song, “Enemy Within”. I have never heard such a powerful intro, it almost destroyed my loud-speakers. Out!, Only Time Can Tell, and March of the Living only confirm We Are Legend's musical style: a mixture of heavy and power metal with variations of piano lines from modest to substantial in each one. In my opinion the band has not become a legend yet, but if they continue to grow, I would give them a good chance to reach the higher regions in the power metal genre!
Visit their website: http://www.wearelegend.de
Recordlabel: http://www.purelegend-records.com
Facebook:
W.E.T. – One Live in Stockholm (CD) Sweden May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic European Hard Rock Running time: 1:39:33 (Tracks: 21)
W.E.T. is the collaboration between members of Work of Art, Eclipse and Talisman, three top notch Swedish melodic rock bands. I have reviewed a lot of the albums of these bands thus far and the second concert of W.E.T. was recorded live for a cd / dvd – release. It's this release that captures me and will haunt me for many days! What an amazing pile of music! The recording was done by Pontus Norgren (former Talisman guitarist and sound engineer for Europe, a.o.) at the Debaser Club in Stockholm, were W.E.T concerted on Janaury 17th 2013. Their newest album “Rise “is represented by nine songs and six songs are played from the debut album. The other songs are from Talisman, Work of Art (guest vocals by Lars Safsund) and Eclipse. The sound and the craftmanship of this release are absolutely fantastic. The vocals by Jeff Scott Soto and mastermind Erik Martensson of Eclipse are great, the backing vocals of Robert Säll and Magnus Hernriksson add that typical spark, the guitars ( Erik and his band partner Magnus Henriksson) are fucking crunchy, what a sound. But it's the rhythm section that grabs you by the balls; Robban Bäck (Sabaton, Eclipse) and bass guitar player Andreas Passmark (bass player for Narnia, Royal Hun, DC Coope, Work of Art) play their asses off keeping everything in line. It's the pleasure, the fun, the great songs, the atmosphere, the amazing sound and the fantastic enthousiastic audience that make me listen to this album again and again. After I heard the review copy from the review editor in chief Mario, I've bought the DVD / CD myself. The images may be not as professional as the music, but what a great concert this is! Top-release by Frontiers Records Italy. Singer Jeff Scott Soto is planning a European Tour starting in May. Too bad the Swedish musician's will not back him on this summer tour (they will perform in Milan on May 1st only). Jeff will be backed by his Spanish friends. I'll hope he will be playing a lot of songs from this release at his concerts. Check him out!.
Visit their website: http://www.jeffscottsoto.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebandwet
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/sewtoe

92/100

WINGER – Better days coming (CD) USA May 2014 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 49:15 (Tracks: 10)
Yes, I have a soft spot for Winger. The band's history with ups and downs, the absolute classy musicians, their hits at the end of the nineties, the great variety of ideas, their live reputation (in the nineties), I like their output very much. I was glad to hear that another album was in the can, to be released by Frontiers Records Italy. It's spinning around here. Their last album Karma had great moments, but contained a few fillers also and I saw the band in Weert supporting that album, they made a tired presence that evening, a bit below my expectations. Hearing this album “Better days coming” I can say again that this is an album with mixed feelings. The first four songs will blow your heads off, what a fantastic set of tracks.” Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine, Queen Babylon, Rat Race (possibly the most furious Winger tune yet) and Better Days Comin' “are fresh sounding, rockers with attitude and class. But after that the album is filled with more expressive, evocative and creative songs in the vein of the Kip Winger solo albums. The songs are good, don't get me wrong. But the quality is various.That's a pity. The only top track is 'So long China', what a standout modern sounding song this is. I like this album, because I'm a fan. The production, the lyrical department, the musical ideas are top notch, but there are no songs that stick like glue, no choruses that stay in your head for a long while. The artistic value is good, but this record will not appeal to everybody's likenings.
Visit their website: http://www.wingerthebandcom
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialwinger
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/wingermusic

82/100

YERBADIABLO – It doesn`t Work (CD) Italy May 2014 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 48:38 (Tracks: 13)
Although Yerbadiablo (Italy) exists for only a couple of years, several changes in line up have been taken place. Yerbadiablo started in 2010 as a project. In these days, it was a one-man band and in this year the recordings for the debut (Jester in Brick lane) started. In 2012 this album was released under the Logic(il)logic record label. The music could be described as experimental, a mixture of several music styles. A few months after the release, Yerbadiablo became a band consisting of several members. They collectively spent one year to write and compose new songs for the second album entitled “It doesn't work”. The title is a result from a deep analysis of the world we are living in. Themes are: violence, pollution, intolerance etc. Quite heavy stuff… Musically is it all quite experimental. This starts with the lyrics which have been sung in English as well as Spanish. The band also experiments with different instruments. One can hear a trumpet, harmonica and experimental percussion. Besides this, the musical style alternates quite a lot. There are moments that you hear symphonic elements, moments later jazzy parts, but there are also rocking and punk influences. This makes it sometimes difficult to examine it as a whole. But this is still interesting. I have listened it several times, but it is still quite impossible to form a final conclusion. That`s why this is stuff for open minded music listeners. I will definitely listen it more than I have done until now.
Recordlabel: http://www.atomicstuff.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/yerbadiablo
MySpace: https://myspace.com/yerbadiablo

75/100

FEBRUARY

AGE OF TORMENT – I, Against (CD) Belgium February 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Nu / Heavy Metal Running time: 42:32 (Tracks: 14)
When listening to Age Of Torment you get the feeling that they shopped around big style. And made everything come together as they saw fit. The question now is whether we, the listeners, will see it in the same way. On I, Against there is a big part of Machine Head that is going around, mixed with influences that are most familiar to early Linkin Park. Add in a little touch of death metal, and the stew is complete. The music delivered is definitely intense, it hits you in the face immediately. Not like a ton of bricks though, but just a good hard few bricks are all you get. The reason for that is that the songs don't actually grab you by the throat or hit you in the guts. No, they linger around your stomach for a while and then fade away. And therein lies the one thing that is lacking; sustainability. I would have liked to say otherwise, but there you have it. As a review is a personal view, I don't expect you to believe me on my words. I even encourage you not to and give this band a listen, as I do feel that they have something going for them. When they start writing memorable songs, please count me in!
Visit their website: http://ageoftorment.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/age-of-torment
MySpace: https://myspace.com/ageoftormentbxl

64/100

ASCENSION – Far Beyond The Stars (CD) United Kingdom February 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Speed / Power Metal Running time: 67:32 (Tracks: 11)
ASCENSION is a five-piece melodic Power Metal band from Scotland, England, which exists of Ricki Carnie (vocals), Fraser Edwards (guitar), Stuart Docherty (guitar), Nick Blake (bass) and Dick Gilchrist (drums), and was formed in 2004. Well, the members of the band are influenced by bands such as HELLOWEEN, BLIND GUARDIAN, DRAGONFORCE, GAMMA RAY et cetera. So, now you know what you can expect from ASCENSION. High tech melodic Speed- / Power metal. Well, this debut album "Far Beyond The Stars" was originally released in March of 2012 on a Japanese label. This version is actually a re-release of Limb Music, and was released in October of 2013. Anyway, before this album, the band also had released the 5-track "Alchemy" EP. This re-release version of the album, which was produced by Andy La Roque, features eleven tracks, of which the last one, a cover version of the beautiful ROXETTE classic "Listen To Your Heart", is a bonus track. There are also two instrumentals on this album, which are "Orb Of The Moons" (4:47) and the title track "Far Beyond The Stars" (1:15). The band exists of excellent musicians, and Carnie is a good singer, who can sing high as well. Most of the songs do have a very long running time. The average running time is about six minutes. Well, I have listened several times to this album, but every time I couldn't mention which songs would belong to my favorite tracks. And I think the reason is, that I do get a bit tired of the ultra fast guitar riffs and solos, which in my opinion are a bit too extreme. In fact, that ultra fast stuff begins to irritate. Don't get me wrong, there are absolutely beautiful parts in the songs of this album, but when the pace extremely goes up, I find it all of a sudden a whole lot less. Of course there will be plenty of Metalheads who will like this album, but no, this isn't my thing…..sorry.
Visit their website: http://www.ascension.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ascensionbanduk

67/100

ASHES OF CHAOS – Eye (CD) Italy February 2014 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 64:56 (Tracks: 10)
The musical career of Ashes of Chaos started at the end of 2008. In that time, the band was mainly active as a metal cover band. Shortly after their foundation, the need originated to start writing own songs. However, it took some time before the songs were ready for their debut album “Eye”. In the meanwhile (2011), the band released a demo, called “Demo Concept”. This album was not more than a preview of the whole debut album. It received several good reviews about the composing style of the four songs, despite the low recording quality. The debut which has now been released, was recorded in 2012 and 2013 and has become a concept album. The central theme of “Eye” deals “about a fight of an arbitrary protagonist against the problems in a society of a pre-apocalyptic ambience”. This is quite a heavy theme of course. The album deals with madness but also with hope. These are also the feelings which I got when I listened to the album. The first song (Ashes of Chaos) but also Atmosfear pt. 2 brings me sometimes to madness. I have quite a progressive mind, but the rhythmic alternations are sometimes too much for me. The music is sometimes chaotic and that makes me nervous. However, most of the other songs surprised me. It becomes clear that the band has the potential to write nice progressive metal songs! It is all quite heavy influenced by bands like Dream Theater, Symphony X and Tool, but that doesn`t matter. There are nowadays hardly any bands which are completely unique in my opinion. The songs Mechanical Rage and Awake have become really nice songs and show the potential of the band. I hope that they will continue this line in the future!
Visit their website: http://www.ashesofchaos.com
Recordlabel: http://www.logicillogic.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ashes-of-chaos
MySpace: https://myspace.com/ashesofchaosband

71/100

BROKEN FATE – Rising To The Dream (MCD) Switserland February 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Heavy / Speed Metal Running time: 24:21 (Tracks: 6)
Broken Fate exist since 2006 and have released a couple of demo's before Rising To The Dream. Listening to the songs I can understand why no record company signed them until now. On the other hand, when I see which bands do get the chance to release their music through a label I feel there is a great injustice in Broken Fate not having that chance. They started out playing covers of Metallica and such, and it is easily recognisable that they have taken the right influences with them from that era. The pace of the songs is good. They are quite fast and furious, but never to such extent that they derail. And talking of influences, just listen to the intro of Eternal Memories and to Frozen and dare say you can't hear the resemblance to a certain band. And still, they do sound as their own bosses. You get six songs that rock, creak, rumble and want to make you bang from time to time. Nothing here is life-changing, but it really isn't bad either. I like!
Visit their website: http://www.broken-fate.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.broken-fate.ch
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brokenfate6
MySpace: https://myspace.com/brokenfate6

69/100

BEYOND MORTALITY - Infected Life (CD) Sweden February 2014 Kees Schijven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 34:27 (Tracks: 12)
Swedish Death Metallers BEYOND MORTALITY were originally formed back in 1999 by Anton (drums), Tobias (guitar) and Tony (guitar). In 2001 they released their first demo called “The final chapter of life”, a dark tale about the art of dying. A year later the band released their second eight track demo titled “Dear Boss”, which was influenced by the serial killer Jack the Ripper. Then again in 2004 a third, three track, demo EP “Not meant to last” was released. David Goransson (ex Mark Black) joined in on this release, which was more thrash influenced, but after a few gigs David decided to leave the band. The three original members released a new demo in 2008, as a trio. To get the sound they wanted to achieve, the guys decided to form a bigger band and added Johan Kaiser (ex Mindcollapse) on vocals and Gustav Sundin on bass, in 2009. The music became angrier and faster, and a new demo “Infected Life” was made in 2010, followed by “Suffocation By Fear” in 2011. In 2012 BEYOND MORTALITY signed a pact with Grom records and Wormholedeath Records to release their first full length album. And here it is, named after their 2010 demo; “Infected Life”, recorded in Mathlab studios in Italy during 2012 and mastered by Dan Swano at Unisound studios. The album is a great oldschool thrash influenced death metal album, brutal, extreme and aggressive. Songs like “Exhumed Remains”, “Final Order”, “Aborted” or “Born For The Grave” rip the flesh from your bones, and gives you an idea of what this band is about. Some great extreme metal from Sweden, very enjoyable album, but the question is if they stand out and get noticed in the mass of bands and releases in this genre of metal.
Visit their website: http://www.beyond-mortality.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/beyondmortalityswe

78/100

BLACK MESSIAH - Heimweh (CD) Germany February 2014 Kees Schijven
Style: Pagan / Viking Metal Running time: 51:53 (Tracks: 8)
From Germany, BLACK MESSIAH delivers their 6th. Effort, entitled “Heimweh”. The band was founded in 1992, and stylistically mainly paid tribute to their black metal idols, before finding their own sound. On their debut album “Spectres Of Black Knowledge”, which came out in 1998, their music turned more towards folk and classical elements. In 2005 their second album “Oath Of Warrior” was released, and received very positive feedback and got their name established as one of the more respected bands in the German pagan scene. In 2006 BLACK MESSIAH got signed bij AFM records, and released their third album “Of Myths And Legends”. The band played numerous festival gigs (a.o. Summer Breeze, Ragnarok) and did a European tour with Tyr. The band's fourth album “First War Of The World” came out in 2009, and was their first concept album. The concept aspect was kept up with their fifth release “The Final Journey” in 2012. “Heimweh” is their latest effort, and consists of 7 songs and one intro, on which the band combines blackened pagan metal with folk instrumentation. The whole album is done in their native German language and this suits their music well, except for one song “In The Name Of Ancient Gods”, which is in English language. The album has a very good production and sound, some great songs on it too, like “Nidhogg” or “Wildsau”, and a variation of 'strange' instruments like a violin or tin-whistle. They did a great job, delivering a quality album, although this is not really my cup of tea, I do like the uptempo songs though. But if you are into pagan or folk metal, then you should really give this album a listen, I certainly believe they are in the top of their genre, to compare is difficult, but if I have to name some bands Arkona comes to mind, certainly for the faster songs, while a song like “Heimweh” makes me think more of Lacrimosa. These musicians know what they are doing, and it shows, quality music, no doubt about that, if this is your thing, you probably already are familiar with BLACK MESSIAH, if not, you should!
Visit their website: http://www.black-messiah.de
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/blackmessiah666

80/100

COLOSSUS – Wake (CD) Sweden February 2014 Michel van Hassel
Style: Sludge Metal Running time: 58:35 (Tracks: 9)
This is Colossus's first full-length album. So far they made a demo, “The Mechanical Engineering of Living Machines” in 2009 and released an EP named “Spiritual Myiasis” back in 2011. Colossus is a Swedish trio consisting of Niklas Eriksson (vocals/guitars), Peter Berg (bass) and Thomas Norstedt (drums). When you listen to this album, there is a mix of sludge, stoner, doom, post-metal and progressive rock to be heard. The opening-track, “A Stir From Slumber” starts off like a hearing-play with the sound of rain, footsteps and a car hitting the brakes. The music ranges from very heavy to almost spoken word but overall it has a very catchy vibe to it. The speed is up on “Traitors Gate”. The diversity throughout the song makes this an interesting and challenging track. It goes from fast heavy parts with Eriksson blasting out to slower parts that are more modest. “Reflections of the Arcane” is one of the best tracks on the album. Norstedt pounds his drums big-time throughout this piece whilst Eriksson's voice sounds very intense. The track itself is filled with lots of examples of great guitar playing. Colossus has that special “right in your face” sound you often hear from trios. This can be clearly heard on “Ruinbuilder” as Colossus play as if their lives depend on it. The extremely high intensity with which the songs are played can also be heard clearly on “Pillars of Perennity” that features Lars G. Petrov (Entombed). The outro consists of a kind of mini drum solo. The focus on “Kingdoms” is directed to the drummer. Guest drummer Morgan Ågren (Mats/Morgan Band/Kaipa) contributes to this album in a superb way. For Colission it is great to have some guest musicians on board but in the end these guys don't make the difference as the standard of the songs is high throughout the album. “Suncarrier”, which contains some Indian sounds, is a real killer song. It is built on a very sturdy base delivered by Berg and Norstedt as they lay down a monstrous heavy sound. Weird rhythms, contradictionary playing, and distorted spoken words are the key ingredients for “Cloudhead” as this is not a straightforward track. You need to listen to it several times to appreciate it. To top this album of, Colossus has chosen to end with the longest track, “Fungle Gardens”. This is an eleven minutes long epic song on which Colossus takes the chance to show their musical craftsmanship. Eriksson has a typical voice that is strong en mesmerising. I think this is the reason that throughout the songs one stays very focused. Combine this with the superb musicality of all three members and you get great tracks resulting in a fantastic album
Visit their website: http://www.colossus.se
Recordlabel: http://www.perennityrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/colossusstockholm
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/colossusstockholm

85/100

DANGEREGO – Autopsy (CD) Italy February 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 46:09 (Tracks: 10)
If you are looking for a tad happier version of Soundgarden and/or Audioslave you might want to check out Dangerego. Flavio Angelini's vocals have a slight resemblance to the timbre of his peer, but especially the guitar sound is taken straight from those bands. Autopsy was originally released in 2011 by the band themselves, and now they have a deal rereleased by Atomic Stuff. I'm glad they did, as it is a great pleasure to listen to Dangerego. You mainly get to hear grunge, stoner, hard rock and even an undertone of blues once in a while. It makes the album stand out in a positive way. As an album Autopsy is ideal in a convertible car whilst driving along under the hot sun. It will make you sing and hum along. But most of all it will make you smile, as you often will be able to tell which bands were used as an influence in certain parts. Without ever becoming a copycat or thief of rhythms. That's why Dangerego is right to be proud of Autopsy.
Visit their website: http://www.dangerego.com
Recordlabel: http://www.atomicstuff.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/dangerego
MySpace: https://myspace.com/dangerego

71/100

DIABOLICAL – Neogenesis (CD) Sweden February 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Death Thrash Metal Running time: 55:28 (Tracks: 11)
Diabolical from Sweden is a death thrash band that really needs no introduction in my opinion. This band contains ex- and members from band like Demonical, Centinex, Godphobia and Devian etc. So you can imagine that this is no bullshit band. Active since 1998 under the name Diabolical and released 4 full lengths and a demo, live album and an EP. This is their latest release “ Neogenesis”. 11 tracks of dark and atmospheric death thrash metal. The riffs are very tight but also very technical and filled with progressive parts. And then you got the drums, the are a constant double pounding bass, filled with groove and progressive parts in it. The vocals are grunts that are dark deep, I am really a big fan of his grunts because it really has that true Swedish Gothenburg sounds (and of course I am a big fan of Demonical and Centinex). The only thing that is a bit too much for me is that at a lot atmospheric parts in the songs they also have a choir of female vocals to give it more atmosphere, but for me that doesn`t work. This album is filled with variety and the composing of the songs are really good. When you listen to the entire album it feel like you are taking a journey and can drift away on the insensitivity of the music. I kind of lost track of this band but am really happy that they released a new album because it has everything: insensitivity ,heaviness .fast and furious combined with atmosphere. If you like Swedish death metal then you should definitely give this album a change!
Visit their website: http://diabolical.se
Recordlabel: http://www.vicisolum.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/diabolicalofficial
MySpace: https://myspace.com/religionist

80/100

DISBELIEVER – The Dark Days (CD) Italy February 2014 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Metal Running time: 42:03 (Tracks: 10)
Disbeliever is an Italian band which was founded in 2008 in Pisa. In the beginning, the band consisted only of Yuri Ciampi (guitar), Sacha Ciampi (drums) and Andy Madonia (guiter) but quite soon, Luis McFadden (vocals) and Marco Giampaolini (guitar) joined the band. This line-up is nowadays still intact. In 2010 the band recorded their debut album Soul Divided. This album was released by themselves, but now they have a contract with Wormholedeath. The debut album received good critics and in 20111 the band decided to start writing new songs for a new album This resulted in the release of the album “The Dark Days” at the end of 2013. I have listened the album several times and I have mixed feelings about it. The band has definitely talent and the musicians play their instruments well. However, the music is never really convincing. The opener Endless Dreams is excellent, but the rest of the album “never explodes”. That`s a pity in my opinion. I hope that the next album will sound more inspired, then there will be a nice future for this band.
Visit their website: http://www.disbeliever.it
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com/dreamcell11
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/disbelieverofficial
MySpace: https://myspace.com/disbelieverofficial

70/100

EMBLAZONED – The Living Magisterium (MCD) USA February 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Death Black Metal Running time: 14:24 (Tracks: 5)
Emblazoned from the USA brings death black metal since 1999. This is their new EP released by Deepsend Records in 2013. These guys are well known in the metal scene and played in bands like Jungle Rot, Cyanosis, Decrepit Birth and more. This EP contains 4 (if you count in the first songs which is an instrumental then it is 5) strong and solid blackened death metal. The riffs are fast and filled with groove but they are also technical and filled with old school solos. The drums are very fast and filled with a constant double bass. What I really like about the drums is that is very fast but also has an amazing groove in it. And the sound of the snare is also very full and that gives it a right punch. The vocals are grunts that remind me a bit of Diabolic (the US Diabolic) and that is combined with filthy screams that gives it a very aggressive feeling. The songs are filled with variety and atmosphere but also has a very old school death feeling that sounds great. This is a band that brings you black death metal and nothing more. The worst part of this EP must be the length, because it is way too short!
Visit their website: http://www.youtube.com/user/emblazoned666
Recordlabel: http://www.deepsend.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emblazoned666
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/emblazoned

78/100

EYE OF SOLITUDE – Canto III (CD) United Kingdom February 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Death Doom Metal Running time: 1:06:03 (Tracks: 6)
Eye Of Solitude from the UK is death doom band that definitely deserved there stripes their previous full-length album “Sui Caedere” is a killer album. So my expectations are quit high for this one. And I am definitely not disappointed. The guitar riffs are slow transcending agony and sometimes filled with melody. The drums are straight in your face and slow with and additional blast beat to the more black like parts. Then we have the massive vocals, Deep grunts that pull you through the gutter. The singer has growls that are very deep and agonizing (in a good way). That gives the music a totally dark and evil feeling. They combine it with some clean vocals that also make a good contrast to the music. The production and composing of this album are good and well understandable. This album only contains 6 songs but plays for over an hour. Long and slow transcending death doom that will blow your mind! If you like bands like Ataraxie or Mournful Congregation then you will enjoy this album.
Visit their website: http://www.last.fm/user/eyeofsolitude
Recordlabel: http://www.kaotoxin.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eyeofsolitudeband
MySpace: https://myspace.com/eyeofsolitude

85/100

FEROCITY – The Sovereign (CD) Denmark February 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 40:55 (Tracks: 10)
Ferocity from Denmark brings you death metal straight from the gutter, active since 1995 and still kicking ass. They released three demos and their debut album “Cocoon of Denial” saw the light in 2009. This is their second album and it sounds brutal. Strong and heavy guitar riffs combined with great melodies but not over the top. They sound so massive on guitar that it sometimes even gives it a Fear Factory feeling. The drums are also very tight and filled with double bass and progressive parts in it. And then you got the vocals....Chris Barnes versus Peter Tagtgren in the old days of Cannibal Corpse and Hypocrisy. The composing and variety of the songs are also very good, every song has a great groove that keeps your head moving, they are also not afraid to put an instrumental in the middle of the set and it sounds great very threatening because of the lead and constant solo that even sounds a bit post rock . And then you got the production....really straight in your face. Denmark has had and still has great death metal bands and this is definitely something I dig.
Recordlabel: http://www.deepsend.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ferocity666
MySpace: https://myspace.com/ferocitydk

80/100

HECATE ENTHRONED - Virulent Rapture (CD) United Kingdom February 2014 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Black Metal Running time: 55:28 (Tracks: 11)
After nine years of silence, Hecate Enthroned is back with a new album, called Virulent Rapture. Hecate Enthroned has always been called the younger brother of Cradle of Filth in their early days, but in my opinion, the band deserves much more credits. Their debut album “The Slaughter of Innocence, a Requiem for the Mighty” was quite impressive in my opinion. This album can still be found regularly in my cd player and one of the things that I really liked were the emotional parts. Since the release of the first album, I have followed the band more or less. And now, there is a new release.
Hecate Enthroned is a Welsh symphonic black metal band formed and based in Wrexham. They formed in 1993 as a blackened death metal act under the name Daemonum. In 1995 the band changed its name to their current one and embraced a symphonic black metal style. Virulent Rapture is the fifth release of the band. There have been numerous line-up changes, but there are still members present from the early days like bassist Dylan Hughes and guitarist Nigel Dennen.
I am really impressed about the quality of the songs on Virulent Rapture. It is clear that there has been an evolution in their style. The music is more guitar based than in the past and some death metal elements (riffs and grunts) were added to their symphonic black metal style. In my opinion, this enriches their music and makes it more accessible for not-black metal fans. However, I am still glad that some parts recapture some of the moods from the early beginning. In the black metal scene there has always been a dichotomy between the occult and dark style (like the old Darkthrone for example) and the symphonic style. I do not know if this album will be appreciated by fans of the first group (because it is well produced for example), but the second will definitely like Virulent Rupture. The album has in my opinion one small disadvantage and that is the acoustic song Immateria. I still do not understand the essence of this song, but furthermore Hecate Enthroned has recorded an album which I really can appreciate.
Visit their website: http://www.hecateenthroned.com
Recordlabel: http://www.crankrecord.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hecateenthroned
MySpace: https://myspace.com/wearehecateenthroned

85/100

HUMAN FORTRESS – Raided Land (CD) Germany February 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Epic Melodic Metal Running time: 55:17 (Tracks: 13)
If you make Epic Melodic Metal in the vein that Human Fortress does, you will always be compared to the masters Rhapsody (of Fire). Rest assured, these guys can take that comparison easily and walk away knowing that they have stood the test with ease. Because what you get on Raided Land is of a very high quality. Something that wasn't expected, as only a few years back the overflow of bands trying to emulate the peers made it a musical direction that became too crowded. That meant the lesser bands with only limited talent were preventing the right bands from coming through. Thankfully that time is behind us, so the good bands do get the chance to shine. In Human Fortress's case it is the voice of Gus Monsanto (ex-Timo Tolkki's Revolution Renaissance, Adagio) that gives them that little bit of an extra edge. Because musically this band already has it's act together in a very fine way. What strikes most is the heaviness of the guitars; they shred where they can, sound very heavy where they must and squeal when desired. Not only that, the songs are just plainly good. Yes, all of them. And they have been welded together into an album that hits the bullseye from beginning to end. Raided Land is the right title for it, as these guys will be taking everything in sight. Let's see if the next one will be named Conquered Planet.
Visit their website: https://www.facebook.com/humanfortressofficial
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/humanfortressofficial

81/100

IMPLOSION CIRCLE – The Angry And Enraged (MCD) Switzerland February 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 22:54 (Tracks: 5)
I love thrash metal. The old original stuff as well as the new bands. At least, if they're any good. This isn't your full on fast as possible modern thrash, but the more subtle, old school and thought out version. And musically Implosion Circle is quite acceptable, even good. Vocally however it is a whole different ball game. There are two people throwing out the lyrics on The Angry And The Enraged; guitarist Michi Maierhofer and bassist Mischa Blaser. One has a lower toned voice, the other a higher pitched one. I don't know which is which, but will the latter one please shut up and just play his instrument! My stereo wasn't made to be tormented in this way!! It is that annoying that my pleasure of the music has just faded. Thankfully Implosion Circle also has long instrumental parts, and they save the day for me.
Visit their website: http://www.implosioncircle.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.implosioncircle.ch
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/implosioncircle
MySpace: https://myspace.com/implosioncircle

63/100

JACK STARR feat. RHETT FORRESTER – Out of the Darkness (CD) USA February 2014 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 58:43 (Tracks: 16)
The Jack Starr chapter is a huge deal for heavy metal music. He has offered us countless unique moments with Virgin Steele, Guardians of the Flame, Burning Starr and his solo career. Out of the Darkness was his first solo effort right after his departure from Virgin Steele in 1983. Back then he recruited the legendary Rods rhythm section (Garry Bordonaro and Carl Canedy) and the unforgettable Riot singer Rhett Forrester. The result was a flaming hot heavy metal album with scorchers like “Concrete Warrior”, “Eyes of Fire”, “Wild in the Streets” and many more. The chemistry between Forrester and Starr simply blows the roof to smithereens. Their two unique and distinctive styles combined, crafted an album destined to be a classic. LMP brings back this treasure amped with a remaster by R.D. Liapakis and a truckload of bonus songs! Don't miss it!!!
Visit their website: http://www.jackstarr.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/limbmusic

86/100

KB36 – Fish Eat Fish (CD) Russia February 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Rock Running time: 53:42 (Tracks: 12)
Strange one to review, this Fish Eat Fish album. KB36 is pure rock, most of the time not even really heavy. Exceptions like Life Vest are a rarity here. KB36 sound like no-one else I know, but also have the knack to sound quite familiar. Think of a less energetic and humorous Bloodhound Gang, mixed with some subtle elements of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Even a bit of light ska/reggae is added at several occasions. These Russians don't set my heart racing, but I don't turn off the album either, as the music on offer is actually quite good. The reason why is that is regularly reminds of some of the greats. Not only the mentioned ones, but also Eric Clapton. End Of The Road could have straight out of his pen. These guys know what they're doing, and they do it quite well. I have enjoyed this more than I would have expected beforehand. If you're looking for a quieter time once in a while KB36 might just be the thing for you.
Visit their website: http://www.kb36rockband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.kb36rockband.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KB36rockband

72/100

KILLFACE – Feeding The Dead (CD) Ireland February 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash Death Metal Running time: 37:11 (Tracks: 9)
Killface from Ireland brings you death thrash since 2008. After relasing an EP in 2010 they released this full length last year and it gives me a mixed feeling. Nine tracks of music that is so filled with different kinds of music that it is difficult to give it a definition. So here we go haha. The guitar riffs are tight in vain of bands Like Dew Scented for the thrash riffs but also has the brutalness of bands like Aborted (but not that well executed). The drums are very furious and filled with blasts but also some really cool groove parts. The vocals are grunts combined with light screams that give it a great aggression.The production is good but also not the best I heard. Overall this is what we can call a band that likes more styles and they mix that well in their music. This album is an independent release so order a copy through their site and give it a try!
Visit their website: http://killface.bandcamp.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/killfaceirl
MySpace: https://myspace.com/killfaceband

70/100

KLONT!! – The Brutal One / Torsokiller (CDemos) The Netherlands February 2014 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Brutal Death Metal Running time: 9:41 (4 tracks) & 12:34 (6 tracks)
Aaaaaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh what do we have here? Two demo cd's from this new cult hailing from the south of the Netherlands. “The Brutal One” is their first one and contains four songs that embark the word brutal. It's not rare in the death metal scene to hear incessant bragging about "brutality". Death metal bands such as Disgorge, as well as several deathcore bands (from some sad, lost individuals, who will go unnamed here...), and often those who simply use the term "heavy" are chastised. "Heavy? This shit is brutal, you fool!!", they will often be saying. This is unfortunate, as this implies that any group of four (or three, in some cases J) people with a beefy guitar tone can paint a painting of a barren landscape, in which thousands of human beings are being crucified, underneath a cloudy, red sky, simply by rehearsing several simple notes layed neatly underneath guttural pig squeals and lyrics about breaking stuff. This is all well and good, but in the end, the product is far from engaging, or memorable I, however, see things totally differently. To me, brutality is a type of atmosphere. To me, brutal is a very full, "huge" sound, with murky production and sinister riffs. Things that for sure can be heard on the first demo cd “The Brutal One” Because of the use of a drum computer the songs are sometimes a little bit monotonous on this first demo cd. I know the band is searching for a drummer of real flesh and blood so that problem may be solved in the near future. Because of the drum computer the riffs and overall sound does get a little industrial feel underneath it. Dr. Psykow (guitars) played in an Industrial band (HOER) 100 years ago so this (maybe) explains the industrial influences in the songwriting.
The vocals from the Embalmer conclude why I was always a bigger fan of Chris Barnes than of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. They go way deeper than your normal grunts but without being monotonous his voice is varied enough also because of the use of high pitched screams. These four songs on “The Brutal one” have paved the way for the new demo cd which is released in October 2013. 'Torsokiller” immediately sounds more improving. With a better production more adventurous guitar riffs and a drum computer that is not that much in the foreground as on the debut this is a fine improvement. “Bluebeardkiller” (hello Pungent Stench!!) and “The Death of A Thousand Children” are my favorite tracks here because they contain strong refrains and very diverse vocals. Oh yeah, had I already mentioned that the lyrics deal about serial killers? The Embalmer knows more about them than Corporate Death of Macabre so be warned…
MySpace: http://www.facebook/klontmetal

69/79/100

LIGHTLESS MOOR – The Poem (CD) Italy February 2014 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 50:18 (Tracks: 8)
Lightless Moor comes from Italy and is formed in 2005. In 2006 they released their first ep “Renewal”. Vocalist Ilaria Falchi wanted to create a gothic metal band following old productions of bands of that background, but with a personal and more complex reinterpretation on the melodies and riffs. And so I can go on naming all the things she wanted but therefore I refer to their site or booklet. Being not familiar with their ep I hope for her she has succeed in all the things she wanted with this debut “The Poem”. The album brings gothic metal with a dark edge mixed with symphonic elements. “The Lyrics of the Journey” opens pretty cool and offers enough variation. Follower “Chained to a Dismal Chant” starts like thrash metal then turns into dramatic and later on returns to heavy stuff, so this I can appreciate much. “Arabian Nights” offers fine vocal Beauty and the Beast duels and is also powerful and energetic. The bands magnum opus is the 12 minute epic “Overwhelming Darkness” and it's a good one because it doesn't get dull and keeps you're attention. Further on the level increases a bit but for a debut it isn't bad. The female high region vocals of Illaria sometimes tend to forgery and that's a pity. Some work to be done but that doesn't bother. “The Poem” is an acceptable debut album, the band has the ideas and the musical skills so I'm wondering what their next one will bring.
Visit their website: http://www.lightlessmoor.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lightlessmoor
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lightlessmoor

72/100

LUCID DREAM – The Eleventh Illusion (CD) Italy February 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 60:29 (Tracks: 13)
In October of 2011 I reviewed the first album "Visions From Cosmos 11" of Italian band LUCID DREAM, the band around guitarist Simone Terigi. That album, which got 77 out of 100 points, was my first acquaintance with LUCID DREAM. And in April of 2012, I also reviewed the solo album "Rock Meditations" of SIMONE TERIGI for MMM. Now in front of me I have the second album of LUCID DREAM, which is titled "The Eleventh Illusion". The line-up of the band still exists of Alessio Calandriello (vocals), Simone Terigi (guitar), Gianluca Eroico (bass) and Paolo Raffo (drums). The debut album had 9 songs, well, this second album features 13 tracks. The album starts with the very short intro "The Gates Of Shadow" (0:27), followed by the fantastic "Evolution" (5:09). The band still plays classic progressive Hard Rock / 80's Rock. The fourth track, "River Drained" (6:13), is a quiet ballad, which also features a saxophone solo of Paolo Firpe, and is just nice. Especially on the great "The Lightseeker" (8:07), Terigi's guitar work again sounds like mister JOE SATRIANI. He's just a fantastic guitarist. And like I also wrote in my review of "Visions From Cosmos 11", Calandriello is a good singer, who can sing really high (think of Geddy Lee of RUSH). "Connections" (1:14) is just a short instrumental guitar intro for "Two Suns In The Sunrise" (5:31), which is also a quiet song. The next one, "The Song Of The Beyond (Acoustic Reprise Of The Beyond)" (2:57) is also a quiet one, which in my opinion is a bit less. And the last two tracks, which are the instrumental "The Pulse Of Infinity" (3:13) and "The Way Of 7M" (3:49), which is a kind of told story in Italian by Beatrice Schiaffino, could have been omitted, if I have to be honest. So, to me, the best songs on this second LUCID DREAM album are "Evolution", "Leave Me Alone", the superb "The Lightseeker" (8:07), "Back To Cosmos 11" (5:26), "Black" (6:58) and the title track "The Eleventh Illusion" (6:09). Nevertheless, "The Eleventh Illusion" is still a nice album. But please guys, don't put such crap like "The Pulse Of Infinity" and "The Way Of 7M" on your next album.'
Visit their website: http://www.luciddream.it

74/100

LUCID DREAMS – Lucid Dreams (CD) Norway February 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Metal / Progressive Metal Running time: 46:13 (Tracks: 12)
From Norway comes LUCID DREAMS, a 6-piece band that was formed in 2007. The band exists of Frederik Sindsen (vocals), Rune Gutuen (guitar), Adne Olastuen Brandas (guitar, backing vocals), Jan-Erik Lysø (bass), Rune Hagen (drums) and Thorleif Østmoe (keyboards, backing vocals). Well, LUCID DREAMS really surprised me with their self titled debut album “Lucid Dreams”. The band plays a mixture of Melodic Hard Rock / Metal, with some progressive influences as well. The album, which was fantastically produced by guitarist Rune Gutuen, starts with the short intro “Introduction” (0:47), followed by the fantastic “Cassie's Escape” (3:27). LUCID DREAMS exists off excellent musicians, and man….what a great singer Frederik Sindsen is. The band writes fantastic songs. Musically I hear influences of WHITESNAKE, VAN HALEN, JORN, DREAM THEATER, to name a few. “Daisy Dukes”, which is the first single of the album, is the most commercial sounding song, and reminds me very much of VAN HALEN. The track "Lucid Dream" (5:01) is a beautiful semi-ballad, which ends with a progressive part. Another ballad on "Lucid Dreams" is "Light In The Sky" (4:20). Actually, I enjoyed this album very much. In my opinion there isn't any weak song on this CD. This fantastic debut album is absolutely a real recommendation. So, check it out yourself and listen to great songs such as "Cassie's Dream", "For Your Love" (4:30), "Stormy" (5:19), "Take Me Away" (4:15), "Wanton Conquest" (3:19) and "When I Die" (4:47). Great work guys. Strange that LUCID DREAMS, with their musical quality, isn't signed yet by a label.
Visit their website: http://www.luciddreamsband.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/luciddreamsrocks

87/100

LUCID DREAMING – The Chronicles Pt. 1 (CD) Germany February 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Power Metal Running time: 76:12 (Tracks: 11)
Well, this month's update of MMM, there's, besides this review of LUCID DREAMING, also a review from LUCID DREAM (Italy) and of LUCID DREAMS (Norway). Anyway, LUCID DREAMING is a project from ELVENPATH guitarist Till Oberboßel, which was formed in 2012. Personally I'm not familiar with ELVENPATH, so I didn't know what to expect of this LUCID DREAMING project. Anyway, "The Chronicles Pt. 1" is a concept album, which features 11 tracks. The idea behind this concept album is to tell a fantasy story with the voices of some of the most extraordinary singers of the (underground) Metal scene. The vocalists who cooperate on this first LUCID DREAMING album are Alexx Stahl (ROXXCALIBUR, MASTERS OF DISGUISE), Chris Marino (SCARLATYNA), Dragutin Kremenovic (ELVENPATH), Eve Kreuzer (ILLUSORIA), Jason Conde-Houston (SKELATOR), Jordan Cutajar (NOMAD SON, FRENZYMONO), Jutta Weinhold (ex-ZED YAGO, JUTTA WEINHOLD BAND), Jvo Julmy (ex-EMERALD, DISTANT PAST), Leo Stivala (FORSAKEN, ex-REFLECTION), Ruth Knepel (OPALESSENCE) and Thassilo Herbert (DRAGONSFIRE). I don't know if Till Oberboßel also plays, besides guitar, the bass and drums on this album! Altogether "The Chronicles Pt.1" is just a nice metal album. I've listened several times to it, but I don't have specific favorites.I have to admit that I am not familiar with most of the guest singers on this album. And I don't have the information, which singer sings which song (or songs). But I have to say that Oberboßel has found some fantastic singers for this album. The longest track on this album is "To Caer Dathyl" (11:34), and all the other songs do have a running time between 6:02 and 8:04 minutes. Well, this is part 1 of "The Chronicles", so I guess there will come a part 2 as well. Like I already said above, "The Chronicles Pt. 1" is nothing more than just a nice average metal album.
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/luciddreamingmetal/info

70/100

MASADA – Hideous Rot (MCD) USA February 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 14:47:00 (Tracks: 5)
Masada from the USA brings you death metal since 2008. They released a demo in 2011 and this is their first and latest EP. Five tracks of well thought of and executed technical death metal. The first thing i thought when i putted this disc in my player was hmm that sounds like a crappy demo, but after 30 seconds that changed definitely for me. These guys play old school death metal in vain of bands like Death, Gorguts and many more bands. The riffs are technical and tight but also contain a great groove. The same goes for the drums, straight in your face And very basic but with a lot of up tempo groove. The vocals are grunts that sometimes have a Carcass ring to it. The composing of the songs are also straight in your face and filled with variety. The production is old school, raw but well listenable in my opinion. The only thing that I really do not like is the second song which is a kind of instrumental song with flutes that reminds you of asia and Jethro Tull but then very annoying. Especially the vocals that are on the song that sounds like someone that is breathing heavy and is very annoying. But never the less...the other songs are very technical and good!
Visit their website: http://masada.bandcamp.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/masadadasam
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/masadadasam

70/100

MASTERS OF DISGUISE – Back With a Vengeance (CD) USA / Germany February 2014 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 43:05 (Tracks: 10)
Masters of Disguise is actually the cover band Roxxcalibur (coming from the ashes of the power metal band Viron) and also the guys who backed Christian Logue in his brief Savage Grace reincarnation so the references in musical style, band name and album cover are obvious. In my opinion there are two ways to go concerning Masters of Disguise and Back with a Vengeance. The one is to see them as a speed power metal band which delivers some interesting headbanging tunes and the other one is to get somehow disappointed because the band tries very hard to touch the untouchable. Savage Grace and Master of Disguise is a sacred peak of this music and its feeling and music cannot be reproduced. So I was a bit thrown off with the album's starting point. Back with a Vengeance/Never Surrender is an obvious reproduction of Lion's Roar/Bound to be Free. I was definitely going towards the second way. But then I had a change of mind and tried to see Masters of Disguise as a band like everybody else so that I wouldn't misjudge their effort and hard work. Back with a Vengeance has some very interested moments, well executed and can appeal to the fans of power and speed metal. Give it a try and see which way you are going to choose...
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/limbmusic

71/100

MEDUSA'S CHILD – Damnatio Memoriae (MCD) Switzerland February 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Power Metal Running time: 19:54 (Tracks: 4)
MEDUSA'S CHILD is a five-piece melodic Power Metal band from Switzerland, which was formed in 1999. The band has released the following products so far: the full length debut album "Awake" (2000), the EP "Blue Roses" (2001), the second album "Immortal" (2003) and the third album "Damnatio Memoriae" (2010). Well, what I've got to review for MMM is a four-track promo of the band's album "Damnatio Memoriae" (which contains 16 tracks). Actually, it's a bit strange (and dated) to review something which already has been released in 2010. Anyway, the line-up of MEDUSA'S CHILD exists of Crow (vocals), Cyrill (guitar), Toni (guitar), Marcus (bass) and Adrian (drums). The songs on this promo disc are "Unchained Soul" (5:58), "Children Of The Sun" (5:35), "Destiny" (4:07) and "The Old Men Say" (4:13). By listening to these four songs, the band reminded me immediately of our own Dutch metallers of LORD VOLTURE (especially with "Children Of The Sun"). The band exists of excellent musicians, and Crow is a nice singer. The last track, "The Old Men Say" is a ballad with piano, and sounds nice, but personally I prefer the first three songs. And my favourite track of these four songs is without a doubt "Children Of The Sun". Once again, it's a bit strange to review a promo EP of 2010 in 2014, because maybe some readers of MMM who are familiar with MEDUSA'S CHILD, already have the entire album.
Visit their website: http://www.medusaschild.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/medusaschild
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/medusaschild

70/100

MONSTRAAT – Monstraat (CD) Sweden February 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Raw Black Metal Running time: 24:59 (Tracks: 10)
Monstraat from Sweden brings you raw black metal in its purest form. Forged in from hell in 2000 and released 2 demos and their debut album saw the light in 2013. Ten tracks of dark ravenous black metal in vain of Darkthrone, Pest and Gehenna. The songs are short but evil. Typical nineties black metal riffs with a great groove and dark spirit. The drums are typical black, not the best that i ever heard but it gives it a very evil feeling. The screams are very raw but also reminds me sometimes of Burzum. The production of this album is exactly what you want from a band that plays raw black metal. Everything well listenable and dusty. The variety in the songs are also well done, sometimes it is abit black and roll but mostly evil and dark black. What I like the most about this album is that it only contains 25 minutes of torment and after that you feel like putting it on again. If you are into black metal that is not over the top produced and filled with the melodies of these days then you will enjoy this album.
Visit their website: http://www.youtube.com/channel/ucgeo
Recordlabel: http://www.fallentemple.pl
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/monstraat/1442366162659509

72/100

NACOM – Crawling Human Souls (CD) Italy February 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 47:29 (Tracks: 10)
Nacom from Italy is a melodic death metal band with progressive influences. They have been active since 2004 and released 2 demo's. This is their debut album and it kicks ass. Ten tracks of well thought off and well balanced music. The guitar riffs are very catchy but also very progressive and filled with melody and solos. It reminds me sometimes of Fear Factory because of the tightness. But the you get the melody and fastness that brings it to another level. The drums are fast and furious but also very progressive.The keyboards are very well in balance and give it a good vibe. The vocals are grunts that are very deep combined with screams that go through you like a knife. The production and composing of the songs are really good. This band brings you really well balanced progressive death metal with a dose of melody that I really enjoy. There isn`t one thing on this album that gets me bored. Well done!
Visit their website: http://www.nacomband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nacomband
MySpace: https://myspace.com/nacom.band

80/100

NASHVILLE PUSSY – Up The Dosage (CD) USA February 2014 Frans Neelen
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 38:11 (Tracks: 13)
Ready for some sleazy, heavy grooving, boot stompin', ass kickin', southern fried rock and roll? Then listen to this busters! Nashville Pussy is back with a bang presenting this splendid Up The Dosage. After 4 years finally some new stuff and I can say it's their best until now. In these 4 years they toured a lot with for example Supersuckers and their heroes ZZ Top. Well, that certainly can be heard, because they sound tighter than ever. With new lady Bonnie Buitrago on bass who replaced Karen Cuda during touring in 2012 they again deliver a fine mixture of AC/DC, Ted Nugent, ZZ Top and Motörhead. From the brilliant opener “Everybody's Fault But Mine” till the “sounding more like AC/DC then AC/DC themselves” closer “Pussy's Not A Dirty Word” they fire all cylinders on their self called “Back in Black” opus. Is it that good then? Well, it won't become that kind of classic because I guess for million selling albums the days are gone, but yeah man, this rocks and lyrically it's pretty hilarious, yet true. Ruyter Suys accelerates with razor sharp riffs and catchy hooks, while the rhythm section pumps and grooves. Masterly decadent rockers like the formerly mentioned tracks together with “Rub it to Death”, “Pillbilly Blues” and the awesome “White And Loud” are alternated with the like bluegrass/country sounding “Hooray for Cocaine, Hooray for Tennessee” and the acoustic honky tonk sound of “Before the Drugs Wear Off”. Worth to mention are the outstanding grooving tittle track and the hardcore sounding “Taking it Easy” with Ruyter or Bonnie on vocal duty. With it's 47 seconds it's way too short and that counts for the whole album. Never mind, just fire it on again. Great, dirty, filthy record just the way we rockers like it! Highly recommended.
Visit their website: http://www.nashvillepussy.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nashville-pussy

88/100

NORHOD – The Blazing Lily (CD) Italy February 2014 Frans Neelen
Style: Symphonic Gothic Metal Running time: 45:07 (Tracks: 11)
Again a Wormhole Death Italian Symphonic Gothic release. It seems this label has some nose for this kind of production and specific Italian ones. Norhod comes from Lucca, Tuscany and is formed in 2009 as a 4 piece band. After some line up changes their current line up since 2011 consists of 7 musicians and is stable up till now. In the beginning of 2012 they released their debut ep “Ariarnhod” which contains 5 songs that are also (in re-arranged/re-recorded versions) present on this full length debut album together with 6 new songs. The band comes up with a bit typical symphonic gothic songs with slight folky influences in the best Beauty meets the Beast tradition. Like most Italian bands the thing is that it's all done and heard before. That's a pity because musically and technically this young band is more promising than most of their genre colleagues and certain their fellow country ones. The female angelic vocals by Clara maybe are a bit too fragile as the male grunts by Jev are rough enough but need some variation. If the constantly high vocal region is your cup of tea than you can skip this remark by the way. It's just a matter of opinion because Clara can sing, that's for certain. When you are into the early days of this genre and like bands as Theatre of Tragedy and the first album of Epica for example than you'll have a fine day listening to this. It's all pretty professional made stuff but sometimes a bit too sweet, it's all a bit too exactly between the lines. For me it lacks a bit of pepper, a bit like let it go, rock you're heart out. Nevertheless a promising debut from a young band and that makes curious for the future. Highlights are “Fading in the Dark”, “Doomed to Oblivion”, Creatures” and “Through the Forest”.
Visit their website: http://www.norhod.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/norhod

70/100

PORTALL - King of the Mad (CD) The Netherlands February 2014 Kees Schijven
Style: Death / Thrash Metal Running time: 54:27 (Tracks: 11)
From Zwolle, PORTALL started out February 2003, when Peter (lead guitar) joined Jeffrey (bass), Rutger (vocals/guitar) and Jeroen (drums), who were already playing together. After Peter joined them, the band started writing new material, heavier and more intense then before Peter came in. During 2003 the band recorded 2 demo's, the band started to play live more and more, and even won several band competitions, which led to more gigs. In 2005 they won the metalbattle, which gave them the opportunity to record their first EP titled “In the Absence of Light”. This started to get their name known, and they ended second in the Aardschok's Metalbash that same year. The years after that the band played several dutch and Belgian festivals, and builds up a bigger reputation. In January 2009 PORTALL releases their debut album “Code Black” on Freebird Records. And now here is their follow up album “King of the Mad”, which they choose to bring out on their own. I can tell you they did a hell of a job, superb production, a really heavy thrashing sound, which does right to their music. The album is full of straight forward Death/Thrash metal, where the death metal part consist mostly in the vocals, brutal, sometimes screaming voice of Rutger. The music on the other hand, heavy riffing thrash metal, sometimes more technical, and other times more melodic, but all very well done. Some songs got me even thinking of Testament during their “Low” period. Great killer songs like 'Transgression”, “Dead Man Walking” or “Dark and desolate”, this album is full with them, unfortunately I'm not familiar with their previous material but this one I definitely like! Check this band out for yourselves!
Visit their website: http://www.portall.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/portallmetal

82/100

SATURDAY OVERDOSE – Eat My Dust (MCD) Italy February 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Sleaze Rock Running time: 22:15 (Tracks: 5)
SATURDAY OVERDOSE is a completely unknown band to me. The band comes from Italy and was formed in 2007 as just OVERDOSE. The four members Enrico "Bosco": Boschiazzo (vocals, keyboards), Andrea "Serve" Servetti (guitar), Andrea "Pana" Panaro (bass, backing vocals) and Filipp "Kocks" Galli (drums, backing vocals), started by playing covers at school parties. In 2008 they already split, and reformed again in 2009. And since that moment, the band name became SATURDAY OVERDOSE. And since March of 2013, the band has a rhythm guitarist as their fifth member. Well, this is a nice EP. The band plays 80's inspired Hard Rock / Sleaze Rock, and reminds musically very much of GUNS 'N ROSES. Especially when you hear the guitar solos of Andrea Servetti, who seems to be influenced very much by Slash. I don't have anything negative to mention about this "Eat My Dust" EP. "Free Bones", "Don't Care About The Rain", "Fallin' Apart", "Anthem For A Dream" and "Fucking Mustang" are all very nice songs. So, if you like Hard Rock / Sleaz Rock, give this band a try by checking them out.
Recordlabel: http://www.streetsymphonies.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/saturdayoverdose

70/100

SETA – Interferenze (CD) Italy February 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 44:48 (Tracks: 11)
Some bands are unknown for a reason. Seta is one of those. Interferenze is a heavy metal album that just doesn't have any bite. It is old fashioned hard and heavy rock, with keyboards, but that's not a problem. That lies in the production, which is quite flat, resulting in the songs not being displayed to their full potential. And that's a pity, because every now and then you do get the feeling that Seta have something to say. A little more attention to detail in the songwriting might have helped them. Also apparently the lyrics are quite strong, but the Italian language will not be everyone's strongest point and/or acquired taste. Maybe this is all a bit too negative, but unfortunately it's what it is. Just not a very strong album.
Visit their website: http://www.setaofficial.com
Recordlabel: http://www.atomicstuff.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/setaofficial

56/100

SKAPT AV SKOG – Skapt Av Skog (MCD) Norway February 2014 William Nijhof
Style: Raw Black Metal Running time: 10:47 (Tracks: 3)
Skapt Av Skog from Norway is a black metal band that existed in the mid 90`s and got disbanded before they ever released a debut. Fallen Temple (label) found some old recording and released it in 2013. Well this is old school indeed...strong and typical Norwegian black metal from the nineties. Filthy and raw riffs that are grooving and reminds me about the essential black band from that time. The drums are straight in your face and filled with blasts and up tempo beats. The vocals are very evil and mesmerizing screams. It sounds filthy and very mystical, think of Darkthrone and old Bathory. The songs have a great atmosphere and the production is like the nineties. Very true and dusty. If this band would have still existed they would probably be called cult black metal. This MCD only contains three songs but it is well worth to get and put in your CD player and turn up the volume. This is a treasure of the old days.
Recordlabel: http://www.fallentemple.pl

75/100

SUPERHORRORFUCK – Death Becomes Us (CD) Italy February 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Glam / Sleaze Rock Running time: 39:16 (Tracks: 12)
First of all, what a band name, SUPERHORRORFUCK. Anyway, SUPERHORRORFUCK is an Italian five piece band (the band picture shows us 4 members), that currently exists of Dr. Freak (vocals), Deadly Bucks (guitar), Izzy Wyldhell (guitar), Mr. 4 (bass) and Franky Voltage (drums), who are playing Glam- / Sleaze Rock with a Horror touch. "Death Becomes Her" is the band's third album, and was still recorded by the old line-up which existed of Dr. Freak (vocals), Paghalloween (lead guitar), Sgt. Anubis (rhythm guitar), Mr. 4 (bass) and Littlebomb (drums). Before this third album, SUPERHORRORFUCK released their debut album "Horrorchy" (2008), "Livingdeadstars" (2010) and the 4 track EP "Gore-Geous" (2012). Well, I never had heard of SUPERHORRORFUCK before, so "Death Becomes Us" is my first acquaintance with the band. And I must say, it's a very nice acquaintance, because this is a very delicious and catchy sounding Sleaze/Glam album. All members wear colorful make-up on their faces, and are excellent musicians. I assume that the band produced the album themselves. If so, they did a fine job, because the production sounds very good. In the meantime, this album has made a lot of spins in my CD player. And it will visit it more often I guess. The last track on the album, "Holy Zombie (Holly Bullshit remix)", is a bonus track. There are also guest appearances of members from LONDON BASED HELLFIRE CLUB and EASY TRIGGER on this album ("Break Your Shit" and "Holly Zombie (Holly Bullshit remix)". Well, the songs which I like the most are "Dead World I Live In" (2:52), "Down At The Graveyard" (3:09), "Voodoo Holiday" (3:22), "Threesome With The Dead" (3:55), "Break Your Shit" (1:35) and "Headless Groupie" (3:01). My conclusion is that "Death Becomes Us" is a good album and is a real recommendation to all who are into Sleaze and Glam Rock.
Visit their website: http://www.superhorrorfuck.net
Recordlabel: http://www.logicillogic.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/superhorrorfuck
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/superhorrorfuck

77/100

TAD MOROSE - Revenant (CD) Sweden February 2014 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 52:13 (Tracks: 12)
Well, Swedish Metallers Tad Morose have returned to the front after an absence of 10 years. Tad Morose has always been a guarantee for solid Heavy/Power Metal with a melodic touch in the finest Judas Priest/Metal Church (Mike Howe arera)/Obsession tradition. Former albums like the fantastic 'Modus Vivendi” with Urban Breed handling the vocals surprisingly didn't deliver the well deserved fame and fortune, but I guess that's what they call “the time wasn't right for it”. Urban Breed's no longer in the band but his follow up Ronny Hemlin also knows how to deliver a damn fine piece of Power Metal vocals. His powerful vocals with a fine rough edge reminds of Mike Howe or Tim “Ripper” Owens so in this genre he fits in perfectly.
Further on, gladly nothing really has changed musically. If you are into melodic US Power Metal than you can get this one blindly. A big plus is the superb production which results in a fantastic metal sound. Technically brilliant, opener “Beneath a Veil of Crying Souls” immediately grabs you by the balls and don't let go. Also the tracks “Follow”, “Babylon”, “Within a Dream”, “Absence of Light” , “Timeless Dreaming” and “Millennium Lie” provide the best you can find in Heavy/Power Metal. Melodic, powerful, bombastic, varied stuff with a razor sharp dark edge that cuts like a knife. Swedish craftsmanship in optima forma. The only small minor I can come up with is that some tracks may need some auditions before they're hammered in your head. Not a real surprising album, but definitely a damn good one. Great welcome back album and hope this time they get what they deserve.
Visit their website: http://www.tadmorose.se
Recordlabel: http://www.despotzrecords.se
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tadmorose
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tadmorose

85/100

THRASHBACK – Possessed By Thrash (CD) France February 2014 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 32:02 (Tracks: 10)
THRASHBACK is an old school Thrash Metal band from France, which was formed in 2012 by three ex-members of EVIL ONE. After EVIL ONE did have too much line-up problems, Fabien 'Speed' Cortiana (vocals, drums), Freddy Bouteloup (guitar) and Didier 'Le Gorg' Latour (bass) decided to start a new band, which became THRASHBACK. “Possessed By Thrash” is the debut album of the band, which is released by Emanes Metal Records. The album features 10 old school Thrash metal songs, of which the last track is a cover version of EXCITER's “Pounding Metal” (from the “Violence & Force” (1984) album). And even Dan Beehler (ex-EXCITER, BEEHLER) is doing special guest vocals on that one. About the rest of the songs on this debut album, well, these are mainly influenced by EXODUS. “Possessed By Thrash” was produced by Marc Varez (VULCAIN) and sounds very good. The mastering of the disc was done by mister Jeff Waters of ANNIHILATOR. Okay, it's all not sounding very original and renewing, but it's not sounding bad either. Let's say “Possessed By Thrash” is just a good average Thrash Metal album. I'm sure “Possessed By Thrash” will visit my CD player so now and then. The songs which I like the most are “Bombers Of Death” (3:07), “Box Of Power” (4:02), “Wardance” (3:20) and “Thrashback” (3:12). And the least track of this album, is in my opinion “Feast For The Dogs” (3:11). Any Thrash fanatic should check this album out, I'm sure you will like it as well.
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/oldschoolthrashback

72/100

TRUTH CORRODED – The Savious Slain (CD) Australia February 2014 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Death / Thrash Metal Running time: 49:53 (Tracks: 12)
If you want to stand out in the current thrash era, you need to be exceptionally good. That is quite a feat in a genre that is so densely populated that every angle has been covered more than a dozen times. Even when you add death metal into the mix, you'll struggle to be accepted as exceptional. It doesn't matter how good you are, you will only become a cut above the rest by advertising and selling yourself as good as possible. I sincerely hope these Aussies will be able to do just that, because The Saviours Slain is a really pleasant album. Nice and fast with a great mix of thrash and death metal. Strong lyrics, well thought out rhythms, breaks and beats and a voice that makes it all come together. The reason the whole album is strong is because the cohesion between all songs is so good that is makes The Saviours Slain flow the right way. And because Truth Corroded know their boundaries, and steer within them all the time, whilst trying to find the edges of sanity whenever they can. There is no faulting the production either, as everything played is distinguishable in detail. Just put on a pair of headphones, and you will feel your brain implode. Truth Corroded will undoubtedly strike it big in their home country, but I do hope there are others on the other continents that will pick up on them.
Visit their website: http://www.truthcorroded.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/truthcorroded
MySpace: https://myspace.com/truthcorroded

84/100

VALKYRE – Our Glorious Demise (CD) Belgium February 2014 Frans Neelen
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 39:51 (Tracks: 10)
Belgium has a name to hold up in female fronted bands. They've got some damn fine bands in all different kinds of heavy genres like Bliksem, Hell City, Manic Movement, Azylya, Nightqueen and I can come up with many more. Also one of the most mighty powerful female voices in rock Magali Luyten comes from this little country so let's hear what this melodic metal band Valkyre with Claudia Michelutti handling the microphone has to offer. “Stories” opens nice and easy but evolves in a fierce powerful rocker. The guitar riffs are great, the rhytmsection tight and powerful and the guitar solo's are truly fantastic. Musically and technically it's all high standard. Also the production offers a very good, enjoyable sound.
The clean vocals of Claudia fit in well and she delivers an adequate job. Her voice is pretty in hearing but sometimes a bit more variation is welcome. Nevertheless in “Will You Be There” she sounds fantastic. “Call of the Valkyre” and “A Good Day To Die” are smooth, energetic rockers with again fantastic guitar play. The album also offers more understated tracks like the beauty's “I Am Here” and “Walk My Love” and mid tempo rockers like “Mother” and “Consolamentum”. Overall you can classify this album as a fierce version of Kingfisher Sky. There are enough tracks which could be picked up for airplay despite (or thanks to) the heavy underground. A very good rocking debut. Belgium again can add a fine metal product to their catalogue. Let's hope we can speak of A Glorious Rise instead of A Glorious Demise.
Visit their website: http://www.valkyremusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.facebook.com/vaklyrierising
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/valkyremusic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/valkyresounds

82/100

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