CD & DVD REVIEWS 2008

CD & DVD REVIEWS 2008

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DECEMBER

ARTAS – The Healing (CD) Austria December 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Death / Thrash Metal Running time: 51:02 (Tracks: 13)
Artas is a new band in the metal scene that exists since 2005. This is their debut album and I must say that it sounds really great. This band makes a raw mix between death and thrash metal which is quiet original for a band from Austria because the most bands play black or heavy metal. All the songs have a great variety in them and the production is great. All the songs are very groovy and have a drive in it that absolutely moves your head. The guitar riffs are very technical and thrashy. The drums are pounding through every song and sound very good. The vocals are screams and a very hearable grunt combined with clean vocals. The funny part of this band is that they even have a cover (Coolio's 'Gangsta`s Paradise') not my thing but this sounds great. If you like bands that don't play the mainstream metal you're going to love this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/artasmetal

75/100

A THOUSAND YEARS SLAVERY - A Fury named Spartan (MCD) Switzerland December 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Death Metal Running time: 23:19 (Tracks: 6)
This is the debut ep from these five guys from the Montreux area in Switzerland. And it`s a very good one. It`s very well played death metal / deathcore.Very aggressive death grunts by Roan Emele with very good clean vocals that give it something extra. I also like the nice melodies and the fact that it`s all up tempo. Guitarists Laurent Maffli and Cedric Dardenne certainly know what they are doing. Although the beginning of the third song and the end of the second song sound alike. It was hard to tell where one ended and the other begun. And I don`t understand why they recorded the fourth song: 'une etoile incandescente'. It`s an acoustic song with only whispered vocals and it doesn`t add anything to this ep. Too bad. But this is a very good ep and I can`t wait to hear the full length cd that will come in the shops next year.
Recordlabel: http://www.conatusrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/athousandyearsslavery

82/100

BREAKER – Peace Love Death (CD) USA December 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 54:40 (Tracks: 12)
Ohio metal legends Breaker have been around since the early 80ies. Their "Get Tough" album on Auburn records has become a classic but they never had the chance to shine. Suffering numerous difficulties they have managed to release some stuff throughout these years like mini cds or live albums but no new full length appeared in sight. Things are starting to get different though. "Peace Love Death" comes as a prelude to the band's new studio album! This cd is divided in 3 parts. The first one contains 4 new songs, the second one contains 4 cover versions and the third one contains live versions of old and new songs.
The new songs show the new face of Breaker. Vocalist Jim Hamar has been replaced by Greg Wagner (Shatter Messiah) who is less melodic than his predecessor but sounds louder. "Black Light Ark" is a groovy song that didn't impress me. "Satellite Dog" is inferior. It sounds like an indifferent rock song. "Luck and Gasoline" is a fine Breaker tune though. Fast paced and guitar driven. "One Thin Line" is the heavier song. It sounds Breaker enough but still nothing special. I have to admit that I am having trouble getting used to Breaker without Jim's voice…
The covers are "Too Much of Nothing" by UFO (featuring Pete Way), "To Hell and Back Again" by Saxon, "Pictured Life" by Scorpions and of course "Breaker" by Accept. All four are very decent versions done with respect. The last two feature Jim on vocals. The live versions have good sound. Overall this is a fans only release. Those who like Breaker should invest. The rest of you just wait for the new album.
Recordlabel: http://www.auburnrecords.com

72/100

CHARING CROSS – We Are…Charing Cross (CD) Switzerland December 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 54:38 (Tracks: 12)
CHARING CROSS is a Swiss band who started way back in the late eighties. But the band was marked by many line-up changes, so this year (on August 29th) they finally released their first full length album, which is simply titled "We Are…Charing Cross". After so many line-up changes the line-up on this debut album is Peter Hochuli (vocals), Pascal Zwyssig (guitars), Andy Dormann (guitars), Markus Flury (bass) and Tommy Pfiffner (drums). Well, this album is just a few months released and there is already another change in the band, because drummer Pfiffner has left the band because of personal circumstances. Anyway, "We Are…Charing Cross", which is produced by the band itself, features twelve melodic metal songs which are just nice, and that's all. Peter Hochuli is a moderate singer. But when he sings higher, he's not always singing in tune. I think he sometimes is trying to sound like Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween) or so. The begin riff of "Palace Of Fate" reminds me very much of BUDGIE's "Breadfan" (which is also covered by METALLICA). Though the band exists of good musicians, the songs of the band are not really notable to me. Perhaps it's hard to say, but CHARING CROSS is just a moderate metal band. I don't think they will be successful here in Holland.
Visit their website: http://www.charing-cross.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/charingcross

70/100

CORONATUS – Porta Obscura (CD) Germany December 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 54:38 (Tracks: 13)
Very uncommon so far to see a band with no less than two frontladies, of which one is a rock singer and the other one an operatic singer. This band got a steady line-up in 2004; this release is their second one so far, though. Released through Massacre, the band got a huge exposure and lots of shows throughout Europe. Their style is said to be leaning towards Nightwish. About time for me to find out.
Well…yes and no. One can indeed recognise pieces that resemble Nightwish, but I also hear some Epica and Edenbridge elements , yet the band has developed their own style. The voice mix of the two frontladies is quite unique and refreshing. Guitarwork is quite good for this genre, although I must emphasize that the band uses the keyboards in a way that I have not heard before; the keys have their own role in the music and is not so much a "wall" behind the other musicians. The music as a whole has a bombastic feel, and I think these guys and girls can appeal to a wider gothic audience. Production is very heavy (thanks to Finnvox studios). Go and grab this one.
Visit their website: http://www.coronatus,net
Recordlabel: http://www.massacre-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coronatus

82/100

COTTON SOETERBOEK BAND – Twisted (CD) USA / The Netherlands December 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Bluesy Hard Rock Running time: 31:03 (Tracks: 9)
The Cotton Soeterboek Band was formed when guitarist Alan Cotton (Maestro Alex Gregory) was searching a charismatic front man to launch his new band. With Holland born vocalist Robert Soeterboek (Ayreon, Wicked Sensation, Vulture), they both succeeded writing some interesting songs. In 2006 they already released their s/t EP, and after that they soon went back in the studio with drummer Reynold Carlson (Driver, Rob Rock), bassist Mike Davis (Rob Halford Band) and keyboardist Joost van den Broek (After Forever) to begin recording "Twisted". Later, fellow Dutch bassist Wim Den Boer and drummer Wilfried Broekman officially joined the band. What we get here on "Twisted" is a mix of 70's British hard rock (Uriah Heep, early Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Free, UFO) and U.S. southern rock (Lynyrd Skynyrd). A lot of Jon Lord's inspired organ from Joost, the bluesy Coverdale/Mogg-ish vocals of Robert, and short Schenker-ish guitar solo's from Alan. Every classic hard rock fan will like "Twisted" a lot!
Visit their website: http://www.cottonsoeterboekband.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cottonsoeterboekband

82/100

CROWN OF THORNS – Faith (CD) USA December 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Rock / Poprock Running time: 47:49 (Tracks: 11)
CROWN OF THORNS is the band around singer Jean Beauvoir. Believe it or not, but Beauvoir started his career as the bass player in the legendary punk rock band THE PLASMATICS (with Wendy O' Williams (R.I.P.) on vocals) in the early eighties. With THE PLASMATICS he recorded two albums, "New Hope For The Wretched" (1980) and "Beyond The Valley Of 1984" (1981). He was also notable because of being a black man with a white Mohawk. Anyway, after THE PLASMATICS he joined LITTLE STEVEN to play bass first and then as a guitarist. He also co-wrote songs for bands like KISS, THE RAMONES, JOHN WAITE and lots more. In the early nineties Beauvoir formed CROWN OF THORNS, with whom he has released the following albums so far: "Crown Of Thorns" (1994), "Breakthrough" (1995), "Lost Cathedral" (1998), "Destiny Unknown" (2000) and "Karma" (2002). In 2007 Beauvoir connected Frontiers Records for a release of a brand new album. And that new album, which features 11 songs and is titled "Faith", was released in September of this year. The line-up of CROWN OF THORNS is Jean Beauvoir (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Tommy Lafferty (lead & rhythm guitar), Michael Paige (bass) and Hawk Lopez (drums). First of all "Faith" opens very strongly with the title track, which has a very great riff. But secondly, there are just to many soft pop rock songs and ballads on this album, like "The One", "Believe Me", "All I Wanna Do" and "All Or Nothing". Don't get me wrong, those songs are not bad, but I like to hear more fantastic rock songs like "Faith" or "All In My Head". The longest track on the album is the beautiful semi ballad "Living In The Shadows". Beauvoir produced the album himself and it sounds very good. Also he's a very good singer, no doubt about it. But the most interesting rock songs are "Faith", "Home Again", "Rock Ready", "All In My Head" and of course "Living In The Shadows". "Faith" is a nice album, but hopefully the next one will be harder.
Visit their website: http://www.crownofthorns.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crownofthornsusa

73/100

CUSTARD – Forces Remain (CD) Germany December 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Power Metal Running time: 59:45 (Tracks: 13)
CUSTARD is a German Power Metal band and was formed in 1987. They started as a fun-project, and as usual like many other bands, also CUSTARD has had several line-up changes. So far they have released the demo "Signa Inferre" (1997), a 4 track EP "God Of Storm" (1998), and the full length albums "Kingdoms Of Your Life" (1999), "For My King" (2000) and "Wheels Of Time" (2005). So "Forces Remain" is just the fourth album of CUSTARD in their long existence. The line-up on this album exists of Olli Strasser (vocals), Robert Resinek (guitar), Carsten Reichhart (guitar), Michael Marquardt (bass) and Chris Klapper (drums). Only Marquardt and Klapper are the two remaining founding members of the band. "Forces Remains" features 13 tracks and starts with an intro "Ancient Views" followed by the fast "The Dragonslayer". Well, personally I don't know the earlier albums of CUSTARD, so I also can't tell you how their former singers Michael Marquardt (who besides playing bass also sung on the demo, EP and the first album) and Guido Brieke sounded. But newcomer Strasser reminds me the most of Warrel Dane (SANCTUARY, NEVERMORE) and a bit of Michael Kiske (HELLOWEEN, KISKE). He's a very good singer anyway. Hopefully he's the definite singer for the band. Also the other band members are real good musicians. Musically CUSTARD reminds me of bands like SANCTUARY (not so strange), HELLOWEEN ("Heaven Strikes") and even a bit JUDAS PRIEST sometimes.
My favourite tracks of "Forces Remain" are "The Dragonslayer", "Creature", "Heaven Strikes", "Poke The Flames", "Warcraft" and "Final Stand". Between all those power metal songs there's also one ballad on the album, which is the nice "Kind Of Peace". All with all, "Forces Remains" is a very good and interesting album which I really can recommend to true metal lovers. CUSTARD could easily fit on the bill of Mario's Metal Meeting III in 2009. So check them out.
Visit their website: http://www.custard.de
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/custardmetal

81/100

DARK ILLUSION – Promo 2008 (Promo CD) Sweden December 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Heavy Metal Running time: 7:59 (Tracks: 2)
Dark Illusion started out in the early eighties. They struggled on for a few years but eventually split in '85, after releasing 2 demo's. However, in 2003 Tomas Hultqvist and Niklas Tengblad, two of the original members, reunited and began to work on some songs of which appeared 3 on the "For Just Another Night" single. It already featured singer extraordinaire Thomas Vikstrm on vocals and the single was received very well, both in Sweden and abroad. Inspired by the success of that single, Dark Illusion went back in the studio and began to work on their "Beyond The Shadows" album, containing original songs from the 80's and 90's. Late 2005 saw the release of this album. Once again very well received, especially in Germany and Japan. Now they return with a 2 track promo single. On this single are the songs "Running Out Of Time" and "Only The Strong Will Survive". It are 2 fast melodic heavy metal songs, reminding me a lot of 80's bands like Saxon, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. But also other Swedish metal bands like HammerFall, Dream Evil and (early) Nocturnal Rites come to mind. Great double bass drums, magnificent vocals from Thomas, melodic choruses and awesome guitar playing/solo's; what else a metal head wants?!? Later this year or early next year they plan to release their second album "Where The Eagles Fly".
Visit their website: http://www.darkillusion.se
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkillusionswe

93/100

DAWN OF WINTER – The Peaceful Dead (CD) Germany December 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style:Traditional Doom Metal Running time: 56:04 (Tracks: 10)
Dawn of Winter (pre- Cemetery) are a long time running doom metal band from the south of Germany. Although not frequently bringing out new material recently (this is just the bands second full length) there are quite a few demo's and ep's from the nineties that are put on vinyl by former label Iron Glory records in 2003. This new album "The Peaceful Dead" brings them back on the doom map with the help from Massacre records.
I haven't heard material from the earlier releases but I don't think it will differ much from the sound heard on this album. Dawn of Winter plays traditional doom metal in the vein of Candlemass. Knittel also known for his vocal performances with german power metalers Sacred Steel tries his best to sound exactly like Messiah. Now Sacred Steel are also known as a band you either love or hate (mainly due to the vocal capacities of Mr. Knittel). Unfortunately it's very annoying to listen to the poor man through this whole recording. There is not much wrong with the music though. Surely nothing new, a little repetitive and boring at times. But I can't say that there aren't some good song structures on the album. For example: "The Throne of Isolation" which begins as a ballad and has a great guitar solo in the middle. The guitar sound is a really big plus on the album. So if you love doom metal the traditional way this album is maybe something for you. To me the vocals bring back the overall score to below average. On the other hand if you like the vocals you can easily count 25 points to the overall score.
Visit their website: http://www.dawnofwinter.de
Recordlabel: http://www.massacre-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dawnofwinter

55/100

DEMIGOD – Let Chaos Prevail (CD) Finland December 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Death Metal. Running time: 40:25 (Tracks: 10)
Is there an album that is more "cult" than the debut album "Slumber of Sullen Eyes" from Demigod? I don't think so. That album, released in 1992 has always been one of the pinnacles in my collection. Be sure to check that one out if you like early death metal from Finland with some technical aspects. It has been re-released by their label xtreem music so it is not necessary to pay the usury prices on public sale sites. The band took 10! Years to come with a follow up to this classic album. "Shadow Mechanics" showed a band that was aware of the changed musical scene in the new millennium. Sure, there were some old school influences on that record but the band also tried new things with acoustic guitar parts, clean sung parts and the most important thing thrash parts woven into the music. Something that also can be heard on the new record "Let Chaos Prevail". You can say that this is nice mixture of death and thrash metal with technical aspects. "To see the last one Die" even has some later Death parts in it while "Self- Caged" begins as a more straight forward death metal song but outcomes in a fantastic melodic guitar part in the middle of the song. I also like the sound of the bass which is clearly presented in the songs especially in "The Uncrowned". So Demigod surely has reason to exist in 2008. Unfortunately the band thought not so because on the 9th of November the band decided to split up.
Visit their website: http://www.demigod.tv
Recordlabel: http://www.xtreemmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/demigodband

85/100

DIGNITY – Project Destiny (CD) Austria / Sweden December 2008 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 42:04 (Tracks: 9)
Dignity was formed in 2006 by drummer Roland Navratil and keyboard player Frank Pitters. Roland played in the Austrian band Edenbridge, but after releasing six albums with this band, he wanted a new challenge. Nowadays, Dignity consists of five band members from Austria and Sweden and they have released their debut album "Project Destiny". It took one and a half year to complete "Project Destiny", especially the recruitment of a powerful vocalist took much time. They tried out numerous of vocalists and in the person of Jake E. (DREANLAND), who comes from Sweden, they have found a good singer. The intriguing artwork of "Project Destiny" has been made by the columbian artist Felipe Machado.
Dignity shows with this album that they have the potential to grow to a leading position in this genre. "Project Destiny" contains 9 goods songs with a lot of variation. Especially Martin Mayr, who has a degree in guitar studies, can convince me on this album. But I have to say that the other band members achieve a high level. Almost all songs are arranged by the different band members except the last song. "Don`t pay the Ferryman" has been written by Chris de Burgh, known from the famous "Lady in Red". My personal favorite is the second song, "Arrogance And Rapture" where all the good elements of this album come together. On their website, Dignity announces that they are working on a tour schedule, it is it worth to visit this band!
Visit their website: http://www.dignityband.com
Recordlabel: http://www. napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dignityband

77/100

FAITH FACTOR – Against a Darkened Sky (CD) USA December 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Christian US Metal Running time: 54:25 (Tracks: 10)
Last year I already reviewed the debut EP (07/07/07) of this Christian metal band formed by ex-Deadly Blessing vocalist Norman "Ski" Kiersznowski. I was hilarious about this EP and was looking out very much to hear some new stuff from the band. A few weeks ago the band played the Keep it True 11 festival in Wurzburg, Germany, and the band also live kicked some serious ass!! Singer Ski gave me this album after the show so I could review it for MMM.
After hearing the intro it already striked me that this new album has, again, a very moderate production which is to my opinion not necessary in today's studios? Pity because it lowers the overall opinion/rate of the album a lot. The first song "Keep it True" is dedicated to the largest underground festival in the world; The German Keep it True festival. A nice song but a bit to standard to me, especially because the band names their music 'progressive powermetal'. This song sounds as true (metal) as the songtitle already says and has not 1 progressive element in it. Luckily after this song the band is playing more interesting songs which do have some progressive parts in it. Fact is that my expectations where much higher after their great debut EP. Musically its all okay and Ski is still one of the best metalsingers on earth but as a total I'm a bit disappointed in this album.
After several listenings I need to tell that this is an album that "grows" and that's one of the reasons that I still give it a good rate. Hopefully the next album will have a better production and I also hope that the songwriting will increase.
Favorite songs; "The Rapture", "In God's Shadow", 'Ascend into Heaven' & "Divine Temptations".
Visit their website: http://www.faithfactorband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/faithfactorrocks

80/100

FROM THE INSIDE – Visions (CD) United Kingdom December 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 57:28 (Tracks: 12)
FROM THE INSIDE started as a studio project of Danny Vaughn (TYKETTO, WAYSTED, VAUGHN). Besides FROM THE INSIDE, Vaughn has also released two solo albums, which are "Standing Alone" (2002) and "Traveller" (2007). The self titled debut album of FROM THE INSIDE was released in 2004 and now four years later there's the successor "Visions". Well, this second album "Visions" is a real recommendation for anyone who's into melodic rock. Believe me, there's just no weak song on "Visions". All songs are great compositions. Danny Vaughn is a fantastic singer and on this album he's assisted by Jimi Bell (HOUSE OF LORDS) on guitar, Fabrizio Grossi (bass), Eric Ragno (keyboards) and Peter Lobo (drums). The album is produced by Grossi and sounds very good. On a few tracks, like "Making Waves", "Days Of Hunger" and the ballads "One More Night In Heaven", "If It's Not Love" and the title track "Visions", FROM THE INSIDE reminds me very much of JOURNEY. And also Vaughn sounds very much like Steve Perry too on these songs. But tracks like "Light Years", "Making Waves", "Listen To Your Heart", "21st Century", "Days Of Hunger" and "Moment To Moment" are all brilliant AOR songs. So if you like high quality melodic rock music and bands like JOURNEY, TYKETTO and SIGNAL, I'm sure you will like "Visions" very much. It's an excellent album.
Visit their website: http://www.dannyvaughn.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vaughnband

88/100

GIRLSCHOOL – Legacy (CD) United Kingdom December 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 50:44 (Tracks: 15)
The longest existing all-girl band GIRLSCHOOL is having their 30th anniversary this year and they are celebrating it with a new album called "Legacy". During their long career GIRLSCHOOL had a lot of line-up changes, but since 2000 the current line-up exists of Kim McAuliffe (rhythm guitar & vocals), Jackie Chambers (lead guitar), Enid Williams (bass & vocals) and Denise Dufort (drums). Jackie Chambers joined the band in 2000 as the replacement for original lead guitarist Kelly Johnson (who died on July 15th, 2007). And because of their 30th anniversary they got some friends showed up who are singing or playing on some tracks. You can hear guitarists J.J. French (on "Spend Spend Spend") and Eddie Ojeda (on "Don't Mess Around") of TWISTED SISTER. MOTÖRHEAD guitarist Phil Campbell plays lead guitar on "Whole New World" and "Just Another Day". Neil Murray (WHITESNAKE, BLACK SABBATH, GARY MOORE etc.) is playing bass on "Whole New World" and "Legend". And not to forget Lemmy, who's singing and playing bass on the last track of the album, called "Don't Talk To Me" (track 12). And these ladies also recorded a MOTÖRHEAD cover, which is the classic "Metropolis". And believe it or not, original MOTÖRHEAD guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke (also FASTWAY) is doing the guitar solo on it. "Legacy" also features three bonus tracks, which are "I Spy" (this bonus version is with Ronnie James Dio on vocals and Tony Iommi (BLACK SABBATH) is doing the guitar solo), "London" and a re-recording of their own classic "Emergency" (of their classic debut album "Demolition"). My favourite songs of "Legacy" are the strong opening track "Everything's The Same", both versions of "I Spy", "Legend", "Metropolis", "From The Other Side", "London" and "Don't Talk To Me". And of course their own "Emergency" still is a great song. All with all, "Legacy" is a nice album, but it's absolutely not GIRLSCHOOL's best. To me "Demolition" (1980), "Hit And Run" (1981) and "Screaming Blue Murder" (1982) are still my favourite albums by these very sympathetic ladies. Go see them live if you can, because they still play a lot of old classics.
Visit their website: http://www.girlschool.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.wackenrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/girlschool1

78/100

HONEYMOON SUITE – Clifton Hill (CD) Canada December 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / AOR Running time: 40:34 (Tracks: 11)
So far I never had anything of Canadian rock band HONEYMOON SUITE. I never took the chance to listen to one of their earlier albums. I only knew them of the album covers "The Big Prize" (1986) and "Racing After Midnight" (1988). And it seems their self titled debut album of 1984 and "The Big Prize" are real classics in the AOR genre. Anyway, "Clifton Hill" is the seventh studio album of HONEYMOON SUITE, and it's my first acquaintance with the band. The original line-up of the band is together again since 2007 and exists of Johnnie Dee (vocals), Derry Grehan (guitar), Gary Lalonde (bass), Dave Betts (drums) and Ray Coburn (keyboards). "Clifton Hill" is produced by Tom Treumuth, who also produced the debut album of the band, and contains nicely sounding melodic rock songs like "She Ain't Alright", "Riffola" (great guitar riff), "The House" and the commercial "Tired O Waitin' On You". Also the ballad "Ordinary" is a beautiful song and belongs to one of the best tracks of the album. So my conclusion is that only the first half of the album is the strongest. The songs on the second half of the album is much less. But the band exists of good musicians. Grehan is a fantastic guitarist and also Dee is a very good singer. Well, to me "Clifton Hill" is a just a nice melodic rock album. But I can't tell you if it comes to the level of the first two or three albums, because I simply don't know them.
Visit their website: http://www.honeymoonsuite.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hmsuite

77/100

HUMAN ZOO – Precious Time (CD) Germany December 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 52:06 (Tracks: 13)
Some two years ago, this very same album (less the extras) was already released as the debut of Human Zoo, of whom I remember hearing their last year release "Over The Horizon", which I found to be an excellent rock album. The band from Balingen (known for the Bang Your Head festival) or the record company felt the need for a re-release; apparently, distribution problems were the reason behind it.
The big question is if this debut is as good as "Over The Horizon"; well….not really. In comparison with their second album, mentioned above, the compositions are mediocre and less pounding. I hear too much influences of other bands and too little originality. Even the ballad "In The Rain" disappoints me, while rockbands are generally very good at making rockballads. Despite the good production by Dennis Ward, this album will probably not re-appear in my cd player. I will stick to "Over The Horizon" because it is much more mature than this album.
Visit their website: http://www.humanzoo-music.de
Recordlabel: http://www.bob-media.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/humanzooband

65/100

JOE LYNN TURNER – Live in Germany (CD) USA December 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 73:08 (Tracks: 13)
Some people are legends. They have forged their own legacy, carving their names on the book of music history with golden letters. Joe Lynn Turner is one of them. His huge work with legends like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Y.J. Malmsteen, Brazen Abbot and so many more is a testimony to the statement above. This album is his first live recording under his own name (Live in Tokyo was under the HTP moniker) and could simply function as a best of compilation. "Street of Dreams", "I surrender", "Spotlight Kid", "Stone Cold" plus a cover of the Purple classic "Burn" are some of the songs included. Mr. Turner sings selected cuts from his entire career and delivers some fine performances. Who cares if he can't reach the highest notes like in the old days? This man can sing like no other and his distinctive voice gives the songs the push they need in order to become classics. The sound is great and so are the musicians that accompany Mr. Turner. I believe that all the Turner maniacs all over the world will go for this one. I can't find a single reason why they shouldn't.
Visit their website: http://www.joelynnturner.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/joelynnturner

87/100

JPL – Retrospections Volume I (CD) France December 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Rock Running time: 53:49 (Tracks: 12)
Jean Pierre Louveton is the guitarplayer of the new French progrock band Nemo. In 1987 JP discovered the guitar and taught himself to play on it. Soon JP started to write many compositions, playing in several bands and released 3 solo albums, this brandnew compilation cd "Retrospections Volume I" is his fourth. JP wrote lots of material between 1991 and 1997 which he put on this cd, along with two new compositions. On two of the 12 tracks JP sings, the rest is instrumental. On JP's new cd, we can enjoy varied and tastefully arranged songs. JP often plays powerful guitar, but sometimes also more mellow. His guitar parts range from swinging and powerful, till a blend of jazz and funk, till dreamy and acoustic. As influences JP refers to Michael Schenker, Steve Vai and David Gilmour, but in my opinion he also sounds as a softer version of Patrick Rondat. If you like prog rock and instrumental guitar releases, this is a cd to check out!
Visit their website: http://www.jplouveton.com
Recordlabel: http://www.quadrifonic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jplouveton

81/100

KAMPFAR – Heimgang (CD) Norway December 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Pagan Folklore Black Metal Running time: 47:05 (Tracks: 10)
With their former album "Kvass" Kampfar returned to the scene after years of silence. While in the past Kampfar was the band of vocalist Dolk and guitarist Thomas on this new album "Heimgang" (which roughly translates itself through: the path between our world and the underworld) the two other members Jon and II13 contribute more to the sound of Kampfar. So to say, Kampfar is a real band now. But can this be heard in the songwriting on the latest opus? Has Kampfar changed a lot? The answer is: no. The main difference with its processor is the quality of the songs. While "Ravenheart" was the outstanding song on the "Kvass" and the other songs were very good (don't get me wrong here) the new ones are all fantastic! There is no "Ravenheart" on this album but the album as a whole is much better. When I turn on the album I honestly can't stop listening. From the fast opening tune "Inferno" which is already an instant live classic to the last song "Vettekult" which has a fantastic monotous riff, that never gets boring. This album is a must have for the fans of Kampfar. To the people who are not familiar with Kampfar. The band plays a mixture of Norwegian folklore and black metal in a totally unique way. No it's not your average Ensiferum and Korpiklaanii stuff with happy melodies and the typical boasting. Kampfar's sound is rooted much deeper in the vast forest. On the outskirts of the forest all is safe but in the heart of the forest things are more mystical and dangerous. That's where you can find Kampfar…
Visit their website: http://www.kampfar.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/norsepagans

89/100

KARMAKANIC – Who`s the Boss in the Factory (CD) Sweden December 2008 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 55:30 (Tracks: 6)
Karmakanic was founded in 1999 by Jonas Reingold, who is known as bass player from the well known The Flower Kings. During that days, Reingold wrote a couple of songs which developed into the concept album "Entering the Spectra", and Karmakanic was born. This band is more than a side project for him, whenever he has the time, he devotes himself to the group.
Nowadays, Karmakanic consists of five core musicians with guests coming and going. On this album, the band had the availability of Tomas Bodin, who also plays in The Flower Kings, on the keyboards, Theo Travis (who worked with Robert Fripp) on Saxophone, Lelo Nika on accordion and Andy Tillson (The Tangent) on the organ and synthesizers. "Who`s the Boss in the Factory" is the band`s third album, they previously released the concept album "Entering the Spectra" in 2002 and "Wheel of Life" in 2004. In 2004, they toured shortly trough Europe to promote "Wheel of Life". The new album was recorded and partially mixed at Reinsgold`s own studio.
"Who`s the Boss in the Factory" starts with the 20-minute epic "Send a message from the Heart". This song is in my opinion the best song of the album. It contains progressive parts which are alternated by calm parts with pretty melodies. The fourth song, "Two Blocks from the Edge" distinguishes itself by the use of the saxophone during the refrains. This gives a fresh touch to this song. The songs "Eternally Pt:1 and "Eternally Pt:2" are devoted tho Reingolds parents, who died last year in a tragic car accident. With this knowledge, you listen from another point of view to these songs. "Who`s the Boss in the Factory" is a good album which could appeal to all progrock fans who like music like Spock`s Beard and the Flower Kings!
Visit their website: http://www.reingoldmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.insideout.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jonasreingold

85/100

KATAPLEXIA – Supreme Authority (CD) Finland December 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Brutal Death Metal Running time: 33:40 (Tracks: 9)
Kataplexia started terrorizing the metal scene since 2003 and released their first album that year. This is their third and I must say it sounds fucking brutal. The guitar riffs are fast and technical. The drums are very fast and straight in your face. The vocals are very Miss Piggy and a great low and deep grunt. This band is not original but kicks ass.
Visit their website: http://www.kataplexia.com
Recordlabel: http://www.xtreemmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kataplexia

70/100

KATRA – Beast Within (CD) Finland December 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 49:00 (Tracks: 12)
Katra started out in 2006, when vocalist Katra Solopuro aligned with several musicians, who had formerly played in bands such as Lovex, My Fate, Nocturn, Minerva and Sonicmind. Bass player Johannes and guitarist Kristian had already made a name with dark metal band Nocturn, with whom they released an album in the early nineties. After their departure from Nocturn, Johannes and Kristian played a varied mix of styles including pop, metal, rock and even jazz. As such, both musicians command a high level of musical expertise, which can be heard in Katra, according to their bio that is. Frontlady Katra Solopuro began her carreer as a background vocalist for Essentia and Loves. Classical singing and piano lessons were also a part of her curriculum. The renowned finnish producer Risto Asikainen brought the band into his studio and worked with them on the first Katra tracks. Inspired and encouragedby the aura of professionalism tied to this experience, the band was able to reach new heights of performance and musicality. Katra's first single 'Sahara' became a huge radio hit and was followed by their self-titled debut album in the spring of 2007. A tour of Finland followed, and shortly after that they got noticed by Napalm Records, who signed them. This release is their second album 'Beast Within', and my first thought was, is Tarja back with Nightwish? But no, it was Katra singing, how many beautiful girls are there in Finland who sing like this?! Well anyway, the music is a bit more classical than Nightwish, but nevertheless great stuff. Katra has a great voice, and knows how to use it, to give each song depth and sincerity. Furthermore on the album you will find classic rock instrumentation, tender harmonies, and also some piano parts in these varied compositions. Sometimes even kind of Arabic vocal sounds like in 'Flow', this is Gothic with some folk influences, catchy songs and sensual ballads, to call it metal is a little overstatement, but since lots of metal lovers are also into this kind of music. To compare it with other bands I could name Xandria for instance, it's more on the softer side, bands like (old) Nightwish, After Forever or Epica are a lot heavier, more metal, and some using grunts and all in it, you won't find that with Katra, nevertheless it certainly is a great album (except for the voice-overs, but that's just my promo version).
Visit their website: http://www.katra.fi
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/katramusic

80/100

MICHAEL VESCERA – A Sign of Things to Come (CD) USA December 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 46:14 (Tracks: 12)
I believe that all Mario's Metal Mania readers already know who Mr. Vescera is. In case somebody doesn't, let's summarise his great career. Mike Vescera kicked of his career with the U.S. heavy power metal band Obsession. After the release of one EP and 2 LPs the band called it quits and Vescera fronted Japanese legends Loudness, guitar wizard Y.J. Malmsteen, German virtuoso Roland Grapow, American shredder Joe Stump and his Reign of Terror band and also recorded albums with Killing Machine, Safe Heaven, Dr. Sin, his personal band called MVP and several others before reforming Obsession for a killer comeback album a couple of years ago.
"A Sign of Things to Come" is the first album under the Vescera moniker. Most songs included where conceived in the recent past for an exclusive Japanese release. For the purpose of this album he has gathered many musicians from bands like House of Lords, Obsession, Malmsteen and X-Factor-X plus a couple of young and talented guitarists. The result is stunning. 12 songs in the Obsession - Reign of Terror vein with the unmistakeable and standard high quality Vescera performances. After a couple of spins you won't be able to get these choruses out of your head. There are no "winner" songs. The album functions as a whole. For all the ones out there who are seeking the finest melodic heavy metal with power metal overtones; this one is for ya!
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mikevescera

86/100

MOONGARDEN – Songs from the Lighthouse (CD) Italy December 2008 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 71:06 (Tracks: 10)
Moongarden is not a newcomer is the scene. The band started out in the early 90's. "Songs from the Lighthouse" is their fifth album. All through the years Cristiano Roversi (keyboards, Chapman stick) is the figure-head being the creative mastermind and the only original member that has survived all changes. On this release he is joined by original singer Simone Baldini Tosi who only sung on the debut-album "Moonsadness" (1993). After the debut-album Moongarden released "Brainstorm of Emptyness"(1995) , "The Gates of Omega"(2000) and "Round Midnight "(2004). Through the years there were some changes in the line-up resulting in the one that recorded "Songs from the Lighthouse". Besides Cristiano and Simone the line-up consists of Marco Tafelli (guitars, violin) , Mirko Tagliasacchi (bass) and Maurizio Di Tollo (drums). On the song "That Child" there is an guest-appearance by Andy Tillison (The Tangent) The opening-track "My Darkside" consists of atmospheric elements combined with bass, guitars and keyboards competing throughout the song. The longest song on the album "Solaris " has some Eastern elements and also a deformed voice. The most important part of this song is the mega-guitar-solo that is played with extreme passion. (beautiful !!!) "Emotionaut" is a short song with some "Porcupine Tree" influences inside. Andy Tillison and Simone Baldini Tosi compete vocally on "That Child" which turns heavy in the middle of the song. The song "Dreamlord" starts relaxed and dreamy but builds up towards the end with all instruments painting a blanket of sound. "Southampton Railroad" offers modest singing combined with some keys and percussion. The second instrumental "Sonya in search of the moon (part 5) " refers to Genesis and features the extreme craftsmanship that Cristiano Roversi has to offer on keyboards. The final song "The Lighthouse Song" offers the complete range of sounds from very mellow to powerful and is a good way to end this album although I think the voice of Tosi on this song is the weaker part. This album is a very mature effort performed by excellent musicians. Besides that there are also two things to be mentioned. One is that the album is co-released by Galileo Records (www.galileo-records.com) and the other is that the beautiful artwork is made by Ed Unitsky (www.edunitsky.com)
Visit their website: http://www.moongardenweb.com
Recordlabel: http://www.progrockrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/moongardenband

82/100

MYRKVAR – Als een Woeste Horde (CD) The Netherlands December 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Folk / Viking metal. Running time: 49:12 (Tracks: 9)
For fans of Heidevolk says their bio. I doubt it if bands like it when labels make comparisons like this. Definitely in the case of Myrkvar, a band that has been grown out of the ashes of the black metal band Lord Astoroth who come from the same region as Heidevolk. The chance exists that you'll always be the little brother of that band. I know that it is easy for labels to compare their bands with bands playing the same style but I doubt it if the band will like it when it is your next door neighbour. Anyway on this new album "Een Woeste Horde" the folk influences are added for the first time. While the other (demo) releases are more black metal based. You can now speak of Folk/Viking metal with black metal influences. This resulting in some tracks which are dark and dramatic sounding, because of the use of the violin and also the blastbeats in some parts that remind the listener of the early black metal days. While on the other tracks the band sounds "happier" like there colleagues in bands such as Korpiklaanii and Eluveitie.
The production is something I'm not that happy about. It doesn't sound too clean which is a good thing because you wouldn't like to hear your on "history" based music with a clinical sound. Still the guitar sound is much too thin. I know the band only has one guitar player so on the stage you can't do much about that. In the studio this is a different story though. It's easy to give the music some extra layers here. The lyrics are all sung in Dutch and I think this is something the band can improve a bit. Some songs contain lyrics with a real story about historic facts while others only tell the well known tales from the battle field. Tell us more about that historic facts in the future please. You'll be taken much more seriously then. I doubt it of Myrkvar can contribute something to this overcrowded scene. The ideas are o.k. and there is definitely some room to grow on the next album. So we'll see…
Visit their website: http://www.myrkvar.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.shiver-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/myrkvar

68/100

NIGHT RANGER – Rockin' Shibuya 2007 (2 CD) USA December 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: CD1 50:22 (Tracks: 10) / CD2 53:06 (Tracks: 10)
In the eighties NIGHT RANGER was a very successful melocic Hard Rock band with albums like "Dawn Patrol" (1982), "Midnight Madness" (1983), "Seven Wishes" (1985), "Big Life" (1987) and "Man In Motion" (1988). And I never forget when I heard the first song on "Dawn Patrol", which is the mighty "Don't Tell Me You Love Me" (still a killer riff). That song blew me away, and until today it's still one of my favourite NR songs ever, together with other classics like "Sing Me Away", "Rumours In The Air", "Night Ranger", "Why Does Love Have To Change", "Young Girl In Love", "Seven Wishes", "Sister Christian", "Big Life", "When You Close Your Eyes" and of course "(You Can Still) Rock In America". After a absence of seven years NIGHT RANGER reunited in 1996 again for a tour in Japan and in 1997 they released a new album titled "Neverland", followed by "Seven" (1998). And in 2007 NIGHT RANGER released their last studio album "Hole In The Sun". Personally I don't know those three mentioned albums. But on this double live CD "Rockin' Shibuya 2007", which was recorded in Tokyo, Japan, NIGHT RANGER is playing some recent songs too, like "Tell Your Vision", "Drama Queen", "There Is Life", "Whatever Happened", "You're Gonna Hear From Me" (all of "Hole In The Sun") and "Forever All Over Again" (from "Neverland"). These are nice songs, but it's the classics like "This Boy Needs To Rock/Highway Star" (yes, indeed with a part of DEEP PURPLE's classic), "Sing Me Away", "Touch Of Madness", "Rumours In The Air", "Seven Wishes", "Eddie's Comin' Out Tonight", "When You Close Your Eyes", "Don't Tell Me You Love Me", "Sister Christian" and "(You Can Still) Rock In America" who are making this live album so fantastic. It's not the complete original line-up on this album, because besides original NR members Jack Blades (bass, lead vocals), Kelly Keagy (drums, lead vocals) and Brad Gillis (guitar) it's Reb Beach (WHITESNAKE, WINGER, DOKKEN) on guitar (instead of Jeff Watson) and ex-GREAT WHITE's Michael Lardie on keyboards (instead of Alan Fitzgerald). But "Rockin' Shibuya 2007" is a very good and interesting live album. Now let's hope if NIGHT RANGER will come over to Holland to prove "(They Can Still) Rock In Holland" too.
Visit their website: http://www.nightranger.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nightranger

87/100

NOFUCK – Existenz Minimum (CD) Italy December 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Brutal Death Metal Running time: 33:40 (Tracks: 9)
NoFuck started in 1997 and after very much line up changes they released their first demo in 2005. This record was released in 2007 and I must say it sounds pretty good. They play a raw mix between Pro-Pain, Machine Head and a lot of thrash metal in it. All the songs have a great variety and the production of this record is good. The drums are straight in your face and the guitar riffs are low and thrashy. The composing of the songs is great. This record contains 4 old songs and 4 new songs. I cannot hear the difference….so that is good in my opinion. If you like bands that I named then you should definitely check this out.
Visit their website: http://www.nofuck.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nofuckthrash

70/100

ONE MAN ARMY & THE UNDEAD QUARTET - Grim Tales (CD) Sweden December 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Thrash / Death Metal Running time: 46:59 (Tracks: 11)
This band, formed by ex-At The Gates frontman Johan Lindstrand, started in 2004 and already they have recorded 3 cd`s and 2 ep`s.That`s pretty impressive. "Grim Tales" is the first cd released via Massacre records. And the other change since the former release "Error in Evolution" is that guitar player Pekka Kiviaho left and is replaced by Mattias Bolander. "Grim Tales" is a decent thrash/death metal cd .They mix old-school thrash with melodic death metal. It`s all played very well but it`s not very original. I saw them live a few weeks ago and I liked their live performance.They sure can play and the cd shows that too. It has a rough edge about it that I like. But don`t expect something spectacular. It all sounds alike after a while. But if you`re a One Man Army fan you will not be disappointed.
Visit their website: http://www.onemanarmy.tv
Recordlabel: http://www.massacre-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/onemanarmyandtheundeadquartet

78/100

PHIL VINCENT – White Noise (CD) USA December 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 61:43 (Tracks: 13)
Not a long time ago, I did a review on the Circular Logik album that featured Phil Vincent (check it out for details). This album is one of his solo efforts. His 10th (!!!) to be more specific. Pretty much everything on the C.L. review applies here with the difference being that this album leans a bit more towards hard rock than metal although there are some songs that sound metal enough. Saxon meets Dokken? Why not! The compositions are a bit weaker though. To be honest I prefer the heavier part of C.L. or the more melodic one of Tragik but "White Noise" will provide some fine listening experiences for the fans of guitar driven hard rock.
Visit their website: http://www.philvincent.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/philvincentrox

70/100

PSYCHOBOLIA – Fisting You All (CD) France December 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Death Grind Metal Running time: 30:11 (Tracks: 13)
Psychobolia started their carrier in 2001. They released their first demo in 93. After that they released tracks on distribution cd`s and released another demo. This is their debut and I must say it sounds very brutal. The drums are pounding through every song like a fucking steam train. The guitar riffs are very fast and technical. The drums are low and filthy combined with screams. The production of this album is good enough. The only thing that I think that is a pity, that there isn't much variety in the songs. Every song is very fast and brutal but that's the only thing the songs have to offer. If you like brutal death grind then you have to check it out.
Visit their website: http://www.psychobolia.com
Recordlabel: http://www.xtreemmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/psychobolia

65/100

REFLECTION – When Shadows Fall (CD) Greece December 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 47:41 (Tracks: 12)
Reflection is one of the most prominent bands of the Greek Metal Scene. Formed in the early nineties, the band has issued a series of successful albums and has established a strong following. All these years of hard work were rewarded with a contract with promising international label Cruz Del Sur who had already invested in the Greek metal scene by signing Battleroar.
The previous album "Odyssey" had already shown the way towards doomier paths. "When Shadows Fall" is an album of epic doom metal. The band has some undergone serious line-up changes. Maltese singer and Forsaken frontman Leo Stivala is the new mainman and John Litinakis is the new bass player. With this new blood flowing in the Reflection veins, band leader Stathis Pavlantis (composer, guitarist) started working on the new album a couple of years ago. The result is just fabulous. Doom metal in the vein of Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus with great riffs and solos (Stathis is on fire!), solid rhythm section and fitting keyboards. Leo gives some high standard performances as always. This album should really put Reflection on the international metal map because it's a work of high quality, made with passion and precision. In my opinion you have no risks to take so invest!
Visit their website: http://www.reflection.gr
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/reflectiongr

90/100

SEAN MALONE – Cortlandt (CD) USA December 2008 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 44:44 (Tracks: 10)
This is the re-release of the 1996 solo-album that Sean Malone had released through Audioimage Records back then. Following the break up of Cynic this first solo album was released in small numbers and became a collectors-item. Now more than ten years later there is this remastered digipack version including a bonus track. What to say about this album and Sean Malone. There's only one conclusion: "It's all about bass and Stick work". The album is produced by Scott Burns and Sean Malone, while most of the music was composed and arranged by Sean. There are only two songs on this album that weren't composed by Sean. These songs are : "Sinfonia" which was composed by JS Bach and "Unquity Road" which was composed by another bass-legend Pat Metheny. The musicians on this album include Cynic band-mate Sean Reinert (drums), Bob Bunin, Geoff Caputo, Reeves Gabrels, Adam Levy and Trey Gunn (all on guitars) and just above one minute vocals. Sean explores his complete range of musical interests. So on the album you can hear fusion (Controversy), progressive rock (Big Sky Wanting), classical music (Sinfonia), world music (At Taliesen) and some metal-influences. Sean is an extremely talented musician who has showed his unique qualities in bands like Cynic, Gordian Knot, Aghora and many, many other projects and on guest-appearances. Besides this Sean has written several books about his playing the bass and everything else around this instrument. So if you're a bass-player buy this album and start practising or if you're a metal-head try to widen your musical taste.
Visit their website: http://www.seanmalone.net
Recordlabel: http://www.lasersedgegroup.com

85/100

SERENITY – Fallen Sanctuary (CD) Austria December 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Symphonic Metal Running time: 49:47 (Tracks: 10)
Serenity formed in January 2001. Their demo "Engraved Within" from 2005 was voted Demo of the Month in German magazines like Rock Hard and Metal Hammer. Thanks to the positive response of this demo, Serenity recorded their first album "Words Untold and Dreams Unlived". Napalm Records released this album in 2007. That same year they played with Sacred Steel, Threshold, Kamelot and Adagio. They also wrote material for their second album. This resulted in the release of "Fallen Sanctuary".
It presents a more mature band and deliver tighter songs, without disregarding the catchy refrains and versatile melodies. Oliver Philipps (Everon) provided diverse orchestral parts to enrich the album's atmosphere. The choirs are more massive and the harmonies more diverse thanks to the work of Lanvall (Edenbridge). Sandra Schleret from Elis appears as a guest vocalist on "Fallen Sanctuary" , and also some grunts can be heard. Star of the band however is vocalist Georg Neuhauser, who reminds me a lot of Roy Khan (Kamelot). This is the kind of cd you really have to buy when you also like bands such as Vision Divine, Kamelot, Threshold, Shadow Gallery and Sonata Arctica.
Visit their website: http://www.serenity-band.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/serenitybandtyrol

87/100

SERAPHIN – Start To Live (CD) Germany December 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: AOR Running time: 53:32 (Tracks: 14)
Seraphin, as the bio tells me, is a journey around the world, writing down experiences in music. The result of the co-operation between Jan Vacik and Klaus Engl is an album that is rock-ish, but not throughout the whole album. The story of this album says that Engl visited Vacik in the Dreamscape studios in Munich with a 4 track recorder in order to make a demo, but Vacik found the outcome too good for a demo, and in the end, the album got released through BadLand records.
Will rockfans like this album? I doubt it. However smoothly produced, it all sounds a bit alternative, a little rock and metal, a lot of moody songs. The contrast that is built up with "The Unknown" and "Nothing But A Guest" (which have obvious Metallica influences here and there) is interesting but lasts only a few minutes. In all honesty I must add that both musicians are very much in control of their instruments. The vocals are unfortunately putting me to sleep, so no fireworks. Not even with the artwork, which is plain dull.
Visit their website: http://www.seraphin.de
Recordlabel: http://www.badlandrecords.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/seraphinproductions

60/100

SHADOWKEEP – The Hourglass Effect (CD) United Kingdom December 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 51:50 (Tracks: 11)
Shadowkeep were formed in 1999 by guitarists Chris Allen and Nikki Robson. In October of that year, together with Belgian vocalist Rogue M, the band entered Thin Ice Studios to record a six-track EP produced by Threshold guitarist Karl Groom, featuring the opus 'Dark Tower'. This is already a legendary EP and got great reviews from the international press. I had to luck to see this band live during that days but I have to admit that especially their singer was very disappointing live. Nevertheless on the album he was singing marvellous and sounded like Queensryche's Geoff Tate.
Quickly after that the title song 'Dark Tower' song came to the attention of Limb Music Productions (LMP), who offered ShadowKeep a record deal in June 2000. Two full-length studio albums ('Corruption Within' and 'A Chaos Theory') followed to critical acclaim. ShadowKeep were clearly on a winning streak, until line-up changes stopped the band in mid-flight. Vocalist Rogue went, American Ronnie Stixx (Divine Ruins, now in Vicious Rumors) came in. A 3-track promo was recorded with Ronnie on vocals. With this singer I saw the band blowing all the other bands away at the Keep it True festival in 2005!!! An awesome gig with a superb frontman! After a short tour on the European continent however, ShadowKeep again found themselves without a singer.
Later on the band recruited former Tygers of Pan Tang frontman (and ex-Angel Witch bassist) Richie Wicks on vocals. As the new opus 'The Hourglass Effect' was nearing completion, Chris had to undergo major surgery and, at the infamous eleventh hour, new drummer Omar Hayes came in. With Chris recovering, a new recording deal with Dutch metal label Melissa Records materialized.
I already had this album at home for months as a promo but the main reason behind that was the fact that the band where booked to play the second edition of my own festival; Mario's Metal Meeting 2!
There are not many albums that I listened to that much the last 10 years compared to this great album; I can nearly dream all the songs!! And not even me: my 3 year old son (Jorn) was already screaming "Incisor" in the backseat of my car when he was hearing the second song of this album again & again J
This album is full of great, US-metal-a-like progressive metal with great musicianship and a great singer. Pity that he never reached the high level live during my festival a few weeks ago (rumors told me that he had a throat infection). Nevertheless this is an amazing album and a classic one in its genre!! Only little complain are the few 'stolen' parts from bands like Queensryche & Heir Apparent.
Favorite songs; "Shadowkeep", "Incisor" (also my sons favorite), "Riot on Earth" (with a kind of Speakers' Corner (Hyde Park, London) speech/intro), "Waiting for the Call", "Leviathan Rising" & "With Force we Come".
Great album for people who love progressive powermetal; buy or die……….
Visit their website: http://www.shadowkeepmetal.net
Recordlabel: http://www.melissarecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/shadowkeepuk

95/100

SISTER SIN – Switchblade Serenades (CD) Sweden December 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Street Metal Running time: 44:00 (Tracks: 11)
Sister Sin arose from the gutters of Gothenburg in 2002, this furious foursome entered the local scene as a hard-hitting, undeniable metal force. A mere year after their initial practice session, the band released a rough demo through a Greek independent label. The disc, entitled 'Dance of the Wicked', was well received by critics, and their self released follow-up single in 2005 was a huge online success according to their bio. Touring with such acts as Cradle of Filth, W.A.S.P. and Doro, the band continued to gain respect live. In june 2008 an offer was made by Victory Records from the United States. This debutalbum 'Switchblade Serenades' is produced by Tobias Lindell and recorded at the Bohus Sound Studios, Sweden. The band consists of Female lead vocalist Liv, guitarist Jimmy, bassist Chris and drummer Dave. Their sound is full of energy, blasting out the speakers and comparable with, for instance, Benedictum or Sinergy, especially Liv sounds like Kimberly Goss in some songs. They kick off with 'Beat the Streets', up tempo, full power with enormous energy, and they keep this up for almost the entire record. This is great stuff, with some old school metal influences, done in a modern way, with a good and heavy production. Maybe it sounds familiar in some parts, but then again, it's maybe not the most original, but certainly one of the bands who do it better than most! They seem to have an awesome live reputation, so I can't wait to see them perform songs like 'One out of ten', 'On Parole' or 'Switchblade Serenade'. Well lucky me, gonna see em 2 times this month, buy or die!
Visit their website: http://www.sistersin.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sisterssin

92/100

STEEL HORSE – Raise Your Fist (MCD) Spain December 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 19:16 (Tracks: 4)
Steel Horse was founded in 2007 by guitarist Willy Gascon and vocalist Jorge Cortes. At the end of 2007 the line-up was complete, and at the beginning of 2008 they recorded their first ep "Raise Your Fist". On this ep are 4 hymns of classic heavy metal, ranging from mid to up-tempo. Their songs are clearly influenced by 80's metal bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, but also mixed with some Tierra Santa influences, one of the best Spanish metal bands ever! Vocalist Jorge is singing very good & powerful and Willy is without any doubt a very good heavy metal guitarist! Currently the band is playing a lot of gigs and they also have plans to record their debut album in the Summer of 2009.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/steelhorsemetal

84/100

STORMRIDER – Fate Of The Hunter (CD) Germany December 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 56:00 (Tracks: 10)
When I first received this cd, I thought Mario had sent me a cd from one of the best bands around in Holland, namely Stormrider with Marcel Coenen on guitar, but I was wrong. This is a German band also called Stormrider, which just released their second full length album. Stormrider was born in the summer of 2001, and originally started out as a project to play traditional eighties heavy metal. Soon after they realised Stormrider had more potential then being just a sideproject. By the end of 2002 they entered the studio to record their mini-cd 'Vengeance', which was released in 2003. The band got some good reviews from press and E-zines, and in 2004 follow-up 'Shipwrecked', their first full length, was recorded and later on released by Underground Symphony. And now here's their latest effort 'Fate of the Hunter'. Stormrider are one of the most promising German underground bands within the traditional metal scene. The band influences reach from NWOBHM to 80's US-Metal, while been compared with the likes of Iron Maiden and Iced Earth. Well I can say they really sound like a German version of Iced Earth, while adding their own thing to it. Well done twin guitars and harmonies, carefully worked out arrangements with superb solos and melodies. This is no doubt a very skilled band who deliver a genius album, listen to opener 'Warpath', 'Flames of Passion' or 'Under the Veil'. Amazing guitar work, great vocals with absolutely no German accent, which a lot of German bands tend to have. This is Metal how it should be, I love it, now let their music convince you, and you will love it too!
Visit their website: http://www.stormrider-metal.de
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com

95/100

STUCK MOJO – The Great Revival (CD) USA December 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Crossover / Metal / Rock Running time: 42:08 (Tracks: 12)
STUCK MOJO, who was formed in 1989 by guitarist Rich Ward, surprised the Metal scene in 1995 with their debut album "Snappin' Necks". Also the following two albums "Pigwalk" (1996) and "Rising" (1998) are in my opinion real recommendations. And in 1998, during the "Rising" tour, I even played with the band H.A.T.E. as the openings band for STUCK MOJO at Noorderligt, Tilburg, Holland (May 8th, 1998). Personally I don't know the live album "HVY1" (1999) and the last album "Declaration Of A Headhunter" (2000) before they broke up in 2000. And in 2001 there was a compilation album released, which is "Violate This". Then in 2005 the band reunited again, with Bonz on vocals, and they did a small European tour. During that tour I saw STUCK MOJO at the small hall of 013, Tilburg (February 14th, 2005) and proved they still had the magic and the groove. But in 2006 STUCK MOJO parted ways with Bonz and since then Lord Nelson, who was introduced to the band by original singer/rapper Bonz, is the frontman of the band. The first release with singer/rapper Lord Nelson was "Southern Born Killers" (2007) and within' a year there's already a brand new STUCK MOJO album, titled "The Great Revival". The line-up of STUCK MOJO on this new album is Lord Nelson (vocals, rap), Rich Ward (guitar), Mike Martin (guitar), Sean Delson (bass) and Steve Underwood (drums). Well, I also don't know the "Southern Born Killers" album (which is gonna be re-released too on Napalm Records, with four bonus tracks), but this new album is very varied instead of the albums that I know. With songs like "15 Minutes Of Fame" and "The Fear" STUCK MOJO still sounds like on their first albums. But this time there are also some country and seventies rock influences. Even some tracks could easily have been on KID ROCK's last album "Rock N Roll Jesus". I never had expected STUCK MOJO would cover JOHN DENVER's "Country Roads". And there are also some female vocals on "The Great Revival" from rising star Christine Cook, who's singing some parts on the songs "Friends", "The Fear" and "Superstar Part 1 (The Journey Begins)". I must admit, that her vocals fits perfectly on these songs. All with all "The Great Revival" is a nice and varied STUCK MOJO album, but I still prefer the first three albums. Anyway, my favourite songs are "15 Minutes Of Fame", "Friends", "Now That Your're All Alone" (the guitar riff reminds me of PAPA ROACH's "Last Resort"), "The Fear" and "Invincible".
Visit their website: http://www.stuckmoje.us
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stuckinthemojo

78/100

SYMPHONITY – Voices From The Silence (CD) Czech Republic December 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Symphonic Epic Power Metal Running time: 53:13 (Tracks: 11)
This band from the Czech Replublic exist already since 1994, that time using other names like Otter and Nemesis. As Nemesis, they released their first album through Underground Symphony in 2003, namely "Goddess Of Revenge". It was during the preparation of the second album that original vocalist Vilem Majtner left the band. That time the remaining members decided also to change their name into Symphonity and in Luca Turilli and ex-Dionysus singer Olaf Hayer they found a suitable vocalist. With Olaf, the band recorded their second album "Voice From The Silence", this time released through Limb Music Products. Symphonity treats us to a portion of (especially) fast power metal with a lot of progressive and symphonic influences, comparable with bands such as Dionysus, At Vance, Edguy and Nation. Thanks to the great melodic songs, majestic vocals and technical abilities of the band members, this must bring them to the first division soon!
Visit their website: http://www.symphonity.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/symphonity

88/100

THUNDER – Bang! (CD) United Kingdom December 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Hardrock Running time: 54:16 (Tracks: 12)
It all started for Thunder in the late 80's. Since then the band has been releasing solid albums ever since. "Bang!" is their third release under the wings of Frontiers Records and the ninth in total. Next year they'll also celebrate their 20th anniversary. "Bang!" consists of 12 intelligent and highly skilled classic hardrock tracks. There's a variation between rockers, mid-tempo tracks and ballads. The guitars by Morley/Matthews are sounding great again and Danny Bowes bluesy voice fits the music like a glove. For fans of Bon Jovi, Free, UFO and Uriah Heep.
Visit their website: http://www.thunderonline.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thunderonline

77/100

TRUSTGAME - Trustgame (CD) Germany December 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Pop Rock / Emo Running time: 45:15 (Tracks: 11)
Trustgame is a band that combines all the rock styles that came out in the last 20 years. Influenced by bands as Korn and various punk rock bands. They look like a boyband and the name is not really original. The added information on the band says everything is perfectly played and great. And this is one of the rare moments that it’s really true! I can honestly say I was very surprised when I played the record. I really see them becoming the next Tokio Hotel, but slightly better… If the music business was a pure popularity contest this band would win the award of “best newcomer”. Not that I’m a big fan of these sort of bands, that’s why It’s not a big score I gave this album. But I see a big future for this band. Mark my words…
Recordlabel: http://www.la-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/trustgame01

65/100

ULI JON ROTH – Under A Dark Sky (CD) Germany December 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Symphonic Rock Running time: 63:39 (Tracks: 10)
People say that the 5 years that Uli was guitarist in Scorpions were their best years. He was replaced by Michael Schenker after his departure in 1978. After the Scorpions, Roth formed the band "Electric Sun" with whom he released three albums. His career went solo after that; he started to arrange his own classical music turning it into rock with a distinct Hendrix influence, using that spacy guitar sound that came out of his custom-built Sky guitar with extra frets.
I must say that I was surprised by the outcome. At some points I recognize Roth's hardrock history in his play, but the bigger part of this album to me sounds like a rock opera in an oldfashioned style that reminded me of Jesus Christ Superstar. This album has little to do with rock in general so I do not understand why it was labelled as symphonic rock. This album is fit for the older UJ Roth fans, but I fear that he will not gain any new fans by this project. Although it is quite an accomplishment to create an album in the way that he did.
Visit their website: http://www.ulijonroth.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ulijonroth

64/100

VIRTUALLY NOTHING - Prologue To The Story (CDemo) The Netherlands December 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Metal / Mathcore Running time: 10:03 (Tracks: 3)
I’m a big fan of The Dillinger Escape Plan and I’m always very sceptic about bands who use TDEP as their role models and compare their music to them. But Virtually Nothing is one of the few who can actually claim this. I’m not saying it’s just another rip-off… It’s obvious TDEP is a big influence on their music but they add their own style and attitude to it, and that makes it a separate sound. The demo starts really interesting with a electric sound to it. This demo focuses on the current digital era and the problems they bring. The music is chaotic and I like it that way, it’s not perfect but not bad at all. In the end I really like their music and it was too bad there were only 3 tracks. But it’s really a matter of taste, you should check it out for yourself.
Visit their website: http://www.virtuallynothing.nl/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/virtuallynothing

85/100

WEEPING BIRTH – Anosognosic Industry Of The I (CD) Switzerland December 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Brutal Black / Death Metal Running time: 1:13:29 (Tracks: 13)
Do you like the Berzerker? Or maybe Anaal Nathrakh? Then this something for you! Listening to the latest album "Anosognosic industry of the I" from Weeping Birth reminded me about a text I once rode on the back of a Morbid Angel t shirt. It said "Extreme music for extreme people" I would like to know what will be on the back of a Weeping Birth shirt. If I may be so free to choose a word it would be "wicked" or maybe "insane", Boy oh boy this is not for the weak hearted. Completely over the top fast and brutal death metal with haunting black metal guitar riffs and a raging drum computer. Weeping Birth slays everything that comes on its path. And that for over an hour long. Seriously this is the only complaint I have about this album. It is too long. Climax after climax. Once you're on top of the mountain a new higher one lightens up. You constantly feel the heat of the people following you. Further and further until after 80 minutes you've reached the end of your journey. Exhausted but relieved you lay down on the soft grass and promises yourself never to do this again. But than a few hours later you touch play again and a new journey begins…
This one man project from Switzerland started by the lovely person Vladimir Cochet in 1999 already gave us an album in 2003 called: "A painting of raven and rape" which I will surely track down because I'm curious to hear if its as insane as this one. The lyrical theme on the album contains: refusal of an existence reduced to a thing state, critic on the mechanization of bodies and human relations, resentment and death drive. Interesting stuff that perfectly fits with the aggressiveness of the music. Mr. Cochet also has two side projects. One called: Mirrorthrone and the other Unholy Matrimony. Both black metal projects and different from Weeping Birth. Rests me to say about this disc. Caution: "This disc contains some of the most insane music ever recorded" Don't say that I didn't warn you!
Visit their website: http://www.weepingbirth.com
Recordlabel: http://www.conatusrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/weepingbirth

86/100

ZERO MENTALITY & THE HEARTBREAK MOTEL - Virtues And Vices (Split MCD) Germany December 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Rock / Hardcore Running time: 20:22 (Tracks: 4)
In the beginning of 2008 both Zero Mentality and The Heartbreak Motel entered the studio together in Denmark to record 4 songs. One of the two tracks that each band is going to record is a product of a cooperative songwriting & recording process. The final result is this MCD that was released in March. Zero Mentality are known as a Gerrman hardcore sensation who have great live performances and mix a lot of rock in their music. They clearly opted for the more rock style this time. I know the band from the song 'Nicht Mer', which I think is great. Anyway, both songs sound very refreshing, I don’t think a lot of hardcore bands could pull of what Zero Mentality did.
The Heartbreak Motel has always been a rock band and they haven’t changed their style now. The two songs of this MCD sound somewhat edgier than their previous releases, due to the cooperation with Zero Mentality. This is a very interesting MCD, it also includes two full video clips of both bands!
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/zeromentality
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theheartbreakmotel
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de

70/100

NOVEMBER

AC/DC – Black Ice (CD) Australia November 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 55:37 (Tracks: 15)
After eight years Australian rockers of AC/DC are finally back with a brand new album, titled "Black Ice". AC/DC fans had to wait a very long time for the successor of "Stiff Upper Lip" (2000), but to tell the truth, it was worth the wait. "Black Ice", which is produced by Brendan O'Brien, features fifteen songs in the well known AC/DC tradition. The album opens very strongly with the first single "Rock N Roll Train". Okay it's not a song like "Thunderstruck", but it's a good choice for a single. And of course, you could say that every AC/DC album sounds the same, but AC/DC has just their very own unique sound, which a band like Motörhead has also. I must admit that I have always preferred Bon Scott (R.I.P.) above Brian Johnson as a singer. I got interested in Hard Rock music in 1977 with bands like AC/DC, STATUS QUO, RAM JAM and QUEEN. So, I like AC/DC since the "Let There Be Rock" (1977) album. And all albums with Scott are absolutely my all time favourite AC/DC albums. But one thing is sure, Johnson has a very recognizable voice. And of course Angus Young plays fabulous as always. The best songs on "Black Ice" are in my opinion "Rock N Roll Train", "Skies On Fire", "Big Jack", "Anything Goes", "Spoilin' For A Fight", "Decibel", "Stormy May Day" and "She Likes Rock N Roll". So, "Black Ice" isn't a "Back In Black" (1980), but it comes very close to the level of that classic album and it's sure one of the better AC/DC albums with Johnson. Speaking for myself, "Back In Black" and "For Those About To Rock…We Salute You" (1981) are still the best AC/DC albums with Brian Johnson on vocals. But don't get me wrong, "Black Ice" is a fantastic album, which I really can recommend.
Visit their website: http://www.acdc.com
Recordlabel: http://www.sonybmg.nl

88/100

ANGUISH FORCE – III: Invincibile Imperium Italicum (CD) Italy November 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Speed / Thrash Metal Running time: 47:20 (Tracks: 10)
Italian band ANGUISH FORCE is a totally new band to me. I never had heard of them before. Well, it seems they were formed in 1995 and so far they have released the following albums: "Anguish Force" (2003), "2: City Of Ice" (2005) and the EP "Defenders United" (2006). The line-up on their third full length album "III: Invincibile Imperium Italicum" is Johnny Thunder (vocals), LGD (guitar), Robousis (bass) and Eppacher (drums). And on their MySpace page I saw that they have a second guitar player too, which is Danny Hendrix. But you don't have to look at their MySpace page if you want to know more about the band, because all the info is written in Italian. Write it in English guys, so everyone can read it!! Anyway, this album opens with the instrumental "The Impact II" followed by "The Chalice Of Steel", which is great thrash song and reminds me of a band like AGENT STEEL. Also "Into The Arena Of Blood" is a great song and even a part of the guitar solo reminds me of IRON MAIDEN. It sounds like the band is heavily influenced by HELLOWEEN, because songs like "Fighting Warriors", "Rome Over England", "Ride The Brave" and "Follow The Rainbow" remind me very much of those Germans. Anyway, the band exists of good musicians and Thunder isn't a superb singer like Michael Kiske or John Cyriis. He's just a reasonable singer and he's sometimes singing out of tune. The best songs on this CD are "The Chalice Of Steel", "Into The Arena Of Blood", "Fighting Warriors" and "No Hostages". Not a very spectacular band, but just nice to listen to once in a while.
Visit their website: http://www.anguishforce.com
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anguishforce

72/100

ASSAILANT – Wicked Dream (CD) Sweden November 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Power Metal Running time: 50:14 (Tracks: 11)
This is the second album by Swedish metallers Assailant, after their debut 'Nemesis Within' from 2006, this is their latest effort 'Wicked Dream'. Assailant's music is a unique mix of progressive power metal and melodic death metal, with clean vocals and screams, heavy guitar riffing and keyboard support. Assailant created their own unique and recognizeable sound, hard and melodic with strong songstructures. The band, which was formed in 2004, consists of Oskar Norberg (youngest brother of Nocturnal Rites axeman Nils Norberg, and Persuader/Savage Circus guitarist Emil Norberg) on guitar, Joakim Jonsson (bass), Peder Sundquist (vocals), Patrik Larsson (drums), Marcus Sundbom (guitar) and Peder Sandstrom (keyboards), all from the small city of Umea, in the north of Sweden, where also bands like Meshuggah, Nocturnal Rites, Naglfar and labelmates Persuader are coming forth from. Their music is full of aggression yet still melodic like for instance the title track 'Wicked Dream' or 'The Sin' or...actually most songs, very refreshing sound with some nice changes in it. Also found on the album is a kind of ballad 'The Cell', and an acoustic song called 'Eternal'. This release shows the capability of these musicians best, a real nice combination of different styles as power, death, thrash and even some prog in there. The production is also done very well, the album has a great powerfull sound, which makes it so more enjoyable. This is not an average swedish 'death' metal band, but they have so much more to offer, but still do carry their roots within them. My guess is that we are gonna hear a lot more off them in the near future!
Visit their website: http://www.assailant.se
Recordlabel: http://www.dockyard1.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/assailantsweden

85 /100

ASSEDIUM - Fighting For The Flame (CD) Italy November 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Epic Heavy Metal Running time: 58:17 (Tracks: 10)
Hailing from Italy Assedium unleashes it's second album to the world. The epic heavy metallers bring an album that sounds a lot like the old epic bands like Manilla Road, Manowar, Omen and many more who probably influenced this band. This record is a very decent, even above average, epic heavy metal album filled with catchy songs with dominating guitars and nice melody all supported by good vocals. The only thing I dislike about these vocals is that it's a bit to obvious that english isn't the singer's mother language, the italian accent is sometimes quite annoying. Anyway this album is worth the time and money for every heavy metal fan allthough it never reaches the level of the older work of the great bands that influenced these italians. Even though these guys know how to handle their instruments and the vocalist can really sing. Overall they bring a decent album, nothing less but also nothing more and that might be the problem to become noticed in a scene where dozens of other bands bring the same kind of cd's on the market every year.
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/assedium

78/100

AXEL RUDI PELL – Tales Of The Crown (CD) Germany November 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 60:26 (Tracks: 10)
Axel Rudi Pell marks his 25th (uncelebrated) anniversary as recording rock guitarist with the release of this new studio album, to be exact this is release number 19 (including all his live stuff). Untill now, Axels fans could blindly go ahead and buy all of his albums; his style is noticeable and his play resembles that of Richie Blackmore, a stigma he cannot get rid of (does he even want to?). His band has succeeded in staying together for quite some time now, with vocalist Johnny Gioeli, drummer Mike Terrana, bassplayer Volker Krawcak and keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg. I had previously heard the 3 releases before this one (a live DVD, a studio CD and a cover cd) so, knowing the backgrounds, I wondered if there was anything new.
Well…yes and no. Axel still writes some pleasant and powerful rock songs, like opening track "Higher" which is a real killer. The rest of the album is recognisable as typical Axel music, with 1 difference: he managed to compose a long instrumental song, in which he experiments with rhythm ("Emotional Echoes"). Because of the length, Axel has the time to really showcase himself and the band, and this is much the surprise that I was hoping for. Is that all, one might wonder? Well…yes. ARP fans expect him to keep on making the same style of music which is at one hand good for keeping his fan-base at the volume it is now. On the other hand, it will not expand that much because of the lack of innovations. Frankly..who cares? The album sounds great, and that is all we expect of Axel….
Visit their website: http://www.axel-rudi-pell.de
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/axelrudipellofficial

81/100

CATCH 22 – Soulreaper: Evilution / Devilution (CD) USA November 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 84:26 (Tracks: 22)
Catch 22 is no rookie in the power metal universe. Formed in 1992, the band recorded a couple of demos before releasing its self financed debut album in 1997. A second one followed one year later. I became familiar with the band's music by listening to the 2003 "Awaken" album, its third effort. I was impressed by these guys and marked them in my book. A few years passed and I found out that the band returned with the 2007 album "Soulreaper Vol. 1". This album was intended to be a double one but the lack of funds forced the band to make plans for two separate releases. Fortunately the guys soon inked a deal with Metal On Metal Records and made this double album a reality.
The "Soulreaper" release is consisted of two chapters. "Evilution Rising" and "Devilution Descending". There is a connection between the two discs in the lyrics department. All songs are about ominous themes like madness, death and forms of evil. On the musical department all 22 songs are again in the same league. Catch 22 delivers crunchy and groovy modern heavy power metal. The majority of the songs are mid tempo with heavy guitars and the trademark harsh vocal performances by T.J. Berry. Catch 22 proves that you don't need to play fast in order to deliver power metal. I suggest you trust these underground metal heroes and reward their constant effort to bring good metal to the masses.
Visit their website: http://www.truemetal.org/catch22
Recordlabel: http://www.metal-on-metal.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/catch22metal

80/100

CONRAD HULTERMANS – Infinity (MCD) The Netherlands November 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Rock / Metal Running time: 21:08 (Tracks: 4)
Conrad Hultermans, born in 1974, started playing the guitar at the age of 17. During the years, he got influenced by guitarists like Steve Morse, Vinnie Moore, Alex Skolnick, Steve Lukather, John Petrucci, Paul Gilbert and Marcel Coenen. Conrad played different kinds of musicstyles and played in several bands during the past and present. Besides playing in some bands, Conrad is also focussing on instrumental songs. In 2004 he already released his first solo EP, "Inner". And this year he has released his second EP, "Infinity", once again with 4 tracks. Opener "Loose Change" is the most heavy, almost thrashy song on this EP. It sounds like a Michael Angelo-Alex Skolnick-80's Shrapnel guitar hero song. Heavy & thrashy, but played with a lot of melody also. The following songs "Everlasting Love" and "Let It Breathe" are more melodic, almost dreamy songs, with beautiful guitar playing from Conrad. And the last, and most emotional song, "New Life" was written for his nephew. It's a good example of inspiration for ,his songs ; reflections and experiences which had a certain impact in his life. Most of his songs on "Infinity" reminds me of an emotional guitarist like Satriani, but on the other hand, there are also influences from shred guitarists like Michael Angelo Batio. But he always plays with a lot of melody and emotion!
Visit their website: http://www.conradhultermans.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/conradhultermans

88/100

CRAWLING DEATH– New Murder Art (CD) Poland November 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 27:19 (Tracks: 07)
Crawling Death is a death metal band from Poland, and of course of the most polish bands in that genre you can expect that their music is brutal technical and fast. In this case…yep. This record contains 6 murderess and brutal death metal. Why do I say 6 instead of 7? Well the first song is an intro. The production of this album is great and the composing of the songs is very straight in your face. The guitar riffs are very technical and groovy combined with solos and very fast riffs. The drums are pounding through every song like a train that cannot be stopped. The vocalist has a great dark grunt that reminds me of Vader. As I all ready wrote about polish death metal I must say that this band is a good example of that. Straight in your face death metal and no bullshit. If you like bands like Vader, Trauma or Dissenter then your going to enjoy this record.
Visit their website: http://www.crawlingdeath.xt.pl
Recordlabel: http://www.ltc.musicinside.pl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crawlingdeath

75/100

CRIMES OF PASSION – Crimes Of Passion (CD) UK November 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hardrock Running time: 60:26 (Tracks: 10)
When I heard the first sounds coming from this debut cd of Sheffield rockers "Crimes Of Passion" , I thought "oh my God I'm going to LUV this"…. This band makes interesting hardrock, melodic, sometimes very heavy but never dark, it all sounds quite positive. But as always, a cd has to grab AND hold my attention. Now I must say that one reason that this did not happen is the production. The mix could have been way better (guitarist Andy Lindsay has the skills to dominate); this guy is used to do demo productions and unfortunately, one can hear that quite clearly.
But we also have to respect the fact that recordings were made and paid for out of their own pockets before they got signed. As far as compositions go, the band makes a modern kind of hardrock with an oldfashioned twist that sounds like Motley Crüe, Skid Row and Bullets For My Valentine. I quite like the vocals, they are fresh, pure and in touch with the music. The track "Fight You On My Own" really stands out for me; nice rhythm changes, good riffs and hooks. Since this band has been walking on the face of this earth since 2005, I must give them heads up for the future. They sound quite OK, and from what I hear, I can imagine that seeing them live must be a real pleasure. UK rock fans will probably be pleased to know that this band will tour next February with Statetrooper (Gary Barden's band). Well done chaps.
Visit their website: http://www.crimesofpassion.org
Recordlabel: http://www.vigilanterecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crimesofpassionrock

80/100

CROM – Vengeance (CD) Germany November 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Epic Metal Running time: 50:30 (Tracks: 10)
Whilst playing with German melodic black metallers Dark Fortress, Walter "Crom" Grosse began working on a solo-project that was worlds away from the raw aggression normally associated with the genre in which he started. In 2000, he left Dark Fortress and released the first Crom demo/promo cd, described as majestic melodic metal. In 2002, Crom released the "The Fallen Beauty" EP. That same year another mcd was released too. In 2005, Crom formed with the Dark Fortress vocalist the Sindecade, a black metal side-project, and released the mcd "Terrorcrowned". 2007 sees the completion of the new Crom album "Vengeance" and also the first live performances take place. In 2008 Crom signs a deal with Pure Steel Records and "Vengeance" was released officially by them. "Vengeance" is filled with more traditional heavy/epic metal, with an intense focus on quality, melody and heavy rhytms. But on the other side, there are also slower, acoustic,mind blowing parts. There are also vocals with a clear voice, choirs and bombastic elements. The music that Crom makes is a mix of his influences like Bathory, Virgin Steele/Manilla Road, Evergrey and Candlemass.
Visit their website: http://www.croms-revenge.de
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com

74/100

CRONIAN – Enterprise (CD) Norway November 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Progressive / Avantgarde Metal Running time: 48:35 (Tracks: 9)
Now this is some weird stuff! Cronian is a band that consist of the two members from Borknagar (Oystein G. Brun and Andreas Hedlund a.k.a. Vintersorg) that had both ideas for a side project which were very similair and thus Cronian was born in 2005. One year later they released the album "Terra" on Century Media Records, which I completely missed. I think I am going to track down that album sometime. For the new album Cronian signed a deal with Indie recordings who seem to have a nose for quality. Imagine the two mentioned persons making a dramatic movie soundtrack together with members from Arcturus, Ved Buens Ende and Marillion. Subject of the movie should be living in the arctic landscape displaying the vast majority of the permafrost and absolute darkness during the winter months while on the other hand the beautiful reflecting sunlight on the ice and snow will give the exact opposite. Listening this music with your headphones on will give you this perfect vision of the rising northland. The voice of mr. Vintersorg is something you either love or hate. At times he sounds a little bit gay- ish. But it doesn't bother me that much because of the dramatic undertone the music has. While the first album was produced by Mattias Marklund and mastered by Dan Swano this time the band chose to go the Ballerina studio (Vintersorg, Otyg) to mix and master the album. The overall sound is crystal clean which suits the music perfectly. Tired of all these metal bands ending up being all the same. Give this album a try. Before you know it you'll see yourself wandering through desolate landscapes…
Recordlabel: http://www.indierec.no
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cronian

86/100

DARKANE – Demonic Art (CD) Sweden November 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Thrash Metal. Running time: 46:06 (Tracks: 12)
After 3 years of silence Darkane returns to the front with a new album. At the Loud From the South festival last August they gave the public a taste of what the new album would be like. For the people who like ttrash and never heard of Darkane (shame on you!) think of a thrashier version of Soilwork or Neo–thrash if you like to give the thing a name. Lots of melodic parts but Darkane also shows us what brutality is by using blast beats in some of the songs. Something I always encourage. Demonic Art also introduces new singer Jeff Bromann who does a good job but sounds very much like Bjorn "Speed" Strid in the clean sung parts. Not the worst vocalist in the scene to be compared to but it constantly reminds me of Soilwork in the choruses. And although many of the songs are better then Soilwork presented on there later albums it leaves a slur on an album that further is full with aggressive, technical and furious riffs, riffs and again riffs. They sure know how to write good riffs. Also worth mentioning are the great guitar solo's in my favourite songs from the album "Demigod" and the "The killing of I" Or the beautiful guitar parts in "Wrong Grave" that leads us to one of the most insane songs from the album: "Still in progress"; the excellent production does the rest. If this is the present Darkane gives me for their ten years of existence (congratulations!) I am more then glad!
Visit their website: http://www.darkane.com
Recordlabel: http://www.massacre-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkane

82/100

DARK QUARTERER – Symbols (CD) Italy November 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 68:50 (Tracks: 6)
Italian metal heroes Dark Quarterer have been around for almost 3 decades. Their heritage so far was 4 critically acclaimed albums of epic progressive metal. "Symbols" is the band's fifth effort. The core of Gianni Nepi (vocals, bass), Francesco Sozzi (guitars) and Paolo Ninci (drums) has been reinforced with the presence of keyboard player Francesco Longhi.
Let's start with the story behind "Symbols". The album is consisted of 6 lengthy compositions and each one tells the tale of an important historical figure. The 6 persons behind each song are Cajus Julius Caesar, Tutankhamen, Genghis Khan, Jeanne D'Arc, Kunta Kinte and Jeronimo. Musically, "Symbols" is less complex than its predecessor "Violence" but still progressive enough with the songs flowing easily despite their massive length. The main protagonist is of course Gianni Nepi with his unmistakable voice and his unique pronunciation and accent. The rest of the band builds the music around his complex bass lines and vocal performances. A healthy dosage of prog and 70ies rock influences is once again present. Dark Quarterer is no easy listen. It never was. The audience needs to dive deep into the atmosphere and melodies of the band in order to comprehend the goal that these four musicians want to achieve. I guarantee that when you do that, you will be rewarded with a great musical experience.
Visit their website: http://www.darkquarterer.com
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkquarterer

80/100

DEMOLITION - Relict IV (CD) Austria November 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 36:24 (Tracks: 11)
I was very curious when I received this cd for reviewing as I already saw the band at work during their European tour with thrash masters Death Angel. The gig was very good but I didn't have the cash at the time to buy the album and I kind of lost track of them afterwards so I get a second chance after all. These guys from Austria play a style of thrash metal that is easiest to compare with the legendary bands from their neighbours of Germany. This cd is packed with 10 brutal songs that hammer on you with great strength. The vocals are very aggressive and are more death than thrash but the music is allover german thrash. It's like Testament's Demonic meets Kreator and they are mixed with just a touch of 'core' to this very good and very brutal cd. This is how every neo-thrash album should sound like. If you like thrash metal and are openminded enough to accept the influences of the newer genres in metal do check these guys out.
Visit their website: http://www.demolition.at
Recordlabel: http://www.twilightzonerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/demolitionat

84/100

DISSIDENT SAINT – The Rise (CD) Canada November 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 55:39 (Tracks: 8)
DISSIDENT SAINT is a progressive metal band which was formed in the summer of 2003. "The Rise" is the debut album of the band and was released in 2007. The line-up of the band on this album is Sergey Perunov (vocals), Gera Kisselman (guitar), Ilya Maximenko (guitar), Alon Shenfield (bass), Dimitry Chebonov (drums) and Andrew Zaretski (keyboards). To tell you the truth, every time when I listened to "The Rise" I didn't like the vocals of Perunov. Perhaps there are people who like his voice, but I don't. When I looked at their official website for some more info about the band, I saw that meanwhile Perunov had left the band. So, at the moment DS is still searching for a new singer. Well, I hope they will find a much better one than Perunov, because the music they are making is interesting enough for a progressive metal band. I still don't understand why bands put a long silence in the last song on the album, so that you get a kind of hidden track. So also with "The Architect". My CD player gives a running time of 20:06 minutes, but actually the song lasts only 8:13 minutes. When "The Architect" is finished, after about seven minutes of silence you get that hidden track, which is totally crap to me. Interesting songs are "Choking Hazard", "Chow For The Brainwashed" and "Re-Creations". My advice to anyone who like progressive metal is, check the band's MySpace page first, so you can listen to some tracks, then you can make your own judgement about DISSIDENT SAINT. I would give this album more points when it was sung by a much better singer.
Visit their website: http://www.dissidentsaint.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dissidentsaint

67/100

DOGS 'N BONES – Lost Gone Wild (CD) Italy November 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 50:29 (Tracks: 12)
This Italian four piece band DOGS 'N BONES is a totally unknown band for me. It seems that they started under the name G@TTITUDE and recorded one album "Rock Target" (2004). Then these guys changed the name of the band into DOGS 'N BONES. The line-up of the band is Mauro "Seven" Maccarini (vocals), Andrea "Dr. Rock" Tinnirello (guitar), Manuel "Hellcat" Gatti (bass) and Simone "Old Boy" Oldofredi (drums). In 2006 the debut album "Dirty Fuckin' Loud" was released and in June of this year their second album "Lost Gone Wild" saw the light of day. "Lost Gone Wild" features twelve songs and is produced by Dario Mollo and the band themselves. And they did a pretty good job, because the production of the CD sounds very good. I have listened several times to "Lost Gone Wild", and the more I listened to it, the more I began to appreciate it. Because the first few times I listened to this album I didn't like the voice of Maccarini. And I must admit he isn't the best singer on earth, he's just an average singer. At that point he's just the weakest link of the band. Anyway, the rest of the members are good musicians and there are some nice kick ass rock 'n roll songs on the album like "Life Like Never Should Be", "Forever Wild", "Someday" and "Living Like A Rockstar". All with all DOGS 'N BONES isn't a very notable rock band. But if you are curious about this band, just check their website or MySpace page. Ooh yeah, "Lost Gone Wild" also has an enhanced part, which exists of a video clip of the song "Forever Wild" and another bonus track called "Free". And you also get the lyrics of "Free" in the enhanced part.
Visit their website: http://www.dogsandbones.com
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dogsnbones

65/100

DREAMTIDE – Dream and Deliver (CD) Germany November 2008 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic (Hard) Rock / AOR Running time: 70:00 (Tracks: 14)
'Dream and Deliver' is Dreamtide`s third album and as I was not familliar with their earlier released material, I`m suprised by the high level that they have reached on this album! There are 14 tracks on the album but it`s never annoying, it stays fascinating. In 2001, Dreamtide released "Here comes the Flood" and in 2003 "Dreams for the Daring". Dreamtide consists of three members of Fair Warning, and I see some similarities between both bands. New in the line up is bass player Francis Buchholz. Buchholz has played for the Scorpions and the band of Uli John Roth. Singer Olaf Senkbeil was also a member of Uli John Roth`s band. The music on 'Dream and Deliver' offers good AOR, in the style as it has to be played. Heavy parts are alternated by catchy, modest played fragments. My personal favorite songs are the ballad "Dancing when the night falls" with a great guitar solo and a good vocal performance of Seinkbel and the opener of the album "A fools Crusade". The production is good, just as the musical skills of the band members. The more I listen to the album, the more I appraciate it. With "Dream and Deliver", Dreamtide has delivered an album that will attract a lot of people who like well played AOR / Melodic Rock.
Visit their website: http://www.dreamtide.de
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dreamtideband

81/100

DRIVER – Sons Of Thunder (CD) USA November 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Metal / Hard Rock Running time: 43:46 (Tracks: 12)
First of all, I can't tell the exact running time of this album, because eight of the twelve songs are shortened versions. There are just three full versions available on this promo album, meant for radio and clubs. Secondly, "Sons Of Thunder" is a fantastic melodic Metal album. DRIVER is the band around fantastic singer Rob Rock and superb guitarist (and producer) Roy Z. Rock is well known of his work with M.A.R.S., IMPELLITTERI, AVANTASIA, JOSHUA, WARRIOR, AXEL RUDI PELL as well as his own solo career. And Z produced great names like BRUCE DICKINSON, ROB HALFORD, HELLOWEEN and JUDAS PRIEST. This year Rock and Z came together again to reform DRIVER. They finally wanted to get a chance to release the album they intended to deliver back in the early nineties as the follow-up of the legendary M.A.R.S. debut album "Project: Driver" (1987). And see here the result, a superb album. The line-up of DRIVER on "Sons Of Thunder" is Rob Rock (vocals), Roy Z (guitar), Aaron Samson (bass), Reynold "Butch" Carlson (drums) and Ed Roth (keyboards). Songs like "I'm A Warrior", "Fly Away", "Sons Of Thunder", "Winds Of March" and "Hearts On Fire" are all brilliant songs. There are also a few beautiful ballads on "Sons Of Thunder", which are "Change Of Heart", "Only Love Can Save Me Now" and "I Believe In Love". Well, I just can't find any negative points about this album. Great songs, great production, fantastic musicians and a great singer. "Sons Of Thunder" is absolutely a real recommendation for anyone who likes high quality metal with superb vocals and great guitar solo's. Well, I know I'm gonna buy this album myself too, so that I have full versions of all songs.
Visit their website: http://www.robrock.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/driverofficial

87/100

EVERGREY – Torn (CD) Sweden November 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 53:35 (Tracks: 11)
Evergrey is from Sweden, and for those of you who are not too familiar with this band: Evergrey exists since the mid-nineties and are famous for their heavy music but also easy-to-remember melody lines. "The Inner Circle" is their most popular album, and according to most fans I know, they will never copy nor beat that one. Their last album was "Monday Morning Apocalypse", and almost all fans agree: this was their worst because it was poppy and not heavy enough. Now I must admit that I was not too familiar with the band; Tom Englund I knew, and I've heard a few tunes before. He is the charismatic and theatrical vocalist that determines the sound of Evergrey for the bigger part. At some point I thought that Tom Englund was infected with the Ayreon virus….
OK, when the last album was a put off for a lot of fans, what should the band sound like then? More complex, guitarsolo's and heavy theatrical textures, that is what people said. Evergrey definitely went back to their older albums by doing just what the fans expected them to do: theatrical, heavy and dark metal, lots of emotion, heavy riffs…. What struck me is that there are no songs standing out; the band managed to keep the quality of all songs on the same high and powerful level. The pounding drums are really keeping your feet tap along with the songs and even the old head is swinging along with the catchy rhythms. At one moment I got thinking that the band plays safe to style wise remain near the older albums, but one must compliment them also to deliver a new album that meets up to the high expectations of fans. For me, the keyboards may get a more prominent role in the mix, but hey….maybe next album…
Visit their website: http://www.evergrey.net/
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialevergrey

87/100

EXODUS – Let There Be Blood (CD) USA November 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 45:41 (Tracks: 10)
EXODUS' legendary debut album "Bonded By Blood" (1985), which is a real all time classic, is completely re-recorded by the band in their current line-up. So with Rob Dukes (vocals), Gary Holt (guitar), Lee Altus (guitar), Jack Gibson (bass) and Tom Hunting (drums) and is released on their own label now. Only the album title has been changed into "Let There Be Blood". At the time of the original release of "Bonded By Blood" in 1985 I was 20 years old, and I'm still glad I was there at that legendary Dynamo show in Eindhoven (October 27, 1985). I was so impressed by EXODUS' gig at the Dynamo (and of course the album "Bonded By Blood" itself), that the next day I went to the Paradiso, Amsterdam (October 28, 1985), where EXODUS was the support act of VENOM. And they blew VENOM away of course. In my opinion Rob Dukes, who is in EXODUS since 2005, fits really good in EXODUS, because he comes very close to the voice of original singer Paul Baloff (R.I.P.). You can hear the difference between the original "Bonded By Blood" and "Let There Be Blood". Some songs are a bit slower, and even some guitar solos are different. But talking about the songs, they are ALL still AWESOME. "A Lesson In Violence", "Bonded By Blood", "Piranha", "Exodus", "And Then There Were None" and "Strike Of The Beast" are just all superb Thrash songs. EXODUS also re-recorded an old demo song "Hell's Breath", which is the bonus track on "Let There Be Blood". Guitarist Gary Holt produced "Let There Be Blood" and Andy Sneap mixed the album. Well, "Let There Be Blood" is a true dedication and homage to the late Paul Baloff. "Bonded By Blood" is an album which you really MUST HAVE in your collection, and "Let There Be Blood" shows us how the songs of "Bonded By Blood" sounds after all those years in 2008 by the current line-up of EXODUS. Also "Let There Be Blood" is a real recommendation. Go buy it.
Visit their website: http://www.exodusattack.com
Recordlabel: http://www.zaentzrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/exodus

95/100

EXTREME – Saudades de Rock (CD) USA November 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 67:02 (Tracks: 14)
Well, who doesn't know EXTREME of their hits "Get The Funk Out", "Hole Hearted" and especially their biggest hit ever "More Than Words" (all of the successful 1990 album "Pornograffitti")? That's the only album I have so far and is in my opinion still their best. At that time EXTREME played a mix of Hard Rock and Funk and was influenced by bands like QUEEN and VAN HALEN. After thirteen years, the former album "Waiting For The Punchline" is from 1995 (which was a commercial failure and the reason why they broke-up in 1996), EXTREME is back with a brand new studio album titled "Saudades de Rock". Since 2007 the line-up of EXTREME exists of Gary Cherone (vocals), Nuno Bettencourt (guitar, backing vocals), Pat Badger (bass, backing vocals) and Kevin Figueiredo (drums). This new album features 14 tracks and is produced by guitarist Bettencourt. The CD starts very strongly with "Star" (which is the first single of the album) and reminds me very much of QUEEN's "Tie Your Mother Down". The QUEEN and VAN HALEN influences are still audible on this album. Talking about VAN HALEN, any rocker knows that Cherone joined VAN HALEN after EXTREME broke-up and Sammy Hagar had left VH. Cherone sung on the worst VH album ever "Van Halen III" (1998). Though Cherone is a very good singer for EXTREME, he didn't fit in VAN HALEN. But it's mainly Nuno Bettencourt who steals the show on this album with his great guitar solos. He's a fantastic guitar player. I don't like the two piano ballads "Ghost" and "Peace (Saudade)", then I prefer the beautiful "Interface". Not all the songs are even strong, so I would say the best songs on "Saudades de Rock" are "Comfortably Dumb" (my favourite), "Learn To Love", "Star", "King Of The Ladies" and the funky "Slide" (which reminds me of THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS). The last track of the album "Americocaine" is a demo version from 1985 and is an European Bonus track. All with all "Saudades de Rock" is a fine rock album, but it's absolutely not their best. And don't expect a song like "More Than Words" on it, because you won't find it on this album.
Visit their website: http://www.extreme-band.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/extreme

80/100

FELINE MELINDA – Morning Dew (CD) Italy November 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hardrock Running time: 40:04 (Tracks: 11)
Ah…album covers…this one features a pair of beautiful breasts with a Feline necklace. One could easily mistake this for at least the same quality in music so I gave this a spin. Knowing that this band has been formed in the late eighties and the fact that they released 3 albums (one of which is a 1995 live album) makes me think what the reason behind that is. Well my dear rock friends, that's easy. This music is either a joke or too simplistic to take it serious. I think, that if I have to compare this to another band, I would say a mix between your ordinary glamrockband and inferior rockbands that emerged all through the eighties. The lyrics are as simple as is the music, and obviously, this band is not in touch with today's rock music. All I can think of that this cd is fit to learn your kids what rock is about before their ears get spoiled with real bands. No, I see no future for this band. I do see future for these gorgeous boobs though….
Visit their website: http://www.felinemelinda.com
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/felinemelinda

50/100

GAMA BOMB – Citizen Brain (CD) Ireland November 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 38:28 (Tracks: 15)
GAMA BOMB is a Thrash Metal band from Ireland and was formed in 2002. Together with bands like BONDED BY BLOOD, EVILE, SSS (Short Sharp Shock) and WARBRINGER they belong to the new generation of bands who are playing old school Thrash Metal like in the eighties. GAMA BOMB exists of Philly Byrne (vocals), Luke Graham (guitar), Domo Dixon (lead guitar), Joe McGuigan (bass, backing vocals) and Paul Caffrey (drums). In 2006 these guys released their debut album "Survival Of The Fastest" and in June their second album "Citizen Brain" was released. The band plays short and fast songs with great guitar riffs. I would say they are a mix of bands like NUCLEAR ASSAULT, MUNICIPAL WASTE and early SLAYER. Songs like "Zombie Blood Nightmare", "Time Crime", "Final Fight", "Hammer Slammer", "Sentenced To Thrash", "Thrashoholic" and "In The Court Of General Zod" are all great thrash songs. "Citizen Brain" is a fantastic Thrash album which I really can recommend. Go see them live if you can and join the circle pit!!
Visit their website: http://www.gamabomb.com
Recordlabel: http://www.earache.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gamabomb

88/100

GARY MOORE – Bad For You Baby (CD) Northern Ireland / United Kingdom November 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Blues Rock Running time: 41:46 (Tracks: 11)
Well, GARY MOORE doesn't need any introduction. MOORE played in SKID ROW (not the SKID ROW with Sebastian Bach) end sixties/early seventies, COLLOSSEUM II (mid seventies) and THIN LIZZY (on the classic "Black Rose: A Rock Legend" (1979), which is my favourite TL album) before he started his successful solo career. MOORE started his solo career as a blues-rock guitarist and released his first solo album "Back On The Streets" in 1979. In the eighties GARY MOORE made some great Hard Rock albums like "Corridors Of Power" (1982), "Victims Of The Future" (1983), "Run For Cover" (1985) and "Wild Frontiers" (1987), but since his album "Still Got The Blues" (1990) he turned back to the Blues side. Well, MOORE is still one of the best guitar players on earth. His newest album, which is produced by MOORE himself, is called "Bad For You Baby" and features eleven great blues tracks. On this album you will find some slow blues songs like "Trouble Ain't Far Behind", "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know", "Did You Ever Feel Lonely?" and "Preacher Man Blues", but most of the songs are great blues rockers. "Holding On" is the most commercial sounding track and the longest track on the album is the beautiful "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" (10:37). Slow or fast & heavy blues songs, it doesn't matter, because it's still a pleasure to listen to this great axe man. My favourite songs are opener "Bad For You Baby", "Down The Line", "Umbrella Man", "Walkin' Thru The Park", "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know", "Mojo Boogie" and "Did You Ever Feel Lonely?". If you like previous blues albums by GARY MOORE and you also like RORY GALLAGHER, JOE BONAMASSA or JULIAN SAS, then you'll have to buy "Bad For You Baby" too. Fantastic album. We want MOORE!
Visit their website: http://www.gary-moore.com
Recordlabel: http://www.eagle-rock.com

90/100

HEATHENDOM – Nescience (CD) Greece November 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 52:30 (Tracks: 10)
Heathendom is a relatively new band that made its appearance in the Greek metal scene with a demo cd a couple of years ago. The moment I heard the band's first work I realized that they could go places if luck was on their side and they continued with the same passion and professionalism. The reward came rather quickly. The band inked a deal with international label Metal On Metal and presents its debut album "Nescience".
I admit that I am a bit strict towards the Greek bands. After all it's my country and I don't want to compromise with mediocre stuff. I want the best from my fellow countrymen. On the Heathendom case the things where pretty clear and straight forward from the start. The band has great talent and huge potential. Its style of metal has its own identity. It's power metal for sure but with an unique touch that combines classic stuff with contemporary styles. I guess I could describe it as Nevermore meets King Diamond! So no europower on this record; the style is clearly American oriented. The vocalist goes for the higher notes. This guy can sing but he also gives a theatrical performance that many famous singers would envy. The music is concrete and heavy as hell. The guitars really grind and the drums run stampede. There is a dark feeling in this record and some melodies are really creepy. I have to admit that I was impressed with the result. I was confident that Heathendom would present a kick ass debut album and the band didn't fail me. What else could a power metal fan ask for? Trust Heathendom and you won't miss!
Visit their website: http://www.heathendom.tk
Recordlabel: http://www.metal-on-metal.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/heathendom

84/100

ILIUM – Vespertilion (CD) Australia November 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic PowerMetal Running time: 62:47 (Tracks: 10)
Illium, a melodic power metal band from Newcastle, Australia, was formed in 1998. So far, they already released one EP (in 2002) and two albums ("Sirens of the Styx" in 2003 and "Permian Dusk" in 2005). These two albums were well received and now they return with their third album "Vespertilion". On their latest album are mostly catchy, up- tempo melodic power metal songs, with excellent guitar leads and superb vocals by Lord Tim. Bands to refer at are Black Steel, Black Majesty (also both from Australia), but also a band like HammerFall comes to mind while listening to "Vespertilion". Recently Lord Tim left the band so the only remaining members from the original line-up are the guitarists Jason Hodges and Adam Smith. They look forward to complete the line-up with a new vocalist and include some live dates for the first time.
Recordlabel: http://www.justsayrock.com.au
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/iliummetal

84/100

JAM PAIN SOCIETY – Black Light Messiah (CD) USA November 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Metal / Rock / Industrial Running time: 55:49 (Tracks: 12)
It’s very hard to categorize a group with so many influences from different styles of music. And I think that’s great! Jam Pain Society reminds me a lot of Avenged Sevenfold. Only that JPS is female fronted and every member of the band dress themselves up on stage. Personally that’s a big turn off for me, but I can understand this is a plus for show aspect. Such as Avenged Sevenfold the musicians are great! Perfect control of their instruments. Not that the lead singer “Leah Kirby” is bad though! She has one of the best voices in the current metal scene in my opinion. But as we all know is having a good voice and playing your instruments well is not everything in a band. There’s something missing… when I played the record for the first time I was really enjoying it and the band definitely has some classics in the making such as “7-second Smile” and “You made Me” BUT I didn’t really have the urge to play the record again for a week or so. The music doesn’t really stick with you. But I’ll bet if this band released this record 10 or 15 years earlier they would be huge. Putting every critical note aside Jam Pain Society is worth the listen. You should definitely check them out!
Visit their website: http://www.jampainsociety.com
Recordlabel: http://www.locomotiverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jampainsociety

75/100

KALEB – Legion (Promo CD) UK November 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Metal Running time: 05:18 (Tracks: 4)
This is a very short promo by UK's Kaleb, with 4 partial songs on it. It's almost impossible to review such a short piece of outtakes from a whole album. Just 4 pieces of music, each just over one minute, although it sounds promising, with the production sounding very poor, I still don't know what to think of this. So no points scored there, the outtakes are from tracktitles like 'Four Winds', 'Legion', 'Blood Feud' and 'Scarecrow'. I will form my opinion on this band when I have heard the whole 9 track album, that is the reason I won't rate this here, just wait and see if we hear more of them in the future.
Visit their website: http://www.kaleb.info
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kalebuk

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KATRINA JOHANSSON – Love Surrender Forgiveness (MCD) USA November 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Rock / Metal Running time: 16:18 (Tracks: 4)
Having released a heavy instrumental EP in 2005, "Guitarsongs Volume I", Katrina has recently finished her second studio EP, "Love Surrender Forgiveness". On her second EP are 3 new songs and a remix of one of her songs from her first EP. Her songs have a good balance between very melodic, emotional parts and several shredguitar interludes. Some kind of mix of Steve Vai/Joe Satriani and Michael Angelo Batio (who plays bass on her remixed song). Katrina's melodic shredding style has gained her a lot of respect as a female icon in a typically male-dominated genre. Up to a full-length album Katrina!
Visit their website: http://www.katrinaguitar.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/katrinajohansson

79/100

KOSTA VRETO – Skin On Strings (CD) Greece November 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Progressive Rock / Metal Running time:49:59 (Tracks: 12)
This is the first solo album from this excellent guitarist from Greece, Kosta Vreto. I know that he's also playing in the great progressive metal band, Horizon's End, also from Greece. In 2001, they released the magnificent album "Concrete Surreal". Together with some members of his band, Kosta recorded "Skin On Strings". Most of the songs on his solo album are mid-tempo melodic progressive rock/metal songs. Sometimes complex, sometimes with fusion influences, but always played very melodic. Kosta's guitar style reminds me especially of Vinnie Moore, Tamas Szekeres and Patrick Rondat. There is also one song with vocals, "Love For Sale", a mid-tempo progressive metal song, reminding me of Dream Theater, and a few short (acoustic), calm songs. Kosta also got some help from other Greek guitarists like Ioannis Anastasakis, Theodore Ziras and Alex Flouros. "Skin On Strings" is an excellent instrumental rock/metal album, for guitar freaks but also for progressive metal fans.
Visit their website: http://www.horizons-end.com
Recordlabel: http://www.steelgallery.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kostavreto

91/100

LOWER HELL– Asphyxia (CD) Germany November 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Melodic Death Metal / Metalcore Running time: 30:22 (Tracks: 7)
This band from south-west Germany started out in 2004 as Lies behind the Smile. They released a self produced promo cd "Just to be Sure" in winter 2005/06. After a while they felt that their name no longer fitted with their new brutal melodic death sound (that's what they say) and changed it to Lower Hell. But they also call themselves beauties and womanizers in their bio!! Ahum!! I never met a good looking german guy and they are no exception. They recorded Asphyxia in winter 2007 in cooperation with Fear my Thoughts (Century Media) and it's mastered by Jacob Hansen (Denmark) and released on Demons Run Amok in June 2008. This isn't a bad cd but it isn't very original too. 30 minutes are more than enough to listen to them.That's because I don't like the vocals. Especially the last song "To your Ash". It's kind of a ballad and Sven Busam screams from beginning to end like a pig that's being castrated. If you like that kind of sound you must buy this cd but I don't care for it. It's really a ridiculous song. But there are good songs too. I like the third one called Asphyxia. Enough variety to really enjoy it. Good drums and guitar riffs and a very good production. The guys can play, no question about that. They have some good ideas and they are not afraid to try new things but it can be better. I think they have to grow a bit more and their next cd will be better.
Visit their website: http://www.lowerhell.de
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lowerhell

69/100

MENCEA – Dark Matter Energy Noire (CD) Greece November 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Death / Groove Metal Running time: 40:57 (Tracks: 8)
Newcomers Mencea from Greece try to contribute something to the overcrowded metalcore/melodic death metal scene by using spacey melodies and atmospheric passages throughout their hard hitting riffs and melodic hooks. I must admit, it works. Something Daniel Bergstrand must have thought too when he heard the band. It ended up with him mixing the album. That's one big plus, but it didn't end here because the legendary George Marino, who seems to be very interested in metal lately (Enslaved, Stonegard) did the mastering. A better start then this is impossible. But as said before the band deserves it. A word that constantly comes in mind listening the record is: "skills". "A skill is the learned capacity or talent to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimal outlay of time, energy, or both". What is good must come fast someone once said. These guys play like a band that is together for years and that is a big complement concerning the future. In that future I hope the band will include more space melodies and atmospheric passages in their sound. This is what makes them somewhat original sounding and gives them the right to exist in a scene with too much copycats and weaklings.
Recordlabel: http://www.indierecs.no
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mencea

80/100

MOTHER OF SIN – Promotion Demo (CDemo) The Netherlands November 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 30:40 (Tracks: 8)
Mother of Sin was formed by former Elegy and Prime Time vocalist/guitarist Eduard Hovinga and former Vengeance drummer Gerry de Graaf. The combination of great instrumental skills, complex songwriting and strong melodies, makes one think of a fusion between bands like Symphony X, Cacophony, TNT and Masterplan. Shortly after the formation in 2003, the band recorded a demo-cd. Because of the good reviews, the band got to play with international acts like Symphony X, Joe Stump's Reign of Terror and Distant Thunder. In 2004 Mother of Sin signed a record deal with Italian record label Adrenaline/Steelheart. The debut album " Apathy" was the next logical step. The band found a great producer in Vandenberg's Dick Kemper. In 2005, the debut cd "Apathy" was released, which got very good reviews. Shortly before the recording of the follow-up in 2006, the band feel apart! Key members Eduard and Gerry pushed on and recorded the second album "Absolution" together. They also looked for a new record label but haven't found one yet. In 2008 the line-up was completed by bassplayer Peter Groen and Mother of Sin still playing live again. On their promo-cd, which was sent by their promoter Hanneke, are 3 songs from their debut and 5 from their new album. Well, Mother of Sin still plays a mix of melodic, technical and progressive metal. The new songs sound a bit less complex and have more keyboards. Eduard is still a very good (high pitched) vocalist and a superb guitarist also! Their new songs sound like a mix of Eduard former bands Elegy and Prime Time, mixed with more complex bands like Cacophony and Apochrypha. They hope to release "Absolution" in 2009 by a new record label. Nearly can't wait to listen to it!
Visit their website: http://www.motherofsin.tk

93/100

NEVER FACE DEFEAT – Changing Times (CD) Germany November 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Hardcore / Metalcore Running time: 32:47 (Tracks: 10)
Never Face Defeat is a German hardcore band with already a bunch of experience. They previously released two records, which received good press, but they didn’t bring the band to the top of the game. A pity because they have what it takes to be considered among the other hardcore/metalcore top bands from Germany. The album is not bad at all, but after you get halfway the songs they get sort of boring and you realize the band is one of the many bands out there trying to make it and in this scene it’s hard to get noticed by the big crowds. The main ingredient of the band’s music is obviously hardcore with mid-tempo breakdowns thrown in and an occasional metalcore riff. But as I said there’s a huge amount of bands this time and at the end there will only be a small percentage that will rise up. If you’re a fan of Heaven Shall Burn, Born from Pain, … you really should check this band out.
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/neverfacedefeat

70/100

NOMAD SON – First Light (CD) Malta November 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 45:14 (Tracks: 8)
The island country of Malta is not famous for its heavy metal bands. The first Maltese band I ever encountered was Forsaken a few years ago. Nomad Son is the second one. The band was formed in 2006 and share bass players with Forsaken since Albert Bell participates in both bands.
Nomad Son plays Doom metal but not in an epic manner like Forsaken does. The band's style is heavily influenced by Black Sabbath and the sound of the 70's which is considered as the godfather of pure doom. I would say that the band sounds like a cross between The Obsessed and Cathedral with some Candlemass added to the mix. The organ featured in this recording contributes in the reproduction of a 70's feeling that is ever-present throughout the entire album. The lyrics are ominous and death related; the typical doom ones. It is hard to present something entirely original in the doom metal field nowadays so the point is to do things right. And Nomad Son can play decent doom metal with cool melodies and a dark feeling. The doom fans must invest.
Visit their website: http://www.nomadson.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metal-on-metal.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nomadsonmalta

75/100

QUADRIVIUM – Adversus (CD) Norway November 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Atmospheric Black Metal Running time: 40:00 (Tracks: 09)
Quadrivium started in 2005 and makes melodic atmospheric black metal. This album contains 9 tracks of pure black. All the songs have a great variety and the music is groovy and dark. This album is composed as a journey that brings you in another dimension. The synthesiser is very loud in the mix, not really my thing but in this band it fits great. The production of this album is good considering it's their debut. The good thing about this music is that it's not a rip off and its very easy listening. The guitar riffs are heavy and the drums are very relaxed. The vocals are filthy screams combined with clean. The only things I can say about this record is… buy or check it out!
Visit their website: http://www.quadrivium.nu
Recordlabel: http://www.soulsellerrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/quadriviumnorway

75/100

SAINT – Crime Scene Earth (CD) USA November 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 42:04 (Tracks: 10)
Saint is one of the most famous names of the Christian metal scene. Formed in the mid 80s, the band has released a series of classic albums and continues to record to this day after a break during the 90s. Bass player Richard Lynch and vocalist Josh Kramer are the remaining original members.
"Crime Scene Earth" is an album that remains faithful to the classic Saint sound which is original heavy metal heavily influenced by Judas Priest and Accept. Josh Kramer has lost some of his former edge. He avoids the higher notes for most of the time but he sounds pretty decent and preserves some of his Halfordesque similarities. The lead guitars are nice too; both riffs and solos. It is nice to hear that Saint hasn't fallen into the trap of building a contemporary sound. All these years the band has been playing traditional heavy metal. That's what these guys know best and that's what they deliver. No ground breaking stuff, no innovations, no trends. Just pure heavy metal. Note that "Invader" is a cover of the Judas Priest classic.
Visit their website: http://www.saintsite.com
Recordlabel: http://www.armorrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/saintmetal

74/100

SIEGES EVEN – Playgrounds (CD) Germany November 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive metal Running time: 69:49 (Tracks: 10)
Sieges Even is one of the most famous German progressive bands. They have a 20 year old career during which they have travelled to many different musical landscapes and have explored various aspects of the progressive metal universe. "Playgrounds" is the band's first live recording. This live album focuses on the band's most recent period and their 2 latest releases "Paramount" and "The Art of Navigating by the Stars" in particular. This is quite reasonable since during these years the band has finally established what seems to be a steady line-up. "Change of Seasons" is also fairly represented by "The Waking Hours" and "These Empty Places". This album has a great sound. I really can't believe it was recorded live. The guys obviously did a great job. The four musicians sound tight and precise. I think that the fans will enjoy 70 minutes of progressive music delivered in the best possible way. Enough said. (Note Mario: the band disbanded lately)
Visit their website: http://www.siegeseven.com
Recordlabel: http://www.insideout.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/siegeseven

80/100

SIMON SAYS – Tardigrade (CD) Sweden November 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Progressive / Symphonic Rock Running time: 74:11 (Tracks: 10)
This Swedish prog/sympho rock band already exist since the 90's. In the past they already released two concept albums, advancing the same story line and having several lineup changes. The bands name "Simon Says" reflects the main character in an ongoing storyline. Their previous albums "Cenwein" (1995) and "Paradise Square" (2002) have told the story of Simon, and on their new album "Tardigrade", the story continues. Musically it's a strong progressive rockalbum, with hints at legendary acts like Genesis, Yes, IQ, Marillion and Camel. "Tardigrade" has got many moods and colours, with a generous use of 70's sounding Hammond organ and mellotron. From bombastic outbursts of keyboard and guitar to delicate acoustic pieces, from epic 25 minute tracks to short instrumental interludes. For fans of 70's progressive rock!
Visit their website: http://www.paradisesquare.net
Recordlabel: http://www.progrockrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/simonsayssweden

81/100

SQUEALER – The Circle Shuts (CD) Germany November 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash / Power Metal Running time: 46:48 (Tracks: 11)
SQUEALER is a German thrash/power metal band who exists since the mid eighties. So far, they have released two demo tapes "Ready To Fight" (1987) and "One Beer To Much" (1988), an EP "Human Traces" (1990) and since 1992 six full length albums: "Make Your Day" (1992), "Wrong Time, Wrong Place?" (1995), "The Prophecy" (1999), "Made For Eternity" (2000), "Under The Cross" (2002) and "Confrontation Street" (2006). "Confrontation Street" was released under the name SQUEALER A.D., because of the accidental death of singer Henner in 2005. Gus Chambers (GRIP INC.) did the vocals on "Confrontation Street". But the band found a new singer in Norbert Vorman and released their new album "The Circle Shuts" again under the name SQUEALER. So the line-up of SQUEALER is Norbert Vorman (vocals), Michael Schiel (guitar), Lars Döring (guitar), Michael Kaspar (bass) and Martin Buchwalter (drums). Personally I don't know anything of their older albums, so I can't say how Henner was as a singer. But their new singer Vorman is a good singer, which I like. He reminds me very much of Warrel Dane (SANCTUARY, NEVERMORE). Anyway, "The Circle Shuts" is a very nice acquaintance to me. My favourites tracks are "The Sources Of Ignition", "New Saviour", "Thrasher", "These Urges" (which sounds a bit industrial too) and "The Circle Shuts". Very good album by these Germans. Check them out.
Visit their website: http://www.squealer.de
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/squealerofficialmyspace

82/100

SVARTAHRID – Malicious Pride (CD) Norway November 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black Metal. Running time: 48:05 (Tracks: 10)
True Norwegian black metal. That's the first thing that comes in my mind listening to "Malicious Pride" Svartahrid's fourth album. Besides Taake and Krypt, Svartahrid are one of the few survivors within this style of black metal that defines strong melodies, lyrics often wrote in the Norwegian language and the most important thing: atmosphere. Something that most of the black metal records in the nineties -that came from Norway- had. "Malicious Pride" is recorded in the infamous Akkerhaugen Lydstudio, well known for the production of the later Emperor albums and has an absolute strong sound which perfectly captures the above mentioned atmosphere. So tradition wise there is nothing wrong with this album. On the other hand one could say that it contributes little or less to the scene. Sure Svartahrid are a long time running band and has all the rites playing the music they maybe helped creating since the late '80 (some members of the band were/are also in the band Mactatus). Only problem is that I have dozens of cd's in my collection that sound like "Malicious Pride". If this is not a problem for you then this album will do no harm to your collection. Labelowner Jorn from Soulseller Records has an even better advice for buying it: "Let Svartahrid take you back in time, before you know it you are re-experiencing that smell of cold autumn during the mid ninties. I couldn't said it better myself.
Nice anecdote to end this review: Like most of there college bands from Norway an ex- Svartahrid member has made himself guilty desecrating graves and even cutting one of the corpses head off! He now faces a sentence of 2 years in prison. Have I told you Svartahrid is true Norwegian black metal?
Recordlabel: http://www.soulsellerrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/svartahrid

78/100

SYNCARDION – Embrace The Inevitable (Promo-CD) The Netherlands November 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Death Metal / Thrash / Grind Running time: 29:04 (Tracks: 8)
SYNCARDION is a 5 piece band from Breda, Holland and exists of Sjors Maas (vocals), Rob Lips (lead guitar), Raymond Luijbregts (rhythm guitar), Niek Boonman (bass) and Pascal Payens (drums). The band started in 2002 and is inspired by bands like PANTERA, IN FLAMES and AT THE GATES. Syncardion plays a mix of Thrash Metal and Melodic Death Metal with Grindcore parts. These guys already have released a self titled CDemo (3 songs) in 2005, and now they have recorded their full length debut album "Embrace The Inevitable". The album features 8 songs and has a very good production. Personally I don't hear any PANTERA influences. They remind me more of a band like CARCASS on their best album ever "Heartwork" (1993) and indeed AT THE GATES and IN FLAMES. Musically Syncardion is a very talented and technical band with absolute great musicians (specially the two guitarists). Also Sjors is for this genre a very good singer, ehhhm I mean grunter and he reminds me very much of Jeff Walker (Carcass) and Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates). Believe me, all tracks are even great. The album starts with an instrumental intro "Abidance" and ends with an instrumental outro "Consummation", but the other six songs like "Preamble On Nothing To Come", "Embraced" and "Megalomania" are awesome. The only negative point is that the album is to short. At the moment the band is trying to get a record deal with a label. If they don't succeed in finding one, then the band will release "Embrace The Inevitable" themselves, so that you can order their debut album through their own website or MySpace page. But I'm sure there must be an independent label somewhere who will be interested in SYNCARDION. Anyway, let's hope they will succeed in finding a label, because "Embrace The Inevitable" is a fantastic debut album. Good work guys. Great band, check them out if you like the above mentioned bands.
Visit their website: http://www.syncardion.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/syncardion

85/100

TEARS OF BLOOD - Tears of Blood (CD) Germany November 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Hardcore Running time: 23:51 (Tracks: 7)
At first I thought this was a Belgian band after reading their bio but in fact they are germans. They try to create a sound like Congress and Liar but they are terrible. They can't play or write decent songs. It's like they learned to play their instruments a month ago. Every chord you hear has been done by every NYHC band you know but 100 times better and the singer, oh my god, one of the worst singers I ever heard. I constantly want to remove the saliva from my ears 'cause he spits a lot. He sounds like a wet sponge. Luckily there are only 5 songs on this cd. I don't count the intro and outro. Incredible that they were able to record this cd. Not worth listening to.
Recordlabel: http://www.luciferslegions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kingswillbekings

48/100

TEASER – No Big Deal (MiniCD) Sweden November 2008 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / AOR Running time: 17:30 (Tracks: 3)
Teaser comes from Stockholm, Sweden and plays melodic rock / hard rock. No Big Deal is not their first album, they have released one (nameless) demo before, in 2007. The band was founded in 2006 and their goal is to make melodic rock with a modern sound. The quality of the three songs on this miniCD is quite good. Teaser is influenced by bands like Journey and Def Leppard, and I can agree on that. The three songs are quite comparable concerning the structure, but that is meant in a positive way. They have a catchy refrain, but there is enough space for an adventurous guitar solo. Musically everything is quite ok and if the singer works on his vocal performance, than Teaser can be a quite successful band. On their myspace site, Teaser announces that they are working on new material for the movie "Back Both Ways", hopefully they can suprise us with new good material!
Visit their website: http://www.teasersweden.com
Recordlabel: http://www.slwpromotions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/teasersweden

71/100

THUNDERTALE – Milzinai (CD) Lithuania November 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Power Metal Running time: 55:50 (Tracks: 13)
This is the first time ever I got to hear a cd from a Lithuanian band, born in 2004 out of the ashes of hard rock band VORS, THUNDERTALE today is one of the most productive metal bands in Lithuania. So far they released two full albums and a DVD in 3 years time, their first album 'Rising Power' was released in 2005, and later that year also a DVD was released with two videos included. In 2006 the band got an offer to perform one Lithuanian national song, specially arranged for heavy metal, in a new tv show. That time was also a new member joined them playing a hornpipe, a national Lithuanian instrument. The song 'Lithuanian Brothers' was born, and became a hit from the first airing on tv, and is probably the best-known song of the band. The band did some shows in Latvia and Poland, and they were approached by a new label, Atra Musica Records. After a few months of hard work, with the help of legendary producer Gints Lundbergs of Latvian "Phoenix" studio, this new album 'Milzinai' (Giants) was born. The music on this album is a kind of power metal, in the vein of Hammerfall, melodic, powerful with clean vocals. Heroic songs in their native language, and some in english, like 'Knight of the Burning Hill' or 'Dance in the Wind'. Lot's of nice guitar work with some pounding drums, and as a bonus track, a different, piano version of the song 'Su Veju' and a video clip of 'Thunder Take Me Away'. Also some ballads on the album, which they seem to like to do, although I think they are much better in their uptempo, power tracks, even some with folk influences like 'Su Veju'. Nothing new done here, but they do a good job with what they do. I don't think this is gonna be their big breakthru, but they are on the way...
Visit their website: http://www.thundertale.com
Recordlabel: http://www.atra-musica.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thundertale

75/100

OCTOBER

ALHAMBRA – Fadista (CD) Japan October 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Progressive / Symphonic Rock/Metal Running time: 61:40 (Tracks: 10)
"Fadista" is the second full-length album from Alhambra, a progressive hard rock band featuring Galneryus keyboardist Yuhki Nakashima and five-octave female vocalist Junko Sera. Their first album "A Far Cry To You" was released in 2005. After an instrumental intro, "Fadista" starts and continues with interesting symphonic/progressive metal songs like "The Infinite Ocean" and "Labyrinth". It's not all the time fast paced songs, there are also calmer songs like "Utopia". There's always a great interactivity between guitars and keyboards, very well demonstrated in the instrumental song "Ascorching Season". Yuhki is a great keyboardist and also guitarist Toshihiro Kajihara is very good, reminding me a lot of Henk van der Laars (ex-Elegy). There are also several guests like vocalist Yasuo Sasai (Ark Storm) on two songs and other guest musicians. When you can get used to the high pitched female vocalist (and Japanese lyrics), "Fadista" is a good progressive/symphonic rock/metal release.
Visit their website: http://www.alhambra.ws
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/alhambrafadista

80/100

ANGBAND - Rising from Apanda (CD) Iran October 2008 Sammy de Maere
Style: Heavy / Progressive Metal Running time: 36:07 min (Tracks: 7)
When I first read the descriptor of this band I didn't believe what I was reading but this is just another example of the power of heavy metal music and its fans. Yes you're reading this well, Argband is a heavy metal band from Iran ! If you consider the fact that metal is illegal in their home country you can conclude with me that this is a truly unique band. Now enough about their situation, let's talk about the music. Argband describes themselves as a mix between Iced Earth and Nevermore and I can agree a bit but to me this album sounds more like an old Mercyfull Fate record but I think that's more to do with the vocals although the music has some of the feeling as well. I actually like this album, it's easy to tell that this band consists of talented musicians and a great singer. The biggest problem is actually the sound quality but considering the circumstances I will let the guys of the hook and call it an old school production. If you like progressive heavy metal you really should check these guys out even if the only reason is to say that you actually know a heavy metal band from Iran.
Visit their website: http://www.angbandmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angbandrocks

80/100

BIOMECHANICAL – Cannibalised (CD) UK / Greece October 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Modern Thrash / Speed Metal Running time: 48:10 (Tracks: 10)
My first acquintance with this band was their gig at the Headway festival in 2004.c That time singer & founder John K. gave me their debut album "Eight Moons" and I was blown away by the bands power & energy; incredible!!! Not only on stage the band convinced me for 200% but also on CD they kicked ass! The same goes for their second album "The Empires of the Worlds " which is a classic one already. Read both my reviews of these 2 albums (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews) and you will see/read that I'm a very big Biomechanical fan! Strange that after the high ratings I gave both albums I had to wait for such a long time before I received this 3rd new album "Cannibalised". The album was already released in the beginning of this year and I just got it about 2 months ago?? Biomechanical plays a mix of traditional metal, thrash and modern metal with elements of film scoring orchestral music.
Biomechanical was founded by John K. in April 1999 but you can read all this in my earlier reviews. Only thing I have to mention is the fact that John K. is the only original member left after he kicked out (or they left on free will??) the rest of the band just a few months before the recording of this album. Most of the press call Biomechanical an UK band but singer John K. is a real greek who is living in the UK these days.
About the new album: This is an album which suits good to the bands older stuff but its even a bit heavier if you ask me. Very technical modern thrash with the typical voice/screams of John K. Not comparable with any other band in the genre and that's already quit unique these days! This is not an album for the average metalhead so check it out before you buy it otherwise some strange things may happen with your psychological condition…I warned you!! Only little complaint I have is that the band uses to much bombastic orchestral parts in some of the songs (for example on: 'Consumed' & "Through Hatred Arise"). Otherwise my rate would have even be higher!!!
Visit their website: http://www.biomechanical.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.earache.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/biomechanical

92/100

BLACK STONE CHERRY – Folklore And Superstition (CD) USA October 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Southern Rock Running time: 53:02 (Tracks: 13)
BLACK STONE CHERRY is a band from Edmonton, Kentucky, USA and was formed in 2001. The line-up of BSC is Chris Robertson (vocals, guitar), Ben Well (guitar, vocals), John Lawhon (bass, vocals) and John Fred Young (drums). It's great to see that such young guys choose to play traditional Hard Rock/Southern Rock like bands as AEROSMITH, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, THE BLACK CROWES, LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY etcetera. In July of 2006 the band released their self titled debut album, which is a superb album and a real recommendation. That album has some great rock songs like "Rain Wizard", "Backwoods Gold", "Maybe Someday", "Crosstown Woman" and "Violator Girl". Now a few months ago BLACK STONE CHERRY's second album "Folklore And Superstition" has been released. The first thing that is notable is that this second album sounds more commercial and is in that way more accessible. The album has, instead of that fantastic debut album, a couple of rock ballads like "Things My Father Said", "Peace Is Free" and "You", and those songs remind me the most of AEROSMITH. Don't get me wrong, these are beautiful rock ballads. Also Robertson sounds a bit like Steven Tyler on these songs. But don't be afraid, there are still some great rock songs like "Devil's Queen" (best track), "Blind Man", "Soulcreek" (very catchy), "The Bitter End", "Reverend Wrinkle" and the last track "Ghost Of Floyd Collins". The album has a very good production, which was done by Bob Marlette. "Folklore And Superstition" is a good Rock album, but in my opinion it can't compare with the self titled debut album. So far that debut album will still be my favourite album of BSC (which I would give 92 points). Hopefully the third album will be like the debut album again. But BLACK STONE CHERRY is definitely a band worth checking out. Hope they will do some shows in Holland, so that I can go see them.
Visit their website: http://www.blackstonecherry.com
Recordlabel: http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/blackstonecherry

85/100

BLUSHING WELL – This Flesh I'm In (CD) USA October 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Prog Rock Running time: 53:36 (Tracks: 11)
First of all, I never had heard of this Christian rock band BLUSHING WELL before. They call themselves a Modern Hard Art Rock band. According to their website the band have been compared with bands like TOOL, KING'S X and PEARL JAM. Well, to me BLUSHING WELL doesn't even come close to these mentioned bands. Anyway the line-up of the band on this album "This Flesh I'm In", which already was released in 2006, is Joshua Redding (vocals, keyboards), Jeff Redding (guitar), Jared Redding (guitar), Jeremy Redding (bass) and Heather Redding (keyboard). Additional musician is Steve Cumming on drums. Perhaps you can place them in the Prog Rock section, but to me most of the songs are very boring. Also singer Joshua sounds pretty boring too. Okay, the production of the album is good, and the members of the band can play. There are just a few songs to which I can listen to, but really, the rest is boring, boring and boring. Also, lyrically it doesn't catch me. It's all about God, He, Jesus, Him etc. Well, BLUSHING WELL isn't a band for me. Not musically and lyrically. Members of EO (EO is a Dutch religious television station), check this band out, hahahahaha.
Visit their website: http://www.blushingwell.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/blushingwell

45/100

BONDED BY BLOOD – Feed The Beast (CD) USA October 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 41:51 (Tracks: 12)
BONDED BY BLOOD is of course named after the legendary debut album of EXODUS. There's a complete New Wave Of Thrash Metal (NWOTM) with bands like EVILE, GAMA BOMB, TOXIC HOLOCAUST, SSS and of course BONDED BY BLOOD. The band was formed in the summer of 2005 by Jose "Aladdin" Barrales who was 17 years old at that time. BONDED BY BLOOD exists of Jose Barrales (vocals), Alex Lee (guitar), Juan Juarez (guitar), Ruben Dominguez (bass) and Carlos Degalado (drums). All band members met through a love of just one genre….Thrash Metal. In 2006 BBB released their first demo "Four Pints Of Blood" and in 2007 they released a self-released EP titled "Extinguish the Weak". "Feed The Beast" is the debut album which is released on the Earache label and features twelve fantastic Thrash songs. As just said, the band is named after EXODUS' legendary debut album, but also BBB sounds exactly like EXODUS. And Barrales reminds me very much of Steve Souza too. So, you could say it's a negative point that BBB doesn't have their own sound, but who cares because the songs are great anyway. Go take a listen to songs like "Immortal Life", "Feed The Beast", "Mind Pollution", "Self Immolation" and "Vengeance" and let convince yourself that BBB is just a great Thrash band too. One thing is sure, "Feed The Beast" is a very good Thrash album, but it never can compete with the legendary "Bonded By Blood" album of EXODUS.
Recordlabel: http://www.earache.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bondedbyblood

86/100

COG – Sharing Space (CD) Australia October 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Alternative Rock / Progressive Rock Running time: 72:04 (Tracks: 13)
COG is an Australian band who are formed in 1998 and are playing alternative rock/progressive rock. The band exists of the brothers Flynn (vocals, guitar) and Luke Gower (bass) and Lucius Borich (drums). After several EP's this trio released their debut album "The New Normal" in 2005. This second album "Sharing Space" is recently released on the brand new German label Superball Music (distribution in the Benelux by CNR). The production was partly done by Sylvia Massy (TOOL, MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE) but mostly by COG themselves. Although "Sharing Space" is an album with a long running time (72 minutes) I don't loose my interest. The album just grows every time I listen to it. These guys are great musicians and they can write some fantastic songs. Also Flynn is a good singer. Some interesting songs are "No Other Way", "Swamp", "Four Walls", "Say Your Last Goodbye", "What If", "The Thrown Of Lincoln" and "Problem Reaction Solution". If you love a band like INCUBUS or early TOOL then I'm sure you will like COG too. Anyway "Sharing Space" is an interesting album.
Visit their website: http://www.cog.com.au
Recordlabel: http://www.insideout.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cogrockmusic

78/100

DANGER – First Touch (CDemo) Sweden October 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Glam Rock / Sleaze Rock Running time: 19:11 (Tracks: 6)
DANGER is a Swedish Glam/Sleaze Rock band who are formed in 2003. At that time the band played Heavy Metal, but with the arrival of Jesse Kid in 2006 as their new singer, they decided to change their music style into Glam and Sleaze Rock. Since February 2007 the line-up of the band exists of Jesse Kid (vocals), Rob Paris (guitar), Togge Rock (bass) and Danny Cräsh (drums). DANGER already had released four demo singles so far, but "First Touch" is the first promotional EP they are releasing worldwide. For this self financed EP DANGER recorded three brand new songs ("First Touch", "Miss Money" and "Hey You") and the other three songs "California Red", "Shove It" and "On The Run" were on the previous demo singles, but are re-mixed and re-mastered for this EP. Musically the band reminds me very much of a band like POISON. I like all six tracks very much, but if I have to mention my favourites, I would say "Miss Money", "California Red", "Hey You" and the fast rocker "Shove It". The production of this EP is very good. Anyway, the band has the looks and they have fantastic kick ass rock & roll songs. DANGER exists of great musicians and Jesse Kid is a good singer too. Let's hope DANGER will get a record deal soon, so a full length album will follow.
Visit their website: http://www.danger.se
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bestdanger

83/100

DARKCREED – Dark Regions (MCD) Mexico October 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 25:27 (Tracks: 7)
Darkcreed started in the late 90's in Mexico and released 2 demos. It seems that when they lived in Mexico the band disappeared for several years and returned living in Sweden and the U.K…hmmnn alright. In 2007 they started working on this EP. And now they released it by Soulsellers Records. This album contains 6 tracks of death metal that is old school to the bone. The music is not original but sounds great. It reminds me a lot of Entombed (old), Grave or Dismember. The guitar riffs are Swedish styled and the drums are pounding through every song. Twin solos and slow doom solos…very nice. The grunts are low but very listenable. You can hear every song he sings (lyrics). The composing of the songs is great, fast slow and very groovy. The production of this album is also great. If you like bands like Dismember, Bloodbath or Grave then you are definitely going to like this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.soulsellerrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkcreeddeathmetal

75/100

DECADENCE – The 3rd stage of Decay (CD) Sweden October 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Thrash / Death Metal Running time: 35:59 (Tracks: 8)
This album is released in 2006 by Hit Records. In may 2008 Decadence signed with Massacre Records and they re-released "The 3rd stage of Decay". The band is working on a new album right now. It's not a bad album this one. They play solid thrash metal which reminds me of the 80s. They are much compared with Kreator and other genrebands and sometimes I hear that in their music but they have one big advantage and that is lead singer Kitty Saric. She's the one that makes this band special. And not by singing with a deep grunt like some girls I know (hehehe) but by using an incredible aggressive scream . I really like that but I'm afraid that without Kitty the band will be nowhere because the music is too common. But this is a good solid record and I'm very curious for their next album.
Visit their website: http://www.decadence.se
Recordlabel: http://www.massacre-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/decadenceswe

80/100

ELEVENER – When Kaleidoscopes Collide (CD) Sweden October 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 51:39 (Tracks: 11)
The Swedish duo of Johan Bergquist (vocals, keyboards, bass) and Andreas Broden (guitars, drums) created the Elevener project in 2005. Both had gained enough experience from their appearances in other bands such as Hammerfall, Scenario and M.ill.ion and where ready to make it on their own.
"When Kaleidoscopes Collide" was a big surprise to my ears! I really can't believe that this album of original A.O.R. and melodic rock was recorded in 2008. This album contains music that could have easily been written more than 20 years ago! Never the less the feeling it generates is so genuine and true. I felt like listening to the best moments of old Toto and Chicago (era of albums like 16,17 and 18). Fans of this sound prepare to get shocked by this debut album from Elevener. They don't make albums like this anymore. This band is truly a surprise as well as an exception in today's musical landscape. Give them the chance they surely deserve.
Visit their website: http://www.elevener.com
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/elevenelevenagain

85/100

EVILE – Enter The Grave (CD) United Kingdom October 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 53:00 (Tracks: 10)
However this album was already released in 2007, somehow it never got reviewed on MMM. Well, I recently discovered this album myself, and it's such a fantastic album, that I decided to review this CD after all. "Enter The Grave" is the debut album of English four piece band EVILE. The band was formed around 2004 and exists of brothers Matt Drake (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Ol Drake (lead guitar), Mike Alexander (bass) and Ben Carter (drums). These guys also have released two EP's "All Hallows Eve" (2004) and "Hell Demo" (2006) in limited quantities by themselves too. With this album EVILE brings back those great Thrash Metal memories of the mid eighties. So far they got very good critics in Kerrang! Magazine as well in some other magazines too. So, we from MMM can't stay behind. The band already played with bands like MACHINE HEAD, SEVERE TORTURE, SABBAT etc. and they toured this year with bands like MEGADETH and EXODUS (see "Live reviews" for Mario's review of the EVILE & EXODUS gig at the Dynamo club on April 14th, 2008). With a lot of songs on "Enter The Grave", the band reminds me even of SLAYER sometimes. The album is produced by well known producer Flemming Rasmussen (METALLICA, MORBID ANGEL, BLIND GUARDIAN etc.) and sounds fantastic. Songs like "Enter The Grave", "Thrasher", "First Blood", "Burned Alive" and "Shizophrenia" are really great thrash songs with fantastic riffs. This is a young talented band who can keep the thrash spirit alive. Definitely a band worth checking out. If you like classic thrash bands like DEATH ANGEL, SLAYER, EXODUS and TESTAMENT, then you will like EVILE's album "Enter The Grave" too. By the way, it seems they are already working on a second album.
Visit their website: http://www.evile.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.earache.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/evileuk

88/100

FALCHION - Chronicles of the Dead (CD) Finland October 2008 Sammy de Maere
Style: Melodic Death / Folk Metal Running time: 47:51 (Tracks: 9)
Hailing from Finland this melodic death metal band, with 2 members from Korpiklaani, are releasing their second album called 'Chronicles of the Dead'. First of all I always found the combination between melodic death metal and folk metal quite strange but these guys showed me that it's possible to write songs that contain some accordeon and other instruments with death metal vocals. It does take some time to get used to and considering the fact that I'm not that fond of melodic death metal I don't think I'm used to it already. If we would compare this band I would do compare them to Amon Amarth, the riffing is a bit like the newer albums but the vocals are higher, like the old records of the Swedish death metallers. To be honest except for a few exceptions, like the allmighty Carcass and about everything that includes Dan Swanö, I really don't like melodic death metal, and I'm not that fond of those folky things either so I would suggest that the fans of these popular genres should check out this band, you probably won't be disappointed.
Visit their website: http://www.falchionband.com
Recordlabel: http'//www.massacre-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/falchionofficial

65/100

FUNERAL – As the Light does the Shadow (CD) Norway October 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Melodic Doom Metal Running time: 1:11:54 (Tracks: 10)
Often named as the founders of the funeral doom scene. Funeral slowly drifted away from that scene and became a more melodic doom band. The grunts who were prominent on the older albums are completely gone here. So what comes in place? A melodic voice who half talks and half sings his parts. The main problem is that his voice doesn't follow the music. There are too many words in one sentence and so it doesn't connect with the music. The vocalist, at times sounds like Aaron Stainthorpe from My Dying Bride. Nevertheless "they" don't have this problem. For example take the song "In the Fathoms of wit and reason" that has a guest appearance by the one and only mr. Rob Lowe (Candlemass, Solitude aeturnus); by far the best song on the album because this man can really sing. While during the rest of the songs I am constantly annoyed by the vocals. Too bad because the music is fantastic. On this album Funeral sounds much more melodic and gloomy then on the their older albums. Of course the hard hitting funeral doom riffs are still present succeeded with the melo- dramatic parts done by a full orchestra. So how do you rate an album with beautiful music but not fitting vocals. Indeed with an average score. Strong listening advise before buying!
Visit their website: http://www.funeralband.no
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/indierecordings
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/doomfuneral

70/100

HELSTAR – The King of Hell (CD) USA October 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 50:05 (Tracks: 9)
Helstar is such a kind of band that I don't even want to spoil your time with some biography; if you don't know the band already than you're probably from outer space OR not reading the right webzine. Helstar's first 2 releases "Burning Star" & "Remnants of War" are two classic albums which should belong in every selfrespecting metalhead's collection. After these 2 albums they released several other albums but all of these could never reach that same high level. Probably the reason that the band disbanded after a while and tried it again in 1995 with the "Multiples in Black" album. Pity enough this album couldn't give the band the proclaimed status back and singer James Rivera started several projects/bands (Destiny's End, Killing Machine & Distant Thunder) and began working as a kind of "temporary employee' for bands as Seven Wiches, Flotsam & Jetsam and lately Vicious Rumors
Last year the band released a kind of compilation album ("Sins of the Past") with some re-recorded old tracks and also 2 new songs (which are also on this new album). James Rivera was not glad with my review because I called it an useless album (except for the 2 new songs on it) because I still prefer the old songs with the typical sound they had in the 80's. Hopefully he will be glad with the review of the new album because I have to be honest; it kicks some serious ass!!! Maybe due to the fact that the band has recorded it in their nearly complete old line-up; James Rivera, Larry Baragan, Jerry Abarca, Rob Trevino & Russel DeLeon. Typical US Power metal which is (and will always be) my favourite kind of metal! Speedy songs with high pitching vocals are all I need……. Only little complain (sorry James) I have is the fact that nearly all the songs are played on the same speed and some more speed-variety would have been welcome. The rate would have been even higher but im sure Helstar will be satisfied already now J If you're an US-Powermetal fan like me: go to your local cd shop and buy this great album!!
Note: this promo has only 9 songs on it but there will be a limited first edition with 3 bonus tracks (which are not on this promo).
Visit their website: http://www.helstar.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/helstar

90/100

HOLY MOSES – Agony of Death (CD) Germany October 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 1:09:30 (Tracks: 12)
What to tell about this band that is not told before? Holy Moses (and especially singer Sabina Classen) have a trademark in the international thrash scene and the band is one of the best European thrashbands ever! This album "Agony of Death" is their 12th offering to date!! The band exist for more than 20 years now and is still delivering very good albums these days! In the past they could never win it from the other great German thrashbands Kreator, Destruction & Sodom but with this latest album they are equal or even better than the mentioned bands!! Productional this album also kicks serious ass! This is again 'straight in your face" thrashmetal with the typical sound of singer/frontlady Sabina Classen (as far as I know the only still remaining original member). Sabina is still one of the best female grunters these days and her voice is very remarkable. Most of the songs are full speed ahead but I prefer a few songs as favourites: 'Pseudohalluzination' , 'Imagination' & 'Delusional Denial'.
Obligatory feed for every die-hard Holy Moses fan! Great album!! Check the band out at their upcoming European tour with Benediction!
Visit their website: http://www.holymoses.de
Recordlabel: http://www.wackenrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/holymosesgermany

82/100

ICED EARTH– The Crucible of Man (Something Wicked part 2) (CD) USA October 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Metal Running time: 59:09 (Tracks: 15)
So here it is the first full length with Matt Barlow back on vocals. Part two of the 'Something Wicked this way Comes' saga. I won't bother you again with the subject who is the better singer Owens or Barlow since I already handled that subject in the "I Walk Alone" single review in the May edition. After hearing the album for almost 15 times I must say I expected more. Iced Earth has reached the always difficult phase in a musical career when your sound isn't "new" and full of surprises anymore. Of course as always an Iced Earth album is sounding very accurate. You can leave that to Mr. Particular, John Schaffer. Problem is the album starts of too slow with 4 of the six songs clocking round the 3 minutes. Only interesting songs are the ballad: "A Gift or a Curse" which I really like because I think the voice of Mr. Barlow sounds best within the ballad, and the song "The Dimension Gauntlet" which has a great guitar riff in it. Second half of the album sounds way better. Here it seems that the inspiration of Mr. Schaffer is not yet dehydrated. Also longer songs that contribute better to the epic story. Favourite ones here are the single "I Walk Alone and "Come what May" the last real song on the album. These songs save the album that at times sounds a little bit dull. On the other hand I can say that this is a return to form mostly because Matt is back.
"The Crucible of Man" is the culmination of the story line of the "Something Wicked…" saga and for now ends the story of the war between human kind and the Setians. As uninteresting concept albums could be, I find this story more then interesting and I hope a film company brings the story to the movie theatres in the near future . I now hope John lets his stories for what they are concerning the next album and releases something like "The Horror Show" where the songs stand more on their own. Time will tell…
Visit their website: http://www.icedearth.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/icedearth

80/100

IMAGIKA – Feast for the Hated (CD) USA October 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power / Thrash Metal Running time: 48:38 (Tracks: 10)
Imagika from the mighty SF Bay Area was already formed in 1993 but this is, shame on me, my first acquaintance with this power/thrashmetal band. The band had several line-up changes during all these years and also several record-label changes which are both to long (and not important) to know. As far as I know this is the band's 6th release and this time its on Locomotive Records. The band plays technical power/thrashmetal and singer Norman Skinner is an all round singer who can both sing the clean/high-pitching vocals as well as the rawer thrashparts. Not many singer can do this in the way he is doing it; excellent! The band switches from thrashy song to more powermetal songs but all performed very well with great musicianship!! The band remembers me to bands like Nevermore & Shatter Messiah but with much more variation in the songs & songwriting! Great album!! Buy or Die!! Sure a band of which I will search for their older releases!
Visit their website: http://www.imagikametal.com/
Recordlabel: http://www.locomotiverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/imagikametal

94/100

INVISIGOTH – Narcotica (CD) USA October 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Prog Rock / Pop Running time: 69:58 (Tracks: 9)
INVISIGOTH is a progressive rock band existing of multi-instrumentalist Cage (born in 1975) and singer Viggo Domino (born in 1977) and was formed in 2006. They are from Buffalo, NEW YORK, USA and they've released their first album "Alcoholocaust", which I don't know so far, in 2006. "Narcotica" is their second album and features 9 songs. The music on this album is very varied, sometimes it's heavy, then very atmospheric but also poppy. Domino is a very good singer and Cage is indeed a multi-instrumentalist. All together it sounds nice, I can listen to it, but it isn't heavy enough for me. Then I prefer to listen to AMASEFFER's album "Slaves For Life" (see September update). But I guess fanatic progrock lovers will love this album anyway. So check them out if you are interested.
Recordlabel: http://www.progrockrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/invisigothmusic

70/100

ISKALD – Revelations of Reckoning Day (CD) Norway October 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black / Trash Metal. Running time: 48:00 (Tracks: 9)
"Bodo is one of the best places in Norway to view the midnight sun during summertime. The midnight sun is a magnificent sight and could be seen from the end of May to the middle of June. It never gets dark. You have to see it to believe it" Enough travel information for now. Bodo is the hometown of this relative new band and this is their second album for the also "new" label Indie recordings. I hear many people complaining that there isn't any good black metal coming anymore from Norway. I must admit the scene was much stronger in the nineties. Many bands have called it quits (Emperor) or aren't releasing quality stuff anymore (Dimmu borgir). There were also too many copycats the last ten years. When you look just a bit more under the surface although every now and then Norway still has enough quality to offer. Iskald is such a band who can fill the gap Emperor has left a few years ago. Because this is the band that comes in mind listening to "Revelations of a Reckoning Day" A bit more of a thrashier Emperor in time of "The 9th Equilibrium". But only comparing them to one of the best bands the black metal scene had to offer would not be enough. Because mixing different styles the band creates an own sound. Black /thrash with loads of atmosphere and strong choruses. Fast but not the whole album. I am glad to hear that the guitar solo is definitely back in metal. Listen to the solo in "Det stilner til Storm" and decide for yourself! Produced all the way in Berlin by Stamos Koiousis and Vangelis Labrakis. They gave this album an ice cold but crystal clear sound. The 29th of September is the release date of this great album . At this time the midnight sun is long gone. The darkness has set for the coming wintermonth. Iskald it will be…
Visit their website: http://www.iskald.com
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/indierecordings
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/iskald

89/100

KOUICHI OGAWA – Lone Brave (CD) Japan October 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 45:40 (Tracks: 7)
Kouichi Ogawa started playing the guitar in the 80's, when he played in bands such as Angelus (1982-1985) and Mightelayer (1985-1988). Later he worked on his music at home because his mother was very sick. For that reason, he didn't touch the guitar for 17 years. During that period, he found Roger Bleck on the internet, who showed him the way to continue playing music at home. Fortunately his mother is in stable condition, so he decided to come back to the music scene in 2006. On his first album "Lone Brave" are 7 songs ; 4 with vocals and 3 are instrumental tunes. The songs come from his Mightelayer period and some are written more recently. You can expect melodic hard rock songs like Bow Wow, Anthem, X-Ray did in the past, topped off with great guitar solo's from Kouichi. Damn, there are so many good Japanese guitarists! The vocals are sung by the U.S. vocalist Andy Reisert (fair enough), and there are also several other guests like Roger Bleck and Khaled Al-Kandari (both on guest guitar). "Lone Brave" is a very good melodic hard rock album, with as highlight the solo's from Kouichi, who's currently working on his second album.
Visit their website: http://www.geocities.jp/ramuramunekun
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mightelayer

81/100

LAND OF TALES – Land of Tales (CD) Finland October 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: AOR / Melodic Rock Running time:44:45 (Tracks: 11)
Land of Tales is a brand new band masterminded by Kristian (vocals and guitar) and Palle (keyboards). They have been playing together for fifteen years in a band called Naiskala. However all the time, there has been a constant urge to make more adult oriented rock music, sung in English. At the end of 2006, they started writing songs, posted them on myspace and got a fabulous response from all over the world. Thanks to that, they signed a deal with Frontiers Records. Land of Tales is a typical Scandinavian AOR/Melodic rock band, with catchy melodies and big choruses. Not all the songs aren't that interesting for the moment (sometimes boring) and also vocalist Kristian can't convince me all the time. Nothing earthshaking yet, maybe better on their next album.
Visit their website: http://www.landoftales.net
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/landoftales

73/100

LAST MILE – Last Mile (CD) Denmark October 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hardcore Running time: 28:19 (Tracks: 15)
LAST MILE is a Hardcore band from Denmark and exists of Laurits Medom (vocals), Jacob Bredahl (guitars), Lennart Egon (bass) and Michael Sørensen (drums). It was November 2007 when Jacob and Michael figured out that they wanted to do something beside BARCODE, so they formed LAST MILE, which must not been seen as just a project but as a real new Hardcore band. Laurits sung in AS WE FIGHT before and Lennart played bass in STOMPED. This self titled album features fifteen tracks in the well known hardcore tradition. It's all not very original anymore of course, because it sounds like so many other HC bands, but the songs on this album are great anyway. The album is produced by guitarist Jacob Bredahl and Tue Madsen (Barcode, Sick Of It All, Born From Pain etc.) and sounds very good. Some favourite tracks are "Steadfast", "Afterall", "Times Are Changing", "Toubled Times And Minds", "Moving On", "Nothing To Prove" and "No Holding Back". However it's not very original, it's still a very good debut album. So, if you are into Hardcore, then you have to check this new band out.
Visit their website: http://www.lastmilehardcore.com
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lastmilehc

80/100

MADMEN & DREAMERS – The Children Of Children (2CD) USA October 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Rock Opera Running time: 2:00:33 (Tracks: 33)
When I read that this was a rock opera, and a 2-disc one at that, I thought Wow, that must be it ! Having no bio, I had to Google this and found out that this project has been released since 2000 and apparently there is also a disc 3….somewhere….Now, back to reality. "The Children of Children" is a rock opera whose subject touches nearly everyone in the western world. If you haven't lived through it, you probably know someone who has. It's about divorce and its ultimate casualties; the children. It's about survival and growth and making the best of terrible circumstances. Not really a rock theme, but OK, I'm open minded so I gave it a few spins.
One thing that struck me from the first few vocal notes: I hate the vocals. It sounds like this is written for kids because it all sounds theatrical. Musicwise, songs are very versatile. Some instrumental passages remind me of bands like Renaissance (a loooong time ago), some gave me a bit of Pink Floyd feel, sometimes it also sounded a bit medieval.. And some even really rocked. The production of this project is very very clear, I have to give my compliments there. But I wonder if we rockers/metalfans are the audience that this bunch is waiting for. I doubt it. But those of you who like concept albums and rock operas, try it. This album has a few musical gems (like "Retreat") when you leave out the vocals, but not throughout the whole album, so try before you buy…
Visit their website: http://madmen-and-dreamers.com
Recordlabel: http://www.madelf.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/madmenanddreamers

69/100

MAR DE GRISES – Draining the Waterheart (CD) Chile October 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Doom / Death Metal Running time: 64:16 (Tracks: 8)
This is a very special band. It's the most atmospheric almost poetic band I've heard. They hail from Chile and this is there second cd. Their first album, "The Tatterdemalion Express"was well received and this one even better. They have another singer named Juan Escobar who also plays the keyboard. There are only 8 songs but the length varies from 6 to 13 minutes. Vocals are sparse and Juan has an excellent deathgrowl but can also handle the clean vocals and I also like the whispering in some segments. It's too bad the vocals are a bit low in the mix. I like the more uptempo parts of some songs; They are not aggressive and certainly not to dark and are followed by minutes of background noise and atmospheric tunes. It's hard to describe. You have to listen to it yourself is my opinion. Sometimes it sounds a bit to simple and the songs could be a bit shorter in some cases but if you like doommetal you MUST check this one out.
Visit their website: http://www.mardegrises.com
Recordlabel: http://www.firebox.fi
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mardegrises2

83/100

MATTSSON – Dream Child (CD) Finland October 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Symphonic / Progressive Metal Running time: 60:00 (Tracks: 12)
This is the first time I hear any music from MATTSSON. I only knew his name, but never heard anything of him before. But this album sounds great. First of all, Lars Eric Mattsson is a fantastic composer and specially a great guitar player. Also my compliments for introducing the stunning new female vocalist Adrienn Antal. Man, this woman can sing very beautiful. Mattsson plays symphonic and progressive metal, but with the vocals of Antal it also got a little gothic element added to the sound. Besides the fantastic voice of Antal, additional vocals are done by Björn Lodin. Lars Eric Mattsson plays of course all the guitars, but he also took care for the bass and keyboards parts on this album. Only the drums are done by Eddie Sledgehammer.
The album has a great production, produced by Lars himself, and featured 12 songs. It took Mattsson 15 months to complete this album. But the end product sounds just fantastic. The songs have an average time of 5 minutes and don't bore at all. My favourite tracks are "Dream Child", "I'm Coming Home", "Killing Everything", "Heart Of A Clown" and "Life In The Shadows". I would say 'dream away with "Dream Child"', it's a great album which is a must for lovers of symphonic and progressive metal. Go check this out.
Visit their website: http://www.larsericmattsson.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/larsericmattsson

85/100

MÖRGLBL – Grötesk (CD) France October 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Progressive Fusion Rock Running time: 1:01:59 (Tracks: 12)
This band with the funny name Mörglbl makes even more funny music. The band exist since 1996 and was formed by guitarhero Christophe Godin. My first acquaintance with these guys was last year (2007) at the Headway Festival in Amstelveen, The Netherlands. The band surprised me with their musicianship & humour! After that I contacted the band/manager several times for some promostuff but lately I finally got it from their record company.
"Grötesk" is the 3rd album of this French trio which makes a mix of Jazz Fusion & Metal but than with some Zappa humour. Officially the band disbanded in 2000 but after a lot of successful tours with Godin's solo band Metal Kartoon he decided to continue with Mörglbl too! Good choice if you ask me!
Musically this album is no food for the standard die hard heavy metal fan but more for people with a wider interest in guitar orientated music. Expect indeed a cross of Jazz Fusion with Metal. The album is nearly instrumental; just a few words are said on this entire album and they cant be noticed as real singing. To compare this band with other bands will be quit difficult because Mörglbl creates an unique sound!!! Check them out if you're open minded in metal; otherwise leave it alone…. I love it; that's for sure!!
Visit their website: http://www.christophegodin.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lasersedgegroup.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/morglbl

83/100

MORETHANEVER - Morethanever (CD) Germany October 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Hardcore Running time: 26:58 (Tracks: 12)
The thing about the hardcore scene these days, as a beginning band, is that it’s hard being noticed. Because it’s such a fast paced scene… If you don’t have anything exciting or new you’re going to get drowned with all the other bands. And I’m afraid this is going to happen to Morethanever too. The album is good and if you want straight in your face hardcore and nothing else, this is something you would really like! But I’m not that kind of person, I’m always searching for something new and exciting. And this band doesn’t have that extra that would me play the album over and over again. That’s what makes a band a bit boring. They are a mix between Shai Hulud and Have Heart, but the mentioned bands are only better. They have shared stages with Instead, Go it Alone and Evergreen Terrace. Kudos to the artwork by the way, I think it’s great!
Visit their website: http://morethanever.de
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/demonsrunamok
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/morethaneverlbc

65/100

MY SHAMEFUL – Descend (CD) Finland September 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 50:26 (Tracks: 7)
My Shameful started in 2001 and released their first MCD in 2002. They released their debut in 2003 by Firebox/Firedoom records. After that they released 2 more records. Their latest release is in my opinion the most perfect doom record of the year. 7 tracks of depressing heavy doom. The guitar riffs are slow and melodic but also very heavy. The drums are also slow straight in your face. The vocals on this record are very filthy grunts that sound as if someone opened a portal of hell. The composing of the songs is great, and the production is very good. The best doom bands release albums that are long and slow (Ataraxie, Anathema (old), Winter). This album got it all. In my opinion this record is great and a must for every doom fan.
Visit their website: http://www.myshameful.com
Recordlabel: http://www.firebox.fi
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/myshameful

80/100

ORDER OF NINE – A Means to Know End (CD) USA October 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 42:42 (Tracks: 10)
I already reviewed the last album of these guys a while ago so for their biography I advice you to read that one (again). At the moment there is only 1 original member left of this US-powermetal outfit and that's singer Michael DeGrena. Musically this new album is again very good but I have the same complaint as last time and that complaint is their singer…Michael DeGrena. He has a very raw voice which to my opinion does not fit that good in this technical great band. Musically its awesome what these guys show and it's a pity that he lowers the complete sound of the album. But probably there are lots of people that will not share my opinion and say I'm nuts. The band put me on the thanks-to list of this album {thanks for that!} but that's of course no guarantee for a good review; if I don't like it, I will tell it. That's my trademark and I made a lot of enemies with these actions BUT also a lot of bands that appreciate my critical words.
After all I enjoyed listening to this well produced album but with a better singer my rate would have been much, much higher!!! Hopefully Michael will take some singing lessons because its no option to throw him out of the band. Musically this is very good performed US-metal which needs to be listened if you're also into US-Powermetal. Except for the voice a damn good album! And if i'm wrong; just tell me!
Visit their website: http://www.orderofnine.com
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmare-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/orderofnine

75/100

PATRIARCH – Mankind – The Virus (CD) Belgium October 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Heavy / Thrash Metal Running time: 59:09 (Tracks: 10)
This Belgian metal band already exist since 1983, that time under the name Pariah. In 1988 they changed their name into Patriarch. They recorded two albums for the German record label Shark Records, "Prophecy" in 1990 and "World Within Worlds" in 1993. Other releases from them are the "Inside" split-single (with After All) and "Deity", a 4 track demo-cd. With their new line-up, they recorded the demo-cd "Black Harvest" in 2006. Despite the good reviews this demo received, Patriarch didn't manage to find a record label. So they decided to record a new full-length cd on their own. Finally, after several problems (computercrash), they can now present "Mankind – the Virus". Their new album is a mix of several subgenres, like heavy, thrash and prog metal. There are many tempo breaks, heavy mid-tempo and faster thrashy parts. Musically a technically interesting release with powerful vocals.
Visit their website: http://www.patriarch.be
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/patriarchmetalband

81/100

RANDY PIPER'S ANIMAL – Virus (CD) USA October 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal Running time: 38:31 (Tracks: 10)
Randy Piper was one of the co-founders of L.A. shockrockers W.A.S.P. and played guitar on the classic albums "W.A.S.P." (1984) and "The Last Command" (1985). Since a couple of years Piper has put his own band together called ANIMAL (named after the W.A.S.P. song "Animal (F*ck Like A Beast)"). The line-up of ANIMAL exists of Rich Lewis (vocals), Randy Piper (guitar), Chris Laney (guitar, also ZAN CLAN), Nall Phalsson (bass) and Johan Koleberg (drums). In 2006 ANIMAL had released their debut album "Violent New Breed". Personally I don't know that debut album, but I have to admit that I like the songs on this second album "Virus". Rich Lewis is a good singer and he's a real Blacky Lawless soundalike. And because Lewis sounds so much like Lawless makes that ANIMAL still sounds like W.A.S.P. too. Anyway, "Virus" is produced by guitarist Chris Laney and sounds very good. The album features ten songs of which some of 'em have great guitar riffs. The third song "Don't Wanna Die" sounds to commercial in my ears. And the cover of THE CRANBERRIES mega hit "Zombie" is just a nice version. The best songs on "Virus" are in my opinion "Cardiac Arrest", "Can't Stop", "Crying Eagle", "Unnatural High", "Shoot To Kill" and "L.U.S.T.". My end conclusion is that "Virus" is a nice album. Check them out.
Visit their website: http://www.animalcave.net
Recordlabel: http://www.locomotiverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/randypipersanimal

78/100

SACRED OATH – …Till Death do us Part (Live in Germany) (CD) USA October 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 55:28 (Tracks: 10)
Last year US-powermetal outfit Sacred Oath released their already legendary "Darkness Visible" album on Sentinel Steel Records (see Archive CD/DVD reviews). I also own (and reviewed) their classic "Revision" album which was my first acquaintance with the band. Last year the band did some shows in Europe with as highlight the Keep it True festival IX in Dittigheim, Germany. I had the luck to be a part of the crowd and that show was really amazing! Now the band released that particular gig on their first live cd ever and send me copy of it for a review. Very smart because the band knows I'm a big fan and they also put me on the 'thanks-to" list (thanks for that guys)! Singer Rob Thorne is singing awesome live so it was a good decision to release this material on cd! Sentinel Steel Records was not interested (I suppose) so the band released the album on their own. These recordings are very good and give a good idea of how the show was in real. They also added the videoclip of the song "Words Upon the Stone" as a bonus to this enhanced cd. Contact the band through their website to order this great live-album! Food for real die-hard US-metal fans!! Especially when you love high pitching vocals!
Visit their website: http://www.sacredoath.net
Recordlabel: http://www.angelthorne.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sacredoath

88/100

SAINT DEAMON – In Shadows Lost From The Brave (CD) Sweden October 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 45:42 (Tracks: 12)
The Swedish/Norwegian band Saint Deamon, named after a fictive ghost rider called S. Deamon was formed in 2006 by drummer Ronny Milianowicz, coming out from a 7 year long successful era with Swedish/German melodic metal band Dionysus. He rejoined his forces with Dionysus bass player Nobby Noberg, which Ronny describe as "the best bass player in the business", along with the exceptional guitar virtuoso Toya Johansson. The band scanned the whole internet to find a singer that would do their magnificent music justice and in the spring of 2008, they finally found the ultra talented golden voice of the Norwegian Jan Thore Grefstad. The Saint Deamon line up was then complete and started to work on the debut album, with the high acclaimed monster producer Jens Bogren, best known for his excellent work with Symphony X, Hammerfall, Opeth, Katatonia, Dionysus.
Grefstad turns out to be a fantastic vocalist. After having major problems to get this promo started in the first place, the second song "My Judas" tells exactly what we get here: quality metal, heavy riffs, good production. Diversity knocks on track number three which is the titletrack. These two songs really stand out on this album. Unlike a lot of other releases, the band seem to uphold this quality during the entire album. That is, except for their single, "My Heart", which is the black sheep on the album. If there is a tiny thing that needs a critical note, it's originality. Although I cannot blame drummer Ronny (he wrote music for a LOT of other bands), influences are very apparent. Other than that: good album !
Visit their website: http://www.saintdeamon.se
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/saintdeamonband

83/100

SANDALINAS – Living on the Edge (CD) Spain October 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 38:27 (Tracks: 10)
Sandalinas is a band formed by Spanish guitarist and Swedish resident Jordi Sandalinas in 2000. King Diamond guitarist and famous producer Andy Laroque noticed Jordi's talents and helped him form a band. "Living on the Edge" was originally recorded in 2005 and released by Massacre Records but never got the attention it deserved. It is now re-released right after the band's second album "Fly to the Sun".
On the musical department, "Living on the Edge" is a pretty decent hard rock album. With catchy melodies, great performances and nice songwriting it is bound to captivate the attention of the fans of the genre. The band sounds energetic like Pink Cream 69 only a bit heavier with anthemic choruses that immediately find a permanent place inside your head. Sandalinas is not the virtuoso kind that will stand among the greatest guitarists but his performance is exactly what an album like this needs. Meaningful and melodic playing. Extra credit goes to amazing vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (Meduza, Evil Masquerade, Firewind etc.) for his flawless performances. I hope this time the album will get the desired attention because it deserves so much more.
Visit their website: http://www.sandalinas.com
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmare-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sandalinas

80/100

SHOTGUN JUSTICE – Idem (CDemo) Germany October2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Heavy Metal / Thrash Metal Running time: 19:16 (Tracks: 3)
Shotgun Justice has their roots in 80s and 90s Heavy Metal. They compare themselves with bands as Helloween, Running Wild, … and others but with younger elements. This is the band’s first demo-cd. The full album is due sometime in 2008. Well first of all I want to say I’m not a big heavy metal fan. So I have been very objective about this review. The album consists of 3 tracks, which in my ears are all the same and way too long. I think there’s nothing exciting about this band, but just another copycat from “the old days”. There’s probably nothing wrong with the demo if you’re a typical heavy metal listener and I respect that, but it’s just not interesting for me. Anyway as I said there album is due sometime this year. But there are a lot of songs already online on the myspace page to check them out.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/shotgunjusticegermany

55/100

SILENT RAGE – Four Letter Word (CD) USA October 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 41:46 (Tracks: 11)
SILENT RAGE started as a Glam Rock band in 1985 and they released their debut album "Shattered Hearts" in 1987. In 1988 KISS bass player Gene Simmons signed SILENT RAGE to his label Simmons Records and in 1989 their second album "Don't Touch Me There" was released. In 2001 the band reformed again and their third album "Still Alive" saw the light in 2002. Now on July 4th their fourth album "Four Letter Word" has been released on the Frontiers Records label. The line-up of SR on this album is Jesse Damon (lead vocals, lead guitar), Mark Hawkins (guitar, vocals), EJ Curse (bass, vocals) and Rodney Pino (drums, vocals). "Four Letter Word" is well done produced by Gilby Clarke (GUNS N' ROSES) and features eleven melodic Hard Rock songs. Every time I listen to this album, SILENT RAGE reminds me the most of the early BON JOVI, because the vocals of Damon sounds very much like Jon Bon Jovi. But I also hear some KISS and DOKKEN influences on the album. The beginning of the title track "Four Letter Word" reminds me very much of KISS' "Domino" (on the "Revenge" album) and some parts of "Man Or Machine" reminds me of "Unholy" (also on "Revenge"). Not strange, because ex-KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick (GOOD RATS, BLACKJACK, UNION, ERIC SINGER PROJECT) is playing the guitar solo and fills on "Man Or Machine". And the beginning of "Sinister Man" could have been from a DOKKEN song. Anyway, "Four Letter Word" is not a bad album, but it's not sounding very original. Listen to songs like "Four Letter Word", "Man Or Machine", "Feel My Love", the ballad "Close Your Eyes", "Bona Fide" (with Bobby Blotzer (RATT) on drums, who's also playing drums on "Man Or Machine") and the fast one "Trouble" and you know what I mean. This is an album I can recommend if you are a great fan of BON JOVI and if you like bands as KISS, DOKKEN and RATT too.
Visit their website: http://www.silentrageonline.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/silentrageonline

74/100

TEMPLE OF BLOOD – Overlord (CD) USA October 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Christian US Power Metal Running time: 40:10 (Tracks: 11)
A Christian metalband reviewed by atheist Mario? Don't be afraid; I never judge bands by their politics, religion or other believes. Only thing that counts for me are the songwriting and musicianship of a band; it doesn't matter if they are singing about Jesus or even Satan. Its up to me!
I already reviewed the bands first album "Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind" last year and I was blown away by these guys! The debut album was for me one of the (or maybe even the) best albums recorded in 2006! This is metal exactly in the way I like it; pure US-metal with great songs; great shredding guitars, superb solos, double bass drums and a high pitching singer! Awesome! You can understand how curious I was about the successor from "Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind".
After the intro the first song 'Behind the Inverted Star' begins again with great shredding guitars and singer Jim Mullis is singing the stars from the sky (or should I say heaven?) Superb song! The next song "Summon the Accused" is a very nice up tempo song which brings some variation in this album. "Fearsome Warrior" is again a full speed ahead song which are mostly my favourites! "Illusion of Control" starts with an acoustic intro but turns into a kind of Bay Area thrashsong with some crossover elements. "Black Day of Execution" is a doom song which I don't like at all, especially not when its released by a band of this calibre. "Pawn of the Liar" is again a great speedmetal song with superb high pitch vocals! Awesome! "Harbringer" is again a nice midtempo song. Next song is a cover of Forbidden's "Forbidden Evil" which is performed very well but is far from equal from the original. Jim Mullis is a great singer but his vocal range is totally different from Russ Anderson's voice (even if Russ Anderson cant sing anymore these days). A bit of a disappointment if you ask me. Musically it still kicks ass and also the solos are great but its not comparable with the original recording. After the moderate "Anthem of the Unseen" the album closes with the incredible "The Return".
Conclusion: again a great album but not as good as its predecessor "Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind". Especially because of the weak song " Black Day of Execution" and the moderate Forbidden cover. Nevertheless still a band to check out if you're into real US-metal with speed & high pitching vocals! Strange that the band still has no record deal???
Visit their website: http://www.templeofblood.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/templeofblood

85/100

THE MYSTERY – Soul Catcher (CD) Germany October 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 56:23 (Tracks: 15)
Germany has brought us many rock and metal bands, and this bunch exists since 1996. In 2006, female vocalist Korry Schwadwell joined their ranks and now this line-up has released their latest work on cd. German bands are generally widely influenced, and The Mystery is no exception. Stylewise, they are very close to Warlock and Doro, of course having a female vocalist that is not operatic causes a resemblance one cannot deny. So, being original is very hard. I must admit that The Mystery's music has some originality, but when I heard the track "Soulcatcher" and realised that the drums are out of rhythm paths, I was kinda disappointed, because this track finally gave me the impression that they really can do their own thing. They play an old-school kind of rock/slash/metal, which is supported productionwise. Heavy guitars, nothing special but just OK. And this is what this album is: just OK, nothing special. Visually, I also see nothing special. Warlock and Doro fans, hurry to get this disc. All others: listen before buying.
Visit their website: http://www.the-mystery.de
Recordlabel: http://www.la-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/themysterymetal

65/100

THE WHITE BARONS – Up All Night With The White Barons (CD) USA October 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Punk 'n Roll Running time: 33:14 (Tracks: 11)
THE WHITE BARONS is an American Punk 'n Roll band fronted by female singer Eva Von Slut. I already knew Miss Eva Von Slut from her other band she sings in, which is the all female Psychobilly band THEE MERRY WIDOWS. "Up All Night With The White Barons" is the debut album of THE WHITE BARONS, which was released in 2007, and features eleven catchy Punk 'n Roll songs. The line-up of the band on this album is, of course Baroness Eva Von Slut (vocals), Baron Johny One Eye (guitar), Baron Nate von Wahnsinn (bass) and Baron Adam von Keys (drums). I recently saw the band, during their first European tour, at The Rambler, Eindhoven, Holland (on August 22, 2008) where they played a very energetic live show. The band has added a second guitar player, which is Baron Jason von Soul. During this show they also played some new material too. That evening I bought this debut album and I also talked a bit with the notable miss Eva. She told me that they are gonna record a second album very soon. Anyway, "Up All Night With The White Barons" is a very good album. My favourite tracks are "You Never Were", "Wicked Ways", "Suicide Mission", "Never Enough", "Life Ain't Fair" and the fast one "Mercy, Mercy". If you like Punk 'n Roll bands, then you have to check out THE WHITE BARONS too. And I'm looking forward to the second album of this fantastic band.
Recordlabel: http://www.gearheadrrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/whitebarons

82/100

TRANSLUCENT EXISTENCE – Idem (CDemo & DVD) USA October 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power/Thrash Metal Running time: 15:37 (Tracks: 3)
This band from Denver, Colorado sended me their CDemo & a DVD in an excellent and very professional looking package; compliments for that already! The band was already founded in 2002 by guitarist Robert Sanchez & Dave Stluka. Two years later they finally found a drummer in Butch de Felice and began to record & practice even if they still didn't find a good singer. After again 2 years Butch left the band already; frustrated of the fact that the band still didn't find a singer. 2007 was a much better year for the guys and they found a new drummer in Damon Nichols and also completed the line up with singer Robb Steele (Byfist, Bittur Harvest).
After listening to the demo several times I still ain't convinced about this band. Why? Its just not that spectacular enough to make my us-metal heart go beating faster/harder. It all sounds good and singer Robb Steele is a good singer but musically its not really what I expected to hear from these guys; sorry guys! Personally I hear various influences back in their songs; from King Diamond to Nevermore but all in moderate way. They have the capability to become much better and I hope they will still send me the later stuff also so I can judge if there is any progression made. At the moment the band is recording new stuff so im curious what the future will bring. The DVD contains some pictures of the band and again 2 of the demo songs.
Visit their website: http://www.translucentexistence.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/translucentproject

70/100

WITCHKING – Witchking (CD) Poland October 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 52:35 (Tracks: 14)
Formed in 2003, Polish outfit Witchking made its first steps with the "Under the Siege" singles in 2004. The "Witchking" album followed in 2007 and this year the band released a second one called "Hand of Justice".
As you can easily understand by the band's name, Witchking is all about Lord of the Rings mythology on the lyrics department. The music is mid tempo European Power Metal with frequent outbursts (listen to the Priest-ish "Flame of Udun"). The voice of Tomasz Twardowski reminded me of Leszek Szpigiel a.k.a. Hariddon Lee (Scanner, Non Iron, Crows etc.) while the music is also close to bands like Crows and Scanner but not so close to Blind Guardian as one would expect. There is a lot of Judas Priest in the mix. "Witchking" is not the kind of album that will leave you speachless but it will certainly push you towards the play button again and again cause its all about power and might containing songs with rhythm and passion. I hope the new Witchking album is as good as this one if not better!
Visit their website: http://www.witchking.pl
Recordlabel: http://www.auralofferings.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/witchkingband

81/100

X-WORLD/5 – New Universal Order (CD) Sweden October 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Sci-Fi Metal Running time: 41:45 (Tracks: 9)
X-World/5 is a new band formed by ex-Hammerfall basplayer Magnus Rosen and drummer/programmer/engineer Big Swede. The main goal of the band was to create something new in metal; metal for the year 3006 or better described as 'a new experience for the senses'. With the addition of Pagan's Mind/Eidolon vocalist Nils K. Rue the band has a superb singer in their ranks! Later on they also added guitarists Andy La Roque (King Diamond) and Reeves Gabrels to the line-up. A dream line-up if you ask me! I was so curious when I heard about this new project that I asked the dutch promoter for a copy of the album. Well finally I got it and the more curious I was, the more the album disappointed me. It all sounds to modern to me and has not much to do with bands like Pagan's Mind & Hammerfall. A lot of electronic parts and also a lot of Rammstein influences (especially the riffs) are not really my cup of tea.
If this is really metal for the future than im glad I still have about 2500 "golden oldies" to listen to in my private collection! Sorry guys but even you cant predict the future and im glad about that after listening to this album. Its not a bad album at all but surely not my future dream….
Visit their website: http://www.x-world5.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/x-world5

65/100

ZERO HOUR – Dark Deceiver (CD) USA October 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 44:43 (Tracks: 9)
Again a new album of one of my favourite progmetalbands at the moment. All their 4 previous releases are real jewels and I adore their "Towers of Avarice" & "Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond" albums. So I was very curious what the brothers Tipton would bring us this time. This 5th release is again produced by Dino Alden and that's already a guarantee for a good sounding album. Finally the band found in singer Chris Salinas (ex-Power of Omen) a permanent and incredible singer which he showed already on their predecessor album "Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond". Also on stage this guy sings awesome and is a welcome addition for Zero Hour. The leaders of the band are still Troy & Jasun Tipton; an incredible technical twin with the talents to write superb songs which are not for the moderate metalhead allowed. The band is mostly compared with Watchtower and Spiral Architect, both bands that are also not for the regular metalfan.
Back to their newest release: musically this album is more open to the standard metalaudience and I even hear some VoiVod influences back in their songs; not musically but vocally. Pity because when its up to me; please don't use the raw, darker vocal parts anymore in the upcoming stuff and just use Chris's voice the way we where used to at the bands predecessor album "Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond". Still it is, again, a great album but not as good as its predeccessor. Favourite songs: "Inner Spirit", "The Temple Within" & "The Passion of Words". Pity about the spacefillers "Tendonitis" (bass-solo) & "Severed Angel" (outro).
Visit their website: http://www.zerohourweb.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lasersedgegroup.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/zerohourband

85/100

SEPTEMBER

AMASEFFER – Slaves For Life (CD) Israel September 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Metal / World Music / Movie Score Running time: 77:50 (Tracks: 10)
AMASEFFER is a band from Israel who was formed in June 2004 by drummer Erez Yohanan. He started working on this trilogy project and when he was looking for a guitar player, Yuval Kramer joined. A year later, with a basic structure of the album, second guitar player Hanan Avramovich joined too. First they contacted Andy Kuntz (VANDEN PLAS) to be AMASEFFER's singer, but after a long period of delays etc. they finally got Mats Leven (ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) on vocals for this debut album. And Leven is a fantastic singer. Female singer Kobi Farhi does all the oriental vocals on "Slaves For Life", which features ten brilliant songs. Also Angela Gossow (ARCH ENEMY) is doing some guest grunts on the almost twelve minute song "Midian". AMASEFFER plays a mix of (Prog) Rock, Metal, World Music and the magical sound of the Middle East. When I listened to "Slaves For Life" for the first time I really had the feeling I was listening to a movie score. But then with rock, metal and world music elements in it. Yohanan, Kramer and Avramovich together have a few things in common and that's the love for philharmonic composers and compositions, film scores, traditional oriental music and chants, rock and metal music, and they all mix these influences together. It took them four years to make this album, but finally it became a real masterpiece. It's an Old Testament story about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Believe me, all tracks are great compositions with lots of atmosphere in it. My favourite tracks are "Slaves For Life" (8:27), "Birth Of Deliverance" (11:11), "Midian" (11:47), "The Wooden Staff" (9:13), "Ten Plagues" (11:28) and "Land Of The Dead" (6:53). As you can see, those songs have a very long running time. If you're a metalhead who's also into movie scores and with a broad taste, then you really have to check out this brilliant album of AMASEFFER. I'm very curious to parts II and III of this trilogy.
Visit their website: http://www.amaseffer.com
Recordlabel: http://www.insideout.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/amaseffer

87/100

AUSTHRAL – Tocado a Vento (CD) Brazil September 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Folk / Blackened Metal Running time: 46:11 (Tracks: 10)
At the beginning of this year the new South American label 'Face the Abyss' surprised me with the split cd from Dark Celebration and Sodamned. "Tocado a Vento" (which means something like: "taken by the wind") by the Brazilian band Austhral is the labels second release and it doesn't surprise me at all.
The band tries to be some Brazilian answer to Moonspell by including traditional music from in this case the south of Brazil to their blackened/dark metal. How do they sound? Something like Brazilian fellows Sepultura did in the mid-nineties when they introduced Brazilian elements into their music? Well to be honest it really disappoints me. Nothing more but some cheap sounds coming from a synthesizer that could come from any country. Their bio says that this is such an innovating band, but that is absolutely not true. This is more like an innovating clone at best. I hope the labels next release will be a return to form. It is about time for Brazil to come up with some new bands. Sepultura and Krisiun can't go on forever, can they?
Visit their website: http://www.austhral.com
Recordlabel: http://www.facetheabyss.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/austhral

45/100

BRIDE – Skin for Skin (CD) USA September 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 52:14 (Tracks: 14)
Christian metal powerhouse Bride launched its career from Kentucky in the early 80s. The first Bride albums are excellent works of American power metal with Christian lyrics. Albums such as "Show no Mercy", "Live to Die" and "Silence is Madness" are considered as classics and are included in my favourite albums list. Around the early 90s the band switched sound towards "contemporary meets hair metal" with a couple of nice albums before shifting directions again to a more alternative style. I have to admit I lost them back then since their musical direction at the time wasn't exactly my cup of tea. "Skin for Skin" is actually the first Bride album I came across for years and I was quite curious about it.
Well "Skin for Skin" clearly belongs to the aggressive metal field. Bride always tried to follow the trends (and I am not saying this is a bad thing to do) and fit in with the rest of the contemporary stuff but you can't do everything with 100% success. Bride where great playing power metal, they where quite good playing more commercial hard rock-metal but are not so good on the groovy aggressive metal department. I believe that Dale Thompson's great voice deserves better and more melodic songs. Bride is consisted of good musicians but I wish they produced more interesting music.
Visit their website: http://www.bridepub.com
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bridemusic

65/100

CELTIC LEGACY – Guardian Of Eternity (CD) Ireland September 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Heavy Rock / Metal Running time: 57:20 (Tracks: 10)
"Guardian Of Eternity" is Celtic Legacy's third album and the follow-up to "Resurrection" which was released in 2003. That album received incredible reviews when it appeared. Despite the success, the line-up which recorded the album split less than 8 months after it's release and the 2 remaining, founder members had to search new musicians. In 2007 the new line-up was finally a fact. The first release from the new Celtic Legay line-up is a great mix of melodic heavy rock/metal and a few traditional Celtic music influences. Celtic Legacy plays melodic music with catchy choruses and great Geoff Tate-ish lead vocals, topped off by beautiful, extended guitar solo's. Bands to refer at are Iron Maiden, Helloween, Gary Moore, Thin Lizzy and Queensrÿche. I really can't believe why they aren't signed yet, because there are far too many less good bands which have a record deal!
Visit their website: http://www.celtic-leagcy.com
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/eternalegacyrecords
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/celticlegacy

89/100

CIRCULAR LOGIK – One (CD) USA September 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 57:14 (Tracks: 13)
A few months ago, I came across a band named Tragik and its debut album called "Poetic Justice". This was a very good effort in the field of melodic rock. When I got "One", I noticed that Circular Logik and Tragik (noticed the similarity with the letter K in the end?) share the same mainman, Phil Vincent. Vincent has been constantly releasing albums since 1997 and is a man of many talents.
Circular Logik shares many similarities with Tragik but is a bit heavier. I could say the sound is close to Dokken (mid to recent era) with nice hooks and anthemic choruses. Nothing fancy but well executed music and pleasant to listen to. There are a couple of cheesy ballads but hey; nobody's perfect! "One" will not shake the foundations of melodic rock and metal but at least guarantees some good listening sessions.
Visit their website: http://www.philvincent.com
Recordlabel: http://www.musicbuymail.eu
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/philvincentrox

74/100

CLUSTERHEAD - Times Of No Trust (CD) Germany September 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 51:57 (Tracks: 11)
Clusterhead is a new german melodic heavy metal band. They introduce themselves as a band that doesn't want to follow the new trends and just play the music they like best. I have to admit that they are spot on with their description. This album is a nice heavy metal record filled with catchy songs that will be enjoyed by many people. Their biggest problem might be the fact that they just don't bring anything new. Ofcourse they are great musicians, the melodies are catchy, the guitar work is good and the vocals are really good but it all sounds like I've allready heard these things more than once before. If you're new to heavy metal you'll probably think these guys are awesome but if you're into the scene for years and therefore know a lot of bands and bought tons of cd's you won't find anything new here. Clusterhead delivers a decent heavy metal cd which will find it's way to lots of heavy metal fans but don't expect anything new.
Visit their website: http://www.clusterhead.com
Recordlabel: http://www.artistworxx.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/metalclusterhead

60/100

DARK SKY – Empty Faces (CD) Germany September 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 52:18 (Tracks: 11)
German band DARK SKY started in the early 80's as a school band. A financial problem with their record company made a release of their completely finished debut album in the late 80's impossible, so the band more or less called it a day. At the end of the 90's, after having several line-up changes, DARK SKY returned to the scene and they signed a record deal with a Malaysian label. The line-up of DARK SKY is Frank Breuninger (vocals), Steffen Doll (guitar), Winny Zurek (bass), Uwe Mayer (drums) and Claudio Nobile (keyboards). So far they have released the following albums "Believe It" (2000), "Edge Of Time" (2002) and "Living & Dying" (2005). Personally I didn't know this German band, so this fourth album "Empty Faces" is my first acquaintance with them. Just like "Living & Dying", "Empty Faces" is released on the AOR Heaven label and features eleven tracks (the last track "Final Day" is a hidden track). The band exists of good musicians and have in Frank Breuninger a fine singer. Almost all tracks are very catchy with great melodies. DARK SKY has recorded one cover on this album, which is MICHAEL SEMBELLO's "Maniac" (yes, from the 'Flashdance' movie) and is a nice version. Other interesting songs are "Hands Up", the title track "Empty Faces", "Send Them To Hell", "Chase Your Dreams" (an up-tempo song with double bass drums, which strangely ends with piano & vocals) and "Pleasure & Pain". A negative point to me is that the band ends with two ballads, "Meaning Of Life" (which reminds me to the SCORPIONS) and the hidden track "Final Day". In my opinion the band could better end with a great rocker. All with all, not a very notable album, but it's a nice Melodic Hard Rock album to listen to once in a while.
Visit their website: http://www.dark-sky.de
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkskyrocks

77/100

DAVIDIAN – Hear the Cries Germany September 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 37:21 (Tracks: 9)
Davidian was founded in 1997 by guitarists Alex Schiepp and Micha Weidler and started out as a coverband. In 2003 they recorded their first (self produced) album called 'Abuse of Power'. In 2004 singer Chris Pendergast left the band and they had to wait till 2006 before they found a new vocalist; American Dave Hopkins. In februari 2007 they got in the studio to record a new album and in november they signed with limited Access Records. The result is: Hear the Cries. They sound a lot like Machine Head. That says it all I guess. It's not badly played but it all sounds the same and the vocals annoy me after a while. The album stops after 37 minutes but that's a good thing. It's solid thrash metal and I can imagine they have a lot of fans in Germany but I don't think they will have a great future unless they make songs with a lot more variety. That it is not original is not the worst thing but it has a total lack of inspiration. Better luck next time.
Visit their website: http://www.davidian. de
Recordlabel: http://www.la-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/davidian2

68/100

DAVID VALDES – Lost In The Dark Curse (DVD) Spain September 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Neo-Classical / Progressive Metal Running time: 74:00 (Tracks: 15)
Spanish guitarist David Valdes has recorded an instrumental dvd to mark the success of video's which he has recorded and posted on You Tube over the last 6 years. David has decided to record 15 of his songs from his 2 albums ("Paradise Lost" and "Imhotep") and delivers them in a much higher quality format for the fans at home. "Lost In The Dark Curse" is an all instrumental dvd, a live-in-the-studio presentation of David playing guitar to his backing tracks. Several split-screen presentations are shown when David's songs feature harmony or contrapuntual lines. The dvd reflects David's beliefs and is not released for profit but for the love of the instrument which he wants to share with all the guitarists/fans of the world. Everybody who's into Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Cacophony, Jason Becker, George Bellas, Vinnie Moore, Marty Friedman and Tony MacAlpine will love this dvd very much!!!
Visit their website: http://www.davidvaldes.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/davidvaldesguitar

90/100

DEADLY BLESSING – Devided (CDemo) USA September 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 10:15 (Tracks: 2)
Deadly Blessing is most wellknown in the underground scene because of their extraordinary singer Ski. They released a few albums in the past which have a cult-status in the underground. Live the band also always kicked ass and it was a lust to see these guys perform! Pity enough last year singer Ski left the band to form his own Christian metal band Faith Factor (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews).
Normally this kind of bands disband after such a step backward but Deadly Blessing didn't and found a replacement for Ski in Stephen Childs.
I wasn't familiar with the bands earlier (4 track?) demo but what I heard from the press didn't sound very positive. Last month I had the luck to see the band twice during the Headbangers Open Air festival in Germany. Or wasn't it luck? Live the band did impress me again but the new frontman was singing out of tune the whole time and it was a big disappointment. After a short talk with the guys they told me that their singer had a cold/flue and they had to admit that he wasn't singing at his best. They tried to convince me that he was normaly singing great and they gave me this CDemo.
I didn't have much trust in it but, as always, I gave the band a fair chance. After listening to the demo I have to admit that the new man isn't singing bad at all and he reminds me a lot to Alan Tecchio's voice (Hades, Watchtower, Power, Non Fiction and now in Seven Witches). The new songs ('Devided' & 'Utopia in Flames') sound a bit more standard than the older stuff and have a typical Iron Maiden twist. Nevertheless I have to admit that this isn't bad at all even its not as good as the older stuff with Ski.
If you're into US Power Metal just like me; check them out!!
Visit their website: http://www.deadlyblessing.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deadlyblessing

75/100

DESCENDING – Enter Annihilation (CD) Greece September 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Death / Thrash Metal Running time: 46:38 (Tracks: 12)
Descending is a new band from Greece and I don't know much about them.The band is: Jon Simvanis on vocals, Constantine on guitars, Theo on guitars, Noir on bass, Antony on drums.This is there first cd but their label is Massacre so that says something about their qualities.They say they play death/thrash metal but apart from the vocals I can't find a lot of death metal in their music. It's more thrash/powermetal. Really headbangmusic. It's very well played. Strong, agressive songs with a lot of melodic and catchy riffing. But after a while I got bored by the vocals of Jon Simvanis. One song he sings with clean vocals and I think he must do that a lot more. But if you like bands as Children of Bodom, Trivium, At the Gates you must check them out.
Recordlabel: http://www.massacre-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialdescending

83/100

DESTRUCTION - D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. (CD) Germany September 2008 Sammy de Maere
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 48:03 (Tracks: 10)
German thrash legends Destruction celebrate their 25th anniversary with their 10th album: D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. The new album contains the classic elements of every Destruction album but also has a new sound about it, I compare it the most with the previous 'Inventor of Evil' album. As usual we have Schmier screaming away on the fast riffs of Mike Siffringer while the pounding drums of Marc Reign hold everything nicely togheter. Without listening to the album I would allready named it a classic to be, like everything else the band has ever released with Schmier on vocals. But after listening to this record a few times I grew a bit bored of it. There are really good songs but I'm not fond of the slow parts and while the predecessor kept kicking ass I find this album too much repetitive, most of the time I want to stop listening around track 5. It's a shame that almost every song has voice overs of Schmier encouriging us to buy the album which just makes it even harder to continue listening. As a fan I'll probably end up buying it after all but I just don't like this one as much as I like the older Destruction material. I am quite curious what the new songs will sound like while played live, cause thrash metal in general and Destruction in particular just has to be listened to while your banging your head of in the moshpit.
Visit their website: http://www.destruction.de
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialdestruction

60/100

DESTRUCTOR – Forever in Leather (CD) USA September 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 47:18 (Tracks: 11)
Destructor, Cleveland, Ohio's legendary premier power/thrash band, return to Auburn with their new release "Forever in Leather". Their 1985 debut album, "Maximum Destruction", is one of the most underestimated thrash albums ever! This debut album is so f*ckin heavy, especially for the time/period it was released. They where well known in the Ohio area for their over-the-top leather and chains look (that, plus their stage names, gives a good impression of what they were like). The tragic death of bassist Dave Holocaust (RIP: January 01, 1988, stabbed to death) brought about the eventual demise of the band in the late 80's, but the band reformed some time ago and have one release in 2003 "Sonic Bullet" and two releases in 2007 " Storm of Steel" & this newest one "Forever in Leather".
This new album is again in the typical Destructor tradition; fast, heavy & raw thrashmetal which is difficult to compare with other bands in the genre. I had the luck to see the band live several times in the mighty metal mekka Germany and on stage these guys are also killer!! The new album sounds raw but has a very clean production and if you like their older stuff than you can buy this album blindly! A superb album of which a lot of new retro-thrash bands will be jalous!! Hope to get them over to The Netherlands someday so that they can give the lazy dutch metalfans a lesson in thrashin'. There's not 1 weak song on this album and that's a very big plus!! Awesome!! Pounding Warriors forever in Leather!
Recordlabel: http://www.auburnrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/maximumdestructor

95/100

EMATHEA - Emathea (MCD) Norway September 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Metal Running time: 25:52 (Tracks: 6)
Hailing from Norway, this band released a 6 track EP or mini cd which has now landed in my cd player. The band says in their bio that they are influenced by Metallica and Soundgarden. That is a recognizable statement, because of the pounding drums and the powerful guitarriffs. I just don't like their vocalist, whose voice is not powerful enough nor dominating the sound of the songmaterial, he seems to be hidden in the mix a bit.
These Vikings however have fantastic songmaterial, so I am a bit in doubt how to rate this. Let me say that the songmaterial is very to my liking, and I think that one Jorn Lande could have used quite a bit from it, judging by his latest and disappointing release. When Jorn would have been their vocalist, I think record companies would gather around this band to sign them. Pity, this could have been way better. But as any band evolves, I will give them thumbs up. Check their website, as the songs can be listened to there.
Visit their website: http://www.emathea.com/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/emathea

80/100

ENSLAVED – Vertebrae (CD) Norway September 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Progressive Black / Viking Metal. Running time: 49:07 (Tracks: 8)
Enslaved is a band that is constantly evolving. Since the release of "Mardraum" the psychedelic influences paved their way into their massive black/viking metal. It unleashed a whole new sub genre within the black metal scene. Suddenly it was cool to listen to that old Hawkwind and Pink Floyd records again as a (black) metal fan. With each album Enslaved dived deeper into there own created style and this resulted in one of the best albums of 2006 "Ruun" which wasn't only black metal with psychedelic influences but the two got more together, kind of entwined in each other.
It is with "Ruun" that the band broke through, which resulted this year in a headlining position at the highly acclaimed Roadburn festival in Tilburg. "Vertebrae" shows a natural progression from the last album without really exploring new paths. The albums sounds smoother, more Floydish than ever. Progressive at times but also easy listening in some of the songs. The opening of a "New Dawn" makes me think, just for a minute of the old Enslaved but then goes over in a more relaxed song and ripples peacefully to its end.
"Vertebrae" is mixed by Joe Baressi (Tool, Queens Of The Stone Age) and mastered by George Marino. This gives the seventies sounding music a modern, refreshing vibe. Old school fans that are searching for blast beats and harsh riffs from the old days will come out even more deceived ten they were after they heard "Ruun". The melodic (harmonized) vocals of Grutle alter in a great way with his calm growls but don't remind you of his voice on lets say "Frost" So if you are an open minded metal fan who liked their previous album -although Vertebrae is more space like -then this is an album you must buy at any cost.
Visit their website: http://www.enslaved.no
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/indierecordings
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/enslaved

80/100

EXCITER – Thrash, Speed, Burn (CD) Canada September 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Speed Metal Running time: 45:44 (Tracks: 10)
The is the new album by speedmetal legends EXCITER from Canada featuring new vocalist Kenny Winter and original band leader John Ricci. The band exist for more than 20 years now and their "Heavy Metal Maniac" debut album is still my alltime favourite album!!! Why?? This album was so fucking heavy during the days when it was released and I was blown away by it!! Especially the combination of former member Dan Beehler's voice & incredible drumming was (and still is) unique! Last month I was witness of Dan Beehler's first appearance in Europe with his "new" band Beehler. He performed, together with original Exciter bassplayer Alan Johnson at the Headbangers Open Air festival in Germany and they played a lot of old Exciter stuff; amazing!!!
Back to he new album; there is only 1 original member left; John Ricci. The band has a nearly complete new line up because also their latest singer Jacques Belanger left the band (again) and is replaced on this album by Kenny Winter. The last 2 albums with Jacques Belanger ('The Dark Command' & ' Blood of Tyrants') where a bit different from the old Exciter stuff but still kicked ass! But now, after eight years the band is back with a new album "Thrash, Speed, Burn.
What to tell about this album? Exciter still plays their typical speedmetal as they did for all these years now and it all is comparible to the stuff they did during the last years. It's a continuation from their Jacques Belanger era. So its, again, great!! If you're an old school Exciter fan just like me; you can also buy this album blindly! New singer Kenny Winter is doing a perfect job and is a good replacement for Mr. Belanger if you ask me. Only little complain I have is the weak production of the album. But that's a problem Exciter always had in the past too. Great speedmetal album which belongs in every Exciter's fan cd rack!! Not 1 weak song, just full speed ahead! Nevertheless I still hope their will be a reunion someday with the original line-up because Dan Beehler is not replaceable if you ask my honest opinion.
Visit their website: http://www.hemidata.se/exciter/home.html
Recordlabel: http://www.massacre-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/exciterofficial

85/100

EXPEDITION: DELTA - Idem (CD) Serbia September 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Melodic Progressive Metal Running time: 51:21 (Tracks: 11)
EXPEDITION DELTA is started by Srdjan Brankovic, one of the founders of Alogia which is surely the best-selling Serbian progmetal band. Beside Alogia, Srdjan is working and has worked as a member/composer for many bands . As a player in these bands, he holds huge number of live shows and festivals and among many other concerts he opened for bands such as Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, Savatage, Paul Di Anno .
Our Serbian friend succeeded to get a lot of big names for this project: Gary Wehrkamp, Sabine Edelsbacher, Erik Norlander and Joost van den Broek, to name a few. The project was recorded in the (his?) Paradox studios, although I doubt that every musician was actually there; that hardly happens anymore in 2008.
However, the result of this project is amazing ! Melodic rock crosses over with pure prog ("Fading Images"), powerful vocals, heavy guitar riffs and yes, even operatic pieces. The big difference with other projects like Ayreon and Avantasia is the fact that Srdjan invited more musicians and did not emphasize on guest singers. His own Alogia singer Nicola Mijic does a good job, together with the lady singers that share a pice of the vocals on this album. This is an album you have to listen to to really understand and believe what it's about, but progrockers will agree, this is a masterpiece.
Visit their website: http://www.expeditiondelta.com/
Recordlabel: http://www.progrockrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/expeditiondelta

90/100

FAIRYTALE ABUSE – Perversions of Angels VI (CD) Denmark September 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Death / Black Metal Running time: 54:58 (Tracks: 11)
As far as I can find back of this band is that they started in 1998 and released a promo in that year. After releasing some more promos and compilation records they recorded their debut "The Tower Spirit" in 2003 and released that album in 2006. This is their second release and it sounds very good. All the songs have a great variety and the composing of the songs is very good. The guitar riffs are very melodic and heavy. The drums sound fucking heavy and technical. The vocals are screams and grunts that remind me a bit of Cradle of Filth. Normally I would say no thanks but in this case I must say….not bad. The only thing that I think is a pity thats that the keyboards are too loud and to much in the songs (my opinion). But when you like that kind of Black Death then you should give it a try.
Visit their website: http://www.fairytale-abuse.com
Recordlabel: http://www.massacre-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fairytaleabuse

70/100

FINAL AXE – The Axe of the Apostles (CD) USA September 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 38:03 (Tracks: 10)
Final Axe is one of the most respected Christian metal bands from the States. Four years ago I had the privilege of working along with the band's mastermind Bill Menchen (he released the first Final Axe demo from 1989 through my small record label) who has played in numerous Christian metal acts such as Redeemer, Rev Seven and Titanic. I believe this collaboration and the feedback it got from the fans, urged Bill to work on the second unfinished Final Axe record, an album which remained in the darkness since 1990 but in 2006 he managed to bring it towards the light with the help of Retroactive records.
Musically speaking, Final Axe is much harder than most of the other Christian metal bands of that era. The band's power metal is close to old Metallica with the unique vocals of Keith Miles and Bill Menchen's characteristic guitar sound being the most important features. Keith owns a very distinctive voice and sings with so much passio! In my opinion "The Axe of the Apostles" is somewhat inferior to the debut album (which is considered a classic among the hardcore Christian metal fans) but still contains some fine energetic power metal that will satisfy every fan of the genre. I must mention that on this recording, Robert Sweet of Stryper fame handles the drums!
Visit their website: http://finalaxe.com/
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/finalaxe

78/100

FOLK STONE – Folk Stone (CD) Italy September 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Folk Metal Running time: 46:49 (Tracks: 12)
This is FolkStone's first full lenght album, bringing you their medieval folk metal from Bergamo, Italy. The idea was born from Lorenzo, Ferro and Forese, who wanted to bring back to life ancient melodies and put them in a metal key. At the beginning Lorenzo and his tumbler friend Teo started to play Baghet, the typical Bergamo's bagpipe, and after a few months the medieval bagpipe. FolkStone find their inspiration in bands like In Extremo, Corvus Corax, Schelmish and other transalpine medieval bands. After a small research, the first line-up was completed and FolkStone were ready to compose their own songs for their debut mini album "Briganti Di Montagna". Their live shows are a mix of 'extreme medieval metal music', fire games and beer, according to their bio. That must be some party should I think, FolkStone's music sounds very professional and very well produced, certainly for a self produced album. The music is very colourful, due to the different and ancient instruments used, like their medieval bagpipe's and harp. Their show contains a lot of blood, fire spitting and loads of beer, so must be enjoyable I guess, sounds very entertaining. The vocals are all in Italian language, but that's not a bad point, cause it actually sounds heavy and aggressive, like their music some times is. This kind of music is not really my thing, but I must say they do a hell of a job, for all lovers of medieval/folk metal watch/hear this band, cause they might get big in the near future, certainly in the Pagan scene.
Visit their website: http://www.folkstone.it
Recordlabel: http://www.self.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/folkstone

80/100

GHOST CIRCUS – Across The Line (CD) USA / The Netherlands September 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Prog Rock / AOR / Symphonic Metal Running time: 69:46 (Tracks: 8)
GHOST CIRCUS is a transatlantic project between Chris Brown (Murfreesboro, TN, USA) and Ronald Wahle (Blijham, Holland). The collaboration of this duo began in 2004. Chris (vocals, guitar, bass) and Ronald (drums, guitar, keyboards) are playing a blend of Progressive Rock, Metal, Symphonic Rock and AOR. Their critically acclaimed debut album "Cycles" was released in September 2006. This second album "Across The Line" is a concept album which goes about the following of one man's path from death to the hereafter; a ghost story from a unique perspective. Both Brown and Wahle are fantastic musicians with a great talent for writing marvellous songs. Chris is not a superb singer, he's just an average singer (but not a worse). The album starts with the instrumental "Reflection", followed by the heavy "Pathway". A real quiet song is "To Be" with lots of atmosphere in it, a real song to relax with. Another heavy song is "Through The Darkness" with great guitar work and fantastic solos. By the way, this album has a fantastic production, which was done by Brown and Wahle themselves.
Anyway, a very good Prog Rock album of which my favourite songs are "Pathway", "Through The Darkness", the superb epic "Through The Light" (which exists of eight parts) and the last one "Across The Line". If you like bands like RUSH, MARILLION, YES, PINK FLOYD etcetera, then you will dig this album too.
Visit their website: http://www.ghostcircus.com
Recordlabel: http://www.progrockrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ghostcircus

79/100

GORATH – Misotheism (CD) Belgium September 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Black Metal Running time: 48:25 (Tracks: 7)
Gorath was founded in 1995 as a one man band. His debut 'Elite' (2005) is well spoken of and after that he released his second album (The Fourth Era) and a live crew was formed with members of Suhrim (Deathmetal from Belgium) and Panchrisia (Blackmetal from Belgium). This band remains in this line up and they released this record. The music they play is very very black, fast and furious riffs and pounding drums combined with a melodic break in the songs to keep it interesting and not to boring. The screams and clean vocals are great and give a pagan sound to it. It is very clear to me that the last years the metal from Belgium is getting better and better, if you like ravenous and furious black metal combined with clean atmospheric influences then you are gonna like this album
Visit their website: http://users.fulladsl.be/spb8833/site_gorath/01_home.htm
Recordlabel: http://www.descent-productions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gorathblackmetal

75/100

GRAVE ROBBER – Be Afraid (CD) USA September 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Horror Punk / Psychobilly Running time: 40:11 (Tracks: 15)
I never had heard of this band GRAVE ROBBER before, but when I listened to this album "Be Afraid", I immediately liked it a lot. Their bio says as style "Gothic Hard Rock". Well, I would call it Horror Punk or Psychobilly, because GRAVE ROBBER reminds me very much to Psychobilly band KOFFIN KATS. Anyway, GRAVE ROBBER are formed in October 2005 and exists of Wretched (vocals), Maggot (bass, vocals), Nameless (guitar, vocals) and Dr. Cadaver (drums). Just like GWAR, also GRAVE ROBBER has a theatrical stage show where they are all dressed up in zombie-like costumes and masks. Can you believe it….but GRAVE ROBBER is a Christian band! The band's name (which is taken from a PETRA song) references Jesus' return as the true grave robber. The brown and red paint on their costumes symbolizes the blood of Christ covering our "dirt" or "sin". The zombie-like masks they are wearing symbolize our early flesh, or our sin nature, which is daily fading away as we push into our Saviour. Anyway, "Be Afraid" contains 15 Horror Punk / Psychobilly songs and is produced by Tim Bushong. Wretched is a very good singer who sounds just like Vic Victor (KOFFIN KATS) and Glenn Danzig (MISFITS, DANZIG). The only thing I don't like on this debut album is the bonus track, which is a Team Cybergeist Remix of the song "Rigor Mortis" done by Angel from metal band DOPE. The rest of the album is SUPERB. Some of my favourite songs are "Skeletons", "Burn Bitch Burn", "Bloodbath", "Rigor Mortis", "Screams Of The Voiceless", "Reanimator", "Dark Angel" and "Army Of The Dead". "Be Afraid" is a brilliant horror soundtrack album. For fans of MISFITS, KOFFIN KATS, DANZIG and other horror acts. Hope to see those guys in Holland too one day, because I'm very curious about their stage show. And in my opinion GRAVE ROBBER is way much better than GWAR. Only, too bad of that remix song.
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/graverobberpunk

90/100

GRENOUER - Lifelong Days (CD) Russia September 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Modern Metal Running time: 46:27 (Tracks: 11)
These Russians have been around for over 15 years and where formerly a Death Metal band. Their genre has changed a lot over the years, which is too bad. I don’t really know why they stopped playing death metal, but I can only assume they did it too be more modern. Their music reminds me of Fear Factory “linchpin” times… But it doesn’t have that great effect on me that Fear Factory has. Sadly enough it’s another band imitator. But purely on the music side it’s not bad at all. They are considered as one of the most experienced and skilled bands on the former ussr stage. And I’m sure that this band, live, is a real blast. Especially in homeland Russia, but I don’t think that their success would extend beyond the Russian borders.
Visit their website: http://www.grenouer.com
Recordlabel: http://www.locomotiverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/grenouer

65/100

HAIL OF BULLETS – …Of Frost and War (CD) The Netherlands September 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Death Metal Running time: 52:57 (Tracks: 11)
All star band from the Netherlands including some main caracters from the early nineties death metal scene such as: Martin van Drunen (Pestilence, Asphyx) Ed Warby (Gorefest) Stephan Gebedi (Thanatos). After their widely successful cdemo almost all extreme metal labels offered them a contract. Metal Blade got the honour. And so it was done… Almost a year later the debut album …"Of Frost and War" is presented to the audience. Produced by the God of Swedish death metal (Dan Swano) himself you don't have to guess what kind of sound this album was given. Can you say old school? This was how the band wanted to be and I must say that I always liked that characteristic sound with the chainsaw guitar riffs. Of course the war theme they use on this album is not original. But hey, it fits the band perfectly. It is almost like you are in a T-100 tank rolling over the front somewhere back in World War II when you hear the pounding drums in the doom laden passages. Or sitting behind the artillery when the music turns faster. The only band that comes in mind comparing Hail of Bullets to is Bolt thrower who are also masters of bringing the battlefield to your home when listening to one of their albums.
Martin van Drunen will always be the singer you either love or hate. I think he is the best dutch death metal vocalist ever. His voice may not be as deep as others but man, there is no one that can sound as "dirty" as he does. Especially in the slower parts of the album Martins guttural voice sounds fantastic The songs from the mini-cd are all re-recorded on this album. So there is not much use searching for that one too. Unless you want to posses everything by this great band!
Visit their website: http://www.hailofbullets.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalblade.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hailoffuckenbullets

86/100

HAREM SCAREM - Hope (CD) Canada September 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hardrock Running time: 42:11 (Tracks: 11)
This is the farewell album by Canadian rockers Harem Scarem after 17 years of quality rock. Melodic rock, with smooth vocals, catchy tunes and good productions were released through Warner and Frontiers. Their previous one, "Human Nature", was an excellent one and it got the band a bunch of new fans. Let alone, finally some European dates ! The title "Hope" suggests that we might enjoy a masterpiece after all their success albums, so I was curious to listen to their testimony.
Let me keep that short; I am a bit disappointed. The melodic anthems and beautiful harmonic vocal melodies are gone, this album has a darker atmosphere and I found no track that brought me into extacy like it did with "Human Nature". There are two ballads on this album, most of the times a good way to judge an album. But also the ballads are not exciting, only the vocals are convincing where the rest of the band seems to wait for the climax that is not coming. Needless to say, my hopes are gone, and unfortunately the band have not been able to give their fans the ultimate goodbye present..
Visit their website: http://www.haremscarem.net/
Recordlabel: http://www. frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/haremscarem

70/100

HIGHWAY CHILE – Keeper Of The Earth (CD) The Netherlands September 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hardrock Running time: 54:38 (Tracks: 12)
Highway Chile is one of Hollands classic rock bands, originating in the late seventies, followed in 1983 with the release of their debut album "Storybook Heroes" , produced by radio dj Alfred Lagarde who initially was one of their biggest fans. The band remained at the top of the Dutch hardrock scene until the mid-eighties, when the band fell apart and partly reformed into Helloise. In 2002, the band got back together again and recorded a live album during their reunited-tour with vocalist Robert Soetebroek in their midst, who was replaced by Stan Verbraak (Helloise) a year later.
So we all know what we can expect. The expectations are being met, that's the good news. Straight forward old school hardrock with the somewhat sweeter voice of Verbraak and the recognizable pounding drums by Ernst Van Ee. Both guitarists (Martin Mens and Gert Nijboer) are giving their best, and the result is a tight album that sounds totally eighties, rough but clear. Dutch bands have always been good in recording and writing ballads, and "Endless Trails" (originally on "Storybook Heroes") is again a good example. The 2008 version of the vintage classic "Headbangers" is a real surprise, where covering Rainbow's "Long Live Rock 'n Roll" could have been left out as to me it adds nothing to the original, though they made this version in their own style. I think this album will appeal a lot of old school rockers; if it will reach enough younger rock fans remains to be seen. But when they get out there, be sure to check them out!
Visit their website: http://www.highwaychile.nl
Recordlabel: http://www. mausoleum-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/highwaychileofficial

88/100

IVORY TOWER – Subjective Enemy (CD) Germany September 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 66:11 (Tracks: 17)
It has been nearly 8 long years since the German progressive metal band Ivory Tower gave their last life sign with their "Beyond The Stars" album. Finally they now present their third album (their first "Ivory Tower" album was released in 1998). Normally this album should have been released under the name "It" by Remedy Records last year, but that didn't happen. Anyway the band wasn't discouraged and now the album is released with a changed title and artwork through Pure Steel Records. "Subjective Enemy" is a concept album with 17 tracks/spoken parts. It's a story about a man, split in his personality. Ivory Tower has managed once again to record a very diverse progressive metal album, with fast, slower and mid-paced songs. Musically they remind me of other German bands like Ivanhoe and Dreamscape, but also Kamelot, Queensrÿche and Dream Theater are sure some of their influences. Their songs are a combination of typical prog with a lot of melody. With Andre Fischer the band has got a very good, high pitched vocalist, comparable with Michael Kiske and Geoff Tate. Finally Ivory Tower is back with a very good new album!
Visit their website: http://www.ivorytower.de
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ivorytowerprogmetal

84/100

JAMES LABRIE – Prime Cuts (CD) Canada / USA September 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Progressvie Rock Running time: 57:41 (Tracks: 10)
James LaBrie is especially known as the vocalist of one of the best progressive metal bands worldwide, Dream Theater. He joined them in 1992, and the same year they released their best album "Images And Words". Besides being the vocalist of Dream Theater, James also released solo albums, contributed songs for compilation albums and has got his own band Mullmuzzler. Now Magna Carta has released the "Prime Cuts" album to honour all his work released by Magna Carta. There are 10 songs on his "Prime Cuts" album ; 5 songs from the two Mullmuzzler albums (one of them is an extended version of "Afterlife"), 2 songs from the two Explorer's Club albums, 1 from the Rush tribute "Working Man", 1 from the ELP tribute "Encores, Legends & Paradox", and 1 from "Leonardo : The Absolute Man" (a concept album about Leonardo Da Vinci). On these albums he worked together with excellent musicians like Terry Bozzio, Steve Morse, John Myung, John Petrucci, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy. The 10 songs are very good and diverse, which show clearly James' versatility. "Prime Cuts" is a very good tribute to all the work that James has compiled over the years for Magna Carta!
Visit their website: http://www.jameslabrie.com
Recordlabel: http://www.magnacarta.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jameslabrie

81/100

JOURNEY – Revelation (CD) USA September 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: AOR / Melodic Rock Running time: 61:31 (Tracks: 12)
"Revelation" is the first Journey studio album in three years, with new vocalist Arnel Pineda, a Filipino whom guitarist Neal Schon found through YouTube! In the U.S. "Revelation" comes as a 3 disc album (a cd with 11 new songs, a cd with 11 re-recorded Journey classics and a live dvd). In Europe, Frontiers released it as a 2cd-slipcase, without the dvd, but with a bous track. The re-recorded classics sound still phenomenal, and Arnel adds his own vibrato to the songs. And with the songs on "Revelation", Journey is back at their very best, with many amazing AOR songs, especially uptempo rockers like "Never Walk Away", "Change For The Better", "Where Did I Lose Your Love" and "What It Takes To Win". These rocksongs are Journey at their very best, reaching classic "Frontiers"/"Escape" level. Also the (semi) ballads sound excellent, like "After All These Years", "What I Needed", and The Storm-ish "Turn Down The World Tonight". Remaining tracks are "Like A Sunshower" (soft ballad), "Wildest Dream" (heavy rocker), "Faith In Heartland" (remake of the same song that Journey recorded on "Generations") and finally the instrumental "The Journey (Revelation)". With "Revelation" Journey strikes back at their best!
Visit their website: http://www.journeymusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it

91/100

LAAZ ROCKIT – Left for Dead (CD) USA September 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Trash Metal Running time: 49:38 (Tracks: 10)
After the reunion shows of 2005 at the Dynamo festival and in Japan Laaz Rockit promised the crowd that their wouldn't come a new record. All the band members have/had their own life and jobs. Vocalist Coons as an actor and Willy who has his own garage. After the shows the band would be put on ice for an unknown period of time. Fortunately it went completely different and here we are three years later with a new Laaz Rockit album "Left for Dead" coming out of my speakers! You would like to now if it is as their older albums? Can it compete with the new albums from Testament, Death Angel and Exodus? The answer is: Yes! Although the band has some fast thrash parts woven into their songs this is unmistakable Laaz Rockit. Characteristic for the sound of Laaz Rockit are the mid tempo, sharp edged very tight riffs with the high vocals (not as high as in the eighties) from mister Coons and the hammering bass work from dutch son Willy Lange all over it.
Newly to the band is drummer Sky Harris who is not rooted in the thrash scene but gives this record a modern, fresh sound with his at times more technical drum work. The production done by old member Scott Sergeant (guitarist) and long time producer Juan Orteaga is also worth mentioning. Laaz Rockit sounds as a thrash band in 2008 must sound. Clear and in your face! So yes, indeed this is the fourth great record this year coming from the bay area. Shall this be the last this year or will that "other" band from over there make a return to form and include number five to the row on the twelfth of September!
Visit their website: http://www.laazrockit.com
Recordlabel: http://www.massacre-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thelaazrockit

83/100

LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE – Songs For The Last View (CD) Germany September 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Metal / Gothic Running time: 44:06 (Tracks: 12)
Lacrimas Profundere is well known in the goth scene. They have toured with both Lacuna Coil and Apocalyptica. I’m reviewing album number 8 of this band; “Songs for the last View” which is produced by John Fryer (Paradise Lost, Nine Inch Nails) and mastered by Roger Liam (Pantera). The album is recorded in Germany and partially in Norway.
I was very curious in what this band had to offer, mostly because I’m not a big goth fan and this was an opportunity to broaden my horizon. But alas the album didn’t convince me at all… I’m sure the album is great for the fans but I can’t really give a detailed review about this one. The band recently changed their line-up a bit with replacing the front man by Rob Vitacca, whose voice sounds oddly like the previous singer’s. The sound hasn’t changed of the band, it’s still dark and sinister. Almost every song on the album is about the last thoughts of a dying man. The music reminds me a lot of “the sisters of mercy”, especially the vocals. I’m not sure if the album’s got what it takes, I’ll leave that up to the goth fans.
Visit their website: http://www.lacrimas.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lacrimasprofundere

60/100

LEVEL-C – Level-C (CD) USA September 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Modern Metal Running time: 38:19 (Tracks: 10)
From Cleveland, Ohio another debut album from an all female band called Level-C. Their heavy music, and the fact that it's an all female band, calls for comparisions with other heavy all female bands like Kittie, Drain or L7, but their music has also more of a band like Korn. Not really my thing, but heavy it sure is, and mostly on the slow side. Vocalist Christine Maynard's voice ranging from clean to barking, and back, sounds pretty unique. The heavy rhytm section of Misty Everson on drums, and Janean Bush on bass pounds away real hard, with the bass really up in front of their sound. While guitarist Christina Crago ripps it up, and try's to pull out some Dimebag like guitar duties, the music pounds away real heavy like in 'Blackout'. Although some favorite tracks are 'Chain Reaction' and 'Back To My' for me, because of the higher pace they keep up. Not a bad debut at all, if you like your nineties metal this way, it sure is raging and aggressive in times, but I miss the speed most of the time, and I'm not really fond of Kittie/Korn "metal" sort of speak, but they do give it their best effort, and also the production sounds perfect for this music, solid and powerful for sure!
Visit their website: http://www.level-c.net
Recordlabel: http://www.locomotiverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/levelc

75/100

LIPSTICK MAGAZINE – Skin Deep (CD) USA September 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Rock Running time: 36:15 (Tracks: 9)
Lipstick Magazine is another new band in the rock/pop business, this is their debut album 'Skin Deep'. The music is very light, rock ballads and pop/rock tunes, with sometimes some serious guitar work in them, and an organ/keys in there too. More traditional melodic "hard"rock with an late 70's/early 80's feel about it, and Toni's voice giving the feminene touch to it all. The music of Lipstick Magazine is a bit comparable with for instance Heart, although they had a way stronger voice in my opinion, or maybe Lita Ford or even Suzi Q. Although their music isn't that bad, it's not sticking out, and certainly not really metal, maybe even more AOR. The band already supported bands like Winger, DangerDanger, Doro, UFO and Yes, and my guess is they will do fine at the other end of the ocean, but I have my doubts if this is what europe is waiting for, although I must say I do like some tunes like 'Keep Me Running' or 'Love Games', and especially some guitarwork parts on the album sound great, but if that's enough?!
Visit their website: http://www.lipstickmagazine.net
Recordlabel: http://nightmare-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lipstickmagazine

70/100

MAUDLIN - Ionesco (CD) Belgium September 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Sludge Cqore Running time: 57:13 (Tracks: 9)
Sludge core is a fast growing genre and has gotten many fans in the past few years. I however never found anything exciting about this genre but I have to admit I never really bothered to find out a lot about it. I now got my chance with the debut album of Belgium's Maudlin. The only thing I knew about this kind of music was that it's very experimental and that you should listen to it a lot of times to really "get" the album. So I did but unfortunatly I have to say I still don't get the bigger picture. I can tell that this band contains talented musicians but the music they are making is just to weird for me :)
Fans of the genre should check them out, I think they will like this a lot.
Visit their website: www.ionesco.be
Recordlabel: www.offerandumrecords.be/
MySpace: www.myspace.com/maudlinrocks

50/100

METAL CHURCH – This Present Wasteland (CD) USA September 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 57:21 (Tracks: 10)
Metal Church was founded in the early Eighties in Seattle, USA. The band signed a recording deal in the very early stages of their career and released their debut, "Metal Church" in 1984, one of the highlights in metal history if you ask me. This album impressed me already so much during the first round on my turntable and I still adore this album very much. For that time it was very refreshing and performed with such musicianship! Incredible! Their second album "The Dark", out two years later, which was also one of the best metal releases of the decade with the breathtaking 'Ton of Bricks'. After that release Metal Church underwent the first of several line-up changes. Frontman David Wayne left the group and was replaced by former Heretic vocalist, Mike Howe. Reinforced by Howe and also John Marshall (guitar), the riffs became heavier and the lyrics more ambitioned, a number of songs on "Blessing In Disguise", "The Human Factor" & "Hanging in the Balance" dealing with burning political and social questions. All these albums where great too and it suits the band that they kept true to their roots. 1999 came the much-noticed reunification of the original Metal Church line-up, as well as the release of the album, "Masterpeace". "The Weight Of The World" arrived in 2004, Metal Church introducing their new vocalist Ronny Munroe (ex-Rottweiler) to the public. After this release the band also released a few other albums "A light in the Dark" and this new one "This Present Wasteland". I was not familiar with the Ronny Munroe stuff but what I heard in the press wasn't sounding very positive. Strange because the few times I saw the band live with this new frontman where incredible good! Ronny has a typical voice that does remind me a lot to original MC singer David Wayne (RIP). After listening this new album I was again wondering why he sounds so raw in the studio (except for the several high pitch screams) and why he is sounding so clean live? Not really a problem because Ronny is a great singer surrounded by great musicians. The whole album sounds very good and is filled with the typical Metal Church sound. Favorite songs: 'Meet your Maker', 'A War never Won', 'Mass Hysteria', 'The Company of Sorrow' & 'The Perfect Crime'.
Even if you don't like the new stuff; just check out the band live and you will not regret it because on stage the band is even much much better! Good album!
Visit their website: http://www.metalchurchmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/metalchurch

83/100

MOTÖRHEAD – Motörizer (CD) Made in England September 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Hardrock / Heavy Metal Running time: 39:02 (Tracks: 11)
The new Motorhead finally!! I can honestly say that I'm one of the most fanatic Motorheadbangers ever in The Netherlands and I've seen the band about 40 times live yet. I travelled several times to Belgium, Germany and even 5 times to England to see the band live. Lemmy is one of my metal heroes and he will always be. This is ofcourse no guarantee that I love all their stuff. Albums like for example "Bastards" realy suck and also the following tour was a disaster when you ask me (and a lot of other Motorhead fanatics). The band exist for more than 30 years now and this new album "Motorizer" is their 24th studio album till now. Their albums are ups and downs and a lot of their songs sounds like you have heard them before by ….Motorhead. Its not a problem because the real die hard Lemmy fans still adore the band and so do I. Every album they released the last 10 years has some great, fast, songs on it but also some 'space-fillers'.
Gladly "Motörizer" rocks again and contains a lot of great songs in the best Motorhead tradition!! Productional the album also sounds very good. The band will play, again, in my hometown Tilburg on the 24th of November and its sure I'm their again to support the "Masters of Rock 'n Roll". Favorite tracks: 'Rock Out', ' Buried Alive', 'Back on the Chain', 'Time is Right', 'Runaround Man'. Buy or Die!
Visit their website: http://www.imotorhead.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/motorhead

85/100

PREDATORIA – Endless War (CDemo) Belgium September 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Death / Thrash Metal Running time: 13:36 (Tracks: 4)
Predatoria was formed after Koen (vocals) and Croess (bass) wanted to form a more serious kind of metalband after leaving their previous band. After several rehearsals with a different line-up, the band was completed with Hannes (guitar), Dille (guitar) and Kristof (drums). Already from their start they try to combine old school death metal with old school thrash and this with a source of enthusiasm, passion, alcoholism and an urge that thas everything to do with the destruction within mankind itself. On their first demo-cd "Endless War", influences can be heard from bands like Massacre, Obituary, Pestilence, Autopsy, Possessed, Coroner, Slayer, Kreator, Exodus, Testament and Destruction.
Visit their website: http://www.predatoria.tk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/predatoria

77/100

REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE – New Era (CD) Finland September 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Power Metal Running time: 47:30 (Tracks: 10)
REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE is the new band from guitarist, singer Timo Tolkki, who had left his former band STRATOVARIUS. Tolkki had already written new songs for a new STRATOVARIUS album, but when the band split up (actually, I understand that the other band members of Stratovarius still continue with the band), he used all those new composed songs for his newly formed band Revolution Renaissance. And Tolkki couldn't wait with releasing those songs until he had found a permanent band. So on this debut album "New Era" Tolkki had help from three fantastic singers, namely Michael Kiske (ex-HELLOWEEN, KISKE), Tobias Sammet (EDGUY, AVANTASIA) and Pasi Rantanen (THUNDERSTONE). Other musicians on "New Era" are Pasi Heikkilä (bass), Mirka Rantanen (drums) and Joonas Puolakka (keyboards). Michael Kiske sings most of the songs of the album ("I Did It My Way", "Angel", "Keep The Flame Alive", "Last Night On Earth" and "Revolution Renaissance"), Pasi Rantanen is singing three songs ("We Are Magic", "Eden Is Burning" and "Born Upon The Cross") and Tobias Sammet sings two songs ("Heroes" and "Glorious And Divine" which both reminds me to HELLOWEEN). "New Era" contains ten songs, of which my favourites are the fast opener "Heroes", "I Did It My Way", the beautiful ballad "Angel", "Glorious And Divine", "Last Night On Earth" and "Revolution Renaissance". The song "Born Upon The Cross" reminds me very much to BLACK SABBATH (the periods with Ronnie James Dio and Tony Martin). After this release, Tolkki has formed a permanent line-up of RR, which is now: Timo Tolkki (guitar), Gus Monsanto (vocals), Bruno Agra (drums) and Mike Khalilov (keyboards). With this line-up Tolkki is already writing new material for a new album (probably release date in February 2009!). Anyway, "New Era" is a very good metal album. By the way, it seems that REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE already has left the Frontiers label, mainly due to lack of promotional activities and investment to the band. Strange, in my opinion Frontiers always has a good promotion!!
Visit their website: http://www.timotolkki.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/revolutionrenaissance

85/100

RICHIE KOTZEN – Live in Sao Paulo (CD) USA September 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Bluesy Hard Rock Running time: 79:06 (Tracks: 12)
It all started at the age of 7 when Richie learned to play the electric guitar. He formed his first band at the age of 12. At the age of 18 he headed to San Francisco and recorded his first album for Shrapnel Records. That same year, Richie was voted one of the top 3 best new guitarists of the year by the readers of Guitar World Magazine. After recording 3 albums for Shrapnel Records, Richie moved to L.A. where he joined multi platinum glam metal band Poison. With them he recorded the album "Native Tongue". After Poison, Kotzen continued recording albums on various labels. Together with jazz legend Stanley Clarke he formed the band Vertu and later he also joined the immensely popular rock band Mr. Big. Richie continued to make killer solo albums and tours around the world with superstar status. Althouh he has released more than 25 albums, "Live in Sao Paulo" is only his first live album. It was recorded while on tour in South America last year and the album features stellar performances of some of the strongest tracks from his back catalogue. As usual, Richie mixes easily soul with rock, funk and blues, always topped off by his melancholic voice and fantastic guitar solo's. Most of the songs remind me a lot of Cream, Free and Jimi Hendrix.
Visit their website: http://www.richiekotzen.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/richiekotzen

78/100

SARASIN A.D. – Daggers, Lust & Disgust (CD) Canada September 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 52:27 (Tracks: 13)
SARASIN A.D. is an Canadian classic Hard Rock band who already exists 24 years now and the line-up of the band is Phil Naro (vocals), Greg Boileau (guitar), Johnny Rogers (guitar), Rob Grant (bass) and Roger Banks (drums). Especially singer Phil Naro has already a very long career and really has earned his place in the Rock business. Naro started in CHAIN REACTION, then he joined TALAS (with superb bass player Billy Sheehan, guitarist Mitch Perry and drummer Mark Miller) with whom he recorded the album "Live Speed On Ice" (1983, which I still have on vinyl), and also hooked up with CONEY HATCH. But Phil also collaborated with ex-KISS drummer Peter Criss (he wrote two songs ("Bad People Burn In Hell" & "Blue Moon Over Brooklyn") on the 1994 release "Cat #1") and with Kim Mitchell (MAX WEBSTER) and LOU GRAMM. Opener "In America" is a song which sounds very much like AC/DC. But all other songs remind me in the first place very much to LED ZEPPELIN, but also a bit to THE BLACK CROWES. You also can hear that Robert Plant (LED ZEPPELIN) is Naro's big example. Naro is a great singer. Also the rest of the band are great musicians. The songs on this album which are a bit less are "Jeanie's Gone Crazy" and "Running Circles In My Brain". But songs like "In America", "No Sensation", "The Last Word", "Kiss Of Death", "Black Night Crash", "How Will You Be Remembered" and "Makes Sense" are great rockers. The album ends with the beautiful folk rock song "The Parting". All with all a very good band with an interesting album. If you're into classic, energetic and powerful Hard Rock, then check them out. Strange and a shame that this band isn't on any record label!
Visit their website: http://www.sarasin.ca
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sarasinmusic

87/100

SCARS ON BROADWAY – Scars On Broadway (CD) USA September 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Metal Running time: 45:03 (Tracks: 15)
Now that SYSTEM OF A DOWN has a long break, the members of SOAD have time to release their own solo albums or projects. Last year SOAD singer Serj Tankian had released his solo album "Elect The Dead". And now, the other SOAD members Daron Malakian (guitar, vocals) and John Dolmayan (drums) released their self titled debut album in July, 2008 of their band SCARS ON BROADWAY. Actually, to tell the truth, when I'm listening to this fantastic album of SOB, it sounds exactly like SOAD. This album could also have been the follow up album of SOAD's "Mezmerize" or "Hypnotize", because to me, it still sounds like SOAD. It doesn't matter, songs like opening track "Serious", "Funny", "Stoner/Hate", "World Long Gone", "Babylon", "Chemicals", "Enemy", "Universe", "Cute Machines" and "They Say" (which is the first single of this album) are all fantastic songs. Malakian is a great musician and composer and most of all he has a very recognizable voice. Well, what can I say more about this album, it's just brilliant. Great songs, very good production. It's an album you really must have if you are a fan of SOAD. By the way, SCARS ON BROADWAY are playing at the Melkweg, Amsterdam on September 15th, 2008. And for those live performances SOB also exists of Franky Perez (guitar), Dominic Cifarelli (bass) and Danny Shamoun (keyboards).
Visit their website: http://www.scarsonbroadway.com
Recordlabel: http://www.interscope.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/scarsonbroadway

90/100

SEVENTH AVENUE – Terium (CD) Germany September 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 71:31 (Tracks: 15)
This German quartet introduced itself in 1993 with the "First Strike" demo. 15 years and 5 studio albums later, the band presents its 6th full length work after a 4 year period since the last recording. The fans of the band will not be disappointed. The band has not changed its power metal recipe and still delivers melodic European power metal in the vein of Blind Guardian, Helloween and Gamma Ray. I think that Seventh Avenue is currently the best substitute for the fans of the aforementioned bands which are clearly not living the best days of their careers. In fact, I totally recommend Seventh Avenue if you are into Europower cause the are much better that the competition. The songs are energetic with fine choruses, well produced and flawlessly executed. There is only one drawback that I spotted. 15 songs and more than 70 minutes of non stop Europower can prove a bit tiring. Anyway, I say go for it!
Visit their website: http://www.seventh-avenue.de
Recordlabel: http://www.massacre-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/seventhavenue12345

79/100

SINNER – Crash & Burn (CD) Germany September 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 41:44 (Tracks: 11)
German hard rockers of SINNER already have a 25 year career in the music business. And in all those years, I never had bought any of SINNER's albums myself. In my life I have seen SINNER just once live (as the support act of MR. BIG on May 8th, 1994), but they never really got my attention, because they weren't that special to me. So, "Crash & Burn" is my first SINNER album, and now I have to review it too for MMM. According to their bio guitarist Henny Wolter (ex-THUNDERHEART) has returned to the band, and SINNER's line-up now is: of course Mat Sinner (vocals & bass), Henny Wolter (guitar), Christof Leim (guitar) and Klaus Sperling (drums). Also Sinner and Wolter are current members of German Power Metal band PRIMAL FEAR. Of course I know the band has, with such a long career, released many albums so far, and several compilations too, but I don't know exactly what number of studio album this is. Anyway, "Crash & Burn" features eleven songs, and I must say, after several times listening to it, I really began to like it. A few songs even reminds me very much to Dutch rockers VENGEANCE on their "Back In The Ring" album. Not strange, if you knew Mat Sinner had written 4 songs for the "Back In The Ring" album. "Crash & Burn" has just one ballad, which is just a nice ballad, and the rest of the songs are fine melodic and fast rockers. Also the album is very well produced by Sinner and Wolter. The song "Connection" reminds me very much to THIN LIZZY, great song with fantastic guitar work on it and Mat even sounds a bit like the great Phil Lynott too, and "Revolution" sounds like THE CULT. In my opinion the best songs on "Crash & Burn" are "Heart Of Darkness", "Revolution", "Connection" (my favourite one), the title track itself and the fast one "Fist In Face". In October/November SINNER starts an extensive European tour to promote "Crash & Burn", which is a very nice melodic Hard Rock album. By the way, "Crash & Burn" is also available in a limited edition digi pack, which has two bonus tracks ("One Night Only" and "Fast Decision 2008).
Visit their website: http://www.matsinner.com/
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sinnerofficial

82/100

SOUL SECRET – Flowing Portraits (CD) Italy September 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 51:28 (Tracks: 6)
One could say that Italy has a tradition in progressive rock and metal bands. Soul Secret is one of the latest additions to the country's scene. The band was formed in the mid 00s and this is its debut album after a series of line up changes.
At first I was a bit intimidated by the length of the tracks but listening to the album I realized that time passed by rather quickly and pleasantly. Early Dream Theater can easily be listed as the band's main influence. There is a balance between all instruments with the vocals (nice accent by the way!) holding the leading role. There is a variety of parts and themes from fast paced to acoustic and this works in favour of the listener. Soul Secret can prove a worthy substitute now that the once mighty Dream Theater is completely out of shape in my opinion. All the progsters out there have just discovered their new buy!
Recordlabel: http://www.progrockrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/soulsecretband

80/100

SOUTHERN WEREWOLF FARM – Southern Werewolf Farm (CDemo) The Netherlands September 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Southern Power Rock Running time: 17:38 (Tracks: 3)
SOUTHERN WEREWOLF FARM is a five piece band from Tilburg, Holland, who started late October 2005. Since then SWF have played many shows and they are well known as an energetic live band. As I wrote in my live review of ACE FREHLEY's gig in 013, Tilburg, where these five "rednecks" were the support act, it won't take to long before SWF would release their first CDemo. Well, I saw these farmer boys on August 15th, 2008 again at The Rambler in Eindhoven, Holland, where they presented their 3-track CDemo (or single, whatever you will call it). Anyway, so far they only have one line-up change (their bass player) in 2007. The current line-up is Werner a.k.a. Von Bitch (vocals), Jeroen a.k.a. Farmer J. (guitar), Frans a.k.a. Fraanzz (guitar), Rob a.k.a. Rob Starr (bass) and Hedwig a.k.a. From Hell (drums). I've seen the band seven times live now, and they really kick ass on stage. If you have the chance to see them in your neighbourhood, GO see them! SWF have great and catchy songs with fantastic riffs and great twin solo's and most of all…..those songs groove. Actually, SWF has enough material for a full length, but so far we have to do it with these three songs on this CDemo. Opening track "We Rock!!!", "Desire Backfired" and "Walk The Walk" are all great songs, but "We Rock!!!" and "Walk The Walk" are my favourites. Also the production of this demo is good. I knew Werner already from his period in SPINA BIFIDA during the early nineties. SPINA BIFIDA was a Doom Death Metal band from Tilburg with one album "Ziyadah" (1993) released. But to be honest I prefer the way he sings in SWF than in SPINA BIFIDA. He's a good singer anyway. Frans and Jeroen are both fantastic guitar players and SWF have in Rob and Hedwig a very fine rhythm section. The band is influenced by bands like BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, PRIDE & GLORY, DANZIG, VAN HALEN etc., but I also hear some SAVATAGE influences in some of their songs. Anyway, a fantastic and talented band with an interesting CDemo. Next time a full length album guys.
Visit their website: http://www.enterthetrailer.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/southernwerewolffarm

80/100

STONEGARD – From dusk till Doom (CD) Norway September 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Progressive Thrash Metal Running time: 35:25 (Tracks: 9)
Strange title for a record that has little or none doom parts in it. A record that has already been out in the U.S.A. for two years now. New label Indie Records releases it now on an European basis. This Norwegian band comes with a medley of different styles making it difficult to categorize. The music is most of the time up tempo thrash with extremely melodic and odd vocals for this kind of music. Here and there some progressive parts and at times some tremolo picking guitar riffs. So can we say that Stonegard has made an original record with "From dusk till Doom".
I think so. People who love progressive thrash like the Haunted and Soilwork with a different twist or even Tool fans should give this a try. The album is recorded by the famous Daniel Bergstrand (Meshuggah, In Flames) and for this European release it is upgraded with a new mix and re-recorded bass- and guitar parts. So sound wise there are absolutely no flaws on this record. Only complaint that I have is that the record does not hold my complete intention until the end. Is it the voice that maybe gets a little monotone after a couple of songs? Or maybe the compositions at the end of the album not being as strong as the ones at the beginning? Not only the style of music this band plays is difficult to categorize but also my opinion is hard to form. The band will hit the stage in September for a mini tour with Audrey Horne and comes back in November as one of the support acts of Enslaved. Maybe my final verdict on this record will be completely different then…
Visit their website: http://www.stonegard.org
Recordlabel: http://www.indierec.no
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stonegard

78/100

STORMLORD – Mare Nostrum (CD) Italy September 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Epic Power Metal Running time: 46:57 (Tracks: 9)
Founded as a death metal band in 1991. Stormlord have since then evolved into an epic black metal band throughout the years with a cult status the bio says. It is with their debut "Supreme art of War" that this status was earned some research tells me. Since this is my first acquaintance with Stormlord we'll just have to start here with their latest offering "Mare Nostrum". To be honest I don't hear any black metal influences. This is epic power metal with some harsh vocals. A friendly version of Dimmu Borgir (not that they are that evil but just to give you an imagination). Although it goes way to far to call this epic black metal this doesn't mean that Stormlord are bad in what they do. The label just gave the wrong name to it. As far as I heard music in this category it has all the ingredients needed to succeed in this scene. It is epic, melodic, has lots of variety between the songs and is wrapped in a full, warm sound. In the form of "The Castaway" the always returning ballad is here while "Scorn" is definitely the hardest track on the album and with the closing song "Stormlord" the bands name is honoured in one behemoth of a song. This is actually not my cup of tea but people who love this kind of epic metal can easily count ten extra points too the score below.
Visit their website: http://www.stormlord.net
Recordlabel: http://www.locomotiverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stormlordband

70/100

TAO MENIZOO – So Blind (CD) France September 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Modern Thrash / Death Metal Running time: 1:01:03 (Tracks: 13)
Respect! This is a DIY band from France and just released their second album. A lot of DIY bands have to quit after the first album due to bad reviews, finance problems … They still have the original line up that started it all in 2000. Their music is based on the typical thrash en death metal sound but back it up with Industrial effect and even power metal. That all plus a rough voice is the sound of Tao Menizoo. The band calls it polymorphic metal, but modern thrash sounds a lot better. After very good reviews of their debut album but a lousy distribution they didn’t give up. And now after 4 years they are back. I’ve been made into a fan. The band has everything to make it “big”. Especially because it flirts with a lot of different metal styles, not a lot of bands can do this and still make good music. Again, respect guys!
Visit their website: http://taomenizoo.free.fr/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/taomenizoo

85/100

TED NUGENT – Sweden Rocks (DVD/CD) USA September 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: DVD 2:05:44 / CD 1:08:29 (Tracks: 13)
I still remember when I bought my first album of guitar hero TED NUGENT. That was in 1978 and it was the "Weekend Warriors" (1978) album. Of course I bought a lot more albums (I have nine albums of Ted Nugent), and I still remember my mother went crazy every time I listened to an album of uncle Ted, especially when I listened to "Double Live Gonzo" (1978, which is a real classic live album). The NUGE has such a very unique guitar sound, which I like very much since the moment I bought that "Weekend Warriors" album. Too bad, this year I had to miss TED NUGENT at the BOSPOP festival in Weert, Holland, because I just couldn't go. But luckily I have seen the NUGE at the ARROW ROCK festival on June 9th, 2006, where I was standing in the second row in front of the Motor City Madman. That day TED NUGENT was, together with JOURNEY and WHITESNAKE, one of the best acts of the festival. Well, this DVD is of that same European tour and is filmed at the SWEDEN ROCK festival, which was on June 10th, 2006. Besides uncle Ted on guitar and vocals, it was Barry Sparks (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP and since 2001 in DOKKEN) on bass and Mick Brown (DOKKEN) on drums during this tour. And the set list of that tour was just marvellous. Uncle Ted played most of all old material and just a few newer songs like "Klstrphnky" and "Raw Dogs & War Hogs" (both from 2002's "Craveman") and (at that time) a brand new song "Still Raising Hell" (from 2007's "Love Grenade"). The most songs he played are of his classic self titled debut album "Ted Nugent" (1975). Of that album Ted played "Stormtroopin'" (where he opened this show with), "Snakeskin Cowboys", "Hey Baby" (which is sung by Barry Sparks, who's a fantastic singer too, and a great bass player), "Motor City Madhouse" and of course the mighty "Stranglehold" (his best song ever!). But also other classic Nugent songs like "Cat Scratch Fever", "Free-For-All", "Wango Tango", "Dog Eat Dog" and "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" were in the set. And Ted ends with the encore "Great White Buffalo" (from his AMBOY DUKES period). SUPERB. Bonus features on this DVD are "Live 2007 Performances", which are three songs ("Journey To The Centre Of The Mind", "Weekend Warriors" and "Love Grenade") recorded at "4 Bears Music Fest" on June 30, 2007, interviews with Tommy Clufetos (5:08 minutes) and Barry Sparks (2:56 minutes) from the "Love Grenade" recording sessions. On this DVD Ted is also giving lessons in shooting with a bow and with machine guns on "Bow Hunting With Ted" (2:50 minutes) and "Ted On The Gun Range" (6:27 minutes). I knew that Nugent is a fanatic hunter for years, but personally I'm not into his hunting activities, I'm just a fan of Ted Nugent the musician, that's all. With this DVD there's also a CD collector's edition, which features thirteen songs of this fantastic show. The only negative point of this CD (which now is my tenth Nugent album) is that sound isn't pressed hard enough. You have to turn up the volume very much. But there's also a separate release of "Sweden Rocks" on CD too. Hopefully on that CD the sound is hard enough. But all with all, "Sweden Rocks" is a very nice DVD, which is a must for real NUGENT fans. Now I hope I can see the NUGE, who's getting 60 this year, again by his next visit to Europe/Holland.
Visit their website: http://www.tednugent.com
Recordlabel: http://www.eagle-rock.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tednugent

92/100

THE SEVENTH POWER – The Seventh Power (CD) USA September 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Christian Heavy Metal Running time: 37:19 (Tracks: 10)
THE SEVENTH POWER is a Christian Heavy Metal band from Las Vegas, who have released their self titled debut album "The Seventh Power" in May of this year on Retroactive Records (also X-SINNER, GRAVE ROBBER) for the European market. Officially this album was already released way back in 2006 in the States. The line-up of the band on this recording is Bill Menchen (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Rod Reasner (bass) and Michael Sweet (drums). Yes, readers of MMM, Sweet is the drummer of STRYPER. This debut album features ten songs and is also produced by Bill Menchen. When I put this CD in my CD-player and listened to the first few songs, I immediately didn't like the voice of Menchen. To me he sounds like a worse version of Ozzy Osbourne (any metalhead knows that Ozzy isn't the best singer in the world, but for Ozzy terms OZZY sings great, and there's just one Ozzy). The further I got on the album, the more his vocals began to irritate me. And I think, that even with a good singer, these songs should not sound any better. I don't have any favourite songs to mention, because all the songs are in my opinion not that strong enough. The bio says "For fans of classic Ozzy, Black Sabbath, Titanic, Final Axe and Stryper". Well I would advise to take one of your favourite classic Ozzy, Sabbath or Stryper albums of your collection and listen to that, then you will have much and much more fun than with this terrible album. I have listened several times to this album, but it didn't get any better. There are just a few nice moments on this debut album, with some great heavy riffs and the drums by Sweet are of course fantastic. But that's all. Sorry guys. By the way, on their official website, I saw that these guys already have recorded a second album titled "Dominion & Power", which will be released very soon too.
Visit their website: http://www.theseventhpower.com
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theseventhpowerdotcom

55/100

THE SUBWAYS – All Or Nothing (CD) United Kingdom September 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Garage / Alternative Running time: 38:24 (Tracks: 12)
THE SUBWAYS are a very young English indie rock band and exists of Billy Lunn (vocals, guitar), Charlotte Cooper (bass, vocals) and Josh Morgan (drums). They started somewhere in 2003 by playing NIRVANA and punk songs (under the name MUSTARDSEED). After several band names they finally choose THE SUBWAYS as their definite name. In 2005 the band released their debut album "Young For Eternity" (the song "Rock & Roll Queen" seems to be a real classic already). "All Or Nothing" is their second album which was released in June. And it seems that this second one is a much heavier album then their debut album. Anyway, "All Or Nothing" contains twelve songs and most of them are very catchy. With songs like "Girls & Boys" (super riff), "Kalifornia" (sounds really like NIRVANA), "Alright", "Shake! Shake!", "I Won't Let You Down" and "Turnaround", Billy, Charlotte and Josh really ROCK. Those are also my favourite tracks of this album. But songs like "All Or Nothing", "Obsession" and "Always Tomorrow" are nice songs too. There are also some quieter songs on it like "Move To Newlyn", "Strawberry Blonde" and "Lostboy", and those are in my opinion the less songs. But I prefer to hear them ROCK like on "Girls & Boys" or "Kalifornia". This album has a GREAT production, which was done by Butch Vig (drummer of GARBAGE, and who produced bands like HELMET, SONIC YOUTH, his own GARBAGE, but also NIRVANA's classic album "Nevermind"). I like Charlotte's bass sound very much on this album, which just sounds awesome. It all sounds really fresh to me and I think THE SUBWAYS are absolutely a very interesting band for the young generation. If you like bands like NIRVANA, FOO FIGHTERS, PIXIES, HOLE, SONIC YOUTH etcetera, then you will like this band too. Fantastic album of a very promising band. And I know I'm gonna buy their debut album "Young For Eternity" too.
Visit their website: http://www.thesubways.net
Recordlabel: http://www.warnermusic.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thesubways

83/100

V.A. - Melodic Metal Worldwide – Part I (Sampler CD) The Netherlands September 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 75:02 (Tracks: 14)
The Melodic Metal Worldwide project was started in September 2007 by Shaded Moon label owner David van Hartingsveldt. David was looking for a way to help unknown, but great melodic metal bands and to gain money for the Tim & Kim Village. This is a project in Ethiopia carried out by two friends of David, Tim & Kim who are setting up facilities in the town of Gorgora. After contacting many bands only a few were interested to appear on the disc. Fortunately the bands on the MMW cd are all prepared to do what it takes to become great, known bands. So David is very proud to have them on this cd! The cd is filled with 14 bands from different regions of the world and the music ranges from female fronted metal bands to power metal, but all of the bands sound very melodic. The featured bands are Altharya (Israel – symphonic power metal with female vocals, like DragonForce, Nightwish, …), Astral Kingdom (Sweden – melodic metal), Nhorizon (Italy – symphonic metal), Thayrorod (Finland – symphonic operatic metal), Symphonia (Malaysia – neo-classical metal with high-soaring vocals), Forever Storm (Serbia – melodic heavy metal like HammerFall), Couthouse (Slovakia – metalopera with female vocals, like Nighwish, Rhapsody, …), Symbolic (Bosnia and Herzegovina – melodic metal), Fausto (Argentina – symphonic/melodic metal), Adllivyttumm (Mexico – symphonic/melodic metal), Operadyse (France – symphonic metal with female vocals like Nightwish, sonata Arctica, …), Mercuria (Italy – symphonic metal), Fugatta (Mexico – symphonic power metal like DragonForce, PowerQuest, Helloween) and The Abaddyon Project (Argentina – symphonic/melodic metal. David selected in my opinion all good bands, of which most of them are ready to sign a record deal very soon! On of the bands on this disc, Symbolic, will soon release their first album "Dreamend" by Shaded Moon Entertainment.
Visit their website: http://www.shadedmoon.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.shadedmoon.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/shadedmoonentertainment

80/100

AUGUST

AGAMENDON – Nuclear Rodeo (CD) Germany August 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 38:43 (Tracks: 11)
Agamendon's bio says they play melodic death metal like At the Gates and old In Flames mixed with U.S. death metal like, yeah like who? I only hear U.S. death metal in the deep monotone grunts of Dugi (boooooring). For the rest this is nothing more than a clone of the above mentioned bands with some or what breakdowns. Oh boy, I have heard this music so many times before by much better bands. Production is tasteless and weak. There is absolutely no fury and fire in this record. It all sounds way too brave. This kind of metal must blow me out of my socks but unfortunately my socks are still on my feet. It is understandable when a band think they must try something different because all is done before in some genre. Certainly in this genre which has so much second and even third class bands in the past it is understandable to think this. What you then can do is mix elements of different scenes into your music as said. Sadly Agamendon doesn't know how to bring their theory in practice. And oh yeah, if you want to hear a weak Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates) imitation listen to the last song "Connecting planets". Now playing: Dark Tranquillity – The Gallery.
Visit their website: http://www.agamendon.de
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/agamendon

50/100

AGUYNGUERRAN – Perverting the Nazarene Cult (CD) Belgium August 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black Metal Running time: 47:20 (Tracks: 12)
Already formed in 1999 but only released two demo's this Belgian horde (with the unpronounceable name) now comes with its first full length. People who love the style Enthroned played on their debut album "Prophecies of Pagan Fire" will absolutely love this. Fast black metal with some thrash parts here and then. I must say that I really like the guitarparts heard on this album, aggressive and harsh but also melodic at some times.
Nguaroth also plays in Enthroned and does some vocal parts in there too. Within Aguynguerran he is the lead vocalist and he does not fail. His shrieks are high but understandable. Other members also contribute in some of Belgians best bands like Panchrysia, Wapenspraak & Drinkgelag and Iconoclasm. In the beginning the band concentrated on purely anti Christian lyrics. This changed in the last couple of years. Lyrics found on "Perverting the Nazarene Cult" are written in the anti-dogmatic concept. We see this more and more in the nowadays black metalscene. Bands like Antaeus, Deathspell Omega and Enthroned are also in the same boat. Much more interesting then the same old master Satan lyrics. So if you want to make a trip back to the early/mid nineties with some great fast black metal and even a classic cover by the master Kris Verwimp himself you know what to do.
Visit their website: http://www.users.pandora.be/nguaroth
Recordlabel: http://www.shiver-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/agynguerranblackmetal

79/100

ALGHAZANTH – Wreath of Thevetat (CD) Finland August 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Symphonic Black Metal Running time: 48:21 (Tracks: 8)
When one thinks of black metal from Finland the most aggressive form comes to mind. Think of the mighty Beherit, Belial or Black Crucifixion in the early nineties. More recent we have had great releases from Behexen, Baptism and Satanic Warmaster. It's obvious to say that black metal from Finland mostly stands for quality. So when I noticed that Alghazanth also comes from the land of the thousand lakes I had high expectations. Expectations that grew even higher when I saw that Woodcut's the label that's releasing this.
First of all Alghazanth plays symphonic black metal. Not what I expected as stated from a Finnish black metal band, but o.k. I can live with that if the band is good in what they do and don't sound too much like Demon Burger or Cradle of Filth. Well in case of Alghazanth I have different thoughts on the subject. The Dimmu Borgir influences are surely there although the music is a bit more aggressive than Dimmu Borgir. So the points scored are not for originality. On the other side these Finnish men are experienced enough (this is their fifth album) to give that little bit extra on this overcrowded scene. These extra's contain perfect control of their instruments an absolutely more than average production and the ability to create some haunting atmospheres in their songs. So if you like symphonic black metal this-together with the latest album of Carach Angren- has to be your picks when you go to your local record shop/mailorder. Suomi Finland Perkele!
Visit their website: http://www.alghazanth.com
Recordlabel: http://www.woodcutrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/alghazanthofficial

75/100

ALLTHENIKO – We Will Fight! (CD) Italy August 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 49:54 (Tracks: 12)
Alltheniko was formed in 2002, and released 3 demos prior to their debut album 'We Will Fight'. According to the band they are influenced by Iron Maiden, Saxon and Dio among others, but when you hear their music it's something else. Alltheniko plays oldschool thrash metal, with a lot power and melody in it. One thing that sticks out in a positive way are Dave's vocals, screamy old school style, great. Also the guitar sound on this album is perfect in my ears, good production and great riffs with lots of speed and melody. The variety of the songs on the album is also very diverse, with some heavy, slower ones like 'Sufferman' in the more traditional heavy metal style, but also furious thrash like opener 'Thrash All Around' or 'Strong Commandos In Black Tanks', and even some more death/black like 'Dead Brain (Exterminator)' or 'Coming Soon'. This bands knows to combine different styles in their music, and still sound really old school insane, fast and aggressive. As a bonus track on the album they recorded Motorhead's 'Ace Of Spades' to show where they are influenced by, well that can't miss offcourse.
Visit their website: http://www.allthenikometal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/allthenikometal

82/100

ASIAN TYPHOON – Wings (CD) Japan August 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 51:44 (Tracks: 10)
Vocalist Minoru left Loudness in the late 80's to pursue a new sound, eventually winding up in X.Y.Z. with legendary Japanese guitarist Fumihiko Kitsutaka. Re-titled Asian Typhoon for the North American market, Niihara and Kitsutaka are joined by virtuoso bassist Tatsuhiko Wasada and acclaimed drummer/producer Funky Syeyoshi. The quartet formed in 1999 and has released 6 albums, 6 singles and 2 dvd's. "Wings" is the band's first North American release. "Wings" shows the band at its heaviest yet also its most melodic with Kitsutaka's shredding guitar solo's. In my opinion not all the songs are that interesting. Some of the songs sounds a bit too boring for me. But luckily there's always Kitsutaka to play some interesting guitar solo's (listen to the instrumental track "Incubation"!). Niihara is still one of the best Japanese vocalists, but you got to get used to his high-pitched vocals, and his Japanese/English lyrics. Asian Typhoon plays in general typical 80's heavy metal/hard rock, especially influenced by Loudness and Van Halen, with also some more modern influences.
Visit their website: http://www.blasty.jp/xyz/e/index.htm
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmare-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/asiantyphoonxyza

73/100

ATROCITY – Werk 80 Part 2 (CD) Germany August 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 46:26 (Tracks: 11)
Atrocity is a well respected name in the metal scene that goes way back to 1988. They released about a 20 albums. But this isn't their first cover album. In 1997 they released "Werk 80" and I must say that brings back good memories, songs like 'Mussolini', 'Shout' and 'Send me an Angel'. Well that wasn't enough for them because their latest release contains 11 good old 80`s hits. Songs like 'Small town Boy', 'Relax', 'Her Comes the Rain Again' etc. The songs are very well performed and sound great, the production of course is very good (what else can you expect from a band like Atrocity). The only thing that surprises me is that "Werk 80" is more brutal (the vocals and guitar sound). Nevertheless if you like to hear covers of you're favourite 80`s songs then you're going to love this record.
Visit their website: http://www.atrocity.de
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/atrocitypage

75/100

BLOODY REMAINS - Part hard at the Graveyard (MCD) The Netherlands August 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 20:17 (Tracks: 7)
Bloody Remains is a new name in the death metal scene. This is their first release "Party hard at the Graveyard" (self-financed). This record contains 7 tracks of pure old school death metal. All the songs are straight in your face. The drums are pounding through every song like a drilling machine. The guitar riffs are very Swedish (think of Hypocrisy or Grave) and then there is the grunts that are deep and filthy….very nice. The composing of the songs is what you can expect of death metal…fast and brutal with a lot of groove in it. Eventhough its self-financed the production of this record is great. If you like bands like Grave, Hypocrisy (old) etc. then you have to check their site and fucking order it!
Visit their website: http://www.bloodyremains.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bloodydelicious

75/100

DEDICTED – Argonauts (CD) Belgium August 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Metalcore Running time: 41:48 (Tracks: 8)
Dedicted started out in 1999 but it's this year that their debut album is brought forward. The year 2008 is also their 'breakthrough' year. This success is the result of the many (important) tour dates the band has in its schedule, such as the Graspop festival, which is a great opportunity to show your band's performance. After the gig on the Graspop festival there were a lot of good reactions of the public, saying 'this band could be the next big thing in Belgium'. In my opinion they are technically very good and the music is great. The sound is highly influenced by Meshuggah and the band is similar to that other band Textures. But there are some flaws to the album. There have been comments by the press on the voice of singer Renaat Lombrez and I must agree. I'm not saying his voice is bad, that's not the case at all. But it would be better if there were some variation in the songs, it seems all is alike and that bores people. An other flaw is that the record doesn't really gives you a big impression of the band, which is a must for any debut album. I believe that this band can produce much more and better than this album. Again, I'm not saying the album is bad. Simply it could be better.
Visit their website: http://www.dedicted.com
Recordlabel: http://www.shiver-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dedicted

65/100

DIPHTHERIA – To Wait for Fire (CD) Cyprus August 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 49:55 (Tracks: 10)
I remember writing to Diphtheria in 1996 after listening to "Living to Die" on the radio. I asked them for their demo and was really ecstatic when I received it. I was willing to bet my money on this band; I was sure that it was going to be the next big thing in the Greek/Cypriot scene but unfortunately they disappeared. Several years later I heard that the band continued as Arryan Path. The Arryan Path works were equally great but this group didn't last either. Now the guys from Diphtheria continue as Prodigal Earth but decided to resurrect Diphtheria and release the long awaited debut album.
What we are dealing with here is top notch power metal with elements from both the European and American scene. Amazing high pitched vocals, inspired compositions, brilliant guitars and a progressive approach that won't let anyone disappointed. These guys guaranty 50 minutes of high quality metal with top class. Although the songs where written 12 years ago, they sound so fresh and inspired! If you are looking for influences, Iron Maiden is one of the most obvious but Diphtheria has developed a style of its own. I really hope the band's resurrection will not stop with this release. They have many great things to offer.
Visit their website: http://www.diphtheria.net
Recordlabel: http://www.pitchblackrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/diphtheriametal

88/100

DISCIPLINE – Old Pride, New Glory (CD) The Netherlands August 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Tribute / Hardcore/ Oi / Street Rock / Punk Running time: CD1: 36:08 (Tracks: 12) & CD2: 50:50 (Tracks: 18)
DISCIPLINE started as a pure hardcore band, but during the years they changed their sound more into Oi! and Street Rock/Punk. These guys from Eindhoven definitely belong to the top of the European Street Rock/Punk scene. The title of this brand new album "Old Pride, New Glory" says enough, it's an album full of covers from legendary hardcore, street rock, oi!, metal, rock and hard rock bands. See it as a kind of tribute to their musical heroes. "Old Pride, New Glory" contains twelve new recorded cover versions from bands like MOTÖRHEAD, AGNOSTIC FRONT, TWISTED SISTER, WARZONE, BILLY IDOL, CRO-MAGS, SLADE, 4 SKINS and even GOLDEN EARRING. The band tried to stay as close to the original version. For the Motörhead song the band choose a less-known song, namely "Stand" (from "March Or Die"). A real surprise is "Going To The Run" from the GOLDEN EARRING. That's a song which I didn't expect by this band, but it's a notable version. Joost & Co. also choose "Power" from AGNOSTIC FRONT's best album ever "Victim In Pain" (a legendary debut album in the Hardcore scene). Other great versions, in my opinion, are TWISTED SISTER's "We're Not Gonna Take It" (which fits perfectly for a band like Discipline or any other punk or hardcore band, 'cause of it's rebellious lyrics and great chorus), of course CRO-MAGS' "Show You No Mercy", WARZONE's "Don't Forget To Struggle" and BILLY IDOL's "Rebel Yell". The only song which is a bit less is THE RAMONES song "I Wanna Live". With this CD there's also a bonus album with 18 covers which Discipline recorded over the past years. My favorite cover versions on this second disc are definitely the two ROSE TATTOO songs ("Nice Boys" and "One Of The Boys"), but also SHEER TERROR's "A Tale Of Moran", "Astro Zombies" from THE MISFITS, SLAPSHOT's "Hang Up Your Boots", SLADE's "When I'm Dancing I Ain't Fightin'", which is in my opinion a much better version (and song) than the famous "Cum On Feel The Noize" (which is on the first disc), "No More Heroes" from THE STRANGLERS and THE BUSINESS' "Saturdays Heroes". Fantastic tribute/cover album. Now let's wait for the new full length album with brand new material of their own.
Visit their website: http://www.discipline.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.iscreamrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/disciplineband

90/100

EMIR HOT – Sevdah Metal (CD) Bosnia Herzegovina / England August 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Neoclassical Metal Running time: 48:25 (Tracks: 10)
Guitarist and composer Emir Hot originates from Bosnia Herzegovina but is currently living in England. He introduced himself through Bosnian act Neon Knights several years ago but now he's trying to make it on his own. Emir is assisted by veteran drummer Mike Terrana, vocal superstar John West and an "army" of guest musicians, mostly fellow countrymen. The best words to describe "Sevdah Metal" are Neoclassical Progressive Folk metal. This is a truly original recording; I have never heard something close to this one. Emir combines European Neoclassical power metal influenced by Yngwie Malmsteen with traditional music of the Balkans which include saz and accordion parts. John West is giving some amazing performances and to be honest is the main reason for my high ranking. I simply love his voice! Emir Hot is a great guitarist as well. Give this record a try. I think you will like its originality and will enjoy some excellent performances by all musicians.
Visit their website: http://www.emirhot.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/emirhotguitar

80/100

FLOODSTAIN – Dreams Make Monsters (CD) The Netherlands August 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Stoner Metal Running time: 42:06 (Tracks: 7)
Stoner rock and metal bands seem to pop up everywhere in Europe these days. And hell I'm not complaining! You can definitely hear that this band is influenced by bands such as Kyuss and Queens Df the Stone Age. Every song is very catchy and the voice of singer Boy is great. Even in the slow parts, that can be very tricky, his voice stands as a brick house. Although the voice is great, the best things about the sound are the guitars. They take you back to the Sabbath years mixed with formerly mentioned QOTSA. The album is great, but like I said there's a lot of stiff competition around these days and in there are a lot of excellent bands, maybe even better. I'm sure that the future will bring great prospects for the band. I'm really interested how they sound live. Oh yeah and that acoustic part of the song "end of trail" does sound a lot like System of a Down's "Chop Suey"… And that's also the best song on the album. The least one is the first one "Monster" because the voice doesn't have that power that it has on the other ones. I'm surely going to check them out when they are playing somewhere near! Hope to see you there.
Visit their website: http://www.floodstain.com
Recordlabel: http://www.solitude-prod.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/floodstainstonerrock

78/100

GRIFFEN – Linked In Eternity (CDemo) Sweden August 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal Running time: 25:36 (Tracks: 5)
GRIFFEN is a Swedish Metal band who exists of Jörgen Söderberg (vocals), Tomi Peltonen (guitar), Stefan Törnblom (rhythm guitar), Harri Tuovila (bass) and Kristian Huotari (drums). Both guitarist Tomi and Stefan have also played in the band MADIGAN (album "Shades Of Youth" 1992) before. Guitarist Tomi also plays together with drummer Kristian in the legendary band TORCH. And Kristian is also the drummer of Swedish Thrash Metal band SCAAR (who recently released their third album "Next Level Of Torture"). As you can see, those are very busy guys. Anyway, "Linked In Eternity" is their second promo demo and has 5 great tracks on it (their first promo demo was released in 2007 and featured 4 songs, see Archive CD/DVD reviews). Griffen plays a blend of traditional Metal with Melodic Hard Rock. And with Jörgen Söderberg the band has a very good vocalist. All songs are very strong and powerful compositions with great guitar riffs and fantastic solos. This demo starts with the title track "Linked In Eternity", followed by "Secret Life", "Falling Inside", "The Hydra" and ends with "Life Is On The Way". Sometimes I even hear some SAVATAGE influences through those songs. The band is currently seeking for a record label, and I hope they will find one because this is great stuff on "Linked In Eternity". Hopefully they will get signed so that a full length album will follow soon. A fantastic new upcoming band who's worth checking out.
Visit their website: http://www.griffen.se
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/griffentheband

83/100

GUN BARREL – Outlaw Invasion (CD) Germany August 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Power Metal Running time: 53:21 (Tracks: 13)
GUN BARREL is a four piece Metal band from Germany, which was formed in 1999. As so many other bands, also Gun Barrel have had some line-up changes. The current line-up of the band is Xaver Drexler (vocals), Rolf Tanzius (guitar), Tomcat Kintgen (bass) and Toni Pinciroli (drums). So far they have released the albums "Power-Dive" (2001), "Battle-Tested" (2003) and "Bombard Your Soul" (2005). "Outlaw Invasion" is the fourth album of the band (and the second one with Xaver on vocals) and features thirteen songs. Personally I didn't know this band so far, so this is my first acquaintance with those Germans. Well, after listening several times to "Outlaw Invasion" I came to the conclusion that Gun Barrel isn't that very special, they are just an average power metal band. But all with all it sounds nice enough. After the short intro "Invasion Warning" we get "Front Killers" which is in the typical MOTÖRHEAD style. They also remind me a little bit to KROKUS during their "Headhunter" album. I don't know how Guido Feldhausen (their first singer) sounded, but Xaver Drexler is a nice singer. My favourite songs are "Front Killer", "The Redeemer", "Keep On Movin'" (which has a very catchy chorus), "Cheap, Wild & Nasty" and "M.I.L.F.". In my opinion the 'semi-ballad' "Tomorrow Never Comes" fits not between the rest of the songs. Not superb but just a nice metal album.
Visit their website: http://www.gunbarrel.de
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/yourgunbarrel

74/100

HATRED – Blasphemous Deliverance (CD) The Netherlands August 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 36:39 (Tracks: 10)
Hatred started terrorizing the metal scene in 1999 and released their first demo in 2000. They released their "Chaos in the flesh" MCD in 2003. Their latest release "Blasphemous Deliverance" by Deity Down Records (Vermin (Dutch) and Devious). This record contains ten tracks of brutal old school death metal. All the songs have a great variety in it. The guitar riffs are very 90`s and reminds of Morbid Angel and Dismember. The drums are pounding through every song like a fucking train that can't be stopped. The vocals are very stable; he has a brutal grunt but very easy listening….very nice. The composing of the songs is great, from the first song to the last not annoying or boring. The 6 the number (transition) reminds me a lot to Tiamat (Clouds). The production of this record is very good. If you like death metal of the 90`s then you're going to enjoy this album!
Visit their website: http://www.hatred.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.deitydownrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hatredholland

75/100

HEART – Dreamboat Annie Live (DVD) USA August 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 1:36:00
Seattle (USA) based Hard Rock band HEART, with sisters Ann & Nancy Wilson, belongs to my favourite bands for almost two and a half decades now. I must have been eleven or twelve years old when I heard songs like "Magic Man" and "Crazy On You" for the first time on the radio. And those songs gave an enormous big impression on me. I was immediately in love with Ann Wilson's voice. But, I think it was around my twenties that I finally bought their legendary debut album "Dreamboat Annie" (1976) on vinyl at that time. What I liked on that album was the variety of fantastic Rock songs with beautiful Folk songs. More albums of Heart followed of course to my vinyl collection and with the arrival of the CD I sold my albums of Heart and bought them back on CD. Except "Dreamboat Annie", I still have that fantastic debut album on vinyl (and on CD too of course). I have several favourite albums of Heart (like "Little Queen" (1977, with the heavy "Barracuda" on it, which is also an all time classic of the band), "Magazine" (1978), "Dog & Butterfly" (1978), "Bebe Le Strange" (1980) and "Bad Animals" (1987) to name a few), but "Dreamboat Annie" is my all time favourite. And now after 32 years there's the release of "Dreamboat Annie Live", which is a concert registration of the band recorded on April 17th, 2007 at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. This concert is as well available on CD as on DVD and it's released by Eagle Vision. Well, I have bought the DVD, because there are some extras on it too. The DVD starts with an introduction of almost 10 minutes by Ann & Nancy where they tell different things about the band etcetera. And then the show starts with "Magic Man", which is the first track of the album. The album title speaks for itself, so the whole "Dreamboat Annie" album is played in the exact same order as on the CD. "Magic Man", "Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child)", "Crazy On You", "Soul Of The Sea" (superb), "Dreamboat Annie", "White Lightning & Wine", "(Love Me Like Music) I'll Be Your Song", "Sing Child", "How Deep It Goes" and "Dreamboat Annie (Reprise)" are all there, and fantastically performed. Also the Stockholm Strings have come over from Sweden to perform with Heart on this DVD. To me, Ann Wilson still is the best female rock singer on earth (after all those years I'm still in love with that great voice of hers). After the complete "Dreamboat Annie" set, Ann & Nancy tell a little bit more, like about their musical influences etcetera. And then we get the encores, which are the mighty "Mistral Wind" (from "Dog & Butterfly"), "Goodbye Blue Sky" (PINK FLOYD), the LED ZEPPELIN songs "Black Dog" and "Misty Mountain Hop" (Heart was heavily inspired by ZEPPELIN; Ann sings those songs perfectly, she's just the female version of Robert Plant) and THE WHO's "Love Reign O'er Me". But man, of those encores, "Mistral Wind" and the ZEP & THE WHO songs are superb versions. I get goose bumps by these songs. Again……what a VOICE of Ann. Bonus features are "Mistral Wind" (again) and "Straight On" (both from Live At The L.A. County Fair), a photo gallery and "Heart Mongers Speak" (4:40), which are Heart fans saying something. This is an excellent DVD. A real must for fans of Heart.
Visit their website: http://www.heart-music.com
Recordlabel: http://www.eagle-rock.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/heart

96/100

HEAVY LORD – Chained to the World (CD) The Netherlands August 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Stoner / Doom Metal Running time: 49:18 (Tracks: 7)
Heavy Lord comes from the Netherlands and this is their second full length album. The band made its appearance in 2004 with the "Holy Grail" demo and presented its debut in 2006. The band's style is mostly stoner with some doom in it. Lots of seventies sounding influences like old Sabbath and some Pentagram. The stuff is heavy and rotten but I cannot find many interesting elements in this kind of music. It somehow repeats itself and eventually you might get bored. Only for fans of the genre.
Visit their website: http://www.heavylord.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.solitude-prod.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/heavylord

60/100

HOLLENTHON - Opus Magnum (CD) Austria August 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Black / Death Metal Running time: 46:15 (Tracks: 8)
Hollenthon has already made a name for itself, especially with their second album 'With vilest Worms to Dwell'. And now with "Opus Magnum" they tried to produce an even better one. For some critics, impossible. But I believe anything can happen. Yet I'm not convinced about the album… It has a lot to do of personal taste of course so don't pay attention to the score I give this album. The album may not have convinced me but I was still surprised about the talent of this band. There's a lot of variation in the songs and the voice fits perfect with the sound. Some songs lean a lot to Opeth and then others to a band like Therion. Every song fits perfectly into each other. And cheers to Elena (ex-wife of singer Shirenc) with her amazing voice that accompanies Shirenc. The band played a lot of important festivals this summer and I believe they will tour again at the end of the year.
Visit their website: http://www.hollenthon.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hollenthonofficial

70/100

JORN – Lonely Are The Brave (CD) Norway August 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal Running time: 54:52 (Tracks: 11)
I have to admit that, until I bought this fantastic album of JORN, I never had anything in my collection with Jorn Lande on vocals. Of course I knew his name for years, and I knew he had sung on albums of MASTERPLAN too, but somehow I never bought any albums with Lande on vocals. During his almost 30 year old career he's been a very busy person. So far he has recorded albums with of course JORN and MASTERPLAN, but also with ALLEN/LANDE, MILLENIUM, ARK, THE SNAKES and VAGABONDS as well as several projects. Well, when I saw this album in a record store I thought let's take a listen. And man, when I heard the title track "Lonely Are The Brave" I was immediately impressed. What a voice. After listening to several songs, I decided to buy this album. I told Mario that I had bought the new JORN album, and Mario asked me if I wanted to review this album, because he had a voice protected promo copy (lately all promo albums from Frontiers are voice protected). And to tell the truth, it's not funny to listen to songs and getting disturbed every time by a voice who's saying "you are listening to the new album of …". Well, luckily I had bought my album, so I didn't have that problem this time. But, now I know for sure, Jorn Lande belongs definitely to one of the greatest rock singers on earth. He reminds me very much to great singers like DAVID COVERDALE and specially RONNIE JAMES DIO (both favourites of me). Sometimes I have to think of BLACK SABBATH (with Dio) and DIO too. Anyway, "Lonely Are The Brave" is the 8th album of JORN and features officially nine great songs. But I have the limited edition version with two bonus tracks. One of those bonus tracks is a cover of DEEP PURPLE's "Stormbringer" (with David Coverdale (and Glenn Hughes) on vocals, do you get the point!!). What do I have to say more about this fantastic album. Songs like "Lonely Are The Brave", "War Of The World', "Stormbringer", "Soul Of The Wind", "The Inner Road" or the heavy "Hellfire" (BEYOND TWILIGHT), are all awesome. This is just high quality Hard Rock/Heavy Metal which I like to hear. If you like Hard Rock/Heavy Metal with superb vocals, then this album is a must. Nice to tell, on the back of the booklet you see a statue of Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) and inside the booklet one of Elvis Presley. Two great legends who mend a lot to the music scene. Anyway, since now I'm a fan of this great singer too, and I'm sure I will buy more albums too.
Visit their website: http://www.jornlande.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/realjorn

92/100

KISKE – Past In Different Ways (CD) Germany August 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock, Acoustic Running time: 52:48 (Tracks: 11)
MICHAEL KISKE is best known as the singer of German metal band HELLOWEEN during the period 1987 and 1993. Kiske was responsible for the great vocals on the classic Helloween albums "Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1" (1987) and "Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 2" (1988). He also did the Helloween albums "Live In The UK" (1989), "Pink Bubbles Go Ape" (1991) and "Chameleon" (1993). In 1996 Kiske released his first solo album "Instant Clarity" followed by "Readiness To Sacrifice" (1999) and "Kiske" (2006). Well on his newest solo album "Past In Different Ways" Michael goes way back to his Helloween period, by recording a complete album of old Helloween songs of the above mentioned period 1987-1993 he was in the band, but then all as acoustic versions. The album is also produced by Michael Kiske himself, who's playing guitar too by the way, and sounds very good. Other musicians on this nice album are Sandro Giampietro (guitar), Fontaine Burnett (bass) and Karsten Nagel (drums). For me, the best song on the album is "I Believe" (from "Chameleon"). That's by far the best track on the album. But I like the songs "You Always Walk Alone", "Your Turn", "Going Home" and "A Little Time" too. However it's not Metal or Rock he's making nowadays, it's still a pleasure to listen to Kiske's great voice on "Past In Different Ways". Well, I think there are still a lot Helloween fans hoping for his return. Time will tell! Anyway, if you are curious, go check this album out…and for Kiske fans, Michael is also singing five great songs on the "New Era" album of REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE (the new band of former STRATOVARIUS guitarist Timo Tolkki). With this album and on "New Era" Michael proves he's still a marvellous singer.
Visit their website: http://www.michael-kiske.de
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mkiske

78/100

MACBETH – Super Angelic Hate Bringers (CD) Italy August 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 40:31 (Tracks: 10)
Macbeth is founded in 1995 and released their debut in 1998. After that they released two more albums and this is their latest release. This album contains 10 tracks of progressive gothic metal. All the songs have a great variety. The drums are very technical and the guitar riffs are groovy and progressive. The vocals are performed by two people a male and female. The male vocalist has a very annoying clean vocal and his grunt sounds very bad. The female singer has a good sound but not the best I ever heard. The composing of the songs are great and the production also. if I listen to this album then the first thing I can say is good music crappy vocals (my opinion). If you like bands like After Forever or Epica you should give it a try.
Visit their website: http://www.macbeth.it
Recordlabel: http://www.dragonheartrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/macbethband

65/100

MARCO SFOGLI – There's Hope (CD) Italy August 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Rock Running time: 49:03 (Tracks: 11)
Marco got his first electric guitar at the age of 9 and started playing along his heroes like Van Halen and Europe. In 1992 he switched to drums which helped him a lot in rhythmic knowledge. He switched back to guitar at 16. He has worked as session player in Italy for a lot of artists. Nowadays he's the guitar player of Dream theatre vocalist James LaBrie, for which he recorded guitar tracks on his latest solo album "Elements Of Persuasion". Since then he had the luck to record and/or appear on records with such names as Simon Philips, Matt Guillory, Jordan Rudess, Vitalij Kuprij, Randy Coven and many more. When not touring or recording he teaches extensively in his area. With his first solo album "There's Hope" he shows in every song a different side of his influences and inspirations, like 80's hard rock, prog, metal, blues, ballad, fusion and even country! From time to time there's also some good interactivity between Marco's guitar playing and the keyboards of Matt Guillory and Alex Argento. His goal was to make a very melodic album with the right amount of fire, in which he certainly succeeded!
Visit their website: http://www.marcosfogli.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/marcosfogli

81/100

MÖTLEY CRÜE – Saints of Los Angeles (CD) USA August 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 44:08 (Tracks: 13)
Finally, after eight years the mighty CRÜE is back with a brand new studio album AND in the ORIGINAL line-up again. On the self titled album "Mötley Crüe" (1994) it was singer John Corabi (UNION, E.S.P. (Eric Singer Project), BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION etc.) who replaced Vince Neil. Though Corabi is a fine singer and "Mötley Crüe" was a good album too, the sound of the band was totally different as on the albums with Neil. Most of the songs were much heavier, less catchy (except songs like "Hooligan's Holiday", "Poison Apples" and "Welcome To The Numb") and the running time of some songs was much longer as we were used by the Crüe. And on the previous album "New Tattoo" (2000) it was former OZZY OSBOURNE, LITA FORD drummer Randy Castillo (R.I.P.) who played drums instead of Tommy Lee. But now finally Vince Neil (vocals), Mick Mars (guitar), Nikki Sixx (bass) and Tommy Lee (drums) have been reunited again and they recently have released their 9th studio album "Saints Of Los Angeles" on their own label Motley Records (Eleven Seven Music; distribution in Holland by BERTUS). This is a brilliant comeback album of MÖTLEY CRÜE. Anyone knows that the first five Crüe albums ("Too Fast For Love", "Shout At The Devil", "Theatre Of Pain", "Girls, Girls, Girls" and "Dr. Feelgood") are all classics. And in my opinion, since their debut album, every next album of this classic line-up got better and better. "Saints Of Los Angeles" is a logical successor of the albums "Girls, Girls, Girls" and "Dr. Feelgood" and I'm sure with this album they will be very successful again. Just like the albums "Shout At The Devil" and "Dr. Feelgood" this album starts with a short intro too ("L.A.M.F.") and really kicks off with "Face Down In The Dirt". Almost all tracks are very strong Hard Rock songs. The few I like a little less are "The Animal In Me" and "This Ain't A Love Song". This line-up of the Crüe stands guarantee for some high quality kick ass rock 'n roll. My favourite songs are absolutely "Face Down In The Dirt", "Down At The Whiskey", "Saints Of Los Angeles" (great riff), "Just Another Psycho" and "Chicks = Trouble". But "What's It Gonna Take", "Mutherfucker Of The Year", "Welcome To The Machine" and "Goin' Out Swingin'" are great songs too. SUPERB album. Yes…..the CRÜE is BACK and with this album they are gonna conquer the world again.
Visit their website: http://www.motley.com
Recordlabel: http://www.10thst.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/motleycrue

95/100

PSALM – Manifest (CD) Belgium August 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Death Metal Running time: 24:38 (Tracks: 6)
This is the third recording from this band from Brussels. After starting out as a metalcore band they changed their line-up and style to death metal. Psalm is: Mastema-vocals, Algol-rhytm guitar, Baron-rhytm/lead guitar, Corvus-bass, Baal-drums. Baal is a very skilled drummer and he takes the band to higher level. There are 6 songs on this EP which are all very decent played songs with enough variety to enjoy it. It never gets boring. With Mastema they have a very good vocalist who can do more then just grunts. He screams, whispers, grunts and now and then some clean vocals and does a good job. If you are not into straight forward death metal but enjoy death metal with an edge you should listen to this album.
Visit their website: http://www.psalm-music.com
Recordlabel: http://www.genetrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/psalm

74/100

ROSS THE BOSS - New Metal Leader (CD) USA August 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 48:20 (Tracks: 11)
Twenty years after Ross The Boss released his last album 'Kings of Metal' with Manowar the man is back with another solo project. After playing a couple of shows with Manowar cover band 'Men of War', the first being on the Keep it True festival in 2006, Ross seems to have found back his joy in making music and finally decided to make a solo album. New Metal Leader, produced by Tarek of KIT festival and Majesty, sounds like he never left Manowar at all. This album is classic epic heavy metal just like the early Manowar albums were. It's like Ross just woke up after a 20 year sleep and continues his work. Where his old band seeks it's hail in concept albums with more spoken word than actual music, Ross is showing them how they used to be and how they should still be today! As a Manowar fan (more like addict) I simply love this album. I have always preferred Ross above Karl Logan and he doesn't prove me wrong on his solo album. If you're into old school epic heavy metal you will love this. Faster songs who seem to come of albums that were released 20 years ago, followed by slower more epic 'hymns' are all fitted nicely on this cd. Every song contains good musical work and tremendous solo's by the man himself and also the vocals are very good. Ross is using his friend Patrick Fuchs, also known from Ivory Tower and the Men of War coverband and couldn't have picked a better singer. The voice fits perfect with the music. All in all a must have for Manowar fans and heavy metal lovers alike.
Visit their website: http://www.ross-the-boss.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: www.myspace.com/officialrtb

92/100

S.I.N. – The 13th Apostle (CD) Germany August 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 50:39 (Tracks: 13)
S.I.N. originate from Germany and Norway. The acronym stands for Somewhere into Nowhere which also was the name of the band's 2003 debut album. Another one followed in 2005 and now the band presents its third effort which is a concept album dealing with Christ and the Apostles. S.I.N. delivers progressive power metal in the vein of Domain, Circle of Pain and other similar bands of the German scene. Well executed and produced, "The 13th Apostle" is an enjoyable album with much quality in it. There are some guests like Carsten Schulz (Evidence One) and Connie Andreszka (Circle of Pain) who have the duty of handling a role in the story. There is a total of four lead vocalists with one female among them, giving a great deal of variety to the whole result. Fortunately the voice of Renee Walker is not the typical siren-like which we encounter all the time but a genuine hard rock voice in the vein of Robin Beck. Lets hope that this album will not pass unnoticed and the fans of progressive metal and hard rock will give it a try.
Visit their website: http://www.sin-band.com
Recordlabel: http://www.musicbuymail.eu
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/somewhereintonowhere

78/100

SIX MINUTE CENTURY – Time Capsules (CD) U.S.A. August 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 58:00 (Tracks: 10)
Six Minute Century, a progressive power metal band from Houston, Texas, was formed in 2004. They released recently a very good debut album through Nightmare Records. "Time Capsules" is a mix of prog, power, heavy and Bay Area sounding metal. Powerful riffs, technical song structures, wonderful high soaring melodic vocals, many melody and great guitarleads are their trademark. Most prominent members of Six Minute Century are guitarist/keyboardist Don LaFon and vocalist extraordinaire Chuck Williams. Together with John Sample (bass) and Darren Davis (drums) they have created an ultra technical prog metal band. One of the 10 songs is the T.N.T. cover "Seven Seas" and "Guitar Concerto" is a very good instrumental guitar song. Bands to refer at are Symphony X, Savatage, Kamelot, Fates Warning, Shadow Gallery, Dream Theater and T.N.T.
A very good debut album indeed!
Visit their website: http://www.sixminutecentury.com
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmare-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sixminutecentury

88/100

SKANNERS – The Serial Healer (CD) Italy August 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Heavy / True / Power Metal Running time: 42:44 (Tracks: 10)
This Italian band exist already since 1982. They soon recorded a demo tape, and their first album "Dirty Armada" was released in 1986. With their second album "Pictures Of War" they reached out the peak of their popularity by playing as support for Motörhead, Twisted sister, Saxon and other wellknown bands. Later the band had many line-up changes. In 1995 they finally released their third album "The Magic Square". In 1997 they released a live album "Skanners Live". That same year was also their 15th Anniversary . In 2001 they released their next album "Flagellum Dei" through Underground Symphony. In 2006 their two first albums were re-released by their new label My Graveyard Productions. For that same label they recently released their new album "The Serial Healer". It's a very good heavy/true/power metal album, filled with interesting songs, played by excellent musicians and a very good vocalist which sounds a lot like Rob Halford and Ralf Scheepers.So there are a lot of comparisons with bands such as Judas Priest, Primal Fear and Accept. Skanners plays a good mix of 80's and nowadays heavy metal! As a bonus track, there's "The Serial Healer Report" video.
Visit their website: http://www.skanners.it
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/skanners

81/100

SLAVE ZERO – The Pain Remits (MCD) Ireland August 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 25:21 (Tracks: 5)
Slave Zero is a five man band from Ireland that makes technical death metal. They released their first demo in 2001 and their debut in 2002 "The Deviant stands". This record contains 5 tracks of very technical deathmetal. All the songs have a lot of variety in it. The drums are very technical but to boring. The only thing I don't like about the drums is that they are triggered and that it doesn't sound organic. The guitar riffs are very technical and groovy. Their also not afraid to put a solo in their songs. The vocals are very good with a lot of variety in it, screams, and grunts. The total picture of this MCD sounds great. Not to fast not to chaotic and fucking brutal. If you you like bands that don't play the standard death metal but offer something more then you'll enjoy this record. Check out their website to order.
Visit their website: http://www.slavezero.net
Recordlabel: http://www.luggamusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/slavezerometal

70/100

SOTAJUMALA – Teloitus (CD) Finland August 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: death metal Running time: 38:58 (Tracks: 8)
Sotamula wargod) is a Finnish band who only sing in Finnish. Very special but you can't hear the difference with english grunting colleagues because singer Mynni (he doesn't sound Mynni) grunts so low that he sounds like a boar in heat.haha!! They play death metal like it's played by Morbid Angel and Bolt Thrower 15 years ago. It's true death metal and played very well and they have a great drummer (Timo Hakkinen) but it's not original. But it doesn't annoy me at all because their technical skills are high enough to enjoy listening to this cd. Point of critic is maybe that the vocals are a bit monotonous but if you like technical death metal you must check this out.
Visit their website: http://www.sotajumala. com
Recordlabel: http://www.woodcutrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sotajumala

76/100

SUPERCHRIST – Headbanger (CD) USA August 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 37:18 (Tracks: 10)
Superchrist what kind of name is that? Well late me give you an answer about that. Did you know Jesus was a head banger….long hair playing with crosses…probably…hehehe. Now back to the real world, this band fucking rocks. If you want to know when they started to play…well I would want to know to because its not on their MySpace or website (pity). What I can tell they released their first record "Back & Black" in 2003 and released after that several more. This is their latest record and I must say that that it sounds great. This record contains 10 tracks of pure heavy metal, its not original but it kicks ass.The guitar riffs are a raw mix of Saxon, old Iron Maiden and the Best one to come…Motorhead (my opinion) and of course with all the solos and twin solos you can dream off. The drums are straight in your face and the vocals sound like Lemmy but then a little less raw. If you like the bands that I named in this review then you're going to like this record!
Visit their website: http://www.superchrist.net
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/rocksaviour
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/godblesssuperchrist

75/100

TARCHON FIST – Tarch on Fist (CD) Italy August 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 50:19 (Tracks: 11)
Tarchon Fist took form during summer 2006, and unites different musicians of the Bologna metal scene. Members of Tarchon Fist have earned their stripes in bands like Rain, Old Flame, Basic Dreams and other projects. This is their debut album, and offers good quality heavy metal music with some power metal influences. The album has a good production and superb guitar sound, and some great songs although not all that original, but well done. Some songs have a high Hammerfall level, for instance 'Ancient Sign Of The Pirates', but overal it sounds good. I have to make a remark though, it would have scored higher if they had left two songs out of this album. 'Football Aces' is a song about football, in the vain of Queen's 'We Are The Champions', and totally irritating, football and metal should't be mixed, and certainly not in this way. Completely useless and irritating also is the last song of the album, in the extra part of the song 'Carved With Fire' with it dance beat, what is this doing here? But fortunately some good metal also like opener 'Metal Detector', 'It's My World' and 'Eyes Of Wolf' and even a ballad in the form of 'Blessing Rain'. Not the most original sounding album, but certainly good metal here to enjoy!
Visit their website: http://www.tarchonfist.com
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tarchonfist

73/100

ULTIMATUM - Into The Pit (CD) USA August 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Thrash / Speed Metal Running time:44:48 (Tracks: 11)
After 6 years of absence american thrashers Ultimatum are finally back with a new album 'Into The Pit'. The christian band, starting in 1992 allready released several demo's, 3 albums and 1 EP. It shows that it took a while for this album to release since it sounds much more mature than their previous work. This record is thrash metal the way it's supposed to be played. The riffs are fast and fiery, the solos rock and the drums are pounding and filled with thundering bass. The only thing I don't really like about this band is the vocalist. Yes, it's raw and it's thrash all the way but I'm more of a high pitched kinda guy when it comes to thrash. This is probably the only reason the guys are losing points. This cd contains 11 great thrashing tracks, some faster than other but all still thrashing, including one instrumental song and a great cover of Iron Maiden's 'Wrathchild'.
Fans of Megadeth, Exodus, Overkill and all the other great thrashbands should give these guys a chance, even though the lyrical themes are quite different from the normal hatelike subjects. It's all about the music anyway and the music just ripps, plain and simple.
Visit their website: http://www.ultimatum.net
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ultimatummetal

81/100

WHITESNAKE – Good To Be Bad (CD) USA August 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 59:26 (Tracks: 11)
With a band like WHITESNAKE you always know you get high quality Hard Rock. "Good To Be Bad" just got released a few months ago and Whitesnake were recently touring through Europe to promote the album. They played at the Arrow Rock Festival (Holland) and the Graspop Metal Meeting Festival (Belgium). With the show on the recent Arrow Rock festival, I've seen Whitesnake five times live now in my life. And all those shows were fantastic (specially the one in Tilburg (June 28th, 1994; which I reviewed for AARDSCHOK magazine at that time) and Zwolle (June 5th, 2003). David Coverdale belongs to one of my favourite singers for years. I especially like him as a singer while he was in DEEP PURPLE in the 70's and on the first albums of WHITESNAKE, because at that time he had a great bluesy sound. Since the albums "1987" and "Slip Of The Tongue" Coverdale has been gone singing in a higher range (which I like too, but I prefer his bluesy style). Also Coverdale has always had a good nose for finding great guitar players (Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden, John Sykes, Vivian Campbell, our own Adrian Vandenberg and Steve Vai). Both current axe men Reb Beach (Winger, Dokken) and Dough Aldrich (Lion, Hurricane, Dio, House Of Lords etc.) are in Whitesnake for several years now (since 2002). Anyway, "Good To Be Bad" contains eleven songs and comes very close to the level of the just mentioned albums "1987" and "Slip Of The Tongue", with whom the band had great success in the late eighties. Also this album sounds fantastic and has of course some real great rockers and some beautiful ballads. In my opinion the best tracks of the album are the opener "Best Years", the first ballad "All I Want All I Need", the title track "Good To Be Bad", "Lay Down Your Love" and "Got What You Need". Those are really typical Whitesnake songs. My end conclusion is that "Good To Be Bad" is again another fantastic Whitesnake album. With this current line-up David, who's getting 57 in September, can go on for years.
Visit their website: http://www.whitesnake.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/whitesnake

89/100

WOLFS MOON – Unholy Darkness (CD) Germany August 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Power Metal Running time: 65:06 (Tracks: 11)
WOLFS MOON is a German Power Metal band which was formed in 1992. In 1994 they had released a demo tape "Awake In Vision" which according to their bio received positive feedback. But after that release their singer Maxe left the band. Their keyboard player took over his place and with him on vocals they recorded their first full length album called "Solitary Lunacy". After Maxe returned to the band and their keyboard player left, Wolfs Moon released their second album "Eternal Flame". Since that album they presented themselves as a Heavy/Power Metal band without keyboards. Their third album "Elysium Dreams" also got some very good critics. In 2001 they released the album "Black Knight Legacy" and in 2004 "Keep Metal Alive". Now Wolfs Moon's sixth album "Unholy Darkness" is released on Pure Steel Records. The storyline of the album is based around the vampire Kayne and his sister Seline. Anyway, the line-up on this album is Carsten Pasemann (vocals), Gerd Simson (guitar), Marco Dammann (bass) and Andreas Rinke (drums). To me Wolfs Moon is just an average band. Well, they are good musicians, no doubt about it, but I'm not so impressed about Carstens vocals. He's just a moderate singer. Most of the songs make no impression on me and some are in my opinion even to long. Perhaps because most of them are not fascinating enough to me. The few songs I like are "Necrocity Of The Damned", "Underworld Warrior" (which reminds me a little bit to SAVATAGE) and "Wicked Testimony". Probably these guys are successful in Germany, but I think they will not gain much fans here in Holland. What I like the most of this album is the cover art, which is fantastic done by professional comic writer Toni Greis.
Visit their website: http://www.wolfsmoon.de
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wolfsmoontheband

68/100

JULY

AIRBOURNE – Runnin' Wild (CD) Australia July 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 36:47 (Tracks: 11)
AIRBOURNE is an Australian Hardrock band from Melbourne which exists of Joel O'Keeffe (vocals), David Roads (guitar), Justin Street (bass) and Ryan O'Keeffe (drums). "Runnin' Wild" is their full length debut album (they have also released an 8-track EP titled "Ready To Rock" in 2004) and features eleven fantastic tracks. It still proves that AC/DC is a big influence to a lot of bands. So also for those four guys from Down Under. It's all not original of course, but it just sounds great. Listen to songs like "Stand Up For Rock 'N' Roll", titletrack "Runnin' Wild", "Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast", "Blackjack", "Girls In Black" and "Heartbreaker" and you will hear that those songs are great rockers in the well known AC/DC tradition (with Brian Johnson). It also reminds me to DEF LEPPARD's "High 'N Dry" period a little bit. Anyway, I like it very much and it's an album I can listen to a lot of times. So, if you are into bands like AC/DC, ROSE TATTOO, BOOZED, KROKUS and DEF LEPPARD you definitely will like Airbourne's album "Runnin' Wild" too. Very fine debut album.
Visit their website: http://www.airbournerock.com
Recordlabel: http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/airbourne

87/100

ALBERTO RIGONI – Something Different (CD) Italy July 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Various Styles Running time: 35:38 (Tracks: 10)
"Something Different" is the first solo album from Alberto Rigoni, bass player of the Italian progressive metal band Twinspirits. Eight of the ten songs are instrumental and the other two are with vocals. What Alberto has to offer here is a mix of many different styles, like progressive, funk, rock, fusion and even ambient. A lot of attention goes to his bass playing, but also to his guests like guitarists Tommy Ermoli and Daniele Gottardo. Alberto is a very technical bass player, without being as flamboyant as let's say a Billy Sheehan. Upcoming bass players can certainly learn a lot from Alberto's playing.
Visit their website: http://www.albertorigoni.net
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/albertorigoni

72/100

ANTARES PREDATOR – Banquet of Ashes (MCD) Norway July 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Death / Thrash Metal Running time: 19:39 (Tracks: 5)
Death/thrash/black metal band from Norway with ex- members from Keep of Kalessin. The band is already formed way back in 1994 but has never released anything besides some rehearsal tapes until now. About time after 14 years if you ask me. The death/thrash metal with Satyricon sounding guitar parts and a post apocalyptic retro future theme – Antares means star in the milky way galaxy - when the downfall of man has taken place leaves a good first impression. The songs are all written between 2001 and 2006 in different locations between Italy and Norway. The promo paper tells us that they were not intended for release, but the raw and unpolished sound grew on the band members and this was the time to release them on this mini cd. So if you like variation in your music you can give this a try all the above mentioned styles can be heard. On the track "As Dragons roam the Sky" Vikotnic of Dodheimsgard took care of the vocals. Another reason to give this release a try. Later on the debut full- length: "Twilight of the Apocalypse" will be released. For ordering try to contact the band via myspace since their label The oath has no contact address as far as I know.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/antarespredator

79/100

ANTI-FLAG – The Bright Lights Of America (CD) USA July 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Punk Running time: 52:09 (Tracks: 13)
ANTI-FLAG from Pittsburgh, USA is one of my favorite punk bands. I always compare them with IGNITE (one of my all time favorite hardcore bands). For me both bands are musically on the same level. Two great bands with a fantastic singer. In my opinion Anti-Flag has in Justin Sane one of the best punk singers. Justin is, together with Zoli Teglas (IGNITE) and Ray Cappo (SHELTER, YOUTH OF TODAY), one my favorite and best singers in the hardcore and punk genre. The line-up of the band is still Justin Sane (vocals, guitar), Chris #2 (bass, vocals), Chris Head (guitars) and Pat Thetic (drums). "The Bright Lights Of America" is the 8th album and is produced by Tony Visconti. I have to admit that the first few times I listened to this CD I had to get used to it a little bit, but the more I listened to this new album, it got better and better. It's just a strong album with very good compositions. The songs which are my favorite ones are "Good And Ready", "The Bright Lights Of America", "Vices", "The Modern Rome Burning", "Spit In The Face", "Smartest Bomb" and ""Shadow Of The Dead". On the back of the CD are twelve songs mentioned, but there are thirteen songs on it. After track 12 ("The Ink And The Quill") you also get a kind of hidden track (title unknown). With "The Bright Lights Of America" Anti-Flag delivered a real masterpiece. Absolutely a real recommendation. Well, if Ignite belongs to one of your favorite bands, then you'll have to check Anti-Flag too. I'm sure you will get addicted to this political punk band.
Visit their website: http://www.anti-flag.com
Recordlabel: http://www.rcarecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/antiflag

95/100

AUSPEX - Resolutio (CD) France July 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Symphonic Metal Running time: 54:47 (Tracks: 9)
France has the disadvantage to not having had many great bands in the last 20 years. When I received this cd, I was wondering how the French would master the combination of symphony and metal. They recently signed with Thundering records after the release of their debut mini cd "Mysteries Of The Stars" in 2006. When listening to the album, "fantasy" comes to mind, along with that, influences of Ayreon and Epica. The approach of their songs is indeed symphonic as well as epic.
The music of Auspex is based on fast paced drums, a guitarist who plays along with melody lines instead of pulling up a wall of sound, and a female vocalist that not only knows how to sing, she avoids the "famous" French accent as well. I also quite like the production of this album: steady, bombastic but refined enough to emphasize the different elements in Auspex's music. It sounds like original symphonic power metal, but with smooth passages in between, making the compositions interesting enough and tempo changes and orchestration are done in a professional way. Thumbs up for these French metallers; may there be much more albums like this one.
Visit their website: http://www.auspexmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.thundering-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/auspexmusic

80/100

BATTALION - Welcome to the Warzone (CD) Belgium July 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Death Metal Running time: 16:56 (Tracks: 5)
Aaah, in my eyes one of Belgium's finest metalbands. Formed in 2001, Battalion takes Death metal to its roots. Influenced by bands as Bolt Thrower, Autopsy, Grave, … but combining their style with bands like Misery Index and Carcass. And I love it! The structure of the songs is great and complex at the same time. But this doesn't bother anyone at all. They have a big reputation. Since their first demo ' War Storm". As you may have noticed they are inspired by WAR. Even, the band photos contain tanks in the background. The music is not that original but that's no problem at all because these guys can play. It's convincing right away! They know how to combine technique, aggression and intensity in their songs and these things are essential to bring a great album out. Next year in February they are planning to tour in Germany. So if you can help them out with tour plans and venues. This summer they're also playing at the Frontline during the "Gentse feesten". You should really check them out if you're a big death metal fan.
Visit their website: http://battalion.deathmetal.be
Recordlabel: http://www.shiver-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/battalionsquadcamp

80/100

BERSERKER – Blood of the Warriors (CD) Italy July 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Power Metal Running time: 54:03 (Tracks: 8)
Berserker is one of the oldest bands of the Italian power metal scene. Formed in 1989, the band released 10 demos over a 10 year period. Despite the numerous songs released, Berserker couldn't release a full length album mostly due to several line up changes. Fortunately, after 8 years of silence, the band remerged with the long awaited debut album entitled "Blood of the Warriors". You can tell what is happening in this record by simply looking at the cover. Old school heavy metal with an epic feeling is the game delivered the classic Italian way. The song writing is simple but the songs are very energetic. There are some influences by bands like Omen and Savage Grace. The vocals could have been better though; mostly in terms of pronunciation. This is a release that will make the fans of old fashioned epic metal quite happy.
Visit their website: http://utenti.lycos.it/berserker_epic_metal
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/berserkerepic

70/100

CONCRETE - ZemEnter (MCD) Austria June 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Death Metal / Grindcore Running time: 16:56 (Tracks: 5)
Concrete is a young band that's still at the beginning of their roots. This is their first mini-album. The band consists of Dirty Harry (vocals), Chris the pneumatic hammer (drums), Hellmood (guitar) and Hacke (bass). As I said, the band is still in the beginning of their career. So they don't have a lot of experience. But that's not a problem. Their mini-album is not bad at all. But it's not great either. I enjoyed listening to it but it seems that each song isn't ready yet to be brought out… They should have given their songs more time to develop and not rush things. Theyr music is a mix between thrash, grindcore and death metal. And for such a style the music has to be much powerful. Especially the drums have to "blast" more. I don't know if it was done on purpose to bring a sort of chaotic style to the music but if so, it doesn't work. Well it's actually ok but it gets boring after a while because it's not powerful enough. A big advise to the band is to be patient when bringing out an album. But it seems to me that these guys have what it takes. They are working on new songs, I'm very curious to hear them.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/concreteplanet

65/100

CRYSTALLION – Hattin (CD) Germany July 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Power Metal Running time: 54:52 (Tracks: 8)
Crystallion was founded in 2003 with the intention to combine their musical passion with their inspiration of the old Templar Myth. Their first album "A Dark Enchanted Crystal Night" came out in 2006 and was well received by fans and media. Now Crystallion is ready to present their second album "Hattin" on Dockyard 1. "Hattin" is again a concept album based on the Templar Myth. Music wise the band's bombastic metal is influenced by bands like Rhapsody, Stratovarius, Helloween and Sonata Arctica. So especially bombastic up-tempo songs, with powerfull riffs and interesting melodies. It's not bad at all, but in the melodic power metal genre, there are still a lot of better bands compared with Crystallion.
Visit their website: http://www.crystallion.net
Recordlabel: http://www.dockyard1.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crystallionband

73/100

DARKWATER – Calling the Earth to Witness (CD) Sweden July 2008 Michel van Hassel
Style: Melodic Progressive Metal Running time: 68:21 (Tracks: 9)
What's going on in Scandinavia? More specific , what's going on in Sweden? The amount of high quality metal-bands is massive. With a population of 9 million people it's unbelievable how many extremely talented bands release an album. Darkwater is a perfect example of this. Darkwater was formed in 2003 and started writing material which they recorded and mixed during summer and fall 2006. After being contracted by Ulterium Records from Sweden the mixing was done by Peter Seather (A.C.T.) and the mastering was done by Göran Finnberg (In Flames, The Haunted). The album then was released in 2007. Except for a short and a little longer intro the other songs range from just over 6 minutes until almost 13 minutes.
One of the strong aspects of this album is that even the long songs are very divers and exciting. This band has got it all. A very talented singer named Henrik Båth with a crystal-clear voice who also plays guitars. The perfect foundation of the songs is delivered by Tobias Enbert (drums) and Karl Wassholm (bass). The people to fill the songs with creativity are Markus Sigfridsson ( guitars) and Magnus Holmberg (keyboards). This is one of the best debut-albums I've ever heard. All band-members are competing on top-level without disturbing the structure of the songs. Henrik sings heavenly while Markus lets it's guitar do the talking and Magnus covers all songs with a beautiful blanket of keyboards. If you're into Symphony X, Dream Theater and Vandenplas you will surely love this album. Recently they performed in San Francisco at the Bay Area Rock Fest. I think it's time to get them to Holland and enjoy their music.
Visit their website: http://www.darkwater.se
Recordlabel: http://www.ulterium-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkwaterofficial

94/100

DELIVERANCE – As Above, So Below (CD) USA July 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 51:40 (Tracks: 10)
Legendary Christian metal act Deliverance has been around since 1985, releasing numerous albums, demos and compilations. 6 years after the last studio recording "Assimilation" the band returns with "As Above, So Below". This symbolic title is actually a wish of the band that things on earth would be as they are in Heaven. The lyrics are beautifully crafted without being cheesy and preachy. On the musical department, it's no secret that Deliverance has abandoned its thrashing past adopting a progressive metal approach. "As Above, So Below" is a heavy album on mid tempo grounds. The only song that brings back memories of the thrash metal days is the shredding "Should We Cross Paths". Vocals are imposing and powerful without reaching incredibly high. The vocalist reminded me of Michael Grand (Onward, Crescent Shield etc.). The guitars are perfect in both lead and rhythm roles. "Contempt" reminded me of good old Nevermore. I really enjoyed this album. It's heavy and progressive without being ridiculous, meaningless and chaotic. This release definitely puts Deliverance back in the game. Good luck guys!
Visit their website: http://www.myspace.com/heavymetaldeliverance 
Recordlabel: hhttp://www.myspace.com/retroactivewreckage
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thebigdlives

80/100

DISTURBING FORESIGHTS – De-Grunged (CD) The Netherlands July 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Crossover Running time: 41:00 (Tracks: 12)
DISTURBING FORESIGHTS is a Dutch crossover band from The Hague and Utrecht which existed from 1989 to 1996. Originally "De-Grunged" was already recorded in 1993, but posthumously this album is recently released on Deity Down Records. The album was completely re-mastered by Pieter Kloos at The Void studio in Eindhoven. The line-up of the band is Iwan V. (vocals), Bas de N. (guitars), Koentje B. (bass & backing vocals) and Cor H. (drums & backing vocals). This album has 12 tracks and to me not all of them are very strong songs. On a few songs DS reminds me a little bit to DE HEIDEROOSJES ("Positive" and "Chemical Century"). It all just sounds nice and that's all. The few songs I like on this album are "Positive", "This 1's 4 U", "Perfect World" and "Chemical Century". All with all, to me Disturbing Foresights is just an average Dutch crossover band.
Recordlabel: http://www.deitydownrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/disturbingforesights

70/100

EMINENCE – The God Of All Mistakes (CD) Brazil July 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Modern Thrash Metal Running time: 38:10 (Tracks: 10)
This band is already going on from january 1995, and hails from Belo Horizonte. After several concerts throughout the state, the band participated in a countrywide music contest. The band got first place in the state and third in the national key ranking, which caused great impact. Making independant productions and promotion the band played a tour in Holland and Belgium, between september and december 1998, getting a lot of positive reviews. After this Eminence created their debut album 'Chaotic System'. Working hard on promotion and touring, playing festivals and supporting foreign bands, the work got towards getting worldwide approach. Then the license agreement was set with Diamond Records to distribute 'Chaotic System' in more than 15 european countries. The line up got the attention from the media and audience over the countries where they played before. Besides guitar player and founding member Alan Wallace, Eminence has in it's ranks drummer Andre Marcio, who played in another Brazilian metal band Overdose. In 2004 the second album 'Humanology' (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews), produced by Neil Kernon, was released through Switzerland's Timeless Productions. And now there is their third effort 'The God Of All Mistakes', released on Locomotive Records. The album was recorded at Maquina Studios, with producer Tue Madsen (Halford, Mnemic, The Haunted), while the mixing sessions took place at the Antfarm Studios in Arhus, Denmark. Recently Eminence recruited bassist TC, formerly of the band Udora (where also current Sepultura drummer Jean Dolabella came from). Eminence has an aggressive style of metal, which can be compared by bands like Sepultura, Machine Head or Pantera, but still with their own touch to it. They also released a video for the song 'Day 7' from the new album. Production is very heavy, what else to expect from Tue Madsen. The vocals are mostly raw and aggressive, and then some times with clean vocal parts inbetween, very well done in my opinion. Maybe it doesn't sound all that original in all regions, but it sounds groovy and brutal, a modern kind of power trash, with some slight industrial influences on the side. This fall they will be touring europe, so catch them if you have the chance, you won't regret it.
Visit their website: http://www.eminence.com.br
Recordlabel: http://www.locomotiverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/eminenceband

75/100

HEADHUNTER - Parasite of Society (CD) Germany July 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 61:40 (Tracks: 12)
Legendary German thrash metal figure Schmier formed Headhunter after putting Destruction on hiatus. The band released 3 albums during the period between 1990 and 1994. Schmier eventually resurrected Destruction and if you ask me it was a matter of time before reactivating Headhunter as well. The band features the original line-up of Uwe Hoffman (Schmuddel) on guitars, Jörg Michael (Stratovarius) on drums and Schmier on vocals and bass.
To get thing straight I didn't have the chance to listen to a Headhunter album in the past so I will judge this record without making any comparisons or mentions to the past. The first thing that one will realise is that "Parasite of Society" is not thrash metal in the sense Destruction is. This is more a power metal album with some thrash and speed elements. The music is very energetic with an old fashioned feeling. No musical experimentations, no innovations; just pure headbanging music. The album also contains two very interesting cover versions. "18 and Life" and "Rapid Fire", originally recorded by Skid Row and Judas Priest. Especially the first one was a real surprise. With this album, Headhunter won a new fan. Me.
Visit their website: http://www.official-headhunter.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialheadhunter

82/100

ICED EARTH – I walk among you. (MCD) USA July 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Power / Thrash metal Running time: 16:57 (Tracks: 3)
Matt Barlow is back and you better answer that! Ehhh… O.k. here we go. Personally I am not a big fan of Ripper Owens. He has a good voice but not for Iced earth is my humble opinion. So it was a pleasant surprise to hear that mr. Barlow returned after 4 years. In that four years he became a police officer and this year he also did the vocals on the last Pyramaze cd. Anyway, how does this single with one new song "I walk among you" from the forthcoming album "The Crucible of Man" sound? Actually it sounds like coming home. With a strong chorus and some nice melodic guitar parts this song would not been misplaced on "Something Wicked this way comes" pt.1. It is from this album where the other two tracks are coming from. Remixed, remastered and featuring new vocals they give less or more extra to the original ones. Mr. Schaffer keeps on re-recording old songs and if you're not a fan of Iced earth it is difficult to follow how much he already has re-recorded when a new singer entered the band. In the August edition I hope to give you the answers in an interview we have with Mr. Schaffer himself!
Regarding this single. Decide for yourself if you think it is worthy to buy. The version of "I walk among you" has a different mix than the one that will be on the album. The single is also available on I-tunes where you get a bonus song (A charge to Keep)
Visit their website: http://www.icedearth.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/icedearth

80/100

JOURNEY – Revelation (Promo CD Single) USA July 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: A.O.R. / Melodic Rock Running time: 8:30 (Tracks: 2)
"Revelation" is the first album with new lead vocalist Arnel Pineda, which was found through Youtube.com! Yet Pineda hadn't even joined the band when the album's first songs were written in mid-2007. All the songs for "Revelation" are again written by Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain. The first song on his promo single "Never Walk Away" is a classic mid-tempo Journey anthem, and the second song "After All These Years" is an emotional piano-driven ballad. "Revelation" is released as a 2 disc set, with on the second cd re-recorded greatest hits with Arnel Pineda. Journey proves with this album that they are still (one of) the best A.O.R./Melodic Rock band worldwide!
Visit their website: http://www.journeymusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/journey

92/100

KEEP OF KALESSIN – Kollosus (CD) Norway July 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Epic Extreme Metal Running time: 54:21 (Tracks: 9)
Previous album "Armada" was a big step forward for Keep of Kalessin. It was received very well by both press and fans and Keep of Kalessin toured the world with Satyricon, Exodus, Hypocrisy etc. I was very curious about the new album "Kollossus". After hearing the album more than 15 times I can say that Keep of Kalessin does it again. Their music is like riding on dragon wings, the wings of a Nazgul if you ask me. Peter Jackson should have chosen Keep Of Kalessin to take care of the soundtrack for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. More epic than this is impossible. So what are the differences between the last album and Kolossus. First off all the vocals. More and more clean vocals can de heard. Something purists will automatically reject but in my opinion it is o.k. because it suits the epic sounding "black" metal perfectly. I say black metal because the base still references to this style. Besides that there are also lots of death/thrash metal influences. What stayed is the ultra fast riffing, brutal but always melodic. The fantastic blast beats and every now and than some acoustic guitar parts for some extra atmosphere. All the songs are recorded live in the studio! It makes "Kolossus" sounding very organic and less plastic. Favourite song must be the last one "Ascendent" where all hell breaks loose and besides this it includes a very strong chorus. Who thought Keep of Kalessin couldn't top "Armada"" comes out empty! This is a strong contender for album of the year.
Visit their website: http://www.keepofkalessin.no
Recordlabel: http://www.indiedist.no
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/keepofkalessin

90/100

KILLERPILZE – Mit Pauken Und Raketten (CD) Germany July 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Punk / Rock Running time: 42:38 (Tracks: 14)
KILLERPILZE is a very young Punkrock band from Dillingen, Germany which was formed in 2002. The band exists of Johannes 'Jo' Halbig (vocals, guitar), Maximilian 'Mäx' Schlichter (guitar) and Fabian 'Fabi' Halbig (drums). In 2006 they've released their first album "Invasion Der Killerpilze" (on this album Killerpilze was a four piece band with Andreas 'Schlagi' Schlangenhaft on bass). Well, accidentally I saw "Mit Pauken Und Raketten", which is their second album, in a store. After listening to some tracks I bought it. Anyway, since Andreas left the band, Killerpilze are still a trio (I'm not sure if Andreas did the bass parts on this album before he left). These very young guys (ages 15 to 19) sing in their own language and to me, at least on "Mit Pauken Und Raketten" (I don't have their debut album), they remind me very much to BLINK 182. The album has a good production and features 14 songs of which the most of them are very catchy. My favorite songs of "Mit Pauken Und Raketten" are opener "Los", "Der Moment", "Liebmichhassmich", the Ska-punk song "Für Mich Geschaffen" and "Ich Brauche Nichts". Very nice album.
Visit their website: http://www.killerpilze.de
Recordlabel: http://www.universalmusic.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/killerpilze

80/100

LOST LEGION - Glory or Death (MCD) United Kingdom July 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Power Metal Running time: 18:05 (Tracks: 3)
Hailing from England comes another new epic powermetal band Lost Legion. Formed in 1998 by brothers Frank and Adam Allain, who started the epic metal project 'Clan of Steel' inspired by bands as Manowar and Dio and the fantasy masterpieces of Tolkien and Gemmell. After a while they found some other musicians in Sterghios Moschos, Mark Harrington and Tom Williams and decided to change their name to Lost Legion. In December 2006 the band released their first EP 'Legends of Drenai' which got them some attention in the underground. In the end of 2007 the band recorded 'Glory or Death' and with the promo cd I'm reviewing right now come 3 songs from that album. The 3 songs are very various and give a nice overview of the band's talent. The first song is definetly the most epic of all 3 and sounds pretty good. A mid tempo main riff is leading the listener towards an 8 minutes track. The second song is more pure heavy metal and is also the shortest one on this promo. To finish this cd there is also a more thrashy song which sounds really good. All in all Lost Legion isn't a bad band at all, you can hear the boys have talent. Too bad that they just don't bring anything new. Also the vocals are quite special and I just don't like them. I hope the boys find a record label cause they seem pretty good musicians. I suggest for all the fans of epic power/heavy metal to check out the myspace where this promo is uploaded and listen for yourself, you might like this band a lot more than I do.
Visit their website: http://thelostlegion.co.uk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thelostlegion

51/100

MAJESTIC DOWNFALL / ANSIA – (Split CD) Mexico / Italy July 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 58:23 (Tracks: 6)
The first band on this split-cd is Majestic Downfall from Mexico. It is a one-man band and creator of it all is a guy named Jacobo who plays all the instruments. As far as I know he only recorded a demo before this split cd. The style he plays is doom/death metal with deathmetal vocals. It's heavy, slow music with a good dose of melody with a very gloomy feel to it. A bit like an early My Dying Bride. It's not very original but if the production was better it would be not bad at all. But the three songs on this split are worth listening to.
The second band is Ansia and is completely different. My god, this is depressing music. I was in a good mood before I listened to this but now I'm a bit down. Luckily Forbidden is playing tonight to cheer me up. Hahaha!! Ansia also plays three songs and the duration is 35 minutes!! It's more doom/black metal with a lot of melancholic, ambient passages. The vocals are more black metal. The music can't be more negative according to me. The songs are simply called part I,II,III. Part II has a really suspense/horror feel to it. Very depressive and the song isn't going anywhere. Very weird. But a very surprising band. The singer , bassplayer and synth player Ethere left the band after the recordings so I don't know what the future will bring for this band. It's a cd worth checking out!
Recordlabel: http://www.solitude-prod.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/majesticdownfall
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ansiaband

74/100

MICHAEL BORMANN – Capture The Moment (CD) Germany July 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 61:38 (Tracks: 14)
MICHAEL BORMANN from Germany is a singer, producer, musician, songwriter, you name it. He has been a member of JADED HEART and is now releasing his third solo album titled "Capture The Moment". The album is produced by himself (sounds great) and features 14 strong compositions. Bormann plays drums and bass on most of the songs of the album and on a few tracks he's playing guitar too. But Andreas Rippelmeyer (Mephisto, Heavenward) is the main guitarist on this brilliant album. This is high quality rock. Musically it reminds me to bands like WHITESNAKE, DEF LEPPARD, DOKKEN and even "Don't Bother Me", which Michael is singing with Sonja Rippelmeyer (who's doing backing vocals on some more tracks too) reminds me to EVANESCENCE. On this album are some beautiful ballads like "I Wanna Hear Your Voice", "Love Is Magic" and the acoustic one "Go Going Gone". Well, all tracks are great. To name a few favorites, "When Push Comes To Shove", "Don't Bother Me", "For Just A Little While", "I Will Hold The Line" and "I Wanna Hear Your Voice". Michael Bormann is a great singer and musician, a fantastic composer and he's got the looks too (ladies!!). Anyway, this is a superb album. If you like high quality rock music, then "Capture The Moment" is a must.
Visit their website: http://www.michaelbormannpage.de
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/michaelbormann

90/100

MIDNITE CLUB – Circus Of Life (CD) Germany July 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Melodic Hardrock Running time: 50:05 (Tracks: 11)
Germany has always been a stronghold for good old melodic hardrock with exceptional bands like the Scorpions, Axel Rudi Pell, Bonham, just to name a few. Now Midnite Club are pushing in that scene with their second album, following their highly acclaimed debut "Running Out Of Lies" from 2003, receiving great reviews and even the honorary title "Album Of The Month" in Germany's "Rock Hard" magazine.
So says their bio. But bio's have a way of overstating things and this is no exception to that rule. The fact that the guitarist is a former student of Joey Tafolla does not mean automatically that he is a star; it proves he got lessons from someone who can, but in reality I hear little of Tafolla influences. Midnite Club's music is nice to listen to, average, and I wonder if rockfans will run to their local store to buy this cd.. As I said, it is nice to listen to, on the background, but not strong or original enough to stand out and grab you by the throat.
Visit their website: http://www.midniteclub.de
Recordlabel: http://www.musicbuymail.eu
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/midniteclubofficial

67/100

MOURNERS LAMENT – Unbroken Solemnity (MCD) Chile July 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 32:17 (Tracks: 3)
This is Mourners Lament debut miniCD, and there are only 3 songs on here, and the cd still lasts more than half an hour! This should tell you something, being filed under Doom Metal...this is Doom with a capital D. But this is not all positive, cause due to the very long songs it does get a bit boring in my opinion, but I also know their are lots of people who like it this way. Productionwise it all sounds great what this band from Chile does on this album, so nothing to complain in that area. This album is released by dutch label Descent Productions. The band consists of members from well known Chilean metal bands Mar de Grises, Poema Arcanus and Letal Solaris. Mourners Lament has been around since 2004, and was born with the idea of creating melodic and oppressive soundscapes, influenced by the old school English doom/death metal scene (My Dying Bride, Anathema, Cathedral...), as well as the epical riff attacks of Candlemass or Solitude Aeturnus, according to their bio. Well no doubt, there are some good riffs on here, but still it get's a bit boring to me at least. My favorite track is the title track, which is also the shortest with just over 6 minutes. But anyway for those who like it sad and slow, you should check this out, this is doom that get's you in a depression in no time (or makes it worse, if you are already in one). With the whispering, almost spoken vocalities, and the heavy but slow (and boringly long in 'Sadness Caress') guitar riffs, this stuff should appeal to most real doom lovers.
Recordlabel: http://www.descent-productions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mournerslament

71/100

NINE POUND HAMMER – Sex, Drugs & Bill Monroe (CD) USA July 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Speedrock, Cowpunk Running time: 33:38 (Tracks: 14)
Recently I saw NINE POUND HAMMER in De Effenaar, Eindhoven (June 5th, 2008) where they promoted their brand new album "Sex, Drugs & Bill Monroe". It was a very good show, just like the show they did at the Speedfest last year, where they were one of the best bands of the festival. But man, what an fantastic new album this is. Fourteen great speedrock and cowpunk songs. The main members of NINE POUND HAMMER are Scott Luallen (vocals) and Blaine Cartwright (guitars, vocals) who's also known from his other great band NASHVILLE PUSSY. The other two members on this album are Mark Hendricks (bass) and Brian Pulito (drums, vocals). Believe me, all songs are great and are very well produced by Brian Pulito and NPH. I can listen to this fantastic album every day. As I said, all tracks are great, but if I have to mention some favorites, I would say "I'm Yer Huckleberry", "Hookers & Hot Sauce", "Black Sheep", "Everybody's Drunk", "Rode Hard", "Too Sorry" and "Wheels Flew Off Last Night". I'm sure if you have heard these songs, you're totally hooked to them. If you like bands like ZEKE, PETER PAN SPEEDROCK, REVEREND HORTON HEAT, NASHVILLE PUSSY and even JOHNNY CASH, I'm sure you like NINE POUND HAMMER too. Well, let's "rock and roll all nite and party every day". Superb album.
Visit their website: http://www.ninepoundhammer.homestead.com
Recordlabel: http://www.buzzville.be
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ninepoundhammered

96/100

NUESTROS DERECHOS – Struggling with the Dark (CD) The Netherlands July 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Thrash / Hardcore Running time: 21:51 (Tracks: 7)
These thrasher come from Utrecht (Netherlands). Their bandname means "Our Rights" and is Spanish. This band is bound to the DIY (Do It Yourself) principle, which I respect very much. They're influenced by thrash bands and bands from the hardcore punk scene. So they deliver a mix between thrash and hardcore, simply called thrashcore. Or crossover thrash if you insist. Their previous release was a split "split 'em all" with late band De Waonzin. Which got some very good reviews. If you didn't notice yet it's a reference to Metallica's "Kill 'em All". The album was limited to only 500 copies worldwide. For this album "Struggling with the Dark", they got together with Alan Douches for the mastering, who worked with bands like Sepultura, God Forbid, Sick of it All, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and a whole lot more. The album was released in march. It sounds great! But I have the feeling it misses out on something. I can't really put out the problem. Well it's not actually a problem because each song is great. But I miss something. Or maybe I'm just becoming senile !
Visit their website: http://www.nuestrosderechos.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.deitydownrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nuestrosderechos

75/100

OVERDRIVE – Let the Metal do the Talking (CD) Sweden July 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 54:13 (Tracks: 12)
Swedish act Overdrive returns after many years of inactivity. The band was formed in 1980 and disbanded in 1985 releasing 2 full length albums. The guys remerged in 1997 and till 2001 they released a few songs before disappearing again. The final reunion took place during 2003 and with the first full length album after 23 years they seem to be back for good.
Overdrive was a typical representative of the Swedish heavy metal scene, delivering a mix of heavy and power metal, heavily influenced by the N.W.O.B.H.M. movement. Both their albums where critically acclaimed and remain among the best Swedish metal albums. When I heard about the reunion I was a bit of a sceptic; I was not sure if the band would present something worthy but fortunately the guys exceeded my expectations and created their best album to date!
"Let Metal Do the Talking" is a heavy metal bulldozer ready to level everything in its path. With the help of fantastic new vocalist Per Karlsson, the band delivers high quality energetic heavy power metal. When "Army of Darkness" kicked in, I couldn't believe my ears! Heavy as hell but still metal delivered with a sense of respect towards the past. Fresh sounding but still traditional. Trust me and go get this record. These guys deserve our support and I wish they will record a new album soon enough!
Visit their website: http://www.overdrive.se
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/overdrivesweden

91/100

SAVAGE CROW – Way Of The Cross (CD) Germany July 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 58:40 (Tracks: 12)
This German band was formed in 2006. After several line-up changes the current line-up was completed in April 2007. This year they managed to sign a record deal with STF-Records. On their first album are especially melodic metal songs between mid and up-tempo. An exception is the ballad "Without You", which is in two versions on the album (normal and special mix). The band has got two vocalists ; Pini is the male vocalist with a very good melodic voice, and Betty is the female vocalist, with a kind of gothic singing style. They sing both together or separately, which is interesting to listen at. Savage Crow has also managed to write and record good songs with a lot of variety. Also interesting to hear are the very good guitar leads from Ivi and Markus.
Visit their website: http://www.savage-crow.com
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.de/savagecrow

76/100

SKOGYR – Rainchants (CD) Russia July 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Atmospheric Pagan Metal Running time: 40:01 (Tracks: 5)
After one demo multi- instrumentalist Farakh comes with his first full-length. Skogyr is a band from Russia. The last few years we heard numerous black/pagan metal bands coming from this country. Some of them with incorrect lyrics and beliefs, others like Skogyr with a more nature inspiring sound. Most obvious concerning the music of Skogyr is the lack of vocals. I think it is difficult to make an instrumental album fascinating from beginning to end, but on "Rainchants" the vocals are not missed. Although I am curious to hear the songs with vocals. The music is related to Burzum and Drudkh. Slow with mostly one basic guitar riff per song. It makes the album somewhat repetitive, no problem if you ask me because it has a transcending effect. All the 5 chants are long, so with headphones on the music really drags you deep into the Russian woods in the times when the hammer and sickle still ruled the land. I really love the solo in chant 4, one of the most beautiful, sad solos I have ever heard. The use of a drumcomputer is not annoying here. In the slow parts you almost don't hear the difference. Last track is a short cover of "Silent hill" a cover from Akira Yamaoka is given a black metal transformation and is not misplaced between the other songs. Skogyr has presented a good atmospheric debut album and I am curious how this band will evolve in the near future.
Visit their website: http://www.skogyr.tk
Recordlabel: http://www.solitude-prod.com

70/100

SOILENT GREEN – Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction (CD) USA July 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Deathcore/sludge Metal Running time: 41:31 (Tracks: 11)
This is the fifth full length cd of these four guys from New Orleans, USA.They have a history of tragedy with one member shot and one former member killed with hurricane Katrina but they are still there with a new cd with a very long title which I will never say again. I will refer to it as the new cd. Haha!.There is no coventional song structure on this cd. You'll rarely hear the same riff twice. But although the riffs change every few seconds the songs still flow effortlessly. Brian Patton (guitarist) is really hard to follow with his intense riffs. Ben Falgoust's vocals are aggressive and special enough to enjoy listening but the glue of it all is Tommie Buckley who has the difficult job to make the many crazy riffs a complete song. Well done. Ideal music for someone who likes chaotic, angry music.
Visit their website: http://www.soilentgreen.net
Recordlabel: http://www.metalblade.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/soilentgreen

79/100

SOUL DOCTOR – That's Live! (CD) Germany July 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 77:10 (Tracks: 13)
SOUL DOCTOR is a German Hard Rock band (based in Berlin) of which I never had heard of before. The band exists of Tommy Heart (vocals), Chris Lyne (guitars), Jogy Rautenberg (bass) and Michael Wolpers (drums). Soul Doctor was formed in 1999 and since then they already have released four studio albums. Their last studio album "Blood Runs Cold" is from 2007. And now, after those four studio albums, it's time for a live album which is simply titled "That's Live!". On this album you will find thirteen songs, which were recorded over Europe between 2005 and 2007. So if you don't have any of their studio albums so far, this is a very nice compilation. For the real SD fans this album is a must of course. I must say that Tommy Heart is a good singer. He has sung in bands like ZENO and FAIR WARNING before. Also Chris Lyne is a fantastic guitar player. Even "Unspoken Words" (9:28) starts with a guitar solo of Lyne. The guitar riff of "Get It On" reminds me a little bit to THE CULT. All with all a good live album with good rock songs on it like "Blood Runs Cold", "Under Your Skin", "Goodbye", "What Do U Want" and "Soul Doctor". But who's playing the keyboards on this album?? Anyway, also nice to mention is, that "That's Live!" also will be released as a limited edition double album. On the second CD you will find bonus tracks from the archives of the band.
Visit their website: http://www.souldoctorrocks.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/souldoctorrock

79/100

SOUL TAKERS – Flies in a Jar (CD) Italy July 2008 Michel van Hassel
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 51:18 (Tracks: 11)
Two professional pianists (Francesca and Federica Badalini) founded Soul Takers back in 1998. Using their piano's to combine metal and classical influences it took them several years to record a promo-cd in 2002 (Through the Silence of Words) and a full length album in 2005 (Tides). The next step to a higher level was doing gigs and some tv- and radio-appearances. In July 2006 Soul Takers recorded "Flies in a Jar" Just before the recordings they signed for Dragonheart Records. At that time Francesca and Federica were joined by Dino Brentali (vocals), Andrea Grumelli (bass), Jari Pilati (violin) and Mauro de Brasi (drums). On "Flies in a Jar" you don't hear loud screaming guitars but great singing, beautiful controlled guitars, a lot of piano and some violin. By mixing these ingredients in the right way you get a well-balanced album. Dino has a very distinct voice that fits great to the songs. To me the Italian accent didn't bother me, but some people might dislike it. "The chasm" and "Floating" are perfect examples how to combine vocals, piano, violin and guitars to create a beautiful song. Most of the songs have a real relaxed vibe to them, with a lot of space for all musicians to play their parts. This album shows us that Italy has potential to get even bigger in the business. After releasing the album Luciano Esteban replaced Francesca Badalini on guitars and Andrea Grumelli left the band. For Soul Takers it's time to do some gigs outside Italy and get the band to the next level.
Visit their website: http://www.soultakers.net
Recordlabel: http://www.dragonheartrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/soultakersmetal

84/100

STONE LAKE – Uncharted Souls (CD) Sweden July 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 53:52 (Tracks: 12)
After having met eachother at a concert in 1984, Ravage guitarist Jan Akesson and Whitelight vocalist Peter Grundstrom decided to join forces and so Jan entered Whitelight, a Swedish melodic hard rock band. In 1987 Jan decided to leave Whitelight and in the following years he formed several bands such as Why Not, Perfect Stranger and Doctor Blue. In 1994 Jan stepped down from the stages but kept on writing and recording songs a this own studio. 15 years after Jan and Peter met first Jan called Peter because he tought it would be the right time for a "reunion". After "Reincarnation" and "World Entry", "Uncharted Souls" is their third real album. It's a decent melodic metal album with heavy guitar riffing, powerfull vocals and sophisticated melodies. It's a sort of a mix of 80's/90's heavy rock/metal and modern metal. The album is also a mix of catchy melodies and complex structures. Imagine a mix of Edguy, Queensrÿche and Crimson Glory.
Visit their website: http://www.stonelake.se
Recordlabel: http://www.ump.se
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stonelaketheband

74/100

THE PEACOCKS – Gimme More (The Best Of The Rest & Leftovers) (CD) Switzerland July 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Psychobilly / Rockabilly Running time: 14:45 (Tracks: 7)
"Gimme More (The Best Of The Rest & Leftovers" is a 7 track EP from Swiss Psychobilly band THE PEACOCKS. It's an enhanced CD with a video of "Gimme More", which is a song of the album "Touch And Go" (2007, see also review). I saw The Peacocks recently at the "Revenge Of The Rock And Roll Monsters" festival in De Effenaar, Eindhoven (June 7th, 2008), where I bought this EP and the "Touch And Go" album. This EP features 5 unreleased songs which were recorded at the time they recorded the "Touch And Go" album. Two songs are covers, "C'mon Everybody" (Elvis Presley) and "I'd Rather Be Alone" (The Groovie Ghoolies) which the band recorded this year. The sixth track of this EP "Can't Keep A Good Man Down" is actually "Kind Word Don't Butter Too Many Spuds" (from "Touch And Go") only with different lyrics and a slightly different tune. Anyway, this is a very nice EP and my favorite songs are "Half Mast Flags", "C'mon Everybody" (great version), "Happened Before" and "Drink Alone". Great cover art by the way. If you like THE PEACOCKS, then this EP is a must to complete your collection.
Visit their website: http://www.thepeacocks
Recordlabel: http://www.peoplelikeyourecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/itstimeforthepeacocks

77/100

THE PEACOCKS – Touch And Go (CD) Switzerland July 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Psychobilly / Rockabilly / Punk Running time: 38:24 (Tracks: 16)
THE PEACOCKS are a trio from Switzerland who are playing a mixture of psychobilly, rockabilly and punk. The band started somewhere in the early nineties and the line-up exists of Hasu Langhart (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Simon Langhard (upright bass) and Jürg Luder (drums). This album was released in 2007. I recently bought it together with the this year released 7 track EP "Gimme More (The Best Of The Rest & Leftovers)" (see also review) at the "Revenge Of The Rock And Roll Monsters" festival, where they left a good impression on me. On "Touch And Go" you will find real pychobilly songs, but also some rockabilly ones. In my opinion, the best songs on "Touch And Go" are "Sex And Drugs And Rocks Through Your Window", "Work With You", the commercial track "Gimme More", "Zurich Is A Cocaine Town", "Don't Know Too Much About It", "That Will Never Do" and "Not At Home". But that doesn't mean the other tracks are bad. If you are a metalhead with a broad taste and you like bands like MAD SIN, KOFFIN KATS, MILWAUKEE WILDMEN etcetera, you will like THE PEACOCKS too. Fine album.
Visit their website: http://www.thepeacocks.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.peoplelikeyourecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/itstimeforthepeacocks

79/100

TITANIC – Full Steam Ahead (CD) USA July 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hardrock Running time: 40:50 (Tracks: 12)
After having released two metal albums ("Maiden Voyage" in 1995 and "Screaming in Silence" from 2002), Titanic are back with their 3rd album. Guitarist Bill Menchen recruited all new musicians for his project and now they are ready to sail this ship through waves and storms into European harbours. Stryper's Robert Sweet was hired to drum on 2 bonustracks.
The band claim to appeal to fans of Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden and Metallica. That is one stake too high. The songmaterial is powerful and have their own style, in which I do not particularly like the vocals to fit the music. As this is their third release since 1995, I don't consider Titanic to be a real band but more a convenient "in between" project, and the music is too thin to grab and hold the attention for long. Nice, but not overwhelming.
Visit their website: http://www.houseofmetal.net/titanic
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/titanicmetal

69/100

TOMORROW'S EVE – The Tower (MCD) Germany July 2008 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 22:15 (Tracks: 4)
Tomorrow's Eve is top of the bill for progressive metal in Germany. Unfortunately there were not that many people to watch them in de Boerderij (Zoetermeer, The Netherlands) last year when they were touring with Circle II Circle. The ones that didn't visit the gig were wrong. After three full length albums ( The Unexpected, Mirror of Creation in 2003 and Mirror of Creation 2 Genius II in 2006) this mini-cd contains two previously released songs. The songs ,"Success" and "Not from this world", are recorded in the 2007-version, but "The Tower" and "Remember" are completely new songs. During the years there have been some changes in the line-up. From the earlier days Raimer Grund (guitars) and Oliver Schwickert (keyboards) are still present. The rest of the band consists of Martin LeMar (vocals), Chris Doerr (bass) and Tom Diener (drums). It's a pity that this is a mini-cd because the quality is very high and I would like to hear more quality-songs. It's progressive metal at it's finest. Martin has a powerful but expressive voice. Especially during the song "Remember" he varies from very modest to very powerful. The same can be said about the guitar and the keyboards that excel in the very quiet but also the very heavy parts. This is it what makes progressive metal attractive. On this mini-cd there are guest-appearances by Jennie Kloos and Phil Hillen. I can't wait to hear the next full length album.
Visit their website: http://www.t-eve.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mirrorofcreation

85/100

TO RESIST FATALITY - Ianus (CD) Germany July 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 45:13 (Tracks: 7)
To Resist Fatality is yet another melodic death metal band from Germany. The boys started in 2004 with their debut album 'Called to Create' and are now back with 'Ianus'. First thing I noticed was the beautifull artwork of this cd which will seduce many people. When I started listening to the album I sadly must say that the artwork is the best of this cd. Maybe it's because besides Carcass's Heartwork I've never heard a extremely good melodeath cd in my life or maybe it's just because every melodic death band sounds completely the same to my ears but I just don't like this record. Sure it has good riffs, the vocals aren't that bad at all and there is a nice variation between agression and melody but all I can think of is 'been there, done that'. The fans of the genre will probably love this and so I recommend this to them while warning more old school death fans, such as myself, to stay away since we will only be disappointed.
Visit their website: http://www.toresistfatality.de/
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/toresistfatality

50/100

TRABUCO – La Memoria de la Sangre (CD) Chile July 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 31:21 (Tracks: 5)
This another band from Chile, born in the year 2002, whose name Trabuco, refers to the 17th century firearms used by pirates and corsairs. Formed in Santiago, Chile, by Mario Tapia Rey(vocals), Ronnie Azocar(guitar) and Jaime Harrison Briede(bass), this band started out making a kind of hardrock music. This changed when Pablo Medina Streeter(guitar) and Jonathan Martinez Gordillo(guitar) entered the ranks of Trabuco, and Ronnie Azocar departed. Trabuco, with Felipe Tapia Salgado on drums, takes a new way of making metal, a little more aggressive and contemporary. After some years and with several songs, they decided to record their debut album called 'La Memoria de La Sangre', while Felipe Tapia leaves the band to the end of 2007, to be replaced by Hans "Ram" Vargas giving new airs to the band. Trabuco makes a kind of traditional metal, with lots of energy and Spanish lyrics. Only 5 songs on this (promo)album, but all well done with lots of variety and power in the songs, some great guitar work in, for instance "Heroe", and even the Spanish vocals sounds cool. The production could have been done a bit heavier, but for an own release it's ok I guess. Nice debut from cool band from Chile, shouldn't be a problem finding an interested record company I think.
Visit their website: http://www.trabuco.cl

79/100

TY OLIVER – Heartstrings (CD) USA July 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Rock Running time: 47:13 (Tracks: 10)
Ty started to play music instruments in 1992. In 2000 he decided to focuss on playing guitar. But he still had to decide to choose between playing rock or metal, and with or without vocals. He soon decided to play instrumental music, and together with some friends Ty recorded a 3 track instrumental demo. In 2001, after a nearly 6 month layoff from guitar, and nursing a broken heart, Ty began writing some of the material found on "Healed Through Time". This first album of him was released in 2005. And now he has released his second album "Heartstrings". Just like on his first album "Healed Through Time", his new album is filled with especially emotional played instrumental rock ballads, clearly influenced by his idols Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. There are also once again two up-tempo rock songs, "Chasing Angels" and "Space Jam", featuring guest guitarists Matt Cafissi, Neil Rambaldi and Matt Sotelo. Ty has a strong sense of melody and songwrting skills, as well as create emotion filled music that clearly comes from the heart. "Heartstrings" delivers a tighter, more dynamic and more focused sound in comparison with his first album.
Visit their website: http://www.tyolivermusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tyoliver

88/100

TYR – Land (CD) Faroe Islands July 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Folk Metal Running time: 68:21 (Tracks: 10)
Tyr are no strangers to the readers of Mario's Metal Mania webzine. I have personally reviewed both their previous albums "Eric the Red" and " Ragnarock" in 2006. I would recommend to all the readers to visit the review archive and read those reviews and get to know this Faroe Islands based band a bit better. "Land" is in the exact same vein as the previous works. Folk metal with an epic feeling sung in the band's native language. This one easily falls under the category of Viking heavy metal. Not death or black. The musical forms presented here are between traditional heavy and power metal. Nordic and Celtic influences are obvious while the multi vocal choruses have become a trademark. Tyr have once more achieved to present a decent work that will please or their fans and might bring them new ones.
Visit their website: http://www.tyr.net
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tyr1

82/100

VINTERRIKET – Kaelte, Schnee und Eis – Rekapitulation der Winterszeit (CD) Germany. July 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Dark Ambient / Black Metal Running time: 56:18 (Tracks: 8)
Another month, another Vinterriket release. How come this kind of bands/projects bring out this much material? Every once in a while I can appreciate a good dark ambient release. Mostly the once on the label Cold meat industry. They know the difference between talent and crap and released some excellent albums from bands such as: Mortiis, Raison d'etre and Sephiroth. So if you like this kind of music check those names. Back to Vinterriket now. Multi instrumentalist Cristoph Ziegler's 6th full length album (I am not counting all the singles and ep's) handles the same themes as all the other albums: Nature, landscapes and seasons. Indeed nature's beautiful, the music of Vinterriket is not. First of all the drum machine sounds too cheap. There are much better ones on the market that create a more organic and real drumsound. Second, if you want to whisper your lyrics instead of sing them do it in a more clear way. I absolutely can't hear what the man is saying. Besides that the whispering sounds the same in almost every song. Third and last stop bringing out this much material. There are some good ideas on this record. But If you don't use every idea you have but only the best than maybe it is possible to create something that is better than this. So what's left? A nice keyboard part every now and then and lots and I mean lots of wind… Nice detail: Since 2004 Cristoph is also the keyboard player of Nocternity, a fantastic Greek black metal band worth checking out. Hope he will do a better job there than he does here.
Visit their website: http://www.vinterriket.com
Recordlabel: http://www.displeased.com

48/100

WHITE CROSS – Nineteen Eighty Seven (CD) USA July 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hardrock Running time: 43:04 (Tracks: 11)
Hmm…1987, that rings a bell. It was Whitesnake who snatched this albumtitle for their best album ever. This album, however, has little to so with Whitesnake. These guys have been recording albums since the late eighties and obviously, this title points to their debut album, which the band have now re-recorded.
That means we are dealing with oldfashioned hardrock, ever so popular in the eighties. And judging by the quality of the songs, they could have been big ! Despite the fact that they call themselves a Christian metalband, and the fact that Stryper-drummer Robert Sweet handled drums on two of the songs, , I did not have that Christian experience with this album. I would rather place their music alongside Ratt and Warrant. Musically, this band sounds tight as hell. I like what guitarist Rex Carroll has put onto this album; tight, mean and excellent musicianship playing those old fashioned melodic riffs., Why they have never got to be big, must lie in the fact that there were too many bands getting out there in the eighties. Would there now be a real eighties rock revival, White Cross could really hit the jackpot.
Visit their website: http://www.whitecrossmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www. retroactiverecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/whitecrosstheband

83/100

X-SINNER – Fire It Up (CD) USA July 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock, Melodic Metal Running time: 43:13 (Tracks: 10)
X-SINNER is an American Hard Rock band formed in 1988 by guitarist Greg Bishop. The band have released the following albums so far: "Get It" (1989), "Peace Treaty" (1991), "Loud And Proud" (2001, with demos of "Get It") and "X-Sinner Presents The Angry Einsteins" (2003). Also X-Sinner is one of those bands which is heavily influenced by Australian rockers AC/DC, but I must say that on this album "Fire It Up" I hear more DEF LEPPARD influences. It's just like I'm listening to Def Leppard albums like "High 'N Dry" and "Pyromania". The line-up on this "Fire It Up" album, which was already released in 2006 (the press info sheet says release date 28.03.2008, so what's happening here????), is Rex Scott (vocals), Greg Bishop (guitar), Rob Kniep (bass) and Mike Buckner (drums). The band has also recorded a brand new studio album titled "World Covered In Blood" (the title track can already been heard on their MySpace page, and the album mix seems to be completed) and will be released very soon I guess. Anyway, this CD "Fire It Up" is just a re-recording of the long out of print album "Peace Treaty". The only new song is "Fire It Up" (a demo version) and that's why they renamed the album title from "Peace Treaty" to "Fire It Up". The CD has 10 very catchy songs and has a great production. Some of my favorite songs are "I Take Power", "Gotta Let Go", "Rollin Thunder", "Don't Go" and "We Need Love". A very good band and a great album. I'm very curious to the brand new album. Well if you like AC/DC and DEF LEPPARD very much, then you definitely have to check this band out.
Visit their website: http://www.x-sinner.org
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/xsinnernews

85/100

JUNE

BAIL - Blood Red Stains (CD) The Netherlands June 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Heavy / Stoner Metal Running time: 20:18 (Tracks: 4)
A new stoner metal band from The Netherlands. Though I'm a big fan of Stoner/metal/swamp/… these guys don't stick out in the pool of all other equal bands. They deliver great music and a fantastic style, but you have heard it all before. The southern atmosphere is really in it and musically it's all good. You can hear that the musicians are experienced and with only 3 of them to produce such a sound is incredible. The band consists of brothers Marco and Edwin Vreemand plus drummer Pierre Denissen. From what I heard they are a blast on stage So do check them out when they are in the neighborhood! The comment on their music is that they don't make it "special", you have to take some risks when you make music. When they recorded the album they used a tacky production and the same can be said about the mics, but it gives that special atmosphere to the album that can keep me going. Conclusion: Blood Red Stains is a pretty good demo album but if the band wants to make a good cd they should make some more varied and experimental songs. And if they are live as great as people say they are, I can't wait to see them play.
Visit their website: http://www.bail.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bailrock

75/100

BATTLEROAR – To Death and Beyond (CD) Greece June 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Epic Metal Running time: 59:11 (Tracks: 9)
Battleroar has evolved into one of the most successful metal bands in Greece. They show great signs of improvement from album to album. "To Death and Beyond", delivered by excellent Italian label Cruz del Sur Music, is the band's third and best effort to date and will certainly take the group even higher on a worldwide scale.
The first thing that catches the listener's attention is the remarkable progress of Battleroar as performers, especially on the guitar department. The compositions are very interesting. They maintain an epic feeling but have become more complex in a good sense. I noticed the addition of fitting violin parts; a nice innovation indeed. If I must pick my favourite tunes then I would say that "Hyrkanian Blades" is the best epic metal tune the band has written so far while "Born in the 70s", without being the typical Battleroar song, is a fantastic composition with strong melodies. Additional credit goes to the great cover artwork painted by well know Greek comic artist John Roumboulias. My advice is to invest on this album even if you aren't fans of the band's previous works.
Visit their website: http://www.battleroar.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/battleroar1

88/100

BLACK KNIGHT – The Beast Inside (CD) The Netherlands June 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 48:01 (Tracks: 8)
This Dutch heavy metal band started out in 1982 with the name Capture, but quickly changed it to Black Knight. Before the release of their first album, they recorded 2 demo's ; "Demo1" in 1986 and "Excavated" in 1992. In 1998 they released their first album "Tales From The Darkside", which was an excellent heavy metal album in my opinion. Some time ago they celebrated their 25th anniversary and they did that with releasing their second album "The Beast Inside". Only the drummer and bass player remain since the release of their first album, the vocalist and 2 guitarists are new members since some time. Black Knight still plays old-school heavy metal. The songs are mostly played in mid-tempo, but there are also a few faster parts. The songs also contain a lot of breaks. New vocalist Marcel van der Haven sings with many variety and especially convinces in the higher regions. But when he sings lower, it doesn't sound that good anymore. I liked a lot more their first album "Tales From…", which was pure 80's influenced melodic heavy metal. ""The Beast Inside" is a lot more darker. The only thing what I like from both albums, are the very good guitar solo's. I hope that they soon will return to their old sound.
Visit their website: http://www.blackknight.nl

71/100

BLANK INVERSE – Face Of Clay (CD) Greece June 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Melodic Hardrock Running time: 41:02 (Tracks: 11)
Blank Inverse was formed in 2003 by Paris Maharatsek and Fotis Diplaris. The common musical influences and ideas of the two members led to an interesting result: many different songs, each one with its own special touch. But it wasn't until 2006 when guitarist Laki Ragazas (Killer Sixgun) joined the band, giving the chance for a firm line-up and a new sound approach to the band. Ragazas played as support act with Killer Sixgun for UFO last year and was asked to play guitar on the Paul diAnno shows in Greece earlier this year. The band's line-up strengthened again with the addition of Dimitris Asteriadis on guitar and Bill Kokonis on drums.
I knew Laki Ragazas from Killer Sixgun; to me, he is the new Vinnie Moore/Malmsteen/Schenker etc etc. So obviously I was curious to find out about Blank Inverse. Beautiful melodic harmonies, exquisite guitarwork, and although some songs are a bit poppy (like "Face Of Clay") and sometimes a bit experimental, I like the overall rock feeling on this album. There is even rap in "Obsession", as well as a female vocalist (Chrysa Dourtmes), where "Under The Weather" is a typical song in the style of, let's say, Nickelback versus Red Hot Chili Peppers. I was looking for songs with that typical Ragazas solo….untill "Turn Your Love" reached 2:22 minutes….WOW !! And be warned…there are more where that came from ! The cd concludes with a nice ballad, needed to put out the fire that the other songs caused. All in all a refreshing album from a great Greek band !
Visit their website: http://www.blankinverse.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/blankinverse

87/100

CARACH ANGREN – Lammendam (CD) The Netherlands June 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Symphonic Black Metal Running time: 41:26 (Tracks: 10)
Rising out of the ashes of the black/trash band Vaultage comes a new Dutch symphonic black metal band named Carach Angren, which means "Iron jaws" in Latin (I think). After two demos the German label Maddening media picked up the band and a year later they present their debut cd "Lammendam" to the public.
The album tells a saga of their homebase Limburg about the ghost of a lady in a white dress who still wanders around on one of the ruines called: "Lammendam". A concept worth reading while listening to this cd. King Diamond: eat your heart out! One by one the songs unfold like a ghostopera. Haunting keys but also lots of trashing moments cast in a truly great production (Tidalwave studios). People who love Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir (Spiritual black dimensions era) will absolutely dig this. Because of the scene domination by these two bands we haven't heard much bands playing this style of symphonic black metal on this kind of level. Therefore Carach Angren has catapulted themselves immediately to the top of the Dutch scene. And its only a matter of time that we see these guys at the top of the international scene! Bow down to the mighty Carach Angren!
Visit their website: http://www.carach-angren.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.maddening-media.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/carachangren

85/100

CIRCLE II CIRCLE - Delusions of Grandeur (CD) USA June 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time:45:04 (Tracks: 10)
It's only been a year and a half since Circle II Circle, probably best known as the band of former Savatage vocalist Zak Stevens, released their previous album and here they are allready with a follow up. "Delusions of Grandeur" is the forth Circle II Circle album. In the first albums you could really hear the Savatage influence (not surprisingly since Jon Oliva himself helped recording their debut) but now it shows that the band has formed it's own ideas about their music and they have moved on. As a huge Savatage fan I first regretted this but after hearing this album my mind has changed. Personally I think Zak has shed his title as ex-Savatage and is really focusing on his work for his own band now. The new album is great and a logical successor of "Burden of Truth" which, to me, was a turning point in the band's history. This album has everything a fan of the better powermetal likes: nice riffing, a couple of beautiful ballads and amazing vocals. The last song "Every Last Thing" even has a bit of the bombastic elements which you can find in the latest Savatage records. For the fans of powermetal, this is a must buy. For the Savatage loving people out there: do try this out, you will not be dissapointed! Don't expect a follow up to "Wake of Magellan" but a solid progressive powermetal record with great vocals.
Visit their website: http://www.circle2circle.net
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/circleiicircle

88/100

CORPUS MORTALE – A New Species of Deviant (CD) Denmark June 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Death Metal Running time: 40:36 (Tracks: 10)
I never heard of Corpus Mortale but they exist since 1993. They recorded several demo's before they got a record deal in 2003. The band: Martin ( vocals/ bass) Roar (guitar) Brian (guitar/vocals) and Nicholas (drums). About the cd: It's old school death metal. Nothing more nothing less. No other influences, 100% death metal. They have more then enough technical skills and nothing wrong with the deep grunts but it will not be the album of the year. But no question about it they are very good musicians. If you are into true old school death metal you must check this cd out but for me it's not original and agressive enough.
Visit their website: http://www.corpusmortale.com
Recordlabel: http://www.neurotic-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/corpusmortale

70/100

COR SCORPII – Monument (CD) Norway June 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Folk / Extreme Metal Running time: 47:30 (Tracks: 8)
After the tragic death of Terje "Valfar" Bakken two new bands concerning ex- Windir members were formed. At first we had Vreid who already released 3 full length albums and now we have Cor Scorpii formed in 2004 by keyboard player Gaute Refness. Both bands are very good if you ask me but if you're looking for somewhat of a continuation of Windir (at the time of Likferd) than Cor Scorpii will be your band. "Ei fane svart" starts with a small piano interlude which last a minute before hell breaks loose. Their biography talks about aggressive yet melodic black metal. Something I can agree. The overall sound of the album is dark, melancholic but the use of catchy twin guitar parts and a clean voice will let you know that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel. This said, I can say that "Monument" has something to offer for the experienced listener but also for the less experienced. "Oske ogg insikt" is a song that lasts for almost 11 minutes and can not be unmentioned with its clear vocals and Emperor sounding guitar parts this is song consists of everything Cor scorpii has to offer. Only two of the 8 songs are written in English. The rest in Norwegian, a language from who we all know suits this kind of music perfectly. The album is produced at the top room studios (Mayhem, Borknagar) and is given a very bombastic sound. Valfar looked from Walhalla and saw it was alright: "Monument" is Norwegian metal at is best.
Visit their website: http://www.corscorpii.net
Recordlabel: http://www.descent-productions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/corscorpii

81/100

CROSS X - Question Authority (CD) Germany June 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Metalcore / Hardcore Running time: 35:53 (Tracks: 13)
This is already the third record of this German metalcore band. When you play the record, the first reaction is very positive. The sound is great and as it should be. But now about the voices. Every time when the grunt of lead-singer Nico Fetter is at it's best there are the screams and clean vocals by the rest of the band. Don't get me wrong, they can absolutely sing, but the vocals just don't fit with each other. And like I said the music is great with a lot of hardcore influences. It's a shame about the vocals, but hey it can't all be perfect. The album is definitely something for the open-minded people and that's what crossover metal actually is: a blend of different styles. I'm not a big fan but when I hear a song like Sorry it does get my heart pumping! They recently made a video of the song 'Question Authority'. You can see the band is very dedicated in their work and that's what gives them my respect.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crossxmusic

68/100

DANTESCO – Pagano (CD) Puerto Rico June 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 72:02 (Tracks: 11)
Dantesco hails from the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico. The band debuted in 2006 with the well received "De La Mano De La Muerte" album which translates as "The Hand of Death". The band quickly became well known among the European metal fans and was invited to play a couple of shows at the Keep it True and Doom Shall Rise festivals.
Dantesco successfully combines the traditional doom metal sound with epic elements. The music combined with the distinctive operatic vocals of Erico La Bestia creates a unique sounding mixture. The songs are mostly mid tempo tunes with great imposing atmosphere and heavy guitars but frequently speed up a bit. Mercyful Fate meets Candlemass is a successful description for the band's music. The lyrics are sung in Spanish except "I Came from Hell" which is European edition bonus track. I was surprised to see that the second bonus track was a Spanish cover version of the "Gethsemane" tune originally found in Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Jesus Christ Superstar".
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dantescoepico

79/100

DEBAUCHERY - Continue To Kill (CD) Germany June 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Death Metal Running time: 44:33 (Tracks: 14)
This is allready the fifth album for german death metallers Debauchery. The band, starting as a solo project of vocalist Thomas, is releasing albums at a very steady rate, with this new record only a year after the relase of the previous one. While "Back in Blood" was a more mid tempo album this album is heavy headbanging material from the first track to the last one. And yet not every track can be classified as brutal death metal. Some of the songs are probably the most groovy tracks the band has ever written and two are even classic rock & roll with a death metal touch in guitar tuning and vocals. In the middle of the album Debauchery brings an ode to thrash metal legends Slayer with a superb cover of "Angel of Death" that won't let the true fans down. I would recommand this album to every death metal lover and especially to Six Feet Under fans since "Continue To Kill" has the same killer ingredients as the better work of Chris Barnes' project: a solid mix of brutality and groove, good riffing and killer vocals.
Visit their website: http://www.debauchery.de
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/debaucheryband

85/100

DREAMSCAPE – Revoiced (CD) Germany June 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 70:45 (Tracks: 14)
I became familiar with this band in 1997 when I bought the "Trans-like State" debut album. I have to admit that it was a very enjoyable album with great melodies. I lost its tracks for almost a decade due to poor distribution and now I hold in my hands an album called "Revoiced". It was originally recorded in 2005 and in its prior form it contained 11 selections from the debut and the second album "Very", rearranged and rerecorded. This particular edition is the rerelease of the "Revoiced" album with bonus tracks.
It really felt good listening to these old tunes and it is no surprise that the songs sound fresh. Good music doesn't have an expiration date after all. As soon "Fateful Silence" kicked in, I remembered each note although I hadn't listened to the debut for almost a decade. To those who don't have a clue about Dreamscape I must say that the band delivers excellent progressive metal in the old Dream Theater and Vanden Plas vein. Mischa Mang on vocals is a worthy replacement for former frontman Tobi Zoltan. In fact the whole line-up is different except guitarist and composer Wolfgang Kerinnis. The cd includes a video track for "When the Shadows are Gone" and a song from the band's upcoming album. Judging by the sound of it, the new record is most likely to be a bit heavier but still progressive. Dreamspace definitely deserves your attention.
Visit their website: http://www.dreamscape.de
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/silverwolfproductionsmyspace
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dreamscapeofficialsite

84/100

DUSTSUCKER – Diabolo Domination (CD) Germany June 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Speedrock Running time: 43:31 (Tracks: 12)
DUSTSUCKER is a trio from Germany who was formed way back in 1993. They have had several line-up changes through the past and they've already released five albums and two EP's. The current line-up is Max Count Farmer (vocals & guitar), H.U. Vanya Drost (bass) and Marco Piermattei (drums). Well, you could say they are playing speedrock, kick ass rock 'n roll, power metal (the band self calls it high energy speed Rock 'n roll). Sometimes I hear some influences of bands like MOTÖRHEAD, IRON MAIDEN, WARGASM, NASHVILLE PUSSY etcetera. Singer Max sounds like a mix between Lemmy and Blaine Cartwright (NASHVILLE PUSSY / NINE POUND HAMMER) and is by the way a fantastic guitar player too. According to their biography, Jeff Waters (ANNIHILATOR) is doing a guest solo on "Land Of The King". "Diabolo Domination" is well done produced by Uwe Lulis (REBELLION, GRAVE DIGGER). The more I listened to this album, the better I began to like it. The most commercial sounding track is "Can't Escape The Fire". All songs have a lot of power and especially lots of melody too. My favorite tracks on "Diabolo Domination" are the opening track "Lost And Forgotten", "Live In Sin", "Ignite To Burn", "Land Of The King" and "Kill On The First Date". But the other tracks are fine too. It would be great to see DUSTSUCKER once as a support act of MOTÖRHEAD. Fantastic band.
Visit their website: http://www.dustsucker.de
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dustsuckers

82/100

EDENBRIDGE – My Earth Dream (CD) Austria June 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Gothic Symphonic Metal Running time: 52:09 (Tracks: 10)
I first heard Edenbridge after their second release, years ago; at that time, I thought their music wasn't matured all the way, with a cute singer that still had some growing to do, voicewise, but interesting enough to keep an eye on them. This album was recorded with an orchestra, and since I like bombastic music, I was happy to find this cd in my mail. Again, after having done this on the "The Grand Design" album, Dutch keyboard wizard Robby Valentine added his bombastic orchestrations to this album. Also, the production is very good, keeping in mind what instrumentations determine the character of the songs.
Edenbridge has grown into an adult band. This album is indeed, bombastic, and I quite like this combination with a classical orchestra, with songs that are easy at one time, and speedy and heavier at another. Sabine Edelsbacher has full control over her voice, and the band as a whole has grown into the direction of Nightwish. Let me say that I like this album better than Nightwish' latest release, and I think that Edenbridge has a bright future ahead, provided that everything will be done to promote the band. They can get as big as Nightwish, but unfortunately I've seen many talented bands disappear because of the lack of promotion. Hopefully Napalm Records realize what they have in their hands!
Visit their website: http://www.edenbridge.org
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/edenbridge

89/100

FIRES OF BABYLON – Fires of Babylon (CD) USA June 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 47:54 (Tracks: 10)
FIRES OF BABYLON is classic 1980's-style, shredding U.S. heavy metal reincarnated! Their line-up is one of highly skilled and lauded musicians, including guitarist Lou St. Paul (WINTERS BANE), vocalist Rob Rock (ex-IMPELLITTERI, WARRIOR, AXEL RUDI PELL), bassist Kelly Conlon (ex DEATH), and drummer Robert Falzano (ANNIHILATOR, SHATTER MESSIAH). In 1990, guitarist Lou St. Paul formed WINTERS BANE and since that time has consistently displayed his excellent songwriting skills, playing great riffs and shredding solos over intelligent, well thought out lyrical essays. Highly impressed by Lou's playing on WINTER'S BANE's album "Redivivus", the A&R of Metal Heaven, Georg Siegl, asked St. Paul to write the material and put together a band/project to record a classic 80's metal album – and FIRES OF BABYLON is the result.
When I first heard about this project I was very curious because I knew most of these musicians for years now and also knew their musicianship. Rob Rock is a superb singer which already released several solo albums which are all amazing. Lou St. Paul made some great albums with Winters Bane. The same goes for Kelly Conlon during his Death/Monstrosity period. Bob Falzano is a good friend of mine but that kind of information will never be an influence to any of my reviews. Nevertheless its never a guarantee that 4 wellknown musicians can put together a new superband (example: Dokken's –Up from the Ashes also had a marvellous line up but the album sucked!!).
Well this time its also not a superband but the album really rocks! Rob Rock has a very powerfull voice which suits perfect to this melodic metal! It could have even been a new album of Rob Rock's solo stuff. Maybe pity that it all sounds not that original but im not complaining because I love everything this guy sings! The songs are all very good but to be honest; as said, it all sounds more like a new album of Rob Rock instead of a new band/project. Curious if the band will come over to tour Europe sometime??? Check them out if you're into melodic metal!
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net

87/100

GEORGE BELLAS – Planetary Alignment (CD) USA June 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Neo-classical Progressive Rock/Metal Running time: 61:05 (Tracks: 10)
George Bellas started playing the guitar at the age of 7, on a classical guitar his father had bought him. George's compositions include progressive odd-metet/exotic scale music, neoclassical, straight forward rocking vocal tunes and pure classical, orchestral/soundtrack music. He recorded his first instrumental album "Turn Of The Millennium" in 1997 for Shrapnel Records. Later on he has been a member of Mogg/Way, Ring Of Fire and recorded with John West and Vitalij Kuprij amongst others. George also continued to record instrumental solo albums. In 2003 he signed a deal with Finnish Lion Music, for who he recorded his instrumental solo album "Venomous Fingers" (see Archive CD/DVD reviews). In 2007 he released his Palace Terrace album "Flying Through Infinity", this time with vocals. And now he has recorded his third album for Lion Music, once again instrumental. On "Planetary Alignment" are George's most complex, progressive and inspired musical passages he has ever written. The goal was to compose ultra-modern music using scales, chords and rhythms not heard too often in music. George still has a beautiful sense of melody, harmony and finesse. Not only fast neoclassical playing like he did in the past, but mixed with prog rock/metal this time. George composed everything one note at a time and perfomed all the instruments, plus had drummer extraordinaire Marco Minneman perform the drum parts. "Planetary Alignment" is a very complex, but also a very good instrumental rock/metal album.
Visit their website: http://www.georgebellas.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/georgebellas

81/100

GLENN HUGHES – First Underground Nuclear Kitchen (CD) USA June 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Funkrock Running time: 51:58 (Tracks: 11)
GLENN HUGHES is an artist with a very long career. He started his career in the early '70's with TRAPEZE, then Glenn played in DEEP PURPLE, made a fantastic album in 1982 with guitarist Pat Thrall (the classic album "Hughes/Thrall"), did one album with BLACK SABBATH ("Seventh Star"), made some fantastic albums with the HUGHES TURNER PROJECT and is of course a successful solo artist for many years now. My first introduction with Glenn's voice goes way back (I think I was 14 or 15) when I saw a live special of DEEP PURPLE on TV (the California Jam) and since then he left a big impression on me with his very long hair, how he played bass and with his high vocals (he did the high parts which Ian Gillan used to do). The three studio albums Glenn did with DP (with David Coverdale on lead vocals), "Burn" (1974, my favorite DP album), "Stormbringer" (1974) and "Come Taste The Band" (1975), are all still classics to me. And of course the live albums like "Live At The California Jam" (1974), "Made In Europe" (1975) and "The Final Concerts" (1975) are great too. So you can say I like Glenn's voice for plenty of years now. Of course I also have several of his solo albums too. Anyway, the new album from the voice of Rock is titled "First Underground Nuclear Kitchen" (F.U.N.K.) and is again a fantastic album. The CD has eleven tracks and is produced by Glenn himself. With the first song "Crave" I immediately had to think of the RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS. But that isn't strange, because RHCP drummer Chad Smith already played drums on Glenn's last few albums too. "Crave" is a great funk rocker, just like "We Shall Be Free", "First Underground Nuclear Kitchen", "Love Communion" and "We Go To War". There are also some quiet moments on the album with songs as "Satelitte", "Imperfection" and "Too Late To Save The World" which are beautiful songs too. "Never Say Never" is definitely one of my favorite tracks of "F.U.N.K.", which has a great heavy riff and a fantastic groove. Naturally Glenn, who's getting 57 this year, sings superb as always. "F.U.N.K." is a typical Glenn Hughes album, which I really can recommend. Only the cover of the album is very simple.
Visit their website: http://www.glennhughes.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/glennhughesonline

88/100

HER WHISPER – The Great Unifier (CD) Sweden June 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Dark Power Metal Running time: 47:56 (Tracks: 11)
This Swedish band started as DragonFly in 2004. That same year they already recorded a 4 track demo, "Age Of Innocence". Some time later they changed their name into Her Whisper. Thanks to their excellent demo, several record labels showed interest. But at the end they only got disappointed. Until 2005, when German label STF-Records contacted them, with who Her Whisper signed a contract. In 2006 they released their debut album "Children Of The Black Soil". After that release, STF-Records asked them to record another album for them. The result is "The Great Unifier", an album with very diverse songs. Influences can be heard from heavy, dark, power, progressive, symphonic and even death metal. Not only the songs are diverse, the vocals from Af Nestergaard also are. Most of the time he sings clean (but very powerful), a few seconds later he's almost grunting. They have that typical Swedish metal sound, without sounding too cheesy. They remind me mostly of a band like Evergrey, so expect some dark sounding metal, recorded by excellent musicians and a very good vocalist, when you buy "The Great Unifier".
Visit their website: http://www.herwhisper.net
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/herwhisper

81/100

INSECTICIDE – Insecticide (CD) USA June 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 32:54 (Tracks: 14)
Insecticide is a thrashmetal band from California, USA which re-released some of their old stuff on Blower Records. The band was formed in 1986 by Brian Smith (Beowulf) & Sherman Jones (Hirax). The band is back together and will release some new stuff during this year (CD & DVD). The band re-released their demo's along with their 1990 album. Productional it all sounds dated but who cares? Retro thrash is very popular these days and probably these guys can make a good deal finally. The band names Hirax & Gammacide as their influences but they also make me think a lot of bands like; Death Angel, Dark Angel, Sacrifice, Soothsayer & Sacrilege BC. Pure old school thrash the way it was played already in the 80's, also by this band. Check them out if you like oldschool thrashmetal!
Visit their website: http://www.swarmkill.com
Recordlabel: http://www.blower-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/insecticideband

80/100

JOE SATRIANI – Professor Satchafunkilus And The Musterion Of Rock (CD) USA June 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock Running time: 54:19 (Tracks: 10)
Any rocker, metalhead, guitarfreak etc. knows that JOE SATRIANI is one of the worlds best guitar players of today. His newest album is titled "Professor Satchafunkilus And The Musterion Of Rock" and features 10 great songs. The album is produced by Joe himself together with John Cuniberti and sounds, of course, fabulous. With Joe it's always songs which totally ROCK or very relaxing songs where you can dream away with (but still with those fantastic solos of course). On this album great rockers are openings track "Musterion", "Overdriver", "Diddle-Y-A-Doo-Dat", the longest track of the album "Asik Vaysel" (7:42) and the last song of the album "Andalusia" (with some Spanish flamenco influences at the beginning of the song, but man what a climax at the end). Specially those last two songs are superb, with great jamming of the band and killer solos by Joe. The beautiful dream away ones are "Revelation", "Come On Baby" and "Out Of The Sunrise". "I Just Wanna Rock" is just a very simple rocker with a slight AC/DC riff in it. It's not the best track on the album, but it's still a great song. And of course it is just a pleasure to listen to Joe's guitar solos. Well, I have the version with the bonus DVD, with "The Making Of Professor Satchafunkilus…" and live clips of "Surfing With The Alien", "Ice 9", and "Crushing Day". With "Professor Scatchafunkilus ….." Joe again delivered a real master piece.
Visit their website: http://www.satriani.com
Recordlabel: http://www.epicrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/joesatriani

92/100

JUICIO DE DIOS – Mares de Dolor (CD) Spain June 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Power Metal Running time: 66:30 (Tracks: 10)
Juicio de Dios was formed in Valencia in 1998. Since then several line-up changed took place, remaining from the first day are J. Miguel De la Torre (guitar) and Miguel Alejandro (drums). In 2005 they released their first independent album, "El Amanecer de los tiempos" with which they obtained very good critics and sales. And now they have recorded their second album, this time released by a record label. Juicio De Dios is a melodic (power) metal band mixed with progressive and hard rock influences, with a female vocalist. Most songs have also male backing vocals, and there are also two songs which have a duet of female and male vocals. Neus, the female vocalist, is singing very good in my opinion. And the male guest vocalists, Manuel Rodriguez (from Sphinx) and Dany G. (from Dark Sun) sing also very good. The songs vary a lot in tempo ; there are a few up-tempo songs, but also mid-tempo and even some ballads. So influences vary also from Iron Maiden, Avalanch, Stratovarius, Dream Theater, Lana Lane and even Tori Amos.
Visit their website: http://www.juiciodedios.com
Recordlabel: http://www.psm-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/juiciodedios

78/100

KIP WINGER – From The Moon To The Sun (CD) USA June 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Pop, Easy Listening, Classic, Soft Rock Running time: 61:07 (Tracks: 13)
I know that KIP WINGER has been playing bass in Alice Cooper's band in the mid eighties and after that he had formed his own band WINGER (with Reb Beach on guitar, who's now playing in WHITESNAKE), but I never had any music of WINGER or his solo albums. The only music I have where Kip is playing bass on and is doing some backing vocals, are five songs on the second album "Beyond The Pale"(1986) of female singer FIONA and on the soundtrack album of the movie "Hearts Of Fire" (1987) which has five songs of Fiona (Flanagan) on it. Also Reb Beach is playing on that soundtrack album. Anyway "From The Moon To The Sun" is Kip's third studio solo album, and when I listened to this album I thought "is this the guy who played melodic Metal before?". The album features 13 tracks (the last track "Monster" is a European bonus track) and doesn't ROCK at all. This is more a easy listening album, with pop songs and pop ballads, classic music (the instrumental "Ghosts") etcetera. I'm very sure that there's no rocker, metal head who's waiting for such an album like this. Okay, Kip Winger is a very good singer, no doubt about it. And musically it's all very well done. I think he just wants to prove himself as a composer. Maybe songs like the ballad "Where Will You Go" and opener "Every Story Told" can probably be successful "hit" singles! Perhaps women who are "in love" with Kip Winger can dream away with these songs. The few songs I like, however they don't really rock like I said, are "Every Story Told" (yes, a song with a guitar solo), "Nothing", "Pages And Pages" (with piano and strings), the acoustic "Runaway" and the beautiful "Why". I'm sure that Kip Winger rocked much and more much in his WINGER period than he does now on this album.
Visit their website: http://www.kipwinger.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kipwingermusic

60/100

MANILLA ROAD – Voyager (CD) U.S.A. June 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Epic Metal Running time: 63:57 (Tracks: 9)
I believe that some bands are no longer plain groups of musicians but through their work all over these years they have become true legends. Manilla Road is one of them. The definition of cult metal in my opinion. There is no need to write anything more about the band's history so let's concentrate on the most recent album, the fourth one since the reunion.
Let's face it, Manilla Road will never reach its creative peak again. All the albums since the reunion are miles away from the glorious albums of the past. I do believe though that the band still tries to deliver music with dignity and with a sense of respect towards its past. "Voyager" is probably the best album since "Atlantis Rising". Mark Shelton is back on the microphone. His voice is somehow different and it's natural cause almost 20 years have passed since the days he sounded robust on the "Out of the Abyss" and "Mystification" albums. Musically, "Voyager" has many elements from the aforementioned recordings. The guitar sound is almost identical and brought back some memories. The problem is that some songs are way too lengthy. The production could have been better too. "Blood Eagle" and "Conquest" are the only fast tunes. The rest of the album is on a mid tempo direction in an attempt to sound more epic but unfortunately there is no "Ninth Wave" here…
The Manilla maniacs will enjoy this album. The rest of you just get acquainted with some older recordings before proceeding to more recent stuff.
Visit their website: http://www.truemetal.org/manillaroad/
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/manillaroadofficial

75/100

M.ILL.ION – Thrill Of The Chase (CD) Sweden June 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / Melodic Metal Running time: 54:41 (Tracks: 12)
M.ILL.ION is a Swedish band who are already existing since 1989. The current line-up is Ulrich Carlsson (vocals), Jonas Hermansson (guitars), B.J. Laneby (bass, and the only member from the beginning), Johan Bergquist (Hammond organ, keyboards) and Per Westergren (drums). I didn't know this band, but according to their biography, "Thrill Of The Chase" is the sixth album of M.ILL.ION (they also have a compilation album and a 4-track EP). However influenced by bands like KISS, DEEP PURPLE, WHITESNAKE, RAINBOW, THIN LIZZY and BLACK SABBATH (the classic rock bands of the 70's), M.ILL.ION reminds me the most to bands like DEEP PURPLE, URIAH HEEP (because of the Hammond organ), EUROPE and DOKKEN. I must say the more I listened to this album, the more I began to like it. Ulrich Carlsson is a good singer, the band exists of fantastic musicians (Hemansson is a great guitar player), the songs are strong, it's just high quality you get on this album. See it as a mix of old school Hard Rock from the 70's with the melodic Metal of the 80's. My favorite songs of this album are the fast rockers "Thrill Of The Chase", "U.F.O." and "Beware Of The Wolf" together with songs like "Menace To Society", "The One Above" and "From Heaven To Hell". My end conclusion is that "Thrill Of The Chase" is a fantastic album and for myself a nice acquaintance with the band.
Visit their website: http://www.million.o.se
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/millionized

85/100

MOONSPELL - Night Eternal (CD) Portugal June 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 44:18 (Tracks: 9)
Moonspell is Portugal's biggest export product in metal, and they certainly put it on the map. They have been very busy since they released predecessor 'Memorial' in 2006. Since 'Memorial' was released there have been two re-issues, a greatest hits compilation and a re-recording of earlier songs, and now there is the new album 'Night Eternal'. While pre-production was done by their old friend Waldemar Sorychta in Lisbon, they chose the renowned Antfarm studio, of top producer Tue Madsen, for the actual recording and mixing. This wasn't the first time they travelled to Aarhus to record an album, they also did the re-recordings of their early works, under the name 'Under Satanae'(2007), at the Antfarm studio under direction of Tue Madsen. This all led to Moonspell re-discovering themselves and finding a way back to their roots. Their re-discovered origins are diversely displayed on the new album 'Night Eternal'. The album kick's off with 'At Tragic Heights', a heavy track with a mysterious intro, directly followed by the title track of this album. Very powerful and heavy with lots of double bass and superb guitar work, one of my fave tracks on this album. Singer Ribeiro is using his clean voice a bit more in some songs, which brings a nice variation to the songs. Also guest vocals by Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering, Agua de Annique) on one of the first singles from the album 'Scorpion Flower', which is a welcome surprise. This album is by far their heaviest, darkest and most well written up till now. It is a consistent and strong album, full of renewed aggression and energy, yet melodic and powerfull. Diversity also rules as they didn't left out a slower, ballad kinda song with clean vocals, like forementioned 'Scorpion Flower', in the form of 'Dreamless'. With an energetic and very powerful production this is one of the better releases of this year, very enjoyable and high quality is what you get!
Visit their website: http://www.moonspell.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/moonspell

85 /100

PALACE – Divine Intervention (CD) Germany June 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Power metal Running time: 43:48 (Tracks: 9)
A German band that exists for about ten years: Palace. I had never heard of these guys bfore, although they have released a previous album called "Black Sun" in 2006 (and this is even their sixth one). As I understand, reviews on that album weren't too great. Palace have toured with acts like Bonfire, UDO and Grave Digger, but these three are also having trouble to reach "the bigger audience". Palace has the same problem, and this time I think that this release shows they haven't learned from the 2006 reviews.
The kind of power metal that Palace brings us is close to what the early Judas Priest and Accept have brought us; old-fashioned powerful stuff, but it lacks both originality and convincing. It also lacks a decent, modern production. Not during one track did I get the impression that I was dealing with a new upcoming band that would conquer Europe with their power. The vocals are sometimes funny but in the wrong sense of the word, and it is almost unbelievable that they succeed in copying other bands without any aspect of themselves in their music. This album (and I suspect the last one was, too) is a multi-rip-off and my guess is that Palace has either a very long way to go to be taken seriously or they simply won't make it in todays music business. Even the album title is not original (Slayer). How low can you get?
Visit their website: http://www.palace-music.de
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/palacemusicde

50/100

PARADOX – Electrify (CD) Germany June 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Speed / Power Metal Running time: 52:37 (Tracks: 10)
PARADOX from Würzburg in southern Germany was founded by CHARLY STEINHAUER (v,g) and AXEL BLAHA (dr) in 1986. Both founding members played together in some other bands before since 1981. MARKUS SPYTH and ROLAND STAHL joined the band in February 1986. A demo-tape was recorded in July 1986 which caused the attention of ROADRUNNER RECORDS who signed the band November 1986 to a worldwide record-deal. The debut album "PRODUCT OF IMAGINATION" was recorded in May 1987 at KALLE TRAPP´s Karo Studio in Münster to be released worldwide by ROADRUNNER RECORDS Oktober 1987. I was already a fan of their Metallica-a-like metal (Kill 'm All era) during that period. Numerous live-shows in Europe followed and the band was highly acclaimed at festival-gigs at "DYNAMO OPEN AIR 88" in Eindhoven and "FESTA AVANTE" in Lissabon (POR). ROLAND STAHL left the band Oktober 1988 due to job-related reasons and was replaced by MATTHIAS "KATER" SCHMITT. DIETER ROTH joined the band for MARKUS SPYTH, who left the band December 1988.
PARADOX started recording the second album "HERESY" in January 1989 at HARRIS JOHNS` "Music-Lab"-studio in Berlin, which was then released worldwide by ROADRUNNER RECORDS November 1989. In Germany as well as all over Europe (especially Greece and Italy) the press was full of praise for the album. So was I. Personally I liked it that the band found their own direction and stopped to be a Metallica rip off. After a while the band was put on hold for many years due to unpopular decisions and more changes in the lineup and differences with the label…
After almost ten years the interest of labels initiated CHARLY STEINHAUER to reactivate PARADOX with KAI PASEMANN, OLIVER HOLZWARTH (SIEGES EVEN, BLIND GUARDIAN) (b) and ALEX HOLZWARTH (SIEGES EVEN, RHAPSODY, ANGRA) (dr). November 1999 the recordings for the 3rd album "COLLISION COURSE" began with producer ANDY CLASSEN. In May 2000 PARADOX were signed by AFM-RECORDS, who released "COLLISION COURSE" worldwide in August 2000.
In September 2005 CHARLY STEINHAUER had endured a long enduring sickness and started planning a further comeback together with KAI PASEMANN. The 2nd comeback was absolved at the "KEEP IT TRUE VI"-Festival in April 2006 after 5 years without any live-show. I was a part of the crowd overthere and it was really amazing! The more curious I was about their new album! Well here it finally is and I can tell you it was worth the wait. I am not familiar with their third album "Collision Course" but know their first two albums very good. Musically its comparable with the "Heresy" album. Good speedmetal with that typical Paradox sound; Charlie Steinhauser has a bit raw voice which fits perfect to the music and I think its their trademark. Renowned producer Jacob Hansen (Destruction/Hatesphere) mixed the album and he did an excellent job! That the whole album is a concept album, based on "The Lawnmover Man" movie is a fact but not really important for me because musicianship is the only thing that counts for me. Its time that these guys will show up again in The Netherlands to show the maniacs around here that Paradox is BACK!! Very good album guys!! I am really Electrified & Satisfied!!
Visit their website: http://www.paradox-bangers.de
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/paradoxbangers

85/100

PHARAOH – Be Gone (CD) USA June 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 47:11 (Tracks: 9)
Though its earliest echoes ring back to 1997, American heavy metal act PHARAOH released its debut album via the Cruz del Sur Music label in 2003, entitled "After the Fire", the album's robust and resilient songwriting caught the ears of selective metal fans worldwide. Three years later in 2006, "The Longest Night" fell and was an immediate underground favorite. PHARAOH laid plans to make yet another leap forward, and by the middle of 2007, a third album was ready for production. Producer/engineer Matt Crooks and the band set to work without hesitation, starting in July and continuing for the remainder of the year. The band had already agreed on titling the album "Be Gone". Musically, Matt Johnsen's now-trademark layering of guitars creates a rich and fertile backdrop for master-vocalist Tim Aymar's (ex-CONTROL DENIED) powerful and arresting expressions. The rhythm exist of bassist Chris Kerns and drummer Chris Black. Always mindful of not only the genre's traditions but also its own, the band this time invited Riot guitarists Mark Reale and Mike Flyntz to contribute hard-cutting solos to "Dark New Life", and regular guest guitarist Jim Dofka performs a dazzling spot on "No Remains".
This is my first acknowledge with the band on cd. I also missed the band's performance at last April's Keep it True X festival in Germany. Singer Tim Aymar is well known from his work with Death's Chuck Schuldiner in their CONTROL DENIED project a few years ago. I loved that album but never heard anything about them for years till I discovered that Tim was singing in Pharaoh these days.
The band plays typical US-metal; full speed ahead most of the time but also some slower parts/songs. Tim Aymar is not a typical high-pitch vocalist but he has a very wide vocal range. The other musicians are also doing their jobs very well and we can talk about a very good, oiled, band! Hopefully I will get the chance to see these guys live someday…..
Musically you can compare Pharaoh with bands like: Control Denied, New Eden, Cypher Seer, et al… Check this band out if you're into very well performed US-metal at its best!! Great band!! Great album !!! Fav. songs: 'Cover your Eyes and Prey" & " Speak to Me"
Visit their website: http://www.solarflight.net
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pharaohmetal

88/100

PRESENCE OF MIND - Worlds Collide (CD) Germany June 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Emo-Rock Running time: 41:40 (Tracks: 11)
Presence of Mind have been around for about 7 years, and done about 200 gigs. This is their next step, their new album 'Worlds Collide'. This all female band seem to be an authentic live band, with their kind of pop rock songs, sad melodies at times, and sometimes rocking. It all sounds bittersweet, and I am not really sure why I am reviewing this here, this has absolutely nothing to do with metal of any kind. This doesn't mean it is bad music, they do can play, but I don't know what to do with it, not something I normally use to listen to, and this certainly doesn't belong here. I will leave out the points for this one, as it is not the music you would expect to find here.
Visit their website: http://www.presenceofmind.de
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/presenceofmindger

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REVIOLENCE - Violent Phoenix (MCD) Brasil June 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 12:58 (Tracks: 4)
Reviolence was formed in april 2003 by guitar players Sidney and Marcelo Ivanov and drummer Edson Graseffi (Panzer). They recorded their first EP 'In Pieces' in 2003 with many influences of thrash and heavy metal. This EP brought the band a lot of positive media attention, and got their name more established in the underground scene. The band got to record a song for a compilation cd 'Joining Forces' by German record company Hard Earn, in 2004. Some months later the band released the video for the song 'Zero of Me'. After some shows to promote their EP, Reviolence entered the studio to start recording their first cd. But in the middle of the recordings with a previous instable line up, the band stops it's activities for a year and a half. During this time drummer Edson Graseffi joins his old Panzer's bandmate Mauricio Cliff, together they start looking for musicians for a new line up. The new Reviolence is Carlos Furtado (vocals), Chico Crestana (guitars), Guilherme Spilack (guitars), Mauricio Cliff (bass) and drummer Edson, the only member from the original line up. Reviolence has just released their second EP 'Violent Phoenix', and are already working on their debut cd. But first let's get to the EP, which starts off with the song 'Violent Phoenix' in true classic thrash style, fast and aggressive yet still with a lot of melody in it, which is a good combination that works. Next song is 'Abduction', which is a lot slower and heavier, with some cool guitar riffs and solos in there. The song 'The Annunciation' is a 40 sec. Guitar instrumental that leads to final track 'About Angels And Demons' which is a heavy, melodic song in true thrash/heavy metal tradition. Not all original, but nevertheless great thrash, very well done by this skilled musicians, makes me wanna hear their debut album for sure!
Visit their website: http://www.reviolencemetal.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/reviolence

85/100

SCARLET RAYNE – Theater Humanitarian (CD) U.S.A. June 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 56:17 (Tracks: 12)
The heavy metal world is full of injustices. Some bands vanished into obscurity although they deserved a much better future. One of these bands was Christian power metal act Scarlet Rayne. Formed in 1988, the band recorded this self financed album and a second one which remains unreleased before disbanding in 1992. This particular edition is actually a remastered reissue including four cuts from the "lost" second album.
Scarlet Rayne delivers the power metal of our dreams. Fiery guitars, pounding rhythm section, soaring vocals and amazing melodies. Singing with passion for Jesus Christ, each and every song is a real anthem. I really can't find a weak spot among the eight "Theater Humanitarian" songs. The four bonus cuts are a bit inferior since the band had taken a different direction towards heavier and more progressive paths but this cannot reduce the value of this recording. The songs are really addictive; once you get your fix you will want to listen to the album constantly. The vocals are so amazing! Geoff Tate inspired, full of passion and power with sky high screams. No need to continue writing. All the Queensryche and Sanctuary fans out there, grab this one immediately!

Recordlabel: http://www.arkeynsteel.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/scarletraynemusic

91/100

SHANNON – Angel In Disguise (CD) France June 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hardrock Running time: 57:41 (Tracks: 13)
Ten years ago, vocalist Olivier del Valle founded this hardrock band in France. It took them until 2003 to release their first album "Eponyme" , and now their second release (the band released an EP disc in 2006 entitled "World Of Desire") lies in my cd player. Looking at Oliviers favourite albums, it is no surprise that Shannon's music is melodic and powerful like White Lion, Dokken and Fair Warning. He has a nice clear voice, but (and he can't help that very much) the accent is something he needs to lose. He reminds a bit of Marc Storace from Krokus, somehow…Anyway, the first album received rave reviews, and a year later the band started touring with Pink Cream and Axxis.
This second album is sounding great. Musically, everything is OK, songs have enough variation to keep the attention of the listeners and the production is quite good as well. The first song has that "something" that gets you hooked onto the music and it won't stop until all tracks are finished. Productionwise, no complaints. If you're into oldschool hardrock with a clear sound, nice melodies and fine guitarwork, give this band a chance and I am sure you will agree with me that the album is nice to listen to, your feet will tap along with the rhythm and you will start wondering why this band has not emerged on a bigger scale.
Visit their website: http://www.shannon-rock.com
Recordlabel: http://www.musicbuymail.eu
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/shannonbandrock

80/100

STAAL – Stale Verhale (CDemo) The Netherlands June 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Hardrock Running time: 6:46 (Tracks: 2)
What to tell about this dutch band that sings in their original language? I heard their name several times because they are always very busy playing live gigs. This CD single is packed in a kind of movie-case and looks very professional. Difficult to tell anything about the bands bio because I couldn't find any of this on the internet. Also difficult to give a good & honest opinion about these guys because these 2 songs are my first acknowledge with the band. One of the songs 'Stale Verhale' is a nice song but the second sing '32 jaar' is a cover of one of the most terrible (but also most successful) dutch bands ever "Doe Maar". This song was already covered and released on cd by dutch funmasters "Patatje Metal" (see CD/DVD Archive 2005 & older). Nice single but I hope the band will send me a full length album next time to have a better idea about their musicianship.
Visit their website: http://www.staalrock.nl

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STOMP 66 - Driven (MCD) UK June 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Heavy / Stoner Metal Running time: 17:50 (Tracks: 4)
Stomp66 consisted first of four guys who played together fourteen years ago in a band called Conspiracy and the fifth guy (Dave who plays the bass) played recently in the Metallica tribute band Damaged Inc. In those fourteen years Iain Young (guitar) had relative success with the band "Whatever" who released an EP and two albums. One of the albums "Sugarbuzz" reached number 14 in the NME charts and number 5 in the Japanaese rock charts. And not only that, they toured with Bruce Dickinson and other great bands. So you can say every member of Stomp66 is very experienced and they know each other's style, and that's exactly what you can notice when you hear the album for the first time. Musically it's very tight and the choruses are very catchy. This band deliver hard work in their music and determination that gives a 100%. I'm not into the band's name though. It sounds a little corny? But after listening to the album you will forget about that nonsense. Check them out!
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stomp66

80/100

SUIDAKRA – 13 years of Celtic Wartunes (CD & DVD) Germany June 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Pagan / Celtic Metal Running time: CD 1:18:05 (Tracks: 17) & DVD 2:31:06
2008 embarks the 13 year anniversary of Suidakra a German pagan metal band who I know from name but for a reason I didn't listen to. Until now, with a complete package including a best off cd and a dvd right in front of me. The perfect way to start. Isn't it? So here we go starting with the cd: The first four tracks coming of the first two albums "Lupine essence" and "Auld lang syne" are all re-recorded while the other songs from the six other albums are only re-mastered. Because of the re-recordings there isn't that much difference in sound between the songs. Suidakra plays a mixture of melodic death metal with pagan/folk influences. Logical wise the first albums sound more harsh and the later albums become more of melodic death metal variant of Skyclad. It is from this great band from who they covered the song "The one Piece Puzzle" which can be seen on the dvd. I also hear some typical Maiden parts in the song 'Wartunes' (think of the Clansman). Although the music of Suidakra does not do me that much this best off cd shows that they are good at what they do. Unless most of it will only be for the German market only.
Over to the dvd now. The dvd is parted in three chapters. At first the Wacken show at the blackstage 2007. The band is in a good form this early afternoon and they even brought the bagpipes. Minor point is that they don't affect the audience enough. The announcements between the songs don't go any further than: Are you still awake etc. With this type of music it must be one great party. But nevertheless a solid performance especially the Skyclad cover which the Wacken audience does not seem to know(?) Second we have an acoustic show filmed with only two cameras and bad spots. Sober but o.k. At this show the band dares to do some more covers. Besides "The one Piece Puzzle" (Skyclad) they also bring "Whiskey in the Jar" (Thin Lizzy) and "Wish you were Here" (Pink Floyd) to the audience. Sorry, guys but this song can only be played by the masters themselves. At this show Marcel Schoenen (who has recently left the band) sings all the songs. He even sounds a bit as a German version of Mr. Walkyier himself. The last part is the bonus section which shows interviews with fans ex-roadies at Wacken 2007. Besides that there are two professionally videoclips shot in the woods and in the studio. A nice complete package for the fans!
Visit their website: http://www.suidakra.com
Recordlabel: http://www.armageddonrecords.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/suidakra

78/100

THE 101's – Rehearsal Incidents (CD) The Netherlands June 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Punk / Rawk 'n Roll Running time: 29:19 (Tracks: 9)
I saw THE 101's on May 17th, 2008 as one of the support acts of PETER PAN SPEEDROCK in De Pul, Uden. I had seen their name once, but never knew what kind of music they play. But during their performance in De Pul I knew "this band really has something". They reminded me very much to bands like SUM 41, DE HEIDEROOSJES (specially that one song they sung in Dutch) and ANTI-FLAG. And with the song "She's Horny" they sound more like the DROPKICK MURPHYS. The 101's have a very good presentation on stage and most of all they've got great and catchy punk 'n roll songs. That night I talked a bit with bass player Mark, and he told me that only singer Andy is 17 years old and the rest of the band members are 18 years old. After the show I got this CD for free (thanks guys). Well, the next day I visited their website and MySpace page for some more info. The band was formed in 2004 and exists of Andy (lead vocals, guitar), Dirk (guitar), Mark (bass, vocals) and Rens (drums). "Rehearsal Incidents" is their debut album and is released by the band themselves. There's just no weak song on this album, all 9 songs are fantastic and are very catchy. Andy is a good singer and especially a fantastic guitar player (he plays great guitar solos for his age). Bass player Mark sings the song "Always Drinking, Always Drunk" and he has a more rawer voice. Songs like "Fucked Up Weekend", "Trust", "It's Just Like This" and "She's Horny" are fantastic songs. If you like bands like Sum 41, Anti-Flag, Dropkick Murphys, 69 Charger etc. I'm sure you will like The 101's too. This is a very talented young band with a promising future.
Visit their website: http://www.101s.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/the101space

84/100

TOWER OF STONE – Painting Tomorrow (CDemo) Sweden June 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 41:44 (Tracks: 9)
This project is the creation of brainchild and bass player Egon Lundberg. The project name is taken from the Rainbow song "Stargazer", from the lyrics by the great Ronnie James Dio. Egon has played in many different bands through the years since 1978, and also in a few coverbands, but now he concentrates only for Tower Of Stone. In 2005 he released the first demo cd, "The Sacred Dragon", which he recorded together with some friends (musicians/vocalists). Also for "Painting Tomorrow" he invited several known and less known musicians/vocalists, especially from Sweden. Guitarists which played on "Painting Tomorrow" are Janne Stark, Andreas Fors and Stefan Berg. Vocalists which he hired are Stig Vikstrom, Andrs Sandlund, Daniel Nilsson and Mikael Holm. And as keyboard player, he found Fabrizio Muratori from the Italian band Nhorizon. More about the songs now. Opener "Do Or Die" is an up-tempo song in the old Stratovarius style. "Frozen Tears" is a typical Swedish 80's melodic hardrock song. "Purple Skies" and "Stone By Stone" are classic hardrock songs which refer to Deep Purple and Rainbow. "Towards The Sun" is a great instrumental track, very much comparable with Malmsteen's early work. "Learn To Accept" is a kind of Accept-tribute song, as well lyrics and music. "Into The Land Of Fairies" is a short bass-piece from Egon himself. "Walls Of Fear" reminds me a lot of bands such as Jag Panzer and Metal Church. And the last and title song "Painting Tomorrow" is once again a classic hard rock song, in the style of Black Sabath/Rainbow. Egon has managed to compose a very diverse hard rock album, with different music styles, and with great guest musicians/vocalists! Currently he's working on his next album "The Tale Of Enchantia", which will be probably released by a record label. Many success with that Egon!
Visit their website: http://www.towerofstone.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/towerofstone

81/100

UNINVITED GUEST – Malice In Wonderland (CD) UK June 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Gothic Glam Rock Running time: 50:18 (Tracks: 13)
Uninvited Guest, as they say, "stormed the UK alternative scene" in 2006 with their self-produced album 'Faith In Oblivion", with a blend of gothic glam industrial rock sound and an extraordinary voice. After this release the band performed at numerous British gothic festivals. Their bassist left in 2007 and was replaced by Jane Dalton. Vocalist Dean Hathaway states the band is back with a more mature and theatrical sound.
I really tried; please believe me. But I cannot call this rock at any point. This is industrial, alternative and experimental garbage, with a vocalist that has a very bothering and tiring voice, like he was The Joker in a bad Batman movie. Man, this is irritating ! Theatrical, that I believe. But please, don't you dare call this rock. I must tell you guys, I read the review in Metal Hammer, and they said this was nice for fans of Epica and Edenbridge.. HAHAHAHAHA !!! So funny !! To my ears, this is garbage level 1, top priority waste bin material. If I was dead stoned and drunk, I might see a little glimpse of light at the end of this 50 minute tunnel, but now…..i will use this disc to prevent that my beer bottle makes stains on my table. Yuk !!
Visit their website: http://www.uninvitedmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.madding-media.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/uninvitedguestuk

30/100

UNLEASHED – Hammer Battalion (CD) Sweden June 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Death Metal Running time: 44:36 (Tracks: 13)
The order is to kill. Fire at will. Hammer battallion, unleashed!! This lyrics sets the tone of the ninth studio cd of one of the originators of swedish death metal Unleashed. Unleashed hasn't changed a lot throughout the years but that's only ment as a compliment. They stay true to themselves. This cd is a bit predictable but it works. It's a solid effort from a band that has a good reputation for 20 years. To a lot of people Midvinterblot is Unleashed best cd but this one is very good too. Very thrashy deathmetal with melodic riffs change into raging blastbeats that blow you away. My favorite song is Black horizon maybe because it has a catchy feel to it. And the understandable vocals is a plus to. You don't have to have a lyric sheet to understand what Hedlund is singing. Conclusion: a classic Unleashed cd.
Visit their website: http://www.unleashed.se
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/666unleashed

77/100

MAY

ABSTRACT RAPTURE - Democadencia (CD) Luxembourg May 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 55:07 (Tracks: 11)
Abstract Rapture is one of the finest bands Luxembourg has to offer from the metal-scene. Winning the Wacken Metal Battle of 2007 for Luxembourg especially got them recognized. But it all started in 2001 when they started writing a lot of songs and playing all over Luxembourg, which resulted in gaining a lot of fans. Critics where very positive of the band and two years later they recorded their first demo called "Asphyxiation". They recorded this demo in their rehearsal room (a cellar) so the sound wasn't that good. But the CD still sold very well and this gave them the opportunity to play a lot more gigs. After a few line-up changes it seems that they now have a perfect band, their full-length album "Democadencia" is just a proof of that. The album contains both heavy as very melodic songs that get stuck in you head. Their lyrics are great, they seem a bit provocative but still they are worth it. The album was released at the end of March and I suggest to certainly give it a try, you will not be disappointed!
Visit their website: http://www.abstractrapture.com
Recordlabel: http://www.maddening-media.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/abstractrapture

80/100

ANCARA – Beyond The Dark (CD) Finland May 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 44:03 (Tracks: 10)
This Finnish band started out quite some time ago, to reach the current line up in 2003. In 2006, they recorded their debut album called "The Dawn" as an independent release which reached the Finnish charts. Follow-up was an EP ("The World") with an orchestra. Metal Heaven picked up the band and signed them to ultimately release their new album, recorded in Helsinki, and one of the people helping out with this job was Nightwish-guitarist Emppu Vuorinen.
Having mentioned his name, one can easily expect a world-class album (as if anything an accomplished musician touches results in a mega-selling album), unfortunately, it doesn't. Not with this album anyway. It has already hit the Finnish album charts but I doubt there will be another chart where we can find this album. The songmaterial is uninspiring, sometimes even boring. They have put their best song first ("Circles") but what comes afterwards is mediocre to say the least. Unless you're a sucker for Finnish metal, listening first is a must. Two videos were added as a bonus.
Visit their website: http://www.ancarasite.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ancara

55/100

AREA51 – Daemonicus (CD) Japan May 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 58:46 (Tracks: 10)
Area51 is a Japanese melodic metal band, founded by guitarist and mastermind Yoichiro Ishino, which released their first album "Ankh" in 2006. Now they have released their second album "Daemonicus". Besides a short intro and another short instrumental song, the new album is filled with 8 Finnish influenced melodic/power metal songs. Bands which come to mind are Stratovarius, Nigthwish, Sonata Arctica and Thunderstone. The band has got a female vocalist which has a opera-sounding style, and the songs are topped off by great keyboard and guitar solo's by Takeshi Ochi and Yoichiro Ishino. In the last track, "Lord Knows", Rob Rock joins as a guest singer. This track is a 16 and a half minute masterpiece, with Rob and Kate (female vocals of Area51) singing a beautiful duet together at times, and against each other at other times.
Visit their website: http://www.area-51.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/area51web

78/100

ARMORY – Dawn of Enlightenment (CD) U.S.A. May 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 69:42 (Tracks: 12)
Armory hails from Tonwsend, Massachusetts. "Dawn of Enlightenment" was originally recorded and released in 2004. The band was not happy with the whole set of promotion, sound and overall packaging and decided to re-record the entire album with much better production values and great artwork. This is not something you come across every day. Very few bands learn from their own mistakes and Armory must be credited for that.
On the musical department, although Armory originates from the States, the band's music is pure European sounding power metal as taught by masters of the genre such as Gamma Ray, Helloween and Running Wild. To be honest, they sound much much better than most of the European bands that serve this particular heavy metal branch. The vocals are truly great; very melodic and fitting with a Dickinson touch. The guitar duo has studied Iron Maiden and Helloween all the way. I wish the drumming was more inspired though. This typical eurodrumming is very boring. Armory doesn't play original music but if you are into Europower, skip all these clone-clowns and go for the real stuff.
Visit their website: http://www.faithinsteel.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/armorymetal

80/100

ASIA - Phoenix (CD) USA May 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: AOR Running time: 64:52 (Tracks: 12)
It is quite an accomplishment when a band gets back to their line-up roots; 2006 was the year of the Asia reforming in their original line-up with Steve Howe, John Wetton, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes. Wetton and Downes also released a few nice albums as "Icon" last year, but glueing Asia back together again was lika dream come true. A band that has made so much legendary music is bound to regain their audience quite easily. Although it can be confusing to see this Asia and Asia featuring John Payne both in todays musical world….
Let me start by saying that the production of this album, combined with the versatily of the songmaterial will surprise you all. OK, sometimes the album is pure easy listening but with quite a pleasant production; the sound is amazing. Opening rocker "Never Again" could well be a hit single; so can "Alibis", which starts like Yes in the old days but soon turns into a poppy tune with lots of harmonies and smooth orchestration, maybe the keys a little over the top. This album concludes with the autobiographical "An Extraordinary Life", which was inspired by the triple-bypass surgery on John Wetton back in 2007. All beautiful melodies; the rockers amongst you will not find anything on this album, the symphonic rock lovers will. The phoenix has risen.
Visit their website: http://www.originalasia.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/originalasia

85/100

AYIN ALEPH – Ayin Aleph (CD) France May 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Baroque Metal Running time: 1:19:43 (Tracks: 19)
Born in Moscow, Ayin Aleph begins her piano studies at the age of four. After several years, she was noticed by the famous composer of this time Dimitri Kabalevski as one of the most promising virtuoso of her generation. At the age of eight, she plays her own music pieces in concert at the "Composers Union" in Moscow. She studied music all her youth in Moscow. At the age of fifteen she enters the conservatory of Moscow where she kept on studying piano. During this period, she writes a lot of poetry that seemed surprisingly mature in the topics. In 1990, she leaves Russia in order to enlarge her horizons and settles herself in Paris in 1992. In the nineties she also played in several movies, to develop a movie career, but this didn't work out the way she wanted to. At the beginning of 2000 she teamed up with several French engineers and musicians on her first compositions with electronic music arrangements. Although she didn't have an album out, she decided to shoot some videos for her songs 'Valpurgis Night' and 'Butterfly' because for Ayin, the expression of her art through images is as necessary as writing music. Ayin has a very particular strange voice, a bit of a mix of Nina Hagen, Lena Lovich and Kate Bush. You either love it, or hate it I guess, very theatrical, she plays lots of different characters, sometimes almost whispering, and then some screaming yells, and everything in between. She is the author, composer, arranger as well as singer on this album, she also recorded all the piano and harpsichord parts. It was a long proces creating and recording the album, which took more than a year, with different musicians from bands like Misanthrope, Kill To This and No One Is Innocent, to name a few. The mix of the album was realised by Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah) and was done at Studio B of Davout in Paris. After the album was completed she continues to shoot videos of the following tracks of the album 'My Bloody Marriage','Hamlet' and 'I Miss You' which can be viewed at her website, and are actually very entertaining and enjoyable, but where the music is concerned, you better give it a listen for yourself cause it's very strange, and her voice isn't always a pleasure to listen to, can sometimes even be annoying and irritating. Musically there are some nice songstructures and few heavy riffs here and there, but to call it metal would be an overstatement.
Visit their website: http://www.ayinaleph.com
Recordlabel: http://www.audioland.fr
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ayinaleph

65/100

BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA – Axis of Evil (CD) U.S.A. May 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 56:37 (Tracks: 13)
This is the fourth release from Babylon Mystery Orchestra. This is actually a one man project. Sidney Allen Johnson handles everything. The first thing I did was reading the press release and the booklet. There is no doubt this is a very nice work as far as the artistic department is concerned. The things I read kind of prepared me for something magnificent and daring. Instead I came across something completely strange. I totally respect every artist's vision but I cannot understand what Mr. Johnson wanted to achieve with this particular release. I agree that this is a very daring concept lyrically since the religious maters and the clash of the Christian and Islamic world are very demanding subjects. But Mr. Johnson chose a rather strange way to present it musically. First of all the vocals are horrible. They sound more like growls. The music was weird too. It sounded like progressive rock meets metal and gothic but after the fourth song I got really tired of this mixture. I advise you to visit the Babylon Mystery Orchestra myspace page and listen for yourselves in case I am awfully wrong. But I know I'm not.
Visit their website: http://www.babylonmysteryorchestra.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/babylonmysteryorchestra

51/100

BLOOD THIRSTY DEMONS – Mortal Remains (CD) Italy May 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 45:04 (Tracks: 9)
Italy and metal are not my favourite combination. Back in the days there was Mortuary Drape whom "Into the Drape" was a good album. Opera 9 I liked a bit and not to forget Necrodeath and Bulldozer. For the rest it is only power metal, not my cup of tea. Blood Thirsty Demons was an unknown horde for me. A quick look at metal archives showed that the band already released 3 full length albums a few ep's and a live album. After a beautiful creepy intro 'Mortal Remains' bursted out of my speakers. This is total Mercyful Fate (first era) worship. The guitar sound is dated and the song titles like "Welcome to my Funeral" and "Time to Die" don't do much better. Besides this the vocalist tries to sing with a clear voice in the semi-ballad "Day by Day"; Boy oh boy it sounds awful. No, Blood Thirsty Demons doesn't do it for me. There's nothing wrong with retro metal. For example listen to Nifelheim or Bestial Mockery. They keep the old flame burning. Full of sadness I must say that Italy failed, again.
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bloodthirstydemons

49/100

DOKKEN – Lightning Strikes Again (CD) USA May 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 51:38 (Tracks: 12)
"Lightning Strikes Again" is the tenth studio album of DOKKEN, who's current line-up is now Don Dokken (vocals), Jon Levin (guitar), Barry Sparks (bass) and still with Mick Brown on the drums. Dokken always stands for high quality Melodic Hard Rock. I still listen regularly to Dokken's classic albums "Breaking The Chains" (fantastic debut album from 1983), "Under Lock And Key" (1985, with the song "Lightnin' Strikes Again") and "Back For The Attack" (1987). Singer Don Dokken has a very recognizable voice. After original guitar player George Lynch left Dokken, Lynch was replaced by Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake). Then when Beach left he was replaced by John Norum (Europe). And when Norum left Dokken to join a reunited Europe in 2004 he was replaced by recent guitarist Jon Levin. And believe me Levin's sound is extremely close to Lynch's. While listening to this album "Lightning Strikes Again", it seems like time has standing still. It's just like I'm back in the eighties again, because Dokken is going back to the roots of its sound of their heydays on this album. This CD is produced by Don Dokken himself and sounds fantastic. The album has some great rock songs like openings track "Standing On The Outside", "This Fire", "Heart Of Stone", "Give Me A Reason", "Point Of No Return" and "Judgment Day" as also some ballads like "How I Miss Your Smile" and "I Remember". My conclusion is that "Lightning Strikes Again" is a good album. If you like the above mentioned classic Dokken albums, you definitely will like this new CD too.
Visit their website: http://www.dokken.net
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dokken

86/100

DOMINICI – 03 A Trilogy - Part 3 (CD) U.S.A. May 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 56:37 (Tracks: 8)
Charlie Dominici was the vocalist on the first Dream Theater album "When Dream And Day Unite" in 1989. After that phenomenal release, we never heard much of him. Until he released the first part of his Trilogy in 2005. That was a purely acoustic album. It was continued in 2006 with the electric Part 2. And now he has released the final part of his Trilogy. Musically, it's obviously different from Part 1, because that was acoustic and only performed by Charlie. Parts 2 and 3 are similar to eachother musically in that they are both prog metal with a full band. Part 3 is the grand finale, both lyrically and musically. Part 3 is filled with heavy prog rock/metal songs, with a variety of vocals, sometimes emotional, sometimes aggressive. Dominici's compositions range from ultra-tough riff monsters through atmospheric soundscapes to quiet, almost intimate moments. Hopefully Charlie will release more of this kind of albums in the future!
Visit their website: http://www.dominici.com
Recordlabel: http://www.insideout.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/charliedominicimusic

81/100

EZURATE – Infernal Dominatio (CD)
EZURATE – Blasphemous Hierarchy (CD)
U.S.A. May 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black Metal Running time: 31:56 (Track 7) & 60:14 (Tracks: 14)
Well, what we got here are two releases from Ezurate. The first one is called "Infernal Dominatio" and is a re-release of their demo from 2000. After six years Ezurate found it necessary to re-record this cd because the old recordings didn't capture and present the songs as they were meant to be received. So with a different line up (Azentrius of Nachtmystium was a member before 2000!) these songs are now justified. I haven't heard the old versions of the songs so it is impossible for me to compare the two. Based on this new version one can hear that Ezurate' influences are those from the Scandinavian scene of the mid nineties. Think of Dark Funeral (with the Hail Satan lyrics from Secrets of the Black Arts), Marduk, Sacramentum etc. Americans have a beautiful name for this kind of black metal. They call it: Norsecore. Fast paced Scandinavian sounding black metal like the above mentioned bands. Only thing different here is the use of guitar solos. I must say that the songs on this album are not bad at all. I actually liked what I heard on this cd. Especially the (acoustic) guitar parts which give the music somewhat of a "classical" touch.
So my expectations were high for "Blasphemous Hierarchy" the latest Ezurate cd that I also received in the mail. One thing for sure Ezurate's style hasn't changed a thing. Still that typical fast paced black metal but what happened with the drums. At first a thought I was listening to a drummachine but later on I heard that this sound is created while using triggers. This makes the drums sounds faster than the guitars which is really annoying if you ask me. While they used the same producer for the "Infernal Dominatio"and for this one (Chris Djuricic, Studio One) I find it rather strange that he approached a different drumsound for both releases. The overall feeling is very chaotic while this album lasts more than an hour! Way too much for this kind of black metal. This album left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Visit their website: http://www.angelfire.com/band/ezurate
Recordlabel: http://www.rottingcorpserecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ezurate

78/100
50/100

FATAL SMILE – World Domination (CD) Sweden May 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Sleaze Metal Running time: 42:08 (Tracks: 10)
When I saw the picture of Swedish band FATAL SMILE (they come from Stockholm) on this promo CD, I immediately had to think of MÖTLEY CRÜE. I was very curious about this album, so I put it in my CD-player. Well I liked what I heard, but these four guys definitely don't sound like the Crüe. This band remind me much more to a band like SKID ROW. Anyway, Fatal Smile was formed in 1995 and they already have released two albums so far ("Beyond Reality" (2002) and "Neo Natural Speaks" (2006)). The current line-up is Blade (vocals), Y (guitars, backing vocals and the only original member), Alx (bass & backing vocals) and Zteff (drums & backing vocals). This third album "World Domination" features 12 songs and is produced by guitarist Y and mixed by the famous Michael Wagener. Well, call it sleaze metal what they play. Fatal Smile is not a world shocking new band, but they got the looks anyhow and songs like "S.O.B.", "Primed & Ready", "Straight To Hell" and "Stranger" are just great metal songs with a great groove. "World Domination" is just a fine metal album.
Visit their website: http://www.fatalsmile.com
Recordlabel: http://www.locomotiverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fatalsmile1

85/100

FOREVER SLAVE – Tales for Bad Girls (CD) Spain May 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 48:06 (Tracks: 12)
To be honest, I haven't heard a band from Spain since Baron Rojo which is over 20 years ago. Now this gothic metal band, who supported a large tour with Firewind and Kamelot, have finalised their 5th release since the year 2000 when singer Lady Angellyca and bassplayer Sergio founded Forever Slave in the city of Valencia. Three years have elapsed since their last album "Alice's Inferno" which has not convinced the big audience. Must be exciting for the band to now have an album out since they are on the waves of international performances.
Productionwise, I have little complaints. Musically, the album sounds very OK. Not super original, but let's say the music is in the "popular street of Lacuna Coil". Singer Lady Angellyca has improved her singing and also her English has improved. The musicians sound skilled enough to lift the band to a level that is higher than average. Being a fan of Epica and Within Temptation, I can recommend the gothic fans to have a listen and maybe get pleasantly surprised. The only negative aspect I can find are the songtitles which sound like those of a punkband….. but don't let that bother you. Female fronted bands nowadays almost always have a gorgeous singer, and Forever Slave is lucky to have their Lady. Sorry boys…she's taken..
Visit their website: http://www.foreverslave.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wackenrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/foreverslavemusic

80/100

FREEVIL - Freevil Burning (CD) Sweden May 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style:Thrash / Death / Heavy Metal Running time: 44:14 (Tracks: 10)
This is the first cd of these Swedish guys.I never heard of them and was completely surprised when I put it in my cd player.(where else would I put it!) My first thought was:`what the hell did Mario send me this time!!`Yech!! But when I continued listening I started to like It. It`s not bad at all. Okay, the vocals are a bit hysterical and the music isn`t the most technical you ever heard but the combination with the eerie synth melodies works. It`s weird and sometimes it`s sounds like a freaky carnivale but it doesn`t bother me at all. The band members are Tomas Andersson on guitars (ex-Denata,ex-Skullcrusher), Mique Flesh on vocals (ex-Séance, ex-Satanic Slaughter) and Roger Blomberg ( ex-Denata). At times it reminds me a bit of King Diamond.The mix could have been a bit heavier but it`s a good cd.
Visit their website: http://www.freevil.se
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/freevil

79/100

HATE SQUAD - Degüello Wartunes (CD) Germany May 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: H8core / Metal Running time: 47:26 (Tracks: 11)
Hate Squad is a legend. They are one of the first bands that mixed thrash and death metal with hardcore and with that mix set a whole new style. This new style brought smashing hits as "Not My God" which was covered by none other than Heaven Shall Burn. They gained respect and a whole bunch of fans by playing on all mayor European festivals. Those fans include a lot of German most respected bands as Maroon, Narsizz, Maintain and of course Heaven Shall Burn. Marcus Bischoff (HSB) is a one of the guest vocals in the album by the way! With already a full discography they are back just in time for their 15 year anniversary. Degüello Wartunes brings you back to the "Not My God" and "I.Q. Zero" period. Each song on the album is a mosh anthem which will take you to the dance floor till you drop dead. This is definitely one of the strongest albums of the band. They have walked a long road from the time they were voted as best newcomer before Korn till now. But you can tell this band stays true to their roots. Never surrender…. Die fighting!
Visit their website: http://www.hatesquad.com
Recordlabel: http://www.dockyard1.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hatesquad

85/100

INCRAVE – Dead End (CD) Sweden May 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 48:06 (Tracks: 12)
There once was a band called Evergrace that started out in 2001. Their selftitled debut album was released in 2006, and in 2007 the band was renamed to Incrave. The band went into the studio to record their second album. BUT: this is a re-recording of their original debutalbum when still named Evergrace !! No bonuspoints there, guys !
Incrave sounds a little like Dream Evil, but far less convincing. The production has a lot of high tones and too little bass and that does not add to the pleasure of listening. Who also is not contributing to my listening pleasure is singer Johan Falk; he gets on my nerves. Unless you are impressed by what you hear on their MySpace page, go and get it, Otherwise you may best leave this disc alone. The songs are OK, but with a better production, new songs and another singer it could have reached to a 70.
Visit their website: http://www.incrave.se
Recordlabel: http://www.ulterium-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/incrave

50/100

JOE HASSELVANDER – Lady Killer / Roadkill (CD) USA May 2008 Marco van Empel
Style: Doom / Hardrock / Heavy Metal Running time: 79:09 (Tracks: 16)
Joe Hasselvander needs no introduction in the world of traditional metal. A busy man behind Doom Metal legends Pentagram and Deathrow, drummer of British thrash/nwobhm icons Raven, as well as touring drummer for Doom masters Cathedral. This cd is featuring two hard -to- find solo lp's plus two unreleased bonus songs from Pentagram/Death Row/Devil Child. Strangely enough the press in those days (mid 80's) was not very positive about the lp's Lady Killer and Roadkill and described Lady Killer even as one of the worst releases ever. But in Europe it became a real cult classic and was re-released four times. All the songs has got many elements of drama and tragedy; music by heart and soul. Roadkill sounds like a mix between the heaviness of Pentagram and mid 80's glam metal like Lizzy Borden, Wasp and Malice. The raw early 80's amateuristic production and the powerful voice of Joe Hasselvander himself, keeps me headbanging for more than 70 minutes long. These two records has got the spirit not many bands have today: real metal music and a must for all traditional headbangers in the world. Rare killer material from 1979 -1986. Check it out !
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/rocksaviour
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/joehasselvander

85/100

JULIAN'S LULLABY – I Can Hear You Thinking… (CD) Greece May 2007 Kees Schijven
Style: Gothic / Folk Metal Running time: 26:33 (Tracks: 6)
Julian's Lullaby was formed in 2004 and is an independent metal/folk male/female fronted band based in Greece. They blend different flavours ranging from hard and metal to folk and acoustic. Started by Elias Sagittarius Negrin (guitars & compositions) who has almost 16 years of experience in the underground scene as a composer & guitar player in various acts since 1991 like Disharmony and Decadence. He was joined late 2005 by Antonios Chaniotis (lead vocals & violin) who contributed a lot to Julian's Lullaby metal/folk identity. In September 2006 old band mate Efrosyne Papamichalopoulou (lead & backing vocals) joins in, with this line up, and some guests, this promo cd is made. The music of the songs on this album is very colourful, from powerful, almost eighties sound on 'Kiss Me Not Tonight', to sweet and acoustic. With a variety on instruments used, like violin and piano, makes this album a fresh sounding versatile debut! It actually sounds quite original to me, and especially the sweet voice of Efrosyne is a pleasure to the ears. The songs are well composed, and I can really say I like this album, although maybe the production could have been a bit better, but nevertheless a great debut. Listen to songs like earlier mentioned 'Kiss Me Not Tonight' or 'Queen in your Dream' and convince yourself!
Visit their website: http://www.julian-lullaby.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/julianslullaby

82/100

KAMELOT – Ghost Opera / The Second Coming (CD) U.S.A. May 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 57:53 (Tracks: 14)
Kamelot have come a long way since the 1995 debut album "Eternity". Through numerous albums and line up chages, the band has become one of the most popular ones in the melodic power metal genre. This particular release is actually the re-release of the band's most recent album "Ghost Opera" along with a live cd recorded in Belgrade and some bonus cuts. I will be reviewing the live cd.
I am what you can call an "old" Kamelot fan. I simply worship the first two albums. I think these two recordings include some of the finest American power metal ever recorded. I followed their career even after Mark Vanderbilt's departure but I always thought they were getting mellower and somehow more commercial and European oriented. I was right. Kamelot became a successful brand name but the new material never excited me as much as "Eternity" and "Dominion" did. The "Live from Belgrade" cd presents the band in top shape, delivering songs from the "Black Halo" and "Ghost Opera" albums. I cannot tell if this cd was tempered in studio but the band's performance is way too good. I mean the guys sound flawless! This is a release for fans only and I will not grade it according to my taste in music but on the band's performance and overall sound.
Visit their website: http://www.kamelot.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kamelot

88/100

LEVERAGE – Blind Fire (CD) Finland May 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 61:40 (Tracks: 10)
Leverage came out of the blue in 2006 with the debut album "Tides". The Finnish sextet caused quite a stir in the melodic metal circles and quickly gained a contract with highly acclaimed Italian label Frontiers.
This second effort presents the band as a tighter and more confident group of musicians. The music of the band is Rainbow inspired metal similar to Cornerstone and Brazen Abbot with a sound crystal clear. Vocalist Pekka Heino (Brother Firetribe) is a real surprise with his melodic and powerful voice. Clearly one of the best Finnish voices at the moment; a mix between Joe Lynn Turner and Danny Vaughn. Leverage is also fortunate enough to have in its ranks two excellent guitarists who have managed to produce a heavy but very melodic sound. Just listen to "Hellhorn" and you'll get the picture. What we are dealing with here is a very enjoyable melodic metal album full of quality both in terms of musicianship and compositions. I highly recommend it.
Visit their website: http://www.leverageband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/leverageband

89/100

MADE OF HATE – Bullet In Your Head (CD) Poland May 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Power / Thrash Metal Running time: 39:17 (Tracks: 9)
These guys have been around for a couple of years now, and although started their career at a very young age, they already played the biggest polish festivals, and received some very positive feedback. They are very committet to the band, and worked real hard, no time to loose, no wasting of any recources, just keep on working and watch the band grow, that has been the attitude of this group for years! Due to the musicians likes in terms of music style, there has been a decision made to stick to the classic four-men band basing on powerful and an expressive kind of heavy metal and Made of Hate was a fact. This is their debut album, and this one really shows their skills, really aggressive and melodic heavy metal! These songs burst from heavy guitar riffing, powerful drums, angry vocals and twisted solos. It's almost unbelievable that this album is recorded in just seven days, and came out the way it did, powerful sound, with plenty of melody and a heavy production! Just listen to opener title track 'Bullet in your Head' , 'On The Edge' or 'Hidden' all in all a very convincing debut, with some superb guitar work on it, and with they attitude these guys have, they have the ability to become big, mark my words, we'll be hearing a lot more of them in the future if they keep it up!
Visit their website: http://www.madeofhate.net
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/madeofhateofficial

82/100

MANIFEST - Hedonism (CD) Norway May 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Death Metal Running time: 42:21 (Tracks: 9)
This is Manifest`s second album and it`s a decent played album but it`s not that original and I heard it all before. It`s sounds great and the vocals are brutal and it`s all played how it is supposed to be played and that`s the problem I think. They did a lot of gigs and you can hear they have a lot of experience but they don`t add anything extra to the hundreds of bands like them.
Visit their website: http://www.manifestmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/morningstarrec
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/manifestnorway

75/100

MASS EXTINCTION – Creations Undoing (MCD) Ireland May 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Thrash / Speed Metal Running time: 15:43 (Tracks: 4)
Another band that can be categorised in the new wave of thrash metal (NWOTM) as we now it. Together with well known bands as Municipal Waste, Evolve and Warbringer they're trying to bring back the feeling of the good old days. Mass Extinction are from Ireland and their 2007 demo was chosen as the best thrash metal demo by Metal Metropolis. The 4 songs on this little ep definitely shows some opportunities . The band plays thrash in the vein of Vio-lence (the last song is cover by this band). Especially the guitarparts sound like this great band from the famous Bay Area. This is some tight played thrash metal and if Mass Extinction's lucky they will get their piece of the action. Allright there is little or none originality here but hey, that's not important for this style of thrash. This is music you want to hear live while drinkin' some pints with your friends.
Visit their website: http://www.mass-extinction.com
Recordlabel: http://www.undergroundmovement.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/massextinctionmetal

75/100

MCM – 1900 Hard Times (CD) U.S.A. May 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Instrumental Running time: 56:50 (Tracks: 12)
MCM stands for Alex Masi, Randy Coven and John Macaluso. This is a coalition formed by these critically acclaimed musicians. Each one of them has a huge work to present either through his personal work or his participation in numerous bands and recordings. This album was recorded at different shows from the trio's live shows throughout the USA and Central America.
I have to be honest. This is a record made for musicians, not for simple fans. The trio walks on jazz, fusion and progressive paths with almost 80% of the music being improvisations. The playing is simply awesome but personally I don't listen to a record just because the participants are fantastic musicians. I am more into complete compositions and that kind of music is not my style. All guitarists, bass players and drummers out there might be quite interested though.
Visit their website: http://www.alexmasi.net
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thealexmasiallaudiopage

60/100

NOBODIES – Oh Yes, There Will Be Blood (CD) Sweden May 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 37:01 (Tracks: 9)
"Oh Yes, There Will Be Blood" is the debut album of Swedish band NOBODIES. The band was formed in 2000 and exists of Ben Venom (vocals), Jack The Rip-Off (guitar), Bender Midiman (guitar), Johnny Gas (bass) and Nilz (drums). In 2003 Nobodies already had released a DVD "Live In Drangedal" with 17 covers (from AC/DC, Joan Jett, The Ramones, Twisted Sister, Bryan Adams etc.), so that proves that they started as a cover band in 2000. Well, on this debut album you will find 9 self penned songs. These five guys play old school Hard Rock and remind me very much to Swiss rockers KROKUS and AC/DC. Also singer Ben Venom sounds very much like Marc Storace (Krokus). So, it isn't very original but all those songs sounds so damn good. I like all songs very much, but my favorites are opener "Ride", "Swedish Girls", "Batcave", "Decibel Nightmare" and "Nice Rack". When the last track "Thirty Dirty Machines" is finished, you get after a few minutes of silence a "hidden" bonus track, which is a cover of THE RAMONES classic "Blitzkrieg Bop" (which is just a nice version). I like this band very much and I'm looking forward to their second album. Anyway, this album will visit my CD-player very often I guess. Great work guys! With a song "Batcave" they just have to come over to Tilburg and play in the Batcave of 013.
Visit their website: http://www.nobodies.net

90/100

PALACE TERRACE – Flying Through Infinity (CD) U.S.A. May 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Neo-classical Progressive Rock Running time: 59:26 (Tracks: 10)
Palace Terrace is a brand-new project from guitar virtuoso George Bellas (ex-Ring Of Fire), featuring tenor vocalist Jonathan R. Marshall. They shared similar visions as how the project should sound, and began writing material together that can be best described as an original mix of neo-classical and progressive rock. The songs on "Flying Through Infinity" have an theatrical edge with melodic vocal lines and great orchestrations, topped off by excellent neo-classical guitar and keyboard solo's by George Bellas. It's certainly not an easy abum to listen to because it's a bit too complex sometimes and it's a bit too focussed on the vocal performance instead of the musicans performances.
Visit their website: http://www.palaceterrace.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/palaceterrace

77/100

POWER QUEST– Master Of Illusion (CD) U.K. May 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic / Power Metal Running time: 50:00 (Tracks: 10)
Power Quest was formed in 2001 by keyboardist Steve Williams (ex-Dragonforce). After completing the line-up, the first album "Wings Of Forever" was released in 2002. Later followed by "Neverworld" in 2003 and "Magic Never Dies" in 2005. For the release of their fourth studio album, "Master Of Illusion" they signed a deal with Austrian label Napalm Records. It's once again a decent and varied album, with a sound in between 80's hard rock and 90's power metal. They also added several progressive and symphonic rock/metal elements. Not all the songs are played full speed ahead as they did before. Now they have a very catchy, melodic sound with catchy choruses, double bass attacks, sweeping melodies, a high pitched vocalist and a very good guitarist (both Italians).
Visit their website: http://www.power-quest.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/powerquest

80/100

POWERWORLD – Powerworld (CD) Germany May 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 54:16 (Tracks: 12)
Powerworld was formed by bass player Ilker Ersin (ex-Moon'Doc, ex-Freedom Call). The idea to form a band of his own came at the end of 2005, but developed rapidly when he left Freedom Call. He completed Powerworld's line-up with keyboarder Nils Neumann, Jürgen Lucas (At Vance) on drums, Barish Kepic (Jaded Heart) on guitars and Chitral Somapala (Firewind, Civilization One) on vocals. Chitral was soon replaced by the young but very talented vocalist Steffen Brunner, who reminds me a lot of Lance King (ex-Balance Of Power, Pyramaze, …). Powerworld plays an interesting mix of melodic metal, melodic hardrock and progressive rock/metal. They play in the vein of bands such as Freedom Call, Metalium, Civilization One, Elegy, Vicious Rumors, Balance Of Power and Queensrÿche. The have recorded very diverse, catchy tunes with powerful riffs and interesting arrangements. A very good newcomer for the melodic metal genre!
Visit their website: http://www.powerworld.org
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/powerworld

83/100

SKINDRED – Roots Rock Riot (CD) UK May 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal Running time: 45:09 (Tracks: 12)
SKINDRED is a four piece band from England and I saw them recently in 013, Tilburg (on April 21st) when they were the support act of Gypsy Punkers GOGOL BORDELLO. Skindred played a fantastic and energetic set. Benji Webbe (formerly from DUB WAR) is a great singer and a fantastic front man. He really knows how to play with the audience and I think they have won a lot of new fans that evening in Tilburg. So, I also bought their second album "Roots Rock Riot" (their debut album "Babylon" is from 2002) that evening. Skindred plays a mix of metal, rock and reggae and they're using some sound samples too. Mix bands like P.O.D., Bad Brains, F.R.E.U.D., Ill Niño etc. together and you will have Skindred. This second CD has twelve great (and catchy) songs and is fantastic produced by Matt Squire (Panic! At The Disco, Hit The Lights etc.). Some of my favorite songs of this album are "Trouble" (the new single), "Cause Ah Riot", "Roots Rock Riot", "Ratrace", "Spit Out The Poison" and "Choices And Decisions". Awesome album of a great band with a big future. Go see them live when they come back, 'cause this is a fantastic live band. Hopefully the next album won't take too long.
Visit their website: http://www.skindred.com
Recordlabel: http://www.bielerbros.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/skindred

90/100

STORMWARRIOR – Heading Northe (CD) Germany May 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Speed Metal Running time: 45:22 (Tracks: 11)
This German Speed/Teutonic metal band already exist since 10 years. Their first albums "Stormwarrior" and "Northern Rage" were released in 2002 and 2003 through Remedy Records. Their new one "Heading Northe" is released through Dockyard 1. They are still playing a style combining true/speed/power metal with the concept of Nordic mythology. Their new album was recorded in their own "Thunderball Studios" and mixed by Piet Sielck (Savage Circus, Iron Savior) and the final mastering was done by Tommy Hansen (Helloween, HammerFall, Pretty Maids, …). "Heading Norhte" is clearly influenced by especially Gamma Ray, but also by Iron Savior, early Helloween, Iron Maiden, Running Wild, Manowar and Blind Guardian. Here and there also a few Viking metal influences can be heard. Most of the songs are played full speed ahead, although there are also a few mid-tempo songs like "The Revenge Of Asa Lande" and "Into The Battle". In general, "Heading Northe" is a good fast tempo songs album with catchy sing along choruses, pushing drum and bass attacks, excellent guitar solo's and a good vocalist who sounds a lot like Kai Hansen.
Visit their website: http://www.stormwarrior.de
Recordlabel: http://www.dockyard1.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stormwarriorofficial

80/100

TARANIS – Taranis (CD) Belgium May 2007 Kees Schijven
Style: Black / Death Metal Running time: 41:07 (Tracks: 9)
This is a new band, at least to me, from West-Flanders and they bring you real oldschool black/death metal with some thrash influences. Actually this is great stuff, all music and lyrics done by Bjorn, who also played and recorded all guitars and vocals, while drums were played by "Hennix den Barbaar". Great songs about war, honour and glory, if you want to know with what bands to compare, I can name Bathory, Sodom maybe even Dimmu Borgir, but still with their own style. Songs like 'Night in Carpathia', 'Teutonic Invasion', or 'Father of Storms' all classics! Also the cover is a piece of art on it's own, real nice drawings of the middle ages! Superb self titled debut, from this new band, also new album is on it's way, so watch out for it. This album is also recently released on vinyl by Iron Pegasus! By the way, a few new songs can already be heared on their my space site.
Recordlabel: http://www.iron-pegasus.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/taranisvl

85/100

TEMPESTT – Bring 'em on (CD) Brasil May 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Metal Running time: 58:53 (Tracks: 11)
Sao Paolo was the birthground of Brazilian rockers Tempestt somewhere in the nineties. At that time, the band started out as a coverband. Brazil was still not mapped in international band calendars at the time so local bands had lots of opportunities to grow big in their country. Until Billy Sheehan came into their lives and as a result of their combined tour, they were booked as support band for Jeff Scott Soto in Brazil, after which they started to write their own material.
Knowing that this band was influenced by Kansas, Journey, Queen, Bon Jovi and Dream Theater you can expect a mixture of elements in their own songs. Precisely that is what happened while listening to their album. It was a puzzle to determine which song was influenced by which band, which means that the songs do not have their own character yet, not a typical Tempestt label. Although I must admit that the Brazilians have written some nice melodies, but somehow the melodies are not the leading factor but their role gets disturbed by pieces of metal. I fail to see the musical connection between these elements and I for one think that is a big necessity. Closing the album is a Journey-cover ("Don't stop believing") which they had better left untouched. In this particular song it gets very obvious that these guys have to stick to their own material which still has some growing up to do.
Visit their website: http://www.tempestt.com.br
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tempesttbrasil

60/100

THE HOUNDS OF HASSELVANDER – The Hounds Of Hasselvander (CD) USA May 2008 Marco van Empel
Style: Doom / Hardrock / Stoner Running time: 51:46 (Tracks: 8)
Multi-instrumental and a metal journeyman, Joe is wellknown for working with bands such as Raven, Pentagram, Black Manta and many others over the years. Now he's got a new band were he plays the bass, guitar and does the vocals. The complete mix of classic bands such as Trouble, Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath is not that bad, but I prefer his old material. This new stuff is a bit boring and it really all sounds the same. The Hounds Of Hasselvander is nothing more or less than a stoner/doom album from just a mid level. Check it out by yourself.
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/rocksaviour
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thehoundsofhasselvander

65/100

APRIL

ANDRE MATOS – Time to be Free (CD) Brazil April 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 64:15 (Tracks: 11)
Andre Matos is without a doubt the most famous Brazilian heavy metal singer. He has come a long way since his adolescent days with Viper, Angra, Virgo, Shaman and now his first solo attempt. In this ambitious effort he receives help from long time friends such as ex Angra companion Luis Mariutti and associates such as Sasha Paeth and Roy Z who handle the production.
"Time to be Free" could be nothing else than melodic power metal with high production values. It's what Andre knows best, a sound he has been serving for almost 20 years. The album is a mix of Angra, Helloween and Gamma Ray. The songs are very interesting but I think that most of them could have been a bit shorter. I would also prefer more songs in the vein of "How Long". Andre's performance is great. I think he delivers his most mature work to date. His voice is quite different than in the Angra days and in my opinion much more interesting. All the fans of Andre Matos and europower in general should own this record.
Visit their website: http://www.andrematos.net
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/andrematossolo

80/100

ANMOD – Mostrosity Per Defectum (CD) Brazil April 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Death / Grindcore Running time: 32:10 (Tracks: 12)
Anmod was formed in 2005 with 3 former members of Fornication. They changed there style a little bit. They added a lot of grindcore with death metal influences and Anmod was born.They make very straight forward grindcore with no variation at all. If you like to listen to 12 very similar songs,all fast with a singer who sounds like a long burp , this is a cd for you. But I don't like it at all, it's to boring. Sorry!!
Visit their website: http://www.anmod.com.br
Recordlabel: http://www.deitydownrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anmod

60/100

BEATALLICA – Sgt. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub Band (CD) USA April 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal Tribute / Parody Running time: 47:03 (Tracks: 13)
The name of the band and the title of this album speaks for itself. BEATALLICA plays a mix of METALLICA and THE BEATLES. But can we speak about a Tribute band here or are they just a parody to both bands? Anyway, Beatallica exists of Jaymz Lennfield (vocals, rhythm guitar), Grg Hammetson (lead guitar), Kliff McBurtney (bass) and Ringo Larz (drums). They already have released two EP's earlier with 7 and 8 tracks. On "Stg. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub Band", which was released in October 2007, you can hear thirteen tracks of Metallica songs mixed with songs of The Beatles. To mention a few tracks of this album: "Blackened The U.S.S.R" ("Blackened" & "Back In The U.S.S.R."), "Sandman" ("Enter Sandman" & "Taxman"), "Leper Madonna" ("Leper Messiah" & "Lady Madonna"), "Helvester Of Skelter" ("Harvester Of Sorrow" & "Helter Skelter") and "…And Justice For All My Loving" ("… And Justice For All" & All My Loving"). All songs have completely new written lyrics with references to songs of Metallica and other bands/artists like Motörhead, Dokken, Madonna, Diamond Head, Kip Winger etc. And the vocal lines of all these songs are from the original Beatles songs. Of course Jaymz sings the same way like James Hetfield does. The production of this album is good. It's just a great album of classic Metallica songs mixed with classics of John, Paul, George and Ringo, a.k.a. The Fab Four a.k.a. The Beatles. Anyway it's a nice album to listen to once in a while.
Visit their website: http://www.beatallica.org
Recordlabel: http://www.oglio.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/beatallica

79/100

BLACK MASQUERADE – Holy And Bright (CD) Japan April 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic (Power) Metal Running time: 48:28 (Tracks: 10)
"Holy And Bright" is the second album from this Japanese metal band. I received it, just like their first album "Spread Your Wings", from their nice foreign manager, Baek Hee-Eun. Since their first album, there have been some line-up changes, but guitarist Yoshihiro Nitta (ex-Steel Emblem) is still the most important member of Black Masquerade. He is even talented as other Japanese neo-classical playing guitarists like Norifumi Shima, Katsu Ohta and Kelly Simonz! Their songs are mostly played in mid-tempo, call it a mix of melodic (power) metal and neo-classical metal, I the vein of Concerto Moon, Double Dealer and Ark Storm. There are also a few faster songs, a ballad and a short instrumental track. Songwriter and guitarist Yoshihiro has once again managed to write interesting songs which are performed by excellent skilled musicians and a good vocalist!
Visit their website: http://www.blackmasquerade.com

81/100

BOOMERANG – Sounds of Sirens (CD) Germany April 2008 Marco van Empel
Style: Heavy Power Metal Running time: 42:10 (Tracks: 10)
Boomerang was formed in 1996 out of members from the thrash band Arcus. Thomas Fahrnbach, Axel Johann and Stefan Zobel started the band. After Arcus was disbanded, Axel said to Thomas let’s bring true heavy metal back just like a boomerang….and so Boomerang was born. After taking turns at bass and drums for a couple of years, Boomerang had formed their definite line up in 1998 with Andreas Reichard on drums and from 2001 with Stefan Groetzinger on bass. Stefan Groetzinger had to leave the band in 2005. The new bassplayer is Daniel Schäfer. The demo "Real Unreal" was published in 1999 and was extremely positively critized by the fans of hard melodic music, which lead to national and international interest for Boomerang. The band did some great live shows with bands such as Tankard, Sabaton, Emerald and Wizard. Boomerang started to be a real cool live band. Boomerang plays heavy power metal with reference to bands like Blind Guardian and Iron Maiden. Good melody lines with some cool breaks and a clear production. My favourite song on the album is the openings track 'One Night To Remember' ….it's got that real heavy metal vibe and is cool stuff for die hard concrete biters. This band got some great riffs and vocalist Axel Johann is also doing a great job on the new record. Boomerang is far from a bad band, but will be never my personal favourite in heavy metal in general….for me it’s all not there yet. Check it out by yourself, metalheads
Visit their website: http://www.boomerang-metal.de
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/boomerangmetal

70/100

CARLOS LICHMAN – Firestorm (CD) Brazil April 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Shred Metal Running time: 31:48 (Tracks: 9)
Guitar virtuoso Carlos Lichman was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He began his musical education as a classically trained guitarist. In 2001, he recorded the "Wake Up The Dragons" EP with the heavy metal band Neverland. However, he decided to start a solo career and recorded his first instrumental single in 2003, in 2005 followed by an EP. In 2006 he released the live dvd "Celebrando Mozart", playing compositions of Mozart. He also appeared on two compilation cd's. He recorded his first "real" album "Firestorm" with some other Brazilian musicians, but he invited also some wellknown guitarists to play some guest solo's (Kiko Loureiro, Pablo Soler, Francesco Fareri and Jim Horne). On "Firestorm" are some ultrafast shred metal songs with complicated changes and impressive melodic solo parts like "Speed Rules", "Shred Dogs" and "Key To The Shred City" (which is played in honour of MacAlpine and Friedman"), but there are also a few calmer rock/fusion tracks like "Just Rock It", "Intense Guitar Playing" and "Beyond The Universe". These songs are influenced by a guitarist such as Michael Lee Firkins. There's also a short classical piece, called "Belle Qui Tiens Ma Vie". So this album is a good mix of instrumental shred metal in the vein of Rusty Cooley, Michael Angelo Batio and some more rock influenced songs influenced by Michael Lee Firkins and Steve Morse.
Visit their website: http://www.carloslichman.com

79/100

CIRCUS MAXIMUS – Isolate (CD) Norway April 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 54:39 (Tracks: 9)
2007 marked the year when A.O.R. and Hard Rock oriented label Frontiers decided to embrace a bit heavier sounds releasing albums by progressive sounding bands like Seven Tears and in our case "Isolate". Norwegian band Circus Maximus had already debuted through Frontiers with the 2005 album "The 1st Chapter" but with a more hard rocking or mellower sound. "Isolate" is much heavier and with a direct progressive approach. I was really amazed by this record. All songs have that catchy feeling but without being cheesy. Instead you have these massive guitars along with sophisticated drumming, great keyboards and brilliant vocals. This is progressive metal the way I like it. No meaningless parts which exist only to make a song awfully long and boring. Along prog songs you will find some real hard rockers like "Arrival of Love" with great melodic choruses. Just the type of tune that can brighten your day. Trust me on this and grab this album.
Visit their website: http://www.circusmaximussite.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialcm

88/100

DARKEST SEED – The Seed Is Rising (MCD) Brazil April 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hardrock / Heavy Metal Running time: 15:00 (Tracks: 3)
Darkest Seed are a bunch of Brazilian youngsters making a lot of noise. So much is clear after I listened to the first two tracks on this EP. Even the website does not have a bio so I have nothing to go on, other than the fact that I found out, this EP is released as a teaser for a complete album, to be released sometime this year. The third track made me sad; covering a song by Queen is asking for the verdict "blasphemy" and eventually, that is what I think. "The Show Must Go On" in a metal style, with adapted melody lines sounds AWFUL. And if a band has a vocalist who does not come close to the big Freddy M., the band should leave this alone. They chose not to, so they're not afraid for anything or anybody. Well…check it out yourself because this demo is available for download (see website).
Visit their website: http://www.darkestseed.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkestseed

50/100

ETHS - Teratologie(CD) France April 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Metal / Metalcore Running time: 1:08:54 (Tracks: 15)
It's not a surprise that France can deliver great metal bands, think of Gojira for example. Eths is just another one for the list. Although they already exist from 1996 it was in 1999 that they started using the current band name and got noticed. Or maybe it's because of singer Candice Clot... She has an incredible voice, think of a French mix between Arch Enemy and Walls of Jericho. I love it! Brutal, defiant and alternating that's how you can describe this album. Surely a band that you have to keep an eye on. Actually the best description is of a sick horror movie that you want to see over and over again. They already played a lot of shows in Europe in the years they exist but I hope there will be more. If you did not know any of the albums the band made before this is certainly a must have in your collection to get to know them.
Visit their website: http://www.eths.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/eths

90/100

HAIEETA - Mvemjsun(d) (CD) Ireland April 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Heavy Metal / Stoner Rock Running time: 38:36 (Tracks: 6)
Haieeta is a gang 5 friends with the same mindset. Since they started out in 2004 they have been playing gigs extensively throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland, they have played with bands such as Orange Goblin, End of level Boss, Volt, Coldwar and Suns of Thunder. They also did a showcase gig for a Radio Station (Phantom FM) in October 2007. The first demo (Ballistic) was recorded in 2006 and contained 5 tracks. A year later Haieeta went back in the studio, the recording took 3 days and the result was this EP "MVEMJSUN(D)", yes some may call the album name stupid but the title does not represent the music at all! Haieeta brings out a powerful sound that will bring you in a comatosed state. Later this year a split on Vinyl with Bad Boat will come out through the legendary punk label Good Vibrations/Belfast.
Visit their website: http://www.bebo.com/haieeta
Recordlabel: http://www.realizerecords.com
MySpace: http:/www.myspace.com/haieeta

85/100

HEATHENIC NOIZE ARCHITECT - Already a Legend (CD) Australia April 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Mathcore / Hardcore / Metal Running time: 32:18 (Tracks: 12)
HNA is described as furious, unique and intense. And I have to agree on this one! Heathenic Noize Architect is bound to be the next big thing after bands like Cave In or Converge, if they keep it up "Already a legend" brings 12 songs filled with the fury of hardcore and the intensive metal with on top a voice that brings a perfect balance between the singing and the screams. As a fan of the "older" powerviolence bands and the "new" mathcore bands. HNA is a mix of Charles Bronson and The Dillinger Escape Plan! Since their start in 2004 they produced 2 great albums. And I hope they will have tour plans really soon!
Recordlabel: http://www.deformeathing.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/heatenicnoizarchitect

90/100

HEIDEVOLK – Walhalla Wacht (CD) The Netherlands April 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Folk / Viking Metal Running time: 41:33 (Tracks: 10)
Heidevolk has really made a good impression with "De strijdlust is geboren" three years ago. So good that Napalm Records signed the band. Can you imagine? Within a few weeks people in America are singing the lyrics from "Hulde aan de kastelein". Hilarious but also fantastic because its all about history. And history is always interesting. Especially the history of Gelderland the province Heidevolk based their lyrics on. And I can't give them no wrong. If bands in Finland can be successful singing in their home town language why couldn't Heidevolk become as big as those bands by using Dutch lyrics. Personally I think Dutch is a very good language for heavy metal. I still remember hearing the first black metal song in Dutch Countess' "Bloed in de Sneeuw" (killer song).
"De strijdlust is geboren" already was a great album but with "Walhalla Wacht" Heidevolk is on the throne of Folk/Viking Metal with more rigid playing and a better production Heidevolk is ready to conquer. Because of the use of a violin sometimes even the name of Skyclad comes in mind. Originators of mixing folk with metal. Besides that Heidevolk strong point is lots variation, using black metal riffs and screams, blast beats but on the other hand also folk songs sung with a mighty clear voice Heidevolk will surely please every fan of this music. Go see them live where they are even better than on cd. Heidevolk: music with high fermentation since 2002.
Visit their website: http://www.heidevolk.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialheidevolk

83/100

HOT BUTTERED ANAL – Please Kill Me (CD) USA April 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Hardcore / Punk Running time: 30:00 (Tracks: 15)
HOT BUTTERED ANAL is a trio existing of Bob Cocks (guitar, vocals), Ziggy Drynuts (bass) and Chris Cornhole (drums). The band was formed in 2005 and "Please Kill Me" is their first album which was released in April of 2007. They have recorded 15 songs for this album. HBA plays a mixture of Metal, Hardcore and Punk. And I tell you, when I listened several times to "Please Kill Me", with a few songs I had to think a little bit of bands like Mucky Pup, Ludichrist, M.O.D. etcetera. But HBA cannot even come close to these mentioned bands. There's just too much crap on this album, like "Suck My Balls", "You're Dead", "Drunk Punk", "Skrewdriver Love" and the two acoustic songs "Magnum" and "Heads In The Garden". Their lyrics range from extremely violent to completely absurd and everything in-between. And there's also a lot of twisted humour. But I don't take these guys very seriously, they're just pathetic. Anyway, the few songs which I like on this album are "Daddy's Banana Boat", "Freedom For The Lobsters", "See Spot Run", "True Love" and "Flaming Robots". As you can understand "Please Kill Me" is not an album which I would recommend to buy. By the way, of course there's no label who would release this crap. That's why HBA have released this CD themselves.
Visit their website: http://www.hotbutteredanal.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hotbutteredanal

58/100

HOUSE OF LORDS – Come To My Kingdom (CD) USA April 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hardrock Running time: 57:33 (Tracks: 14)
When House Of Lords began a promising career, I hoped that they would stay popular and release many albums; I really dug songs like "Pleasure Palace" and "Love don't lie". Unfortunately, like many other bands, House Of Lords did not survive the hectic rock stage, but they returned strongly with "World Upside Down" and a strong live album after that. Based upon good old fashioned symphonic hardrock, the band regained recognition for the excellent music they made over the years.
The new album that lies in front of me is a strong, modern album with smooth production and a tight sounding band. James' voice still has a good deal of the power it used to have, and I must say that the songwriting surprised me positively. Outstanding material, above average, with some nice riffs and pounding beats. The opening track is a short bombastic interlude to the real thing that starts with the titletrack, pounding heavily on my ears. The band also provides us with radio-ready rocksongs like "I don't want to wait all night" and the ballad "Another day from heaven", that is also –in an acoustic version- closing the 14 track cd. People who have appreciated this band before, and people who love good melodic rock, should have a listen. I for one was pleasantly surprised !
Visit their website: http://www.jameschristianmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jameschristianhouseoflords

90/100

ILLDISPOSED – The Prestige (CD) Denmark April 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Death Metal Running time: 40:27 (Tracks: 12)
Yes, there is stil something rotten in the state of Denmark! Illdisposed are back with a new album on a new recordlabel. After 2 albums (which both entered the Danish album charts) they were dropped by Roadrunner. But with AFM they found a new label. Gone are the clean vocal parts, the synths and the samples. Death metal nineties style is what you get. Illdisposed playes a very tied form of death metal with groovy rhythms. Most parts are mid tempo with kick ass double bass and sometimes if the song asks for it the accelerator entirely gets kicked in. Every now and than we hear a melodic guitar riff between the hard hitting riffs which makes it an alternating cd and a very pleasant listen for me. The mixing is done by Frederik Nordstrom and is very powerful. Lyrics deal with such issues as sexual submission and religious fanatics but also with relationships. Glad to see and hear that the band still hasn't lost its sense of humour with songtitles as: "Ich bin verloren in Berlin" & "Don't be astonished by the fact that your cd player will tell you that this cd contains 89 songs though you only hear 12". Typical Illdisposed humour. If you have money for one Death metal album this month, go and buy this one. You won't be disappointed!
Visit their website: http://www.illdisposed.dk
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/illdisposed

84/100

KING'S CALL – No Alibi (CD) Germany April 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 47:19 (Tracks: 10)
King's Call is a new classic hardrock band of band founder, guitarist and vocalist Alex Garoufalidis, who played in the past with his former band Eagle Springs. Also in the past, Alex spent some time in L.A. and worked with wellknown musicians such as Graham Bonnet, Chuck Wright and Cherie Currie. But he always wanted to create his own band again. So he recruted other musicians with who he recorded "No Alibi". "No Alibi" is a classic melodic rock album, influenced by bands such as Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, Gary Moore and Magnum. But…it's not as good as the mentioned bands. The songs aren't that bad, Alex is a good guitarist, but as a vocalist he's certainly not good enough. Unfortunately for King's Call there're a lot of better bands in the melodic rock genre.
Visit their website: http://www.artistworxx.de
Recordlabel: http://www.musicbuymail.eu
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/artistservice

68/100

KREATOR – At the Pulse of Capitulation – Live in East Berlin 1990 (DVD & CD) Germany April 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 2:05:00 (DVD) & 1:10:34 (CD)
This is some real good stuff from Kreator; the best European thrashband ever if you ask me! I'm not gonna bore you with the biography of this great band because people who are not familiar with this band are probably also under the impression that Metallica plays metal these days, hahahahaha. These old recordings where only available on VHS years ago and are now finally re-released and remixed on DVD. The live recordings where made a few months after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1990. Around that time Kreator only had released great albums full of classic songs so it was a good decision from the band to re-release this stuff on DVD finally. Also added is the Kreator "Horror Movie; Hallucinative Comas" which was recorded for the "Coma of Souls" album in 1991. As an extra bonus they also added the live recordings as a live-CD to this Digipack. A documentary is also added but has not really an extra value.
This is a very nice DVD especially because Kreator was one of my favourite bands during that days. Only little complain I have are the black & white recorded parts of the movie because they are jumping on my TV screen; probably they didn't use steady-shot during these recordings...a bit irritating. For all die-hard Kreator fans: run to your local CD store and buy this great documentary of German Thrash!! This is a real "Awakening of the Gods"......
Visit their website: http://www.kreator-terrorzone.de
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialkreator

85/100

LIMBONIC ART - Legacy of Evil (CD) Norway April 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Symphonic Black Metal Running time: 59:06 (Tracks: 10)
AAARRRGGGGHHHH!!!! They are back, the masters of symphonic black metal. After leaving the scene in 2002 with the superb album "Ultimate death worship" Limbonic Art's return is a fact with this new cd "Legacy of evil" After 2003 Morfeus and Daemon each walked their own path with on one side Dimension F3H the space/industrial project of Morfeus and on the other hand Sarcoma inc. Deamon' s black/thrash project. Both bands released some good material but oh boy what was I psyched to hear on the the 06-06-'06 the band got back together.
So what can we say about this comeback album? Has Limbonic Art changed? The answer is no! People who are not familiar with Limbonic Art, the band plays a style of intense symphonic black metal with drumcomputer. Don't let the fact that they use a drumcomputer scare you of. It suits the music perfectly. The only difference I can hear on this album is the lesser use of samples. Sure they are still there, for instance listen to the beginning of "Twilight Omen" or the howling wolves in the fantastic song "Lycanthropic Tales" but not as much than on their previous albums. No problem if you ask me because there is so much more to enjoy. The blasting fury, the agressive guitar riffs and the lyrics still concerning the subject nightmares. Besides that Limbonic Art really knows how to give their sound a really majestic sound with minimal touches. For example listen to the toms in "Nebulous Dawn". Something only Emperor and Limbonic Art are capable of. The album is released on Nocturnal art productions, Sammoth 's (guitarist Emperor, Zyklon) label. I don't think Sammoth had to think twice to sign them again ( Limbonic Art were his first signing). So after hearing the album several times we can say that this is a fantastic comeback!
Recordlabel: http://www.nocturnalart.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/limbonicart

89/100

MAGNUM – Wings of Heaven Live (2CD) England April 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 51:58 / 58:45 (Tracks: 9 / 10)
There are some cases where any introductions are completely useless. Mega bands such as Magnum have a brilliant career to speak for themselves. One of England's best Hard Rock bands (and personal favourite) presents another live album. "Wings of Heaven Live" comes as a celebration for the 20 years since the release of "Wings of Heaven"; the most successful Magnum album to date. The first cd features old and new tracks and the second one is "Wings of Heaven" delivered live in its entirety. All the Magnum magic is present. Catley's supreme voice, Stanway's heavenly melodies and Clarkin's divine guitar. Recorded during the November 2007 U.K. tour, the album captures the essence of a typical Magnum concert with the sound being fantastic. Another classic!
Visit their website: http://www.magnumonline.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/magnumuk

90/100

MAIN LINE RIDERS – Shot In The Dark (CD) USA April 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hardrock Running time: 30:07 (Tracks: 10)
The bio states that if you like a mix of 80s hardrock, Ramones-like punk and sleaze rock, this is what you have to listen to. So I did. The title of the album, of course, immediately reminded me of the famous Ozzy album, but after listening to the album, Ozzy was way out of sight. This Texas-based band boasts upon the return of rock 'n roll, making music in the style of AC-DC, Skid Row, Guns 'n Roses and Hanoi Rocks. That statement promises a lot.
Unfortunately, I don't quite agree on the influences. Well…partly, that is. I hear a lot of Ramones and Skid Row but that's about it. Add a little Motley Crue to it and there's your style mix. This is by far NOT a rejuvenation of classic hardrock, this is a party band that plays some dirty sleazy rock with a modern touch. I have nothing against that, in fact, when played in a bar during a beer session I would probably quite enjoy it. But listening closely makes me feel more and more that Main Line Riders will just be that party rock 'n roll band instead of becoming real rockstars. Maybe that is not what they set out to do, and quite frankly, if they would, it wouldn't happen…
Visit their website: http://www.mainlineriders.com
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mainlineriders

67/100

MIDNATTSOL - Nordlyss (CD) Germany/Norway April 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Nordic Folk Metal Running time: 50:02 (Tracks: 10)
Singer Carmen Elise Espenaes and guitarist Chris Hector (AHAB) founded Midnattsol in 2002. Together they share the same interest in Nordic mythology and thought it was a good idea to do something with this interest by creating music that expresses this feeling. Other like-minded individuals were shortly found in guitarist Danial Droste (also of the godly funeral doom band AHAB) bassist Birgit Ollbruner and drummer Chris Murzinsky (known from R.I.P.). Keyboardist Daniel Fisher completed the sextet. After months of hard work the debut album "Where twilight Dwells" saw the light of day in 2005. The band toured on the sides of In Extremo and played some festivals.
So lets talk about the new album now. Produced in different studios. Vocals done at the Mastermind studios while the instruments where done with Markus Stock (Empyrium, Vision Bleak) at the Klangschmiede E studios. Metal producer no. 1 of the moment Tue Madsen did the mix and at the Finvoxx studios took care of the mastering. Different places will not always guarantee a good result. But with this album I have nothing to complain. Sound is very powerful and clear. The band not wishes to be categorised as a symphonic metal band but prefers their style as "Nordic folk metal". Indeed you must do something to attract attention between all these female bands wandering round in today's metal scene. Sure there are some "folk" influences but it's not enough to really outshine. To me it still sounds as a Nightwish clone during their Oceanborn/Wishmaster albums cast in a different packaging. The voice of Carmen also sounds a little monotone to me. I would like to hear more variation in the future. The bonus track (which is not on my promo) is sung by Daniel Droste from the above mentioned band. Curious to hear how that sounds. Because of an overcrowded scene Midnattsol is nothing more than an average band. I hoped for more because of assistance by the guitarists of AHAB but unfortunately.
Visit their website: http://www.midnattsol.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/midnattsolfolk

59/100

MOOI WARK – Bok 'M D'r Op (CD) The Netherlands April 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock Running time: 45:31 (Tracks: 12)
MOOI WARK is a Dutch band who was formed way back in 1992. Since then they have released seven CD's so far and they have had several line-up changes, but since a few years the line-up is existing of Bert Koops (guitar, lead vocals), Arnold Kuik (guitar), William Bossong (bass) and Dennis Hendriks (drums). The band is singing in Dutch dialect and they belong in the category of Dutch bands like Normaal, Bertus Staigerpaip, WC Experience, BZB, Jovink En De Voederbietels etc. Well for Mooi Wark, just think of a mix between STATUS QUO, AC/DC (musically) and NORMAAL (vocals, lyrically). I already had their albums "Zo Plat As Wat" (1996), "Gang Op De Ket" (2001), "Only Rock N Roll" (2003), "Smeer" (2004) and "Gewoon Idioot" (2006), so when this new and 8th album "Bok 'M D'r Op" was released I bought it immediately. This album is, also like "Gewoon Idioot", produced by former Vandenberg bassist Dick Kemper and it sounds fantastic. "Bok 'M D'r Op" features 12 tracks and has again some real party rockers like "In De Blote Kont" and "Schijt Aan Regels" and "Kom Op Maok Een Vuust" is a cover of SLADE's "Cum On Feel The Noise". The second track of the album "Altied Blieven Plakken" reminds me very much to bands like DROPKICK MURPHYS, SOCIAL DISTORTION, DE HEIDEROOSJES etc. My favorite songs of "Bok 'M D'r Op" are "Bier Van De Tap", "Altied Blieven Plakken", "Bok 'M D'r Op", "In De Blote Kont", "Kakkers (Opnieuw Gesmeerd)" (which is a re-recording, the original version is on the album "Zo Plat As Wat"), "Schijt Aan Regels", "Thuus" and "Achter De Tent". Well, rockers are well known as great drinkers, so I would say….let's drink some beers and have a party.
Visit their website: http://www.mooiwark.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.cdhal.nl

87/100

MYRATH – Hope (CD) Tunisia April 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 52:01 (Tracks: 8)
Myrath, a progressive metal band from Tunisia, was formed in early 2001 by guitarist Malek Ben Arbia, who was just 13 years old at the time. For the first two years they played only cover songs. With a new line-up they got into progressive metal and for almost two years they played exclusively cover songs of Symphony X. Later they started to write their own songs and in 2005 they released their self produced album "Double Face". And now they have released their first official label through Brennus Music record label from France. "Hope" was recorded, mixed and produced by Kevin Codfert (Adagio keyboardist). Kevin has met the band in 2006 when Myrath opened for Adagio and Robert Plant at the third edition of the Mediterranean guitar festival. And what a debut release it is! Myrath is still a lot influenced by Symphony X, Adagio and Rising force, but they add some oriental influences to their sound. Myrath plays great progressive metal, mixed with some oriental influences, heavy-quite aggressive guitar riffs, great guitar/keyboard solo's and a powerful singing vocalist!
Visit their website: http://www.myrath.com
Recordlabel: http://www.brennus-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/myrathband

91/100

POWERFUL - Welcome To The Slaughterhouse (CD) Italy April 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 47:32 (Tracks: 10)
Hailing from Italy comes Powerful, a heavy metalband founded in 1996. After playing some new songs the band played as a Judas Priest and Helloween coverband for a few years. But in 2003 they released their first demo 'Supermetal'. Now they have secured a record deal and 'Welcome To The Slaughterhouse' is the band's first full length album. From the first song you can allready hear why the band played Priest and Helloween covers, the vocalist has a very high pitched voice so he would have had no problem what so ever with those covers songs. The songs of this record are bit more heavy with a bit of a thrashy sound about them. Most of the songs sometimes sound a bit sloppy but they all have good parts with decent riffing and most of the solo's are very nice as well. I'm not a big fan of the vocals, the clean voice sounds a bit weird and isn't really good in the mix either, the high pitched screams are most of the time out of place and sometimes even annoying. All in all this debut is promising and I think that with a better production and maybe other vocals this album would have been better allready. Anyway I hope the band continues to grow and I'm looking forward to hearing some more of them.
Visit their website: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com/eng/powerful_eng.htm
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/powerfulsm

60/100

PRIME SINISTER - United in Violence (CD) France April 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Metal / Industrial Running time: 49:55 (Tracks: 12)
Prime Sinister was formed at the end of 2006 by Pills (lead singer/guitarist), 96 (bass) and Fuse (drums). They deliver a loud and powerful industrial sound led by anger with society. They became noticed when they released their first EP "United in Violence", just after one month of existence! The CD received a great welcoming from the critics and public. Which of course ends up in touring all over the world; they played shows in the US, UK and some big venues in France. Now they're backed up by the label Sins Records and just released their first album "United in Violence". Well the album itself is great for a band that actually just began, you can hear that they are great in what they do. The album brings a good mix between stoner rock and industrial metal. I'm not a huge industrial fan but I can certainly appreciate this album. And they're bound to be a blast live, they have been invited by hawkwind to open for them at the astoria in London! I certainly want to check them out live.
Visit their website: http://www.primesinister.net/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/primesinister

80/100

RAFFLESIA - Embrace the final Day (CD) Belgium April 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Metalcore Running time: 41:02 (Tracks: 10)
When it comes to metalbands, Belgium has much more to offer than most people know. A lot of decent bands are just not that well known by the main public and that's a shame. Hailing from a Belgian coastal town Zeebrugge, Rafflesia is a pretty new metalcore band with a lot of talent and allready a solid name in the local underground scene. Last year they released their first album "Embrace The Final Day" which is a brutal metalcore record. Now mostly I'm not into metalcore cause it just doesn't sound right in my ears. I'm quite the hardcore fan and of course I'm a metalfreak but the combination of these two styles mostly doesn't cut it for me. Luckily there are bands to prove me wrong, and I just found another example in Rafflesia. The album sounds very brutal which makes it more deathcore to me (a genre I do appreciate) but with moments it's very melodic and funny enough that combination makes it a lot better. As a hardcorefan I'm crazy about the massive breakdowns in the songs that make it impossible to sit still. Another good point is the insanely good drummer the band has, the record as a whole is good but the drumming is outstanding. The downside of this album is something I have with almost every metalcore album I've ever listened to, since I'm not completely crazy about this kind of music it just gets boring after a while because my untrained ears just don't find enough variation in the record. The album has 10 very good songs, all of them with nice riffing, cool vocals, melody, brutality, great breakdowns and superb drumming but after 5 to 6 songs I've had it. Most of the time I just pause the album, play an album in a completely different style and get back to this one. Anyway I highly recommend this album for fans of the more brutal metalcore such as Caliban, Heaven Shall Burn,... and the fans of Neaera will probably recognize Benjamin Hilleke on guest vocals on the song "Into The Bloodshed".
Visit their website: http://www.rafflesiametalcore.com/
Recordlabel: http://www.genetrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rafflesiametalcore

76/100

ROYAL HUNT – Collision Course (CD) Denmark April 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Progressive / Symphonic Hard Rock / Metal Running time: 51:40 (Tracks: 10)
Royal Hunt was founded in the early 90's by keyboardist André Andersen. In 1992 they released their first album "Land Of Broken Hearts". During the years, the band went through several member changes and though for most of the bands out there it would've been a step back, André turned it into a big leap forward with each new studio release. As is this time when the band introduced the new lead singer, Mark Boals (ex-Malmsteen and Ring of Fire). Royal Hunt released their most successful album (till now), "Paradox" in 1996. Now the recording and release of "ParadoxII" – Collision Course" (their 9th studio album) completes the band's circle! "Collision Course" is another highlight in their career, with their symphonic keyboard-driven sound and lots of progressive elements, but of course there are also A.O.R. influences and catchy choruses. The band also got some help from friends and participants like Doogie White, Ian Parry and ex-Royal Hunt vocalist Henrik Brockmann among others. Another great Royal Hunt album, together with their great new vocalist.
Visit their website: http://www.royalhunt.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/royalhuntmusic

83/100

SHAMAN – Immortal (CD) Brazil April 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic / Progressive / Power Metal Running time: 49:03 (Tracks: 10)
Shaman was formed in 2000, when drummer Ricardo Confessori left Angra and started a new band, Shaman. Their debut album "Ritual" was released in 2002. To celebrate the success of their debut, they decided to register a special live show on dvd. The release of "RituAlive", in cd and dvd format, got great reviews and sales too. In 2005, the name of the band was changed. The band decided to add an "A" to it, so the new name became Shaaman. Soon after that, their second studio album "Reason" was released. After the "Reason" tour, some misunderstandings caused the departure of 3 members. With 3 new members and called again Shaman, Ricardo formed a new line-up and recorded with them the new album "Immortal". On "Immortal" are some great fast progressive power metal songs, which remind me a lot of Angra's "Holy Land" album. But some other songs are more epic. So "Immortal" has got a good balance between heavier and softer songs, mixing heavy metal, classical and world music.. New vocalist Thiago Bianchi sounds even like André Matos. "Immortal" is an excellent fast, technical, catchy, epic progressive metal album from this new Shaman line-up.
Visit their website: http://www.shamanimmortal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.scarletrecords.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/shamanimmortal

81/100

SHENANIGANZ – Four Finger Fist Fight (CD) Germany April 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock, Rock Running time: 42:09 (Tracks: 12)
I was very surprised by this debut album of this very young (age 17 – 21) four piece band SHENANIGANZ from South Germany. The bands exists of Georg Raig (vocals, guitar), Daniel Rehbein (guitar, vocals), Tobay Reich (bass) and Dom Rehbein (drums). These guys started as a school band and in 2006 Shenaniganz reached the 4th place at the international band contest Emergenza. In 2007 the band signed a deal with Silverwolf Productions. Well, this great debut album "Four Finger Fist Fight" was released worldwide on January 25th of this year and features twelve dynamic kick ass rock 'n roll songs. When I listen to songs like "25 Years Ago", "Jesus Was A Rock 'n' Roller", "Why?" and "Andy Warhol" I had to think of bands like BOOZED, JET, AC/DC and THE BLACK CROWES etc. That's why I think this band can reach a wide public. Even Georg sometimes sounds very much like Jet singer Nic Cester. Although there's no weak song on "Four Finger Fist Fight". I think my favorite songs are "Hangin'With The Boys", "Punk That Rocks", "25 Years Ago", "Andy Warhol", "The Frankey Commercial Song", "Why?", "Pissing In The Wind", "Hobo Slide" and "Jesus Was A Rock 'n' Roller". If you like the above mentioned bands, you can definitely check this band out. Superb debut album guys.
Visit their website: http://www.shenaniganz.vandalay.org
Recordlabel: http://www.silverwolfpro.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/badassrocknroll

92/100

SHUHEI NOZAKI – Bridge (CDemo) Japan April 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Rock / Metal Running time: 08:29 (Tracks: 3)
Shuhei started playing the guitar at the age of 15. His most important influences are Joe Satriani, Ron Thal and Patrick Carlsson. When he was 20, he started a band together with the drummer of the Japanese power metal band Lightning. But unfortunately this wasn't successful. He left the band and concentrated on a solo project. The demo-cd "Bridge" is the first result of that. There are three songs on his demo, which are a mix of rock, metal and fusion. All three songs have nice themes and great melodies. Also influences from classical composers can be heard while listening to his demo. Right now Shuhei is working on his first full-length solo album, which will be very good I think!
Visit their website: http://www.sound.jp/shuhei5150
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/shuheinozaki

80/100

The Damned Celebration: (Split CD)
DARK CELEBRATION - Steel Flagellum
SODAMNED – The Garret
Brazil April 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Dark Celebration: Black Metal / Sodamned: Death metal. Running time: 39:27 (Tracks: 11)
Sometimes you immediately hear from which country a band comes. Sweden represents death metal with the typical chainsaw guitar sound like Dismember, Nihilist. Greece is known for its mystical sound heard on the albums by Rotting Christ and Zemial and for example Poland who represent more fast playing bands such as Behemoth, Vader etc. The two bands containing this spilt album are fast and chaotic. The drum sound in particular. It reminded me of the first Krisiun album and further back in time I.N.R.I of the mighty Sarcofago. It is very difficult to explain but as said before sometimes you can tell by only hearing the first notes from which country a band comes. I always liked the Brazilian sound and I am glad the two bands on this split album don't vary much of the mentioned bands.
The cd starts with the band Sodamned started in 1999 with the intention to play a mix of death/trash metal with speed, heaviness and melody. Lots of old style riffs are mixed with really fantastic solos giving the songs that little bit of extra. Man it has been a long time ago when I heard a band that included such a good solo as in "Sodamnizing" . (Princess) Juliano also has a very good voice combining low grunts with gutteral screams. Unfortunately the last two songs are not as good as the first three. They sound less exciting and are played sloppier than the first ones. Hope that the band will carry on creating such strong songs as "Sodamnizing" and "Dive into Nothing" in the near future.
The second band on this split is Dark Celebration a black metal band that follows the ideology of Anton Zsandor LaVey (Priest of the Church Of Satan). The band founded his origin in 1996 but it was only until 2000 before they obtained a stable unity. Until now the band has recorded two full length albums which are unknown to me. Besides that they played countless shows particularly in South America. And yes again that typical drum sound but also some twin guitar parts. You can hear that this band is playing 12 years. Rigid sounding they make their way to 6 black metal songs. Absolute highlight is the last song Nights Ritual. It gives you that typical 90's black metal feeling. This is the first release on the new Brazilian label Face the Abyss. I wish them luck and hope they can maintain such strong releases in the future!
Visit their website: http://www.sodamned.com
Visit their website: http://www.darkcelebration.com.br
Recordlabel: http://www.facetheabyss.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sodamned
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkcelebration666

77/100 & 80/100

STEEL RAISER – Race of Steel (CD) Italy April 2008 Marco van Empel
Style: Heavy Power Metal Running time: 39:51 (Tracks: 10)
Steelraiser was born by two Italian music lovers: Gianluca Rossi ( guitar/bottom vocals) and Alfonso Giordano. Gianluca Rossi began to play when he was only 15 years old and he started to play in local bands. After a few years, he formed the band Valkija, a metal band that after the first demo in 2004 was signed by the Greek label Sonic Age Records. In november 2004, the first Valkija’s was released: "Avenger of Steel". It was well received by media and fans! After a Greek tour, Gianluca took a break and started something new in his life, and started to experiment in music. In the year 1999 he formed “Noble Savage”, but in 2006 Alfonso left the band to start a new adventure….STEELRAISER was born! This Italian band plays great heavy metal that sounds like bands as Judas Priest and Accept. With great catchy riffs and Alfonso as a really great vocalist who listened a lot to Udo Dirkschneider and Accept. Steelraiser plays true heavy metal and it's not boring at all. Steelraiser did a really great job to release this great full-length album. I like Steelraiser a lot and I think most traditional metal fans will do. ! True Metal Warriors check them out , great stuff !!!
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/steelraiser

80/100

STIGMA – When Midnight Strikes! (CD) Italy April 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Deathcore Running time: 41:38 (Tracks: 11)
This is the first full lenght cd of these italian deathcore maniacs after releasing 2 ep's. There average age is 22 but they sound very experienced and very musical. The first song, "I am Dracula" sets the tone of this cd. It's very diverse with hardcore vocals to deep grunts and very varied songs. Grindcore meets melodic death metal. I really like the diversity of the songs. Listen to a song like "To be really dead…that must be glorious!" And you know what I mean. On there website they had a really funny contest. You had to kill as many zombies as you could and the winner got a cd. Good idea. (I didn't win) I can't say anything bad about the cd and I listen to it over and over again. Great!!!
Visit their website: http://www.stigmahc.com
Recordlabel: http://www. label.pivotalalliance.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stigmahc

91/100

TOROK – Addiction Of Fools (CD) USA April 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Hardrock Running time: 45:06 (Tracks: 10)
Torok is a band from Minnesota, USA that has been around since 1993, when Impaler-guitarist Mike Torok joined the band that, back then, were called "Tongue & Cheek". This is their 4th album, still independent, and I must give them credit for the production which is kinda clean for a rough-hardrockplaying band like them. Solid rough vocals, nice guitarwork too…
Speaking of rough: I estimate numerous bands to have influenced these guys: Aerosmith, Whitesnake, Van Halen, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin just to name a few. But if you're a fan of one of the mentioned bands, it doesn't automatically mean that Torok is your thing. The compositions are far from original but they have that certain "something", call it sympathy. I will probably have to play this cd a few more times to really grasp what is going on with Torok, but I am confident that I will still think these guys are talented musicians without a record deal, caused by a lack of originality.
Visit their website: http://www.torokmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/toroktheband

71/100

UFO – Showtime (HD-DVD) England April 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 1:36:00 (concert) & 1:53:00 (bonusmaterial)
What to tell about this legendary band which was already formed in 1969! Singer Phil Mogg and bassplayer Pete Way where the originators of this successful band which borrowed his name from a London music club. My own first acknowledge with these guys was their legendary live album "Strangers in the Night" from 1979. At that time Michael Schenker (MSG, ex-Scorpions) was their axeman and he was, and still is, an example to a lot of guitarplayers these days. The last years Schenker was part of the band weren't that good. I've seen UFO a few times with Schenker on guitar but I couldn't take his guitar playing serious anymore. The more I was surprised when I heard they recruited one of my alltime guitarheroes for the job: Vinnie Moore!! This way I could catch 2 flies in 1 smash (thats a dutch expression but I suppose you know what I mean).
Ive seen the band during the tour this HD-DVD was shot and I was excited by the guitarplaying of Vinnie Moore but also of the setlist which was full of oldies from their "Stangers in the Night" live album. Songs like; 'Mother Mary', 'Let it Roll', 'Only you can Rock me', 'Love to Love', 'Lights Out', 'Rock Bottom', 'Doctor Doctor' and a few more made me feel young again! The DVD was recorded during their 2005 tour in Hannover & Wilhelmshaven (both Germany). Just 1 year after their latest studioalbum "You are Here" with Vinnie Moore on guitar. Also a few songs from this album are of course on this DVD.
This is a damn good DVD which brings you back to the older days again! Great produced, mixed and a real addition to your collection! Every 35+ metalhead needs this material in his collection! Buy or die!!!
Visit their website: http://www.ufo-music.info
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vinniemoore

90/100

WHITE LION – Return of the Pride (CD) USA April 2008 Marco van Empel
Style: Hardrock Running time: 57.33 (Tracks: 11)
White Lion initially left it’s mark in the late 80’s with a series of hit singles and video’s that defined the MTV generation, thanks to the likes of “Wait”, “When The Children Cry”, “Tell Me”, “Broken Heart” and “Little Fighter”. But equally so, the band was also recognised for it’s signature album tracks that transcended soci-policital themes such as “Lady Of The Valley”, “Cry For Freedom”, “Lights And Thunder” and “Warsong”. With their fifth studio album “Return Of The Pride” White Lion is back at the front of melodic Hardrock. Only singer Mike Tramp is left of their original line-up. The record doesn’t sound like the White Lion of the 80’s but still got the roots of that era. Mike’s singing is a little less more in the mix. It’s now more part of the music as it was before when the voice carried the music. The music sounds more mature and serious. There are still sing a long choruses but not as many as before. The music also sounds more complex nowadays. All the White Lion and old Hardrock fans should go out and buy this record. It’s not an original record but it sounds really good and can easily survive amongst all the modern music.
Visit their website: http://www.trampswhitelion.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/returnofthepride

95/100

WINTER'S VERGE – Eternal Damnation (CD) Cyprus April 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 53:53 (Tracks: 11)
Cypriot band Winter's Verge quickly climbed the steps towards success. It only took one demo for highly esteemed power metal label LMP to sign the band and present its work to a wider audience, outside the narrow borders of Cyprus. It requires no imagination at all in order to figure out the genre that Winter's Verge serves. European power metal all the way. The important question is: "Is this a special recording or another addition to the evergrowing europower crap pile?". The answer is that these guys have succeeded. Reinvention of the wheel is out of the question but either way this is not the matter when it comes to europower bands. Winter's Verge delivers interesting compositions suitably orchestrated and flawlessly delivered. It's a typical LMP release with high production values. Mystic Prophecy mastermind R.D. Liapakis sat behind the console and the result is pretty close to his own band. For fans of Stratovarius and Angra.
Visit their website: http://www.wintersverge.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wintersverge

79/100

MARCH

AMPHITRYON – Sumphokeras (CD) France March 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Gothic Death Metal Running time: 47:12 (Tracks: 9)
Amphitryon started in 1996 and makes a very raw mix of different kinds of music with all kinds of middle age influences. The guitar music reminds me of Nile, also the grunts and drums. The guitar riffs are very raw technical and heavy. All the songs have a great variety and the composing of the songs is great. The songs starts with a clean opera-like vocal (male and female) and continue in a hard and brutal manifest of noise (structured). This band continues in a way that bands like Therion or Nile are mixed together in a bowl. With music like this I have to say that you have to listen very well and give it a try because this is fucking great. If you like bands that are not standard and bring you to another dimension then I can recommend this album.
Visit their website: http://www.amhitryon-music.com
Recordlabel: http://www.thundering-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sumphokeras

75/100

AMULANCE – The Rage Within: and the Aftermath (CD) USA March 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Classic US Speed Metal Running time: 53:07 (Tracks: 12 & 2 videoclips)
Amulance is a heavy metal band from Aurora, Illinois, that was formed in the mid 80s. After a six track demo in 1987 they released an album "Feel The Pain" through the legendary New Renaissance Records before folding in early 1990. The band's six track demo "The Rage Within" has been recently re-released through STORMSPELL Records. The CD titled "The Rage within: and the Aftermath" contains all of the tracks from "The Rage Within" as well as six bonus tracks from "The Aftermath" sessions. As a bonus there are also two live video performances from circa 1988 & 1989! Great stuff if you ask me even if its all old material!
Amulance plays US-metal in a way I like it very much; fast songs, high pitching vocals and excellent musicianship! The band is back together and will play this years edition of the best German underground festival; Headbangers Open Air. If you like 80's US-metal than you should check them out; they deserve it! The cd is looking also great; nice layout, pictures and an awesome coverpainting (done by Dimitar Nikolov who also designed the MMM mascotte & logos). Also very nice from the band to send me also a copy from their 1989 release on New Renaissance Records. I really appreciate that. For everyone who still wears denim patch-jackets; the cd also contains an original Amulance patch! If you're into US metal in the vein of bands like Wrath, Liege Lord, Savage Grace & Culprit combined with a lot of Iron Maiden elements; please buy this record blind; you wont regret it! I also hope that the band will release some new material because im longing for more..
Recordlabel: http://www.stormspell.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/amulance

85/100

AXEL RUDI PELL – Live Over Europe (DVD) Germany March 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 3 1/2 hour (Tracks: 10)
I believe that Axel Rudi Pell is an artist who doesn't need much of an introduction. With countless albums of top quality music spanning all the way from hard rock to power metal and amazing collaborations with artist of the highest calibre he has established himself among the best musicians and composers of the genre. This particular DVD is his 2007 Rock Hard Festival performance captured on tape at the Gelsenkirchen Amphitheater.
The technical aspects of this release are great. Sound and picture is flawless and the variety of camera angles more than adequate. The performance of the band is very energetic with Gioeli and Pell holding the key roles. The tracklist is good but as far as I am concerned it could be even better with the addition of songs like "Fighting the Law", "Carousel" or "Cry of the Gypsy". Anyway, here you will have the chance to watch the band play anthems such as "Fool Fool", "Tear Down the Walls" and "Rock the Nation". There is also a great cover of Rainbow's "The Temple of the King".
The bonus disc features selected footage from various concerts over a three year period from 2004 to 2006. The sound and video quality is no match for that featured on the main DVD but its fantastic archive material shown from the audience's perspective.
Visit their website: http://www.axel-rudi-pell.de
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/axelrudipellofficial

80/100

BASSINVADERS – Hellbassbeaters (CD) Germany March 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Bass Metal Running time: 59:38 (Tracks: 14)
Bassinvaders has been a creation of Markus Grosskopf (Helloween bassplayer) while sitting in a bar and enoying a few (?) drinks. There it was that he got inspired to an idea : a heavy rock record without any guitar at all! His solo album only features strong vocals, rhythmic bass, intoxicating drums and even bass and twin bass solo parts. Markus invited some well-known singing bassplayers from the German metal scene to join his band : Schmier (Destruction), Tom Angelripper (Sodom) and Peavy (Rage).
He also invited a few of his bass heroes to play solos on some of the tracks, and hired also some drummers and vocalists. Well, in my opinion, a heavy rock album without any guitar (solo) at all, isn't a heavy rock album for me. Nothing more to say!
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/frontiersrecords

--/---

BENEDICTUM – Seasons of Tragedy (CD) USA March 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 58:57 (Tracks: 11)
San Diego based band Benedictum was discovered by Dio guitarist Craig Goldy and Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson. Pilson produced the 2006 debut "Uncreation" and soon the band gained some well deserved fame. Rock Hard Germany and Classic Rock magazines ranked it among the Top 50 albums chart for 2006.
I didn't have the chance to listen to "Uncreation" but judging from my reactions to "Seasons of Tragedy", I will do so very soon. I was blown away by the power of this quartet, led by impressive vocalist Veronica Freeman. I immediately ranked her among my favourite female singers along with Leather Leone, Barbara Malteze, Danie Powers and Kate French. This woman can sing like the devil; I mean she is so powerful she blows the rooftop off. The rest of Benedictum form a concrete tight wall of sound with ultra heavy guitars and pounding rhythm section. Vicious Rumors meets Savatage meets Chastain was the first thing that crossed my mind when "Shell Shock" came kicking in. Here you will find everything you ask from a real power metal album. First there was Cage and now it's Benedictum. San Diego did it again!
Visit their website: http://www.benedictum.net
Recordlabel: http://www.locomotiverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/benedictum

89/100

BESTIAL MOCKERY – Slaying The Life (CD) Sweden March 2008 Dennis van Dommelen.
Style: Black / Thrash Metal. Running time: 42:15 (Tracks: 12)
With "Slaying the Life" Bestial Mockery gives birth to their fourth full-length album. Playing Unpure-Unholy-Untight black\thrash metal since 1995. This album, their first for Underground Activists (the new sub label of Season of Mist) sees the band leaving Osmose Productions. After this label switch and the death of their bass player Devilpig –who died after a fight/high alcohol consummation- this is the best thing Bestial Mockery could do. Giving the world some thrashing-ly evil blacker than black 666% metal the old school way! Really, this is the bands best cd and with "Storm of the beast" they released a real hymn with a very strong chorus. All of the songs are fast paced with little or no time to breath, the way it was meant to be. Also worth mentioning is that the guitar solos are here in almost every song. A big plus if you ask me. If you already decided to buy this album I strongly recommend buying the picture vinyl with cut out cover artwork and a bonus song: "Return of the God with Napalm Eyes"
Last but not least: the only complaint I have is that after the twelve songs you get 32 parts each containing 00:4 seconds of silence. Only the last part, part 33 gives you some music after again 5.25 of silence. I don't see the humour of it but the band will surely have a good reason for doing this. Buy or die!
Visit their website: http://www.bestialmockery.cjb.net
Recordlabel: http://www.season-of-mist.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bestialmockery666

82/100

BLACK CARGO – Black Cargo (CD) Germany March 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal Running time: 38:47 (Tracks: 10)
BLACK CARGO is a trio which is formed in September of 2005 and they are located in Germany. The line-up of the band is Rude Lean (lead vocals, guitar), Olliver Steel (bass, backing vocals) and Kay Hammernit on drums. These guys have recorded ten songs for this CD and they are looking for a label and a booking agency. Musically it sounds okay, I even hear some influences of Motörhead and a bit of Zeke. But man, Rude Lean has an awful voice. He's a fine guitar player but he really can't sing. It's fucking hard to listen to his awful voice ten songs long. They definitely need to find a person who really can sing.
Visit their website: http://www.blackcargo.com

65/100

BRAINSTORM – Downburst (CD) Germany March 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Power Metal Running time: 43:30 (Tracks: 10)
Brainstorm was already formed back in 1989. They obtained their first record deal only in 1997. When vocalist Andy B. Franck joined them in 1999, they finally got more famous. After Andy B. joined them, they also signed a contact with Metal Blade Records, and with their third album "Ambiguity" they had their first top album. "Downburst" is already their seventh album. Brainstorm still plays a mix of 80's hardrock, power and melodic metal. Except of the ballad "End In Sorrow", the other songs are played in mid or up-tempo. Some of their songs sound very melodic, in the style of Silent Force let's say. "Downburst" is a good, diverse album by these Teutonic metallers!
Visit their website: http://www.truemtal.org/brainstorm
Recordlabel: http://www.metalblade.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialbrainstorm

80/100

COLOSSEUM – Chapter 1: Delirium (CD) Finland March 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Funeral Doom Metal Running time: 63:58 (Tracks: 6)
Deep down from the stinking sewers of Finland comes Colosseum. A project of Juhani Palomaki vocalist, guitarist and founding member of the doom metal band Yearning. Where Yearning is much lighter & atmospheric like an early autumn afternoon, Colosseum is darker and more powerful like a dark winter night. Colosseum makes a mixture of funeral doom like Esoteric and dark ambient such as Lustmord. This isn't music for the average metal listener. It needs total dedication to understand and except this style of doom metal. It's all here: the deep grunt, the almost weeping guitar sound, a drummer who lets enormous breaches fall and the beautiful synths on the background. All tracks are like ten minutes or longer with the exception of one. Lyrics wandering in the realms of suicidal depression, delirium and the Sumerian/Lovecraftion myths which suits the music perfectly. This album has dragged me into it's misery, such beautiful misery. So hypnotic that it has left me paralysed when the disc ended. Staring at my screen. This was one of the best funeral doom albums of 2007, right after Dooom from Worship. It's a pity queen winter will leave us in a few weeks and give us a spring. Colosseum will leave you "yearning" for that next cold and dark season. Firedoom records has done the right thing signing Colosseum and releasing this album. Now it's up to you to buy it…
Visit their website: http://www.colosseumdoom.com
Recordlabel: http://www.firebox.fi
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/colosseumband

91/100

CROWN OF GLORY – A Deep Breath Of Life (CD) Switzerland March 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 62:10 (Tracks: 11)
I already know this Swiss band for some time because I reviewed their first mini-cd "Destiny" for another webzine. That time I already was impressed by their music. Crown Of Glory exist since 1998 and besides "Destiny" (2001) they have also released another mini-cd, entitled "Spirit" (2005). "Destiny" was chosen as demo of the month by German magazine Break Out. And now these Swiss guys released their first album, "A Deep Breath Of Life". They still play an interesting mix of 80's melodic hard rock, melodic (power) metal, progressive/symphonic rock and even A.O.R. . "A Deep Breath Of Life" is filled with ballads, mid and up-tempo songs. The album was mixed by Dennis Ward and also features Tom S. Englund (Evergrey) as a guest singer on the song "The Raven's Flight". They are comparable with bands such as Edguy, Royal Hunt, Symphony X, Pretty Maids and Stratovarius. Crown Of Glory is an excellent bombastic melodic hard rock/metal band, with virtuoso keyboard and guitar parts, catchy choruses and powerful melodic vocals!
Visit their website: http://www.crown-of-glory.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crownofglorych

89/100

DARK THE SUNS – In Darkness Comes Beauty (CD) Finland March 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 39:56 (Tracks: 10)
Although portrayed as melodic metal, I would prefer "melodic gothic rock". Opening track "Reflections" is an original blend of a melodic piano, rocking steady guitars and grunting. A strange combination, but I know there are a lot of bands that combine these ingredients into their music. For some reason, it passes me by, not grabbing my attention. Thirteen in a dozen, I would say, but using a piano instead of keyboards throughout the album is a good choice for this band. It keeps giving the songs a happy attitude, although the track titles are quite dark. As the album progresses, the grunting starts to irritate me; I have nothing against it, but the use of real vocals, like singing, is something I dearly miss here. I like the way the guitars are handled, and the drumparts are pretty OK, too. Productionwise, I also have no complaints because the sound is compact and steady. There is most likely a market for this type of music but it's not "new". Finlands "Insomnium" is probably the closest as comparison. Their fans should have a listen.
Visit their website: http://www.darkthesuns.com
Recordlabel: http://www.firebox.fi
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkthesuns

65/100

DEGRADEAD - Till Death Do Us Apart (CD) Sweden March 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 41:06 (Tracks: 11)
This is the first album of Stockholm based melodic death metal band Degradead. After playing together for quite some time they made a name and a considerably large fanbase in Sweden with live shows and their demo "Death Row". Because of these events they got the attention of In Flames guitar player Jesper Strömblad who wanted to work with them on the release of their first album. The result of the cooperation with Strömblad is very noticable in this record as one might compare this album with the newer work of In Flames. The record contains 10 songs who are a nice balance between death metal and highly melodic choruses. The last track, which is also the title track, is a short accoustic song to wrap things up nicely. While the album has some very good riffing I'm not very fond of the vocals and neither am I a big fan of the album as a whole. This is not because of the lack of quality, it's clear that the band consists of talented musicians, but more of the lack of originality. I understand that working together with Strömblad is pretty cool for a starting band but I find the In Flames influence a too large. So to summarize, fans of In Flames and other bands in the genre should not hesitate to buy this album because they will absolutely love it. For those who, like me, are not fond of that type of melodic death metal I would not recommend the purchase, you will probably not like it.
Visit their website: http://www.degradead.com
Recordlabel: http://www.dockyard1.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/degradead

60/100

DRACONIAN – Turning Season Within (CD) Sweden March 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Gothic Doom Metal Running time: 52:34 (Tracks: 9)
Draconian started in 1994 and released their first demo in 1996. In 1997 they recorded their second demo but did not release it because they were not happy with the sound of it. In 2003 they released their debut album on Napalm Records. In 2005 their second and now their third album. This album contains 9 tracks of pure death gothic metal. All the songs have a great variety and the production of this album is great. The guitar riffs are very heavy and not to technical (easy listening), the drums are very steady and sometimes have a great groove in it. Their are two vocals; a grunt singer and a female singer, the grunt are heavy and deep and sound great. The female vocals are very clean and sound warm. The composing of the songs are great, it doesn't sound boring for a minute and the difference between this gothic band and others are that the female choirs are better then the most of those bands (think of Trials of Tears or Tristania). If you like bands that sound like the bands that I just named then you should give it a try
Visit their website: http://www.draconian.se
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/draconianmusic

75/100

DRAGONLANCE – Returning Of The King (CD Single) Japan March 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic / Symphonic Power Metal Running time: 11:03 (Tracks: 2)
Dragonlance was formed in 2000 by guitarist Youichi Oikawa. In 2004 they released their first cd single, entitled "Holy Blood", a few months later followed by the second cd single "Dragonlance". Their third cd single "Edge Of Darkness" was released in 2005. In 2005 and 2006 they also participated in two compilation cd's of Enclave Records from Portugal. And now they have released their new cd single, "Returning Of The King". Once again there are 2 fast melodic power metal songs on it. As by most Japanese bands, the vocals are high pitched and the guitar solo's are very good and spectacular. Musically very good but the vocals need to improve when they want to breakthrough worldwide.
Visit their website: http://dragonlance.ld.infoseek.co.jp/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dragonlancejpn

77/100

ENCHANTER - Secrets Vol. 1 - Symbols in Stone (CD) USA March 2008 Sammy De Maere
Style: Epic Heavy Metal Running time: 1:01:40 (Tracks: 16)
Hailing from New England USA epic heavy metallers Enchanter bring their first release on Pure Steel Records. The band, formed in 1991, had allready recorded a self titled demo and the album "Symbols in Stone" through a self release. These cd's gave the band allready quite the underground fanbase and now a record label finally noticed them. This album contains 16 tracks, the previously unreleased tracks of "Secrets Vol. 1" and a re-recording of "Symbols in Stone". It is clear that the band members are fan of epic bands like Manilla Road and Cirith Ungol for their music is highly influenced by that of those legendary bands. Of course this makes the music of Enchanter less open to the average heavy metal fan. This music is dark yet very epic and deserves all the recognition it gets. If you are a fan of early named metal legends you should get your hands on a copy of this album as soon as possible, you will definitely love this! Fans of bands like Omen and Brocas Helm also should check out this record. Other heavy metal fans really should give it a try as well, Enchanter's music is not mainstream, it is not classic heavy metal and you probably won't like what you hear the first time but give it a couple of runs and the music start to grow to your liking. The first time I heard this record, I didn't really like it but this album really gets better every time you listen to it and some of the songs are really catchy.
Visit their website: http://www.enchantermusic.com/
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thebandenchanter

78/100

ESSENCE OF EXISTENCE – Terra Mentis (CD) Slovakia March 2008 Dennis van Dommelen.
Style: Symphonic Black Metal Running time: 52:28 (Tracks: 11)
Anyone who can name a heavy metal band coming from the beautiful country of Slovakia? I can! Essence of Existence. This is their third album where all sorts of extreme metal are somewhat blended with progmetal, boring female voices, electronic sounds, keyboards and a drumcomputer that –in the fast parts- goes way too fast. Influences go from Limbonic Art to (early) Darzamat to Septic Flesh. Synth parts that sound like a bad Jordan Ruddes copy on one hand and Dimmu Borgir on the other.
I don't know what this band wants to show. Maybe this band is pulling my leg. There's just too much of everything going on here which results in the lacking of real songs with a beginning and an end. Production is way too flat but the most annoying thing must be that drumcomputer. In the slow parts in not that big problem but in the fast parts it sounds completely over the top. Luckely most parts are mid paced. If you're a fan of innovative metal and you can listen through the flat production, maybe this is something for you. Otherwise stay away from this.
Visit their website: http://www.essenceofexistence.com
Recordlabel: http://www.mondongocanibale.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/essenceofexistence

51/100

EURE ERBEN – Eure Fauste (MCD) Germany March 2008 Marco van Empel
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 26:00 (Tracks: 6)
German 80's thrash metal legends Darkness are back again with the name Eure Erben. The band Darkness started in the year 1986. This 'Ruhrpot' thrash metal band from Essen became a cult band in the underground thrash metal scene. They released three albums between 1986 and 1989 and later became a real cult legend in the underground scene. This new maxi contains old Darkness songs in the German language. I really loved the old songs of Darkness and this material is also kickass stuff again. True thrash metal to the bone. I saw this band live in 2006 at the Keep It True Festival in Germany and my opinion is that Darkness/Eure Erben belongs to the top in thrash metal Germany. Great riffs, killer vocals and a real oldschool 80's production. I also love the four live songs on this maxi that has the real spirit of a great live thrash metal show in the mid/late 80's. The m-cd also contains a bonus video ( Gefrorene Bilder ) but my computer is not able to play it...... anyway, every true fan of 80's German thrash metal must buy this cd; really, really great again and back to the roots of oldschool Metal !!!
Visit their website: http://www.eureerben.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/eureerben

90/100

FLESHCRAWL - Structures of Death (CD) Germany March 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Death Metal Running time: 41:22 (Tracks: 12)
This is the eight album from this German band. They started writing the songs early 2006 but it took a long time to finish the songs due to personal problems .It`s the first album with Tobias Schick on bass. They recorded it in their hometown in Germany instead of Sweden and I must say, it`s turned out to be a very good cd. It doesn`t bore me at all. The production is good and the songs are variable enough to keep my attention. If I had to say something bad about the band I would say that the singer can vary a bit more. If you like old school this cd won`t disappoint you.
Visit their website: http://www.fleshcrawl.de
Recordlabel: http://www.metalblade.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bloodyflesh

79/100

GOAT THE HEAD – Simian Supremacy (CD) Norway March 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 52:36 (Tracks: 14)
Goat the Head is new band and this is their first album. I wish I could have told you more about this bands history but as well on their website and myspace there is nothing to find. This album contains 14 tracks of death metal. All the songs have a great variety but the production of this album is good but not the best I heard. The guitar riffs are very fast and technical and the drums are pounding through every song. The vocalist has a grunt that reminds me a lot of Gorefest.The composing of the songs is great. Straight to the point and not boring. This is their debut and it sounds fucking brutal. If you like bands like Gorefest or Entombed (latest one) than check them out!
Visit their website: http://www.goat.as
Recordlabel: http://www.tabures.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/goatthehead

70/100

HORRORPOPS – Kiss Kiss Kill Kill (CD) USA / Denmark March 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Psychobilly, Punk Running time: 40:38 (Tracks: 12)
HORRORPOPS is a psychobilly band from Denmark who are based in LA, USA for several years now. It's the band of guitarist Kim Nekroman (also guitarist of NEKROMANTIX) and his lovely wife Patricia Day (lead vocals, upright bass) with Niedermeier on drums. Since their debut album "Hell Yeah!" (2004) I'm a big fan of this band. "Hell Yeah!" and second album "Bring It On" (2006) are visiting my CD-player very often. Both albums have very catchy songs. Well, "Kiss Kiss Kill Kill" is their newest CD and on this album they are presenting 12 tales about love and murder. This third album is a good CD, but after several times listening to it, my conclusion is that it's not their best so far. The album is produced by the Horrorpops themselves and sounds very good. Also Patricia is a great singer and she's definitely one of my favorite female singers in this genre. There are still a lot of catchy songs on this new album and there's one instrumental track, which is the surf song "Horrorbeach Pt. II". My favorite songs of this album are "Thelma & Louise", "Boot2Boot", "Keep My Picture!", "Kiss Kiss Kill Kill", "Heading For The Disco?", "Copenhagen Refugee" and "Private Hall Of Shame". As I said "Kiss Kiss Kill Kill" is a good album but "Hell Yeah!" and "Bring It On" are much better.
Visit their website: http://www.horrorpops.com
Recordlabel: http://www.hell-cat.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thehorrorpops

80/100

HOSTAL HANDSHAKE - Hellish (CD) Greece March 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Heavy/Stoner Running time:51:10 (Tracks: 9)
The first cd "H2" of Hostal Handshake was released in 2002 with in total 3 songs of the band. It took very good critics from the press. A lot has happened in 6 years: another release "Public Affears", they have been included in the soundtrack of a film and on a compilation cd. In 2003-2004 one of the band members went to the army and one year later Hostal Handshake had a new line-up and released their 3d promo-cd "Bitched Up" wich again took many good critics. In 2006 there was another change in the line-up and now it's: Markos doing the vocals and guitars, Panos doing vocals and bass and Stamatis on the drums. In November 2007 Hostal Handshake finally released "Hellish"! Wich is again a very good album. For a band with only 3 members and to bring such an energy in their songs is unbelievable. They are planning to do a lot of shows in 2008. Hopefully their live shows are as good as the albums.
Visit their website: http://www.hostalhandshake.com
Recordlabel: http://www.secretport.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hostalhandshake

85/100

KRAGENS – In Fight (CD) France March 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Modern Heavy Metal Running time: 46:57 (Tracks: 9)
KRAGENS was formed in late 2000 by Cedric Sellier and Ludwig Laperche, both french guitarists and where joined later by vocalist Renaud Espeche (DEMON EYES). Later bassist Laurent Pottentier and drummer Jean Michel Scali left the band in 2001. So a new Kragens style was enforced by the Denis Malek arrival (bassist) and the Olivier Gavelle coming, a talented and powerful drummer (ACE, DIRTY SIDE). Years of work later, Kragens recorded their first album, "Dying In A Desert" released in 2004, with the full collaboration of the french keyboardist Franck Viencharutti. The album was signed on the french metal label Thundering Records. This album got excellent reviews (see Archive CD/DVD reviews) and great feedbacks. Later they recorded their second album "Seeds Of Pain" in 2005, mixing made by Tue Madsen, who gave to bands like Aborted, The Haunted, Ektomorf or Mnemic...a huge danish and viking sound. Chris Boltendahl signed the band on Locomotive Music (Mago De Oz, Tierra Santa, Benedictum, Astral Doors...) for a worlwide release excluding France.
This is the new, 2007, release from Kragens and again I'm blown away by the bands energy and power! I already loved their previous album very much and this is a damn good follow up release. Singer Renaud has a lot of variety in his voice, sometimes very raw & aggressive but also some clean parts which are sung wonderfull (listen for example to 'The fallen Man')! Normally this kind of bands sound to modern for me but if you like music in the vein of Nevermore & Shatter Messiah than you should check out this awesome band from France! Compliments & please come over to The Netherlands a.s.a.p!
Visit their website: http://www.kragens.com
Recordlabel: http://www.locomotiverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kragensmetal

90/100

LABYRINTH – 6 Days to Nowhere (CD) Italy March 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Melodic Power / Progressive Metal Running time: 57:13 (Tracks: 14)
The original Labyrinth line-up got together in 1991; Frank Andiver - drum, Andrea Bartoletti - bass guitar, Andrea Cantarelli - lead guitar, Carlo Andrea Magnani - lead guitar, Fabio Tordiglione – vocals. In 1994 the band managed to release the first demo "Midnight Resistance". The demo got enthusiastic reviews on major metal magazines in Italy and Germany and that gave the band the chance to sign with Underground Symphony, a new-born indie. Andrea Bartoletti - bass left the band and Chris Breeze (Cristiano Bertocchi) joined the band. It was the year of "Piece of Time", their first EP, that marked the direction the band was taking: pure melodic speed metal with a keyboards-background that fascinates the underground metal scene. In 1995 their first full length album "No Limits" was released and the interest on the band got higher and higher among metal kids and independent labels. The popularity of the band increased not only in the mother land and in Europe, but also overseas (Japan, Korea, Brasil). Joe Terry (Fabio Tordiglione), the lead singer left the band, and took the job as frontman of Rhapsody. Later in 1997Frank Andiver - drummer and Ken Taylor – keyboards, left the band and the new vocalist Rob Tyrant (Roberto Tiranti), Mat Stancioiu (Mattia Stancioiu) - drummer and Andrew McPauls (Andrea De Paoli) - keyboards joined the band. In the meantime some of the most important big metal labels showed a deep interest on the band's new demo and finally Metal Blade made the best offer and the deal was signed! After six months the second album "Return To Heaven Denied" was released. Shortly after the release of the new record in 1998 singer Rob Tyrant (Roberto Tiranti) left the band, being replaced by the lead singer Morby from Domine who led Labyrinth throughout the whole European tour as supporting act with Pegazus of the most popoular bands Hammerfall and Primal Fear. After a short break the band entered the recording studio to release the new Mini CD "Timeless Crime", containing new hits and old tracks from the first demotape "Midnight Resistance" to LPs "No Limits" and "Return to Heaven Denied". In 1999 Rob Tyrant (Roberto Tiranti) got back to the band, replacing Morby and singing with Labyrinth in the most important European Heavy Metal festivals (Gods of Metal, Dynamo and more). After these festivals the band entered the recording studio again to release the new full-length LP "Sons Of Thunder". The writing of the new tracks happened in the month of May 2002 of the same year and in the meantime Olaf Thorsen left the band to join Vision Divine, whereas Mat Stancioiu (Mattia Stancioiu) and Andrew McPauls (Andrea De Paoli) left Vision Divine to dedicate themselves completely to Labyrinth.The clear and sharp recording of the new demo procured them three of the most important deals of their career: Century Media Records for Europe and Americas, V2 for Italy and King Records for Japan. In January 2003 Labyrinth began the recording for the new album which is titled simply "Labyrinth", under the production of the band.Roberto Tiranti took part in the musical The Ten Commandments which was a supplement to his activity as Labyrinth singer until the beginning of the year 2004. The following step after the release of the album was finding another good guitarist for the live dates. The guys found in Pier Gonella, old friend of Roberto and Andrea De Paoli, the perfect union of speed and technique. The new work was a prosecution of the way begun with "Labyrinth", with songs of deep atmosphere and tracks like Just Soldier, but with a deeper introspection. In 2004 Labyrinth signed a deal with the label Arise records.One year later they released a new full-length album "Freeman" in which the band showed more aggressive riffs and melodic parts at the same time.That album was sounding more progressive than their earlier stuff. 2006 started with bad news, Cristiano Bertocchi left the band, he felt the need to follow his solo path. After few days of panic Mattia suggested Roberto to become the new bass player.
Their latest album "6 Days to Nowhere" is even more progressive than the "Freeman" album. Labyrinth has the musical qualitys to deliver a good progmetal album and they prove it here again! Singer Roberto Tiranti is one of the best metalsingers i've ever heard (also live) and the rest of the guys are also absolutely professional musicians! This album will probably not accepted by their older, die-hard, fans who loved the more melodic powermetal from the early years of the band. If the band made a good decision to change so much in style?? I dont know but I can tell you that I love this newer stuff also very much!! Great album, except for the "Come Together" cover (The Beatles)…..
Hope to see the band soon live again because its way to long ago they showed up in The Netherlands!! Listen to the scream on the song 'Piece of Time' and you will know what i mean.
Visit their website: http://www.labyrinthmusic.it
Recordlabel: http://www.scarletrecords.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/labyrinthitalia

85/100

LANA LANE – Red Planet Boulevard (CD) USA March 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Melodic hardrock Running time: 64:00 (Tracks: 12)
Lana Lane has recorded a great deal of superb albums over the past years and last year her career spanning 10 years was celebrated with a live DVD that was recorded in Japan. Lana works closely with her husband Erik Norlander, and since 2003, husband and wife have taken guitarist Peer Verschuren and drummer Ernst van Ee into their musical family. This album thus marks a 5 year collaboration era with both Dutchies, recorded both in Los Angeles and Rotterdam. Lana's previous album "Lady MacBeth", and before that , "Secrets Of Astrology" are albums that I like most, because of the blend of hardrock and symphonic bombasticness.
"Red Planet Boulevard" is a little different; the keyboards are a little more down in the mix, where drums and keyboards are more in front. That means Lana is going into a slightly new direction with her music. Both "The Frozen Sea" and "Capture The Sun" appeal to the rocking part of Lana's compositions; groovy guitars with superb solos, steady-as-a-rock drumming, with Erik Norlander on bass and Lana with her crystal clear voice. Having heard these tracks, "Stepford USA" sounds very different than what we are used to; maybe a little 60s, and after a passage with a mouth harp, Verschuren shreds away like we are used to hear him play. "Shine" shows that Lana masters the use of her vocal cords like few vocalists can; amazing. The album concludes with an instrumental mix of various songs on this album; never seen that before, I must say. The album as a whole is a steady one, rocking when it should and vulnerable and smooth in between. We haven't seen the last of Lana yet (and I like that thought!)
Visit their website: http://www.lanalane.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/eriknorlanderandlanalane

90/100

LAZARUS – Episode One (MCD) USA March 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Melodic Metal / Rock Running time: 32:21 (Tracks: 6)
Lazarus delivers a new album with "Episode One". Bassist Ron Porcelli, guitarist Dave Mercado, guitarist Artie Dillon, and drummer Nick Dalessandro joined by lead singer Glenn Dagrossa try to complete their journey to systematically alter the face of metal. Throughout the recent years, their releases have achieved cult status around the world. Musically, Lazarus combine different styles which they blend into their own homogenous, distinctive trademark. "We have fans in many musical camps," Mercado characterizes the band's unique standing. "We play power metal as much as progressive metal and melodic metal." All these elements come to bear on 'Episode One'. "Our music is pure versatility - bass rhythms, progressive arrangements, but also straightforward mid-tempo numbers. We don't care what you want to call this mix. To us, the most important criterion is our own style which can't be compared to any other band". Well, with these words the band describes exactly what you can expect. Original music performed with awesome musicianship.
Dagrossa and Mercado can rely on longstanding comrades-in-arms in Ronald Porcelli and Nick Dalessandro, while Artie Dillon is a new addition to the Lazarus fold. In 2006, Lazarus added the New York guitarist as a permanent member. The band support(ed) bands like; Winger, Zebra, MSG, and Dokken and many other and that's probably the right direction in which you can find Lazarus musically. Personally it sounds more rock than metal to me but im not complaining because the band is doing a perfect job on this album! The band also sometimes remind me to bands like Iron Maiden, Y&T and that kind of stuff. This is metal/rock for a big audience if you ask me…well done! Strange that the band still has no label??
Visit their website: http://www.lazaruslive.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lazaruslongisland

78/100

LECHERY – Violator (CD) Sweden March 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 48:45 (Tracks: 11)
Newcomers Lechery emerged in 2004 when guitarist/vocalist Martin Bengtsson left Arch Enemy and Armegeddon. After a couple of demos the band got a contract with Metal Heaven. Violator is a straight forward power metal album heavily influenced by the likes of Judas Priest and Accept. It's full of commercial sounding choruses and solid rhythms but originality is out of the question. Clearly a traditional heavy metal album made for head banging, chorus singing and beer drinking. The only problem is that after a while it seems like you are listening to the same songs all over again. Anyway, i think that the Lechery target group will appreciate this release.
Visit their website: http://www.lechery.se
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lecheryofficial

70/100

MANIFEST DESTINY – Your World has Died (MCD) USA March 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Crossover / Thrash Metal Running time: 23:50 (Tracks: 6)
Since the release of "All Life All Minds" in 1996, MANIFEST DESTINY has continued to deliver modern metal and still keep their roots firmly planted in the old school. Releasing an even heavier second CD, "What You Fear" in 1997, their label deemed the band too heavy for the label's new direction. Refusing to compromise, MD made the decision to stay true to their brand of metal and became independent.
The Press even dubbed MANIFEST DESTINY "The New American Thrash Kings". Currently, the band has released their fourth CD, "Your World Has Died" , and signed a licensing deal with Rock It Up Records (Germany) for a European release of this CD.
On May 1st, 2007 founder and lead guitarist Brent Wheatley passed away after a fight with cancer. Brent told each member of the band that he would want to see the band continue. Keeping with Brent's wish, Rock It Up Records officially released the band's long awaited fourth CD," Your World Has Died". The band was working on a fifth CD at the time of Brent's passing. MD plans to finish writing and record the fifth CD.
" Your World has Died" is a mini album which contains 6 thrash/crossover tracks in the vein of bands like: Pro-Pain, (old) Metallica, Pantera, Wargasm but also some DRI & Nuclear Assault elements. Its not all sounding very original but who cares? If you're into the kind of bands I mentioned above; check this band out! Nice album; nothing more, nothing less.
Visit their website: http://www.themightymd.com
Recordlabel: http://www.rockitup.org
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mightymd

65/100

MUDVAYNE - By the People, for the People (CD) USA March 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Metal / Hardcore Running time: 1: 17:01 (Tracks: 33)
"By the People for the People" are a collection of songs picked by Mudvayne fans and versions of those songs picked by the band. The album consists of a lot of demos, live versions and two new tracks (a cover of the police “King of Pain” and a new song “Dull Boy”). Before each songs there is a brief spoken word to introduce each song. This is a very intresting as you get in the mind of Mudvayne and for fans of the band this album has to be in your collection! For people who don’t know Mudvayne very well it’s not that great because you only want to hear the songs. There are 3 live versions of songs (“World so cold”, “Dig” and “-1”) who don’t really get the effect you thught the songs would give live. Nevertheless the album is a great collection and especially to the fans.
Visit their website: http://www.mudvayne.com
Recordlabel: http://www.sonybmgstore.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mudvayne

80/100

PATHOSRAY – Pathosray (CD) Italy March 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 52:40 (Tracks: 9)
Formed back in 2000, Pathosray is one of the best kept secrets of the Italian metal scene. Originally going by the name N.D.E, the band, formed by drummer Ivan Moni Bidin, guitarist Luca Luison and vocalist Marco Sandron, established their own sound as a mixture of heavy metal, progressive metal and 70's style symphonic prog-rock. In 2001 the band recorded its first demo, "Strange Kind Of Energies" - released in 2002 under the new band name Pathosray. By 2006 the band had established their line-up with bass player Fabio D'Amore and keyboardist Gianpaolo Rinaldi, and it was time for another demo "Deathless Crescendo", which was well-received by the media. In the fall of 2006 they started to record their first full-length album, simply titled "Pathosray". The album was recorded at Angel's Wings studio by Nico Odorico and Mattia Sartori. Through their management Intromental Management a record deal was immediately made with American record label Sensory Records (Spiral Architect, Circus Maximus, Zero Hour and Wuthering Heights), who absolutely loved what they heard. The band compares themselves with acts such as Dream Theater, Nevermore, Symphony X, Eldritch or Fates Warning. The album was mixed at Jailhouse Studios in Denmark with world-reknowned producer Tommy Hansen (a.o. Jorn, TNT, Beyond Twilight, Helloween, Pretty Maids).
Musically this album is superb and personally I even think they are much better than a lot of the bands which are mentioned above. They also remind me to bands like Zero Hour &, Pagan's Mind. Good to see that there are coming more and more progressive acts from the south of Europe these days. Incredible good album which should belong in every progmetallers cd rack! Buy this album! Hope to see this band live some day in The Netherlands!
Visit their website: http://www.pathosray.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lasersedgegroup.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pathosray

92/100

PATHS OF POSSESSION - The End of the Hour (CD) USA March 2008 Corinne van den Brand
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: (Tracks: 10)
This is the third album of Path of Possession. "The end of the Hour" is a conceptalbum. According to themselves about the surreal horrors that one man experiences during war, death and the beyond that warps his very existence into demigod-like awareness that may have the ability to consume life as we know it. Okay!!?? What the fuck..!! The first song Memory Burn is a great song and I got very curious about the rest but its a bit disappointing. The rest of the songs never reach the same level as the first song. George Fisher is the only one who really is worth listening to on this cd. The rest play very average .It`s not good but it`s not bad either. It does nothing for me.
Visit their website: http://www.pathsofpossession.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalblade.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pathsofpossession

72/100

PRESIDENT EVIL - Hell in a Box (CD) Germany March 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Metal/Rock 'n Roll/Thrash Running time: 44:14 (Tracks: 11)
This is President Evil: a quintet from Bremen, Germany that after winning a band contest got on a fast track and recorded the "Trash 'n' roll asshole" album wich was much appreciated by the public. And 2 years after their debut album they've literally put "Hell in a Box". The lyrics consist of Booze, Weed and most of all rock 'n' roll. The big difference with their previous album is that the songs are less thrash and more straight to the face rock 'n' roll. Songs like "Return of the Speed Cowboys" and "King Asshole" really show what President Evil can do in a studio and on a show because they record their albums live. Last year they went on a tour with GWAR and now they are currently on tour with Volbeat and Kayser. Check them out.
Visit their website: http://www.presidentevil.de
Recordlabel: http://www.valeryrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/presidentevil

88/100

SANDALINAS – Fly To The Sun (CD) Spain March 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 47:00 (Tracks: 12)
Who knows how many followers Iron Maiden's Adrian Smith has influenced in the musical world. Barcelona-based guitarist Jordi Salinas is one of them, and he went through the conservatory in Spain, followed by taking lessons from US shredder Terry Syrek. Jordi managed to impress producer Andy Laroque (King Diamond guitarist), who produced Sandalinas' debut album "Living On The Edge". The release of that album set the band sky high, opening for Saxon, Scorpions and Malmsteen, amongst others.
Now the new Salinas album is out, featuring (which is popular nowadays) a lot of guest musicians like singer Rick Atzi from At Vance and Patrik Johansson (Malmsteen). The bio mentioned great melodic hardrock songs, so obviously I was curious. Well…the album sounds OK, but Sandalinas has a lot of obvious influences; visions of Maiden, Savatage, Queensryche and Talisman. These influences arise a little more than I had hoped for, and therefore the album does not sound as original as I had hoped for. When the band plays uptempo songs, things are OK, but when the band slows down, they can hardly keep my attention. A pity, because Jordi is a talented guitarplayer who, when he manages to write in his own style, could make original and therefore better albums. Nevertheless, worthwile listening to before buying.
Visit their website: http://www.sandalinas.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sandalinas

70/100

SENCIROW – The Nightmare Within (CD) Germany March 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Power Metal Running time: 48:30 (Tracks: 11)
Sencirow from Siegen, Germany deliver's their 4th output with 'The Nightmare Within', after their 'Perception Of Fear' debut album from 2006. They started out in 1996, and after 3 years of rehearsing they put out their first demo cd 'Dreamspace' . After gaining several good reviews and lots of experience with 'Dreamspace', the band comes up with a second self produced demo 'Crown Of Creation'. As a result of this they got to do some live shows as support act for Doro and Gravedigger, and in the end a record deal with AFM records can be inked. 'The Nightmare Within' is a very powerful album, with great riffs, which shows perfectly the talent of these skilled musicians of this band. The album starts off with a short instrumental, after which 'Demon Inside' bursts loose, a great thrash song, fast riffing guitars, matching vocals, my favourite track. There's no doubt, these guys can play and handle their instruments well, just listen to tracks like 'Palace of Bones' or 'Curse of Lying'. On 'The Beggar's Estate' they play heavy as hell, with furious guitar work in there. They also put some aggression in their music, for instance 'Feeding the Rage', really fast and aggressive stuff! Also a kind of 'ballad' on the album in the form of 'Deliver Me From Pain', a bit slower, but with a lot of variety, which goes for the whole album by the way. They really keep you focussed with their music, no time to get bored, on top of that the sound and production are great. It wouldn't surprise me if this is gonna be their break through album, comparable with bands like Iced Earth or Masterplan, that says enough if you ask me, another great band has entered the first ranks of the metalfront!
Visit their website: http://www.sencirow.de
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sencirow

86/100

SEVEN WITCHES – Deadly Sins (CD) USA March 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: US / Speed Metal Running time: 40:56 (Tracks: 10)
Bandleader Jack Frost is no newcomer to the metal scene. He has played in SAVATAGE, METALIUM, BRONX CASKET CO. (with DD Verni and Tim Mallare of OVERKILL), SPEEED (with Aaron Randell and Ray Hartman of ANNIHILATOR), SEVEN WITCHES (with Joey Vera of ARMORED SAINT) and finally, FROST BITE. As of late, he has also been mixing and producing on his SEVEN WITCHES albums. This is the bands latest album and I was very curious after the moderate "Amped" album. Good to see that (ex-Hades/Watchtower) frontman Alan Tecchio (one of my alltime fav. singers) is still in the bands line up, especially when you know how much (great) singers already joined the ranks during the Seven Witches history. Besides Jack Frost, the album features Armored Saint, Fates Warning, Anthrax bassist Joey Vera. Additionally, other musicians lent a hand, including bassists Clint Arent (of Pain Museum), Kevin Bolembach (ex Non Fiction), and a drummer who goes by the nom de plum of 'Troll.'
Alan Tecchio reminds me a lot to his singing during his Non Fiction period; pity enough not that much high pitching vocals as in his Watchtower/Hades/Power period. Still he is singing his lungs out in a way I like also very much ofcourse. Seven Witches has, to my opinion, the bad luck that they never released a real "classic" album. Maybe this has to do with the lots of line-up changes during their bands history. Because with singers like Bobby Lucas, James Rivera, Wade Black & Alan Tecchio you have top-of-the-bill metal singers! Personally im also not impressed by Jack's guitar playing; he is a good guitarplayer but not as good as he thinks he is. Nevertheless Seven Witches released several nice albums but not one that could make the band more wellknown by the public. This album will not change that if you ask me. Maybe next time better….or as sung in the last song 'I'm looking for the answer'……
Visit their website: http://www.sevenwitches.net
Recordlabel: http://www.screamingferret.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jackfrostsevenwitches

75/100

SILVERDOLLAR – Evil Never Sleeps (CD) Sweden March 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 49:35 (Tracks: 10)
Silverdollar was originally formed as a Swedish metal cover band about 10 years ago. With over 300 gigs nationwide in Sweden over a 6 years period the band decided to record the tribute cd "Covers From Hell" in 2002. Besides covers from bands such as Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Dio and Motörhead, their tribute cd also included one original track from the band. In 2005 Silverdollar released an EP because they were in search for a record label. With the legendary Shark Records label they found a good label to release their first album. "Evil Never Sleeps" is a very interesting, diverse heavy metal album! Some of their songs are typical U.S. metal sounding music like Jag Panzer and Titan Force (Hollow", Parasites", …), sometimes they sound typical Swedish (the fast HammerFall-ish song "(Hollywood) Forever"), some songs have great Yngwie-ish guitar solo's by Ola Berg, but there is also space for an epic Queensrÿche influenced song ("Leave It All Behind"). They know how to mix melody and power a great way! Silverdollar is an excellent 80's influenced metal band with very diverse songs, high pitched vocals by Esa Englund, great guitar melodies/solo's, strong choruses and a slight modern sound.
Visit their website: http://www.silverdollar.se
Recordlabel: http://www.sharkrecords.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/silverdollarse

85/100

STEVE LUKATHER – Ever Changing Times (CD) USA March 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 54:58 (Tracks: 11)
Who does not know Steve; years of fame with Toto, and last year with an excellent performance with his band of friends at the Arrow Classic Rock Festival in Holland. He is back with a solo album full of rockers and ballads, using various music styles from jazz to fusion and good oldfashioned rock in the Toto-style. No wonder that my ears were wondering what Steve had to tell on this album. For one thing, he sings again. Steve is blessed with a smooth voice with a lot of passion and expression. Opening track "Ever Changing Times" is a slow starter for the album ( a false start?) , but he did surprise me with "The Letting Go" which takes us right back where he belongs: in the Toto-style. Although not heavy, Steve impresses me with a blend of various guitarplaying sounds. There are some other songs that stand out; "Tell Me What You Want From Me" is a mixture of a smooth ballad and a real heavy rocker, where "I Am" is a real song for lovers and "Stab In The Back" was meant to be (and turned out to be) a tribute to Steely Dan. The album concludes with a nice instrumental called "The Truth"; beautiful arrangements and very atmospheric. OK, this is not Hard Rock like we know it, but Steve holds a place in many hearts, and he has delivered a nice album to listen to. Some of us listeners would prefer the heavier side of mister Lukather. I partly can go along on that thought, but we must not forget that Steve is not the typical hardrocker, but a very versatile guitarist, blending various styles into one, and he uses the right musicians (like Leland Sklar on bass!) to put those feeling onto disc. I commend him for that!
Visit their website: http://www.stevelukather.net
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it

80/100

STEVE STEVENS – Memory Crash (CD) USA March 2008 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Rock Running time: 53:50 (Tracks: 10)
Steve was born in 1959 and started to play the guitar at the age of 7. Some years later he knew that his heart would always be in his music. Since then Steve has been constantly active in many bands and projects. He's most known as being the guitarist of Billy Idol. "Memory Crash" is his first solo record in nearly 8 years. He recorded this album together with drummer Brian Tichy and King's X bass wizard/vocalist Dug Pinnick. Dug is singing and playing bass on the Robin Trower's cover "Day Of The Eagle". Besides that song, there's one more song with vocals ; "Josephine, a prog rock song. The other 8 songs are all instrumental, featuring Steve's excellent guitar playing. His guitar style reminds me a lot of Michael Schenker's instrumental solo albums. But also other guitarists (Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix) and bands (Pink Floyd, Yes) come to mind while listening to "Memory Crash". A nice release for guitar freaks (like me).
Visit their website: http://www.stevestevens.net
Recordlabel: http://www.magnacarta.net

80/100

STRANA OFFICINA – The Faith (CD) Italy March 2008 Mario van Dooren
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 1:13:56 (Tracks: 15)
Strana Officina was born in the middle of the seventies. Former members are the two brothers, Fabio and Roberto Cappanera (guitar, drums); with bass player Enzo Mascolo, starts to play Rory Gallagher,AC/DC,J.Hendrix and Black Sabbath covers. In 1984 their historical debut EP "STRANA OFFICINA" was released on which they sang in Italian. In 1986 their second EP "The Ritual" was released and sung in English. 1987:the song "Non sei normale" on "Metal Eruption" compilation. In 1988they released the LP "Rock'n'roll Prisoners" which confirm the band as the most representative of Italian Heavy Metal scene. After 10 years of hard activity and shows around Italy the Cappanera Brothers lost their lives on a car crash (in 1993), which was a huge hit on the national heavy metal scene and Strana Officina quit the career for this tragical loss. Two years their was a commemorative tour with Rolando Cappanera (son of Roberto) on drums and Dario Cappanera on guitar (Rolando blood cousin). After 10 years of silence Strana Officina headlined the Gods of Metal 2006 (one of most important metal Festival in Europe) in front of thousands people.
In March 2007 Strana Officina (BUD,ENZO,ROLANDO,DARIO) started to record an album with their most famous songs and two never released songs. The new album "THE FAITH" contains all band's songs in English language (12 tracks), "Autostrada dei sogni" (from their first E.P. 1984) and two never edited songs "Officina" and "Profumo di Puttana"(written in the middle of '70).
I was not familiar with the bands music but did know their name for years already. Their music sometimes sounds a bit jocular but sometimes it suits me very well also. The re-recorded tracks sound good and their music is still very original for these days! Expect a mix of Motorhead, Thin Lizzy & Black Sabbath kind of music. On some songs they also reminded me to the Italian cult-metallers from Bulldozer. After all a good album and even it's a kind of compilation, I will rate this album to promote the band. They deserve it! Well done guys!!
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stranaofficina

80/100

STUCK MOJO – Southern Born Killers (CD) USA March 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Crossover Metal Running time: 46:50 (Tracks: 10)
Another comeback album, already released in the US in 2006, from Stuck Mojo (formed by guitarist Rich Ward). They where the originators of the rap-rock genre, by melting their heavy metal-bred southern heritage with a front man who bled hip-hop. Stuck Mojo's first release, 'Snappin' Necks', appeared in the mid-90's, they were very different from what was known in metal country. In 2000, after 6 albums, 8 world tours, years of living on the road and constant friction between the band's management and the band's record company, Stuck Mojo drifted apart. Rich went on to release several records with other bands (Fozzy, Sick Speed) including a solo album, and after 4 years hiatus, decided to reform Stuck Mojo. After some tours in Europe and the US, in March 2006 Stuck Mojo entered Backstage Studios (UK) with producer Andy Sneap to begin recording this new album 'Southern Born Killers', the first full length release in 6 years. This all resulted in a signing with Napalm Records, who re-releases this album including 3 new and unreleased bonus tracks, to coincide with the band's next European tour. The album is a very diverse album, with lots of variety in the songs and you won't get bored easily, that is if you like this kind of music. Personally I think hip hop and rap don't belong in metal, but hey that's just me, I know lots of people like it that way. 'I'm American' starts off angry and hard, while title track 'Southern Born Killers' takes it a bit slower, 'The Sky Is Falling' is almost like a ballad, with clean singing. With 'Metal Is Dead' the pedal goes to the metal again, this is my favourite track of the album, really aggressive. 'For The Cause Of Allah' isn't really a song, it's background music with an explanation on extreme religion, as a bit of an intro to next song 'Open Season', which is a declaration of war on extreme islams, with some authentic Arabic instrument sounds in it. It really is an angry album, with a mix of different styles like rock, metal and hip hop, and some sleazy southern guitar work, and a heavy production. "Prelude To Anger' is also kind of an intro, and is actually an airplane radio conversation or something like that, after which 'That's When I Burn' starts off. With lyrical topics like racism, politics, extreme religions and lying girlfriends, and a very angry new singer in the form of Lord Nelson, makes it all a very loaded album, which will certainly appeal to all fans of the old Stuck Mojo. 'Yoko' and 'Home' close the album in an easier way than it started.
Visit their website: http://www.stuckmojo.us
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com

71/100

THE ARCHITECTS OF HATE – Pure Hate (MCD) The Netherlands March 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash / Metal Core Running time: 14:17 (Tracks: 4)
The Architects of Hate are formed in 1995 and reformed in 2005. This band plays a raw mix between thrash metal and metal core. This MCD contains 4 tracks that are straight in your face and kick ass. From the first track till the last track fast and aggressive. The production is great and as an extra backing vocal on track three and four they have a guest vocal performed by Paul Speckman (Master). The guitar riffs are very fast and have a great thrash sound.The drums are fast and the vocalist has a hardcore grunt and his screams sometimes sounds like Slayer. This is just a four track album but if you like metal core then you should definitely check out their myspace and order it.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thearchitectsofhate

70/100

VIRON – Ferrum Gravis (CD) Germany March 2008 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 57:19 (Tracks: 10)
Viron's debut album 'N.W.O.G.H.M.' got some very good reviews in all metal related (web)magazines, I also reviewed that one and liked it, and now here is the follow up album 'Ferrum Gravis'. After the release of their debut album, Viron played several festivals including Headbanger's Open Air and Swordbrothers Festival and did small tours and single shows with bands like Ruffians, Majesty, Sabaton or Morgana Lefay. In 2007 Viron added a song to the Manilla Road tribute compilation 'The Riddle Masters'. Because of all the positive development in such a short period of time showed that their previous label wasn't able to handle them in a necessary and needful way. So they agreed to let Viron go. After receiving several offers, they signed with Metal Heaven in Summer 2007. On "Ferrum Gravis" the band again didn't use modern studio technics like triggered drums or amp-simulations, also you won't find any keyboards on the album. Even though the way of recording was quite similar to that of the debut album, the new one shows a lot of differences. Much more time invested into the songwriting process and catchy refrains were a major goal. The album was, again produced at Kohlekeller Studio (Sieges Even, Killers, Crematory). The album came out very powerful and clear sounding, this goes especially for the vocals. Very powerful and heavy songs like 'The Isle Of Man' or 'On The Run', are combined with slower, and sometimes even ballad like songs 'War' to more thrash songs 'Beyond The Gates' for instance, all on one album. This makes it a very diverse and various metal album, that proves that classic metal doesn't need to sound outdated. With this album Viron shows that melody and heaviness can go well together, and how!
Visit their website: http://www.viron1.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/viron1

78/100

FEBRUARY

AKERCOCKE – Antichrist (CD) England February 2008 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 41:08 (Tracks: 10)
Akercocke started in the early years of the 90s under the name Salem Orchid. After a lot of years they decided to say goodbye to their name and chanced it into Akercocke. After some demos they released their first album in 1999 (Goat of Mendes Records) and their second in 2001 (Peaceville). Their third album was released by Earache and they released their fourth and latest album also by Earache. Now back to the music. This album contains 10 tracks of Akercocke death metal. All the songs have a great variety in it and the composing of the songs are great. Their songs are not typical heavy death but death metal combined with clean vocals and very low grunts that sounds like it is been pulled out of the gutter. Except for track number seven which is a some kind of religious song. The guitar riffs are very technical and fast combined with solos and acoustic shit. The drums are pounding through every song like a machine gun. I have read that they had a lot of trouble in Ireland because of this album and even in America but I must say that this album sounds fucking great. If you like freaky death metal then you are going to enjoy this record.
Visit their website: http://www.akercocke.com
Recordlabel: http://www.earache.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/akercockeantichrist

75/100

ANUBIS GATE – Andromeda Unchained (CD) Denmark February 2008 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 70:12 (Tracks: 15)
Danish metallers Anubis Gate are no rookies in the business. This is the third recorded testimony after the band's debut album in 2004 and its successor in 2005. Recording 3 albums in 4 years and preserving the quality of the music is not an easy thing to do but Anubis Gate seems to be working in the right direction.
"Andromeda Unchained" is a complex listen of spacey progressive metal with the term being used to describe innovations such as oriental rhythms, samples, weird percussion. It might as well be the soundtrack of the motion picture Stargate. The new mainman Jacob Hansen (Beyond Twilight) is superb and reminded me of Lance King (Balance of Power, Avian, Pyramaze, etc.) on the higher notes. The songs are heavy and the guitars keep the leading roles with the great rhythm section being a close second in my opinion. Don't get me wrong; the keyboards here are great too but there's been a while since the last time I listened to some inspired skin beating… There are some power metal outbreaks within the songs ("Beyond Redemption" for example) and some interludes that contribute to the creation of the proper atmosphere. I would easily recommend this album to all the fans of progressive metal.
Visit their website: http://www.anubisgate.com
Recordlabel: http://www.locomotiverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anubisgate

82/100

ARCADIA - Cold Cold Bodies (CD) Italy February 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Metal / Hardcore Running time: 61:06 (Tracks: 13)
Arcadia is a band that only can be described as Italian Bastard Core. After they released their first demos in 1998 they got on a fast track to stardom and got a record deal from NoBrain Rec. To this day they played on numerous festivals sharing the stage with Obituary, Trivium and even supported Henry Rollins on his European tour. After a line-up change they got to put all their energy in a new album. The new album is described as red as blood, it will make your heart stop pumping. It is an enjoyable record but the description is a bit pulled out of context. So don’t be mislead. The band is currently touring everywhere you can imagine so if you have doubts about their abilities, check them out.
Visit their website: http://www.arcadiacrew.com
Recordlabel: http://www.valeryrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/arcadiabastardcore

80/100

AUGER BANE – On Wings Of Fallen Rock (CD) England February 2008 Mr. Globetrotter
Style: Rock / Metal Running time: 57:21 (Tracks: 11)
The future of England has become darker after I listened to this new album of young British achievers Auger Bane, a band that has been hyped since they won Sutton's Battle Of The Bands in 2005. With a new bassplayer, the band recorded their first full-length album in 2007 after having released quite a few demo's in the years before. That would indicate that Auger Bane, who have been busy making music since 2005, is a band that knows what their style is and how things should sound.
Unfortunately, neither of both have happened. Stylewise I cannot determine if I am hearing music by Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen, Metallica or one of the apparent thousands of influences hanging over this band like a dark cloud. As far as I am concerned, bringing originality is a must for a band that has potential, but still has to pave the way to stardom. That way is now still a very bumpy road with the risk of multiple flat tires. Productionwise there are even darker clouds. I cannot understand why this band did not have the patience to wait for an opportunity with a good producer. The quality of the production is on demo level, which means Auger Bane is still willing, but unable to step up a few steps in order to get a big name in the UK.
Recordlabel: http://www.peroxidemusic.com/vigilante
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/augerbane

55/100

BLOOD STAIN CHILD - Mozaiq (CD) Japan February 2008 Kay Vloeberghs
Style: Metal / Hardcore Running time: 46:04 (Tracks: 12)
Blood Stain Child is another metal band from the depths of Japan. They look like an In Flames rip-off and you can hear that the Scandinavian band is a huge influence on them. I’m not a big fan of synthesizers and this album has plenty of synth-action. But the good thing is that it doesn’t spoil the album. The description of the band say that they break down the boundaries of “heavy music but that’s not the case, it’s been done before by bands already mentioned. If you are a fan of In Flames or Children of Bodom then you should definitely check Blood Stain Child out!
Visit their website: http://www.bloodstainchild.com
Recordlabel: http://www.valeryrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bloodstainchildmusic

77/100

BLUTESZORN - Victory of the Dead (CD) Austria February 2008 Suzanne de Volder- Ruiter
Style: Black Metal Running time: 35.41 (Tracks: 9)
Bluteszorn is a two man band from Austria and was founded in 2003 by Njord. Njord played in a lot of other bands before, on bass guitar and guitar when he decided to go his own way. It took him two years but then the demo "De odio Mortuorum in viventes" was released in 2005. It was a release of only 100 copies and had a good reaction in the underground press: it was sold out after a few weeks! As an extra bonus a razorblade was included with the cd… A year later Njord teamed up with Dominus Noctis who played keyboards, bass guitar and drums! And already in 2007 the second album was both recorded and released! It was given the name: "Victory of the Dead".
"Victory of the Dead" is an old school Black metal album and gives what you can expect: it is grim, dark and evil. But it also varies with tempo changes and keyboard elements. Luckily the keyboards are not too dominant and only used as support. The music is well played, Njord and Dominus Noctis are obviously experienced musicians, Njord's voice is a good black metal voice: mean screams combined with low grunting. The sound of the cd is good, not the thin old school sound from the early nineties. So the final conclusion is that this is a good album! It is surely worthy of your attention!
Visit their website: http://www.bluteszorn.at
Recordlabel: http://www.ccprecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bluteszorn

83/100

CARRERA – Black Sheep (CD) The Netherlands February 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Speedrock Running time: 32:33 (Tracks: 13)
I never had heard of this Dutch band CARRERA before, although this trio, who's existing of Johan Perk (guitar and lead vocals), Gino van den Hoek (bass, vocals) and Bas de Geert (drums) already exist 10 years. "Black Sheep" is their fifth album and features 13 tracks. When I put the CD in my CD-player and listened to the first track "All In" I immediately had to think of THE GECKO BROTHERS. I thought "hey nice band", but when the second song "Ten Years" started, that feeling was completely gone because on this track Carrera sounds totally different. Then the next two songs "Dad" and "Black Sheep" are a bit in the "speedrock" style, which I like a lot. Even "Black Sheep" could have been from PETER PAN SPEEDROCK (listen to the first two or three vocal lines, they remind to PPS's "Go Satan Go"). But with a lot of songs like "Ten Years", "My Love", "Enough", "Today I Sold My Soul To Satan" and "My Love" I had the feeling I was listening to an alternative guitar rock band or so, I don't know. Okay, I can listen to it, but I had hoped Carrera played more heavier songs. The album also has three covers, which are the instrumental "King Of The Hill" (The Refreshments), "Tupelo County Jail" (High Plains Tradition) and "Enjoy The Silence" (Depeche Mode). Anyway, my favorite songs of this album are "Black Sheep", "All In", the cover "Enjoy The Silence", "Dad", "Pretty Itch" (reminds me to BUDGIE) and the last one "Rock & Roll Is Dead". My conclusion is that "Black Sheep" isn't a bad album, but it isn't also a great album, it's just an average album. Next time please more faster and heavier songs guys.
Visit their website: http://www.carrera.to
Recordlabel: http://www.freakydeakydutchrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/carrerafromholland

70/100

CRYING STEEL – The Steel is Back (CD) Italy February 2008 Marco van Empel
Style: Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 40:19 (Tracks: 10)
Crying Steel is a heavy metal band from Bologna, Italy. The band started in the spring of 1982 (NWOBHM era), from the pre-existent hard rock group Wurdalak, with the classic five member line-up: a singer, two guitarists, a bass player and a drummer. The creators of the band were the guitarist Alberto Simonini and the bass player Angelo Franchini (from Wurdalak), and later the singer Luca Bonzagni joined. The begin of 1983: after some changes the line-up was settled with the joining of Luca Ferri on drums and Franco Nipoti on second guitar. After some months their first demo tape was noticed by the Italian monthly specialized magazine "Rockerilla" that reported it to the Italian Indie Metal Eye. So Crying Steel was selected to appear on the first Italian heavy metal compilation called "Heavy-Metal Eruption" with the song "Thundergods" (march 1984), which received the best response. January 1985: Metal Eye released the mini-lp "Crying Steel" that got positive critics in the Italian and European scene. For the next two years the band played many concerts all over Italy: a real highlight was the performance at "Heavy Metal Festival" of Bologna (June 1986), with Motorhead and Twisted Sister. January 1987: they reached the second place in the "Best italian band" poll of the italian specialized magazine "HM". They got signed up by the Italian record label "LM Records-Materiali Sonori" that released the LP "On the prowl" (december 1987) available in picture-disc, cd, and compact cassette format. It was considered the best heavy metal work ever released in Italy according to many magazines (the first italian LP to come out on cd). Then, the band toured a lot in Italy. January 1988: got second place in the "Best italian band" poll of the italian specialized mag "HM" for the second time. September 1988: Alberto Simonini and Luca Bonzagni left the the band and got replaced by the female singer Lee Hevil (replaced by Lisa Bisognin) and the guitarist Michele Vanni. March 1990: Francesco di Nicola replaced Michele Vanni on guitar and in July of the same year the band played some concerts in Russia. March 1994: after some promoters request the band played a Reunion Gig with the original line-up (Bonzagni/Ferri/Franchini/Nipoti/Simonini) at "Sala Centofiori" in Bologna and reached a sold-out. January 2003: after a meeting proposed by Alberto Simonini, the band decided to play a real reunion with the classic line-up. May 2003: Reunion Gig at "Container" in Bologna. September 2003: after some other promoters enterprise the band was headliner at "Bologna Metal Fest 2003" at Palanord in Bologna. Crying Steel got great riffs/killer vocals and drums who are more in the background. The sounds of these Italian legends sounds more and more nowadays power metal. Heavy/ Power Metal in the vein of Judas Priest, Hammerfall and Australian metal maniacs Pegazus. Crying Steel made catchy and strong heavy metal for people like myself. A really great record !
Visit their website: http://www.cryingsteel.com
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cryingsteel

90/100

DANZIG – The Lost Tracks Of Danzig (2CD) USA February 2008 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Rock Running time: 55:28 / 59:48 (Tracks: 26)
I still can remember when I bought the self titled debut album of DANZIG in 1988. I was totally blown away by this superb album, which is still my favorite Danzig album (with great songs like "Am I Demon", "Not Of This World", "Soul On Fire", "Twist Of Cain" and "Mother"). However I like "Danzig II - Lucifuge" (1990) still too. Also Danzig's first soundtrack album "Black Aria" (1992) is still one of my favorites. And of course in his MISFITS and SAMHAIN period he has released some great stuff too. Of course Glenn Danzig has a recognizable voice, which I like very much. Well, to tell you the truth, when I listened to these two CD's of "The Lost Tracks Of Danzig" (each CD has 13 tracks) I was really disappointed. Of all 26 songs there are just a few tracks which I really like. But most of the songs are very moderate, boring and depressive. I think all these songs are leftovers of former studio albums instead of "lost tracks". There are also a few covers on these albums which are "Buick McKane" (T-Rex), "Cat People" (David Bowie) and "Caught In My Eye" (The Germs), but also these covers aren't that good. Anyway, the few songs I like on these two CD's are "Pain Is Like An Animal", "Bound By Blood", "Angel Of The 7th Dawn", "Who Claims The Soulless" and "Soul Eater". I would definitely not recommend this album to anyone who has nothing of Danzig. But if you want to buy an album of Danzig please buy one of his first three studio albums. Those are the best ones. Believe me.
Visit their website: http://www.danzig-verotik.com

68/100

DARKMOON - Apocalyptic Syndrome (CD) Switzerland February 2008 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Melodic Death /Thrash Metal Running time: 44:40 (Tracks: 10)
From the land of chocolate, the Alpes and Roger F