CD & DVD REVIEWS 2011

CD & DVD REVIEWS 2011

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DECEMBER

ACT OF STATE – Rebellion (MCD) The Netherlands December 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Power / Heavy Metal Running time: 16:42 (Tracks: 4)
During the summer of 2010, members from progressive metal band SHADOW OF EDEN and old-school thrash metal band DAMNATOR joined forces to create ACT OF STATE. With new determination and vision the new force soon hit the stage and received many positive reactions. Endowed with adrenaline and inspiration they set off to create their debut EP, 'Rebellion'. This all according the bands biography. The band uses a wide range of influences taken from heavy, power, progressive and thrash metal. Lyrically ACT OF STATE deals with political, historical and social issues.
This is the bands debut release and I must admit that's it's a very nice one! I really miss this kind of metal in The Netherlands a lot! According the mass of the Dutch metal community; oldschool is dead and/or boring. Well fuck them; bands like Act of State show them they are totally wrong!! And Mario's Metal Mania webzine will join forces to prove them they are wrong! Nice album guys; well done!!
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/actofstate

75/100

ALMAH – Motion (CD) Brazil December 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Power Metal Running time: 44:20 (Tracks: 10)
After releases in 2007 and 2008, this is Almah's third album. Almah's line-up consists of Angra's singer Edu Falaschi, Marcelo Barbosa and Paulo Schroeber (guitars) , Felipe Andreoli (bass) and Marcelo Moreira (drums). Almah started off as a solo project by Falaschi as he produced the first album, composed all the songs and wrote all of the lyrics on this debut album. Back then, he invited a lot of colleagues from other bands like Kamelot, Stratovarius and Nightwish. On this third effort, Almah is a real band with a permanent line-up. Almah planned a worldwide tour beginning in the homeland of the musicians, Brazil later this year and visiting other countries in the world in the beginning of next year. Unfortunately, Falaschi has had some serious trouble with his voice so the Brazilian part is still on but after that, he is taking a period of rest to allow his voice to recover fully from the many years of very demanding usage. There are ten tracks on this album, which is a very diverse album. The album starts with “Hypnotized” which is a raw straight-in-your-face song. Almah sounds a bit heavier than the average Angra-songs they have been releasing lately. The next one, “Living and Drifting” is a faster song with Falaschi partly using a raw voice. The two guitarists are riffing throughout the song. The chorus of this song gets in your mind and remains there. “Days of the New” shows Falaschi singing lower and a bit stoner-like and has some superb guitar playing integrated in the song. The first ballad on the album is “Bullets on the Altar”. This song allows Falaschi to sing in a more subtle and emotional way. Some beautiful guitar playing and even some keyboards accompany him. “Zombies Dictator” is a fast and heavy song with Falaschi changing his vocals from clear singing to death metal-like shouting and growling. The guitar-duo really shows their enormous musical craftsmanship. The vocal and musical diversity is also big on “Trace of Trait” as some parts are played modestly while the biggest part consists of fast power metal with progressive influences. At the next one, it is like listening to Death or Morbid Angel at the beginning of the song “Soul Alight” but this changes in a real fast power metal song with even some keyboards. “Late Night in '85” is a very slow and quiet ballad with Falaschi singing very modestly as is the guitar playing. The tempo goes up again on “Daydream Lucidity” that consists mainly of fast and well-played power metal. The last song on the album is another ballad. “When and Why” is a very quiet acoustic ballad. This album is a very diverse album with all band-members performing on a very high musical level. I hope that Falaschi takes his time to recover so that the planned world tour can go ahead and we get a chance to see this band alive.
Visit their website: http://www.almah.com.br
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/almahedufalaschi

86/100

ANUBIS GATE – Anubis Gate (CD) Denmark December 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 62:07 (Tracks: 10)
Anubis Gate has been around since 2001. Henrik Fevre (bass, vocals) and Kim Olesen (guitars) joined founding members Jesper M. Jensen (guitars) and Morten Sørensen (drums). Four albums later this foursome are still the members of Anubis Gate. The start of the album is very promising as “Hold Back Tomorrow” consists of over seven minutes of beautifully arranged and played progressive metal. Fevre's voice is crystal clear and the total atmosphere on this track is very moody with some piano both at the start as on the end of the track. The guitar playing is also great and fits the composition perfectly. “The Re-Formation Show” vocally tends towards Yes on the higher parts. Fevre used to play the bass and do some singing but if you hear the way he sings on this album, it is unbelievable that it took so many years for Fevre to become the lead-vocalist. This is again a great composition by some great musicians. The start of “Facing Dawn” is almost disco-like. The rest of the song is a more straightforward, though very catchy song. The diversity on “World on a Dome” is big but this is the main reason that these eight minutes and twenty-one seconds remain extremely fascinating. There are some great vocals and choruses on this track, that have a strong Vanden Plas resemblance as Fevre's voice sounds a lot like Andy Kuntz's voice. Fierce riffing at the beginning of Desiderio Omnibus” leads the way for a fast power metal song with progressive metal influences. “Oh My Precious Life” has some great choruses which result in a Yes feel until the tempo and the power go up. This results in some fine guitar playing. Towards the end of the song, the choruses rule again. Rainfall and storm is what you hear both at the beginning as at the end of “Golden Days” In between again a great composition with some keyboards and again great vocals and beautiful controlled playing by the rest of the band. Some weird keyboard-sounds start off “Telltale Eyes” which is filled with all kind of rhythms that are played against the grain. Besides that, there is also some heavy riffing on this track. This is some superb progressive stuff. Even the instrumental (at least almost) “River” takes you on a beautiful instrumental path for almost four minutes. Anubis Gate has reserved the longest song as their last one on this album. This one that clocks nine minutes and twenty-four seconds has the title “Circumstanced” and allows Anubis Gate another chance to show their musical craftsmanship. It is unbelievable that a bigger audience does not know this band better because they have been releasing great records so far. I hope that this album brings the well-deserved change.
Visit their website: http://www.anumisgate.com
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anubisgate

90/100

BLACKRAIN – Into the Black (CD) Sweden December 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Melodic Rock Running time: 53:08 (Tracks: 13)
This Blackrain comes from Sweden and comes forth of the band “Just a Quickstop”. Changing that name wasn't a bad idea because I don't think it was that catchy so to say. Calling it Blackrain, well that creates expectations about the kind of music. Metal the more brutal way or something like that perhaps. No, not this Blackrain (there a more of them in various styles). They present pure melodic rock with some heavy edges. “Hellfire” opens heavy and is a crossbred between AC/DC's “Hail Ceasar” (musically) and Black Sabbath during the Tony Martin Area (vocally and that dark atmosphere). Great opener, brilliant song but it isn't represent the rest of the album. Follower's “Same Old Story”, “The Best”, “Who I Am” and the two other pearls of the album “Psycho Dog” and the sublime “Into The Black” are pure rockers. More like Molly Hatchet without that typical southern vocals. About the vocals; the band has in Daniel Söderberg a good versatile singer who lifts most songs to a higher level. So far this band kicks ass and I'm ready for more. Unfortunately this is it. The rest of the songs lack the inspiration and the “pepper in the ass” that this stuff needs. Really awkward how this album goes out like the proverbial candle. Six really good songs and then ……. what a pity this is. The other songs don't convince me, sound dull and .. well I can go on, but it's the disappointment that controls me know. I put on the cd again to get that right feeling again and stop after “Into the Black” and give this album 85 point…… no, that isn't the right way to judge of course, so they have to do it with 70. Come on guys, next time make sure you earn that first amount.
MySpace: http:// www.myspace.com/blackrainsweden

70/100

CLOVEN HOOF – Dominator (CD re-release) United Kingdom December 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: NWOBHM Running time: 40:52 (Tracks: 8)
What to tell about this legendary NWOBHM band?? Not to much; every true-hearted NWOBHM fan knows this band AND this album! This is just a re-release of the classic “Dominator” album; the first album of Cloven Hoof with Russ North on vocals, one of the greatest voices in metal. The best comparison I can give is to Harry Conklin of Jag Panzer. North's voice is very deep and rich, but he also has quite a range, as showcased on songs like "Reach For the Sky”.
The only problem I have with this re-release is the production; it all sounds weak and I get the feeling that the album is re-recorded from an old vinyl album because I hear a layer of static towards the front of the mix. That's a pity.
But nevertheless it's a collector's item! If you still don't have the old original album; check this out! The band is still alive and kicking but I regret it that singer Russ North has left the band a while ago because he (and guitar player Lee Payne) ARE Cloven Hoof!
Visit their website: http://www.cloven-hoof.co.uk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/clovenhoofofficial

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DAMIAN WILSON – I thought the World was Listening (2CD) United Kingdom December 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Singer Song Writer Total songs: (Tracks: 31)
Damian Wilson is a well known singer in the metal scene. This man also plays in the prog metal bands Threshold, Maiden United and Star One. But this album is something totaly different. Metal? NO...but this is good! This album is a compilation of his older albums but rerecorded. Two cd's filled with classics of his solo albums and they sound ravaging and full of emotion. Normally I really do not like singer song writers but this is so well done and takes you away when you listen to his voice. There are also some new songs on it (for me it is all new hahaha). This album is a must for fans of Damian Wilson, the songs are good and bring you an easy listening feeling that doesn`t get annoying.
Visit their website: http://www.damian-wilson.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/damianwilson

78/100

DEADEND IN VENICE – See you on the Ground (CD) Germany December 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 32:25 (Tracks: 9)
Founded by the end of 2008, DEADEND IN VENICE brings us their debut album 'See you on the ground'. The band plays melodic death metal according to their bio, I would add the term 'modern' to that. The music of DEADEND IN VENICE can be compared to bands like DEADLOCK, IN THIS MOMENT or SYSTEM DIVIDE, with their (clean) female vocalist on board, together with some gutteral grunting and a solid melodic death metal base. Production is done very well, a heavy pounding sound is produced. Musically these gentlemen know how to use their instruments, and most songs aren't that bad, not very original, but who is these days? And that doesn't have to be a problem at all, as long as it's well done whatever they do. Musically no complaints, only thing is that the female vocals take the power and aggression out of some songs, the grunts sounds a bit thin too, but then again this is their debut and they are a fairly young band who have to mature some more I guess, so let's see where they will take this band. Not a bad debut at all, some high points of the album for me were 'Brain Execution' and 'War', depth points 'Personal decay' and 'last chances'. I would say loose the death term and call modern melodic metal, cause it's mainly there because of the grunting vocals I guess, but has very little to do with death (metal). My advise, try before you buy!
Visit their website: http://www.deadend-in-venice.de
Recordlabel: http://www.coprorecords.co.uk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deadendinvenice

74/100

DELIVER – Deliverance (7” Vinyl) Germany December 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Metalcore / Hardcore Running time: 14:25 (Tracks: 5)
From Stuttgart comes DELIVER, a hardcore band founded in 2010. Again this is a 7” (picture) vinyl release, with 5 aggressive oldschool hardcore pieces on it. Songs on this release are 'Dead Morning', 'Directions', 'deliverance', 'Despair' and 'Done'. This band consists of 5 guys who are fedd up with many developments in the world, in Europe, in Germany, in Stuttgart and in the scene, this is an ideal combination for a furious hardcore band which they are! Screaming vocals, heavy guitars and fast and furious songs makes this a very enjoyable piece of music. The band offers all songs downloadable for free, and tapes and vinyl are available at their gigs. These guys are hardcore by heart, support them!
Visit their website: http://www.deliverofficial.de
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de

78/100

DIXIE WITCH – Let It Roll (CD) USA December 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard / Southern / Stoner Rock Running time: 35:58 (Tracks: 10)
Although DIXIE WITCH exists since 1999, I have to admit that I never had heard of them before. This rock trio, which exists of Trinidad Leal (lead vocals, drums), Curt Christenson (lead vocals, bass) and Joshua “JT” Todd Smith (guitar), really surprised me with this fourth album “Let It Roll”, because it sounds really awesome. The music is heavy, grooves and swings, and the songs have fantastic guitar solo's and a great bass sound. So far DIXIE WITCH has released the following albums: “Into The Sun” (2001, re-released in 2004 on Small Stone Records), “One Bird, Two Stones” (2003) and “Smoke And Mirrors” (2006). This album is the first one with JT Smith who replaced original guitarist Clayton Mills in 2009. Musically these three guys from Austin, Texas are playing a mixture of classic Hard Rock, Southern Rock and Stoner Rock. The first track, which is the title track, “Let It Roll” reminds immediately of early BLACK SABBATH, and "Anthem" sounds very much like LYNYRD SKYNYRD. As you can see, DIXIE WITCH does have two lead vocalists, only I don't know which songs are sung by Leal and which ones by Christenson. Anyway, “Let It Roll” is a strong album, because in my opinion it doesn't have weak songs. It doesn't matter, because songs like “Let It Roll”, “Boogie Man”, “Red Song”, “Anthem” (superb), “Automatic Lady” or “December” are all a pleasure to listen to. If you like bands such as CLUTCH, GOV'T MULE, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, early BLACK SABBATH, SASQUATCH, ROADSAW to name a few, then you'll have to check out this album. I'm sure you will like “Let It Roll” too. Well, this is 100% kick ass rock and roll, so guys…..let it rock and let it roll. Great band and superb album.
Recordlabel: http://www.smalltone.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dixiewitch

86/100

ELECTRIC MARY – Electric Mary III (CD) Australia December 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 38:49 (Tracks: 10)
Wow, this album "Electric Mary III" was really a surprise to me, because I never had heard of Australian Hard Rock band ELECTRIC MARY before. I don't know why Listenable Records doesn't send biographies with their releases, but it would be easy if they did! I didn't get a biography of Spanish rockers of '77 with their second album "High Decibels" (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews, November 2011), and with this CD of ELECTRIC MARY, I also didn't get a biography. So, I had to search on the internet for some more information about the band. Well, the band's official website is under construction, and there isn't also any information on the band's MySpace page. Luckily there is Wikipedia and some other sites where I could find some info. So I found out that the band was formed in 2003, and exists of Rusy Brown (vocals), Pete Robinson (guitar), Irwin Thomas (guitar), Alex Raunjak (bass) and Venom (drums). So far, they have released the following EP's "The Definition Of Insanity" (2006), "The Venom Principle" (2008) and "Long Time Coming" (2011), and the albums "Four Hands High" (2004) and "Down To The Bone" (2008). The album title "Electric Mary III" speaks for itself of course. It's the band's third full length album and it features ten tracks. And what an album it is. From the first time I listened to "Electric Mary III" I liked the entire album immediately. Fantastic songs, great vocals, awesome grooves, fantastic guitar solo's. Really, from the first track "O.I.C." until the last one "American Jam", it's a real pleasure to listen to these awesome rock songs in classic 70's Hard Rock style. In my opinion there isn't any weak song on "Electric Mary III". This album already has made many spins in my CD-player. If you like classic 70's Hard Rock, and love bands such as LED ZEPPELIN, WHITESNAKE, THE ANSWER, RIVAL SONS to name a few, you will absolutely love this album as well. Although I do like the entire album very much, my favorite songs are "O.I.C.", "Stained", "Long Time Coming", "Bone On Bone" and "Waiting". Superb album, check it out.
Visit their website: http://www.electricmary.com
Recordlabel: http://www.listenable.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/electricmary

87/100

ELKS – Destined for the Sun (MCD) USA December 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Sludge Metal Running time: 22:08 (Tracks: 6)
The Brooklyn based band Elks has just released their debut album 'Destined for the Sun' through Tee Pee Records. The album lasts twenty-two minutes, to be exact. An album of such short length is a big risk. Especially when it's the first ever recording of a band. You can only pull that off if the music is qualitatively good. Luckily, this is the case with 'Destined for the Sun.' The band delivers six filthy sludge fuelled songs that are extremely catchy in terms of sticking with you. Pounding drums, nasty riffs and recognizable melodies altogether with sludge style vocals. The lyrical concept handles with a sci-fi story that you wouldn't expect with the music, but works wonderfully well. It keeps you focussed to sit to the entire, well, twenty-two minutes…The length of the album is probably the only negative comment I can think of. But then again, that just might be the reason why it is so intense. All I can say is: more of this please!
Recordlabel: http://www.teepeerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/elkselkselks

85/100

ENDLESS CYCLE – Into the Opaque (CD) The Netherlands December 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Progressive Thrash Death Metal Running time: 57:57 (Tracks: 8)
Endless Cycle was formed in 2006 and released a demo in 2007. This is their debut album and it sounds ravaging. The guitar riffs are very progressive and technical combined with a very big dose of solos and even some acoustic in it. The drums are furious and also technical. The vocals are grunts combined with screams and clean parts. This band is unsigned but when you listen to this album the first thing you think is Fuck Yeah this sounds good. The songs are filled with variety and sound great. The production of this album is also good and well produced. When you like Progressive death thrash then you should definitely check their site and order your copy!
Visit their website: http://www.endlesscycle.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ecycle

79/100

ENORMICON – Storm of Swords (MCD) USA December 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Stoner Metal Running time: 31:28 (Tracks: 6)
Enormicon is a three-piece metal band hailing from Denton, Texas. Formed in 2008, the band plays a mixture of stoner and doom metal with fantasy lyrics. The 'Storm of Swords' E.P. is their first studio effort and is self-produced. I must start with a compliment on the package. The fantasy styled artwork is done very well and really contributes to the lyrical concept. The music itself is a different story. The compact stoner/doom compositions are never bad, but they cannot exceed the mediocre in terms of memorable songs. Compositions like 'Slaghammer' and 'Dark Forces' definitely contain some great hooks and riffs, but overall it sounds like a demo version of Tool. A bad thing? No, absolutely not. After all, Tool is a great band to be compared with. On 'Storm of Swords', the band shows their potential and the ability to create an interesting story. Let's hope that on a next record, they will make the experience more interesting as a whole, with memorable songs. But as for now, I don't think I will play this record very often. But be sure to check it out for yourself if you dig stoner rock/metal.
Visit their website: http://www.enormiconmetal.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/enormiconmetal

65/100

EVILE – Five Serpent's Teeth (CD) United Kingdom December 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Speed / Thrash Metal Running time: 53:29 (Tracks: 10)
EVILE did have a great start with their fantastic debut album "Enter The Grave" (2007) which got excellent reviews in the press. Personally I discovered EVILE in August or September of 2008, and reviewed "Enter The Grave" in October of that year for MMM. Because I liked "Enter The Grave", which got 88 out of 100 points, very much, I immediately bought the band's second album "Infected Nations" (2009) when it was released. But to tell the truth, at that time I was a little bit disappointed at first, because "Infected Nations" sounded too much like METALLICA. Nevertheless, the more I played "Infected Nations" the more I began to like that album. And nowadays I like that album just as much as "Enter The Grave". But if you ask me which one is the best of those two albums, I would still say "Enter The Grave". Weeks after the release of "Infected Nations", bass player Mike Alexander died on October 5th in Sweden at the age of 32 when EVILE was on tour. On January 27th 2010, I saw EVILE for the first time live at the small hall of venue 013, Tilburg, Holland with American Thrashers WARBRINGER as their support, and EVILE are a great live band as well. Now, Matt Drake (vocals, rhythm guitar), Ol Drake (lead guitar), newcomer Joel Graham (bass) and Ben Carter (drums) are back with their third album, titled "Five Serpent's Teeth". The album features ten songs, and is, just like "Infected Nations", produced by Russ Russell. "Five Serpent's Teeth" is a logical continuation of its predecessor "Infected Nations", because also on this third album EVILE still sounds like the METALLICA boys (lets say METALLICA's "Master Of Puppets" and "…And Justice For All" period). Any Thrasher who's familiar with EVILE can't deny that. Anyway, I must admit that this time I liked "Five Serpent's Teeth" pretty quickly. Although it still reminds me of the good old early METALLICA, the band, which plays very tightly, treats us on excellent musicianship, with great riffs and fantastic solo's. And of course Matt Drake sings again just like James Hetfield. This time there isn't any instrumental track on the album, such as the boring "Hundred Wrathful Deities" on "Infected Nations". That song lasted, with 11:14 minutes, in my opinion way too long. Songs such as "Eternal Empire", "Origin Of Oblivion", "Centurion" and "In Memoriam", which is dedicated to Mike Alexander, are all good, but the best songs on this third album are in my opinion the title track "Five Serpent's Teeth", "In Dreams Of Terror" (superb), the more melodic "Cult", "Xaraya", the fast "Decent Into Madness" and "Long Live New Flesh". Not that "Infected Nations" is a bad album, but to me "Five Serpent's Teeth" is just a bit better album. "Five Serpent's Teeth" is absolutely a real recommendation for all Thrashers. One thing is for sure, "Five Serpent's Teeth" is way much better then "Lulu", the album METALLICA recorded together with LOU REED, because "Lulu" is a real disaster and the worst album they ever released so far. Anyway, go see EVILE on their upcoming European headlining tour in January/February 2012, together with DR. LIVING DEAD and PORTRAIT. On January 26th, they play in my hometown Tilburg, Holland in the small hall of 013 and on February 3rd in the Biebob club in Vosselaar, Belgium. I will be there at the show in 013, and maybe in the Biebob club as well.
Visit their website: http://www.evile.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.earache.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/evileuk

90/100

FINAL PRAYER – Berlin (7” Vinyl) Germany December 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Metalcore / Hardcore Running time: 10:45 (Tracks: 3)
FINAL PRAYER are a hardcore band from Berlin, and this is their new effort, three years after their last album. This new release, entitled 'Berlin' is a 7” containing two new songs and a cover of Ideal's Neue Deutsche Welle anthem 'Berlin' , featuring guest vocals by Nico Wfahm and Bernd Kurtzke of the famous Beatsteaks. FINAL PRAYER plays catchy and slightly melodic, energetic hardcore and can almost be called the german Agnostic Front if you ask me, I like this very much. Although since this is my first acquitance with them, I would rather have heard one more song of their own instead of a cover, nevertheless it's very well done and I like it anyway. Other tracks are 'Mind Eraser' and 'Final Hour', inspired by life in Berlin this record tells stories of resistance and struggle past and present. I would say buy or die, that is if you have a record player!
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de

82/100

GOREGAST – Desechos Humanos (CD) Germany December 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death Grind Metal Running time: 29:54 (Tracks:10)
Goregast started spreading their rage in 2004. They released their debut album in 2005 and their second album in 2007. This is there 3rd album and it sounds great. I never heard of this band before so when I saw the tittles of the songs I thought they were from Pain, but dont be confused because they are German and they sing in Spanish ha ha. The guitar riffs are very easy listening and groovy. The same goes for the drums. The vocals are grunts. Well when you get a subscription that it is death grind the first thing that comes to mind is bands like Napalm Death. That is not the case but what I can say is that this album sounds great (even in Spanish). There are sick solos through the songs and the sphere in the music is very threatening. The composing of the songs are good and the production is also good. If you like bands that make death grind then you should check this album.
Website: http://www.goregast.de
Recordlabel: http://www.fda-rekotz.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/goregast

75/100

GUILTY AS SIN - Psychotronic (CD) USA December 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Punk / Hardcore / Thrash / Experimental Running time: 36:55 (Tracks: 9)
In April of 2010 I reviewed the debut album "Led To The Slaughter" of GUILTY AS SIN, which got 45 out of 100 points. That debut album was just a terrible one. Now I got another album of these guys to review, titled "Psychotronic". And to tell the truth, also this album, which is the band's third one, really sucks. "Psychotronic" is again an album which was financed by the band themselves. Of course the band had to release this shit album by themselves again, because there isn't any record label that would release such crap. Well, the line-up of GUILTY OF SIN hasn't changed, so it's still Dan McAdam (guitar), Ryan Dilberian (bass) and Zak Ovoian (vocals, drums). On the "Led To The Slaughter" album it was Thrash- and Speed Metal what the band played. On this album the band plays short punk/hardcore songs with blast speed drums, and some longer experimental songs. Not only musically it sucks, also vocally, because I can't hear what they are singing about. The album starts with an electronic track titled "Start Transmission" (1:29), and then we got four very short punk/hardcore songs, which are "Destroyed Reptoid 1.0" (1:41), "Frothing At The Cunt" (1:12), "Into Dust" (0:44) and "Boston Beatdown" (1:47). The longer and experimental songs are "Addicted To Cyanide" (6:40), "Gobekli Tepe" (7:29), "When Machines Eat Flesh" (3:32) and the title track "Psychotronic" (12:16), which reminds of BUTTHOLE SURFERS. Do you believe that after one listen to this album "Psychotronic" I already had enough of it. So, just like with "Led To The Slaughter", my advise is again 'don't spend your money on this terrible album', because it is not worth it and it's a real waste of your time. '
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/guiltymusic2008

30/100

HERCULES - Rockwaves (CD) Norway December 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Boogie Rock Running time: 54:26 (Tracks: 13)
I never had heard of Norwegian Hard Rock / Boogie Rock band HERCULES before. The band, which exists of Vermund Moss (vocals, lead- & rhythm guitar), Tormod Haug (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Simen Knuts (bass, vocals) and Lars Braastad (drums), was formed in 1998. The first product they released was the EP "Nice Try", and that was in 2000. Their debut album "Checkin' In" was released in 2001 and their second album "Licence To Rock" in 2005. "Rockwaves" is the third album of these guys, and was recorded in 2010 and released on January 8th, 2011. The album is released by the band themselves and is available through their official website. The band also gets promotional help by Two Side Moon/SLW Promotions. Anyway, when I put this album in my CD player, and heard the first song "Straight Ahead", I immediately had to think of STATUS QUO. Not only musically HERCULES sounds like the QUO, but also the vocals of Vermund Moss sounds very much like Francis Rossi. So, in fact this album, which is a very accessible one, is a very nice acquaintance to me. The band exists of very good musicians, and I must say that Moss is an excellent solo guitarist as well. All music and lyrics are written by Moss, except the lyrics of 8 songs ("Straight Ahead", "Progress In Reverse", "A Hold On Me", "Waiting", "By Your Side", "Special Service", "When The Rock Won't Roll" and "Heading For Trouble"), because those are written by a Dutch guy called Jan Leentjes. There's only one song on this album which isn't sung by Moss, but by bass player Knuts, and that's "Heading For Trouble". The production of "Rockwaves", which was done by Ragnar Løsnesløkken and Vermund Moss, sounds very good, and the songs are very good compositions of which most of them are very catchy. In fact, this album can easily compete with classic QUO albums of the 70's and early 80's. Anyway, my favorite songs on "Rockwaves" are "Straight Ahead", "Sad Old Joke", "Progress In Reverse", "A Hold On Me", "Special Service", "Wanna Play", "Heading For Trouble", "Love In Vain" and "No Chance At All". "Rockwaves" is a very nice album to listen to, and is absolutely a recommendation for all QUO fans in the world. Well done guys. '
Visit their website: http://www.herculesband.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/herculesband

78/100

INQUISITOR – The Quantum Theory of Id (CD) Lithuania December 2011 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Avant-garde Black Metal Running time: 41:54 (Tracks: 5)
First thing that comes in mind when hearing the vocals from Lord is that he sounds almost exactly like Patrick Mameli from Pestilence. And also the music from Inquisitor has some interface with the dutch gods during their “Spheres” period. The guitars feel a little bit left out and just a little bit too quiet, which brings the atmosphere of the album a little less intense then it could have been. The drum sound is a bit cheap and the snare is minimally annoying at times, but rarely. Aside from these set backs, the production doesn't leave anything completely out. The bass and vocals are very clear, and the production never truly distracts from the technical excellence of the album. The metal on this album is at times very heavy, fast, technical and satisfying. The riffs are staccato or tremelo picked and sometime fly all over the place. There are dozens of strange time signatures and sudden tempo changes which catch interest. Overall the guitar riffs are generally short but provide alot for the album. The tempo often changes from rapid-fast to mid-range to slow. Sometimes it's not a great switch, but most of the time it works just fine.
The production on ”The Quantum Theory of Id” is clearly not superb, but it is still listenable and allows the music to be progressive. Everything is low quality but very easy to listen to and get into. The songs are very catchy and detailed, which even mediocre production can't ruin. It almost sounds like one knob or so got turned wrong and jerked the balance a little bit. I must say that the contribution of the piano sounds like one of the latest Arcturus albums which is not a bad point at all and contributes to the avant-garde style. I would recommend this album to anyone who likes his or her metal a little bit different. The songs are technical and have lots of weird influences. This gives a lot to discover on this solid debut from this promising band from Lithuania.
Visit their website: http://www.inquisitor.lt
Recordlabel: http://www.forgotten-path.lt
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/inquisitorlt

77/100

LOCH VOSTOK – Dystopium (CD) Sweden December 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 51:50 (Tracks: 11)
This is Loch Vostok's fourth release. The band rose from the ashes of Mayadome. After some line-up changes nowadays Loch Vostok consists of founding member Teddy Möller (vocals, guitars) who used to be the drummer in Mayadome, Niklas Kupper (guitars), Fredrik Klingwall (keyboards), Jimmy Mattsson (bass) and Lawrence Dinamarca (drums). Throughout the last few years, I have had a chance to see Loch Vostok play live a couple of times. I love this band and especially Teddy. He is a real nice person that has been around in the metal scene for many years, swimming against the tide. Now let us talk about the music. The first track, “A Mission Undivine”, is a fast and heavy one with a lot of bass-drums. Teddy uses both his clean vocal style as his death metal growling vocal style that provides the music with a lot of diversity. This also goes for the music that is a mix of technical progressive metal and fast aggressive death metal. On the second song, “Repeat Offender” there is some superb guitar playing. The song is a bit less fast but has a great pounding vibe to it. On “World Trade Dissenter”, Teddy tells us how much he hates the way international trade works nowadays and that in his eyes slavery is back. “Sacred Structure” is about how Teddy/Loch Vostok dislike(s) religions and the enormous power they apparently have. The vocals sound emotional and melancholic and have a certain Evergrey feel to it. The next one, “Navigator” is one of the less heavy songs with Teddy singing in a very modest way and with only a few heavy musical outbursts. This is compensated by “In the Wake of Humanity" which has some quiet parts but has also some parts with enormous blast beats. Teddy is quite clear about how he thinks about religion as he speaks out that it is better to work than to worship. He uses a deformed computer-like voice at the beginning of “Viral Strain”. The band sounds really tight especially on the heavier faster parts. The last bit of the track is reserved for some spooky sounds and strange bleeps. Teddy grunts and growls fantastically on “Disconnection” which is a fast and heavy song that is built on a base of progressive metal. ”Taste the Flame” starts on a slow mode but it turns into a big piece of fast and fierce death metal towards the middle of the song. Towards the end of the song, it is progressive metal again what you get. Pounding double-bass drums and spherical keyboards are prominently present on “Absence”. In the meantime, both guitarists are riffing throughout the song. The title-track is the last and the longest song on the album clocking six minutes and twenty-eight seconds. The diversity both vocally as musically is big on this track as it is on the rest of the album. A great track to end this great album. At the end of 2010, Loch Vostok did a European tour with Therion. I hope that they will get a chance to get on another tour so that as many people as possible get a chance to see them perform their music live. However, until that happens, luckily there is always the possibility to listen to one of the four Loch Vostok releases.
Visit their website: http://www.lochvostok.com
Recordlabel: http://www.vicisolum.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lochvostok

86/100

LORD VOLTURE – Never Cry Wolf (CD) The Netherlands December 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Heavy Power Metal Running time: 1:07:44 (Tracks: 11)
In September 2010 I already reviewed the awesome debut album of these Dutch metallers; “Beast of Thunder'. So for a bio about the band I recommend that review. What counts me first is the fact that the band is now called Lord Volture instead of David Marcelis' Lord Volture. A very wise decision if you ask me and I will explain why later on in the review.
The band still walks the musical path they started on their first album; US-metal-a-like power metal in the vein of (the once legendary) Jag Panzer! I also still hear a lot of Judas Priest and Iced Earth influences back in their songs. This album is suited with a very good production; a great packaging and again a superb guest musician; Cage's Sean Peck (who is doing the 2nd voice on “Into the Lair of a Lion”). And during that song I noticed the quality difference between both singers. Don't forget that I still adore David's unique voice but comparised with a singer like Sean Peck (who IS one of the best US metal singers these days) its clear who is the real US powermetal singer. Musically the band nevertheless can compete with ANY US-metal band! That's the reason I was glad to see that they shortened the bandname into Lord Volture! Very good decision!! Lord Volture is not David's project but a complete band!
Their debut album was an easy to decline album; this follow up took several listening sessions before it impressed me as much as their debut. But after a lot of rounds in my CD player I must admit that the band did grow a lot in such a short time.
Personally Lord Volture is still my favorite Dutch metalband and just a hint for the other Jag Panzer fans in Holland; this album is way much better than Jag Panzer's latest (and last; they split up lately) effort!!
Visit their website: http://www.lordvolture.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lordvolture

85/100

MAGNUM - Evolution (CD) United Kingdom December 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 69:39 (Tracks: 12)
The Visitation has hardly been released or the English melodic (hard) rockers of Magnum release a new album again, called Evolution. This album is not a regular studio album with new material, it is some sort of a “Best Of”. Evolution is released to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the band`s reunion. Since this reunion in 2001, Magnum has been very active: they released 5 studio albums, a double DVD and a double live CD, all released on Steamhammer/SPV. Evolution contains eight songs from their previously released come back albums which were partially re-recorded and fully mixed, two songs from The Visitation and two totally new songs. The result of the new recordings has lead to a more fresh impression than the original recordings. Finally, with the best songs selected of previous albums, this is one of the best releases of Magnum.
The history of Magnum starts in the seventies and they are active until the mid-nineties. Than the band decides to split up. However, this split-up was temporary because in 2001, the band reunited. At this moment, the band consists of Tony Clarkin (Guitars, but also the producer of the album), Bob Catley (also active as solo artist, listen to his solo albums!), keyboardist Mark Stanway, Al Barrow (bass) and Harry James on drums.
Magnum plays melodic hard rock which, unfortunately, will never reach a big audience. Nevertheless, I can recommend this album to everyone who wants to get introduced to well played melodic hard rock. The album is interesting for the die-hard Magnum fans too because it contains two new recordings. Go for it!
Visit their website: http://www.magnumonline.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/magnumuk

82/100

MARTYR – Circle Of 8 (CD) The Netherlands December 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 61:12 (Tracks: 12)
MARTYR is a Dutch Metal band from Utrecht, which existed from 1982 until 1987, but reformed in 2001. In the eighties MARTYR released two albums, which are "For The Universe" (1985) and "Darkness At Time's Edge" (1986). After all those years MARTYR is back with their third full length album "Circle Of 8", which is released on Metal Blade records. In 2009 the band already released the five track EP "Fear". On October 3rd 2010, MARTYR even played on the fourth edition of MARIO'S METAL MEETING. Anyway, Rop van Haren (vocals), Rick Bouwman (guitar), Marcel Heesakkers (guitar), Toine van der Linden (bass) and Wilfried Broekman (drums) recorded twelve songs for this third album, of which one is a re-recorded version of their classic "Speed Of Samurai" (from their debut album "From The Universe"). The band sounds heavier than they sounded in the eighties. You still can hear some influences of IRON MAIDEN ("Insensible Scream"), but in several songs also influences of FLOTSAM AND JETSAM ("D.I.", "All Warriors Blood", "The Uninvited", "Locked"). "Circle Of 8" was produced by Jack Nobelen (formerly guitarist of HIGHWAY and HORIZON in the eighties, now in coverband STILETTO), and sounds very good. To me, the best songs on "Circle Of 8" are "Afterlife", "Art Of Desception", "Circle Of 8", "The Uninvited", "Insensible Scream", "Fake" and of course "Speed Of Samurai (2011)". Well, I don't have to tell you that MARTYR exists of excellent and skilled musicians, and with Van Haren they have a fantastic singer and frontman. Anyway, my end conclusion is that "Circle Of 8" is a fantastic album of these Dutch metal veterans. Great work guys, up to album 4.
Visit their website: http://www.martyronline.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.metalblade.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/martyronline

82/100

METSATOLL – Ulg (CD) Estonia December 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Extreme Metal Running time: 43:51 (Tracks: 11)
2008 marked a new chapter for Metsatoll. In that year they've signed with Spinefarm records and the following year, a DVD/CD box was released to celebrate the band's 10th anniversary. And now, on 11-11-2011, the band has just released its latest album 'Ulg.'
Over the past decade, Metsatoll made name with playing folk metal with Estonian instruments and influences and also Estonian lyrics. But unlike the more 'commercial' successfully folk metal band, Metsatoll was always different and managed to keep their own unique style. This is also the case on 'Ulg,' the band's latest effort. Some of the songs, like 'Sojasuda,' are not easy to digest at first. It takes some time before the material fully reveals itself. On the other hand, a song like 'Kuu' is complex, but yet very catchy folk metal because of the use of a bagpipe and flute. The fact that everything is sung in the Estonian language gives the music that special folk dimension. With 'Ulg,' Metsatoll had made a great folk album while remaining true to their own style. The album was created with a lot of spontaneity and you can really feel that. A true recommendation for anyone who digs folk metal.
Visit their website: http://www.metsatoll.ee
Recordlabel: http://www.spinefarm.fi
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/metsatoll

75/100

MYRATH – Tales of the Sands (CD) Tunisia December 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 50:24 (Tracks: 11)
This is Myrath's third album. Myrath's music has a lot of Middle Eastern and oriental influences integrated in their songs. In the current Myrath line-up, there is only one founding member around. His name is Malek Ben Arbia (guitars) who started Myrath in 2001 as a thirteen-year-old kid. The other current members are Zaher Zorgati (lead-vocals), Elyes Bouchoucha (keyboards/backing-vocals), Anis Jouini (bass) and Piwee Desfray (drums). “Under Siege” is the strong opening-track. It is heavy, has a lot of power and it contains a lot of musical diversity. The use of the keyboards and the female voices give this track a very oriental sound, but that is no surprise as that is Myrath's trademark. The second one, “Braving the Seas” has the same oriental feel to it. The song itself is a real progressive power metal piece. The shortest song on the album is “Merciless Times” which runs for three minutes and twenty-nine seconds, but despite that, the chorus remains in your head. The overall length of the songs is well balanced, as the longest song lasts five minutes and twenty-five seconds. The title track is one of the longer songs. It is a good example of how to integrate the Middle Eastern and oriental sounds and also Arabic lyrics in a progressive metal song. Violin and piano start off “Sour Sigh” sounding sad though tasteful. On this song, Myrath really show their musical artisanship. Zorgati sings so good and emotionally, as if his life depends on it. And what to say about Arbia and his fellow-musicians. This to me is one of the highlights of this album. “Dawn Within” has a heavy start but turns into yet another great composition with a lot of diversity. Just listen to Arbia and imagine that he is only twenty-four years old and this is already his third Myrath-release. He sure knows how to play the guitar. “Wide Shut” continues the high level on “Tales of the Sands”. This song has it all, both vocally and musically. It is heavy, it is passionate, it is been played in a great way, it sounds oriental, but above all, it is Myrath! Another highlight is “Requiem for a Goodbye” with all band-members excelling. Just listen to the guitar- and keyboards-solo. “Beyond the Stars” contains Arabic lyrics and a middle part with a violin and folkloristic Middle Eastern melodies. When Myrath plays this song live, you expect to see a belly dancer perform, as you are pulled into Middle Eastern spheres. In addition, when Myrath composes songs without oriental influences like “Time to Grow” and “Apostrophe for a Legend” the quality is also very high. I like the other songs with the Middle Eastern and oriental influences better. Myrath is a great band consisting of superb musicians. At first, probably you would not expect this quality coming from a land like Tunisia. You are wrong because there is a lot of quality from countries you would not think of at first. A few weeks ago, I saw Myrath perform together with Arkan and Orphaned Land, which was fantastic as they delivered a great oriental metal night. Do not let the oriental stuff scare you off as this makes Myrath's music so special. The conclusion is that Myrath released a fantastic album and that they are here to stay!!
Visit their website: http://www.myrath.com
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/myrathband

90/100

NEUROMA – Extremophile (CD) United Kingdom December 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 42:23 (Tracks: 9)
Neuroma from the UK started spreading their rage since 2006. They released a demo, split and a promo. This is their debut album and it sounds brutal. Nine tracks of straight in your face malevolence. The guitar riffs are fast and technical, the drums are also straight in your face. The vocals are deep grunts that reminds me a lot of Cannibal Corpse. It is very clear that these guys know how to play death metal, because this album is straight in your face brutal. The songs are very fast and leaves you no room to breathe. The production is also very good. The only thing that I personally miss is a bit variety. But the rest kicks ass! If you like bands like Cannibal Corpse then you are going to enjoy this album.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/neuromametal

75/100

NUCLEAR SUSHI – Never Shut Up (CD) The Netherlands December 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 40:30 (Tracks: 9)
Nuclear-Sushi; well that's what I call a great name for a Thrash Metal band. And they even come from Holland/Tilburg! Most of these guys seem to be teaching to earn their living so let's hear what these's guys do in their spare time to let out their frustrations….. “No Excuse” starts pretty melodic but quickly turns into a blast. Thrash with hardcore influences foreseen with screaming vocals which take some time to get used to. Follower “Never Shut Up” comes in like a bulldozer and presents Trash Metal in optima forma. “Be Who You Can Be” has that more melodic approach again while “Fucking Mad” strikes you like a sledgehammer. Yeah, the real “pit work”; pounding rhythms, fat riffs with an extreme fast solo in between and singer Koert who screams his balls out . Definitely one of my favourites and a guaranteed live hit. “Live Until I Die” embroiders further in the same style but has a surprise in the middle by brilliant guitar solos that shows their love and skills for pure musical craftsmanship. These boys know how to handle their instruments, there's no doubt about that. Also the next tracks offer enough variety with lyrics that seem to be very personal ( “Rock On”) to keep your attention. Influences of Slayer/Maiden etc. can be heard clearly but that doesn't mind; it's done very properly and this band has put enough variety, characteristic vocals and musical skills from themselves into it to talk about a Nuclear-Sushi product here instead of some cheap rip off. This bunch of “teachaholics” gives us a lesson (hey, what's in your blood eh) in how to play Trash combined with melody and catchy rhythms which invites to experience this stuff live and tear down the roof. Speaking of that; according to their MySpace site they are on the loose right now. So check them out in your neighbourhood when you can on their “Escape From The Classroom” tour so to say. Nice job guys and thanks to Mr. Werger for providing me this copy!
Visit their website: http://www.nuclear-sushi.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/terrornoia

78/100

PARADISE INC. – Time (CD) Brazil, Germany December 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: A.O.R. Running time: 53:06 (Tracks: 11)
With releases of Avenue Of Allies records, you always can expect high quality Melodic Rock music. This time I received the debut album "Time" of Brazilian band PARADISE INC. to review. The band was formed in 2005 under the name FAIROFF, and under that name they released the 4 track EP "Out Of Control" in 2006 (or was it in 2007??). That EP got very positive reviews, so the guys decided to revamp their line-up with new guitarist De Gringo and German singer Carsten Schulz (ex-DOMAIN, EVIDENCE ONE, MIDNITE CLUB). And that was the initial spark for PARADISE INC.. So, the line-up of PARADISE INC. on this debut album exists of Carsten "Lizard" Schulz (vocals), De Grigo (guitar), Marcos Peres (guitar), Rick A. (bass) and Allan Juliano (drums). The band recorded 11 fantastic melodic Rock songs, of which the last track on "Time" is an acoustic version of "Steel Or Stone", which is a bonus track on the European version and is just a nice version. Bands by whom PARADISE INC. is influenced are EUROPE, HAREM SCAREM, DANGER DANGER, JADED HEART and BON JOVI. The production of the album sounds fantastic, and was done by the band themselves together with Paul Logue. Singer Dougie White (RAINBOW, CORNERSTONE, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, TANK) is taking over the lead vocals on "Not In Paradise". Besides solid melodic rock songs, there are of course also some ballads/semi ballads on "Time", such as "I Will Wait", "No More Mistakes" and "Set Me Free". The level of the album is constantly high, so I would advise all A.O.R., Melodic Rock fans to check this album out. You will absolutely like "Time" very much. My favorite songs of this fantastic album are "Time (Live And Learn)", "Close Your Eyes", "Who's Fooling Who", "Wait And See" and "Not In Paradise".
Visit their website: http://www.paradiseinc.net
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/paradiseincband

79/100

PASTORE – The Price for the Human Sins (CD) Brazil December 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Melodic Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 51:25 (Tracks: 12)
This is the debut album of Brazilian based band PASTORE; fronted by singer Mario (nice name;) Pastore whos career began in the 80's singing in bands like Acid Storm, Sacred Sinner, Titanio, Opera's Noise, etc..just to name a few. Raphael Gazal is the guitarplayer (and producer) of Pastore and the band is completed with Alexis Gallucci (bassplayer) and Fabio Buitvidas (drummer).
I never ever heard of these guys and the more I was surprised by this awesome album! This is power metal the way it should be played! From the first (title) song “The Price for the Human Sins” (with extreme great vocals) till the last second; this album is AWESOME!!!! Long time ago I heard such an incredible album with such great musicianship and excellent vocals!!
I don't have much info about the band besides what is written above but who cares? This band needs to be famous and when its up to me; they will!! This is my kind of metal; US-metal-a-like powermetal with great musicians, superb singer and only great compositions! This is food for fans of (Old) Queensryche, Lethal, Cage and even some heavier Dream Theater.
Need to get this band over to Europe asap!!!
For the FIRST TIME in the nearly 10 year MMM history: this album gets the maximum rate of 100/100!!
Visit their website: http://www.strikemet.com/english/management_pastore.htm
Recordlabel: http://www.hydrantmusic.com/artists
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bandapastore

100/100

PREDATOR – Born in Blood (CD) USA December 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 40:47 (Tracks: 12)
Predator hails from Lauderdale, Florida and these guys delivered their self titled debut album two years ago through Arctic Music. Im not familiar with this album but I heard some very positive things about this US metal band. The more curious I was when the band promised to send me a copy of the follow up album “Born in Blood”. The title makes you thinks of a deathmetal band but nothing is more wrong; Predator makes some damn fine US powermetal the way I like it most! A lot of double bass drums, lots of guitar parts and a high-pitched vocalist!
The promo package I received looks awesome; a full colour booklet with a lot of info; nice pictures and of course the promo copy of the album! One of the best provided promo packages I ever received during the nearly 10 years of MMM's history!
The band had some line up changes during the years but singer Nestor Aguirre and guitarist Damien Lee Thorr are still present. Luckily because singer Nestro has a quite unique voice which pleasures my ears very well ;)
“Born In Blood” has been produced by Predator D.L. Thorr in about 24 hours and according that short time it sounds pretty good! I personally would have taken a bit longer for it if it was my choice because there are some instrumental parts that are not sounding to tight. But that's the only little complain I have about this album.
Musically the band reminds me to other US metal acts like Steel Prophet, Agent Steel (Bruce Hall era) & Amulance. This I no food for the average metal head; this is food for die hard US metal fans (like myself!! Check them out!!
Visit their website: http://www.predatortheband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.godofthunderrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/predatorheavymetal

83/100

REIGN OF VENGEANCE – Disemboweling Swine (CD) USA December 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 32:25 (Tracks: 10)
REIGN OF VENGEANCE hail from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA and have already released an EP 'Revenge of Bloodshed' in 2007 and this is their first full lenght album. The band has been around since 2005 and the lineup consists of current and former members of Decrepit Birth, Rebirth, Goatwhore and Cephalic Carnage. REIGN OF VENGEANCE plays death metal with some goregrind influences and often hilarious lyrics (for who sees them that way). Brutal is the right word for their kind of death metal, but played with absolute skills of the musicians. The titletrack did made me think of Macabre because of the two way vocal style of 'singing', also some awesome guitar riffing by Tommy Gibbons (Rebirth, Koama) and furious drumwork by Samus Paulicelli (ex-Abigail Williams, Decrepit Birth, Goatwhore). The whole album is full of oldschool death with some dark humor and brutality, one of my fave tracks 'A massacre of mormons', which is also the longest track on the album and reaches just over 4 minutes. Also funny at the end of the last song is the question asked to the listener by Metal Sanaz whether or not you suppose the similarities between the lyrical content and supposed 'real life' tragedies are coincidental or some sort of dark prophecy? Well if you like your metal sick and gore, this is what you should get! And don't judge a book by it's cover, cause although the cover might look a bit childishly done, these guys really can play! Speaking of books, vocalist Marshall “Fucking” Beck (Rebirth, ex-Dyer) is also a published author, he wrote 'And Let There Be Darkness' which came out through A Book's Mind Publishing Company.
Visit their website: http://www.reignofvengeance.com
Recordlabel: http://www.braindamagemusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/reignofvengeance

75/100

R.U.S.T. - Legends (CD) Romania December 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 41:58 (Tracks: 11)
Last month I already reviewed the debut album "Forged In The Fire Of Metal" of five piece Metal band R.U.S.T. from Cyprus. Well, for this months update I also received a CD to review of a band with the same name R.U.S.T., only this R.U.S.T. is a four piece band and comes from Romania. This Romanian R.U.S.T., which stands for Rock Under the Sign of Thunder, was formed in 2004, did have several line-up changes and released a demo "The Beginning" (2007) and an EP "Warriors Of Heaven" (2009) so far. Now, these four Romanians, which are Mircea Cristea (vocals), Radu Banu (guitar), George Popescu (bass) and Razvan Staicut (drums), have released their debut album "Legends" through Pure Underground Records. Well, I must admit that, by listening to "Legends" for the first time, I really couldn't get impressed. To me, the songs on "Legends" are very moderate, and the vocals of Cristea are moderate as well and sounds very boring. In that case, there are way much better traditional Heavy Metal bands on this planet. Anyway, two tracks on "Legends" were already on the aforementioned "Warriors Of Heaven" EP, namely "Sign Of The King" and "Firestorm". A very big musical influence on R.U.S.T. are the early works of MANOWAR, and that can be heard on "Sign Of The King". But even after listening several times to "Legends", I still can't get impressed by this band. And I can't imagine, that there are many metalheads who really would like this entire album that much, because they should hear we have to deal here with a moderate Metal band! Next one please.
Visit their website: http://www.signofthunder.com
Recordlabel: http://www.pureunderground-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/signofthunder

45/100

SAILLE – Irreversible Decay (CD) Belgium December 2011 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Symphonic Black Metal Running time: 43:26 (Tracks: 9)
Asaille from East Flanders in Belgium in relative newcomer in the black metal scene although their members have already earned their place in the scene in various different bands like Huldrefolk, Fleshmould & In-Quest to name a few. So what can we expect with all this experience? Saille plays symphonic black metal which is strongly related to the mid-nineties scene “Irreversible Decay” could almost be a lost first to mid-period Dimmu Borgir album, if it were not for the slightly less progressive guitar gymnastics, whilst still maintaining the tone of black metal from the farthest reaches of skull crushing, well honed and produced extreme metal soundscapes. This is pretty far from an overindulgent Cradle of Filth-like release, or even an under-cooked Darkthrone-like affair as you can get in 'black' metal, whilst retaining its ingrown blackened sensibilities. Spattered with atmospheric sections, the album boasts generally mid to longer track lengths each taking you on a sonic journey, ranging from face-removing sandblaster sections, to slower, flesh burning monolithic Carach Angren-esque destruction. There's a fair bit of futurism interweaved into the general crushing black metal, with reasonable intelligent riffs embedded deep into the song structures, adding a strong sense of dynamics to the fold, which when coupled with the strong but not overpowering usage of synthesizer can (at times) sound rather impressive.
In addiction to the music the production is not overwhelming enough. So at this point Saille could improve in the future. This kind of black metal has to burst out of my speakers and whilst the faster parts it all sounds o.k. it's during the mid tempo parts that I miss that great orchestral sound although I must admit that we are spoiled by all the mega productions from Dimmu Borgir and co. Right away a good first impression by this Belgian band.
Visit their website: http://www.saille.be
Recordlabel: http://www.code666.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/saillemetal

74/100

SANCTUAIRE – L'empreinte De Lucifer (CD) France December 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 32:06 (Tracks: 10)
This is the debut album by French newcomers Sanctuaire. It is an interesting retro metal release. It has a N.W.O.B.H.M. character with a speed metal approach. Quite similar to Killers, ADX, High Power and Raven. With only a couple of minutes over the half hour mark, it won't tire the listener. The sound though is quite rough. I don't know if the band did it on purpose in order to emulate the rough 80s sound. The thing is that some people might not enjoy that. On the other hand I personally enjoyed the fact that the album incorporates elements of horror and the occult. A very interesting blend indeed. I suggest you give this album a try.
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sanctuaireforce

70/100

SOULHEALER – The Kings of Bullet Alley (CD) Finland December 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Power Metal Running time: 51:50 (Tracks: 11)
Hey, a band from Finland again. Okay, don't know what kind of metal this is, but the Finnish stand for good quality, good production and a good sound. Well, nowadays nothing is a guarantee anymore. These guys come with a debut that really sounds terrible, lacks power and spirit, got poor vocals and the songs don't have head or tale. Power Metal it is, but there a so much better bands in this genre that there is really no way SoulHealer is going to make it. Well, you never know of course, but this debut really comes to early for them. The boys can play their instruments, that's not the point but good songs and decent vocals is something else. Back for rehearsal guys, and be sure the second attempt is way better!
Visit their website: http://www.soulhealermusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/soulhealermusic

45/100

SOUL SELLER - Back to Life (CD) Italy December 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 56:48 (Tracks: 12)
David and Mirko Zublena, both coming from the neighbourhood of Torino (Italy), started the band Soul Sister in 1999. With the goal to write classic Hard Rock songs, Soul Seller released their debut album “Underground Freedom” in 2000. This album, with a run of 500 copies and containing ten Hard Rock tracks, quickly sold out. In the years to come, the band was undecided in which musical direction they should go. They released two demo cd`s but after several line-up changes, their musical direction was still unknown. In 2010 came a breakthrough, the band got a new line-up (again) and with new energy, they started writing new material. First, Soul Seller released a demo which drew the attention of producer Allessandro del Vecchio (Ian Paice, Glen Hughes) and in December 2010 the band entered the studio to record “Back to Life”. In the studio, Cris Ausidio completed the band and so the current line-up was formed: Michael Carrate (vocals), Dave Zublena (guitar), Cris Audisio (guitar), Mike Zublena (Bass) and Steve Bucci on Drums. Together with some guest-musicians, the album was recorded, and I am quite positive of the result. The album contains twelve well played, quite intensive melodic hard rock songs, with nice guitar solos and a good vocalistic performance! But for the more sensitive people amongst us, the album contains some nice pieces of music, like “Old Hero`s Prayer” and “Hell of Tears” (with a very nice guitar solo in the beginning!!). Special performances on the album come from White Skull`s Danilo Bar, who plays the guitar solo on “Change Your Hart Tonight” and German solo Artist Oliver Hartmann (Avantasia, ex- At Vance) whose lead vocals are featured on the Duet “Keep on Moving”. On Soul Seller`s website, it is announced that keyboard player Alessandro "Alexandros" Muscio has joined the band. The band is thus still moving and I am wondering where this will end! “Back to Life” has become a varied, melodic Hard Rock album which can be purchased blindly.
Visit their website: http://www.soulseller.it
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/soulsellerband

77/100

SPEED LIMIT – Unchained & Prophecy (CD) Austria December 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 63:35 (Tracks: 15)
This release contains the two albums that this Austrian band recorded in the 80s. Speed Limit is a melodic hard rock band but its past is heavy metal oriented. The disc contains 15 tracks of classic European metal of the 80s. Typical teutonic metal influenced by early Scorpions and Accept with a hard rock attitude. I was not impressed cause I have encountered tons of albums like "Unchained & Prophecy'. These recordings were made between 1986 and 1988 but sound quite older. Only for the fans of this specific sound. All the other listeners will find this release quite dated. Note that the Prophecy material is better than the Unchained one and with a better sound too.
Visit their website: http://www.speedlimitweb.com
Recordlabel: http://www.karthago-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/speedlimitmyspace

55/100

SUZI QUATRO – In The Spotlight (CD) United Kingdom December 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Rock 'n Roll Running time: 40:47 (Tracks: 11)
Any rocker above 40 will absolutely know (or remember) SUZI QUATRO, especially of the hit singles she had in the 70's, such as "Can The Can", "48 Crash", "Daytona Demon", "Devil Gate Drive", "If You Can't Give Me Love" and "Stumblin' In". SUZI QUATRO, who was born on June 3rd, 1950 in Detroit, U.S.A., was actually the first female Glam Rocker, and she was a big influence on THE RUNAWAYS and JOAN JETT. In her heydays she worked a lot with songwriters- and producers team Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman (known from bands such as SWEET, MUD, SMOKIE, RACEY). In 2006 QUATRO had her comeback with the album "Back To The Drive". Now five years later, SUZI QUATRO has released her fifteenth studio album, titled "In The Spotlight", on Cherry Red Records. "In The Spotlight" was produced by several producers (Mike Chapman, Davey Meshell, Andy Scott and Steve Grant) and sounds very good. This new album features four compositions written by Mike Chapman ("A Girl Like Me", "Whatever Love Is", "Spotlight" and "Rosie Rose"), two songs written by QUATRO herself ("Hurt With You", which has a reggae sound, and the bonus track "Singing With Angels") and several cover versions, which are "Strict Machine" (GOLDFRAPP), "Breaking Dishes" (RIHANNA), "Hot Kiss" (JULIETTE AND THE LICKS), "Turn Into" (YEAH YEAH YEAHS) and "Hard Headed Woman" (ELVIS PRESLEY, WANDA JACKSON). Personally, I'm only familiar with Elvis Presley's and Wanda Jackson's version of "Hard Headed Woman", and I did not know the original versions of the other covers on "In The Spotlight". So, to compare these cover versions of SUZI QUATRO with the original ones, I've listened to the original versions of "Strict Machine", "Breaking Dishes", "Hot Kiss" and "Turn Into" on YouTube. Okay, the version of JULIETTE AND THE LICKS' "Hot Kiss", rocks as well, and "Breaking Dishes" sounds nice too. Well, I like Suzi's version of "Hot Kiss" as much as the original version, but I really do prefer the versions of "Breaking Dishes" and "Strict Machine" by SUZI QUATRO. And I think I do like the original version of "Turn Into" by YEAH YEAH YEAHS above Suzi's version. Anyway, the best songs on "In The Spotlight" are in my opinion "A Girl Like Me", "Strict Machine", "Breaking Dishes", "Rosie Rose", "Hot Kiss" and "Hard Headed Woman". My end conclusion is that "In The Spotlight" is absolutely not a bad SUZI QUATRO album, and I'm sure die-hard QUATRO fans will like this album very much, but to be honest, I think I still prefer her albums "Suzi Quatro" (1973) and "Quatro" (1974).
Visit their website: http://www.suziquatro.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cherryred.co.uk

74/100

THE FUCKING WRATH – Valley Of The Serpent's Soul (CD) USA December 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Stoner / Doom / Hardcore Running time: 39:05 (Tracks: 8)
THE FUCKING WRATH is a four piece band existing of Craig Kasamis (vocals, guitar), Brent Woodward (guitar), Nick Minasain (bass) and John Crerar (drums). The band, who comes from California, USA, and was formed in 2005, recorded their first album "Season Of Evil" in 2006, and was released on CD/LP in 2007. They are also on two compilation albums. In October of 2010 the band also released the five-track EP "Terra Fire". Anyway, now these guys have released their second full length album "Valley Of The Serpent's Soul" through Tee Pee Records. The album features 8 songs, which are a mixture of Metal, Stoner and Doom with more Hardcore style vocals. One song is an instrumental one, which is titled "Grandelusion" (2:05), and is in my opinion just a superfluous track. But the rest of the songs such as "The Question", "Rebellious Axe", "Swan Song Of A Mad Man", "Altar Of Lies" and "Neurodyssey" (which exists of the parts "Valley Of The Serpent's Soul", "Caverns Of Fire" and "Endless Black Flags") are sounding very nice. According to the biography, THE FUCKING WRATH's sound can be described as an amalgamation of bands such as DISCHARGE, BLACK FLAG, THE MELVINS and the "Kill 'Em All" era of METALLICA. But I also hear a lot of early BLACK SABBATH influences, especially with some riffs and guitar solo's, because it's just like if Tony Iommi is playing on this album himself. Listen to songs like "Rebellious Axe", "Swan Song Of A Mad Man" and "Goddess Of Pain", and you will absolutely recognize the BLACK SABBATH influences yourself. Not a real spectacular album, but just a nice one to which I can listen to now and then.
Visit their website: http://www.thefuckingwrath.com
Recordlabel: http://www.teepeerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thefuckingwrath

75/100

THE GREAT KAT – Beethoven Shreds (MCD) USA December 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Power Shredding Metal!! Running time: 7:33 (Tracks: 7)
What to tell about THE GREAT KAT? You will love her or hate her…well I don't hate her simply because she is simply unique in her style of playing (shredding) the guitar. Its so fast that the whole CD (7 songs) is done is 7,5 minutes…..hahahaha
But now for serious; I still don't know what to do with these kind of releases. Are you gonna take it serious or are you making a fool of her?? Only thing I want to say is the fact that this is the CD with all tracks of her latest DVD release “Beethoven's Guitar Shred”
For the fans; enjoy! For the few that don't know here; watch the You Tube clip I added below….
Visit their website: http://www.greatkat.com
You Tube: You Tube clip

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TORNADO – Amsterdamn, Hellsinki (CD) Finland / The Netherlands December 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Swinging Sleazy Thrash Metal Running time: 39:44 (Tracks: 12)
When I first got this CD I was expecting a VoiVod rip off because Tornado is one of these classic VoiVod songs…but I was totally wrong! Okay; I must admit that the band Tornado is also quite original! They play swinging thrashmetal with a sleazy input. Normally I hate Sleaze metal but I must admit that this band is doing it all real original.
Why such a strange album title?? Simply because the band is formed around Michel Rutten (Fuelblooded) and Joe Severance (ex-Gothic Slam); both living in Amsterdam(n). The rest of the members are from Finland's Amoral based in Hel(l)sinki.
The band plays oldschool thrash metal in a way like it most; aggressive but also varied! Singer Joe is the only one that gives the band that sleazy drive; simply of his tone of voice.Most of the songs are not that original musically but as said; the vocals make the difference! After several listening I really started to love this album and it will visit my CD player regularly; that's for sure!
Hope to see this band live someday! For fans of bands like Slayer, Violence, Suicidal Tendencies, Sacred Reich & Gothic Slam. Compliment also for the great lay out and the fabulous production on the one and only Peter Tagtren!
Recordlabel: http://www.listenable.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tornadoamsterdam

85/100

TOUCHSTONE - The City Sleeps (CD) United Kingdom December 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Progressive Rock Running time: 61:14 (Tracks: 10)
The British progressive / modern rock band Touchstone has signed an exclusive long term deal with SPV to release their third studio album, “The City Sleeps”. “The City Sleeps” contains nice epic songs like “When Shadows Fall (with nice keyboard parts!) and “The City Sleeps”, all in the typical Touchstone style. These songs are also my favorites of the album, they are well composed. However, there is also a evolution to more modern rock orientated songs on the album like the opener Corridors. The new album has been mixed by John Mitchell (Arena, Frost*, Kino, and It Bites) and mastered by Tim Turan (Motorhead, Marylin Manson, and Frost*)
Touchstone, who were formed in 2003 by keyboard player / vocalist Rob Cottingham and guitarist Adam Hodgson, were joined by bassist Paul Moorghen in 2006, vocalist Kim Seviour in 2007 and drummer (the fourth of the band) Henry Rogers in June 2010 to complete the current line-up. After the release of the band`s 4 track EP, “Mad Hatters” in 2006, Kim Seviour joined the band. Together with John Mitchell, they recorded their debut album “Discordant Dreams”. After winning “Best new Band” at the Classic Rock Society Awards in 2008, the band toured with It Bites. The second album “Wintercoast”, featuring Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons performing the prelude narration, lead to some prestigious appearances at major American Festivals like Calprog and the Rites of Spring. 2010 saw the release of “Live in the USA, a double album of 14 live tracks recorded at the 2009 gigs.
Something which is very special is the voice of Kim. I do not know much bands in the style of Touchstone who have a female vocalist. In my opinion, her vocal performance has improved since the last studio album and the vocal interplay between Kim and Rob is sometimes very refreshing and original. The music sounds quite modern but is not always sparkling. As I am a fan of the progressive / symphonic rock of the `70 and `80`s, I miss sometimes the “dramatic” influences. This is my only point of criticism, there is nothing wrong with this album! The musicians are very talented and the composition of the songs is nice. But for the future, I hope that they will develop their more “epic” side, that`s the bands strength!
Visit their website: http://www.touchstonemusic.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/touchstonemusicuk

76/100

WOLF'S GANG – Apocalypse (CD) France December 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 55:29 (Tracks: 10)
WOLF'S GANG is a four piece Heavy Metal band from France, and was formed at the end of 2005. These guys started by playing classic songs from bands such as IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, TRUST, DIO, METALLICA, BLACK SABBATH et cetera. In September of 2008 they decided to write their own compositions and quit playing covers. Their first product was the 3 track EP "Larmes Fatales" and was released in 2009. Now WOLF'S GANG recently released their debut album "Apocalypse" on Emanes Metal Records. The band, who exists of Frédéric Bailly (vocals), Julien Amiot (guitars), Hermann Goizet (bass) and Yohann Tanfin (drums), recorded 10 songs, which are all sung in French language. Guitarist Jérémy Thiebauld only played guitar on this album as well, but he isn't a full member of the band (although he's also on the band picture in the booklet of the CD). Anyway, the band plays traditional Heavy Metal like in the 80's, and with listening to "Apocalypse", you can't deny that they are heavily influenced by early IRON MAIDEN. It's even so, that sometimes it's just like they have stolen some original parts from MAIDEN. I have to admit that I don't have that much with French language, simply because I do not understand the French language. In the early eighties I did have the EP "Coup De Metal" (1983) of H-BOMB on vinyl, and I knew the EP "Sortilége" (1983) of SORTILÉGE, and some songs of TRUST. But in general I do avoid French metal bands who are singing in their own language. Anyway, I have listened a few times to "Apocalypse", but I can't say that I got impressed that much. Although it musically sounds reasonable, there isn't any originality to find on this album. And that I am not that impressed has nothing to do of the fact they are singing in the French language. Well, if you are interested how songs such as "Crash", "Guerre De Cent Ans", "Toxique Luxure", "Docteur Satan" or "Martyres De Nos Clans" do sound, and you do understand the French language, then check this band and album out.
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wolfsgang89

63/100

ZOMBIFIED – Backroom Eugenics (MCD) Ireland December 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 15:31 (Tracks: 6)
Zombified from Ireland brings you old school death metal that sounds the way it is supposed to sound! This band is relatively new and started spreading their rage in 2009. In 2010 they released also released an EP and now in 2011 they bring us their second EP. Six songs in 15 minutes (well the first one is an intro). The songs are groovy, heavy and very 90`s related. This band has got the entire package: deep and brutal grunts, the drums that are filled with double bass and groove, heavy guitar riffs and a killer production. The only thing that isn`t so great is that this is an EP and not full length because when it's done you really think FUCK give me more. If you are into old school death metal then you are going to enjoy this album.
Visit their website: http://www.zombified.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.grindscene.co.uk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/zombifieduk

80/100

NOVEMBER

'77 – High Decibels (CD) Spain November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 46:33 (Tracks: 10)
I wasn't very negative about "21st Century Rock" in my review (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews, July 2010), which is the debut album of Spanish Hard Rock band '77. Only, it is just a fact that the band doesn't sound very original. For anyone who is not familiar with '77 yet, well they are one of those many bands who do sound exactly like AC/DC (the Bon Scott era). Anyway, "21st Century Rock" is a nice album, to which I still listen to now and then. Now, those four Spanish rockers are back with their second album, titled "High Decibels". The line-up of the band hasn't changed, so it is still the brothers Armand Valeta (vocals, rhythm guitar) and LG Valeta (lead guitar), Raw (bass) and Johnnie Dolphin (drums). The band recorded again 10 songs, and I assume that, just like their debut album, also "High Decibels" has been produced by the band themselves. The album starts very strong with the title track "High Decibels". Personally I discovered AC/DC way back in 1977 when I was twelve years old, so by listening to this album it makes me feel like I'm twelve again. And another thing is, that I just adore AC/DC with Bon Scott above AC/DC with Brian Johnson. Bon Scott belongs to one of my all time favourite rock stars. Anyway, the next two songs, which are "(Gotta Go) Gotta Hit The Road" (awesome solo) and "Are You Ready For Rock 'N' Roll", are great as well. Songs like "Beat It Up", "Backdoor Man", "Gimme A Dollar" and "This Girl Is On Fire" are sounding just nice. The last track, which is the longest song of the album, titled "Promised Land" (8:31), sounds like it is a mixture of three or four songs in one, and takes in my opinion too long so it starts to bore me. Like I also wrote in my review of "21st Century Rock", Armand Valeta sounds exactly like Bon Scott, and his brother LG like Angus Young. Anyway, I'm sure AC/DC fans will like this album as well, but of course it can't compete with classic AC/DC albums like "High Voltage"(1976), "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" (1976), "Let There Be Rock" (1977), "Powerage" (1978) and "Highway To Hell" (1979). The best songs of this second album are in my opinion "High Decibels", "(Gotta Go) Gotta Hit The Road", "Are You Ready For Rock 'N' Roll", "Meltin' In A Spoon" and "Since You've Been Gone". Just like predecessor "21st Century Rock" also "High Decibels" isn't a spectacular album, but it's again just a nice one. So, are YOU ready for Rock 'n' Roll?. Well, I am……always.
Recordlabel: http://www.listenable.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/seventysevenrocks

76/100

ANOTHER FAILURE - Another Failure In The Making (CD) USA November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Alternative / Hardcore Running time: 37:50 (Tracks: 12)
This is my first acquaintance with ANOTHER FAILURE, which is a band formed in 2009. The band, who are from Providence, Rhode Island, USA, exists of Rob (vocals, guitar) and Chris (drums, backing vocals). The bass parts on this album were done by Bob, but the band is looking for a bass player. "Another Failure In The Making" is the debut album of these guys, and features twelve songs. The first time I listened to "Another Failure In The Making", I thought by myself 'what a weird piece of metal'. In fact, the music on this album sounds very busy, and I can imagine that that will be the problem for many listeners. This music really could start working on your nerves, unless for metalheads with ADHD of course, hahahaha. Anyway, "Another Failure In The Making" is not an album to which you will easily listen to. And because the music is so busy, with lots of tempo changes, it's just not a very accessible album. The music of ANOTHER FAILURE is a mixture of Metal, Alternative and Hardcore, and singer/guitarist Rob sings a bit in Hardcore style. Personally I can't do much with songs like "Nothing Means Anything", "This Is True Hate", "I Hope You Die In A Car Crash", "The More We Dig" and "It Makes Perfect Sense". So, "Another Failure In The Making" is not really an album for me. If you are still curious about ANOTHER FAILURE, well check them out yourself, and find out if you like them or not. '
Visit their website: http://www.anotherfailure.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anotherfailure1

55/100

ATTICK DEMONS – Atlantis (CD) Portugal November 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Power Running time: 45:27 (Tracks: 9)
Portuguese band Attick Demons was a name totally unfamiliar to me until the day they stormed their way through my stereo. Formed on the twilight of the 90s, the band showed little activity over the past decade with an EP (2000) and a demo (2006). The first full length album titled Atlantis is a fine specimen of well crafted energetic heavy power metal with a huge Iron Maiden stamp on it especially on the vocal department. I mean even Bruce Dickinson nowadays is not as Bruce Dickinson as Artur Almeida is! To seal the deal between Iron Maiden and Attick Demons, Paul Dianno appears as guest on the title track. Ross the Boss is another special guest contributing a trademark guitar solo. “City of Golden” Gates is probably the best song of the CD but all 9 tunes are designed to make you headbang, sing along and have a great time. Well done guys!
Visit their website: http://www.myspace.com/attickdemonsofficial
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/attickdemonsofficial

79/100

BETRAYING THE MARTYRS – Breathe in Life (CD) France November 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Metalcore Running time: 43:17 (Tracks: 11)
Over the past few years, Listenable Records has brought some great bands to my attention. With Betraying the Martyrs, I think I just found another one… Betraying the Martyrs originates from Paris, France. They released their first E.P. 'the Hurt, the Divine, the Light' in 2009, which was received very well and allowed them to tour in several countries in Europe. Now it is 2011 and the band has recently signed a record deal with Listenable Records for Europe and Sumerian Records for North America. Betraying the Martyrs really seems to be on their way. And with 'Breath in Life' in their back pocket, they have an excellent record to promote.
The band plays metalcore, but is not your typical band in the genre. Therefore the music is much more diverse and, most importantly, the songs have their own character instead of sounding all the same after a while. Also a band reference like 'Messugah' comes to mind. The songs are balanced nicely with aggression, melodic parts and diverse vocals. A true recommendation for anyone who can appreciate metalcore and qualitative good metal in general. I expect to hear a lot from this band!
Recordlabel: http://www.listenable.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/betrayingthemartyrs

82/100

CONQUEST OF STEEL – Victorious In Defeat (MCD) United Kingdom November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 16:20 (Tracks: 4)
On February 25th of this year, I saw CONQUEST OF STEEL as a headliner, together with LORD VOLTURE and GUN BARREL at the Little Devil in Tilburg (presented by MMM). I was the DJ that evening, and I saw all three bands for the very first time. I can't remember much of CONQUEST OF STEEL's gig anymore, only that I liked it. But I still do know that I liked LORD VOLTURE the most that evening. Anyway, now I received a CD of CONQUEST OF STEEL, which is completely black, and without any info about the band. It looks like a very small vinyl 7" disc. Only, I had to play this EP "Victorious In Defeat" in my computer, because my CD-player didn't recognize the disc. Because I didn't get any information with this EP, I had to look at the band's MySpace page for some info about CONQUEST OF STEEL. The band, which was formed in 2000, exists of Dan Durrant (vocals), DD Danger (guitar), James Clarke (guitar), Vic Victory (bass) and Chris Mills (drums). So far they have released the EP "Priests Of Metal" (2000), the self-titled album "Conquest Of Steel" (2004), the EP "May Your Blade Never Dull" (2006), and the albums "Hammer And Fist" (2007) and "Stormsword: Rise Of The Dread Queen" (2009). "Stormsword: Rise Of The Dead" was reviewed by MMM colleague Kostas Kounadinis (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews, September 2009) and got 77 points out of 100. Anyway, this EP features the songs "Paid In Steel", "Man Of The Dragon", "One Thousand Lives (Of War)" and a live version of "I Am Legend" (from the "Hammer And Fist" album). The songs, in the NWOBHM style, are sounding nice enough, but don't make a big impression on me. And the production could in my opinion have been better. Musically these guys play their instruments well, and Durrant is a nice singer as well. I wonder why they didn't record a fourth studio track instead of the live track? Like I said, it sounds nice, but that's all. Now I do know why I liked LORD VOLTURE the most on February 25th.
Visit their website: http://www.conquestofsteel.co.uk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/conquestofsteel

68/100

CORPSET - Ruins (CD) Finland November 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Modern Death Metal Running time: 35:23 (Tracks: 10)
Corpset, a Finish death metal band, was originally formed under the name of Chakra in 1998. After a lot of line-up troubles a final line-up was formed in the end of 2009 and the band started working on an album with ''Ruins'' as a result. The band plays a modern sounding death metal with an adult sound switching nicely between brutal old school pieces and great melodies. The riffing is really cool with a lot of hooks and some breakdowns but nog enough to make it irritating like all the deathcore bands out there. No this band still plays death metal and they really seem to enjoy it. The vocals vary between brutal growls and more higher pitched scream during the melodic parts but it all fits as a great whole. If you're a fan of the latest work by bands as Kataklysm you should check this one out!
Recordlabel: http://www.violentjourneyrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/corpsetmetal

85/100

DARK FOREST – Dawn of Infinity (CD) United Kingdom November 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 53:19 (Tracks: 10)
Dark Forest brings us pure Heavy Metal. NWOBHM punctuated with Teutonic influences. Teutonic, because in some choruses they produce that “happy” sound like bands as Helloween and Freedom Call use to do. Most of all they sound like Iron Maiden during their “Blaze period”. What Dark Forest present on their second attempt isn't bad, but also not earthshaking. Vocalist Will Lowry-Scott is not always at his best (sometimes a bit irritating in the higher regions) but he does a capable job. Musically it's all done very well; these guys certainly can play. The production could be done more properly; it's thin and bald and could use a bit more color. Maybe it's done by purpose to catch that 80's vibe. Nevertheless the band brings us a few damn fine tracks like “Deadly Premonition”, “The Tor” and “Black Delta”.
This are also the more “darker” tracks and I think this should be their way for the future. Unfortunately there are some which are too “happy” for me like “Under the Greenwood Tree”, not bad but heard it too many times before. All in common a descent album with some strong tracks that lifts them just above the average.
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkforestrealm

75/100

DARKLIGHT CORPORATION - Pitchblack (CD) New Zealand November 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Modern Metal Running time: 30:24 (Tracks: 9)
Darklight Corpration from New Zealand plays Modern Metal as they say. Well whatever I say about that term, because hey what's modern nowadays. It's hard, heavy, a bit industrial, a bit metalcore so think about bands like Prong for naming a band whose influence is unmistakable in some tracks but certainly not in all of them. Album number two this is after their debut “Darklight Corporation” of 2008. Opener “Scar my Eyes” is Prong, fat riffwork, pounding drums and a raging vocals; yes to be short in this definitely one of my favs. So the beginning is more than promising ! After that, my enthusiasm shrinks because “The Fallen” and “Crazyhorse” don't grab me by the balls. I can't make any chocolate of these ones because they sound to dishevelled to my ears. With “Blackout” the band gets their self back in line before “Down in a Hole” really grabs me by the throat. Brilliant track, catchy as hell where Fabio Santos varies his throat between clean and raging vocals. Yeah, hope again. And yes, “Levitate” is another pearl on the record. Unfortunately this is it for me. Too much breaks, changing of rhythm etc. Well, just must like it that way; it's always a matter of opinion. Mine is that the band delivers three really terrific, brutal headbangers which are hammered in my head and five (one short instrumental that I don't count) songs which really don't do that hammering at all to me. That's really pity, because they prove they a able to come up with good stuff. Nevertheless I have a good feeling about this band because the three brilliants they've produced on this cd are so damn good that I take the rest for granted. I'm sure they will produce a great pit when they are entering Europe with their live shows. On tip: don't get too much electronics in the songs next time; most songs don't need that. But still those three songs …. Man I really love them! “For the Revolution …… You Sucker ….. you bet!!!!
Visit their website: http://www.darklightcorporation.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darklightcorporation

75/100

DEVASTATION – Leather Jack Maniac (CD) Belgium November 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 36:26 (Tracks: 10)
All over the world we see an enormous number of new thrash metal bands rising up to pay tribute to the legends of the 80's. Some of these new bands are really good, most of them are the same old. Every once in a while a band tries to create something that stands out from the masses. The Belgian thrashers of Devastation are trying this by playing old school but trying to change the lyrics. Instead of the same old anti politics and anti religion songs every thrash metal band plays, these guys decide to throw in some more funny lyrics, a lot involving fun and drinking. Too bad they're Belgian which makes it not that original at all since there are plenty of bands out here trying the same thing. Anyway musicwise this band isn't bad at all. The riffs are nice, the drums and bass support everything properly and the singer does is best while knowing he really isn't that important unless he's on stage. It's all very 80's sounding and these guys try their best but between all the other thrash bands these days they just don't stand out. Doesn't really matter cause thrash metal will always be a genre meant to be played live and have fun at so I hope to check these guys out very soon. If you're into old school thrash, support your underground.
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/battlecatpro
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialdevastation

71/100

DOMINANZ – As I Shine (CD) Norway November 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Black / Industrial Metal Running time: 38:35 (Tracks: 10)
The members of Dominanz have already made a name for themselves by playing in black metal bands like Immortal, Hades Almighty and Cult of Deception. Now they've joined forces in this band called 'DOMINANZ'. When you take a look at the history of the individual band members, all from Norway, you would expect 'As I Shine' to be a black metal record. This is only partly true. The influences are present in the melodies and vocals, but other than that I wouldn't sole label it black metal. Therefore it is much more diverse and most importantly: accessible. Because that's what it is. The band itself describes the music as 'Atmospheric Industrialized Metal.' I think that's a pretty accurate description. The songs reek of industrial, but always melodic, spherical and with great riffs that stick with you. Listen for example to the opening track 'Infinity,' As I Shine' or 'Man on Top.' All heavy songs with dark lyrics that will possibly attract a wide audience. Not just the black metal enthusiast, but also industrial, gothic and heavy metal fans could find this interesting. Plans for European live dates are currently in the making.
Recordlabel: http://www.rockngrowl.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dominanzofficial

75/100

EVANESCENCE – Evanescence (CD) USA November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal Running time: 47:18 (Tracks: 12)
Fans of EVANESCENCE had to wait a long time for a new studio album, because five years after the band's second album "The Open Door" (2006), EVANESCENCE is finally back with their self-titled third album "Evanescence". This third album "Evanescence" features twelve songs, and starts with the first single "What You Want". The first few times I had heard "What You Want", it was a less song to me, but the more I listened to the album the more a began to like that song. So, I do have to admit that it is a perfect choice as a single, and it's a catchy song anyway. The second single of "Evanescence" will be the fantastic "My Heart Is Broken". "Lost In Paradise" (track 7), is a semi ballad, which starts with piano and strings but turns half way the song into a heavier song, could be in my opinion the third single. Anyway, singer and co-founder Amy Lee is the only remaining original member of the band. The other band members are Terry Balsamo (lead guitar), Troy McLawhorn (rhythm guitar), Tim McCord (bass) and Will Hunt (drums). Well, you can't deny that EVANESCENCE do have a very recognizable sound. As well musically as vocally, because, when you hear one song of the band and hear Amy Lee sing, you immediately know that it's EVANESCENCE. What else can I say about this third album, it's again a brilliant one, with fantastic songs and a very good production, which was done by Nick Raskulinecz (FOO FIGHTERS, RUSH, TRIVIUM, DEFTONES, STONE SOUR). There are absolutely no weak songs on this album, because the songs do have a constant high level. Although I do like the entire album, my favourite songs are "Made Of Stone", "The Change", "My Heart Is Broken", "The Other Side", "Erase This", "Sick" and "Never Go Back". Well, just like it's two predecessors "Fallen" (2003) and "The Open Door", also "Evanescence" will be a million selling album. Oh yeah, there's also an edition available which features four bonus tracks. I just have the standard jewel case version.
Visit their website: http://www.evanescence.com
Recordlabel: http://www.emimusic.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/evanescence

92/100

EXCOMMUNICATED – Skeleton Key (CD) USA November 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death / Black Metal Running time: 44:47 (Tracks: 10)
Excommunicated from the USA is a new band that raised out of the ashes of Despondency (not to be confused with the German Despondency). They started in 2010 and released an EP and demo in 2011 and this debut album “Skeleton Key”. This album brings you 9 tracks and an instrumental. Well what can I say...good music but for me I really had to listen twice before I could give a good opinion haha. The guitar riffs on this album are brutal combined with melody and Thrash metal riffs. The drums are very technical and groovy. And then you got the vocals that really surprises me, brutal grunts combined with light screams that sound really sick and sometimes a clean vocal. When I must give an example of a band what it looks a bit like the first thing that comes to mind (for me) is Exhumed, why? Because of the great variety between brutal and fast with a big dose of thrash and groove. The production of this album is also great. If you like bands that are not standard but brings you all that I mentioned then you are going to enjoy this album.
Visit their website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/excommunicated
Recordlabel: http://www.facebook.com/pages/UW-Records

75/100

FALLS OF RAUROS – The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood (CD) USA November 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Folk Black Metal Running time: 45:13 (Tracks: 6)
Falls of Rauros was formed in 2005. In 2006 they released their first demo. And 2006 gave light to their debut “Into the Archaic”. In 2007 they released another demo and 2008 they released their second album “Hail Wind and Hewn Oak”. 2009 gave light to a compilation album. This is their 3rd full length album and it sounds ravaging. The guitar riffs are very doom and melodic with typical black riffs. The drums are straight in your face with a lot of groove and melody. The vocals are very evil sounding screams that gives everything a very dark and epic feeling. When you listen to this album you get a lot of different things to hear, even though their black metal there is so much more in the music that makes this album an absolute masterpiece. The music is filled with solos and acoustic parts that sometimes reminds me a bit of Wolves in the Throne Room. This album sounds like an epic journey that keeps you listening to every song. If you like bands like the one I mentioned then you are going to enjoy this album.
Visit their website: http://fallsofrauros.blogspot.com
Recordlabel: http://www.bindrunerecordings.com

80/100

FIREWOLFE – Firewolfe (CD) USA November 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 54:40 (Tracks: 10)
Firewolfe is another band/project fronted by David Fefolt (Valhalla, Angels of Babylon, Masi, Forgotten Realm, Hawk) who happens to be one of my favourite singers. Fefolt is accompanied by 4 very talented and accomplished musicians with drummer Jay Schellen (Asia, Hurricane) being the most noticeable. Firewolf is categorized as an American heavy metal band similar mostly to Dio and Savatage. Fefold is magnificent as always and the guitar work is excellent. John Payne (Schellen's old Asia bandmate) handled the mixing and mastering and his work is quite good. The CD is full of heavy tunes that don't lack melody. It is contemporary with the stamp of the classic metal sound we all love. This is a strong and solid self financed band debut and I strongly suggest you buy this album and support this great effort. We need bands like Firewolfe!
Visit their website: http://www.firewolfe.com

79/100

GALLOWS POLE – Waiting for the Mothership (CD) Austria November 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 45:04 (Tracks: 8)
Austrian rock-metal band Gallows Pole is a strange case. It has been around since the early 80s releasing 5 albums with many years between them. They have switched from rock to metal and back. Their metal albums are interesting but the rock ones are not my cup of tea. Unfortunately this is a rock album, very much in the 70s too. The style is similar to Hawkwind but there is no element that managed to captivate my attention or interest. The songs are quite indifferent and so are the vocals and the overall playing. There is no wrong in delivering a dated musical style but the band fails to do it in an interesting way.
Visit their website: http://www.bgg-entertainment.com
Recordlabel: http://www.purerock-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gallowspolerockband

40/100

GIRLSCHOOL – Hit And Run Revisited (CD) United Kingdom November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 43:25 (Tracks: 13)
I discovered GIRLSCHOOL in 1980, when I was fifteen years old, with their debut album "Demolition" (1980). Since that fantastic debut album I followed the band several years, and bought the following albums "Hit And Run" (1981), "Screaming Blue Murder" (1982) and "Play Dirty" (1983) as well. And especially "Demolition", "Hit And Run" and "Screaming Blue Murder" were (and still are) my favourite GIRLSCHOOL albums. So, after the "Play Dirty" album, I didn't follow the girls for a very long time. In December of 2008 I reviewed "Legacy", the album with whom the band celebrated their 30th anniversary, for MMM, which got 78 points out of 100. Now, thirty years after the release of "Hit And Run" in 1981, Kim McAuliffe (vocals, rhythm guitar), Enid Williams (vocals, bass), Denise Dufort (drums) and Jackie Chambers (lead guitar, vocals) decided to re-record their second album, which is a real NWOBHM classic. This new version, simply titled "Hit And Run Revisited", also features two bonus tracks, namely a new recorded version of "Demolition Boys" (from the "Demolition" album) and a version of the title track "Hit And Run" with Doro Pesch on vocals. The original album version of "Hit And Run" was produced by Vic Maile, this new version is produced by Tim Hamill and the band themselves. The only difference is, that the songs "C'mon Let's Go", "The Hunter", "Hit And Run" and "Future Flash", which were originally sung by Kelly Johnson (lead guitar, vocals; who died in 2007 of cancer), are now sung by Kim or Enid. Anyway, my favourite songs of "Hit And Run"/"Hit And Run Revisited" are still "C'mon Let's Go", "The Hunter", "(I'm Your) Victim", "Kick It Down", "Following The Crowd", the ZZ TOP cover "Tush", "Hit And Run", "Watch Your Step" and "Yeah Right". At the time of the release in 1981, GIRLSCHOOL could be seen as the female version of MOTÖRHEAD, especially with songs like "C'mon Let's Go", "(I'm Your) Victim", "Kick It Down" and "Yeah Right". My generation of metalheads will absolutely remember the project HEADGIRL. "Hit And Run Revisited" is nothing more than just a good album, but to be honest I still do prefer the original "Hit And Run" version.
Visit their website: http://www.girlschool.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.udr-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/girlschool1

81/100

INTERROGATE – Silence The Fallen (MCD) Northern Ireland November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metalcore Running time: 27:14 (Tracks: 5)
In September of 2009 I reviewed "Scarred For Life", the debut album of INTERROGATE. That album completely blew me away, when I listened for the first time to it. Now, two years later INTERROGATE is back with a 5-track EP "Silence The Fallen". What noticed me is, that lead vocalist Andy Campbell had left the band. Well, the band continues as a 3-piece band, and now bass player Darren Brown has taken over the lead vocals. Besides bass player and singer Darren the band still exists of guitarist Mark Johnston and drummer Stephen Brown. I must say, that Darren does a good job as well as a singer. He also sings, just like Campbell did, varied with brutal and clean vocals. Musically, there has nothing changed, because the band continues with playing fantastic melodic Metalcore. Just like the debut album "Scarred For Life", also this new EP "Silence The Fallen" is fantastically produced by Neal Calderwood and the band themselves. The songs which are on this EP are "Let Me Breathe", "Walk Away", "Your Regret", "Affliction" and the title track "Silence The Fallen" and are all excellent and very accessible. Most notable track is absolutely the title track, because that song also features additional female vocals of Sable Campbell (AFTERMYTH). Like I also wrote in my review of "Scarred For Life", it is still unbelievable that this band isn't signed by any label yet. For anyone who's already familiar with INTERROGATE's EP "Broken" (2005) and album "Scarred For Life", or is into Metalcore in general, also this second EP is a real recommendation. Fantastic EP guys.
Visit their website: http://www.interrogate13.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/interrogate

87/100

IRON SAVIOR – The Landing (CD) Germany November 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Power Metal Running time: 47:34 (Tracks: 11)
Iron Savior for years is a guarantee for true Teutonic Power Metal. This new example of this pure form of Heavy Metal is no exception. It took the band four years to come up with another piece of German's finest and that's just what it is; a damn fine product. Kicking off with the mid tempo, crunchy sounding “The Landing” the band follows immediately by the fast double kicking “Starlight” and you know for certain; they do it again. You can call it “playing save”, “taking no chances” or even “dull” because some songs over all their albums can be alternated but what they do, they do best and that counts to. The production, the sound, the engineering, you can name all those but they are perfectly in balance providing you a fine small hour of what Power Metal stands for. In “R.U. Ready” the band honours all kinds of bands by naming several classics in their lyrics and it's a real fist pumper. Also “March of Doom”, “Before the Pain”, “No Guts No Glory” and the mighty “Hail of the Heroes” are more than worthy to check them out. Nothing new under this sunny sky, but well done and enjoyable enough to take your chance with this one. Sometimes you just need stuff like this; no comprises, just bang that head and scream your lungs out.
Visit their website: http://www.iron-savior.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ironsaviorofficial

81/100

LASTING TRACES – Old Hearts Break In Isolation (CD) Germany November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hardcore Running time: 28:02 (Tracks: 9)
LASTING TRACES is a German hardcore band which exist of Thomas Brenn (vocals), Daniel Pfeifer (guitar), Fabian Weisser (bass) and Andreas Maier (drums). So far these German guys have released a self titled demo "Lasting Traces" (2008), an EP "Portraits" (2009) and a split 7" with WAY DOWN (2010). Now the band released their debut album "Old Hearts Break In Isolation" on Demons Run Amok. Although this debut album is my first acquaintance with LASTING TRACES, I have to admit that it's a damn good hardcore album. The band recorded nine fantastic songs, which are really beautiful pieces of hardcore. The CD does have an excellent production. Okay, the way Brenn sings isn't very original, because I've heard this way of singing many times before. But nevertheless he's a perfect singer for the band, which by the way exists of good musicians as well. The fourth track "Resurrection" is a notable song, because it ends with an acoustic part. In my opinion there isn't any weak song on "Old Hearts Break In Isolation". So hardcore fans, check this album out, because I'm sure you all will like songs such as "Lake Nowhere", "Old Hearts", "Pipe Dream", "Sailor's Grave", "Comfort In Solution" and "Intervention" very much. Fantastic debut album, which is absolutely one of the better releases by Demons Run Amok.
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lastingtraces

80/100

NEWMAN – Under Southern Skies (CD) United Kingdom November 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 55:26 (Tracks: 11)
Newman was formed in 1997 by singer / guitarist Steve Newman. Together with the musicians Mark Mulholland (drums) and William Marshall (Bass), a self-entitled debut album was released in 1998. Since the formation of the band, you can discuss whether Newman is a band or a project. I believe it is the latter. In 1999, Newman signed to a British label and the albums “One Step Closer”, “Dance In The Fire”, “Sign Of The Modern Times” and “Heaven Knows” were released between 1999 and 2006. These albums established Newman as one of the better UK melodic rock bands/projects. In 2006, Newman left this label and he formed his own venture: Chrome Dome Records. Later, “Primitive Soul” was released, followed in 2008 with the double CD “Decade”. Steve then worked towards re-establishing a live band by recruiting Neil Richardson (Guitar), Paul Boyle (Keyboards), Nic Lipscombe (Drums), and Terry Horne (Bass). In 2009 the band played at the Z Rock Festival and supported master vocalist John Waite on his UK Tour.
2010 saw the release of "The Art of Balance”. This album became one of the most successful albums of Steve's career. The band, with new bassist Dave Bartlett played various shows to support the new album including the Cambridge Rock Festival. After enlisting the talents of a new guitarist (Shaun Bessant), the band was asked to play at the prestigious Firefest Festival and subsequently a CD/DVD was recorded for future release. The relationship between AOR Heaven and Steve Newman continues with the release of Newman's brand new studio album “Under Southern Skies”. It was recorded and produced once again at Steve's Blue Room Studios. The album features 11 songs much in the style of Newman's earlier work but with modern influences. The album once again features Steve Newman on Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, and Rob McEwen on Drums. There is also an appearance by Shaun Bessant playing Lead Guitar on the track “If He Loves You”. The album contains no real highlights, however it is quite entertaining and before you know it, the album is finished in your cd player!
Visit their website: http://www.newmansound.com
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.net

73/100

OBSEQUIAE – Suspended in the Brume of Eos (CD) USA November 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Black Metal Running time: 41:39 (Tracks: 12)
Obsequiae started spreading their rage in 2007, officially this band started in 1998 under the name Autmnal Winds but changed name in 2007 to Obsequiae. They released there demo in 2009 and their debut “Suspended in the Brume of Eos” in 2011. This album contains 12 tracks of very musical and melodic black metal. The guitar riffs on this album are furious and filled with twin solos and melody. The drums on this album are also furious and sound very groovy and constant. The vocals are light black metal screams that are very well understandable. The variety of the songs are very epic and dark. All the songs are so well composed that you keep listening to every song (very well done). The production of this album also sounds very well, especially the guitars (they sound great). If you like black metal that sounds more than just dark and evil then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.bindrunerecordings.com

75/100

ODIN'S COURT – Human Life in Motion (CD) USA November 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 51:45 (Tracks: 11)
Odin's Court hail from Maryland and this album is their fourth full-length release and the second one on the ProgRock Records-label. The guys responsible for this album are Matt Brookins (lead vocals and guitars) , John Abella (drums) , Rick Pierpont (guitars) , Craig Jackson (bass) , Savino Palumbo (keyboards & pianos) and Craig Moran (backing vocals). When you look at the album cover one would expect traditional heavy metal but that is not what you get as Odin's Court plays progressive rock. The album includes an introspective look at the human experience. Each song deals with a primary emotion and takes the listener on a journey through a range of landscapes and feelings. The album kicks off with “Affect Us” or “Affectus” as all tracks have a Latin word for the different emotions added to the song-title.
This first track is a real progressive rock song as it has all the prog-ingredients. Brookins has a pleasant voice and the song is well structured so the start of the album is promising. The next track, “Blue Line 5:30am” is for the biggest part a very quiet song with all musicians playing in a modest way thus creating a beautiful song.
“Can't Forgive Me” is a much heavier song with Jackson and Abella being prominently present. Later on in the song, the guitars take over. The next one, “There Then, Here Again”, is again a very modest quiet song with some piano and acoustic guitars and towards the end a screaming guitar. The acoustic guitar kicks off “Blacktop Southbound”, quickly followed by piano. When the guitars join in they are being played very controlled allowing the song to breathe a very laid-back vibe. On “Silent Revolution”, the rhythm-section is playing odd rhythms while the rest of the band is performing a great progressive metal-piece. The song-title of the next track, “The Wrong Turn at the Right Time” is a superb one. The song itself is also a beautiful example of progressive rock with great musicians, excellent vocals and of course a song that is built up the right way. This also goes for “Red Glow Dreaming”. “The Echo of Chaos” again is a bit heavier and has a higher tempo and a beautiful guitar-solo followed by some real guitar riffing and this supported by a heavy rhythm-section. However, throughout the track Brookins leads the song with his sensitive vocals. “Feathered We Fly” has some great musical parts. The last song, “Leaving Chicago” is a very quiet and slow song that is performed very solemnly with halfway through a beautiful guitar solo that opens up the song to end on a harder note. “Human Life in Motion” is a good and very balanced album with no tracks over six minutes, which by the way is quite exceptional in the prog-scene.
Visit their website: http://www.odinscourtband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.progrockrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/odinscourt

83/100

OZ – Burning Leather (CD) Finland November 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 42:51 (Tracks: 11)
Want some lesson in the real stuff, ladies and gentlemen. Well, here is one hell of a lesson! First a historical fact. 1983 can be categorized as one of the best years in Heavy Metal. Several classics like Metallica – Kill' Em All, Slayer – Show No Mercy, Thin Lizzy – Thunder and Lightning, Ozzy–Osbourne – Bark at The Moon, Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind, Savatage – Sirens, Dio – Holy Diver and …… Oz – Fire in the Brain saw the light in that memorable year.. Getting a hard one, getting wet are we. You should, because I can go on naming several more, those were the days my friends. Oz surprised friend and foe with a true classic that deserves to be named between mentioned heavy weights. “Searchlights”, “Fortune”, Megalomaniac”, ''Black Candles”, “Gambler”, “Fire in the Brain” are diamonds which everyone should know, and they're all on one album. After this brilliant piece of metal, Oz after that delivered the awesome three track “Turn The Cross Upside Down” and the mid paced follower “Third Warning” but after that they never even came near their classic again.
Now they think the time is right to get back in business with an album filled with six re-recordings and five new tracks. This to prove what Oz stands for in 2011 so they acclaim their statement. Re-recording classics is a tough job. Normally nothing beats the real thing and that partly counts here. “Searchlights” brilliant (probably by mistake, but still brilliant) original intro has been replaced by a siren, the arrangements are slightly different but overall it's still brilliant and hard hitting as ever, “Gambler” has been re-arranged, sounds a bit smoother, but hits harder and “Fire in the Brain” (take two) blows your speakers like nothing has changed. As said, nothing beats the real thing, but Oz certainly gets away with it. The production is exactly what the songs needed; in your face, breathing pure metal. One thing I find very surprising are the vocals of Ape de Martini. Nowadays he sounds like a copy of Saxon's Biff in his best years and that really is a difference according to the old days. Is this really the same guy? Also the new tracks are dipped in the 80's Saxon style, but hey Saxon wished they had songs like “Dominator”, Seasons in the Darkness” and “Burning Leather” in their catalogue! Oz teaches us a lesson in Heavy Metal with capitol letters that's for sure. Get this one, get “Fire In the Brain” and start banging that head! The old days return my friends! A big thank you is in place here, so tack Oz and welcome back! Awesome record, a must for everyone who believes in Metal!
Visit their website: http://www.ozofficial.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ozofficial

93/100

PIEL DE SERPIENTE – Inevitable (CD) Spain November 2011 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 45:03 (Tracks: 11)
This Spanish melodic hard rock band exists since 2004. In the past they already released “Encenderé tu Fuego” (2005) and “El Venero Se Extiende” (2008) as a self-release and through Karthago Records. Their new cd “Inevitable” is their debut for Pure Rock Records. Piel de Serpiente plays melodic hard rock, influenced by 80's hard rock bands like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne. Most of the songs are played in mid-tempo, sometimes a bit faster/slower/heavier. Like most Spanish bands they have mainly Spanish lyrics what isn't a problem for me. The artwork is very nice but the production could be more up to date for me. “Inevitable” certainly isn't a bad release, but I think their next release could be much better with a really good production.
Visit their website: http://www.pieldesierpente.net
Recordlabel: http://www.purerock-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pieldesierpente

73/100

R.U.S.T. - Forged In The Fire Of Metal (CD) Cyprus November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 51:32 (Tracks: 10)
R.U.S.T. is a five piece Metal band from Cyprus, and was formed in 2002 under a different name. Since 2005, they changed the name into R.U.S.T. In 2007 they released a self-titled four track EP "R.U.S.T" and the single "Metal Child" in 2010. Now these guys have released their first full length debut album "Forged In The Fire Of Metal" by themselves, but the promotion and distribution for the band is done by Pitch Black Records. Anyway, the line-up of R.U.S.T. exist of Tasos Karonias (Vocals), Panayiotis Xanthou (guitar), Adamos Adamou (guitar), George Xanthou (bass) and Giannakis Xanthou (drums). These guys are influenced by bands such as JUDAS PRIEST, WHITESNAKE, ACCEPT, STORMWITCH, WARLORD and SAVATAGE, to name a few. Well, about "Forged In The Fire Of Metal", I have listened several times to this CD, but I couldn't get impressed that much by the traditional Heavy Metal the band plays, because to me the songs sounds too much cliché and moderate. Okay, these guys can play their instruments well, no doubt about it. And although I do like high pitched vocals, the high vocals of Karonias began to irritate me very quickly. It's also like he's not always singing in tune as well. This album was recorded at bass player George's bedroom, and sounds reasonable. I can't deny these guys do have a passion for Heavy Metal of the 80's, only like I said above, songs like "Metal Child", "We Are Rock 'N' Roll", "In The Streets Of Rock 'N' Roll" (2011 version) and "Queen Of The Amazons" do really sound cliché. The songs which I like the most are "The Thunder Rolls" and "Phoenix In The Night". So, you will understand that to me, "Forged In The Fire Of Metal" is nothing more than a moderate heavy metal album, that will not end up that often in my CD-player. '
Visit their website: http://www.rust-official.com
Recordlabel: http://www.pitchblackrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rustcyprus

61/100

SCAVANGER – Between The Devil and the Sea (CD) Germany November 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 52:54 (Tracks: 12)
Scavanger is a heavy metal band from Germany that been active since 2003. They released a demo in 2005 and their debut “Giving Entrance” in 2010. This is their second album “Between the Devil and the Sea” released this year. Twelve tracks of pure heavy metal with everything on it. The songs are filled with solos and melody combined with groove. The drums are technical and groovy. The vocals are clean but not the standard heavy metal vocals, they are more in the style of Black Label Society. The songs are filled with variety sound really easy listening. The production is also straight in your face. The only thing that I do not like is that when you listen to long to the vocals it gets a bit annoying. The songs are very well composed and sometimes even give the feeling that you have to sing along (think of Manowar) hahaha.
Recordlabel: http://www.rockitup.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/scavanger

73/100

SKÁLMÖLD - Baldur (CD) Iceland November 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Viking Metal Running time: 66:39 (Tracks: 12)
Iceland brings us a new, worthy opponent to claim the crown in Viking Metal. Skálmöld is their name, and they come in with a blast. A cold blast in the good sense of the word, because this tale of Baldur seeking his revenge for the brutal death of his family, breaths the harsh Icelandic landscape so well that it shivers your spine. Skálmöld's debut is good, very good. The music is brought like a soundtrack and gives you that feeling of being in the story by yourself. The clang of the buildings they are in, the crackling campfire, the icy winds, babies screaming, women choirs on the background, hey we are back in time here and we march together with Baldur ! Over more than an hour you get that feeling in a rousing tale full of violence and drama. It's hardly to believe that this band was founded just a few years ago (2009) and came up with this album already in 2010 when it was released and distributed by Tutl in Iceland and the Faeroe Islands. Napalm took their chance to release it worldwide, just what they deserve. Skálmöld is pure Viking Metal. Melodic, epic, dark, folky and growling vocals. About that, they are in their own language and that makes it even more mystical. What makes Skálmöld better than most bands in this scene is their variation. You really become a part of their journey. So make a campfire, gather around and become part of Baldur's world. It won't disappoint you.
Visit their website: http://www.skalmold.is
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/skalmold

85/100

SUSHI RAIN - Breathless (CD) Italy November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Funk Metal Running time: 47:00 (Tracks: 10)
SUSHI RAIN is an Italian five piece band, who are making Funk Metal. The band was formed in 2002, did have several line-up changes and since 2008 the current line-up of SUSHI RAIN exists of Matteo Carrai (vocals), Francesco Bini (guitar, backing vocals), Marcello Arena (bass), Francesco Miceli (drums) and Alessandro Biondi (keyboards). “Breathless” is the debut album, and to tell the truth, my first impression was…..what a piece of shit. Really I couldn't get impressed. The songs are so cliché and most of all very weak. Of the nine songs, I only like “Something Illegal Inside My Life” (track 2) and “Happy For Another Night” (track 5) a bit. The band exists of good musicians, that's something I can't deny. But especially Bini and Miceli wanted to show too much of their skills. Guys, we don't need an overkill of drum fills/breaks or super fast guitar solo's and weird guitar noises, that is really annoying. And Carrai isn't a great singer as well. Although he is sometimes singing very high, he is not always singing in tune. But to me songs like “Shake Your Body To The Disco Hell”, the boring ballad “Don't Waste More Tears”, “American Show” or “Midnight Queen” are really weak. After listening five times to “Breathless” I really had enough of it. Well, if I want to listen to some good Funk Metal, then I will listen to one of EXTREME's albums. Ooh yeah, there's also a bonus track on the album (track 10), which exists of different animal sounds and some guitar, and is really superfluous if you ask me. I can't believe that there are people who really would like this album. There are way much better bands on this planet, and there are also much better albums released. Well, their bio says 'So, stay Funk/Metal! Stay Sushi Rain!'. I would say 'stay away from this band, because it's too terrible, and a real waste of your time'. One thing is for sure, “Breathless” will never visit my CD-player again. '
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/funkvalentine

50/100

TEARS OF MARTYR - Entrance (CD) Spain November 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 55:02 (Tracks: 12)
Tears of Martyr comes from Spain and debuts with an album that is Gothic in a old, traditional way. The way it began with bands like Tristania where the dark grunting male voice dominates and the female one is to be found in the higher regions. The production is good and clean and the musicians are quite capable. It's not all that original, but it's certain not a waste of time listening to this silver disc. Influences of (old) Tristania, Epica and Nightwish can be heard and it's all well done. Two tracks really stand out and can easily be categorised as very good; “Evil Dominium” which is fast and dark with splendid male and female contrast and the superb “Dark Tears (Don't you shed those)” which begins as a tearjerker which turns into a song which Nightwish wished they'd made. Also the, sorry to say but I mean it in a good way, funny (the pronouncing of English) interlude “Prelude to Violence” to the track “Violence in Red (A Violin's Story) belongs definitely to the better tracks in the genre. Fine guitarwork, excellent interaction between the male and female voice, a good production and songs which vary between acceptable, yet not very original and very good makes this a fine debut from a band which we certainly are going to hear more in the future. Promising Entrance to the Gothic Metal scene.
Visit their website: http://www.tearsofmartyr.com
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tearsofmartyr

75/100

THE ANDROID MEME – Ordo Ab Chao (CD) Canada November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 46:45 (Tracks: 10)
THE ANDROID MEME is a modern progressive rock/metal band from Toronto, Canada and exists of Stefano S. Amelio (vocals), Mathias Devereaux (guitar, keyboards), Mark Davidson (bass) and Jake Hamilton (drums). The band, which was formed in 2005 by Amelio, delivers with "Ordo Ab Chao" their debut album. And to tell the truth, it's a damn good one. Musically it is a varied and very interesting album. The band also do use electro elements in their music. All ten songs on this debut are perfect compositions and are very catchy. In fact, there isn't any weak song on "Ordo Ab Chao". Even the second track, "Sumii", which could have been a song of LINKIN PARK, would do it fantastically as a single. The production, which was done by Matthew von Wagner, sounds fantastic. Amelio is a good singer, who mostly sings very dreamy, but can sound also sometimes brutally. Anyway, since I got this CD to review, it made many spins in my CD player. And each time I listened to "Ordo Ab Chao", it never started to annoy me. Personally I think that with this album THE ANDROID MEME can reach a very large group of rock/metal fans. Anyway, bands of which THE ANDROID MEME reminds me of are TOOL, LINKIN PARK, DEPECHE MODE and RUSH to name a few. It's difficult to name some favourite tracks, because I like them all. Anyway, I would advise to check this band out, so you will discover yourself that songs like "The Machine Stops", "Sumii", "Polar Rose", "Sigma", "Ordo Ab Chao", "Left Right Parasite" and "Whistleblower" are all fantastic. Well, THE ANDROID MEME is an interesting band anyway, and "Ordo Ab Chao" is an excellent and recommendable debut album.
Recordlabel: http://www.magnacarta.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theandroidmeme

86/100

THE ANSWER – Revival (2CD) Ireland November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Blues Rock Running time: CD: 50:05 (Tracks: 12)
Bonus CD: 50:48 (Tracks: 11)
THE ANSWER makes traditional Hard Rock in the way I like to hear it, and that's because I grew up with this music. Anyway, since the fantastic debut album "Rise" (2006) I do like THE ANSWER very much. The band, which was formed in 2000, has recently released their third album, titled "Revival". And to be honest, Cormac Neeson (vocals), Paul Mahon (guitar, backing vocals), Micky Waters (bass, backing vocals) and James Heatley (drums, backing vocals) delivered, just like with "Rise" and "Everyday Demons" (2009), again a brilliant album. In fact, it's an album which you could buy blindly. Also this album features high quality old school Hard Rock. It's just a real pleasure to listen to all these fantastic songs, the awesome vocals of Neeson and the great guitar work of Mahon. The first single of "Revival" is the catchy "Vida (I Want You)". There's also a fantastic song on this album, which features female guest vocals of Lynne Jackaman of English rock band SAINT JUDE, namely "Nowhere Freeway". I have the limited edition 2 disc set, with a bonus disc with 11 tracks, which is titled "After The Revival". And to tell the truth, I do like both entire albums very much. I can listen to this kind of music any time. The bonus disc features several demo tracks such as "Tailspin" (Renegade demo), "What I Am" and "The Enemy" & "Show Me The World" (both of the Point demo), two live acoustic songs ("Nowhere Freeway" (without guest vocals of Lynne Jackaman) and "One More Revival"), and an awesome killer version of the FREE cover "Fire And Water", to name a few. Although I like all songs very much, my favourites are "Waste Your Time", "Use Me", "Trouble", "Vida (I Want You)", "Caught On The Riverbed" and "New Day Rising" of the regular album, and "Piece By Piece", "Faith Gone Down", "Fire And Water", "What I Am" and "Show Me The World" of the bonus disc. All I can say about "Revival" is, that it's an awesome album. To me, THE ANSWER absolutely belongs to my favourite "newcomer" bands. If you like high quality classic Hard Rock, then "Revival" is a must.
Visit their website: http://www.theanswer.ie
Recordlabel: http://www.spinefarmrecords.co.uk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theanswerrock

94/100

THE REST SIDE - The Rough Core Of Things (CD) Italy November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Stoner / Alternative Rock Running time: 46:04 (Tracks: 10)
THE REST SIDE is an Italian three piece band existing of Giusepe Chiumeo (vocals, guitar), Cosimo Summo (bass) and Ruggiero Lanotte (drums). I can't tell much about the band, because I didn't get any info with this CD, and there isn't also any information to find on their MySpace page. I assume that "The Rough Core Of Things" is the debut album of these three Italian guys. Anyway, it was a real surprise to me, when I put "The Rough Core Of Things" in my CD-player, because I liked it immediately. The songs on this album are excellent compositions with fantastic riffs and grooves. Also the production, which was done by Ale Paolucci, sounds very good. To me, the songs on "The Rough Core Of Things" sound like a mixture of Alternative Rock with Stoner Rock. The band exists of good musicians, and Giusepe Chiumeo is a fantastic singer as well. The only track on this album which is a less song, is the quieter "Vipassana". But I really can enjoy songs such as "Foolscap", "Get Proud And Race", "Faded Memory Of My Promises", "No One Knows What Clearness Means" and "Sot". So, my conclusion is that THE REST SIDE is an interesting band, and "The Rough Core Of Things" is a fantastic album. So, check them out if you're interested. '
Recordlabel: http://www.tarock.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/therestside

78/100

THUNDERBLAST – Invaders From Another World (CD) Colombia November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Speed / Power / Thrash Metal Running time: 56:33 (Tracks: 12)
THUNDERBLAST is a Columbian speed/power metal band of which I had never heard of before. The band was formed in 1999 and released their debut album "Warzone" in 2004 and a demo "When Zombies Rise" in 2008. The band exist of Felipe Machado Franco (vocals), Victor Mosquera (guitars), Germán Guerra (guitar), German Rojas (bass) and Jaime Moreno (drums). Now several years later, THUNDERBLAST release their second album "Invaders From Another World" on Pure Steel Records. Three tracks of this new album were already on the just mentioned "When Zombies Rise" demo. Well, I must say that I like this album pretty much. The speed/power metal songs, which are also a bit Thrash influenced, do sound very nice. Good songs, perfect musicianship and a good production, which was done by the band themselves. Felipe Machado Franco is not a great but just a good singer. The songs on this album are of a constant level, and that makes "Invaders From Another World" a good album.
Songs like "Core Domain", "Horror At Outpost 10", "Target Earth", "Invaders From Another World", "When Zombies Rise", "Screams At Hunted Hill" and "War Of The Monsters" are all excellent. To me, the band reminds me, because of the horror/science-fiction themes, of Northern Ireland Thrashers GAMA BOMB. But also influences of early IRON MAIDEN and ICED EARTH can be heard. Well, if you are into Speed-, Power- and Thrash Metal, then I would advise to check this album out. I'm sure you will like the material on "Invaders From Another World" very much.
Visit their website: http://www.thunderblast.net
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thunderblast

77/100

TOXIC HOLOCAUST – Conjure And Command (CD) USA November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash / Speed / Death Metal Running time: 32:08 (Tracks: 10)
TOXIC HOLOCAUST is a Thrash Metal band founded by Joel Grind in 1999. Grind, who is totally influenced by punk rock and metal bands of the 80's, such as SLAYER, VENOM, DISCHARGE, EXODUS, CELTIC FROST, BLACK FLAG, MOTÖRHEAD and DEATH, to name a few, originally wrote and recorded all of the band's music by himself. Joel released several demo tapes "Radiation Sickness" (1999), "Critical Mass" (2002) and released the first TOXIC HOLOCAUST album "Evil Never Dies" in 2003. Other albums released by TOXIC HOLOCAUST are "Hell On Earth" (2005) and "An Overdose Of Death…" (2008). After three years TOXIC HOLOCAUST are back with a new album titled "Conjure And Command". This fourth album of TOXIC HOLOCAUST is the first one with a complete line-up, existing of Joel Grind (vocals, guitar), Phil "Gnaast" Zeller (bass) and Nick "Nikki" Bellmore (drums). Well, "Conjure And Command" is a killer album, which features as well as fast as some slower songs. The first track "Judgement Awaits You", is one of those fast tracks, and reminds very much of early SLAYER, even the guitar solo in it. And for example, "I Am Disease" sounds very much like a VENOM song. Anyway, since I have this album, it has made many spins in my CD-player. To me, there isn't any weak song on "Conjure And Command", I like all songs as much. Joel's vocals, which do sound like Cronos (VENOM), fits perfect with this type of music. On November 20th, the band is playing live, together with WOLVES LIKE US, THE SECRET and KVELERTAK, at the venue Doornroosje, Nijmegen, Holland. Anyway, "Conjure And Command" is again an excellent Thrash/Punk/Metal album, which is TOXIC HOLOCAUST's best one so far. My favourite songs are "Judgement Awaits You", "Agony Of The Damned", "Bitch", "Nowhere To Run", "In The Depths (Of Your Mind)" and "Revelations". Superb album.
Recordlabel: http://www.relapse.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/toxikholocaust

88/100

TRANSNIGHT – The Dark Half (CD) Germany November 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy / Speed / Thrash / Power Metal Running time: 44:16 (Tracks: 10)
TRANSNIGHT is a German metal band, which was formed way back in 1999. The band's current line-up exists of Dave (vocals), Christoph Roth (guitar), Markus Roth (bass) and Daniel Roth (drums). So far the band has released three demos, which are "Transnight" (2004), "Transnight II" (2005) and "Between The Worlds" (2007). Now their debut album "The Dark Half" has been released on Pure Underground Records, which is a division of Pure Steel Records. And to be honest, when I listened for the first time to this album, I already had enough of it after a few songs. First of all, Dave is a terrible singer with a very annoying and boring voice. Secondly, the songs are too much cliché in my opinion. Okay, there are just a few nice moments, but there aren't any songs on "The Dark Half" which are entirely good. The band plays a mixture of Heavy Metal, Thrash/Speed Metal and Power Metal. The production of the album is good enough. Anyway, I couldn't listen more than three times to this album, because songs like "Devils Don't Wear Plaid", "You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do", "Bite My Shiny Metal Ass" and "Lose Your Time" really couldn't impress me much. So my end conclusion is that "The Dark Half" is nothing more than just a weak album, which in fact is a superfluous release.
Visit their website: http://www.transnight.info
Recordlabel: http://www.pureunderground-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/transnightmetal

50/100

TRIALS – Witness to the Downfall (CD) USA November 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash Metal Core Running time: 48:09 (Tracks: 9)
Trials are active since 2007. This is their debut “Witness to the Downfall” released in 2011. This album contains 9 tracks of groovy thrash metal core. The guitar riffs are typical US metal core riffs with a big dose of thrash influences in it. The drums are filled with groove and double bass. The vocals are light grunts combined with clean vocals. The variety in the songs are also very good. The same goes for the production. I guess if you are into metal core with thrash influences then you are going to like this band. For me personally it is not really my cup of tea. But this music has the entire package, aggressive, technical and groovy with a killer production.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/trials

70/100

TRILLION RED – Two Tongues (MCD) Bulgaria November 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Extreme Metal Running time: 24:22 (Tracks: 4)
Trillion Red is a band that consist of two people: Patrick, who is responsible for the vocals, keys, guitars and bass. And Sasha, who plays the drums. At the time of recording of the 'Two Tongues E.P,' another drummer was present, but he left the band some time ago. Patrick, the main songwriter, has been active in the metal scene for over twenty years mostly playing with black and death metal bands. For his current band 'Trillion Red' he has combined this experience with new influences, as can be heard on the 'Two Tongues E.P.' It's really hard to label the music of 'Trillion Red.' I would say it is ambient, indie-rock with extreme metal parts and a dark atmosphere. This combination might look a bit strange, but on record it all seems very logical. The four epic songs are balanced and the band has no problem with switching styles within a few seconds. Conclusion: 'The Two Tongues E.P.' is a challenging, but very interesting record for the open-minded metal enthusiast.
Visit their website: http://www.trillionred.com
Recordlabel: http://www.badgodmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/trillionred

70/100

URSUS – Fuerza Metal (CD) Colombia November 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 34:37 (Tracks:10)
Ursus from Colombia brings you thrash metal since 2001. They released their first demo in 2006 and their debut album “Hijos Del Metal” in 2008. This is their 2nd album released in 2011 and I must say that musically it sounds all right but definitely not spectacular. This album contains 10 tracks of thrash metal. The guitar riffs are simple and not exciting. The drums are also simple and not straight in your face. The vocals are in Colombian and also misses a bit of aggression. The production of this album is very poor and sounds really bad. This album misses everything for me, no aggression, bad production and very boring composing of the songs. When you heard the first song you can guess how the rest is going to sound. But there is also a good thing about this album; they are not afraid to give solos in their songs but because of the production.....When you play thrash it does not mean that you have to sound like the 80`s! I also love old school thrash bands of those years but a good production (that almost all those bands who are back still have) can do a lot, especially when you sing in Columbian (which I really do not understand a thing off). But there is a market for everything.
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ursusthrash

55/100

WHITE WIDDOW - Serenade (CD) Australia November 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 45:35 (Tracks: 10)
Founded in Melbourne, Australia, White Widdow was formed in 2008 by front man Jules Millis, bassist Trent Wilzon and guitarist Enzo Almanzi. Soon after, Jules introduced his brother Xavier Millis on keyboards. With Xavier on board, the writing team of White Widdow was in place. The line-up was then completed with Jim Naish on drums. Influenced by artists like Survivor, Rick Springfield and Roxus, White Widdow started out playing live amongst the diverse Melbourne Rock Scene. They quickly established themselves as a solid live band through Australia. In mid 2009, White Widdow recorded and released their free (digital only) EP which was well received. In 2010, White Widdow released their self titled debut album which was released all around the world by AOR Heaven.
White Widdow now returns with their follow up release Serenade. The album is recorded at the Solid State Studios in Melbourne, but mixed and mastered by Pelle Saether at the Studio Underground in Sweden. The 10 songs on the album contain a lot of influences of melodic rock made in the 80`s. It has become an energetic album with space for up-tempo melodic rock songs, but also nice ballads. I personally prefer the more rocking songs with a prominent role for keyboards and guitar, like the opener Cry Wolf. Something what I really like is the guitar sound: sometimes rocking, sometimes touching. I think that this album will bring White Widdow to the top of the melodic rock scene!
Visit their website: http://www.whitewiddow.com.au
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com

81/100

X OPUS – The Epiphany (CD) USA November 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 57:37 (Tracks: 10)
X Opus is the product of mastermind James Williams. He composed the music and played and/or programmed all of the instruments. On vocals, he recruited Brian Dixon and David Crocker. At the beginning of the first song, “Terrified”, a door slams followed by a beautiful guitar solo. Right away from the start, Brian Dixon shows his extraordinary vocal qualities as he delivers a master performance. However, let us not forget Williams as he plays all instruments on this track. This is a very good and interesting progressive power metal track.
The second track, “On Top of the World”, has a lot of keyboards and a deformed voice at the beginning of the song. Like the first song, there are many power metal influences on this one. The excellent guitar playing is neo-classical like on most of the songs. “Pharaohs of Lies” starts with a monk-choir and has some Yngwie- influences. This is an up- tempo-song with a lot of fabulous guitar playing combined with great keyboards and Dixon's fantastic voice. This is one of my favourite songs. On “I'll Find the Truth” it's time for Crocker to show his qualities. On this power metal song, he succeeds big time. The resemblance to Pagans Mind and especially singer Nils K Rue on parts of the song is remarkable and surely a compliment. “In the Heavens” starts with acoustic guitars followed by modestly played electric guitars. It is a slow song but the combination of the guitars and the singing results in an interesting track. The title-track that has a sub-title, namely “Opus Benedictus Interlude”, is an instrumental song. It starts with some wicked spooky piano-sounds like on a King Diamond-album or in a horror movie and it builds up with keyboards and some symphony-parts towards the end. The song is quite short as it stays under two minutes. It's is progressive metal at it's best on “I Will Fly”, that is one of the longest tracks clocking just over seven minutes. There are different moods and tempos on this song thus giving Crocker and Williams the chance to pull open all registers. The longest and most epic track on the album, which lasts almost eleven minutes, is “Forsaken(Requiem of the Forsaken)” and this time it's Dixon again who gets the chance to excel on this base of perfect progressive power metal delivered by Williams. It is unbelievable what Williams performs on this album, as he is the man that plays and/or programs all of the instruments. He did a great job. “Angels of War” is a bit heavier but the quality is still high. This again is an excellent song. An instrumental, “Never Forgotten” ends the album. It's played superbly but I like the songs with vocals better. The conclusion is that James Williams has delivered a great album. He is a multi-instrumentalist that recruited two fantastic singers to sing his songs. Apparently, he has a band nowadays so it's time to hit the road. Playing the opening-act for a European Symphony-X tour would be great. Williams thanks some of the Symphony-X members in his booklet but that is no surprise, as on some of the songs there is a Symphony-X vibe running through.
Visit their website: http://www.xopusband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.magnacarta.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/xopusband

86/100

OCTOBER

A NEW DAWN – Seven Faces of Truth (CD) The Netherlands October 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Eclectic Metal Running time: 55:42 (Tracks: 11)
Last year I was the lucky one to review A New Dawn's new start by their three track mini called “Finally” (MMM October 2010). On this next, full length, attempt nothing has changed musically. I'm glad to say so because I really like this complex, maiden based eclectic metal.
“Seven Faces of Truth” must compare to the seven musicians in the band. All high class and nothing wrong with it and that is something you definitely hear in the music. The band took my remark about the production seriously, because this time it's way better. The three songs from “Finally” have been re-recorded and now they are hot as hell and kick ass even more. A New Dawn doesn't bring anything new but they take all the metal ingredients you can get and serve them to you like a well filled, versatile pizza. Every slice you take from this 11 pieces counting meal is a guarantee for quality and makes hungry for more. Yes, this pizza is ready to be swallowed ! Well, enough about food know, but you'll get my drift; this is a fantastic album; versatile, complex, fast, slow, mid tempo, beautiful vocals, grunts, screaming guitars, harsh riffs, pounding drums; okay you name it, they serve it. From the very original spoken opener “My name is Dawn” till the instrumental finisher “Bellare Ad Aeternus” this album is a real joy listening to. Of course their music is complex and may take some time listening, but that makes it all worthy. Because the band has three singers, they're options are unlimited and they make use of this optimally. The contradiction between the grunts and clean vocals of both ladies works; the choirs are wonderful and in balance and on this album every singer gets, and takes, the chance to accelerate. Slight minor are that the grunts are sometimes hard to understand. As support or contradiction the job is done well, but solo needs some attention/ Although the album only counts good, intelligent and versatile stuff I want to mention “Desire”, “Composition of Life” and “Masque of the Red Death” because they are brilliant and have everything to become classics. Another highlight in Dutch metal this album is. So let nothing stand in your way to get this brilliant piece of eclectic metal ! Give it a chance and you'll be lost, just like me.
Visit their website: http://www.anewdawnband.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anewdawnband

91/100

ARCTIC FLAME – Guardian of the Gate (CD) USA October 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 49:36 (Tracks: 9)
Arctic Flame was born out of the ashes of Balistik Kick, founded by drummer Mike Paradine. I witnessed the very birth of the band since I had established communication with Mike back in the days of the first Arctic Flame demo. This is the band's third album, three years after the Declaration, and the second one with Pure Steel. Guardian of the Gate continues in the same vein as the previous works despite the line-up changes (one is in the vocal slot). Heavy power metal heavily influenced by Iron Maiden with a pinch of Iced Earth. The album flows nicely but the very strong tune is unfortunately absent. The most interesting song is the 10 minute epic The Eternal. Give them a chance. You can't go wrong with classic American heavy power metal.
Visit their website: http://www.arcticflamemetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/arcticfire

70/100

ARTIZAN – Curse of the Artizan (CD) USA October 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 48:50 (Tracks: 8)
Artizan hails from Colorado and features drummer Ty Tammeus and vocalist Tom Braden of Leviathan fame. A good friend of mine told me about them once they emerged with their debut mini cd a couple of years ago. There is no secret that I am a huge fan of U.S. metal and I immediately checked the band out and ordered the cd. I was impressed by it and waited till the band released a full length one. The guys didn't lose momentum and presented a debut through the German label Pure Steel. I have to admit that they met my expectations. They reduced the progressive elements a notch in favour of power metal primarily influenced by Iron Maiden-ic melodies. Leviathan is surely a reference. Artizan retain the freshness of the current decade but with an early 90s aura that transfers us back to years when the U.S. metal underground flourished and hundreds of bands emerged (but eventually never got the attention they deserved). I definitely recommend this album to all U.S. metal lovers out there
Visit their website: http://www.artizanmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/artizanmetal

83/100

ASGAIA – Trinegra (CD) Germany October 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 45:00 (Tracks: 11)
Asgaia from Germany started 1995 and released their debut album “Yersinia” in 2000 and their second album “In Carni Veritas” in 2006. This their third album and it sounds good. This album contains 11 songs of well performed melodic death metal with everything on it. The guitar riffs are very groovy and melodic. The drums are also very well done and really heavy. Its filled with double bass and the main tempo is groovy and very easy listening, with no blast beats. The vocals are grunts that reminds me a lot of the vocals of the band “Horrified” from Greece. They combine that with clean vocals that do not sound really good but fits in the music. They also use keyboards that are very well in the mix so it doesn`t get boring and annoying. The production of this is massive and really full. You can hear everything very well but now comes the part that I do not like; The songs are great but not exciting. Even though everything is very well performed and composed I miss a kind of aggression in the songs. Everything sounds to friendly and doesn`t give you the feeling that says “Fuck Yeah!!!”. If you like melodic death metal without a bite you should check it.
Visit their website: http://www.asgaia.de
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/asgaia

70/100

BARONS BALL - Changes (CD) Germany October 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Melodic Rock Running time: 47:26 (Tracks: 11)
BARONS BALL is a German rock band, which was formed in 2004 and exists of Dan Levon (vocals, guitar), Matt Stevens (guitar), Chris Page (bass) and Sean W. Heights (drums). According to the info sheet, which shows us a picture of the band as a trio (Levon, Stevens and Page), “Changes” is the second album of BARONS BALL and was released on 16 May 2011. Their debut album, titled “Push” was released in November of 2009 (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews 2010). Anyway, to tell you the truth, when I was listening to “Changes” for the very first time, I really didn't got impressed. Also the second and third time I listened to this CD, I still didn't get impressed. And that's because the songs on this album are so simple and most of them are very boring. Also the vocals of Levon are very dull. The fifth track “One By One” is a duet with Helena Schmitz. The production is good, the guys play their instruments well, but that's all not enough. And the ugly album cover isn't very inviting as well. This is a perfect example of an album where I never will listen to again. Well, my end conclusion is that “Changes” is nothing more than a very weak rock album, that is too boring to listen to. Don't check this band out, because it's just a waste of time.
Visit their website: http://www.baronsball.de
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rockbarone

53/100

COLDWAR – Christus Deathshead (CD) Ireland October 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death Metal Running time: 30:59 (Tracks: 10)
Coldwar started out just before the new millennium as a band that combined hardcore with death metal influences. Now, over a decade and three releases later, the band is back with the brand new album entitled: 'Christus Deathshead.' According to the band, the new record is a concept album. As the title might suggest, it has something to do with the biblical part of religion. A thankful subject for any metal band.
Although you can still hear the hardcore influences, the music of Coldwar contains mainly death metal. It sooths the lyrics well because of the dark themes. The music itself is a different story. First of all: it is never bad. The brutal, old-school death metal sounds good and also the melodic parts are very nice. The quality of the songs are equally consistent during the entire album. And that's exactly why 'Christus Deathshead' doesn't stand out between other albums in the genre. The songs are consistent, but all within the mediocre. There are no so called 'instant classics,' so to speak. To me, the album as a whole is not strong enough to hold my attention. You can hear the potential and the fine musicianship of the band members, but this hasn't resulted in memorable songs yet. However, if you're into old-school death metal, and I figure there are quite a lot of you out there, then I can suggest to give this album a try. If you're relatively new to the genre: there are a lot of other albums to discover first.
Visit their website: http://www.thisiscoldwar.net
Recordlabel: http://www.luggamusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thisiscoldwar

60/100

CRUSTACEAN – Greed, Tyranny & Sodomy (CD) The Netherlands October 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 43:54 (Tracks: 10)
Finally after 8 years heres the follow up to their “Insaniac” album! The band exist since 1993 but this is their 3rd release so far. Not a very productive band but who cares? Most important is according to band to deliver only good albums and sometimes that takes a while; well they are right about that! After their great debut “Burden of our Suffering” (1988) and the above mentioned “Insaniac” (2003) they managed to release an excellent thrash album again with “Greed, Tyranny & Sodomy”! Thrashmetal in the vein of old Pestilence, Revenant, Artillery and…..Slayer. Nearly everybody compares the band with Slayer and maybe that has to do with their sound; the members also have a Slayer coverband with which they do a lot of gigs! So its easy so find out why they have developed this sound. Nevertheless Crustacean is not a copy; what they do is more how Slayer should have sounded these days if you ask me (but they wont, hahaha).
This is great oldschool thrashmetal and the band is confirmed as headliner for the Friday show of Mario's Metal Meeting 5 on the 14th of October @ Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands. Be there or beware!!!!!!
Visit their website: http://www.crustacean.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.xtreemmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crustaceanmetal

83/100

DARK DESIGN – Time Is An Illusion (CD) Sweden October 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 41:26 (Tracks: 10)
Dark Design is a brand new band originating from Sweden. Unfortunately I could not locate any information considering the band except the fact that two of the members where associated with another group called Her Whisper. Dark Design delivers heavy metal bordering with power but failed to make an impression. The songwriting is typical and the songs are somehow similar. I couldn't find any explosive moments that would captivate my interest. The album just flows without any peaks or excitements. There are some interesting leads that remind me of Jag Panzer while the band's style could be described as a cross between Evergrey and Brainstorm. The band made its first step. Let's hope the next one will be better and show obvious signs of improvement because these guys have the skills to make it.
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkdesigngbg

62/100

DRACONIAN – A Rose For The Apocalypse (CD) Sweden October 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic Doom Metal Running time: 64:57 (Tracks: 10)
Gothic Doom Metal stands for massive guitarwalls, heavy drums, melancholic melodies, enchanting vocals and deep growls. Draconian serves it all. Supported by a fine production Draconian's fourth is a real masterpiece in it's genre. “The Drowning Age” opens and you know enough, there's nothing more to tell. If you are into this stuff, this is it! Brilliant!
Another nine long (10 tracks in 65 minutes!) rousing, doom metal pieces follow and still they grab you by the balls. Melodic, aggressive and very powerful. “The Last Hour Of Ancient Sunlight”, “The End Of The Rope” , well I can name them all. Guided by the beautiful voice of Lisa Johansson and the dark roaring growls of Anders Jacobsen this top notch Swedish band guarantees you one hour of dark romance on a blistered earth. Marvellous piece of metal that still grows every time you listen to it. It doesn't get boring, it just gets better and better. Compulsory purchase for everyone who likes their metal drowsy and atmospheric. Together with To Cast A Shadow the best product of 2011 in this genre. Catch them at the MFVF in October.
Visit their website: http://www.draconian.se
Recordlabel: http:// www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/draconianmusic

88/100

ELIZIUM – Relief By The Sun (CD) The Netherlands October 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Dark Rock Running time: 51:20 (Tracks: 11)
Elizium is a band that takes the time to fulfil their musical dreams and only then, when they think it's perfect, bring it out for the masses. “Relief by the Sun” is the second album from this Dutch Dark Rockers since their start in 1991. 5 years after their good debut “Angel of Mistrust” they're back in business. I'm glad they took their time again, because this album is again damn good. If you like your metal dark, melancholic and tragic then this is really something for you. Rousing songs like opener “War in Heaven”, “Nevermore”. “Rotten” and the almost catchy “Violent Flower” with it's Pink Floyd influences, are a joy listening to. That may sound strange; enjoying yourself while listening to tragic sounding stuff with the dramatic, theatrical vocals of Peter Beerends, but the songs are arranged so well and brought so good that you can easily dream away in darkness. It takes a few times listening to discover the beauty of this album, but it's worth it. In the tracks “Raven”, Nemesis” and Temple of War” there is room for some up tempo stuff and that fits in perfectly. So what we have overall is an album that is in balance in every thinkable way for it's genre. Speaking of that; Elizium succeeds in bringing this almost forgotten genre of dark, melancholic rock back in the spotlights. And that's not only worth a big compliment from the press but also deserves the attention of the audience. So, let nothing stand in your way and check this one out.
Visit their website: http://www.elizium.nu
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/therealelizium

83/100

ENID – Munsalvaesche (CD) Germany October 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Symphonic Medieval Folk Black Metal Running time: 53:21 (Tracks: 8)
Enid from Germany started 1997 and released their debut album 1998 “Nachtgedanken” and their second album in 2000. Their third album was released in 2002. After that one their comes another album and an EP. This is their fifth full-length and I must say that it surprises me very much. Normally when I listen to a band like this after a few songs I am like pfffff. This band clearly knows how to make it interesting; the songs are long and very musical. This is one man that composes everything. What do I mean with everything. The music is a classical journey with violins, keyboards (with which he programs a complete orchestra) and through the songs you get classic metal riffs combined with black riffs. The drums are very groovy in the songs. The vocals are clean (you should think of someone that is telling you a poem) combined with some screams. This album is clearly a concept of medieval times and it sounds great. The variety in the songs are ravaging, you got medieval folk music combined with heavy/black metal. And then you got the production of this album which is also excellent. If you are into concept music that is classical combined with metal then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/code666records
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/enidofficial

73/100

EXTINCT GODS – Wartribe (CD) Poland October 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 39:42 (Tracks: 10)
Extinct Gods from Poland started spreading their rage in 2001 and released a demo in 2004. This is their debut album. Nine tracks of aggressive and well sort of melodic death metal and an instrumental. The guitar riffs are straight in your face and technical combined with a lot of solos and aggressive thrash death riffs in it. The same goes for the drums which are filled with double bass and pounding groove in it. The vocals are grunts and reminds me of “Hate” and sometimes “Demonical”, combined with aggressive screams. Mostly when you think of Polish death metal you know that it is fast and furious and very aggressive, well this band has those elements in it too but they also bring a lot off melody. The production and variety of the songs is also straight in your face. When you read this and you think hmmm existence since 2001 and this is just their first album...check it because the vocalist also plays in Sammath Naur and the guitar player also plays in Lost Soul and if you are into death metal you know that those are very good bands, you can expect the same quality of this album and band.
Recordlabel: http://www.let-them-come.eu
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/extinctgods

75/100

GRAYLEVEL - Hypostatic Union (CD) Canada October 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 67:58 (Tracks: 8)
The earliest beginnings of Greylevel go back to 2001 when Derek Barber began writing and recording songs in his home studio. During his childhood, he learned to play the piano and he developed a fascination for experimental music too. Derek desired to create music that incorporated his classical training with this love for progressive and psychedelic music. Over several years (from 2001 – 2005), Derek began recording various demos utilizing the latest home recording technology that was emerging and then distributing these demos amongst friends. It was during this period that Greylevel's music style and sonic characteristics were developed and honed. Many of the songs that eventually ended up on the debut album Opus One were found in early form within the demos that were created during this time. Eventually in late 2005, Derek was joined by Esther Barber and Richard Shukin and together the three of them recorded what became known as Opus One. This debut album was completed in 2006 and garnered the attention of ProgRock Records who shortly thereafter signed Greylevel and released Opus One internationally in January 2007. After the release of Opus One, Greylevel was joined by Tyler and Davis Freisen and together the 5 of them began working on material that would ultimately become their next release. This release from Greylevel, entitled Hypostatic Union, was completed in demo form in early 2010. Since then the band has been hard at work recording the album version of Hypostatic Union, which is due for international release through ProgRock Records in 2011.
And then the album. It has to be said that the music is not really innovative, but nevertheless I can appreciate what I heard. The songs are sometimes quite long (11 or 13 minutes) however this does not make them boring. Most of the time, the music is challenging enough, with a major role for guitarist Richard Shukin. His guitar play works really refreshing and provides a welcome change. Sometimes the music sounds like symphonic rock from the `80 s, but the music contains also enough elements of contemporary symphonic rock too. The music reminds me among others to Knight Area. In my opinion, it is worth to give this album a chance!
Visit their website: http://www.greylevel.com
Recordlabel: http://www.progrockrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/greylevel

75/100

GROG – Scrooping the Cranial Insides (CD) Portugal October 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Brutal Death Metal Running time: 37:24 (Tracks: 13)
Grog from Portugal is a brutal death metal in every sense of its word. These guys started spreading their rage in 1991 and released several demos and an EP. In 1996 they released their debut “Macabre Requiems” and their second album “Odes to Carnivorous” saw the light in 2001. After that they released a split and a compilation. This is their new album and it sounds ravaging. This album starts with an intro and then flows over in total brutal madness. The guitar riffs on this album are ravaging and very fast. The same goes for the drums...man you got drummers that are fast but this is not normal. The drums are very fast and technical but there is even a kind of groove in it (very well done). Then you got the vocals; brutal grunts that sounds chaotic in the sense that only “Barney Greenway” could do. As an extra edition on it all they use a lot guest musicians from other bands (not known to me) and that sounds even more brutal. If you like bands like Dying Fetus, Napalm Death & Origin then you are going te enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/murderrecords
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/grogpt

80/100

LIVARKAHIL – Signs of Decay (CD) France October 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 45:59 (Tracks: 11)
Livarkahil from France plays technical death metal with a message. This album is a concept album based on religious autocrazy. What it means I do not know but it sounds ravaging. The guitar riffs are very aggressive and progressive. It is filled with solos and groove combined with brutalness. Then you got the drums that are really straight in your face with a constant double bass combined with hyper speed and chill out moments. The vocals are grunts combined with screams. Then you got the variety of the songs that are also very good, every song sounds different but has the same aggression. The production of this album is also very over the top and good. This is their second album and it sounds fucking brutal and straight in your face. I never heard of this band but I am definitely going to follow them. If you like technical death metal then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.listenable.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/livarkahil

80/100

LUCID DREAM – Visions Of Cosmos II (CD) Italy October 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Melodic Metal Running time: 46:07 (Tracks: 9)
I never had heard of Italian metal band LUCID DREAM before. The band, which exists of Alessio Calandriello (vocals), Simone Terigi (guitar), Gianluca Eroico (bass) and Paolo Raffo (drums), really surprised me with their debut album “Visions From Cosmos II”. Anyway, LUCID DREAM was formed at the end of 2009 by guitarist Terigi, who also played, together with Eroico, in a JOE SATRIANI cover band called “JOE SATRIANI TRIBUTE”. Well, that says enough about Terigi. He's an excellent axe man, who treats us on fantastic guitar riffs and solo's. The band does have in Calandriello a good singer, who can sing really high (think of Geddy Lee of RUSH). LUCID DREAM tries to mix the classic progressive hard rock and '80's rock sound with modern guitar legends such as the aforementioned SATRIANI and David Gilmour (PINK FLOYD). So, you don't have to expect something new and original, but who cares, because it sounds great. Anyway, there are nine songs on “Visions From Cosmos II” of which “Fallin'”, the short acoustic “Night Feel” (1:14) and “Sun And Sun” are instrumental tracks. Only, in my opinion “Night Feel” could have been omitted. In that case, I had rather another good instrumental track instead of that acoustic one. Anyway, when you are listening to “Fallin'” and “Sun And Sun”, you can't escape of the thought that you're listening to JOE SATRIANI. Just everything of these two songs sounds like the mighty mister Satriani. The other songs like “Holy Rage”, “Cosmos II”, “In The Moment”, “Get Up”, “Underground” and “Through The Years” are fantastic as well. So, my end conclusion is that “Visions From Cosmos II” is a good and impressive debut album, which is absolutely worth checking out. Very nice Italian band. '
Visit their website: http://www.luciddream.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lucid.dream

77/100

MARGIN OF ERROR – What you are about to witness (CD) USA October 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death Metal / Deathcore Running time: 32:34 (Tracks: 10)
The American based metal act Margin of Error likes to do things their way. After a rigorous break with their past, they are now a full blown Deathcore band that is building a reputation by touring and energetic, visual live performances. With the help of their following called: 'the victims' they are planning to grow and become an established band. After watching a couple of live video's, I must say that the shows are extraordinary. The energy of frontman Travis Meyers and the rest of the band is insane and also the visual concept deserves it's credits. After that, I've listened to the album a couple of times more. The records didn't capture the live energy on 'What you are about to witness,' but overall contains some very decent Deathcore tunes. The lyrical concept is also interesting. It hails about murderers and how they think. So to summarize: the music is good, the image is good and with the fact that they stay close to their fans, it's most likely they will gain a big following of angry teens. If you dig brutal metalcore with sick vocals, check them out.
Visit their website: http://www.marginoferrormetal.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mar6inof3rror

75/100

MORDBRAND – Necropsychotic (MCD) Sweden October 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 27:35 (Tracks: 6)
Mordbrand from Sweden brings you old school death metal. They released a split EP with Evoke in 2010 and this is their second release. Even though it is unknown when these guys started they are not unknown in the scene. Especially the vocalist who also played as singer in “God Macabre” and “Macabre End”. If you are into old school death metal then these names should ring a bell. This EP contains 6 songs of pure and groovy Swedish death metal. The guitar riffs are heavy and really easy listening. The drums are straight in your face and gives it a great rhythm. The vocals are grunts that are also easy listening. If there is one thing that you can say about Swedish death metal then it's that you almost always have quality, the same goes for this EP. This EP sounds ravaging and groovy. It's got a good production and it sounds old school.
Visit their website: http://www.deathgasm.com
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mordbrand

70/100

MORTON – Come Read the Words Forbidden (CD) Ukraine October 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Heavy Power Metal Running time: 53:46 (Tracks: 13)
Morton from the Ukraine brings Heavy/Power metal since 2009. In 2010 they released an EP. This is their debut album “Come Read the Words Forbidden” and it sounds great. Thirteen tracks of straight in your face metal. The guitar riffs are heavy metal riffs with a lot progressive riffs and melodic parts and solos. The drums are also pounding through the songs with a fantastic groove and much double bass in it. The best part are the vocals that reminds a lot of Dream Evil and Stratovarius, he has a very strong voice and it sounds ravaging (finally a singer that is not out of tune). They also use keyboards but that is very soft in the mix so it doesn`t sound annoying. The variety and composing of the songs are also straight in your face. The same goes for the production, that sounds smashing. What surprises me is that this band is unsigned because they make music at the level of Dream Evil and it has the same power in it. If you like bands like Stratovarius or Dream Evil then you are going to enjoy this album..
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/maxmorton

80/100

NO SKY TODAY – No Sky Today (CD) USA October 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Rock Running time: 48:24 (Tracks: 12)
NO SKY TODAY, from San Diego, California, is the band of Wayne Findlay, rhythm guitarist and keyboard player of the MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP (since 1999) & SLAVIOR and of vocalist Paul Jones (ROBOT LORDS OF TOKYO). The recording line-up on this fantastic self titled debut album existed of Paul Jones (vocals), Wayne Findlay (guitar, keyboards), Kelly Garni (bass) and Scotty Phillips (drums), but the current line-up exists, besides Findlay and Jones, of Joe Viers (bass; also ROBOT LORDS OF TOKYO) and B.Rad Dettmer (drums). Personally I never had heard of Jones' other band ROBOT LORDS OF TOKYO (a sludge/stoner band) before, so his vocals on this debut album of NO SKY TODAY is my first acquaintance with Jones as a singer. And man, believe me, this guy is a great singer. Although Findlay is playing together with the legendary Michael Schenker as a rhythm guitarist, on this album he proves to be an excellent guitar player as well with his fantastic riffs and solo's. But Findlay is not only a good guitarist, he's also a fantastic songwriter, because the songs are great compositions. Anyway, this album features twelve songs, of which two songs are a ballad (“Escape” and “Into The Sun”), and one short instrumental track (“Intermezzo”). The rest of the tracks are solid metal songs with a fantastic groove. In fact, “No Sky Today” is a very enjoyable album, which doesn't bore at all and which you will like within' three or four times listening to it. There are even some moments that the band reminds me a bit of ALICE IN CHAINS (“Real Life”). Anyway, the only track, which in my opinion didn't have to be on this album, is the aforementioned acoustic “Intermezzo” (1:58). The album was produced by Findlay, and sounds very good. NO SKY TODAY already started writing songs for their second album, which will be recorded in the next few months. Well, I'm looking forward to that second album, because I'm sure that will be a fantastic album as well, just like this one. Hopefully NO SKY TODAY will get signed by a record label for their second album. My favorite songs of this album are “No Sky Today”, “She's On Fire”, “Final Hour”, “Heavy Is The Debt”, “Escape”, “Real Life”, “Into The Sun” and “Pieces”. Check this band out, because they deserve it, and most of all they KICK ASS. Well done guys. '
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/noskytoday

83/100

PORTALL – Code Black (CD) The Netherlands October 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash Death Metal Running time: 42:54 (Tracks: 10)
Portall from The Netherlands brings you hyper speed death thrash metal since 2003. After releasing three demos they released this album (which is their debut). Ten tracks of straight in your face metal. The guitar riffs are very Exodus combined with a big dose of melody and solos. The drums are pounding through every song with a kick ass attitude. The vocals are light grunts that sound very aggressive. The composing and variety of the songs are also straight in your face and fast. The production is also very good. Every song makes your head move so that is a mission well done. If you like bands like Exodus then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.freebirds.records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/portall

75/100

RAIN – Come Back Alive (DVD) Italy October 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Power / Heavy Metal Running time: endlessly (Tracks: 11 video & a lot of extras!)
Rain is for me one of the best kept secrets of Heavy Metal from Italy! I already reviewed several releases from this 80's oldschool metalband. Im a real fan of this kind of music; real true metal with a rock 'n roll twist! The first time Ive seen this band was at the Keep it True festival in 2004. After that time I didn't hear much from the band till I found out that they still existed; The band toured Europe as support of Blaze Bayley in 2009 (also in my hometown, 013 venue) and in 2010 they supported W.A.S.P. on their US tour!  Last year the band released a DVD “COME BACK ALIVE” which gives a good idea of their whole career.  If you're into true metal in the vein of bands like Saxon, Iron Maiden and other NWOBHM acts; check them out! This DVD is recorded during a gig they did on the 1th of May 2010 in Russi, Italy. The level of the cd is very high and its all produced very good! The gig is recorded on some marketplace in a small Italian city. The band delivers great true metal played with good musicianship and a very good new (Il Biondi) frontman! On the DVD you will find also a compilation of small shots taken during their US tour with WASP and some bonus stuff! Check them out; they will play my festival; Mario's Metal Meeting 5, on the 15th of October at the Little Devil club in Tilburg, The Netherlands. You will not regret it!!
Visit their website: http://www.raincrew.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/raincrew1980

90/100

RESISTANCE OF YIELD – Towards the Apocalypse (CD) Germany October 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 37:55 (Tracks: 11)
RESISTANCE OF YIELD was founded in 2008 in Germany and has now released their debut album 'Towards the Apocalypse'. The band plays death metal with some thrash influences, and has a fine grunt/scream vocalist aboard! And again nothing new is done here, but what they do, they do good, with a well produced sound and a lot of nice ideas this certainly is an interesting album. Although the band has to grow, they definitely have a nice start with this debut. Heavy riffing, nice melodies and a death grunt that sometimes reminds of Chris Barnes. The title track is actually just an intro to what's coming, songs like 'Petrified', 'Bloodrevenge' or 'Serpent Hill' all qualify as good death metal tracks full of nice arrangements and ideas. Most of the songs are full of breaks and tempo changes, with a lot of variation between songs as well as within the songs themselves. RESISTANCE OF YIELD brings the kind of brutality I like, certainly a great debut album in my opinion, makes me wanna hear more!
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/resistanceofyield

84/100

REVTEND – Welcome to Hell (CD) Portugal October 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 51:26 (Tracks: 10)
With the whole 'Big 4' thing that is currently going on and the plans of some well-known bands to record a new album, thrash metal seems to be on the height of its popularity. Again, that is to say, because as you might know: it all started in the early eighties. It is also from this period where the bands of today still get their inspiration from. Revtend is a good example of such a band. This Portuguese based metal collective was formed in 2005 and released their first E.P. 'Spread the Word' in 2009. A year later the recording started for what would be their debut album, which is reviewed right here. When an album is called 'Welcome to Hell' and some of the songs are named 'New Order' and Blood by Blood,' the chances of having a thrash metal album on your hands are pretty high. There is also a chance of listening to fifty minutes of cliché metal with nothing but the same old riffs played over and over again. Luckily Revtend doesn't belong to that category. On 'Welcome to Hell' the band plays (you've guessed it) thrash metal that is rooted in the Bay Area style, with bands like Exodus and Testament as a reference. Songs like 'Raging skies' and the title track show everything that the genre is known for: furious riffs, melodic soloing and traditional but exciting drum patterns. The production is very clear and, unlike some retro bands, actually sounds like it was recorded recently instead of in the eighties. After a few songs of typical thrash, the band expands their music with interesting and melodic mid-tempo heavy songs like 'Shadows' and 'Death Should Pay for its Sins.' While listening to this, a band like Flotsam & Jetsam during their later albums comes to mind. The album closes with its very own 'Metal Militia' entitled 'War.'
Revtend shows that they know where their music is coming from. And despite the fact that some of the riffs sound VERY familiar, the band managed to keep it fresh and therefore original. A true recommendation for the enthusiast of old school thrash metal.
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/murderrecords
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/revtend

75/100

RUSTY PACEMAKER – Blackness And White Light (CD) Austria October 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Doom Running time: 59:01 (Tracks: 10)
RUSTY PACEMAKER is a guy who was born in 1974 and lives in Lanzenkirchen, Austria. Since his childhood he's into heavy music, and he is heavily inspired by Ozzy & BLACK SABBATH and Quorthon of BATHORY. He taught himself to play guitar and began to write some songs. Well, it took RUSTY PACEMAKER seven years to complete his debut album “Blackness And White Light”, which was released in 2010 on Solanum Records. Rusty played all instruments on this album, except the drums, which was done by Franz Loechinger. All ten songs were written by Pacemaker, who also produced this debut album very well. This is my first acquaintance with RUSTY PACEMAKER, and I must admit that it's not a very happy album. In that case, the album title “Blackness And White Light” is perfect. The music is very depressive. The compositions are in my opinion good enough, but I can understand that a lot of people will find this a dull album. The vocals of Rusty are not that great, then the female vocals of Lady K., who's singing on several songs as well, sounds better. I've listened five or six times to “Blackness And White Light”, and each time I could listen to the very end of the CD. Well, I shall listen sporadically to this album, but “Blackness And White Light” will never be one of my favorite albums. Anyway, if you are interested in this debut album of RUSTY PACEMAKER, then check it out. '
Visit their website: http://www.rustypacemaker.com
Recordlabel: http://www.solanumrecords.com

69/100

SPLIT HEAVEN – Street Law (CD) Mexico October 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 37:55 (Tracks: 10)
SPLIT HEAVEN is a traditional heavy metal band from the land of tequila and cactus, Mexico. They already released two albums, 'Split Heaven' in 2007 and follow up 'Psycho Samurai' in 2008 (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews), both on Blower records. SPLIT HEAVEN plays a mix of classic heavy metal and speed metal with high pitched vocals, and have now released their third full length effort in their 8 years of existence. The band already played Wacken Open Air in 2009, and got some praising reviews. The music of SPLIT HEAVEN is influenced by bands like Helloween, Maiden and Priest. The new album has a pretty good sound and singer Eligio is trying to throw James Rivera off his throne. Nice songs like 'Time Warrior' or 'Night of the Jaguar' and 'Lonewolf' are all true heavy metal tracks, nothing new done here, just good old heavy/speed metal brought with enthousiasm and inspiration. Nothing really sticks out, but also no weak points on this record, if they want to stick out in the pile of traditional heavy metal releases these days, they gotta give it some more, but they are well on their way with this album.
Visit their website: http://www.splitheaven.net
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/splitheaven

72/100

STORMHUNTER – Crime And Punishment (CD) Germany October 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 46:56 (Tracks: 10)
STORMHUNTER is a German power metal band which was founded way back in 1998, but the first complete line-up was found at the end of 1999. At that time the band was heavily influenced by early HELLOWEEN and RUNNING WILD. In June of 2001 the band's first demo tape "First Battle" was released. After several line-up changes and the participation on the compilation "United We Are" (2002), the last founding member Stefan Müller left the band. After Müller left, the rest of the band changed the name and opted for a more progressive style of music. But in 2007, Müller started to write songs again in the vein of the old STORMHUNTER material, and decided to record them with some friends as a project. Soon it was clear that the project would became a real band again. So, STORMHUNTER was reborn. In 2009 the band self released their self titled debut album "Stormhunter". Now, two years later STORMHUNTER is back with their second album, titled "Crime And Punishment". The line-up of STORMHUNTER still exists of Frank Urschler (vocals), Stefan Müller (lead guitar), Julia Weiss (rhythm guitar) and Andreas Kieche (drums). All songs on this second album were recorded by Urschler, Müller, Kieche and Ben Krahl (bass). Well, I don't know why STORMHUNTER still doesn't have a permanent bass player yet. Anyway, "Crime And Punishment" features 10 power metal songs, which all still remind of the early HELLOWEEN and RUNNING WILD. So, this is old school German metal. To me, this is my first acquaintance with STORMHUNTER, and I must say that I do like this album. But you don't have to expect much variety on this CD, because the songs do sound pretty much the same. The drums are fast, the guitar riffs are fast, it all comes over you like a fast train. The vocals of Urschler are okay, the band exists of good musicians, the production, which was done by Christoph Brandes and the band themselves, sounds good. Songs like "Last Words", "Perfect World", "Condemned Stranger", "Reality, Fatality", "Robot Age", "Unholy Seed" or "The Final Battle" are absolutely not bad. In fact they are good songs, only they do not sound very original, and as I said they are pretty much of the same. Anyway, "Crime And Punishment" is a nice album, nothing more and nothing less. I'm sure this album will do it good especially among the German metalheads, and anyone else who likes the German heavy/power/speed metal scene of the early 80's with bands like early HELLOWEEN, RAGE, GRAVE DIGGER and RUNNING WILD to name a few, will like this album as well. Speaking for myself, this album "Crime And Punishment" will visit my CD-player so now and then.
Visit their website: http://www.stormhunter-metal.de
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stormhuntermetal

77/100

STREAM OF PASSION – Darker Days (CD) The Netherlands October 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 53:47 (Tracks: 13)
Stream of Passion's second album “The Flame Within” proved that the band could stand on their own feet without former masterbrain Lucassen. A very good, divers album it still is. After seeing them perform live, I became even more convinced that this is a great band. Stream of Passion is a fantastic live band and the performances on stage off the tracks are even better live (read: heavier) than on that silver shiny disc. Coming to number three, this “Darker Days” disappoints me. Don't get me wrong; the numbers are performed very well, the vocals are from another, beautiful planet and the production is great, but the album just won't grab me. It doesn't excite me in the way “The Flame Within” did. The songs are just a bit too sweet for me. All along the way the tracks are exchangeable with each other, so it takes a long sit for me. I'm sure they will have they're revenge at me when they play this stuff live, but still this album … well, it pinches and that hurts, because I expected more from it. Nevertheless, it's all a matter of opinion and as said the tracks are performed very well, but still ….. a missed chance for a “coupe the grace” in this genre. Pity.
Visit their website: http://www.streamofpassion.com
Recordlabel: http:// www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/streamofpassionband

65/100

V.A. (Various Artist) - FRISIAN METAL MASSACRE Vol.1 (LP) The Netherlands October 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Progressive Death Heavy Metal Running time: 39:12 (Tracks: 7)
Well what have we here, a split LP with 4 bands from Friesland (that is a provance in the North of the Netherlands that lays at the sea). Some people in the rest of Holland believe that it should be thrown back to the sea hahaha (a joke guys). This LP gives an idea of some of the bands that cooperated together.
The first band on this album is Disintegrate; this band plays thrash death metal with a big dose of melody in it. Strong guitar riffs that are thrash and progressive with groove and solos. The drums are also straight in your face with double bass and progressive fills in it. They also use keyboards that sometimes reminds me of Dimmu Borgir. The vocals are grunts combined with screams. The variety and composing of the songs (as far as you can tell because there are only 2 songs on this split of this band) are also very good.
The second band on this split is Leaper`s Path; This band plays heavy thrash metal that sounds not so good, sorry guys. The guitar riffs are simple and not exciting the drums sound like a cookie basket. The vocals are clean and sound like somebody that is not really into it for today. The same goes for the production that isn`t really so good too.
The third band on this Split is Dimaeon; this band plays progressive death metal. There is only one song on this split but it sounds really great. The guitar riffs are progressive and melodic with a lot acoustic and solos in it. The drums are also very groovy and give it a aggressive twist. The vocals grunts combined with clean vocals, the grunts are very deep and reminds me a bit of Crematory. The clean vocals are not the best i heard but fits very well in the music. They call it progressive death metal but there is also a big dose of doom elements in it (very nice). And some parts are even epic. This song is 10:12 and it's not a second too long.
The last band on this split is Insidiae; this band plays progressive metal. The guitar riffs are very thrash. The drums sounds like a death metal drum. The vocals are grunts combined with clean vocals (that sound really terrible). What they are trying to bring in my opinion is a straight in face mix between brutal and progressive like Nevermore, but this definitely did not work. The production is also very bad. Overall taken this split album has 2 bands on it that really are great and 2 bands that are not so interesting.
Recordlabel: http://www.bigbadwolfrecords.nl

70/100

WHITE WIZZARD – Flying Tigers (CD) USA October 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 66:56 (Tracks: 12)
Looking for some fantastic, old fashioned heavy metal in it's purest form? Don't look any further because you are certainly at the right place and nothing stands in your way to grab this album. “Flying Tigers” is White Wizzard's new and second full length album and it's a real killer! Don't expect original, intellectual stuff or something like that, but pure adoration to the early 80's. I'm glad there are still bands that produce metal like this, a real joy listening to and a guarantee for a live metal party. White Wizzard's debut “High Speed GTO”(mini) and first full length “Over the Top” (with that brilliant clip) where good and very good; this one's even better. Opener “Fight till Death” get's the party started; up tempo, razor sharp riffs and a chorus that is rammed in your head right away.”West L.A. Nights” follows like a rolling thunder and you only want one thing now: party! Composer Jon Leon plays the bass and is highly influenced by Maiden's Steve Harris. In the songs you can hear that tasty “galloping hard on the planes” style which is so damn effective. Maiden riffs you can hear all over. So is “Flying Tigers” White Wizzard's own “Where Eagles Dare”, but man it's so damn good. Also other bands come up in mind like Anvil (“Demons and Diamonds”) and the old Rush (“Night Train To Tokio”), but all interspersed with Maiden riffs. What makes this album so good is that the quality, energy, power and enthusiasm drips off the songs. “Fall Of Atlantis” and “ Blood On The Pyramids” are timeless classics already. I don't know how main man Jon Leon still get's it done to find so skilled partners in crime to deliver killer albums, because staying a member of White Wizzard seems to be very difficult. That's very pity; also the brilliant vocals of Wyatt Andersson will surely be missed live. But who knows, maybe he's back again on the next attack. Nevertheless, a real refreshing must have for every metalhead!
Visit their website: http://www.whitewizzard.net
Recordlabel: http://www.earache.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/whitewizzard

89/100

ZEN ROCK AND ROLL - Undone (CD) USA October 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 39:31 (Tracks: 7)
Zen Rock and Roll is the progressive rock project of composer and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Saunders. Undone is Zen`s third release but my first acquaintance with the band. In 2002, End of the Age was released and this album was followed by The Birthright Circle in 2004. Seven years after this last release, Undone has been send to the world. This album has been composed and realized completely by Saunders, except All in the Dark, which is composed by Saunders and Ken White. With Undone, Saunders tries to incorporate elements of rock and nineteenth and twentieth century art music which is recorded in the tradition of symphonic progressive rock. The songs range from rock verse and chorus structures to more complex forms.
Undone contains 7 songs and has been released by ProgRock Records. I do not know quite what to do with this album. It starts quite promising with the first three songs, but it contains also some vague elements like Concerto for the original Sinners. This song lasts almost 15 minutes but I miss the essence of it. This brings me to the following. In itself, I have great respect for multi-instrumentalists. It is admirable that they play several instruments well. However, I think that feedback from other band members could have lead to a better album.
Comments about this album on the internet vary a lot, so I think you have to find out by yourself if this is something for you.
Visit their website: http://www.zenrockandroll.com
Recordlabel: http://www.progrockrecords.com

65/100

SEPTEMBER

41 POINT 9 - Still looking for the Answers (CD) USA September 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 49:22 (Tracks: 9)
Still Looking for the Answers is 41Point9`s debut album and it is released at Progrock Records. The band calls the music on this album progressive rock by the band, but don't expect complex and experimental prog rock of the 70`s. In my opinion, a better term is AOR / melodic rock with sometimes a touch of prog rock.
41Point9 consists of Bob Madsen (Enchant, Xen) on bass, Brian Cline (Enchant) on vocals and guitar, and Kenny Steel on guitar and keyboards. They are helped along by Nick D'Virgilio, Jimmy Keegan (both: Spock's Beard), and Dave Weckl (Chick Corea) on drums. Madsen, Cline and Steel recorded and mixed the album too (except The Feather and Building Blocks: Tom Size) and it has to be said, the production is good. As might be expected, the music contains elements of Enchant, but also some of Spock`s Beard (period after Neal Morse) and sometimes Toto for example.
The arrangements of most of the songs on Still Looking for the Answers are quite well. It contains nice (power)ballads and some of them have nice guitar solo's. In general, the music is accessible and sweet. As a consequence, it misses sometimes the typical tension and adventure which belongs to progressive rock. Only the song Surface Tension (nice bass work!) has really progressive elements, and sounds strange on the album. In general, I really have no doubts about the musicianship of the band members, but I expected a little bit more adventure.
Visit their website: http://www.41point9.com
Recordlabel: http://www.progrockrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/41point9

69/100

ANCIENT CREATION – Moonlight Monument (CD) USA September 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 61:40 (Tracks: 12)
I remember reviewing the Ancient Creation debut album back in 2007 here at MMM (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews). It was a decent album and scored a 75/100. Almost 4 years have passed and the band is back with a new release. I was quite curious on how things evolved and if the guys made some steps forward. And it seems that they did in a certain degree. Moonlight Monument is yet again another decent album of American Power metal. The death growls are still present but in a more subtle role and the musical approach is quite in the old school area and less progy with lots of Maiden guitars. Back in 2007 I wrote that the band is similar to the likes of Destiny's End. This is still the case but you can add Crescent Shield and Pharaoh to the mix. Enjoyable music for the fans of the genre, no doubt about it.
Visit their website: http://www.ancientcreation.net
Recordlabel: http://www.soundsofpurgatory.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ancientcreation

77/100

ANNIHILATIONMANCER – The Involution Philosophy (CD) Italy September 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 48:19 (Tracks: 8)
This band has been around for a very long time as they started back in 1994. You would expect plenty of releases but so far, they only released two demos. One in 1999 and one in 2009 and now there is their first full-length album. This album was published last year as a self-release. Annihilationmancer is a trio consisting of Bruno Masulli (vocals, guitars), Luca Coppola (bass-guitar) and Andrea Cannata (drums). The album kicks off with an intro that lasts for just over half a minute. It flows perfectly into “Etereo”. This is not straightforward thrash metal but a more complex and technical version with small elements of Watchtower and Toxik. Speedy riffs, superb bass-lines and great drumming dominate this track. Masulli has a raw voice that suites this music perfectly. The title-track, “The Involution Philosophy”, starts furious. In the rest of the song, slower parts are alternated with thrash and some progressive parts. I like this track very much as it has an aggressive part but also a more technical part. On the fourth track, “Apolide”, Masulli is riffing very fast and in between, he is playing some great solos. He sings in a biting way thus sounding a bit like Dave Mustaine. In the meanwhile, the rhytm section keeps on playing odd rhythms. With over nine minutes of great music, this is the longest song on the album. “Impoverishment God Existence” starts very quietly but not for long because it is thrash metal all the way. Coppola takes the spotlight on a regular basis. It is a pity that the drum-sound is not super. All three play very furiously on this track. On the next one, “Corner of the Answers”, Masulli is singing in a different way but the fast riffing and the odd bass-lines are still around. The next three minutes show the softer more sophisticated side of Annihilationmancer as they play a beautiful instrumental song called “Reflected in Her Life”. The guitar playing is very modest but great. To finish the album it is “Mind Sounds, the Cavities of Fear”. (Who is responsible for the song titles in this band?) This is also a song with many tempo changes although the speedy riffs are present throughout the song. I think that with a better production this would have been a much better album. One way or the other the sound is a bit eighties but perhaps that is what Annihilationmancer wanted to achieve. I like this type of metal but if you're not into the more complex, progressive thrash perhaps this is not your thing.
Visit their website: http://www.annihilationmancer.com
Recordlabel: http://www.pureunderground-records.com
MySpace: http://myspace.com/annihilationmancer

83/100

BAI BANG – Livin' My Dream (CD) Sweden September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / Glam Rock Running time: 35:07 (Tracks: 10)
In front of me I have the sixth studio album of Swedish melodic Rockers of BAI BANG. Their previous album "Are You Ready" (2009), which was my first acquaintance with the band, was reviewed by me in May of 2009 (see Archive section of MMM) and got 74 out of 100 points. Well, musically nothing has changed, but to be honest, it still doesn't sound very spectacular to me. Okay, it's absolutely not bad what these guys are doing, because it all sounds just nice, and I really can listen to this album now and then. What notices me is that the band has a new drummer, called Johnny Benson, who replaced Jonas Langebro. The rest of BAI BANG still exists of Diddi Kastenholt (vocals), Pelle Eliaz (guitar) and Joacim Sandin (bass). Just like "Are You Ready" also this new album "Livin' My Dream" features only ten songs, and does have a very short running time. This album was produced by Pontus Assarsson and sounds very good. I'm still of opinion that Kastenholt is a good but not a very notable singer. Eliaz is an excellent guitarist, and the rhythm section Sandin and Benson is okay as well. I would say that "Livin' My Dream", "Come On", "Tonight", "Rock It" and "Put On Her Dress" are the best songs on this CD. Of course there has to be a ballad on the album, which in this case is "Gonna Have It All". And "Die For You" is more a semi-ballad. Both songs are just nice. Anyway, my end conclusion is that "Livin' My Dream" is nothing more than an average melodic rock album. So, if you are into melodic Hard Rock, or are already familiar with previous albums of BAI BANG, you should check this album out.
Visit their website: http://www.baibang.se
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/baibang

76/100

BITCH – Be My Slave / Damnation Alley (CD/DVD) USA September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: US-Metal Running time: CD: 74:29 (Tracks: 16) / DVD: 1:53:48
BITCH is an American Heavy Metal band which was formed in 1980. In 1982, BITCH was featured with a demo version of "Live For The Whip" on the first and legendary "Metal Massacre" compilation album (with also STEELER, MALICE, RATT, CIRITH UNGOL and METALLICA on it). And the band re-recorded "Live For The Whip" for their self released 5 track EP "Damnation Alley" (1982). The debut album "Be My Slave" was released in 1983 on Metal Blade Records. On "Damnation Alley" and "Be My Slave" the line-up of BITCH existed of Betsy Bitch (vocals), David Carruth (guitar), Mark Anthony Webb (bass) and Robby Settles (drums). On the second full length album "The Bitch Is Back" (1987), bass player Webb was replaced by Ron Cordy. After "The Bitch Is Back" BITCH changed the name into the more non-offensive BETSY, and under the "new" name they released the album "Betsy" in 1988. Another EP, titled "A Rose By Any Other Name", was released in 1989, again under the name BITCH. That EP featured some new songs, some unfinished songs and some BITCH songs remixed.
On April 22nd 2011, I saw BITCH for the very first time live at the Little Devil (organised by MMM), Tilburg, The Netherlands. When I talked to Betsy Bitch (real name Betsy Weiss) that night, she told me that "Be My Slave" would be re-released by Metal Blade Records soon, and that it's added with the EP "Damnation Alley" and a bonus DVD. That was great news, because I still have "Damnation Alley" (signed by all original members) and "Be My Slave" on vinyl. Well, and here it is, all digitally re-mastered. Besides "Be My Slave" and "Damnation Alley", there's also a bonus track called "Let's Go", which sounds nice. My favorite songs of "Be My Slave" were always, and still are "Right From The Start", "Be My Slave", "Leatherbound", "Heavy Metal Breakdown", "Gimme A Kiss" and "World War III". And my favorites of the fantastic "Damnation Alley" EP are "Saturdays", "Never Come Home", "Damnation Alley" and of course "Live For The Whip". The booklet has been well provided with pictures of the band and with all the lyrics of the songs. About the bonus DVD, well, it has two chapters. The first chapter is "Keep It True" (47:12), and features a complete show BITCH did on this years KEEP IT TRUE edition in Germany on April 29th, 2011. The second chapter is simply titled "Bonus" (1:06:36) and features a collection of live bootleg videos from the vaults of the 80's, including promo clips of "Leatherbound" and "Be My Slave". Unnecessary to say the quality of the "Keep It True" show is excellent, the sound is perfect and it's all nicely filmed. The quality of the songs filmed in several clubs in L.A. during the '80's is not that fantastic, but nevertheless it's very nice to look at. Anyway, although I knew "Be My Slave" was re-released once already, I am pleased with this re-release edition of "Be My Slave", mainly because it now includes a bonus DVD with it. Metalheads who are of my generation, may be familiar with "Damnation Alley" and "Be My Slave", and for the younger generation, I would recommend to check this album of BITCH out, because "Be My Slave" and "Damnation Alley" are both classics and have a huge cult status.
Visit their website: http://www.bitchmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalblade.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bitchmetal

80/100

BLACKSMITH – Strike While The Iron's Hot (CD) USA September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Thrash Metal Running time: 75:30 (Tracks: 13)
I must admit that I never had heard of American metal band BLACKSMITH before. Well, BLACKSMITH was formed in September of 1984 by David Smith (guitar, backing vocals) and the beautiful blonde Heidi Black (vocals) and existed until 1991. Anyway, Smith and Black (real name Packard) were joined by Michael J. Marino (bass) and Tommy Roy (drums). In late 1985 Roy left, and was replaced by George Snyder. With the line-up of Smith, Black, Marino and Snyder, they recorded the 5 track EP "Blacksmith", which was released in 1986. In 1987 the band got into an impasse, because of, let's say, musical difficulties. But Smith began to re-forge BLACKSMITH, with a totally new line-up existing of Malcolm Mania Lovegrove (vocals), Chris Madsen (bass) and Chris Caglione (drums). With this new line-up, BLACKSMITH recorded their full length album "Fire From Within", which was released in 1989. Anyway, the self-titled EP and "Fire From Within" are both re-mastered and are now re-released by Heaven And Hell Records on one disc under the name "Strike While The Iron's Hot". This album belongs to the Lost Relics series, and is the fourth part of it. Well, listening to the first 4 tracks (the EP) of this album, which are "The Bone March / Tower Of London" (on the original EP mentioned as two separate tracks), "Rock Hard", "Louder Than Hell" and "The Blacksmith", it is not strange that I had to think of BITCH. In this case, Heidi Black is just like Betsy Weiss (BITCH) a very good singer. I wonder what happened to Heidi Black and if she's still in the music scene? Anyway, BLACKSMITH was influenced by bands such as BLACK SABBATH, JUDAS PRIEST, THE RODS, OVERKILL, early METALLICA and MOTÖRHEAD. The style of the songs on the EP, which I really like, is NWOBHM (think of MAIDEN's first two albums, PRIEST etc.). And on the "Fire From Within" album, with Lovegrove on vocals, the band's style is still Heavy Metal, but does also feature some Thrash Metal songs (“The Beast”, “House” and “Fug It”). I must admit that also Lovegrove is a very good singer as well, who can sing really high. And Smith is an excellent guitarist and most of all a good songwriter, because the songs are all fantastic compositions. The only song on "Fire From Within" which in my opinion really is a waste of time is "Fug It". Okay, that song only takes 26 seconds, but actually it's a superfluous track that doesn't belong on the album. “Hell To Pay” is the ballad of the album and is a nice song. Smith & Co. re-recorded two songs of the "Blacksmith" EP for their debut album, namely "Louder Than Hell" and "The Bone March / Tower Of London". Anyway, "Strike While The Iron's Hot" was a real surprise to me. I would advise to check this band and album out, because it's really great stuff what's on "Strike While The Iron's Hot. I do like this album very much anyway. The band has been reformed again with Smith, Lovegrove, Caglione and new bass player John Dodge, so it would be fantastic to see the band over here as well (maybe MMM6!!!), because I'm sure every true metal fan will like this band very much. My favourite songs of the EP are "The Bone March / Tower Of London", "Rock Hard" and "Louder Than Hell" and from the "Fire From Within" album the songs "The Beast", "House", "Louder Than Hell", the nine and a half minutes "A Taste Of Darkness", "The Bone March / Tower Of London", "Theatres Des Vampires" and "Black Attack". Thanks to Heaven And Hell Records for re-releasing this fantastic album and of course to BLACKSMITH for making it. So maybe next year we can expect a totally new album of these guys, who knows. Time will tell.
Visit their website: http://www.blacksmithusa.com
Recordlabel: http://www.heavenandhellrecords.com

80/100

BLOODRIDE – Crowned In Hell (CD) Finland September 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 32:53 (Tracks: 9)
Bloodride from Finland makes straight in your face thrash metal that is heavy influenced by the eighties and nineties. This band is formed in 2000 and released an arsenal of demos and one EP. This is their debut album. Strong guitar riffs and very Kreator like but more technical. The guitar players are also not afraid to play solos and a bring a lot of groove in the riffs. The drums are straight in face and have a constant stewing in it. The vocals are aggressive and very thrash. All the songs are filled with variety and the production of this album is also straight in your face. This is a band with a lot potent ion to become a big name in the thrash. Especially because they have a great threatening feeling in their songs that keeps you listening.
Visit their website: http://www.bloodride.com
Recordlabel: http://www.violentjourney.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bloodride666

75/100

BOREALIS – Fall From Grace (CD) Canada September 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 43:32 (Tracks: 9)
After their 2008 debut ”World of Silence”, it took Borealis only three years to come up with this masterpiece, as I would describe “Fall From Grace”. Responsible for this masterpiece are Matt Marinelli (guitars and vocals), Ken Fobert (guitars), Sean Werlick (keyboards), Jamie Smith (bass-guitar) and Sean Dowell (drums). The album hits you in the face from the first second, as “Finest Hour” pounds away very heavy. This is a very balanced song with some very heavy parts and even some grunting included. It immediately shows the high level of musicality of all five members. “Words I Failed to Say” is the next excellent and very energetic song. On this song, all five musicians again show their superb qualities and combine that in an excellent song. “Fall From Grace”, the title-song starts off very heavy with pounding drums accompanied by bass-guitar and keyboards. The double bass stays around throughout the song. This is the third outstanding song in a row.
“Where We Started” has a few slower moments on which Marinelli has a chance to sing in a more emotional way. What stands out on this song are again the power and the sheer musicality of the members of Borealis. It seems that they are fighting a musical battle but all within the boundaries of a great song. A great and strong riff starts “Breaking the Curse”. This song is one of the songs on which Evergrey-influences can clearly be heard. The double-bass drums are all over the song as are the two guitarists that fight some great duels. “Regeneration” is a fast power metal-piece with lots of keyboards. Marinelli has a very powerful voice and he is able to keep up with his excellent fellow musicians. He is the perfect singer for these songs as he reaches the same high level like the rest of the band. “Watch the World Collapse”, a ballad, starts with acoustic guitars and some spherical keyboards. Marinelli gets his chance to show his craftsmanship again on this very quiet and slow track. The power and speed are back on “Take You Over”. The album ends on a high note as the band speeds it up on “Forgotten Forever”. The quality on this album is extremely high and very constant throughout the album. A good step ahead for Borealis will be their upcoming US-tour with Saxon. On this tour, Michael Briguglio will be the guitarist as Fobert has left the band in December 2010. Hopefully there are some promoters in Holland that are willing to get this fantastic band over here. For me this is one of the better releases this year.
Visit their website: http://www.borealismetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/borealismetal

90/100

CHILDREN OF DOOM – Doom, Be Doomed or Fuck off (CD) France September 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 42:40 (Tracks: 6)
These French doom metallers where formed in 2008 and this is their debut album. The title is somehow strange but I think it wants to point out the band's uncompromising attitude. “Doom, Be Doomed or Fuck Off” is a strange brew. It blends doom metal, rock n' roll, punk and blues into a mix that is definitely far from my taste and out of my league. The songs are lengthy and with many changes in speed and style. Although it has an essence of Saint Vitus, the album failed to make any kind of impression.
Visit their website: http://www.reverbnation.com/childrenofdoom
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/childrenofdoom62

50/100

CORE DEVICE – What I've Become (CD) USA September 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 65:56 (Tracks: 14)
The USA based Heavy Metal band Core Device has been around for over a decade and so far released two EP's and a full length entitled 'Our fellowship eternal.' Quality over quantity, you would say. The music of Core Device hasn't really reached Holland yet, but this can change with the new record 'What I've become.' First of all: you can hear that this is a band with experience since they know how to write compact, but yet complex songs. The musical style can be compared with bands like Nevermore, Iced Earth and Scar Symmetry with a progressive twist. The band makes good use of melodies and catchy choruses and certainly has it's brilliant moments, but unfortunately the songs are not very memorable. However, the lyrical concept and artwork is very well taken care of. If they can manage to build up the tension of the album as a whole on a next record, it might turn out to be an interesting concept. You can really hear the potential. If you dig the above mentioned bands and genre, I would advise you to listen Core Device and see for yourself.
Visit their website: http://www.coredevice.com
Recordlabel: http://www.heavenandhellrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coredevice

70/100

ENTRENCHED – Preemptive Strike (CD) USA September 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death Thrash Metal Running time: 36:09 (Tracks: 9)
Entrenched from the US is a 2 man band that brings you death thrash metal in vain of Obituary and Hail of Bullets. This band is new in every way. They are formed in 2010 and already deliver this masterpiece of violence. Heavy guitar riffs and furious solos that remind you of Slayer. The drums are very old school in the vain of Grave. Then you got the vocals, deep grunts combined with thrash screams with a filthy sound. It is very clear that these guys have listened to the bands that I just mentioned because it is filled with those influences, but very well performed. This is their debut and kicks ass. Good strong songs with a killer production that sounds raw and filthy. If you like bands like Autopsy ,Grave , Obituary then you are going to enjoy this album.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/entrenchedusa

80/100

EUFOBIA – Cup of Mud (CD) Bulgaria September 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Melodic / Death Metal Running time: 30:59 (Tracks: 10)
After a few slow years, the Bulgarian based metal band Eufobia seems to have it all together. Their debut album 'Insemination” was released in 2010 and now the second full length, entitled 'Cup of Mud,' has seen the light of day. Quite productive. The same can be said about the promotional aspects surrounding the album. The band has teamed up with an impressive list of distributors to gain maximum attention for 'Cup of Mud.' This is totally justified, because the album is well worth listening to. The band itself describes their style as 'Death 'n' Roll.' I can relate to that, but would like to add the terms melodic, bluesy and even funk. The latter due to the bass parts which are clear in the mix. The guttural vocals are unquestionably death/extreme type vocals.
The album opens and ends with a composition entitled 'Violin.' The perfect spherical and melodic framework for the songs in between. Take 'Maligna' for example. An aggressive, (mostly) mid-tempo death metal song with subtle melodies. Other songs, like 'Believer' and my personal favourites 'Cruel Child' and 'Mud” stand out because of the complexity of the melodies and the breaks. No predicable patterns can be found here. Eufobia has unleashed a very decent and interesting record that you can listen to in it's entirely. Not groundbreaking or extremely great, but definitely better than the average band in the genre.
Visit their website: http://www.eufobia.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wizard.bg
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/eufobiacarnage

76/100

FAT WHITE CHIEFS – Of Sins And Passion (CD) Bulgaria September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 39:45 (Tracks: 9)
FAT WHITE CHIEFS is a Progressive Metal band from Bulgaria and was formed in early 2007. The line-up of the band on this debut album, which was self released in December of 2010, exists of Atanass (vocals), Zhivko Nenkov (lead & rhythm guitar), Ivan Maximov (rhythm guitar, keyboards), Ivaylo Tsenkov (bass) and Milen Kozov (drums). According to the info sheet, early 2011 Maximov has been replaced by Tihomir Georgiev (lead & rhythm guitar). "Of Sins And Passion" features 9 tracks, of which the first one is a short intro (1:01), which is simply titled "Intro". The first band which comes in mind, while listening to this CD, is SANCTUARY. And that's because the high vocals of Atanass sounds like Warrel Dane (SANCTUARY, NEVERMORE), although he also sings very aggressive and brutal sometimes. And in a few songs ("Sixth Sense", "Hunter Of Dreams"), there are also some vocal lines (rap) which reminds me a bit of LINKIN PARK as well. Anyway, I can't deny that these Bulgarian guys play their instruments very well, because technically the songs are all very good. Only the compositions on this CD vary, in my opinion, from nice to good. But to be honest, it's all not that spectacular to me. The songs which I like the most on this debut album are "Master Joe", "Sixth Sense", "Of Sins And Passion" and "Obsession". Another thing, which is not that important, is, that the album cover is not very inviting, and is in fact very ugly. The cover shows an apple and handcuffs. Anyway, the band has already written a few new songs for their second album, which is planned for a release at the end of 2011. I think there are absolutely Prog fans who will find this album interesting enough. So, if you maybe are interested in FAT WHITE CHIEFS, you could check them out on their MySpace page. And if you would like to have a copy of this album, I guess you could order it at the following address:
FAT WHITE CHIEFS
P.O. Box 384
Pleven 5800, Bulgaria
Anyway, to me this is just an average Prog metal album, that will not make many spins anymore in my CD-player. Simply because then I prefer to listen to better albums.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fatwhitechiefs1

68/100

FESTER – Silence (CD) Norway September 2011 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black / Death Metal Running time: 40:50 (Tracks: 9)
First of all I am not worthy to review an album which I consider the biggest cult release of all time! No, I am not kidding, boys and girls. For me this is somewhat of the holy grail in extreme metal. A few months ago Fester's debut album “Winter of Sin” was re-released and got its deserved review at MMM (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews). Now it is time for the re-release of Fester's second album “Silence” First it's important to tell something about the time this album was recorded. When the band was recording in Vienna Powerstation in Austria -once again using Raymond Cesar Pellicer as a supervisor- in August 1993, Euronymous got killed. The media hype was enormous and also reaching Fester. At that time it wasn't even clear who murdered the guitarist of Mayhem. The band got several phone calls from different 'zines that wanted an interview. Fester only did one. Which once again showed the guys from Askim went their own way and did the things they believed were good.
The band then already signed a contract for 5! albums with Lethal records since No Fashion records (who released “Winter of Sin”) went bankrupt. Not knowing that “Silence” would be their one and only album for the Austrian label before a long hibernation. The album was meant to be called “Silent is the Raven” the artwork, a painting with a raven sitting on a branche in an old tree with a pole struck to its beard was already done but never used for this release (the vinyl release from Abyss records of this album has somewhat of the original idea in it). Instead Lethal ended up by just calling the album “Silence” while using a different cover art.
Now over to the music, the most important thing. On “Silence” you can hear that Fester has become a more mature band but without losing their touch with the underground and most important: their originality. Still here are the strong riffs the absolutely beautiful solo's which give the songs really surplus value. Different from “Winter of Sin” are the vocals. Rolf Tommy had decided that he didn't want to scream on the record. After several meetings the band came up with an interesting idea. Since the album was called “Silence” the band decided to do the vocals as whispering instead. Ralf and Tiger split the songs in two. So some of the songs have whispering vocals while others have the wellknown screams. I know no other band that has ever done this, only Belial on some parts on their “Wisdom of Darkness” EP. I think it gives great contribution to the dark, calm and gloomy music which has reached its full potential here on “Silence” Because that is what “Silence” is gloom and doom cast in beautiful songs. Give this album a chance, I promise, you won't be disapointed.
Also look out for the new album of Fester coming begin 2012 and besides that a project with members from Fester involved called Sincera.
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/festernorway

99/100

HATETREND - Violated (CD) Finland September 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Groove Thrash Metal Running time: 40:24 (Tracks: 10)
Hatetrend from Finland brings you groovy thrash metal combined with melody. This band has been active since 2002. They started off with releasing 3 demos and 2 EP's. This is their debut album “Violated” and I must say that it sounds good. The guitar riffs are thrash combined melodic groove and sometimes have a hardcore push in it. The drums are very progressive but easy listening. Then you got the vocals which are light grunts combined with clean vocals that also sound good (mostly the combination grunts with clean are not always great but this band brings it very well). All the songs are filled with variety so it doesn`t get boring (very well done). The same goes for the production of this album that sounds very aggressive. If you like bands that sound modern but very aggressive, progressive and groovy then you are going to enjoy this album.
Visit their website: http://www.hatetrend.com
Recordlabel: http://www.violentjourney.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hatetrend

78/100

HELL INC. – Drunk Ass Supreme (MCD) Denmark September 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Hardcore / Thrash Metal Running time: 16:57 (Tracks: 3)
Hell Inc. from Denmark was founded in 2006 and this is their first demo. This demo contains 3 tracks of thrash metal combined with hardcore influences. The guitar riffs are straight in your face and sound really full; filled solos and technical moves and groove. Then you got the drums that pounds with a great groove and constant double bass. The vocals are more hardcore orientated (not really my thing but well done). This demo only contains three songs but they sound great and the production of this first demo also kicks ass. If you like thrash metal with a lot of heavy sounding guitar violence then you are going to enjoy this demo.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hellincmetal

72/100

KORPIUS – Shades of Black (CD) Canada September 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death / Black Metal Running time: 38:11 (Tracks: 9)
Chaos from Canada! After their previous releases 'Korpius' and 'Apocalyptic Vision,' Korpius is now back with their first full length record entitled 'Shades of Black'. A very good record, I must say. The band plays an successful mixture of both death and black metal with vocals that belong in the second category. The result? Nine songs that contain high energy, aggressive and melodic music with the right atmosphere. The lyrics breathe anger and frustration, with song titles like 'Stigmatized' and 'Disillusion.' There are certain albums that require a deep analysis to come to a conclusion. There are also albums that just require to be played over and over again. 'Shades of Black' is one of those albums. So do yourself a favour and go to their MySpace. You cannot go wrong with a record like this…
Visit their website: http://www.korpius.com
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/maplemetal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/korpius

70/100

LECHERY – In Fire (CD) Sweden September 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 48:52 (Tracks: 12)
I reviewed the Lechery debut for MMM back in 2008 (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews). It was an enjoyable album that scored a 70/100 but failed to make a great impression. Solid music but nothing more. Now it's time to see how things evolved 3 years later. “In Fire” is more on the heavy than on the power side. Typical Accept and Judas Priest inspired stuff, enjoyable but not groundbreaking. Music in the Hammerfall and Dream Evil camp. Once again I had a good time listening to a Lechery album. And I think this is what the album's all about. Lechery is not about evolving and exploring new musical territories. It's about rocking, rolling and banging. And I respect that.
Visit their website: http://www.lechery.se
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lecheryofficial

71/100

MXRCXL – Dump (CDemo) The Netherlands September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Grunge / Alternative Running time: 7:21 (Tracks: 2)
"Dump" is a 2-track demo of a Dutch guy from Rotterdam, called Marcel. He thought it would be better to put an X or two in his name, so it became MXRCXL. The two songs on this demo are titled "Living Under The Gun" and "Robin's Recovery". All instruments on this demo, except the drums, were played by Marcel himself. So we have to deal here with a talented guy, who can write some very nice songs. This demo was recorded in several home studios and was mastered by Fluid Mastering in London. I must say that those two songs are sounding really nice, and are fantastic compositions. Also the vocals of Marcel are nice. His music is a mixture of metal, grunge and alternative. It seems he's forming a real band now, and is still looking for a drummer. Oh yeah, this demo is downloadable for free as well.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mxrcxl

72/100

NEGURA BUNGET – Virstele Pamintului (CD) Romania September 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Black / Ambient Running time: 59:42 (Tracks: 9)
When it comes to the weather, 2011 will go down in history as one of the worst summers ever in Holland. A lot of time was spent inside while the rain was pouring down. Melancholic and dark weather. The new Negura Bunget album 'Virstele Pamintului' has proven to be the perfect soundtrack for that period. The album was my first acquaintance with this band from Romania, but they've already been around for a while. Check their website for a full discography that even contains a DVD release. Quite modern, however the music creates an ancient atmosphere of times that are long gone. The songs are epic with room for spherical intro's with flutes and keys and the feeling of tranquillity. And then all of a sudden the (mostly slow) riffs kick in with screaming vocals. Always at the right time. The best aspect of the album is the way that the songs are built. It really grabs you by the throat and makes the album just fly by. Before you know it, it's over, but luckily you can always press play again. 'Virstele Pamintului' has proven to be a more than excellent record for the enthusiast of spherical ambient metal. A true recommendation, even in the summer.
Visit their website: http://www.negurabunget.com
Recordlabel: http://www.code666.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/negurabunget

85/100

NOCTISDARK – The Roots of Dreamers (CD) Spain September 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Doom / Death Metal Running time: 45:07 (Tracks: 7)
Noctisdark from Spain (Catalonia) plays doom death metal. This band was formed in 1999 and this is their second EP. This EP contains 4 new songs and 3 bonus tracks that are taken from their first EP. I personally love doom metal but for me this is a bit too boring. The guitar riffs are very slow but not original and reminds me a lot of Anathema`s old years. The drums are also very slow but constant. The vocals are grunts combined with whispers (think of Hybernoid`s today's tomorrows song) and screams combined with clean vocals (that are not so well done). The variety in the songs are standard for a doom metal band and needs a bit more aggression in it (in my opinion). The production of this album is well done but way to kind (again it misses a bit of aggression). But overall this is a band that brings you well performed doom metal that might need a bit more power in it.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/noctisdark

68/100

OLD WAINDS – Where the Snows are Never Gone... (CD) Russia September 2011 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black Metal Running time: 38:07 (Tracks: 8)
Romantic people have Paris, Katholics Rome, the pilgrims haven for the disaster tourist is Murmansk. A polluted place in the furthest North- West of Russia. Highest city above the polecircle and birthplace of Old Wainds, one of Russia's oldest black metal bands formed in 1995. What I have here laying in front of me is the re-release of the demo/ album “Where the Snows are Never Gone...” a title that fully justifies the sound from this Russian horde. This is cold, grim and frostbitten black metal much colder than every band that ever came from Bergen (Norway).
This whole record is dedicated to relatively standard black metal songs, formed around several riffs each, tearing through the darkness at breakneck pace which remains pretty constant throughout the album. Paying homage to the traditions of black metal where atmosphere is everything, the fuzzed-out guitars and vocals evoke the oppressing blanket sorrow, the kind that one feels knowing that the next dawn won't be seen by their eyes. Image of toendras are ever-prevalent; in particular a recurring vision is one of a soldier, separated from his friends in the midst of war, on his own under the night skies of a foreign country somewhere in the north, fighting for his ideas among the hopeless ruins. This goes on and on until the last song of the album “Cold Morning of the Pale Moon” a resuming guitarriff repeats itself a few minutes while the drums play somewhat like a march somewhere in the far back of the mix. A refuge before this journey is over a journey into obscurity, mysticism and shaman magic of Northern Russia, a blaze of war, sudden death, endless solitude and pain are encapsulated in almost forty minutes of music. While the album may be a little more of the same and inaccessible at first, its rawness and immediacy strike deep into the listener; melodic without compromising aggression, haunting without intentional use of atmospheric devices, it's a voice of many that has built up over the thousands of years in the cold snows of the north. The record is a perfect example of Russian black metal and a reason to cultivate interest in this interesting scene.
Recordlabel: http://www.negative-existence.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/oldwainds

81/100

OUTLOUD – Love Catastrophe (CD) Greece September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 41:48 (Tracks: 10)
I must admit that, although OUTLOUD exists since 2004, I never had heard of the band before. Anyway, when I put this CD "Love Catastrophe" in my CD-player for the very first time, I liked it immediately, simply because all songs on this album are excellent compositions. This is how melodic rock should sound. Anyway, OUTLOUD is a fantastic band and exists of Chandler Mogel (vocals; also DANGERED ACE), Tony Kash (guitar), Bob Katsionis (guitar, keyboards; also from FIREWIND), Sverd T. Soth (bass) and Mark Cross (drums; formerly of FIREWIND). The debut album of OUTLOUD, titled "We'll Rock You To Hell And Back Again", was released in 2009 on Frontiers Records. Now the band is back with their second album "Love Catastrophe", which has been released by AOR Heaven. To me, on this album, OUTLOUD reminds me very much of the early EUROPE, but also of a band like ECLIPSE. Well, what else can I say, Chandler Mogel is a great singer and a real discovery to me as a singer, great guitar work of Katsionis and Kash, excellent production (done by Tommy Hansen) and awesome melodic rock songs. From the first track "We Came To Rock" until the last one, which is the title track "Love Catastrophe", it is a real pleasure to listen to this album. Really, there isn't any weak song on this album. Even the ballads "Someday" and "Isolation Game" are fantastic. I'm sure everyone who likes melodic Hard Rock will like this album, and will enjoy songs like "Falling Rain", "Live Again", "Waiting For Your Love", "The Night That Never Ends", "Underground" and "Clean Hands".
One thing is clear, OUTLOUD is a real asset to the melodic rock scene. "Love Catastrophe" is a superb album and a high recommendation for all melodic Rock fans. Personally, I am not familiar with the band's debut album yet, but I am sure that album will be just a great as this one.
Visit their website: http://www.outloud-rock.com
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/outloudtheband

88/100

POWER THEORY – Out Of The Ashes, Into The Fire (CD) USA September 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 45:44 (Tracks: 11)
After releasing a single and EP, this is Power Theory's debut full-length-album. Power Theory hails from Pennsylvania and consists of Bob “BB” Ballinger (guitars), Dave Santini (vocals, keyboards), Jason Tete (bass-guitar) and Chris Smith (drums). After recording the album, Steve Sabo left his spot behind the drum-kit. Power Theory has been around since 2007 and published this album in December of last year as a self-release. The first song, “Prevaricator”, has an old Accept/Metal Church-feel to it with Santini growling and Ballinger riffing throughout the song. The drum-sound is rather messy and a bid odd. “This Madness is Mine” has a great drive that continues throughout the song. In the middle of the song, Ballinger takes the lead with some great soloing. The third track, “Heart of Darkness, is a more doomy song which doesn't suite Santini's voice very well. The guitar-solo of Ballinger however sounds quite good. On “Nightmare Crawling”, Santini again sounds a lot like David Wayne (Metal Church) although I must say that to me Wayne is a much better singer. “Never Surrender (Terror Time) is a 9/11 tribute song. It sticks to your mind because of the repeating lyrics and the very recognisable riff. The next track, “When the Rain Comes Down”, is a ballad and I have to say that this not Santini's cup of tea. The guitar-solo however is played very beautifully. The speed goes up on “Insane (Metal's Part of My Brain)” and now you can hear that this style suites Santini's voice much better. This is one of the best songs of the entire album and is a mix between regular metal and power metal. The next track is the title-track that starts with some guitar riffing and is a real power metal song including a lot of repeating lyrics. “Uriel's Tears is a mainly acoustic instrumental song that sounds good. On “Revelation” Santini is growling even more. The song is a regular up-tempo metal song. The last track on the album, “Slay the Beast Within”, is a faster song with Tete's bass-playing being upfront throughout the song and that ends with a roaring beast. I like the faster songs mainly because Santini's voice sounds good on these songs. Overall, the songs are solid and if you like David Wayne's voice just check this album out.
Visit their website: http://www.powertheory.net
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/powertheorytheband

74/100

PRETTY BOY FLOYD – Kiss Of Death - A Tribute To KISS (CD) USA September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Glam Rock Running time: 48:48 (Tracks: 15)
Any fan of Glam Rock/Metal and Sleaze Rock should know PRETTY BOY FLOYD. The title of this album, "Kiss Of Death - A Tribute To KISS", says enough of course. It's a complete tribute album by PRETTY BOY FLOYD to the legendary KISS. Well, actually it's only Steve Summers and Kristy Majors of PRETTY BOY FLOYD who have made this album. Anyway, these glam boys already recorded a KISS classic ("Shout It Out Loud") on their fantastic second studio album "Porn Stars" (1999). Anyone who knows me very well, knows that KISS is my all time favourite band. So, you understand I had to have this album too. Only it took a very long time before I got this CD, which officially has been released in 2010. I had ordered it at my local record store in February of this year, and got it finally on the 17th of August. "Kiss Of Death - A Tribute To KISS" features 15 classic songs of KISS, and I must say…Summers and Majors did a great song choice for this tribute album. All the songs were recorded at the Highway To Hell studios in North Hollywood, California and were produced by Majors. The band recorded two songs from the "Creatures Of The Night" (1982) album for this tribute album, which are "Creatures Of The Night" and "I Love It Loud". All other songs on this tribute CD are from the classic KISS albums "Kiss" (1974), "Hotter Than Hell" (1974), "Dressed To Kill" (1975), "Destroyer" (1976) and "Love Gun" (1977). Only from the "Rock And Roll Over" (1976) album, PRETTY BOY FLOYD didn't record any song for this tribute album. Anyway, from the first KISS album, PRETTY BOY FLOYD recorded the songs "Deuce", "Firehouse", "Strutter" and "Black Diamond", from the "Hotter Than Hell" album the songs "Goin' Blind" (great version) and "Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll", from "Dressed To Kill" only "Room Service", from the "Destroyer" album "King Of The Night Time World", "Detroit Rock City" and "Shout It Out Loud" and from the "Love Gun" album the songs "I Stole Your Love", "Love Gun" and "Christine Sixteen" (on this album titled as "Christine 16"). And I don't have to tell you that all these cover versions are excellent performed by Steve Summers (vocals) and Kristy Majors (guitar, bass, drums, piano, keyboards). Even some of these versions come scary close to the original versions of KISS. Especially Majors did a great job with the guitar solo's, which comes very close to Ace Frehley's sound. So, RESPECT to Majors as a musician. Okay, Summers doesn't sound like Paul Stanley or Gene Simmons, but he has his own recognizable voice. The only thing PRETTY BOY FLOYD bassist Criss 6 did, was the art work design for this album. "Kiss Of Death - A Tribute To KISS" is an excellent and very cool tribute album, and is a real must have for all KISS fans in the first place, but of course Glam & Sleaze freaks will like this album very much as well.
Visit their website: http://www.prettyboyfloydband.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/prettyboyfloydband

90/100

REBEL YELL – Welcome To The Show (MCD) Belgium September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Sleaze Rock / Hard Rock Running time: 24:35 (Tracks: 5)
REBEL YELL is a Belgian Sleaze/Hard Rock band from Meeuwen, and was formed in 2008 by drummer Marc, guitarist/singer Diether and guitarist Dag, who were all done with their previous projects. They wanted their own Rock 'n Roll dream, which eventually became REBEL YELL. First they got a guy called Cava on bass guitar and vocals, but he left in the Summer of 2010. Herman became the new bass player, so the line-up of REBEL YELL was complete again. This EP, "Welcome To The Show", was already released in January of 2010, so I don't know why MMM got this EP so late. Anyway, I've listened several times to this EP, and I must admit that these guys did a very good job. This is pretty good Sleaze Rock with plenty of fantastic guitar solo's by Diether and Dag. The five songs on this EP, which are "Welcome To The Show", Sex Machine", "Yelling Rock 'N Rebels", "Thundergirl" and "Freak City", are all sounding nice. You can hear some influences of AC/DC and MOTÖRHEAD in the songs, but the band by whom REBEL YELL is heavily influenced are absolutely GUNS N' ROSES. Well, according to the enclosed biography, these guys went back into the studio in June of this year to record their debut album, and are looking for a record deal. So, if all went well, we can expect their full length album pretty soon. Anyway, this EP tastes for more, and makes me very curious anyway to their upcoming debut album. My favourite tracks of this EP are "Sex Machine", "Yelling Rock 'N Rebels" and the fast "Thundergirl". Well, REBEL YELL is a good and interesting band. So, if you like Sleaze Rock….check them out.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rebelyellmusic

74/100

RIVAL SONS – Pressure & Time (CD) USA September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Blues Rock Running time: 30:54 (Tracks: 10)
RIVAL SONS is an American Hard Rock / Blues Rock band and exists of Jay Buchanan (vocals), Scott Holiday (guitar), Robin Everhart (bass) and Michael Miley (drums). The band comes from Los Angeles and was formed in 2008. In 2009 they digitally self released their debut album "Before The Fire". In 2010 the band signed with Earache Records, who recently released RIVAL SONS' second album "Pressure & Time". But before this second album, a self titled 6-track EP was released in January of 2011. Personally, I am not familiar with "Before The Fire" and the EP, so, "Pressure & Time" is my first acquaintance with RIVAL SONS. And man, what a brilliant album this is. These four guys are playing excellent traditional bluesy Hard Rock like in the 70's, which I like very much. When you are listening to this album, you hear influences of bands like LED ZEPPELIN ("Pressure And Time", "Gypsy Heart", "Face Of Light"), THE DOORS ("Young Love"), FREE ("Only One"). Needless to say, these guys play their instruments well. Holiday is a fantastic guitarist and the rhythm section Everhart and Miley are doing a great job as well. But most of all, RIVAL SONS do have a superb singer in Buchanan. Wow, what a great voice this guy has. You can compare him with great singers like Paul Rodgers (FREE, BAD COMPANY, QUEEN), Jim Morrison (THE DOORS), Robert Plant (LED ZEPPELIN) and Chris Robertson (THE BLACK CROWES). Anyway, this second album counts ten songs, and was fantastically produced by Dave Cobb. The cover art was designed by Storm Thorgerson, who is best known for his album covers for PINK FLOYD, AC/DC, STYX, LED ZEPPELIN, DREAM THEATER and ANTHRAX to name a few. Of the ten songs, two songs are quieter, namely "Only One" and the last track of the album "Face Of Light". The rest of the songs on "Pressure & Time" are all excellent rock songs, which are very catchy as well. Yes folks, this is an album without any weak songs. In fact, "Pressure & Time" is an album I can listen to about every day, because those songs are so addictive. Well, if you like bands such as LED ZEPPELIN, FREE, THE BLACK CROWES, HUMBLE PIE, THE ANSWER, BAD COMPANY, THE DOORS, WOLFMOTHER then I can definitely recommend this fantastic album. So, check this band out, because…believe me, RIVAL SONS are gonna get real BIG. My favorite songs are "All Over The Road", "Young Love", "Pressure And Time", "Only One", "Burn Down Los Angeles", "Gypsy Heart" and "Face Of Light". Superb album.
Visit their website: http://www.rivalsons.com
Recordlabel: http://www.earache.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rivalsons

90/100

ROSAE CRUCIS – Fede Potere Vendetta (CD) Italy September 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 53:25 (Tracks: 9)
ROSAE CRUCIS is a traditional heavy metal band from Italy, who have been around for almost 20 years already. This release is actually their third full length album, after debut album 'Worms of the earth' on Scarlet records in 2003, and 'Il Re Del Mondo' on Jolly Roger records in 2008. Inbetween they recorded some songs for some different tribute records, like the song 'Death of the Sun' for the Cirith Ungol tribute. Although this is their third full length album, it is actually a newly re-recorded and re-arranged demo from 1997 with a few new songs on it. The album is dedicated to the remembrance of Ronnie James Dio, one of their first and major source of inspiration. The album contains 9 songs of traditional heavy metal, with some nice arrangements and guitar parts here and there, the vocal parts aren't too strong though. Just a nice average heavy metal album, with some cool songs on it, but this is not gonna be their big breakthrough album in my opinion.
Visit their website: http://www.rosaecrucis.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rosaecrucisband

68/100

RUINS – Chambers of Perversion. (MCD) Germany September 2011 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black / Thrash Metal Running time: 18:38 (Tracks: 8)
Ruins sounds like a perfect mixture of black and thrash metal on this little dirty EP. This one man band band possesses the rawness of black metal and the aggression and attitude of Thrash metal, a perfect combination. The riffs aren't the basic primitive “sawing” but you can actually hear the thrash influences. Although there are numerous bands that want to sound old school there are little that standout and do the most important namely really write good songs. Sure, every track is written in the same context with an obvious formula in mind, but does it matter? Hardly. Ruins goes for the throat in a relentless frenzy of old-school black metal that smolders and slaughters without mercy. One could say Ruins are void of wrongdoings with this formula, and I'm inclined to totally agree. There really is nothing wrong with "Chambers of Perversion" at all, even though its direction is far from a landscaping masterpiece of any sort, but that isn't the point. Prepare for a rampage if this sounds like something you'd like, for it shall kill, kill, and kill again.
Recordlabel: http://www.negative-existence.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ruins666

80/100

SERPENTINE - Living and Dying in High Definition (CD) United Kingdom September 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 53:56 (Tracks: 10)
Living and Dying in High Definition is the second release of Serpentine. Their first album (A Touch of Heaven) was released last year and this album was a huge success, in Japan in particular. The press in Japan was lyrical. And now, there is a new album which is released at AOR Heaven. Serpentine consists of five band members. The band is fronted by current TNT vocalist Tony Mills. Originally founded in Wales around keyboard player Gareth David Noon, guitarist Christopher Gould and Bassist Gareth Vanstone, the band wanted to establish resurgence in melodic rock. Last year, the band returned to the studio (M2 Studios in Wolverhampton) to record their new album. This album was released at 26-8-2011 and is produced by Sheena Sear (Magnum). Between the recordings of the first and the second album, Serpentine has toured a lot to win new fans and to build up a good reputation.
The album Living and Dying in High Definition has become a nice, melodic rock album. It contains some nice powerful songs, but there is also space for nice power ballads (Love is Blue). There is a prominent role for the keyboard as well as for the guitar. This makes it alternating and nice to listen to. The compositions are not always really innovative but that`s also quite difficult nowadays. Finally, it has to be said that all the songs are well played.
The next couple of months, the band will tour through the UK, Germany and Spain. I am unaware if they will visit the Netherlands too. In October they will play together with former Survivor singer Jimi Jamison at the prestigious Firefest 2011. I think that we will hear soon more from this band. They have potential!
Visit their facebook: http:// www.facebook.com/pages/serpentine/221252731353
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/planetserpentine

75/100

SPEED\KILL/HATE – Out For Blood (CD) USA September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 35:48 (Tracks: 10)
Ooh my god, this is really awesome heavy stuff. SPEED\KILL/HATE is the band of OVERKILL guitarist Dave Linsk. The band, who was formed in 2002, released their debut album "Acts Of Insanity" in 2004 (in Europe released in early 2005). Personally I am not familiar with that debut album yet. Now, Linsk is back with a complete new line-up and a new album titled "Out For Blood". And man…..what an awesome album it is. This is high quality Thrash Metal. I was completely blown away, when I heard this album for the very first time. The line-up of SPEED\KILL/HATE on this second album exists of Bob Barnak (vocals), Dave Linsk (guitar), Dave Bizzigotti (bass) and Tony Ochoa (drums). Believe me, all songs on this album are great. The music is fast and aggressive, and the songs do have fantastic riffs and great solo's. Barnak is the perfect singer for this type of music. His vocals are brutal, aggressive and reminds me of a mixture of Gary Meskil (PRO-PAIN) and Phil Anselmo (PANTERA, DOWN). Bands which comes in mind while listening to great songs like "No Remorse", "Breeding Hate", "Written In Blood", "Behind The Mask", "Slain" and "Brotherhood Of Arms" are SLAYER, LAMB OF GOD, PANTERA, PRO-PAIN and EXODUS to name a few. "Out For Blood" also has an excellent production, which was done by Linsk as well. I can't imagine that this album will get any negative reviews, because everything on this album is just perfect. And if so, the person who gives a negative review about this album doesn't know anything about how good Thrash Metal has to sound. All I can say is that "Out For Blood" is a superb album, and is absolutely a recommendation for all Thrash fanatics. Great work guys. Hopefully the band will come over to Europe for a small club tour to promote "Out For Blood", because I would love to see this band live.
Visit their website: http://www.speedkillhate.com
Recordlabel: http://www.hammerfistrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialspeedkillhate

90/100

STATUS QUO – Quid Pro Quo (CD) United Kingdom September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 57:29 (Tracks: 15)
In 1977, when I was a twelve year old kid, it all started to me with Hard Rock bands like AC/DC, STATUS QUO, RAM JAM, DEEP PURPLE and QUEEN. And soon I learned to know other great bands such as KISS, VAN HALEN, HEART, BLACK SABBATH and lots more, because I just wanted to discover more and more bands. In that case, I was very fanatic (and still am). Anyway, about the QUO, I lost my interest in the band in 1986, when they released the awful hit single "In The Army Now" (from the "In The Army Now" album). That song, which is written by Bolland & Bolland, really SUCKS. The first QUO album I ever bought on vinyl was "On The Level" (1975), and of course other albums on vinyl followed. Later on I bought those albums on CD. So, the QUO albums which I have are "Hello" (1973), "Quo" (1974), "On The Level" (1975), "Blue For You" (1976), "Rockin' All Over The World" (1977), "If You Can't Stand The Heat" (1978), "Whatever You Want" (1979), "Just Supposin'" (1980), "Never Too Late" (1981), "1982" (1982) and "Back To Back" (1983). And these QUO albums are all classics. So, like I said here above, since the "In The Army Now" (1986) album, I didn't follow the QUO for a very long time. Okay, I still listened to the albums I have once in awhile. And in 2003 I finally saw STATUS QUO for the very first time of my life at the ARROW CLASSIC ROCK festival (June 27th), and because of all the classics they played, my interest in QUO came back, and since then I've seen the QUO five times so far. So, since 2003 I have checked every new studio album, "Riffs" (2003), "The Party Ain't Over Yet" (2005) and "In Search Of The Fourth Chord" (2007), and also a few older ones, but never bought them, simply because they just had too much songs which I didn't like. Well, recently I checked "Quid Pro Quo", which is the newest and 29th studio album of QUO, and I was blown away. "Quid Pro Quo" is eventually the best and hardest QUO album since years. In my opinion, "Quid Pro Quo" is an album which Francis Rossi (born 29 May 1949) and Rick Parfitt (born 12 October 1948) could easily have released in their hey days of the 70's and early 80's. There are only two negative things about this CD, first one is….what an UGLY album cover, and secondly, besides the fourteen new tracks, the band put a re-recorded version of "In The Army Now" on this album as a bonus track. The QUO re-released that awful song in 2010 as a single in support of the Help For Heroes and British Forces Foundation charities. But to tell the truth, it's a real pleasure to hear QUO rocking hard again on great songs like "Two Way Traffic", the first single "Rock 'N' Roll 'N' You" (great choice), "Dust To Gold", "Let's Rock", "Better Than That", "Movin' On", "Frozen Hero" and "Reality Cheque", which are my favorites of this album. Well, I think, no I am sure a lot of die-hard QUO fans will be very happy with "Quid Pro Quo". So, I would say: 'let's rock, let's rock it, let's rock 'n' roll all night long' (from "Let's Rock").
Visit their website: http://www.statusquo.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.ear-music.net

80/100

TANGLED HORNS – Klang (CD) Belgium September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Alternative / Stoner / Grunge / Blues Running time: 49:03 (Tracks: 10)
From Antwerp, Belgium comes TANGLED HORNS, a five-piece band existing of Tim van de Plas (vocals), Bert Dufraing (guitar), Stef Kustermans (guitar), Raf Vorsselmans (bass) and Kris Martens (drums). It's not clear to me when the band was exactly formed. Anyway, the members of TANGLED HORNS have played or are still playing in bands such as DIABOLO BLVD., THE STITCH, YOU RASKAL YOU, THE NEW INDUSTRY to name a few. "Klang" is the debut album of these Belgian guys, and was released on April 28th 2011 on Kablaam Records. Before this album, a self titled 3 track EP was released, which, according to the info sheet, was very successful. On the info sheet is also mentioned: 'For fans of MELVINS, JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION, NIRVANA, BLACK MOUNTAIN…'. Well, I'm not familiar with BLACK MOUNTAIN, and I only do know JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION by name. About MELVINS, I do know just a few songs of their "Houdini" (1993) album (with the KISS cover "Goin' Blind"), and that's all. But who doesn't know NIRVANA? Anyway, this album was produced by the band themselves, and features 10 songs. I don't like the entire album, but "Klang" certainly contains some really cool songs. And most of the songs do have a fantastic groove. To me, the band sometimes reminds me a bit of bands such as HELMET, KYUSS and CLUTCH. The last song "Tangled Souls" is more an experimental one and reminds me of the early period of noise band SWANS. Anyway, the songs which I like the most on this album are "Fear!Desire", "Stone Dead", "Heavy Rain", "Perfect" and "Just Say When". The songs "Smudge" and the almost 9 minutes lasting "Burning Man" are nice as well. Overall "Klang" is not a bad album, it's only an album which I personally wouldn't buy myself so quickly. Nevertheless, so now and then I will certainly listen to this album. Well, for the Dutch readers of MMM, who would like to see this band, on September 13th TANGLED HORNS is doing an in-store gig at Sounds, a record store in my hometown Tilburg.
Visit their website: http://www.tangledhorns.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tangledhorns

74/100

THE JACKS – The Jacks (MCD) The Netherlands September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock Running time: 15:13 (Tracks: 5)
THE JACKS is a pretty new Dutch rock band from Eindhoven/Tilburg and exists of Marcia Savelkoul (vocals), Estelle Stijkel (guitar, backing vocals), Joost van Haaren (bass, backing vocals, formerly of KREZIP, also in GUILD OF STAGS) and Dani van Gaalen (drums). Well, I found out that there are more bands which are called THE JACKS. There's an English band called THE JACKS, an Australian band THE JACKS, and a Greek band THE JACKS as well. Anyway, it speaks for itself that this self titled 5 track EP, which was released in May of this year, is the first product of the band. The songs on this EP, which are "Overrated", "What Do You Want Me To Say?", "So Should You!", "Now Or Never" and "The Song Remains The Same", were performed by Marcia, Estelle and Joost, together with Bram van den Berg (ex-ONE IN A MILLION, formerly of KREZIP, GUILD OF STAGS) on drums. This EP was produced by Tom Sikkers (ex-BROTHERHOOD FOUNDATION, formerly of WEALTHY BEGGAR, DAYBROKE) and the band themselves, and sounds very good. Musically THE JACKS do sound a bit like a heavier version of KREZIP, but they also remind me a bit of ANOUK. All songs are very good compositions and are very catchy. In fact the songs on this EP are very accessible. Recently I saw the last 20 minutes of a show of the band by accident, where they also played, besides their owns songs, some great cover versions, like "Pretty Vacant" (SEX PISTOLS) and "Blitzkrieg Bop" (RAMONES). Live the band does sound even heavier than on this EP. Anyway, this is a very nice EP of a band with a promising future. Too bad, there's a small error at the end of the song "The Song Remains The Same".
Visit their website: http://www.thejacks.nl

79/100

THROMDARR – Electric Hellfire (CD) Finnland September 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 54:35 (Tracks: 10)
This band was originally founded in 1989, and has been around for over two decades. In the beginning the band was called Necrobiosis, and the first demo was released in 1990. During those days the band started playing black and death metal, and to fit their music they changed the name into Thromdarr. Skepticism's drummer joined the band in 1991, and a demo 'As a wind cries' was released in 1992. From those ancient days on, the guitarist and 'new' drummer have formed the foundation of the band, and still do. After some promo recordings in the following years, the band finally ended-up with a record deal with Solistitium (1998) and debut album 'Northstorm arrives' was released in 2000. During their life time the band had seen many singers come and go, such as Ave (Buried at Last), Janne (Endstand) and Karma (Autumn Verses/Dead Beginners). In 2007 Skepticism's singer decided to join the band together with the band's guitarist. And in addition a new keyboard player joined the group, This new line-up opened new musical possibilities for THROMDARR and the band was reborn stronger than ever. They started to compose new material and finally a promo tape was recorded in May 2008. As a result of all their hard work their new album 'Electric Hellfire' is released, and this is certainly not a bad album, on the contrary, in fact it's a great album. Their music can be compared to, for instance, a band like Amon Amarth. Very melodic and heavy, yet still brutal, THROMDARR delivers an excellent piece of metalwork proven by songs like 'Burn for the Eternity', 'Parade' or 'Farewell Dear Nothing'. Also diversity is offered here, last mentioned song along with 'Oasis of Desperation' are a bit more doomy and even reminded me a bit of My Dying Bride, even some classical piano in there. Don't expect any Skepticism like funeral doom influences here, although a big part of THROMDARR has played in that band, this is something completely different from that. A promising band for the future, with a somewhat better production, who knows what they are capable of.
Visit their website: http://www.thromdarr.com
Recordlabel: http://www.violentjourneyrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thromdarr

78/100

TREATMENT – Into the Grey (MCD) The Netherlands September 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Metalcore / Death Metal Running time: 21:06 (Tracks: 4)
On the 14th of August, Treatment announced on their website that the band has decided to call it quits. This because of the lack of motivation and other interests of the individual band members. Their final studio effort, the 'Into the Grey' EP, was released earlier this year. A copy was recently sent to us, so therefore you can read this review on MMM.
After the release of 'Slavery' in 2008, the band received many great reviews and played an impressive amount of live gigs. It was a good time for their type of metal, which holds up between metalcore, modern death metal and even a little screamo. The band was still developing itself. As a part of this, they found a new vocalist in the person of Johan Kezer. It was with him that they record what would be, in retrospect, their final EP: 'Into the Grey.' The record contains four songs in the above mentioned styles, although the material is much more professional than the tracks on 'Slavery.' Songs like 'Nothingness' and 'Redemption' can easily compete with classic songs in the genre. The band has found a good balance between the (death)metalcore riffs and vocals combined with melodic twin soloing and clean vocals. Not to mention the choruses, which will remain in your head for quite some time. In fact, if the band was capable of releasing an full length album of the same quality, they most likely would have gotten international attention. Too bad the chances of this to happen are minimalistic since the band is no more. That's really a shame, but the guys can be proud of themselves for writing and capturing some great music! If you're into melodic metalcore, check them out on their MySpace.
Visit their website: http://www.treatment-band.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/needsometreatment

75/100

TWISTED TOWER DIRE – Make It Dark (CD) USA September 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Traditional Heavy Metal Running time: 36:43 (Tracks: 8)
This is traditional heavy metal at its best. Twisted Tower Dire have been around for quite some time delivering their fifth full-length album so far. They started back in 1995 in Virginia and remained true to their roots. For this album, they signed to the Italian label Cruz Del Sur who has a good nose for detecting great music. Twisted Tower Dire play some kind of 80's metal. The bands that pop up when I hear their music are Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy without copying their music. One of the main members of Twisted Tower Dire was singer Tony Taylor who died in a motorcycle-accident in 2010 just a few years after his departure from the band. Nowadays Twisted Tower Dire consists of vocalist Johnny Aune, the two axe-man Scott Waldrop and Dave Boyd, bass-player Jim Hunter and Mark Stauffer on drums. Most of the songs are played at high speed with the last song, “Beyond the Gate”, being the longest track clocking over eight minutes. On most of the tracks, the twin-guitars rule and the rhythm-section is galloping. Yes, I feel like we are back in the eighties until I see myself in the mirror and I realise that it is 2011. It is nice that there are still bands keeping the old memories alive. To me “Snow Leopard” is the best song on the album. The Snow Leopard can also been seen on the album cover that to me is a bit too underground. It is a pity that this album clocks under thirty-seven minutes. If you are into the old school eighties metal you can blindly buy this album. For the rest of the metal-lovers I would recommend you to give these guys a chance and listen to “Make it Dark”.
Visit their website: http://www.twistedtowerdire.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/twistedtowerdire

84/100

VALSANS – Sword (CD) Austria September 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 52:03 (Tracks: 10)
Valsans is an Austrian band formed in 1996 but this is actually the group's debut album. Just by looking at the cover and the song titles one would expect Valsans to be an epic metal band. Well there are some epic elements in their music but the band is clearly categorized as teutonic heavy metal with some European power metal elements. It sounds like Accept meets Hammerfall with the vocalist being quite close to Joachim Cans. This is honest heavy metal, typical but entertaining.
Visit their website: http://www.valsans.com
Recordlabel: http://www.pureunderground-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/valsans

68/100

VOODOO HIGHWAY – Broken Uncle's Inn (CD) Italy September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 39:15 (Tracks: 10)
With VOODOO HIGHWAY we are going back to the classic Hard Rock of the seventies, because when listening to this album, these Italian rockers reminds me the most of DEEP PURPLE, and especially of PURPLE during the albums "Burn" (1974), "Stormbringer" (1974) and "Come Taste The Band" (1975), the period with David Coverdale on lead vocals and Glenn Hughes on bass and vocals. In fact, they exactly do sound like PURPLE. Anyway, I do not know when VOODOO HIGHWAY has been formed, all I can tell is that the band exists of Federico Di Marco (vocals, rhythm guitar), Matteo Bizzarri (guitar), Filippo Cavallini (bass), Lorenzo Gollini (drums) and Alessandro Duo (organ, guitar). In 2010 the band had released the EP "This Is Rock 'N Roll, Cocks!", and on June 24th, 2011 the debut album, titled "Broken Uncle's Inn", was released. The album features ten tracks, and starts with the short intro "Intro (Since 1972)", followed by the fantastic "'Till It Bleeds". "Broken Uncle's Inn" was produced by Luca Magni and sounds fantastic. There's one ballad on the album, which is "Heaven With No Stars", and is in my opinion the least track of the album. It sounds very cliché to me. Anyway, if you like classic seventies Rock or if you are a fan of DEEP PURPLE / RAINBOW, then you will like this album too. I do like this album very much anyway, simply because I like DEEP PURPLE for a very very long time. Di Marco is a good singer who sounds like a mixture of Ian Gillan and Glenn Hughes, guitarist Bizzarri sounds like Ritchie Blackmore, well, I could go on and on…….I think you'll get the point. My favourite songs of "Broken Uncle's Inn" are absolutely "'Till It Bleeds", "The Fire Will Burn Away (All The Darkness)", "Window", the title track "Broken Uncle's Inn" and "Gasoline Woman" (superb). Although VOODOO HIGHWAY isn't very original, they did a very good job. This is an interesting band and "Broken Uncle's Inn" is a very good debut album, that certainly will visit my CD player now and then. I'm curious if the next album will sound as DEEP PURPLE as well, or if they have created a more own sound. Time will tell.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/voodoohighway

80/100

WITHERIA – Vanishing Order (CD) Finland September 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Thrash Metal Running time: 45:38 (Tracks: 9)
Witheria from Finland bring you modern thrash metal combined melody and brutality. This band has been active since 2001. Before that they were called “Fallout” but they decided to change it to this name. They started off with releasing 4 demos and 2006 gave birth to their debut “Infernal Maze”. Their second album “Painful Escape” was released in 2009. This is there 3rd release and I must say that it sounds ravaging. Strong and technical guitar riffs filled with melody and straight in your face thrash riffs. The drums are fast and furious combined with a great groove. Then you have the vocals...thrash screams combined with low grunts. The variety in the songs are also very good. You fast and technical songs combined with straight in your face melody and brutality that keeps you listening to every song. The same goes for the production of this album, well produced and straight in your face.
Visit their website: http://www.witheria.com
Recordlabel: http://www.violentjourney.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/witheria

75/100

Y.O.C. – Metal Warrior Part 2 (CDemo) Turkey September 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal Running time: 35:06 (Tracks: 7)
Well, after searching on the internet, I found out that Y.O.C. are the initials of Turkish singer Yalin Ongun Coskun. Anyway, Y.O.C. is a trio existing of Yalin Ongun Coskun (vocals), Deniz "Mr." D. (guitar, bass) and Ufuk (drums). "Metal Warrior Part 2" is a CDemo with only covers on it. The songs which are covered by Y.O.C. on this disc are "Monster" (FLOTSAM AND JETSAM), "Remember Tomorrow" (IRON MAIDEN), "Blitzkrieg" (BLITZKRIEG), "Battery" (METALLICA), "I Am A Viking" (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN), "Eyes Of The Lost" (AXEL RUDI PELL) and "Sword Of Damocles" (TORANAGA). The only tracks of which I don't know the original version are "Monster", the boring "Eyes Of The Lost" (which takes just too long with 7:02 minutes) and "Sword Of Damocles". I must say that it all is reasonably performed, only Yalin isn't a great singer, just a moderate one. The production of this demo, which was done by Y.O.C., is good. Guest musicians on this demo are Kaya, who's doing the solo on "Battery" and Toygar, who's doing the solo on "Remember Tomorrow". The best songs on this demo are "Monster", "Remember Tomorrow", "Blitzkrieg", "Battery" and "I Am A Viking". Personally, I don't think many metalheads will be interested in this demo, because they will, just like myself, prefer the original stuff. So, you'll get the point, this is a demo which I can not recommend to anyone. You'd better spend your money to a good demo of a band who writes their own songs or buy a fantastic new released album of a band.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/yoccovers

52/100

JULY

ABOMINANT – Where Demons Dwell (CD) USA July 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Death Metal Running time: 38:50 (Tracks: 8)
Abominant is an American band with quite a long track record, yet they managed to stay below a lot of people's radar. While it's always cool to stay underground it's a pity that this band hasn't caught my attention sooner. These guys play simple catchy 90's death metal, nothing more but certainly nothing less either. This bands sounds like a good mix between old Morbid Angel with the rawness and extra punch that the older Dutch bands mastered so well. The sound of the guitars have an undertone that reminds of older black metal albums but overall the band has a very decent sound. The drums are a good mix of blast beats and more old school stuff and support everything nicely. The vocals aren't all that special but they vary enough to keep your attention. This band delivered a very good, catchy album. Don't expect groove, extreme brutality or technical supremacy but if you're into decent 90's American death metal in the vein of Malovelent Creation do check these guys out.
Recordlabel: http://www.deathgasm.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/abominant

79/100

AISTHESIS – The Eon Of Wrath (CD) Chile July 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Black Metal Running time: 55:25 (Tracks: 8)
From Chile comes AISTHESIS, bringing their debut album 'The Eon of Wrath' out on Australis Records. The band was formed in 2005 and consists of Skarh (guitar), Pravis (bass), Argoth (keyboard), Tralkan (drums), Sanguis Nigrum (vocals). AISTHESIS released a 3 track demo called 'The Annunciation' in 2009 and now their debut album is released, don't know much more as they had no bio or info or whatever, not even on their site. Let's go to their musical achievements then, AISTHESIS plays Black Metal with a symphonic edge, most of the songs on this album are all on the long side, even reaching to 9 and a half minutes. The band uses some strange intros and produces some weird sounds in some tracks, some times full speed and then changed by slow almost doom like parts and even some acoustic bits and pieces. Sometimes it sounds a bit chaotic, while other parts sound real heavy. The vocals are done brutal and grunting, changed by clean vocals, which does sound weaker. The album is in my eyes very experimental, and not really my cup of tea, it tends to get boring in the longer slower parts with these long songs. If you are very open minded this might appeal to you, not something I would put on every day, although the album has it's moments.
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/aisthesis

65/100

ANVIL – Juggernaut of Justice (CD) Canada July 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 45:23 (Tracks: 12)
After spending many years playing in the cellars of obscure establishments, Anvil suddenly became major again after bringing out their massively acclaimed documentary, Anvil: The Story of Anvil. Major again, because their influences on the Metal Scene through the masterpiece albums “Metal on Metal” and “Forged in Fire” are unmistakable. Afterwards their albums didn't reach that high level any more, not that they were bad, certainly not, but let's say that there were too many fillers on them. After a damn fine concert at Dynamo in 2007 filled with about 100 crazies like me, I had a short chat with Lips about the situation that they had to sell their own cd (This is Thirteen) because of the lack of a record company. Nowadays they gladly don't have to worry about that. This fourteenth album has the production that “Anvil Metal' needs and that's at least one important thing the releases before missed. What do you want when you suddenly have friends like Dave Grohl, where in his studio the album was recorded, and a producer like Bob Marlette; indeed the best production you can get. To be short, this certainly has it's positive effect on “Juggernaut of Justice” which has become a great album that breaths old school Metal. To be honest, i like Anvil from the beginning but during the years they sometimes made my eyebrows drag hearing some compositions. Nevertheless, live they never surrendered playing fine and funny shows leaning on their first three album. Back to business now. The good production is one thing, good songs is another. I don't know who kicked the asses of Rob, Lips and Glenn but also in this part they deliver their finest after several years. “Juggernaut of Justice” blasts away and sets the tone for this new Anvil classic. Classic yeah; the band sounds reborn again; Lips guitar work, riffs and solo's sounds fresh and exciting, Robb's hard hitting, driven drums accelerate (hear him getting loose in the neckbreaker “When All Hell Breaks Loose”) and Glenn's threatening basswork is the right foundation for the heavy sound on this album. Anvil is back with a bang and I can't wait to hear this stuff live. Mixing this album with the old classics makes a metal evening that isn't easy to be beaten. Fast stuff like the sublime “When All Hell Breaks Loose”, “On Fire”, Turn it Up” and “Running” are alternated with superb heavy bangers like “New Orleans Voodoo” (fantastic), “The Ride” (with Glenn meritorious on vocals) and “Conspiracy”. With “Fuckeneh !” they have a real live shouter to tease the crowd and “Paranormal” is where “Forged in Fire” meets Candlemass; slow, doomy, threatening, breathing all pure metal. Anvil wouldn't be Anvil if there wasn't a surprise on the album. They saved it for the last track called “Swing Thing”. The title says it all this time. An instrumental where they mix metal with jazz sounding very orchestral. It's amusing for sure and it sounds quite good either but nevertheless I concentrate myself on the other tracks which are a guarantee for good old fashioned metal, preformed by a reborn sounding band. Anvil has “Forged their Metal in Fire” again with this damn fine piece of metal!
Visit their website: http://www.anvilmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anvilmetal

88/100

ARGUS – Boldly Stride The Doomed (CD) USA July 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Doom / Heavy Metal Running time: 54:47 (Tracks: 10)
This is Pennsylvania's Argus second effort. Their self-titled debut album was released back in 2009. “Boldly Stride the Doomed” is a 10-track piece that combines both doom and traditional heavy metal. The one thing that stands out on this album is singer Butch Balich who is quite amazing. The album starts with the acoustic instrumental intro “Abandoning the Gates of Byzantium”. What a name for an intro, by the way. The second song, “A Curse on the World”, has a high old Iron Maiden feel in the beginning of the song with the twin guitars sounding alike. Balich has a very powerful voice that carries the song. “Wolves of Dusk” is a bit harder and more aggressive. It is the rhythm section, consisting of bassist Andy Ramage and drummer Kevin Latchaw, which excel on this song. “The Ladder” is a slower doom song dominated by the strong and soaring vocals of Balich. On the fifth song, “Durendal”, the Maiden harmony guitar-sound mixed with some Thin Lizzy cannot be overheard. Responsible for the guitar sound on the album are Jason Mucio and Erik Johnson. 'Durendal” is a battle song with the sound of galloping horses and Balich sounding like a real warrior. For me this is one of the highlights of the album as all musicians have plenty of space to show their musical skills. On “42-7-29”, one can clearly hear a Sabbath-vibe as the song is a real slow doom-song complete with depressing lyrics and chiming bells. The end is rather surprising as the song ends with a piece of piano playing. The title-track is also one of the highlights, although it is a rather short track as it clocks two minutes and thirty seconds. It is one of the faster songs and again Balich impresses with his powerful voice. “Fading Silver Light” is a perfect mix of doom and more traditional heavy metal as it starts slow and ends on a bit faster, but still heavy tone. The longest song with over eleven minutes is “Pieces of Your Smile”. This is a real epic song and to me the best track on the album.
It is very slow and super doomy and this gives every band member a chance to excel. I do not want to be repeating myself but listen to what Balich has to offer. He is a real powerhouse, as it seems that his voice was made for this style of music. The album ends as it started, namely with an instrumental with a special song-title. This time it is “The Ruins of Ouroboros”. I did not know Argus before but this album has made a good impression on me so I think I am also going to look for their debut-album.
Visit their website: http://www.argusmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theargus

90/100

ASTERION – Zerzura (CD) Chile July 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 40:25 (Tracks: 9)
Another band from Chile is ASTERION, who play technical death metal as they call it. The album is called 'Zerzura' and is their debut album, musically it's very experimental in a way you could call it almost prog death metal or something, or totally weird! A lot of acoustical guitar parts also the vocals are strangely done and a bit annoying in some parts, especially when the clean voice comes in. Really not my thing, but for people who want to hear something completely different it might be a challenge. Hearing this makes me more and more long for the days the great Pentagram ruled from Chile, where are they now! I would almost say, don't file this one under death metal, cause it really isn't, only the grunting vocals used in some parts could qualify as death metal, but the album in total I would say definitely experimental. Fans of bands like Opeth might be into this, although they are not at that level yet.
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/asterionchile

55/100

BANE – Chaos, Darkness & Emptiness (CD) Serbia July 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Black / Death Metal Running time: 42:38 (Tracks: 10)
Bane from Serbia was created in 2006 and brings you straight in face black/death metal filled with melody. They released their demo in 2007 and their first EP in 2010. This is their debut which is also released in 2010. This album starts with a dark and melodic intro and then becomes a journey of high speed blasts and typical black metal riffs combined with dark and atmospheric elements in it, the same goes for the acoustic and melodic parts in the music (its ravaging and it makes you listen to the entire album). If you think that that is all…no fucking way. As I already said that the music brings you in a kind of ecstasy because this is a journey that is brought to you in three chapters. The first 2 chapter starts with an instrumental and then the chaos comes, well done!! The third chapter is the more chill out chapter and sounds also great. The best parts are the vocals, low grunts combined with very well performed black scream (in my opinion). I Guess you can call this their answer too all the rock opera and other stuff hahaha. This album is filled with variety and the production of this album is over the top good. If you like bands like Cradle of Filth (old style) then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/baneband

80/100

BENEDICTUM – Dominion (CD) USA July 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Power Metal Running time: 62:59 (Tracks: 13)
I already reviewed Benedictum's debut album “ Uncreation” in March 2006 and its follow up “Seasons of Tragedy” was reviewed by colleague Kostas Kounadinis in March 2008. Well here is the new album of Benedictum; most wellknown of the bands flamboyant frontlady Veronica Freeman. She has a very remarkable voice and so many power in her voice! The first two albums where released by Locomotive Records but it seems that this label has gone bankrupt?? Therefore Benedictum's new album is released by Frontiers Records; a label that normally release a softer genre of rock/metal. But who cares?
This new album is a logical follow up to it predecessors in the typical Benedictum style; powerfull metal that breathes a straight in your face feeling! The band consist of; Veronica Freeman (vocals), Pete Wells (guitar), Chris Shrum (bass), Tony Diaz (keyboards) & Paul Courtois (drums). Well its difficult to tell something about this album; if you like the bands earlier stuff; you will for sure like this album also. Its not a spectacular album but it contains everything a good decent US Powermetal album should have. So fans of the first hour can buy this album blind! If you're not familiar with Benedictum than I can only advice you all to give it a serious try! Check them out!
Visit their website: http://www.benedictum.net
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/benedictum

82/100

BLACK FUNERAL – Vukolak (CD) USA July 2011 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black Metal Running time: 41:55 (Tracks: 12)
And again Baron Drakkonian Abaddon has used his basement to record another underground release for his band Black Funeral. Fans of fancy modern sounding productions can stop reading now. This is audio-sonic terror. The Baron (Michael Ford) also is the author of several books on Luciferianism, Occultism and other related topics. Besides that he released CDs of speeches, live recordings of rituals and dark ambient soundtracks. The music on this Black Funeral opus is actually well written when you get through the shitty production used on this album. I know there are peolple who swear with these kind of productions but I think this is far past a “cult” of “true” sounding production. The leads that can be heard through the production give off a very dark and cold aura and the drumming is pretty repetitive drumming that in this production gives you a complete headache if you focus on it too long. Perhaps if the drums weren't so annoying this album would have a better chance at being something great. The vocals are mixed in the fore front and sets your teeth on edge. On the other side I know it is the tendency of Black Funeral to scare poeple with there music and believe me 80% of the black metal scene will be when they hear this album. So you can say that's it has reached it's goal. There are some eerie sounding intro's and spoken parts that work very well and the more I listen to songs like “Undead Hunger” the more I get sucked into it. But overall I can't say that this album is pretty amazing. For me I fairly say it is too harsh. Only a very small amount of people can stand this sort of black noise. Some purists will ove it all other will say that this has nothing to do with music at all.
Visit their website: http://www.blackfuneral.org
Recordlabel: http://www.behemothproductions.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/blackfuneral

50/100

BLASPHERIAN – Infernal Warriors of Death (CD) USA July 2011 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Death Metal Running time: 36:27 (Tracks: 8)
Old school death metal is really living it's second youth. While there are numerous bands copying the Swedish buzz-saw style it's good to see that others have a lot in common with the sound of the first albums from uncrowned kings as Incantation and Immolation. Both often mistaken and terribly underrated, if you ask me. So it's good to see that some bands do rank them high. Blaspherian from Houston- Texas formed in 2004 and “Infernal Warriors of Death” is their first full-length after some demo's and split EP's. Scrawling, filthy, carnevernous feedback drenched noise is the order of the day, with the music being about riffs and a murky, oppressive mood. The nine tracks and the intro/outro that comprise “Infernal Warriors of Death” continue where the band's split with Evil Incarnate left off with no changes in their tone or delivery. They do the chosen homage well for what it is, supplying ample density and dissonant rumbling with little flare or bullshit. It's direct, noisy, somewhat nauseating and…well, as said it sounds like Incantation first two albums. I don't think I can be any clearer or more honest. The mostly warbling blasts of course veer plentifully into expected sludgy, trudging segues with “Lies of the Cross”, “Invoking Abomination” and “In the Shadow of His Blasphemy” just to name a few. None of them really stand apart or stand out amid the albums 36-minute run time as it all seems to blend into one long song. Anyone who likes filthy death metal needs to check this out!
Recordlabel: http://www.deathgasm.org
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/blaspherian

80/100

BODY FARM – Body Farm (MCD) The Netherlands July 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Death Metal Running time: 17:29 (Tracks: 5)
The Netherlands have always had a strong reputation when it comes to death metal. This reputation has again become stronger by adding another promising band. Bodyfarm is band that brings strong, non compromising death metal influenced by the great bands of the Dutch, Swedish and American scene. Together with an intro this EP contains 4 very nice songs. The rythmn section is very tight, the lead guitars are playing killer riffs, fine hooks and some nice breakdowns, but luckily not enough to turn into some boring modern act. The vocals complete this record in style, they are brutal yet quite understandable for the trained ear. If you like the newer records of bands as Grave and Vomitory go support your local underground and pick this one up!
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bodyfarmnl

80/100

BYFROST – Of Death (CD) Norway July 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Black / Thrash Metal Running time: 37:40 (Tracks: 8)
Byfrost from Norway is well known name for me. I have seen them live in the local metal pub in Tilburg (named Little Devil) a few years a go. What I remembered of that gig is that they were more black metal orientated then. I even bought their EP. This band found its origin in 2007 and released their EP in 2008. Their debut album “Black Earth” is released in 2010. This is their second full length and it sounds ravaging. Eight tracks of black thrash metal with a good aggressive attitude. The guitar riffs are thrash combined with grooving riffs and black riffs. The drums on this album are ravaging and straight in your face. Then you got the vocals, light screams that hang between black and thrash. The production and variety in the songs are also very well done. Even though this is different from what I remembered from them ,this album sounds fucking brilliant, grooving thrash black with attitude (very well done). The music sometimes reminds me a bit of Necrophobic but more raw. These guys come from “Bergen” in Norway and they clearly bring something that is not typical for that place and I like it very much! If you like bands that are not typical for one style and give you epic and straight in your face thrash black then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/byfrostmetal

80/100

DAVID MARK PEACE - Strange Ang3ls (CD) United Kingdom July 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Prog Rock Running time: 49:18 (Tracks: 10)
David Mark Pearce (DMP) began playing the guitar at the age of fifteen. His first experience, as part of a band started at the age of 18 and was followed by several more more until he left Penzance to attend the London College of Music and Media. On completion of his course, in 1996, he began his career.
With a bit of luck, DMP became in contact with keyboard player Oliver Wakeman (Yes). Mike Clark, a friend of Wakeman asked David to listen to some of Wakeman`s tunes. David was impressed and, jokingly, enquired whether or not Wakeman needed a guitarist. The answer was “Yes”! Afetr submitting his own work, in addition to several ideas he had for the band, he was hired. The first project he and Wakeman worked on was the un-released album “Anam Cara” album mix, upon which he also contributed accoustic guitar support. It was the first of many projects with Wakeman and the band. Sinbce his debut with the Oliver Wakeman Band at the Oakwood Centre, his association with the band has taken many interesting twists and turns like supporting Arjen Lucassen in the band Stream of Passion. A big highlight was the 2008 performance and filming of “The Oliver Wakeman Band”: Coming to Town – Live in Katowice DVD and CD.
DMP wrote and recorded his own EP, “Shelter me From the Rain. More recently, he co-produced and was the sound engineer, also providing guitar support, for Keyboard player Lisa LaRue on her album “Lisa LaRue Project 2K9 World Class”which was released in November 2009. This year, David completed his debut solo album entitled “Strange Ang3ls” featuring Göran Edman (ex-Yngwy Malmsteen) and John Payne (Asia) on Vocals, Lisa LaRue on keyboards, C S Brown (Ghost Circus) on bass and Mikael Wikman (ex-Vindictiv) on drums. A special guest is (you might have expected this) Oliver Wakeman!
Strange Ang3ls has become a nice debut of DMP. It contains 10 nice melodic (progressive) rock songs. DMP announces the style as Melodic Prog Rock however I cannot describe it always as typical prog. Keep aware of this! In my opinion it is catchy melodic rock. One of the highlights is Alone I Cry which shows in my opinion best the potential of DMP. It is very well composed and played and it contains a nice guitar solo too. The music on the album is not all really new, but the rocking factor of the songs can suit me. DMP is a good guitar player who has collected a nice couple of (guest) musicians to make this sound album. People who like well played melodic prog rock, should give this album a chance!
Visit their website: http://www.davidmarkpearce.com
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http:// www.myspace.com/davidmarkpearce

78/100

DEATH MECHANISM – Mass Slavery (CD) Italy July 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 47:03 (Tracks: 14)
Death Mechanism from Italy was formed in 2003 and released their debut in 2006. This is their second album. What these guys bring you is thrash metal. Nothing more and nothing less. The guitar riffs are strongly influenced by Slayer and Kreator. The same goes for the drums. And then you got the vocals that also remind me a lot of Kreator and Destruction. The songs are fast and furious and the production of this album is raw (as thrash should sound). Is this original? Hell no. Is it good performed and does it sound good? Yep. The only thing that is a bit a pity is that almost all the songs sound the same, not much variety. I guess when you make thrash metal in vain of your favourites it becomes hard to be original; well the same goes for this band. It sounds good but I would personally put Kreator on. If you like Thrash metal, especially from Germany then you should give it try.
Recordlabel: http://www.jollyrogerstore.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deathmechanism

70/100

ETERNAL DESCENT (Comics/Graphic Novels) USA July 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Metal Comics Issue 1 till 6
Funny, after nearly 10 years of reviewing metal/rock albums of divers genres now I received my first comic/graphic novels; Eternal Descent!
I received the first 6 issues of these metalbased novels; created & written by Llexi Leon of Eternal Descent; a virtual band created in 2004 by multi-instrumentalist Llexi Leon. The first two issues are illustrated by artist Jason Metcalf and the other 4 are illustrated by artist Gabriel Guzman.
The story behind the comics: In a city where lost souls lurk in every shadow and darkness veils sinister designs, heavy metal could be the key to salvation…..or the gateway to destruction. A fallen hero, a twisted demon, one gorgeous succubus and an army of chart-topping guitar heroes; the pieces are in place. Featuring guest appearances from Atreyu, Firewind, God Forbid, Statix X & Shadows Fall. Eternal Descent offers a radical new take on the metal genre, presenting iconic guitarists; Gus G., Wayne Static, Dan Jacobs many more…as you have never seen before!!
Im not a daily comic book reader but I must admit that these magazines look pretty professional! They do remind me to the “Storm” comics by Don Lawrence (who died in 2003); the same type of drawings/paintings and also filled with a lot of sci-fi elements! This is stuff for the metal heads that want more than only listen to music ….If you're such a metalhead; check these novels out!! I loved them!!
Visit their website: http://www.eternaldescent.com
Promotion: http://www.serge.org/sepr.htm

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FIREFORCE – March On (CD) Belgium July 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Heavy / Power / True Metal Running time: 50:37 (Tracks: 12)
FIREFORCE is the name of the band that emerged from the ashes of the Belgian Metal band DOUBLE DIAMOND. FIREFORCE became well-known in the underground scene for their 2009 EP “Moonlight Lady” (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews). This is their debut album “March On” and this is released of the 7Hard label. The band has 2 old Double Diamond members; Flype on vocals and Erwin Suetens on guitar. Drummer of the album Tom Heijnen is lately replaced by Kris de Bie.
The twelve songs on the album are composed with solid riff structures, an excellent drum baseline & authentically metal vocals. This album is a cuddle to my metal ears and sounds awesome! It's produced by MYSTIC PROPHECY vocalist R.D.Liapakis (producer for SUICIDAL ANGELS, CRYSTAL TEARS, WINTER`S VERGE, ELDRITCH and many others). The album sounds excellent and this band can be described as a grown up edition of Double Diamond. I was already a Double Diamond fan but what these guys deliver on this album is really sensational; this album is the new benchmark for the Belgian Heavy Metal scene. Wish we had such bands in The Netherlands too! The whole album is filled with fast power/true metal tracks except for 1 songs that I don't like that much 'Firestorm' which has a to big sing-a-long refrain. Nevertheless this album should be in every real oldschool powermetal fan's collection!! So if you're, just like me, “Born to play Metal” than buy or………..

The band is (of course) confirmed for Mario's Metal Meeting 5 on 14/15 October 2011 in Tilburg, The Netherlands; be there………
Visit their website: http://www.fireforce.be
Recordlabel: http://www.7hard.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fireforcemetal

95/100

FOR ALL WE KNOW – For All We Know (CD) The Netherlands July 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Prog Rock Running time: 58.26 (Tracks: 12)
Some people always have the urge to be creative, they can't sit still so to say. In rock and metal there are gladly enough of them who starts side projects, form another band etc. just to let out their creativity. Ruud Jolie who handles the guitar in one of the Dutch biggest export products Within Temptation is such a guy. The last 4 years he has been busy writing stuff for his own project For All We Know which is completely different from Within Temptation. With a whole bunch of guest musicians and a fine band he delivers an album that breathes pure prog. Easy listening you can call it, because it's all the more “dreamy” kind. (Porcupine Tree, Pain of Salvation) Not really my cup of tea I must admit, so listening to one hour in a row to this album is quite a task for me. Nevertheless the tracks that are being offered are all in balance and played very well. Sometimes they hit the gas like in “Down On my Knees” and that's a welcome variation. For me it's all a bit too soft, but that's the only negative thing there is to say about this album, it's listening music. So if you are into this genre or you want to give the muscles in your neck some rest then this is something for you and you can easily add 10 points to my gradation.
Visit their website: http://www.forallweknow.net
Recordlabel: http://www.purelegend-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fawkoffical

72/100

GERNOTSHAGEN – Weltenbrand (CD) Germany July 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Pagan Metal Running time: 58:13 (Tracks: 9)
Gernotshagen from Germany started bringing their music since 1999. They released their debut “Wintermythen” in 2002 and their second album “Märe aus Wäldernen Hallen” in 2007. This is their third album “Weltenbrand” and it sounds great. Nine tracks of easy listening metal. The guitar riffs are technical, melodic and filled with groove. The some goes for the drums. The vocals are grunts (that remind me a bit of Crematory) combined with light screams combined with epic clean vocals. They also use keyboards and they sound great and give it a very dark and epic feeling. This album starts with an acoustic intro that sounds very middle age, but then you get a whistle evil vocal over it that tells you a story, then the second song comes and that sounds very easy listening and melodic but well and evil brought. Because of the first intro you have to listen to the entire album because it is like a journey that doesn't get boring, musically. The production of this album is also good and the same goes for the variety. What makes this band better then a lot of bands in their genre, for me it is because it is not too much roempapa rhythms. If you like pagan metal you should definitely give this a try.
Visit their website: http://www.gernotshagen.de
Recordlabel: http://www.trollzorn.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gernotshagen

75/100

GUARDIANS OF TIME – A Beautiful Atrocity (CD) Norway July 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 50:56 (Tracks: 13)
This is the third album of this Norwegian power metal band, seven years after its last one. Norway is not famous for its power metal bands but these existing few are of fine quality. I never had the chance of listening to any of the previous albums so this is my first contact with this band. GoT delivers contemporary crunchy power metal with a few prog elements. The vocalist is the band's protagonist (but I could live without the growls in some tracks) and reminded me of Apollo Papathanasio (Firewind, Spiritual Beggars, etc.). Also the band's catchy music is similar to Firewind and maybe Evergrey or a faster version of Masterplan. The band also mentions Helloween as a prime influence and I agree as far as it concerns the later period of the German powerhouse. This is an enjoyable album but although it is catchy almost in its entirety, it doesn't contain any hits that might stand the test of time except maybe “Dreamworld Messiah” and is great chorus.
Visit their website: http://www.guardiansoftime.no
Recordlabel: http://www.mayhem-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/guardiansoftime

74/100

HEAD CAT – Walk the Walk…Talk the Talk (CD) United Kingdom / USA July 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Rock 'n Roll Running time: 27:35 (Tracks: 12)
MOTORHEAD main man Lemmy Kilmister already released a pure Rock 'n Roll album in 2000 under the name “Lemmy, Slim Jim and Danny B”. I, as one of the biggest Lemmy fans in Europe own this album and I like it very much because I grew up with bands like Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers & most important Roy Orbison. In the US they name a lot of “Rock” bands also Rock 'n Roll but this time we are talking about real oldschool Rock 'Roll. Besides Lemmy the trio is completed by Slim Jim Phantom (ex-The Stray Cats) and Danny B. Harvey (ex-13 Cats, Lonesome Spurs). It's still the same line up as on their 2000 debut but nowadays the band is called the Head Cats. How the hell could they find such an original name, hahahaha!

The new album contains some self composed songs but also several covers like; 'Let It Rock' (Chuck Berry}, 'Something Else' (Eddie Cochran), 'You can't do that' (Beatles), 'Trying To Get To You' (Elvis Presley), 'It'll be Me' (Jerry Lee Lewis), 'Crossroads (Robert Johnson), 'Say Mama (Gene Vincent) and so on......
The album is released by the Niji Entertainment Group, the new label of Wendy Dio, widow of Ronnie James Dio. If your horizon goes further than only metal than you should give this album a try…I like even though Lemmy is sometimes singing out of tune..('Bad Boy' for example)
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/headcat.net
Recordlabel: http://www.facebook.com/nijientertainmentgroup

75/100

HYPERBOREAN – The Spirit of Warfare (CD) Sweden July 2010 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Black / Death Metal Running time: 47:56 (Tracks: 7)
Hyperborean is not a band that likes to rush things. They formed in 2000 and since then three demos have seen the light of day. “Of malice” in 2000, “Thorns scar her Soul' in 2003 and Prey”in 2005. A few years later, in the year 2009 to be exact, the band recorded the songs for what would be there debut album. That album is called 'The Spirit of Warfare' and has just been released through Abyss Records. When a band has been around for as long as Hyperborean has, you can't help but to grow expectations towards the material. Sadly, these expectations are only partly redeemed. The music, which holds up mostly between black and to a lesser degree death metal, does not exceed the mediocre a lot of the time. But there is still enough to enjoy the album as a whole. Take for example the opening track 'Channelling the Spirit of Warfare' with its catchy melodic riff and fast blast beat sections. Also worth mentioning is the lyrical theme, which mainly handles the period of World War I. Not a very original subject for a metal band, but Hyperborean has made it quite interesting. I think I'll give Hyperborean the benefit of the doubt. No matter for how long they've been around, they've managed to come up with an interesting debut album that justifies their existence. Check their MySpace if you dig fast, melodic Black Metal.
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hyperboreanofficial

70/100

INCARNATE – Hands of Guilt Eyes of Greed (CD) The Netherlands July 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Death Metalcore Running time: 26:25 (Tracks: 8)
INCARNATE was founded in the early fall of 2003, and released their debut mcd 'A dark age of lies' in the fall of 2004. A year later they signed a deal with German record label Lucifer's Legions Records for the international release of 'A dark age of lies'. In May 2006 the band records the Integrity song 'Tempest' which appeared on the Integrity tribute cd 'Harder they fall'. In august 2007 INCARNATE hits the studio again to record their full length debut album 'Embrace the horror' which was released February 2008. INCARNATE did some support shows for Nile, Exodus and Pro-pain among others, and now released their follow up album 'Hands of guilt, Eyes of greed'. The album has a very heavy production, and is full of heavy riffs and aggressive metalcore songs. There is actually only one bad point to the album, it is way too short, only about 26 minutes! Quality before quantity, the band must have thought, songs like 'Sinner's Fate', 'Caged' or 'The Damage Done' rip your heart out, brutal and heavy as hell. This is a great mix of death metal with a dose of hardcore metal, ripping your flesh to the bone!
Visit their website: http://www.incarnate.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/Incarnate

75/100

IRON FATE – Cast In Iron (CD) Germany July 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 39:56 (Tracks: 9)
German Power Metal band IRON FATE really surprised me, when they recently played in the Little Devil, Tilburg, Holland on May 29th, together with DRAGONSFIRE and LONEWOLF. Although, I liked DRAGONSFIRE and LONEWOLF musically as well, it was IRON FATE who made the biggest impression on me. And that's why I bought their album "Cast In Iron" after the show. IRON FATE started in 2004 under the name CRYPTERIA, and did have two line-up changes so far. Anyway, the line-up of IRON FATE on this album exists of Denis Brosowski (vocals), Harms Wendler (guitar), Martin Pflugmacher (guitar), Jan Abraham (bass) and Sascha Wendler (drums). One of the reasons why IRON FATE made the biggest impression on me, when I saw them live for the very first time, is Brosowski. Man, what a great singer he is with his high-pitched vocals. He's a mixture of Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson and Tim "Ripper" Owens. And those are not the least singers in the metal scene, right! During the show in Little Devil, the band did, besides a cover version of DIO's "Holy Diver", also an awesome cover version of JUDAS PRIEST's classic "Victim Of Changes", which gave me goosebumps from top to toe. Unbelievable what a voice. And of course the band exists of excellent musicians as well. About the album, "Cast In Iron" is the debut album of the band and was released in July of 2010 on Massacre Records. The album starts with the intro "The Arrival", followed by the fantastic "Iron Fate". There are two (semi)-ballads on "Cast In Iron", which are "Imagine A Better World" and "Painful Sorrow". Those ballads are not really bad, but they also don't belong to the strongest songs of the album to me. And perhaps two ballads out of eight songs (I do not count the intro "The Arrival") is too much. One of the other songs, which in my opinion is a bit less, is "Killer Instinct". But songs like "Resurrection", "Rage In A Cage" and "War In The Streets" are excellent traditional Heavy Metal songs, with great riffs, guitar solo's and awesome vocals of Denis. Musically IRON FATE reminds me very much of JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, PRIMAL FEAR and ICED EARTH. So, any metalhead who's into fantastic true Heavy Metal music with great vocals, and is not familiar with this band so far, should definitely check them out. My favorite songs of this CD are with no doubt "Iron Fate", "Resurrection", "Rage In A Cage" and "War In The Streets". All I can say is that "Cast In Iron" is a good debut album.
Visit their website: http://www.ironfate.net
Recordlabel: http://www.massacre-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ironfateband

82/100

JEFF JONES – Rockhard: '86-'96 (CD) USA July 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 64:36 (Tracks: 13)
JEFF JONES is an American guitarist, songwriter, singer, producer who started his career way back in 1978, when he was one of the founding members of melodic Hard Rock band ST. ELMO'S FIRE. Albums which were released by ST. ELMO'S FIRE are “St. Elmo's Fire” (1986), “Warning From The Sky” (1988), “Powerdrive” (1990), “Desperate Years” (1992). In 1993 Jones had disbanded ST. ELMO'S FIRE and started VAMP LE STAT, which was a Glam Rock band. For more info about VAMP LE STAT see my review of their re-released debut album “Bloodline” (1993) on this months update of MMM. In 1995 JONES released his first solo album, which is titled “Ride”. Anyway, this CD, titled "Rockhard '86 - '96", is a compilation album, and gives an overview of Jones' career between 1986 and 1996. On this album are eight songs of ST. ELMO'S FIRE, which are “Don't Drop It” and “Into The Night” from the “St. Elmo's Fire” album, “Caught In The Heartbreak”, “Hot N' Love”, “Warning From The Sky” and “No Way Out” from the “Warning From The Sky” album and “Gonna Get Wild” & “Powerdrive” from the “Powerdrive” album. Three songs of VAMP LE STAT's “Bloodline” album are on this compilation, namely “Madame Blue”, “Bitch” and “Chain Around My Heart”. And of JEFF JONES' solo album “Ride” only “Mississippi Wine” is on this CD. The last track on “Rockhard '86-'96” is a demo version of “Breakin' Out” which was for EMI. My favorite songs of this compilation are “Gonna Get Wild”, “Madame Blue”, “Caught In The Heartbreak”, “Powerdrive”, “Hot N' Love” and “Bitch”. “Rockhard: '86 – '96” is just a nice compilation album to listen to once in awhile. At least, all those songs are way much better than the ones on his solo album “Spaced” (see also this months update).
Recordlabel: http://www.xxxrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jeffjonesworld

70/100

JEFF JONES – Spaced (CD) USA July 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 42:28 (Tracks: 12)
In 1995 JEFF JONES released his first solo album "Ride". Jones, who has started his own record label XXX Records America in 2010, released two new solo albums that same year, which are "Dirty Job", followed by "Spaced". Both albums were recorded at the same time in 2009. All songs on those albums are written by Jones, who also played all instruments on both albums. And to be honest, after listening several times to "Spaced", I must say that, although Jones is a nice guitarist, he is a terrible drummer. The drums are sounding so fucking simple on each and every song, that it really gets boring to listen to these songs. In fact, all songs are so simple and most of all very weak compositions. I really can't get impressed by the songs on "Spaced". To me, there isn't anything on this disc that really surprises me. All I can say about "Spaced" is that it is nothing more than a very moderate rock album. Every song on "Spaced" can't compete with the songs JONES did with ST. ELMO'S FIRE and VAMP LE STAT. I assume that his other solo album "Dirty Job" is just as boring as this one. Well, it's a dirty job, but someone's got to say it….'this album really sucks'. I wonder who's waiting for such a weak album like this. Anyway, after listening to his compilation album "Rock Hard '86 - '96" and the VAMP LE STAT album "Bloodline" (see also this months update for review), I really had expected more of this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.xxxrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jeffjonesworld

50/100

KEESTER – Keester (CD) USA July 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Punk Running time: 40:08 (Tracks: 12)
KEESTER was a short lived band put together by VAMP LE STAT members drummer Bret Blackburn and guitarist Jeff Jones in 1997. Okay, now you are asking yourself, what makes KEESTER different than VAMP LE STAT? Well, besides drums on this album, Blackburn also plays guitar in KEESTER and he's the main singer. And besides guitar, Jones is also playing bass on this album and he sings as well. When KEESTER performs/performed live (I'm not sure if the band exists again), the band is/was added with Rod Simpkins (bass) and Dave Mase (drums). Anyway, this self titled album features twelve songs and was written and recorded by Jones and Blackburn in three months. All these songs are on CD for the very first time now. And to be honest, I really can't get impressed by the songs on this album, which are in my opinion very simple and pretty boring. After five or six times listening to "Keester" I've had enough of it, and it was very clear to me that this CD is nothing more than a moderate album. Honestly, I prefer to listen to VAMP LE STAT's "Bloodline" album (see also this months update) instead of this boring album, and that's because "Bloodline" does have fantastic songs. Just like all other XXX Records releases also "Keester" is released in a limited edition.
Recordlabel: http://www.xxxrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jeffjonesworld

57/100

Klaus Schubert`s ROCK BUNNIES - Speedmachine (CD) Austria July 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 55:21 (Tracks: 16)
ROCK BUNNIES is a new hard rock band from Tyrol (Austria) featuring the well-known hard rock guitarist Klaus Schubert (NO BROS). Schubert is a lucky guy, because the vocals, 2nd guitar, bass and drums are in the hand of four girls: Tici Westreicher (Vocals), Irene Ranz (Bass), Medina Rekic (Guitar) and Joy Plattner (Drums). Andi Brunner (keyboards; also member of NO BROS) acts as a guest musician. The ROCK BUNNIES were already active under the name BLUES BUNNIES, but because of the turn to much more rock in their music, they decided to change the name.
The band is announced as a true sensation, but this goes a little bit too far. The band has definitely certain qualities (listen to Westreicher`s voice!), but in my opinion it is not senational (yet). The album speedmachine contains 16 songs. The last five songs are live bonus tracks. One of these tracks (Heavy Metal Party) was originally recorded by Schubert`s original band NO BROS. It has to be said that this album really rocks, but there is also space for ballads (On a better Way, Let me down). These are in my opinion also the better songs on the album. Remarkable is that “On a better Way” is partly sung in German.
Visit their website: http://www.schuberts-rockbunnies.com
Recordlabel: http://www.purerock-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/555750756

72/100

MINCING FURY AND GUTTURAL CLAMOUR OF QUEER DECAY - Devolution (CD) Czech Republic July 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Goregrind / Brutal Death Metal Running time: 32:30 (Tracks: 14)
Fucking hell or better said what the hell this is! A band named “Mincing Fury and Guttural Clamour of Queer Decay” well this band from Czech Republic is named like that and they bring total chaos. This band was formed in 1996 and apparently didn't start playing actual music until 2000. They released their debut “Lamentations” in 2002 and their second album in 2004 and their third in 2006. The band broke up in 2008, but reformed in 2010 and this is the result, 14 tracks of goregrind combined with brutal death metal. The guitar riffs are very heavy and groovy. Then you get the drums that are straight in your face old school drums that kick ass. The best parts are the vocals. They got deep grunts combined with Miss Piggy grunts and screams hahaha and they sound ravaging. This band clearly knows how to play technical but also loves to have fun because some songs stop in the middle and then you get a cheesy tune of some kind of TV program. And the vocals sometimes are more laughable then serious (but that fits perfectly). The last song is even a cover of “Cock and Ball Torture” and they do that well. The variety and composing of the songs are great and the same goes for the production. If you like Goregrind and brutal death metal then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.unitedgutteral.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mincingfury

75/100

NEVER FACE DEFEAT – Convicted (MCD) Germany July 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hardcore / Metalcore Running time: 17:41 (Tracks: 5)
From Koblenz, Germany comes four piece Hardcore / Metalcore band NEVER FACE DEFEAT, which was formed in 2001. Personally I never had heard of this band before. So far NEVER FACE DEFEAT has released "Justice Will Break Down" (2001), "Remember Your Heartbeat" (2003), "Human Weapons" (2006) and "Changing Times" (2008). NEVER FACE DEFEAT exists of Patrick Schöne (vocals), Karl Broi (guitar), Carsten Dötsch (bass) and Ronny Zeche (drums), but according to their MySpace page, the band is currently looking for a new guitarist. Anyway, this EP "Convicted" contains the songs "You Won't Win", "Views Of Life", "Determination", "Injustice" and "Relapse". And I must admit that it sounds far from original. I've heard this kind of hardcore many times before. Okay, it's not bad, because it sounds nice, and I can listen to it, but I wouldn't buy it myself easily these days. Well, hardcore fans who are already familiar with material of this German hardcore band, will absolutely like "Convicted" as well.
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/neverfacedefeat

72/100

POISON – Double Dose: Ultimate Hits (2CD) USA July 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Glam Rock / Hard Rock Running time: CD1: 71:17 (Tracks: 18) / CD2: 66:09 (Tracks: 17)
Well, the title of this double disc compilation album of POISON says enough, "Double Dose: Ultimate Hits" indeed features the ultimate hits of these glam boys. The reason of the release of "Double Dose: Ultimate Hits" is to celebrate the 25th anniversary of POISON. The only POISON albums which are not represented on this compilation are "Power To The People" (2000) and "Hollyweird" (2002). The albums which I have of POISON are "Look What The Cat Dragged In" (1986), "Open Up And Say… Ahh!" (1988) and "Flesh & Blood" (1990), and these three studio albums are all awesome. In fact, they are real classics. Besides those albums, I also have the compilation album "The Best Of Poison: 20 Years Of Rock" (2006), which also features a GRAND FUNK RAILROAD cover version of the classic "We're An American Band", what was the new single of the band at that time. Anyway, on this two disc compilation you will find fantastic songs like "Nothin' But A Good Time", "Talk Dirty To Me", "Unskinny Bop", "Fallen Angel", the power ballads "Every Rose Has Its Torn", “Life Goes On” and "Something To Believe In", "I Want Action", "Cry Tough", "(Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice”, "Bastard Son Of A Thousand Blues", “Look But You Can't Touch”, “Sexual Thing” and "Look What The Cat Dragged In", but also cover versions of KISS ("Rock And Roll All Nite"), DAVID BOWIE ("Suffragette City"), THE ROMANTICS ("What I Like About You"), SWEET ("Little Willy"), LOGGINS AND MESSINA ("Your Mama Don't Dance") and the above mentioned cover version of GRAND FUNK RAILROAD. For anyone who doesn't have anything of POISON yet, this double CD "Double Dose: Ultimate Hits" is an excellent compilation album to start with. And for all fans of POISON this is a fantastic compilation to complete your collection. Anyway, I can't get enough of listening to songs of POISON.
Visit their website: http://www.poisonweb.com
Recordlabel: http://www.emimusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/poison

92/100

REECE - KRONLUND – Solid (CD) Sweden July 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 41:00 (Tracks: 10)
Gypsy Rose bandmates Martin Kronlund and David Reece decided to extend their collaboration through a brand new project. Both are well known and respected musicians with many albums under their belts. Singer Reece has recorded with the likes of artists such as Accept, Bangalore Choir, Sircle of Silence, Alex De Rosso and Stream while guitarist Kronlund has linked his name with White Wolf, Dogface, Overland, Phenomena and others. As its title states, “Solid” is an album of solid Hard Rock with a fair share of melodic metal (with the heavier tune being the galloping “The Dead Shall Walk the Earth”). The 10 songs have nice hooks (especially tunes like “Samurai” and “Magic Pudding”) and make the album quite appealing. The fact that the album's sound is close to Gypsy Rose is of course no surprise. Since Gypsy Rose is in something of a 3 year hiatus, this project is the best substitute for the fans.
Visit their website: http://www.reeceworld.com
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com

71/100

STARGAZERY – Eye on the Sky (CD) Finland July 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 43:53 (Tracks: 10)
Stargazery is a new band from Finland and presents its debut album as the first release of Pure Legend Records. This time I didn't read the bio before putting it in my cd player so I wasn't prepared of what was coming. Now calling you're band Stargazery, it isn't really difficult to guess what you may expect, so indeed a mixture of Rainbow (more the Dougie White period), Whitesnake and Black Sabbath (Tony Martin period) rangs out of the speakers. But there is something else there, something very familiar in the sound and structure of the songs. It took me a few numbers to reshuffle my mind and there it was …. Ghost Machinery. Unmistakable! Coming back from work, I read the bio and it all falls in place; Pete Ahonen on guitars; well he is also the mastermind of “that other band” so that explains everything. Also Jussi Ontero is here on drums, accomplished by Jari Tiura (vocals), Jukka Jokikokko (bass) and Marco Sneck (keyboards). Well, these guys are a guarantee for great quality, that's for sure. About the musical skills and the production there is nothing more to say than that it is from a very high level, really nothing wrong with it. These guys know how to rock. For me the album really starts after 4 tracks. “I am the Night” is a tasty melodic rocker, “Jester of Kings”, “Judah (The Lion)” and the mighty “Puppet on a String” are the powerful tracks that I prefer; strong melody, fine axework, fierce drums, high class vocals, nice solos, all coloured in by beautiful keyboards, yes Ahonen certainly knows how to come up with something. The first 4 tracks are a bit to, well how shall I say it, ordinary, they don't convince me. Leaves us 2 other ones; “Headless Cross” is a splendid cover version of Black Sabbath and “S.O.S.” could be easily been put on a Ghost Machinery album; faster and more threatening, great! Nevertheless for me Ghost Machinery beats Stargazery in points. Reason why; Despite Jari Tiura delivers a very fine vocal performance, Taage Laiho beats him in this, but hey that's no shame, don't get me wrong, both are simply high class. Oh, putting the best tracks of those two together it would easily score the full 100. Pure Legend Records can be proud on it's first release and the awesome cover artwork by Felippe Macchado is worth mentioning. Can't wait for the next “Ahonen Attack”!
Visit their website: http://www.stragazery.com
Recordlabel: http://www.purelegend-records.com

82/100

STILLLIFE – Requiem (CD) USA July 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 63:34 (Tracks: 9)
When I got the album from Stilllife, the name didn't ring any bells. Since it came without a press kit or any information whatsoever, I tried to make a research of my own and here is what I came up with. The band originates from Michigan and is consisted of three brothers with the addition of a friend as a fourth member. This is the band's debut album, a self released record that came out a year ago. These guys deserve some credit for struggling to make it on their own, in unfriendly times and grounds. Any band that comes from the States and doesn't try to play contemporary stuff but sticks to the classic metal values should have the respect of all metalheads. Requiem is a progressive metal album that reminded me of the prog metal sound of the 90s. It is a good effort with some interesting parts but there are more to be done. The sound could be much better and the vocals need some extra work in order to meet the challenges posed by the complex song structures. Lets hope this promising band will continue evolving and a successor to Requiem will come soon.
Visit their website: http://www.stilllife.us
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stilllifehome

68/100

STRYCH.NINE – Power Play (CDemo) Holland July 2010 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Modern Metal Running time: 23:23 (Tracks: 6)
Strych.Nine is a Dutch/Belgian metal band that just released their first demo 'Power Play.' Although the band may be relatively new to the public, it is possible that you know some of the band members already. In the past they were active in bands such as Leaves Eyes, Crimson Falls and Morda. With this information, it is all the more surprising how 'Power Play' has turned out. The six track demo contains modern metal songs that are well written and nicely balanced. I can't help reminiscing about Stone Sour/Slipknot while listening to the music. The former because of the song structures, the use of clean vocals and the melodic approach and the latter because of the aggression in the screams and the fast rhythm sections. Let me be clear here: I don't consider Stych.Nine a bunch op copycats. Not at all! The comparison implies that the band is capable of writing intelligent metal compositions that stick with you. Heavy and catchy at the same time. I consider 'Power Play' a job well done and really look forward to some new material. Especially since these songs are a couple of years old. If the band has grown since then, and I'd like to believe they are, then we might have something special on our hands. Definitely one of the more interesting releases I've heard in months!
Visit their website: http://www.myspace.com/strych9metal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/strych9metal

85/100

TOKYO BLADE – Thousand Men Strong (CD) United Kingdom July 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: NWOBHM Running time: 50:30 (Tracks: 10)
The Blade is back! Pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Tokyo Blade present their new album entitled “Thousand Men Strong“. The 2011 Tokyo Blade line-up includes four of the five original members, Andy Boulton (guitar), Andy Wrighton (bass), John Wiggins (guitar) and Steve Pierce (drums) and is completed by powerhouse vocalist Nicolaj Ruhnow.
The band is most well-known for their legendary 1984's 'Night Of The Blade' album and the tours they did around that period. The new album is produced by Grammy-nominated producer Chris Tsangarides (Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Y&T, Anvil) and it contains nine brand new tracks plus a reworking of the anthemic title track from the aforementioned 'Night Of The Blade'.
I was very curious about this new album because I have seen the band also in their “glam” period which I didn't like at all as a pure oldschool Tokyo Blade fan. Well luckily the band realized what nowadays fans want to hear; good oldschool/retro NWOBHM. In the beginning I had to get used to the sound of this album; it all sounds good but it couldn't compare with today's productions. After listening to the album several times I got used to the sound and I must admit that the sound fits perfect to the bands music. What also counted me was that newcomer Nicolaj Ruhnow (Domain) is an excellent singer and a VERY wise choice for the vocal spot! He has that typical sound that not every vocalist has to replace original vocalist Alan Marsh.
I heard a lot of complains about the “remake” of the bands anthem “Night of the Blade” but personally I like the remake a lot; simply because its done in another style and not a simple copy of the original song! This album brings back memories to the NWOBHM period with comparable bands as Tygers of Pan Tang & Saxon.
This a damn nice piece of NWOBHM and im also proud to announce that the band is booked for the 5th edition of my festival; Mario's Metal Meeting 5 on October the 15th 2011! Looking out for this show! Hope you will take the chance to see this legendary band live (again!!).
Visit their website: http://www.tokyoblade.com
Recordlabel: http://www.bob-media.com/cms_fastball
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tokyobladeofficial

85/100

TOXIK HEART – Ride Your Life (CD) Slovenia July 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / Glam Rock Running time: 36:22 (Tracks: 11)
TOXIK HEART is a pretty young melodic Hard Rock band from Slovenia, and exists of Axl (vocals), Mike (guitar), Rider (bass) and Mogy (drums). These guys deliver with "Ride Your Life" a pretty good debut album, with eleven nice sounding and catchy melodic Rock songs. In fact "Ride Your Life", which was already released in 2009 by the band themselves, is a very accessible album. TOXIK HEART exists of excellent musicians and they do have a perfect singer in Axl. Especially for someone from Slovenia, he's singing in fluent English, and he has a nice voice to listen to. Anyway, this album was produced by Maras Tomaz and guitarist Mike, who also wrote all the songs, and sounds very good. What else can I say about this band and album. Nice compositions, fantastic musicianship, good vocals, good production, it's just perfect. Okay, TOXIK HEART are not the new top band in the rock scene, but these guys do have potential anyway. Like I said, this debut album was self financed by the band, but they really deserve it to get signed by a recordlabel. So, time will tell if their second album will be released on some label. I'm curious if these guys are already working on a second album! Well, Melodic rock fans among the readers of MMM, check this band and album out, because you won't get disappointed. My favourite songs of this album are "Ticket", "New Generation", "Ride Your Life", "Big Time" (great riff) and "Makin' Me Bad".
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/toxikheartofficial

76/100

VAMP LE STAT – Bloodline (CD) USA July 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / Glam Rock Running time: 66:23 (Tracks: 11)
Well, this is a re-issue of the first album of Californian Glam rockers VAMP LE STAT, titled "Bloodline". VAMP LE STAT was formed in 1991, but it was 1992 when the band really came together. The first line-up of VAMP LE STAT existed of Jimmy Tuttle (vocals, guitar), Jeff Jones (guitar, vocals), Brian Boozer (bass, keyboard, vocals) and Bret Blackburn (drums). This debut album "Bloodline" was released in 1993, and was meant for their fans. At that time there were only 2000 copies pressed of "Bloodline". So, now "Bloodline" is re-issued by XXX Records America with a new packaging and with 5 bonus tracks. All those bonus tracks, are a studio reference mix of the songs which are originally on the album. Only from the song "Bitch" there isn't a studio reference mix on this CD. Personally I never had heard of VAMP LE STAT in the nineties, so this re-issue is my first acquaintance with the band. After Jones and Boozer left VAMP LE STAT, the band did have a few line-up changes. Other albums which are released by VAMP LE STAT are "Filth" (1995; with new members Mark Miner on guitar/vocals and Skuzzy on bass/vocals), "The Basement Tapes" (2000) and "So Far" (2006; with Sikki Lynn on bass). The songs for "Bloodline 2: Thrill Of The Kill" were written and recorded in 1994 with the original line-up, but that album never had been officially released so far. "Bloodline 2: Thrill Of The Kill" is now released for the very first time on CD by XXX Records America as well early this year. Anyway, let's get back to this album. While I was listening to this album several times, VAMP LE STAT reminded me musically of bands such as BON JOVI, POISON, LED ZEPPELIN, KINGDOM COME and SKID ROW. And I must admit that it still sounds nice after all those years. The band existed of good musicians and Tuttle is pretty good singer as well. Also the production is good, which was done by Jones. So, "Bloodline" is still a nice Glam-, Hard Rock album which Glam fans should check out (also this re-release is in a limited edition available). The ballad "She's Not In Love Anymore" sounds nice, but cliché too. "Guns 4 Hire" is a fast rocker with double bass drums, only that song ends with a cliché drum solo, which in my opinion takes too long. Anyway, I would say that the best songs on "Bloodline" are the original album versions of "Madame Blue", "Swing Child", "Bitch", "Guns 4 Hire" and "Chain Around My Heart".
Recordlabel: http://www.xxxrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jeffjonesworld

77/100

VOLTURYON – Coordinated Mutilation (CD) Sweden July 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 34:38 (Tracks: 10)
Volturyon is a death metal band from Sweden that brings you straight in your face kick ass death metal. That Sweden is known for good death metal is well known, but this band brings it even further. They started out in 2006 and released their debut in 2008 “Blood Cure”. This is their second album and it sounds ravaging. The guitar riffs are brutal and technical and filled with groove. The drums are pounding through every song like a train that can not be stopped. Then you got the grunts…brutal grunts combined with screams. Fuck yeah!!! All the songs are filled with groove and filled with slamming riffs and rhythms that keeps your head moving. The production and variety of this album is also very good. Even though this is in my opinion not the most standard Swedish death metal band and sounds even more American styled, I must say that this is a band that I will be keeping my eye on. If you like straight in your face death metal with no tolerance for bullshit then you must have this album.
Visit their website: http://www.volturyon.net
Recordlabel: http://www.unitedgutteral.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/volturyon

83/100

MAY

ACHYRONTHIA – Echoes of brutality (CD) Belgium May 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Heavy / Thrash Metal Running time: 52:51 (Tracks: 11)
Mausoleum has been releasing heavy metal records for as long as I can remember. And now, in 2011, they are still doing just that. One of their latest signings is the Belgium based band Achyronthia, who's album 'Echoes of brutality' was recently released. The band, which previously released their debut album 'The final crossing' in 2006, is a very suitable band for their new found label. This because the band has a very recognizable style of 'traditional' Heavy Metal. The instrumental 'At the break of dawn' sets the mood, which allows 'Operation overlord' to immediately grasp your attention. The riffs are very much Thrash oriented, but with an accessible, melodic heavy metal approach as well as countless soloing. As the album continues, it becomes clear that with the presence of some fast ('Victory of death') and some more classic stuff ('Without warning,' 'The silent cry') Achyronthia has managed to create a very well thought and balanced Heavy Metal album. An album that a lot of old school metalheads most certainly will enjoy. At the time of 'The final crossing' the band opened up for Sodom and even landed a spot at the prestigious Wacken Festival. With the 'Echoes of brutality,' stages will be waiting again. The perfect live music for the enthusiast of Heavy Rock/Metal. O yeah, the CD package is very well taken care of, with artwork by Seth Siro Anton who previously designed some covers for Exodus and Paradise Lost. Just so you know...
Visit their website: http://www.achyronthia.be
Recordlabel: http://www.mausoleum-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/achyronthia

80/100

AFTER HOURS - Against the Grain (CD) United Kingdom May 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 46:43 (Tracks: 11)
After Hours was formed in 1987 by John Francis (vocals), Tim Payne (lead Guitar), Martin Walls (Bass guitar), Mark Addison (drums) and Rick young (Keyboards). Quite soon the band recorded the album “Take off” and the band signed by record company BMG Ariola. The band's career developed fast, especially in Germany, England and Scandinavia they became very popular. During the writing of the second album, Rick Young left the band and was replaced by Andy Nye who played keyboards for Michael Schenker. Signing a new record company for the second album caused a lot of problems and three members (Walls, Addison and Nye) left the band. However, Francis and Payne continued to record the second album and with some help from the producer (Mal Luker) and his staff at the studio, the self-titled album After Hours was released in 1992. After this period, it became quit around the band.
In February 2008 Walls, Payne and Francis met each other which lead to the reformation of After Hours. Some jam sessions were so successful so they wanted to write and record a new album with no interference of producers, record companies and management. They invited old friends, Chris pope on drums and Sean Mcmenemy on keyboard and guitar to help.
The new album is called “Against the Grain”. It starts excellent with Stand up, a nice melodic rock song. Something which I really can appreciate is the voice of John Francis. Really great!! His voice has similarities with Steve Perry (Journey). Although the band had split up for approximately 20 years, the chemistry is certainly back. The songs are very inspiring and I never get bored. This is one of those albums which has no really weaknesses. The album ends with a warm and acoustic version of Eleventh Hour. The production is good; this is a melodic rock album in the way it should be made!
Visit their website: http://www.afterhoursrocks.com
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/afterhours2009

86/100

ANA KEFR – The Burial Tree (II) (CD) USA May 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Melodic Death / Black Metal Running time: 52:51 (Tracks: 14)
Ana Kefr is a fine example of why you should always buy the original product instead of simply downloading the tracks. The booklet, the lyrics and the artwork: it's all part of the experience. And oh man, what an experience 'The Burial Tree (II) has become. Metal Hammer described it as 'Philosophical Metal,' but since we don't need yet another subgenre of metal, I will try to describe it in my own words. First of, philosophical stuff is definitely there in terms of lyrics and the general atmosphere, but musically there are a lot of melodic death, spherical black and progressive/doom elements present. Also worth mentioning is the great variety when it comes to vocals and the use of keyboards. At first it came on to me as a bit vague. But now that I've listened to the album for numerous times, it's clearly a diamond in the rough. Everybody knows it's hard to be slightly original nowadays, but Ana Kefr shows that it is still possible. A recommendation for the experimental metal enthusiast that is willing to put some time and effort in 'The burial three (II) You won't be disappointed.
Visit their website: http://www.anakefr.com
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/musesickrecords
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anakefr

85/100

ANY FACE – The Cult of Sickness (CD) Italy May 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Technical Death Metal Running time: 38:02 (Tracks: 8)
Any Face from Italy started spreading their rage in 2000. They released their first demo 2001 and an EP in 2002. In 2006 they released their debut “Craving Out of Mist” and in 2009 an EP and demo. This is their second album “The Cult of Sickness” and it's straight in your face technical death metal. Eight tracks of furious death metal filled technical riffs and not too much melody in the guitar riffs. The guitar riffs are also very progressive and they are not afraid of putting a solo in it. The drums are straight in your face filled double bass and groove. The same goes for the bass player who also plays very technical and lifts up the music on a very good way. The vocals are straight in your face grunts that sound hard and aggressive. This is a band that clearly likes technical death metal bands like Atheist combined with Origin. Their music is fast and very technical, most of the times when I listen to bands that makes this kind of death metal I never listen to the entire album because after a few songs you have already heard enough. But this band managed to keep all the song interesting. If you like bands like Atheist (but then a bit more brutal); Then you should give this a try. So check their MySpace and order your copy!
Recordlabel: http://www.nadirmusic.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anyface

75/100

ARCANUM SANCTUM – Fidus Achates (CD) Russia May 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 30:28 (Tracks: 08)
Arcanum Sanctum brings you melodic death metal from Russia. This band started bringing their melody in 2004 and released the first demo in 2005. In 2010 they released their debut “Fidus Achates”. This album contains 8 tracks of melodic death metal that reminds me a bit of Children of Bodom. The guitar riffs are progressive and melodic and the drums are straight in your face with a lot up tempo and double bass work combined with a great groove. Then you get the grunts and they also remind me of Children of Bodom but more brutal. They also use keyboards and they are not too loud in the mix so you can hear everything well. But the best part for me on this album is the variety in the songs. Every song sounds melodic but filled with groove and power. The production of this album is also well done. This is the Russian answer on bands like the one that I mentioned and they do that fucking well. If you like bands like the one that I mentioned then you are going to enjoy this album because it is more brutal and aggressive.
Recordlabel: http://www.morehate.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/arcanumsanctum

78/100

BIG LIFE – Big Life (CD) United Kingdom May 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: AOR / Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 62:20 (Tracks: 13)
BIG LIFE is a new project of Steve Newman (NEWMAN) and ex-PRAYING MANTIS frontman Mark Thompson-Smith. Besides Newman (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Thompson-Smith (lead vocals), BIG LIFE also exists of Rob McEwen (drums, percussion), who also played on the last three NEWMAN albums. I assume that the bass parts were played by Newman as well. This self titled album features thirteen tracks, of which the last track, which is titled "Special Relationship", is a bonus track. Anyway, on "Big Life" we'll get some fine solid melodic Rock songs such as "Dying Day", "Close To You", "Better Man", "Calling" (which has an Eastern/Asian atmosphere), "Feel Alive", "At The End Of The Rainbow" and "Takin' Me Down", but also several beautiful ballads like "I'll Still Be There", "Deep Water", "Leaves", "Stop In Time" and the acoustic "Nothing Without You". One thing is for sure, these guys can write some fantastic compositions, because there's no weak song to find on this CD. "Big Life" is a very accessible album, which you will like very quickly. You really don't need to listen more than two or three times to this CD, to discover that it's a brilliant album. This is awesome melodic Hard Rock like we knew during the eighties. Some songs could even be from BON JOVI in their early days. Thompson-Smith is a fantastic singer with a great voice and Newman is an awesome guitar player. This album was produced by BIG LIFE themselves and sounds brilliant. Although I like all songs very much, I would say that "Dying Day", "Close To You" (with awesome guitar solo's), "Better Man", the beautiful "I'll Still Be Here", "Feel Alive", the longest track of the album "Deep Water" (6:41), which has beautiful guitar solo's, "Stop In Time" and "Takin' Me Down" are my favorites. If you are into melodic Rock and like bands such as SIGNAL, GIANT, early BON JOVI, JOURNEY etc., then you'll have to check out this fantastic melodic Rock album, because it is a real recommendation. Well done guys, 'cause this is a superb debut album.
Visit their website: http://www.big-life.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/biglifeuk

88/100

CITY WEEZLE – Taboo (CD) France May 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Funk / Metal / Jazz / Fusion Running time: 68:16 (Tracks: 12)
"Taboo" is the debut album of CITY WEEZLE, a four piece band from France. The band who exists of Simon Fleury (vocals, guitar, banjo), Benjamin Violet (guitar, violin), Maxime Gibon (bass, clarinet) and Ai Uchida (drums) had already released two demo EP's so far, which are "City Weezle" (2006) (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews) and "The Leprechaun" (2008). Well, the first band which came in mind, when I listened to "Taboo" for the first time, was PRIMUS. And I must say, I never have been a fan of PRIMUS, simply because I didn't always like the voice of Les Claypool. But nevertheless, Claypool is a fantastic bass player, and I do like a few songs of PRIMUS, but that's all. And indeed, according to the band's biography, the influences of CITY WEEZLE are PRIMUS, FAITH NO MORE, ZAPPA, KING CRIMSON, MR. BUNGLE, THE MELVINS etcetera. Okay, I know it's not that important, but man, what an UGLY album cover "Taboo" has. Anyway, "Taboo" features twelve tracks, and only three songs have a running time under four minutes ("Cunning Linguistics", "Mary Jane" and "The Leprechaun"). All other songs are in between five and eight minutes. One thing is clear, these guys really can play their instruments very well, and Fleury is, besides one of the two guitarists, a vocalist with a varied style of singing. To be honest, in all songs are absolutely some very good and interesting sounding parts, but there are also some moments in the songs which are pretty weird and even sometimes very annoying. When I played this CD once in our living room, my girlfriend had heard a few songs and she said to me 'what an awful and annoying music'. So, I can understand that you could get totally crazy of this mixture of different music styles. In fact, this is a perfect example of "you like it or not". Well, one positive point is that "Taboo" is fantastically produced. Personally I don't have any favourite songs, and that's because "Taboo" doesn't contain songs which I really like from the beginning until the end. Like I said, I just like several moments of the songs on this debut album. But anyone who likes PRIMUS, FRANK ZAPPA or MR. BUNGLE, would like CITY WEEZLE as well, and will absolutely appreciate songs like "Hot Potato" (7:12), "Cunning Linguistics" (2:57), "Taboo" (7:34), "Mary Jane" (3:28), "Fair Game" (6:25), "Nimformation" (7:17) and "Farmhouse Love" (5:56), because these songs are in the same style like songs such as "Squeeze Me Macaroni" and "Stubb" (MR. BUNGLE), "Tommy The Cat" and "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" (PRIMUS) to name a few. So, if you are curious about this French "weirdo" band, check them out on their MySpace page, where you can listen to some songs of the band.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cityweezle

65/100

CONFLICTED – Never Be Tamed (CD) Canada May 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 51:13 (Tracks: 11)
Hailing from Toronto, Canada this is the debut full-length album that Conflicted release. They have already released two highly regarded EP's. Despite their debut status Conflicted consists of members that were already active in the 1990's metal scene. Front man for Conflicted is Jason Orton whose immense high voice resembles that of Tim “Ripper” Owens. Mark Owen is the axe man, while Ron De Coste plays the keyboards. The rhythm section consists of bassist John Kolodziej and drummer Corey Stoll. The first tones on this album are captured in the intro, “After Too Long”, that stays just under one minute. “Never Be Tamed” starts with some raw guitars but then Orton opens his mouth. It is unbelievable, that he is able to sing so enormously high. Apparently, he has a four-octave range. His voice is all around as it cuts like a knife through the power metal of this song. “Victor(ia)” has a few Ozzy-like pieces inside the song which for the rest is a bit less power metal but has plenty of keyboards- and guitar-soloing. Orton takes the chance to excel towards the end of the song. “Fallen” is a progressive metal song with a lot of keyboards and a lot of fantastic guitar-playing. Again, you hear Orton's fantastic high voice coming in from one side and leaving to the other side. Luckily, he does not sing extremely high all the time. The next song, “The Hand Of God”, is a straightforward song which is pretty heavy and aggressive with a little piece of rest in the middle. “Stay” starts with some freaky keyboards and pounding drums and this continues onto the vocals that have a weird vibe. After the beginning, it turns into a power piece that ends with the same freaky keyboards. The singing on “Heat Me Up” is a lot softer at places but this song has a certain vibe that keeps you focused. “I Wish, I Remember” is a beautiful piece of progressive metal with a huge diversity in singing. “Alive” is a real team-effort with Orton taking the lead as he sings in yet another fashion. De Coste kicks off “Torment” followed by Orton's amazing vocals. It is a fast song with all musicians showing their musical skills. This to me is one of the best songs on the album. The closing track, “Release”, starts at a very slow pace, but comes alive towards the middle of the song as it turns into yet another great progressive metal song. Because of the astonishing voice of Orton, one would tend to forget looking at the rest of the band. This is wrong, as they have been excellent on this album. Especially Owen and De Coste have taken their chances to take the lead and show the listener their craftsmanship. To me it was a wise decision for Nightmare Records to sign this band. They will enjoy this band now and in the future.
Visit their website: http://www.conflicted.ca
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/conflictedcanada

87/100

CYPHERSEER – Origins (CD) USA May 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 65:09 (Tracks: 11)
The band, formerly known as Malakis Reign, originates from the New Jersey/New York-area and this is the follow-up to the debut-album, “Awakening Day”, they put out in 2007 (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews). This album has been edited and mixed by well-known talent Fredrik Nordstrom (In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Soilwork, Arch Enemy and Dream Evil). Since the last album, the line-up of the band has drastically changed. Zeno Rodrigo is the new singer. His powerful voice has redefined the sound of CypherSeer. The new drummer is Lee Corrado and Kristian Lolo is the new bass-player. The only two that remained in the band are the two guitarists, Sergio Ribeiro and Rod Mariani.
From the first second the wall of sound hits one. Double bass drums, heavy guitars and lots of keys dominate “Bloodline”. Rodrigo sings fantastic, sometimes with a regular voice but then he changes into growling easily. The band sounds really tight and aggressive, and this is only the first of eleven songs. “The Curse” has some contradictive parts but it is mainly a sturdy progressive power metal song.
“Dying Force” is just another example how the technical parts are mixed with the heavier parts but the song remains melodic whilst the tempo remains high. The songs are filled with vocals (clear or death-like) and all musicians play like it is their last chance to play. A perfect example for this is “Faith Renounced”. On the next track, “Aftermass”, Rodrigo gets lots of space to show us his vocal talents, because the music is a little less complicated and present. On “From The Womb” and “Soul Sacrifice” the speed goes down a bit more and there is space for a little quiet part, but not for too long off course, because there is so much musical power to share. “Red Rain” is with its 4.26 minutes the second shortest song and it indeed is a song that is more compact than the rest. The shortest song on the album is “Infinite Trance”, and it is an instrumental that lasts for almost three minutes, during which the band show their musicality. Like that was necessary to put this in a separate instrumental. The longest song, with over ten minutes is “Lost, Plagued and Redefined”. This is a summary of CypherSeer's qualities brought together in one song. This time the band has lots of time to play, so the result is a beautiful song. To finish it all, the album's last song, “As I Embrace The End”, is a great song to end a fantastic album. The talent is obvious, so there is even some space to improve. People that like In Flames, Soilwork, Evergrey, Scar Symmetry and Mercenary will like this album. By the way, this would be a great band for Progpower Europe.
Visit their website: http://www.cypherseer.com
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cypherseer666

86/100

DIEHARD – When Illusions Gone (CD) Germany May 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Experi(metal) Running time: 28:26 (Tracks: 7)
Diehard, what's in a name, is a two piece combo consisting of Alexander Morte (guitar, vocals) and Vic Torys (keyboards, backing vocals). The band is founded just a few months ago at the end of 2010 and currently Sasha Pratnekar has joined them on drums. The band is determined in their goal that listens to the statement “Diehard will make a new chapter in metal history!”. Well, I can tell you they can stop making music right now, because they have already succeeded in making their dream come true. This silver disc contains indeed a new chapter in metal history. What does it bring then. Looking at the photo's and album cover you may expect another brutal black metal attack. After the celtic/folky intro “Invocad Guard” starts with an electronic dance beat complete with all kinds of beeps and other techno stuff. The only thing “metal” about it is the death metal voice of Alexander. You can say a lot but this band certainly has balls to create a mixture of dance/fusion/techno with death metal. First time for me that someone has done this before, so indeed a new chapter in metal. For me personally, if this is the future of metal I quit reviewing right now ! I'm pretty open minded but this really is a few bridges to far for me ! Man, give me a break here. Follower “My World” opens like pure techno (as far as I am familiar with it, and that is pretty close to 0,0 but sometimes you hear something going by on the radio) but is accompanied by heavy riffwork and the brutal voice of Alexander contrasts terrific, but all those rare beeps, eh no not really …. Still I must say that it has something, next to a lot of guts to come up with stuff like this, because after a few times listening you get used to it, you can't get it out of your head (help!).
“Cost Nothing” is a brilliant example of this; warning don't listen to it! After two times the chorus is hammered in your head while you like it or not, despite the really disgusting electronic intro. So what to say of this new chapter in metal history: it definitely is new, but I can't call this metal anymore. Production is very good, the band shows guts to come up with this but I think that it's all to high tech for the average metal fan. But, who knows it will find it's way to very, very progressive, open minded (metal) fans. “I am the madman” Alexander shouts in “Madman”, what a way to categorise this album; pure madness by a madman!
Recordlabel: http://www.kolony.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/diehardmetalband

55/100

DRAKHER – Rejector (CD) Chile May 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 41:16 (Tracks: 10)
Drakher is a Chilean band and its label categorizes it as extreme South American heavy metal. I will not disagree. It is difficult to give an exact description of the band's music though. Drakher sounds like a mix of Sepultura with Judas Priest's “Jugulator”. Especially the Priest is the band's primary influence. They have elements of heavy, power, thrash and death mixed together but if I really had to choose between these three I would categorize the band as thrash metal. If I also had to compare them with another band, that would be their fellow countrymen Vastator. They have a similar musical approach and share the element of high pitched vocals too. Vastator's music is closer to my taste though and the structure of the songs more interesting. I will be monitoring the band's progress cause it shows some good potential just like the contemporary Chilean metal scene. There are good stuff coming out of this country.
Visit their website: http://www.drakher.com
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/drakher

65/100

DYING – Bizarre & Bloody Tales (Director's Cut) (CD) Chile May 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Death Metal Running time: 34:09 (Tracks: 11)
Hailing from Chile comes a new death metal band with the original name Dying. After a demo some years ago the band released it's first full length album of brutal death metal. The band delivers an excellent example that brutal death metal is a lot different from the very popular deathcore and is about a lot more than breakdowns. Between the brutal riffs and aggressive choruses there is still a lot of room for melodic solo's which cause a lot of variation in the songs and make the cd an interesting piece that never really bores. As it should be, the entire cd is supported by a very decent rythm section and a good drummer. The only thing that actually bothers me are the vocals, while fitting for the music they just don't feel right to me although that is just my opinion. If you are into the more brutal bands but also getting bored of yet another deathcore band do check these guys out.
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dyingdeathmetal

74/100

ELEVENER – Symmetry in Motion (CD) Sweden May 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: AOR / Rock Running time: 47:04 (Tracks: 11)
Elevener came to birth when childhood friends Johan Bergquist (vocals, keyboards, bass) and Andreas Brodén (Guitar, drums) joined forces in 2005. The duo released the debut-album “When Kaleidoscopes Collide” in July 2008 which was welcomed very well by the AOR scene. In January 2010, guitarist Magnus Lindqvist heard the Elevener debut and he got in contact with Johan Bergquist. Soon they realized that they shared the same taste and ambitions in music. Consequently, Lindqvist replaced Brodén who had left Elevener due to other commitments. A little bit later, drummer Anton Roos (Saffire) joined the band too. Because of Magnus` contacts in the cover band circuit, singer Pierre Wensberg (Prisoner, Tommy Denander, Heartbreak Radio) and bass player Robert Garnold (Heartbreak Radio) were asked to join the band. This new line-up started recording in late 2010 and in February 2011 they hooked up with Martin Kronlund at JM Studios (Paul Young, Overland) to put finishing touches on the new album called “Symmetry in Motion”.
In my opinion, the album offers the real die-hard AOR fan nothing news. This does not mean that Symmetry in Motion is a bad album. In general, it is my opinion that the AOR genre is not really innovative for quite a long time. But this album contains 11 nice AOR songs. It has to be said that the musicians of Elevener are all very capable and that the songs are composed very well. It is never over the top. My personal favorites are the heavier songs on the album like Tearing me Down but also the two last songs (You Got What it Takes and Modern Times) can really suit me. Especially the guitar solo in Modern times is great! Of course the album contains some ballads, but they are mostly a little bit to sweet. But this is also a general characteristic of typical AOR. People who like well played AOR should give this album a chance!
Visit their website: http://www.elevener.com
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/elevenelevenagain

75/100

GLEN DROVER – Metalusion (CD) Canada May 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Instrumental Progressive Metal/Fusion Running time: 50:27 (Tracks: 10)
This is the first solo-album that Drover has released. He is famous for his guitar playing in Eidolon, King Diamond and Megadeth. On this album, Drover gets assistance from Jim Gilmour (keyboards), Paul Yee (bass-guitars) and Chris Sutherland (drums). The list of guest-guitarists is impressive. This list contains Chris Poland (OHM, ex Megadeth), Vinnie Moore (UFO), Steve Smyth (Forbidden), Fredrik Åkesson (Opeth) and Jeff Loomis (ex Nevermore). The album contains five original compositions and five interpretations of material composed by Frank Zappa, Al DiMeola and Jean-Luc Ponty. The biggest challenge is that the songs on the album represent a certain unity. Drover has achieved this although the songs are quite different. “Ground Zero” is the very strong starting point of the album. The song features both Poland and Moore. They take their chances, as is Gilmour with a great piece of piano playing from the middle towards the end of the song. The first part of the song has a Latin touch. On the next song, “Frozen Dream”, it is Smyth's turn to show us his skills. On this song, there is also a big role for Gilmour that he performs fantastic. The first cover is “Egyptian Danza”, that is an Al DiMeola classic. On this track, Drover gets his chance to give it all; as this is a six minutes long guitar-solo, including jazzy and very heavy parts on a Middle Eastern feel. The diversity within the song is huge but the performance is amazing. “Colors Of Infinity” has a really relaxing vibe. This gives Drover the chance to play his guitar in a very emotional way. The result is a very beautiful song. The next own song is “Illusions Of Starlight” that has a beautiful melody from within Drover plays his solo's. The next two songs are covers of the work of Jean-Luc Ponty. On “Don't Let The World Pass You By” it's Fredrik Åkesson and on the other, “Mirage”, it's Jeff Loomis that share their extreme musical talents with Drover. These songs have a fusion-vibe, which offer Drover and both guest-musicians plenty of opportunities to excel on guitar. With this many fantastic guitar-players one should easily forget the rest of the band. This would be disrespectful as they play great too and in this way offer the rest the chance to show their skills. “Ascension” is the last own song and this is a quiet almost mellow song with a lot of interaction between guitar and keyboards. It is played in a modest way. To end the album it is time for two Frank Zappa-covers, namely “The Purple Lagoon” and “Filthy Habits”, with the first one just under one minute. These songs are a bit heavier but most of all they have more weird parts in the song. The conclusion is that Glen Drover has delivered a fantastic solo-album that states what I already knew, namely that he is an excellent guitar-player. Perhaps a second album would be nice next year!
Visit their website: http://www.glendroverband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.magnacarta.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/glendroverofficial

86/100

HAVOK – Time Is Up (CD) USA May 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 42:06 (Tracks: 10)
Aaaargh, what a GREAT album this is. Any metalhead who's into Thrash Metal, knows that since a couple of years there is a Thrash revival, with a new generation of Thrash bands such as EVILE, MUNICIPAL WASTE, BONDED BY BLOOD, WARBRINGER, GAMMA BOMB et cetera. Well, HAVOK also belongs to this new generation of bands who are playing old-school Thrash Metal in the well known eighties tradition. About HAVOK, the band comes from Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. and was formed in February of 2004. In 2005 they released their first demo "Thrash Can" (5 tracks), followed by the second demo "Murder By Metal" (4 tracks) in 2006. In 2007 the band released the six track EP "Pwn 'Em All" by themselves, and their fantastic debut album "Burn" was released in early spring of 2009 by England's Candlelight Records. Now the band's second full length album "Time Is Up" has been recently released. The band did have several changes in the line-up, but the line-up of HAVOK on "Time Is Up" exists of David Sanchez (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Reece Scruggs (lead guitar, backing vocals), Jesse De Los Santos (bass, backing vocals) and Pete Webber (drums). And man, what a musicians they are, very talented and technical. Just listen to the brilliant guitar solo's of Reece or the fantastic bass work of De Los Santos…..just marvellous. "Time Is Up", which has a great album cover, features ten songs, and all of them are awesome. Okay, I have to admit the songs do not sound all very original, but they do sound so damn good. From the openings track "Prepare For Attack" until the last one, which is the title track "Time Is Up", it is just a real pleasure to listen to these great old-school Thrash songs. Excellent vocals of Sanchez, fat guitar riffs, tight playing, and like I said brilliant guitar solo's. Bands to whom HAVOK reminds the most are absolutely EXODUS, early SLAYER and TESTAMENT. The album is fantastically produced by David Sanchez and mastered by my old friend James Murphy (DEATH, OBITUARY, TESTAMENT, DISINCARNATE). Although all songs on "Time Is Up" are great, some of my favourites are "Fatal Intervention", "No Amnesty", "D.O.A.", "Scumbag In Disguise", "The Cleric" and "Time Is Up". Well, readers of MMM, "Time Is Up" may not be a very original sounding album, to me it's a killer album. I just can't get enough of it. It's in my CD player, at least once or twice, almost every day, because all the songs on "Time Is Up" are so addictive. Thrash fanatics, this album is a real recommendation, so....BUY OR DIE! Great work guys.
Visit their website: http://www.havokband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.candlelightrecords.co.uk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/havok

92/100

IN ELEMENT – Act of Stamina (CD) Argentina May 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 56:28 (Tracks: 12)
According to the band's website, the album 'Act of Stamina' was already released in early 2010. Somehow it took a long time before the promo's finally reached Europe. (Damn you, TNT?) I'm glad they did, because 'Act of Stamina' is a very nice surprise. The promotional flyer uses bands like Meshuggah, Crematory and Gojira as a musical reference. Normally I don't pay a lot of attention to these comparisons, but I must say that this time they're pretty accurate. Especially the groove ('Spiraling') and the aggressive breaks ('The rotten') of Meshuggah are present. The album contains twelve diverse and well balanced metal songs which don't allow you to drift of. Sure, it's not very original, but does that really matter when the quality is good? No, I don't think so. I'm not sure what the reason is for this promotional strategy, but 'Act of Stamina' really deserves some international attention. So there you have it! Go to their Myspace and hear for yourself...
Visit their website: http://www.in-element.com
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/inelement

75/100

KROMLEK – Finis Terrae (CD) Germany May 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Pagan Black Metal Running time: 67:52 (Tracks: 13)
Kromlek is a well known name in the pagan scene and spreads their paganism since 2004. One year later gave birth to their first album “Kveldridhur” and 2007 to their second album “Strange Rumours…Distant Tremors”. After 4 years they finally bring you their newest release “Finis Terrae”. And what can I say about this album, 13 tracks of melodic and atmospheric pagan with a big dose of black metal. The guitar riffs on this album are very melodic and filled with solos. The guitar riffs are very groovy and well filled with double bass. Then you get the vocals which are very evil screams combined with grunts (the most of the album are screams). Take those things together with the keyboards which are well placed in the mix then you get a very nice album to hear. The composing of the songs and the production of this album are also very good. Every song is different and sound like a journey that they offer you. The only thing that I personally think is that this is more melodic black metal instead of pagan metal. If you like melodic pagan black metal then you should give it a try because this is a great album to hear.
Visit their website: http://www.kromlek.de
Recordlabel: http://www.trollzorn.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kromlek

75/100

KURSED – In the Labyrinths of Death (CD) Chile May 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Black Metal Running time: 39:33 (Tracks: 8)
Kursed from Chile brings evil black metal pulled out of the gutter of hell. This band is created in 2007 and this is their first release. Well what can I say….what the fuck is this! This is very underground and probably from a different dimension because there is nothing to find about this band except were this album is released and by who. So I can only tell you what they make and how it sounds. The only thing that I could find out is that it is a one man band. Eight tracks of grooving and melodramatic black metal riffs that sometimes reminds me of Emperor and Darkthrone. The drums are straight in your face black metal. Then you get the vocals on this dark and evil album….Screams that sound like this man has been butchered while he is singing the songs ,the screams sound evil and agonized like his in constant pain. After the 4th song they also have clean vocals in it that gives it an epic twist. This is definitely not the standard black metal idea but more intense and atmospheric. If you like Black Metal that is really fucking evil then you should check this out.
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com

70/100

LARS ERIC MATTSSON – Aurora Borealis (CD) Finland May 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Guitar Virtuoso Running time: 56:25 (Tracks: 12)
Finnish guitar virtuoso and label boss Lars Eric Mattsson has been releasing solo albums for the last 23 years. He is among the most famous European guitarists and his first two albums at least are considered classics in the neoclassical and guitar virtuoso field. This is his latest effort and also a concerto for orchestra and guitar. This means that alongside the guitar, the drums and the bass you will hear violins, cembalos, pianos, cellos and other classical instruments. Efforts like this are very ambitious but Mattsson is experienced enough. The result is pleasing but unfortunately it cannot elevate to the next level. The compositions are not capturing but then again that might not be what the artist intended. Also the sound is a bit stiff and lacks certain depth. One way or another this is an album that must be checked by all the guitar freaks out there. There are not many artists left to defend the neoclassical sound and Mattsson is one of the most respected.
Visit their website: http://www.larsericmattsson.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/larsericmattsson

70/100

LEAVES' EYES – Meredead (CD) Norway/Germany/Netherlands May 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic Rock / Metal Running time: 59:52 (Tracks: 13)
Unique! Simply the first word that came to me after listening to this album the first time. Amazing! That was the word that crossed my mind after the third time. These aren't the least words to come up so Leaves' Eyes fourth must have some wonderful stuff to offer. First a short flashback to pre successor Njord of which I was very fond about, finishing of my review of that one with: With this splendid record on board, these Vikings are more than ready to conquer the world, spreading the Vikings Word. And Odin nodded satisfied ……………. Well, Odin's gonna be less satisfied with this one because Leaves' Eyes has sets sail to discover and widen their horizon on other myths and histories. On this album they have left the Viking sagas, concepts and genres behind to come up with songs that feel more like “the natural thing to do” as singer Liv Kristine explained. The result is a masterpiece in gothic rock, mixed with folk elements in their truest form. Okay, I hear you say that there are a lot of bands nowadays who do this stuff. Indeed there are, too many by the way, but I mentioned truest form. Leaves' Eyes has managed to refine their songs with classic instruments like fiddle, nyckelharpa, mandolin, violin etc., choirs and the use of different, suitable languages like Norwegian and old English. It's done so very well that every track breaths the right passion and warmth, so you get touched by it's mystic feel that drags you into the songs. This is certainly helped by the adding of guest vocals on almost every track by Anette Guldbrandsen, Carmen Elise Espenaes, Maite Itoiz and John Kelly. All this makes it unique. Back to amazing. You may have to give the album a few turnarounds in your player to get at this point. It simply has to grow and those are the best albums, that's for sure. It takes time to discover the beauty that Leaves' Eyes has put on this album. It's different from the more bombastic “Njord”, so that may come as a surprise, but it's definitely Leaves' Eyes. A band that dares to explore new horizons (Well, that is what Vikings do, so Odin still can be proud about this voyage) melting lots of styles, languages and instruments together but has developed his own, true sound which can be heard in every song and that is amazing nowadays. Evolution is the keyword for Meredead. Meredead is Leaves' Eyes most diverse album when it comes to the sound by bringing in influences of Celtic, Norwegian, Scandinavian and Medieval music and every song has his own history to tell. The band has paid attention to the individuality of each song and has succeeded in bringing the myths and historic epics alive. Listen to the splendid epic opener “Spirits' Masquerade” and find yourself in the middle of a battlefield in the Scottish Highlands. The bombastic follower “Etain” shows that Liv's strong, powerful yet beautiful voice has grown again and she battles in this one with Maite who sounds a bit like Tarja giving this song a slight Nightwish feel. “Velvet Heart” is a refreshing, powerful rocker and certainly has some radio airplay abilities in it. “Krakevisa” and “Nystev” (proving folky can be real fast) are sublime interpretations of old Norwegian Folklore and are damn beautiful and catchy through the use of corresponding languages. The rocky version of Mike Oldfields “To France” and “Tell-Tale Eyes” (left over of the Njord sessions) fit in perfectly in the concept and dramatic feel of the album. “Meredead” has a strong chorus with choirs and “Empty Horizon” is a chilling power ballad. The dreamy “Mine Taror Er Ei Grimme” is very subtile and “Sigrlinn” is a real monster of 9 minutes that exactly shows what Leaves' Eyes stands for nowadays. Finally Alex's monster voice (in Norse !; well done) appears on this one. His vocal contributions on this album are limited, but hey, it has to fit in and in this one it does. Mentioning all the above might give the feeling that there are no harsh, shredding guitars, double bass drums or any other metal ingredients available on this album. Well, don't worry because they are there, it's just the adding of the mentioned elements that makes it more special. Thorsten and Sander have room enough to accelerate and show their guitar skills and Roland on drums proves he is in the right place here. Alexander has surpassed himself with this splendid production and the charming voice of Liv is definitely outstanding. The beautiful artwork is also worth mentioning but that goes with everything Leaves' Eyes does and what they stand for: quality! If metal had been invented in the Medieval Ages it would have sounded like this. One hour filled with the finest in symphonic, gothic, folk rock. That's what Leaves' Eyes fourth has to offer. So run to the stores, scour the internet, I don't mind, but get this one!
Visit their website: http://www.leaveseyes.com
Recordlabel: http:// www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http:// www.myspace.com/leaveseyespage

91/100

MIDNATTSOL – The Metamorphosis Melody (CD) Norway May 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic / Folk Metal Running time: 56:44 (Tracks: 11)
Midnattsol's third album marks the first album with Alex Kautz on guitars replacing Christian Hector who left the band in 2008. Maybe he is the reason that Midnattsol sounds heavier and less folky on “The Metamorphosis Melody”. I wasn't impressed by “Nordlys” myself; this one convinces me better. “Alva” opens quietly with keyboards and flute and is a nice intro for the title track that comes in with fierce up tempo guitars and double bass drums before Carmen falls in with here Angel voice. Fine track to start with and it also makes clear what you can expect further on. “Spellbound” I even like better. Carmen's voice fits in perfectly, showing more power in this one. The track sounds great, drums and guitars vary between fast, slow, heavy, sub tile, so all that a fine, epic track needs is in here. However you can hear clearly that Midnattsol finds themselves playing in the same style like, for example, Stream of Passion, but the big difference is that Carmen has a fine voice, but certainly not the reach and variety of Marcela Bovio. It works in the songs separately, but listening to a whole album it lacks the power to make the tracks more restrain. They don't keep on hanging in your head however they are played very well. The album is filled with fine melodic, epic stuff supplied by double bass and heavy guitar riffs and an atmospheric feel but that isn't enough to enter the upper league of Gothic Metal. “Spellbound” and “Kong Valemons Kamp” are damn fine songs and belong to the best they've ever made so they have certainly booked a lot of progression according to “Nordlys”. Fans of this genre must give this one a try for sure, it's absolutely a fine one.
Visit their website: http://www.midnattsol.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/midnattsolfolk

78/100

NO GRAVITY – Worlds In Collision (CD) Italy May 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 61:37 (Tracks: 9)
No Gravity is the result of the idea that Simone Fiorletta had. His plan was to bring together the best singers of the power/prog world on one album. The ones performing on this album are Andy Kuntz (VandenPlas), Michele Luppi (Killing Touch, ex Vision Divine), Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth), Mark Basile (DGM), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody Of Fire, Vision Divine) and Emiliano Germani (Moonlight Comedy). Although these singers are first class they're mainly Italian orientated. Besides Fiorletta (guitars) and the singers mentioned above the band is completed by Davide Perruzza (guitars) , Andrea De Paoli (keyboards) , Andrea Casali (bass-guitar) and Marco Aiello (drums). Simone Fiorletta wrote and arranged the music for “Worlds In Collision” whilst the vocalists on the other hand composed their own lyrics and vocal melodies. The diversity on this album is huge, but this is no problem, because of the high quality of the songs that make this album a unity. The first song on the album is “Sailing On Sight” that, after a short keyboards-intro, kicks off very heavy with a wall of guitars and keyboards. From the first second the band gets a chance to show their skills. Musically this is a real progressive power metal song. The second song, “The Killer” consists of pounding drums and the guitarists playing heavy riffs. Mark Basile's voice suits the more aggressive approach on this song very well. Towards the middle of the song there is a spoken word-part but not for long because the song goes ahead full-force. On the third song, “Can't Dream Anymore” it's Andy Kuntz that excels. Besides some beautiful calm parts, there is also time for heavy guitars and a lot of keyboards. This is one of the highlights on the album. In addition to this performance, what to say about Fabio Lione, who hits all the right notes with his clear voice. His high voice is perfect for this song (Voices From The Past), as is the superb guitar playing. The bass-player puts down a special riff on “Religious Beliefs” On this song the vocals sound a bit deformed at places. “I'm Bleeding” is an oasis of silence compared to the other songs. On this one, Luppi gives us his best. “Nowadays” is a more straightforward song with guitars, keyboards and vocals working together towards the climax. The intro of “Touchin' My Enemy” is almost spoken word, but than all hell breaks loose as the guitars and keyboards start duelling. The last song on the album, “Unexpected Gift” is the place for Fiorletta to show his fantastic qualities. Together with his tight band, he keeps on excelling. This is progressive power metal in optima forma. This project is a fantastic success. To me the diversity in singers was not a problem but instead a chance to compose a fantastic album. This again is a great Italian album, at least almost Italian.
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nogravityprog

86/100

PEGAZUS – In Metal We Trust (CD) Australia May 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 52:07 (Tracks: 11)
“In Metal We Trust” marks the return of original singer Justin Fleming. It's Pegazus' fifth studio album and it took them nine years to release this one. Pegazus performs classical heavy metal. You can see that on the album cover and when you read the song titles. It is classical heavy metal at its best. The line-up that recorded this album consists of Justin Fleming (vocals), Johnny Stoj (guitars/vocals), Cory Betts (bass-guitar) and Ange Sotiro (drums). On the extended version of “Old Skool Metal Dayz” Ross the Boss (ex Manowar), David Shankle (ex DSG) and Jeff Watson (ex Night Ranger) contribute their guitar-skills.
The album starts with “Metal Messiah” which is pure heavy metal with some faster parts. The intro of “Road Warrior” consists of some motorcycle-sounds and a voice saying: “You could run but you can't hide”. The song is also a true metal song. On the next track, “Old Skool Metal Dayz” the voice at the beginning preaches about the dangers that teenagers are exposed to while listening to heavy metal music. The subject is the connection between heavy metal music, the devil and all bad things that youngsters start doing when they are “possessed” by the devil. “We Live To Rock” is again a bit faster song with all traditional metal ingredients. “Haunting Me” starts very quietly and modest but within the minute, the tempo goes up, and it is heavy metal-time again. Pegazus put out a video-clip for this song. “Eye For An Eye” pounds away from the first second. The lyrics are quite cliché but that fits the song perfectly. The next track “Ghost Rider” has some serious riffing at the beginning. The rest of the song remains up-tempo. Track number eight is a cover-song. Pegazus cover Judas Priest's “Metal Gods”. This results in a great Pegazus version of this classic metal song. “End Of The World” to me is one of the best songs of the album as it is a bit different than the rest of the songs. Another great song is “Death Or Glory” which contains a lot of great guitar-soloing. To end the album it is the extended version of “Old Skool Metal Dayz” with the three guest-musicians that contribute their solo's to this track. Like could be expected in advance this in not an experimental album but Pegazus deliver a good heavy metal album in the old traditional style.
Visit their website: http://www.pegazusofficial.com
Recordlabel: http://www.twilight-vertrieb.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pegazusmusic

82/100

SAXON – Call to Arms (CD) United Kingdom May 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: NWOBHM / Heavy Metal Running time: 43:37 (Tracks: 11)
Again a new release from one of the best NWOBHM bands ever! Their 19th thus far!!! Around 2 years after their previous release “Into the Labyrinth" Saxon strikes back with another album! Opener "Hammer of the Gods" is a classic Saxon song in the traditional Saxon style. 'Back in 79' is a slower song on which the band uses some of their die hard fans to do the backing vocals! 'Surviving Against the Odds' is more up-tempo and again a song that could only have been written by Biff & Co! 'Mists of Avalon' starts as a slow song but builds up the speed a bit more which results in, again, a typical Saxon song. The title song 'Call to Arms' is again a midtempo song. “Chasing the Bullet” sounds more like an old AC/DC (or should I say Airbourne these days ;) song with the typical, simply riffs and vocal lines. Luckily 'Afterburner' is a full speed ahead song which I always prefer more! Great song!!! 'When Doomsday Comes' is again a more midtempo song and reminds me to some older Ronnie James Dio songs. Don Airy (Ozzy Osbourne/Deep Purple/Rainbow/ELO) is playing keyboard on this song. Maybe that gave this song that typical RJD feeling? 'No rest for the Wicked' is pity enough again a midtempo song and it seems that this song will be used on an upcoming sci-fi movie “Hybrid Theory'. “Ballad of the Working Man” is specially written for me, hahahaha…no just kidding; it's more up-tempo and has some Thin Lizzy elements in it; nice song! Last song is an orchestral version of the title track 'Call to Arms'…..
Again Saxon is delivering a nice album but I must admit that his predecessors “Into the Labyrinth” and “The Inner Sanctum” where more my kind of Saxon albums. Still this again a good album but I would prefer some more variation (read; more speedy songs). But for the real Saxon fans this is a must have!!!
Visit their website: http://www.saxon747.com
Recordlabel: http://www.udr-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/planetsaxon

78/100

SOULINPAIN – El Origen del Miedo (CD) Chile May 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Death Metal Running time: 35:20 (Tracks: 11)
Soulinpain is yet another new death metal band from South America. As the band name might suspect, this is not a deathcore band, these guys play the real deal. The band released his first full length in five years and also the first one that came to my attention. I must say, this band pays no interest in innovation but all the more into catchiness and that suites me just fine. A tight rhythm and drum section supports the very groovy riffs making it almost impossible not to nod along with this record. The vocals are your average grunt although the lyrics are in Spanish and the voice really is very nice to listen to. Overall Soulinpain delivered a very decent, catchy groove death metal record that doesn't bore at all. A must for fans of bands such as Jungle Rot and older Six Feet Under.
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/somossoulinpain

76/100

SPANKING HOUR – Revo(so)lution (CD) Italy May 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal Running time: 46:01 (Tracks: 11)
SPANKING HOUR is an Italian four piece Metal band, which was formed in 2007, and exists of Franco Campanella on vocals, guitarist John K. Sanchez (a.k.a. Jonathan Cappa), bass player Quinta and drummer Nicola Giovati. In 2009 the band already released a 4 track promo demo-EP, simply titled "Promo 2009". Well, this album "Revo(so)lution" is the debut album of SPANKING HOUR, and was released, I guess at the end of 2010, on Buil2Kill Records. And to be honest, when I listened to "Revo(so)lution" for the first time, it was a real pleasant acquaintance to me. Every time I get an Italian band to review, I'm always curious if it will be a good or bad band. In this case, SPANKING HOUR belongs to the category of good Italian Metal bands. The band exists of very good musicians and they have in Campanella a fantastic singer. One small negative point is, that in a few songs the drum work of Giovati is sounding pretty much the same. There's not so much variation in his double bass parts. But nevertheless, he's a good drummer. And you can hear it very well, that Sanchez, who's a great guitarist, has been heavily influenced by Zakk Wylde. Anyway, "Revo(so)lution" features 11 songs, and was produced by the band themselves and Whoomi Corvi. One of those 11 songs is an instrumental one, which is "The Regression" and is an intro for the fantastic "Leash". Guest musician on "Revo(so)lution" is guitarist Fabio "Wylde" Molinelli, who's doing some "Wylde" guitar solo's on the track "Glances". Not all the songs on "Revo(so)lution" are that good. In my opinion the songs vary from less to very good. To me the title track "Revo(so)lution", "Device" and "Anymore" are the least songs of the album. "Anymore", which takes 6:08 minutes, could be in my opinion much shorter. Musically, the band reminds me of a mixture of bands like BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, MACHINE HEAD, PRONG, MASTADON. I would say the best songs on "Revo(so)lution" are "Pillow", "Reason For My Enemy" (superb), the semi-ballad "Forgive Me", "Leash" and "Consequences". Well, my end conclusion is that SPANKING HOUR is at least an interesting band with a good debut album which is worth checking out.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/spankinghours

74/100

TRIOSPHERE – The Road Less Travelled (CD) Norway May 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Modern Heavy Metal Running time: 51:44 (Tracks: 11)
Triosphere is a female fronted modern heavy metal band from Norway. Strange because Norway is most well-known for delivering mostly black/deathmetal during the last years. Luckily there are still 'real' musicians in this cold country, hahahaha
The band was formed already in 2004 and they released their debut album “Onwards” on a Norwegian label; FaceFront Records. Im not familiar with this album yet but after listening to this album for at least 15 times im getting impressed and curious! Okay; most of the music is not that original but its all performed very well with great musicianship and also on stage the band rocks (I've seen them twice last month with Sonata Arctica & Crimson Glory). Personally I compare their music mostly with another female fronted Scandinavian band; Sinergy. Most webzines/magazines compare the band with Benedictum but that has more to do with their moderate knowledge im afraid. Singer/bassplayer Ida Haukland has a typical voice which fits to the band very well. Musically I hear small elements of bands like System of a Down (Worlds Apart), VoiVod (The Road Less Travelled), Scorpions/Trance (Watcher), but also some standard Arch Enemy & Pantera riffs….
Nevertheless one of the better albums I heard in a long time; strange I received it lately while its already nearly a year ago released…..great musicianship!!
Visit their website: http://www.thetriosphere.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/triosphere

92/100

U.D.O. – Rev Raptor (CD) Germany May 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Metal Running time: 51:34 (Tracks: 13)
Reviewing a new U.D.O. album normally isn't a real big deal. U.D.O. stands for high quality in pure classic metal. I can assure that this hasn't changed after listening to Rev Raptor. The title track opens traditionally fierce and hard and hits you right in the face. Follower “Leatherhead” pounds even more and will be a live killer. After that “Renegade” speeds up a lot, filled with trashy riffs, this one blows of the roof. To keep things short; U.D.O. gladly hasn't changed a bit and still knows how to make machine-like grooving metal. The choruses are so damn catchy that they are hammered in you're head almost immediately, so play it loud in you' re car, scream and shout along and you certainly will have some wondered looks of fellow drivers passing by, thinking “I wish I had so much fun while driving!”. No, U.D.O. hasn't changed so the album also has his (semi)ballads in “I Give As Good As I Get” and the brilliant “Underworld” and the sing a long tradition comes by in “Tales of Victory” and “Days of Hope and Glory”. Really nothing wrong with it, just damn fine. So clear up your room, put on this cd and indulge yourself with foot stompers like “Terrorvision”, “Rock 'n Roll Soldiers” and the suburb “Pain Man” (what a riffs!). If you are a metalhead in the best tradition, then do yourself a favour, buy this album and get prepared for the live shows of this metal machine that guarantees a solid show filled with pure metal. As I said; no big deal, just high quality! Metalfaction guaranteed!
Visit their website: http://www.-udo-online.de
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/udoonline

85/100

UNBLESSED – Man Has Killed God (CD) Chile May 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death Black Metal Running time: 37:09 (Tracks: 8)
Unblessed from Chile brings you straight in your face death metal with some black metal influences in it. These guys started in 1999 and released an EP in 2002. 2007 gave light to their debut “Burning Your Faith” and 2010 gave birth to this album “Man Has Killed God”. This album contains 8 tracks of furious and brutal death black metal. The guitar riffs are straight in your face death metal riffs combined with black metal riffs and some of the songs even have solos in it. The drums are fast and filled with blast beats and a lot of groove. The vocals are brutal grunts combined with evil and filthy screams. All though this album is fast and furious, there are also a lot parts in it that give you the time chill. When you listen to the first song the first idea that you get is that this is just a brutal band, but when you listen to the rest you can hear that these guys bring you a wall of sound and evil combined with great variety in the songs. The same goes for the production of this album that is also great. If you like bands that are very brutal but also bring a bit more then just straight in your face death black metal then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/unblessed

77/100

VIRGIN STEELE – Noble Savage (re-release) (2CD) USA May 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: True / Heavy Metal Running time: 1:08:40 (Tracks: 16) & 49:26 (Tracks: 13)
25 Years after the release of this “Noble Savage” album SPV records decides to re-release it again as a double CD package with 19 bonus tracks of which 12 where previously unreleased. “Noble Savage” was the bands legendary third album and was originally released by Cobra Records in 1986. Most Virgin Steele fans consider this album as one of the most important in Virgin Steele's history. Evergreens on this album are for example 'We Rule the Night' and 'Noble Savage'.
Its bullshit to do a whole review again for this legendary classic album because all Virgin Steele fans already can dream this album and have it in their collection. It's still worth buying of course because of the 19 bonus songs, liner notes of David DeFeis and the rare photos.
Food for every Virgin Steele fan so “Where are you Running To'? “Don't Close Your Eyes” and run to your local record store to buy “Noble Savage” to feel “The Spirit of Steel”………
Visit their website: http://www.virgin-steele.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/virginsteele

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WILLIAMS / FRIESTEDT – Williams / Friestedt (CD) USA / Sweden May 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: AOR / Soft Rock / Pop Running time: 33:03 (Tracks: 9)
"Williams / Friestedt" is the self titled album of singer, composer JOSEPH WILLIAMS and Swedish guitarist, composer and producer PETER FRIESTEDT. Well, WILLIAMS is best known as the lead singer of TOTO during the mid eighties. Williams sung on the TOTO albums "Fahrenheit" (1986) and "The Seventh One" (1988) which features the classic hits "Pamela" and "Stop Loving You". But Williams has also released nine solo albums so far, which are "Joseph Williams" (1982; re-released in 2002), "I Am Alive" (1996), "3" (1997), "Early Years" (1999), "Vertigo" (2003), "Two Of Us" (2006), "Vertigo 2" (2006), "Smiles And Tears" (2007) and "This Fall" (2008). Besides a singer, Williams is also a composer for film and drama scores. About FRIESTEDT, well so far he was totally unknown for me. Well, according to the biography, his albums "LA Project" (2002) and "LA Project II" (2008) are both critically acclaimed. But let's get back to this album, well in fact "Williams / Friestedt", which features 9 songs, is a very accessible and most of all a radio friendly album. Not only because of the voice of Williams, but also because of the type of songs, this all sounds exactly like TOTO. So, anyone who's familiar with TOTO, knows that you don't have to expect very heavy stuff on this album. Nevertheless, I am certain that this album will do absolutely very well amongst the die-hard TOTO fans. Personally, I like TOTO, but I am not a huge fan. I only have the TOTO albums "Toto" (1978) and the compilation album "Past To Present 1977 - 1990" (1990). Anyway, the material on this album is of a high quality. Good production, which was done by Peter Friestedt and co-produced by Williams, fantastic songs, excellent guitar work of Friestedt and of course great vocals by Williams.
This album features one instrumental track, which is "Going Home" and sounds nice. Musically, there's nothing wrong with this album, but if I have to mention something negative about this CD, well, then it is the very short running time of 33 minutes. I had expect at least an album of about 50 or 60 minutes. Songs like "Sometimes You Win", "Stay With Me", "One More Night" and "Gotta Find It" are all good, but my favourite tracks of this album are absolutely "Swear Your Love", "Say Goodbye" and "Where To Touch You". Well, for Metalheads this album is way too soft, but if you are into AOR, Soft Rock or Pop, it's a real recommendation.
Visit their websites: http://www.peterfriestedt.com
http://www.josephwilliams.totoweb.org
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/peterfriestedt

80/100

WORMROT - Dirge (CD) Singapore May 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Grindcore Running time: 18:24 (Tracks: 25)
After their first full length album was received very well all around the world I was very looking forward to the follow up album of this grind formation of Singapore. Well I must say I'm not disappointed at all! The band made a very nice and logical second album. This is aggressive grindcore the way it should be played yet with just enough groove in the music to make it that bit more easy to listen to. The album starts with an instrumental intro that might give you the wrong impression but in the end of the second song the band kicks loose and then the fans of old school grind are in for a 24 song long treat. The drums are pounding away, the rythm section supports the guitar lines nicely and the riffs are fast, aggressive with a hint of groove and melody in between to build up for more mayhem. The vocals are raw, hard and ugly, just the way it should be. No grunts, no pig squeals, this is the old school stuff and all fans will love it.
Recordlabel: http://www.earache.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wormrotgrind

87/100

ZEROZONIC – God Damn, Better, Best (CD) Norway May 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Groove Metal Running time: 44.35 (Tracks: 9)
Zerozonic was formed in 2004 by Daniel “Peisy” Olaisen (BloodRedThrone and former live guitarist by Satyricon in the early days) to perform his passion for groove metal. Their debut album followed in 2007 and is called “Dead on Arrival, which I'm not familiar with, so any comparison I cannot make. This piece of silver however shows a band that grooves like hell and certainly must be capable of tearing the roof playing live. Fat riffs, pounding drums, groovy basslines, weird interludes and a booming voice, all in the best Pantera style, make it more than worth checking this one out. “Positivenegative” starts a bit hesitating, but from follower “Symptons” you can roll up your sleeves to get ready for a nice pit. Mentioning Pantera isn't the only band that they are clearly influenced by. Also bands like Chimeira and Transport League come in mind, not forgetting the Metallica riffs and melodies. If you are into a more melodic version of Pantera, then this is something for you. The band sounds tight, production is perfectly fine and singer Leo Morachiolli is very versatile. He has the right brutal voice for this stuff, but also can sing very melodic. Brilliant are “Humane”. Live Today” and the semi ballad “No Tomorrow” where Leo uses his “normal” voice and toggle “Alcoholic Mayhem”. Damn fine piece of metal. Groove on!
Recordlabel: http://www.mayhem-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/zerozonic

80/100

APRIL

AGINCOURT - Angels of Mons (CD) United Kingdom April 2011 Eddie van Vugt
Style: NWOBHM Running time: 49:26 (Tracks: 10)
Agincourt are a fourpiece from the early nineties, who named themselves after the famous battle in 1415 and who, just like Scarab, come from Sutton Coldfield near Birmingham. Their music however takes you back to the NWOBHM rather than any other period in time.
Unfortunately, the music Agincourt play is not special or remarkable enough to really stand out. It is all too familiar and too much of the same, which is a pity. Two songs do stand out, the first of them being 'This Life'. The attempt to give an extra dimension to the sound with the additionn of keybouards on this ballad works very well.
Another highlight of the album besides is the song 'Queen of the Night'. It has more power and a fuller sound than the rest of the songs. The two guitar players are very accomplished and their solos sure lift the album to a higher plan, I must admit. In my opinion, the vocals and rhythms are rather average, which makes that this album does not really do it for me.
Agincourt will be opening for Pagan Altar, Grim Reaper, Elixir and Saracen at the British Steel festival on April 2nd.
Visit their website: http://www.agincourtmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/agincourtmusic

70/100

ALEXIS – Birds of Prey (CD) Chile April 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Melodic Power Metal Running time: 39:27 (Tracks: 11)
A country you don't hear a lot about in the metal-scene is Chile. This time it's Chilean Freddy Alexis, who has been around with Inquisicion and later on with Witchblade, who returns with his solo project, Alexis. He is joined by Gabriel Hidalgo, who has been writing together with Alexis for quite some time. This album consists of eight new songs and three older songs that are remixed and remastered. After a short intro, “Shadows” takes off fast and heavy. The vocals are combined with some backing vocals. It's a typical heavy metal song with a lot of heavy bass-playing and of course a screaming guitar-solo. “Golden Path” is a lot slower but still it has a heavy vibe. The keyboards are all around while Alexis shows his vocal talents and the guitar-playing is fabulous. After the sound of a gunshot a voice says “Watch Your Fire”. This is the starting-point of the next song. “Friendly Fire” pounds away and remains up-tempo until the end. The bass and drums dominate this song together with Alexis. The title-song, “Birds of Prey”, starts off very heavy and doomy. It's a very slow song which turns into an oriental guitar-part. Later there is plenty of beautiful guitar-playing including superb solo's and with the bass and drums providing a solid base. The singing on this song is rather menacing. “Breaking The Spell” is a more bombastic song with a kind of opera-voice at the beginning. The song turns into a long guitar-solo. Screaming vocals ,“Halford-style”, rule “Metalizer II”. This track has a typical Priest-vibe . The last one of the new songs is “Forest”, that is a rather different song. It's an instrumental but consists mainly of a collection of all kind of different sounds. It's a bit of a weird song. The last three songs are remixed and remastered Witchblade songs. “Without You” offers Alexis the chance to show the more emotional side of his singing as it's an acoustic song. The speed is up at “The Witchblade”. This is a typical fast power metal song that has all the right ingredients. To finish off the album it's “Killing Truth” that is a beautiful song with Alexis showing his great vocals. These three bonus tracks are a real enrichment to the album. In Chile, Birds of Prey, get a chance to show their qualities as they will opening for Kamelot and Symphony X later this year. I don't know who will be performing live because the booklet tells that the guitar-solo's were played by Gabriel Hidalgo and Felipe Majluf and the bass by Hidalgo, Majluf and Alexis while there is also a band-photo in the booklet with four other guys. I guess these are the real “Birds of Prey”. For Alexis himself, I think he will be around for a longer time with one of his projects.
Visit their website: http://www.birdsofprey.cl
Recordlabel: http://www.pitchblackrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/birdsofpreychile

78/100

AS EMPIRES FALL – World Eclipse (MCD) The Netherlands April 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Metalcore / Melodic Death Metal Running time: 16:51 (Tracks: 3)
As Empires Fall was formed as a result of the collaboration between ex members of the Dutch metal bands Incission, Bodyrot and Departure. After a fair amount of live gigs, the band has now released their first studio effort: 'World Eclipse' which contains three songs that hail about 'the end of the world as we know it.' That's pretty metal, if you ask me...And so is the music. The main genre is Melodic death metal, but with the vocals and attitude of a hard/metalcore band. Bands that come to mind are In Flames and Lamb of God. The E.P. is not yet totally convincing, but given the fact that this is their first recorded material, I'd say they've done a very good job. After all, it is hard to make yourself noticeable between the thousands of similar bands that are active in the genre. The riffs and solo's are good, the songs are catchy and overall the E.P. contains a sad and doomy atmosphere. And that, I believe, was the idea. 'World Eclipe' is a nice acquaintance with As Empires Fall. You can really hear the potential. If the band will keep up their current work ethic, they might surprise us with their next studio effort. Well done guys!
Visit their website: http://www.asempiresfal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/herrierecordsinc
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/asempiresfall1

72/100

BAD BONES – A Family Affair (CD) Italy April 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 43:23 (Tracks: 12)
First of all, I didn't get any information of Italian band BAD BONES with this CD, so I had to search on the internet for some more info. Well, their biography on their official website is in Italian, and that I couldn't read of course. Guys, please do biographies in English, not everyone can read Italian!!!! And on their MySpace page I couldn't find any information as well. But luckily I found some info. The band was formed in 2007 by former WHITE SKULL bass player Stefano "Steve" Balocco, and released their debut album "Smalltown Brawlers" in 2008, and the EP "Dead Boy" in 2009. So, "A Family Affair" is the band's second full length album. Anyway, the line-up of BAD BONES exists of Meku Borra (lead vocals, guitar), Stefano "Steve" Balocco (bass, vocals) and Raffaele "Lele" Balocco (drums). And I must say that Meku is a terrible singer. Man, what an awful voice he has. And about the songs, well, to be honest, most of them really suck. The only songs which I like are "Road To R 'N' R" and the title track "A Family Affair". And the intro "Intro - 128 Oxnard Avenue", of which its beginning reminds me of THE CURE, sounds nice. Okay, the guys play their instruments well, no doubt about it, but really, the songs vary from moderate to bad. Honestly, I couldn't really get impressed by this album. So, all I can say is that "A Family Affair" is nothing more than just a very moderate album to me. Well, my advise is to check this album out first, before buying it. And while checking this album out, I'm sure you will come to the conclusion to spend your money on another album of a fantastic band.
Visit their website: http://www.badbones.it
Recordlabel: http://www.nadirmusic.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/badbonesrock1

57/100

CHINA – Light Up The Dark (CD) Switzerland April 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / A.O.R. Running time: 47:44 (Tracks: 12)
Just like SIDEBURN (see also this month's update), also Melodic Hard Rock band CHINA hails from Switzerland. The band was formed in 1985 and released the following albums so far: "China" (1988), "Sign In The Sky" (1989), the live album "China Live" (1991), "Go All The Way (1991), the compilation album "So Far" (1992), "Natural Groove" (1995), second live album "Alive" (2000; with Marc Storace of KROKUS on vocals) and "The Very Best Of China" (2008). But to be honest, I am not familiar with all these albums. So, "Light Up The Dark" is my first acquaintance with CHINA, and I must say that it is a very nice acquaintance, because this a good melodic Rock album. Anyway, the band broke up in 2003, but reformed again in 2007. During the career of the band, there were several line-up changes, but the current line-up of CHINA exists of Eric St. Michaels (vocals), Claudio Matteo (guitar), which is the only remaining original member of the band, Mack Schildknecht (guitar), Beat Kofmehl (bass) and Billy La Pietra (drums). The band is influenced by well-known Hard Rock bands like THIN LIZZY, BON JOVI, VAN HALEN and MÖTLEY CRÜE. And to me, CHINA sometimes reminds me musically of BON JOVI and DOKKEN on this sixth studio album.
Also St. Michaels, who was already the singer of CHINA during the period 1990-1992, and in 2000, sounds sometimes like Jon Bon Jovi to me, and is a pretty good singer. "Light Up The Dark" features twelve songs, and the only song, which in my opinion doesn't fit between the rest of the tracks, is "On My Way". Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad song, but it sounds totally different than the rest. It is more a very happy song to me and reminds more of a band like SOUL ASYLUM. But really, most of the other songs are fantastic and very catchy. The album also counts two interesting ballads, which are "Gates Of Heaven" and "Stay". The production was done by Chris Johnson (BUCKCHETRRY, EVANESCENCE) and Michael Parnin (STEVE STEVENS, KING'S X) and sounds very good. All I can say is that "Light Up The Dark" is nothing more than a good melodic Rock album. So, I would advise to anyone who's into melodic Rock to check this album out. The limited edition of "Light Up The Dark" contains three previously unreleased bonus tracks, which are "Rhythm Of The Flame", "Can't Call It Working" and a cover version of the ROBERT PALMER classic "Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor Doctor). Anyway, my favourite songs of this album are without a doubt "Hey Ho", "She's So Hot", "Girl On My Screen", "Lonely Rider", the beautiful ballad "Gates Of Heaven", "Right Here, Right Now" and "Flesh And Blood".
Visit their website: http://www.chinamusic.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/chinamusic

80/100

CORROSIVE CARCASS – Rot. in. Pieces. (MCD) Sweden April 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Death Metal Running time: 18:22 (Tracks: 7)
In today's death metal the keywords seem to be over the top brutality and extremely loud productions. And then you have some underground bands who still make music that sounds like it was recorded 20 years ago in some dark basement in Stockholm. Luckily for me Corrosive Carcass is a band of the second group. This Swedish band formed in 2004 released their first demo which proves that these guys have been doing nothing else than listening to the big death metal bands from their home country non-stop. It's been a while since I heard such an honest tribute to bands as Dismember without being an actual cover band. They have an old school sound of guitars and drums, and an overall filthy production just the way it should be. The music itself is pure death metal which should be enough said. The riffing is awesome, the buildup of the songs is great, the vocals are raw and filthy without being to guttural like the new bands and the rhythm section is tight as fuck. If 'Like an Ever Flowing Stream' and 'Into the Grave' are in your top records of all times go check this band out!
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/recreation666

95/100

CROSSROAD TO DAMNATION – Trapped in Twilight (CD) The Netherlands April 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 42:25 (Tracks: 7)
CROSSROAD TO DAMNATION is a progressive metal band that came into existence at the beginning of 2008. They started out as a thrash metal band, but due to some line up changes, their music became more progressive and death metal orientated. Influenced by bands like Death, Opeth, Genesis and Dream Theater, they already recorded a 3 track demo 'Frozen in Time' at the end 2009. After they released their demo, the band started working on their debut album, of which 'Trapped in Twilight' is the result. As a result of another line up change, they changed from mainly grunts to mainly clean female vocals. To start with the vocals, singer Lorraine Lysen isn't really convincing on this album, and the rarely used grunts are a welcome change in part of the songs. The band has really taken Opeth as a big influence, although haven't reached this level yet. Some really nice ideas in the songs, with some superb guitar parts, this band certainly has potential but still has a way to go. The production could have been a lot better, and heavier, this would have made their music come out better I think. They do write complex and experimental songs with a lot of changes, but it's not yet all coming out the right way and sometimes sounds a bit chaotic, but in time and with a proper production CROSSROAD TO DAMNATION can become big in their scene I guess. They have the skills to make it happen, they just have to grow a little more in my opinion.
Visit their website: http://www.crossroadtodamnation.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ctdamnation

68/100

DARK COVENANT – Eulogies for the Fallen (CD) Canada April 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 47:04 (Tracks: 9)
Canadian doom metal band Dark Covenant was formed in 2009 and after a demo it inked a deal with French label Emanes Metal. Dark Covenant is clearly on the Candlemass side of the doom metal genre with a touch of Solitude Aeturnus; the kind of metal that many people like to refer to as “True Doom”. Starting from the disadvantages of the album, the sound is a bit strange to my ears, especially when it comes to vocals and drums. Both sound distant in comparison with the guitars. The drums lack sufficient volume and the voices have an odd “hall sounding” echo-like effect which in my opinion is unnecessary. On the bright side, the band delivers fine doom metal as taught by the masters mentioned above. Given the fact that most bands prefer either the stoner camp or the funeral doom one, we don't get to listen to many traditional doom albums. So this is clearly an oasis for the fans of the genre.
Visit their website: http://www.darkcovenantdoom.com
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkcovenantdoom

73/100

DELTA – Deny Humanity (CD) Chile April 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 59:04 (Tracks: 11)
This is a band I really had no clue about. The Delta guys originate from Chile and have been recording albums since 2004. This is actually the band's 4th full length release while there is also a DVD and an EP! From the first seconds of the opener “Over and Over Again” I knew that these guys would deliver some very interesting music and I was not proven wrong. I'd like to start from the singer Felipe Del Valle. This guy has a powerful voice that reminded me of the mighty Mike Vescera. The rest of the musicians are equally skilled thus the result is truly great. The band delivers melodic progressive metal with power metal elements and reminded me of equivalent Swedish prog metal bands such as Seventh Wonder or Cloudscape. I have never encountered another Chilean group that plays like this before. The band has also incorporated some interesting ethnic percussion parts almost like the way Angra does. The search for the previous Delta album begins cause I am very curious to discover the roots of the band and see how it evolved through the years and from album to album. Highly recommended to all prog metal fans.
Visit their website: http://www.deltachile.com
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deltaofficial

82/100

DESIRE OF PAIN – Fragments Of A Crystalized Absence (CD) Chile April 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Progressive Death Metal Running time: 54:35 (Tracks: 08)
Desire of Pain started spreading their rage in 2006. These guys are from Chile and I must confess that I only know brutal death metal from Chile, so this is a great surprise for me. After releasing a few demos they released their debut “Fragments of a Crystalized Absence” by Australis Records. And I must say fuck yeah! This album contains 8 tracks of well organized Death Metal with a lot technical riffs and chill out parts. The guitar riffs are filled with variety .You got brutal riffs combined with very technical progressive parts. The drums are also very brutal and filled double bass and groove. Then you got the vocals…clean and grunts combined with light screams that gives it a bit of a hardcore feeling. The grunts are deep and well understandable (very well done).The clean vocals are bit to juice for me but it fits well in the music. The production of this album is also very straight in your face. It is very clear after listening to this album that these guys know how to keep it interesting because every song is straight in your face but not at a way that it might get boring, very well done!. If you like progressive death metal then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/desireofmetal

75/100

EDEN'S CURSE - Trinity (CD) Multinational April 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 58:36 (Tracks: 12)
Beng! That was the first thing that went through my mind listening to this masterpiece for the first time. I wasn't familiar with this class act before but that's going to change for sure. This multinational band (five members from five different countries) consisting of Michael Eden (vocals), Thorsten Koehne (guitars), Paul Logue (bass), Allessandro del Vechio (keys) and Pete Newdeck (drums) is responsible for an album that is definitely going to reach some year lists over 2011. Original ? No, not at all, but everything is done so damn well that you can't stop listening! Razor sharp riffs and guitar work, a pounding rhythm section, colourful keys and a powerful melodic voice are melted into catchy, scream along songs accommodated with a fine, crystal clear production by Denis Ward to finish it off, Eden's Curse third is a real must have for fans of catchy, melodic metal. Okay, everything strongly reminds to acts like Dio, Rainbow, Shadow Gallery, Icon (Night of the Crime; does anybody remember this great band ?) and certainly the “Mindcrime” period of Queensryche, but it's done so well that they deserve some credit here. “Trinitas Sanctus” opens and is a story telling tale like, indeed, “Mindcrime” opener “I Remember Now”. “Trinity” is the first real song and starts powerful and melodic and sets the tone for what is to follow. “Saints of Tomorrow” goes on in the same style but has a very catchy chorus. Follower “Holy Man” (watch that video they made !) with James Labrie on guest vocals is one of the real killer songs that lifts this album to the next level. Fierce guitars, mighty riffs, what do you need more. And the best is yet to come. Further on there a two monstrous tracks that catapults this album to the upper level; “Black Widow” (with Andi Deris) is fast and furious and even sounds sinister. Man I love those pounding drums. A live killer for certain. “Jerusalem Sleeps” is a real epic and the band's magnum opus on this album. Paul Loque and Pete Newdeck are responsible for a real fat rhythm section here, Thorsten Koehne tears out off the road with fierce guitar riffs and Michel Eden convinces as one of the best singers in this genre. Everything comes together in this brilliant song! Worth to mention is also the very good cover of Dio's “Rock'n Roll Children”. Hey Michael isn't Dio for sure but this rendition is certainly a damn fine one. Highly recommended for those who are into classic melodic metal … and everyone else who likes some descent music! A real must have!
Visit their website: http://www.edenscurse.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/edenscurse

89/100

EMERALD SUN – Regeneration (CD) Greece April 2011 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 49:50 (Tracks: 10)
Formed in 1998, in Thessaloniki, Emerald Sun has since then performed live numerous times becoming an extremely solid live act. The band's excellent two demo's led to the release of their first album “Escape From Twilight” in 2007 through LMP. Right now they have released the follow-up, “Regeneration” through their new label Pitch Black Records. Emerald Sun plays catchy melodic power metal, (especially) the German-way. So several influences from bands such as Helloween, Blind Guardian and Accept can be heard on their album(s). There are mainly fast songs (hello Dragonforce!!), also a few mid-tempo ones. At the end of the album are the songs “Fantasmagoria” (with guest vocals from Vagelis Maranis (ex-Sanvoisen), which has besides melodic power, also influences from progressive and symphonic metal, and the Bonnie Tyler cover “Holding Out For A Hero”. “Regeneration” is a very catchy melodic power metal album, with great guitar solo's and excellent melodic vocals!!
Visit their website: http://www.emeraldsun.gr
Recordlabel: http://www.pitchblackrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/emeraldsunband

85/100

EXAWATT – Among Different Sights (CD) Italy April 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 61:20 (Tracks: 11)
Progressive/classical rock from Italy presented by Exawatt's second album “Among Different Sights”. Well, they certainly made a step forwards in reference to their debut “Time Frames” from 2006. The songs are very progressive, full with all sorts of beautiful melodies that constantly changes. Luca Benni isn't a great singer still, a bit to monotonous, but the band has solved that problem in adding Cecilia Menghi to the line up. She definitely lifts the band to the higher regions of prog. A very good decision! The other musicians are all very capable in what they do, so there's nothing wrong with the implementation of the songs. Expect neo classic prog with ingenious arrangements with influences of Rush, a bit Dream Theater, Conception to name a few. It's all been done very good and atmospheric but some songs miss a bit of a drive, a bit catchiness so to say. That's the other side of the coin of putting too much ingeniousity in songs; sometimes it's just too much. Fortunately there is enough to enjoy in tracks like the more up tempo songs like “My Friend”, “Wounds”, Tomorrow and “Red Sin”. Also the instrumental “Exa what” and the Rush like “Garden of the Dark Lord” are very good. The Supertramp cover “Breakfast in America” however doesn't do it for me. Nevertheless, fine stuff for the real prog addicts, they certainly must give this one a chance.
Visit their website: http://www.exawatt.it
Recordlabel: http://www.musearecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/exawatt

79/100

FESTER – Winter Of Sin (re-release) (CD) Norway April 2011 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Death / Black Metal Running time: 58:29 (Tracks: 10)
We are talking early nineties. Death Metal was at its absolute peak but the Black metal scene in Scandinavia was already developing. Just a few bands from Norway: Darkthrone, Cadaver and the mighty Fester all released material that was more death metal related. We all know the story of the first Darkthrone album 'Soulside Journey' and how they quickly turned into a black metal band afterwards… Fester from Askim released their debut album “Winter of Sin” in 1992 after the demo tapes “The Introduction” and “Winter of Sin” which sold fast. I can remember seeing the adds of the album in some underground magazines from that time. In 2005 I finally bought the album on a public sale site. “Winter of Sin” became somewhat of a mystique release therefore. So when I finally listened to it for the first time 6 years ago it immediately grab me and never let me go. The guitar work on “Winter of Sin” is nicely done, it mixes a variety of tempos with strange melodies. On the subject of melodies, Fester creates some pretty strange ones, and I can't give a clear example of another band that does that. That also counts for the guitar solo's which appear at the rarest moments but are well thought and always going somewhere. Bjorn's vocals are harsh and more in the direction of black- than death metal. The album carries a dark and mysterious atmosphere of melancholy and despair, yet also nocturnal beauty. The songs possess and epic feel, maintaining a certain amount of gloom, despite a few upbeat riffs. It is difficult to choose the best songs as they are filled with so many different riffs and tempos. But over the years “Liberation” -with its majestic dreamy outtake- became somewhat of a favourite. For the majority of the album, the songs are slower or mid-paced though it does vary. To say that Fester has their own sound is an understatement so is to say that this is an absolute underground release that is not everybody's cup of tea. If you're into early nineties black/ death metal please give this a try. Abyss records does a great job here re-releasing this classic album in digi pack format with re-mastered sound at Bonemachine studio and including a live '91 track. The album “Silence” that came after this one shall also be re-released by Abyss records soon. Make sure to get that one too! Fester recently got together and the majority of songs for a new album is already done and to be released later this year. Can't wait for that one! For now: “Feel the cold waves of winter, not only in winter but the whole year…”
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/festernorway

92/100

FIREWIND – Days Of Defiance (CD) Greece April 2011 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 54:46 (Tracks: 13)
Guitarist Gus G. originally started Firewind in Thessaloniki in 1998. That time he studied at Berklee College of Music in the USA. Together with some friends he put together a demo which he named “Firewind”, after an album of Uli Jon Roth's band Electric Sun. He sent this demo around and got a couple of offers. Firewind released their debut “Between Heaven And Hell” in 2002. The following year saw “Burning Earth” and new keyboard player Bob Katsionis joined before 2005's “Forged By Fire”, the album which also saw the band signing a new worldwide deal with Century Media Records. By that time Gus G. decided to make Firewind his main priority and also a proper touring band, so he left his other bands Dream Evil, Mystic Prophecy, Arch Enemy and Nightrage. With renewed energy and finding their current vocalist Apollo Papathanasio, Firewind recorded “Allegiance” (2006) and “The Premonition” (2008), as well the “Live Premonition” DVD/Live cd release (2008). Currently Gus G. joined legendary Ozzy Osbourne's band, but he also recorded and released a new Firewind album, “Days Of Defiance”. Once again Firewind has managed to release an interesting melodic (power) metal album, with catchy melodies, competent instrumentation and musicianship, great powerful vocals and huge choruses. The album is mainly filled with mid-tempo tracks, although there are also some faster songs, with great interactivity between Gus G. and Bob Katsionis, a ballad and a superb instrumental. No new sound for Firewind's new album, they still sound close to Kamelot, maybe not yet of that high level, but a very decent melodic metal album “Days Of Defiance” certainly is!
Visit their website: http://www.firewind.gr
Recordlabel: http://www.centurymedia.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/firewind

86/100

GAE BOLGA - Violent Metal Storm (CD) Belgium April 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Old School Thrash Metal Running time: 47:00 (Tracks: 10)
In September 2009 I already reviewed the bands latest demo "Drink till Death" (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews) and I was very impressed by these Belgium old school thrashers! This is the bands first full length after they signed to Emanes Metal Records lately. The band plays pure oldschool thrashmetal in the vein of bands like; Destruction, Sodom, Exumer, (old)Exodus & Whiplash. I booked the band in October 2009 for the Warm Up show of Mario's Metal Meeting 3 and these guys blew me away!! So since then im a very big fan of the Bolga guys! The more curious I was after I heard they singed to a label. Well luckily the band does not let me down! Okay, its far from original and its impossible to believe this band is from Belgium because they sound so typical German; everything breathes (old) Kreator & Destruction!! I really love this kind of oldschool thrash with the typical high pitch screams like Mille Petrozza (Kreator) and Schmier (Destruction) did in their old days! Time to get this band over to The Netherlands again when its up to me!! Check them out!! Great album guys!!!
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gaebolga

95/100

HAT – Vortex of Death (CD) Norway April 2011 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black Metal Running time: 44:54 (Tracks: 8)
Second release from Hat. A true Norwegian Black Metal band formed in '93 as Ravner, put to ice in 1996 and returned as Hat (Norwegian for hate) in 2006. Debut record “The Demise of Mankind” was a rather standard black metal album which I was already forgotten. It is with “Vortex of Death” that the band makes a small step forward within their sound. First of all the songwriting which has definitely improved. Songs like: “The Flesh I Wear” and “Ultimate Evil” are recognisable songs. Sure repetition can also be a strong point but with this kind of –overall- fast black metal it is important that songs differ from each other. There is much more variation in tempo during the album and the use of spoken (intro)parts are very effective to the overall atmosphere of the album.
The guitar tone is a highlight of this release, achieving the standard level of grim coldness. Technically, I would be hard-pressed to find any errors in the album. Every transition is seamless, every note clear and true. The tremolo picking is moderated nicely, and is always executed flawlessly, along with every blastbeat. The bass when audible adds muscle mass to the otherwise cutting and lithe sound. This conditional use of bass is great because the album never sounds thick but never gets too wafer thin, like far too much black metal. Undertrykker's vocals are right on par with the guitars. His voice is very dominant and grim.
The drumming is pretty enjoyable. Undertrykker (again) surely gives us our fair share of blast beats. However, there's a lot of other stuff being done here. Most significantly, there are many drum parts that compliment the more hook-oriented guitars parts. Nevertheless I would love to hear more variation during the faster parts on their next release. Leaves me to say that the cover art of “Vortex of Death” is really fantastic and concludes an overall good black metal release.
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/evighat

78/100

JULIAN'S LULLABY – Dreaming of your Fears (CD) Greece April 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 44:45 (Tracks: 11)
Julian's Lullaby comes from Greece and brings us a blend of power, melody and dark romance so they say themselves. Well, I must admit that this is exactly what they do. Sometimes heavy, threatening but immediately switching to pure melody all in a few seconds. I must say it works wonderful in tracks like “Scarlet Reign” and “Ocean of Tears”. Also the adding of violin, piano, strings and other acoustic stuff makes this a varied album. The band features two female singers in Margina and Efthimia and that makes it even more varied. Who sings which parts I cannot say, but one of them has a rather sharp voice and isn't always tone down. Listen to “Kiss me not (tonight)” and you know what I mean. Here's some work to be done, but that's no problem, just a matter of practice and more routine. Nevertheless “Would it be” is a fine example that they can compare and really contribute to the music. For a debut album, after bringing out a the demo “I Can Hear You Thinking” in 2008 it's not bad at all. Overall they sound inspired and musically it's all in order. Damn fine tracks like the up tempo songs “Where are You”, “Sand on your Hands” and the spruce “Turn me to Dust” are worth listening to. The ballad “Just for that Day” (with fine violins) ends the album in two versions (last one is acoustic) and both are really beautiful and tear-jerking. For a debut album, after bringing out a the demo “I Can Hear You Thinking” in 2008 it's not bad at all and very promising. Good stuff for those who like their metal moody and romantic.
Visit their website: http://www.julian-lullaby.com
Recordlabel: http://www.stf-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/julianslullaby

80/100

KAOSCENTRICA – South Hordes Arise (CD) Chile April 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 38:23 (Tracks: 10)
Kaoscentrica from Chile started in 2001 and this is their debut album. Ten tracks of ravaging death metal, fast and furious. The guitar riffs on this album are also furious, modern thrash metal riffs performed high speed and the drums are also pounding through every song with great groove and up tempos combined with blasts. Then you get the vocals, light grunts that sound a bit like a dog with a sore throat (not the best I ever heard, think of Gorefest on a very bad day but a bit lighter). But then you get the screams and it sound very aggressive and much better then the grunts so they lift up the music in a good and aggressive way. The variety in the songs is good and straight in your face. The same goes for the production. If they would have had better grunts in the music this album would have been much better and brutal. But never the less this album sounds good. If you like aggressive death metal than you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kaoscentrica

71/100

LICK AND A PROMISE – Come Together In The Morning (CD) Germany April 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Acoustic Rock Running time: 52:06 (Tracks: 12)
Also German rock band LICK AND A PROMISE is a totally unknown band for me. The band started in 2005 in Frankfurt, Germany and debuted in 2006 with their album "A Bitch Is A Bitch", which got pretty good reviews in magazines and webzines. Now, after several years, the band is back with their second album, titled "Come Together In The Morning". The line-up has changed a bit, because, besides founding members Jochen W. Thoma (vocals) and Manuel Elsesser (guitar), the newcomers of the band are Volker Thoma (bass, organ) and Ulli Bieber (drums). While listening to this album, LICK AND A PROMISE reminds me musically the most of THE BLACK CROWES, the early ROLLING STONES and of LED ZEPPELIN. So, you do not have to expect real heavy songs on this album. But although it is not all that heavy, most of the songs are (semi) acoustic, it is still a real pleasure to listen to all twelve songs of the album. And that's because all the songs are really fantastic compositions, and are absolutely not boring. And another important thing is, that the band has in Jochen W. Thoma an awesome singer with a fantastic voice. He is sounding like a mixture of Chris Robinson (THE BLACK CROWES), Mick Jagger (ROLLING STONES) and Robert Plant (LED ZEPPELIN). Songs like "Dance For Me", "Hey Hey Hello", "Pale White", "Once For Real", "Throw It All Away" and "Sway Again" are all very good songs, but the best songs for me are "The Highway", the beautiful "Loser And A Fool", "Come Together" (superb), "Sometime", the beautiful "Hard To Say Goodbye" and "Places Of The Soul". All I can say about "Come Together In The Morning" is, that it's an excellent album, which makes me now very curious about the debut album "A Bitch Is A Bitch". Anyway, I'm sure "Come Together In The Morning" will get, just like "A Bitch Is A Bitch", also great reviews in the press. Give this album a chance, because it deserves to be heard by a lot of people. Well done guys.
Visit their website: http://www.lickandapromise.net
Recordlabel: http://www.frontside.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lickandapromiseband

86/100

LIQUID GRAVEYARD – The Fifth Time I Died (CD) Spain April 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Avant-Garde Progressive Metal Running time: 51:27 (Tracks: 11)
Liquid Graveyard was formed in 2006 by the legendary front man of Cancer “John Walker”. They released their debut “On Evil Days” in 2009 and this is their second album. Eleven tracks of pure evil and dark music that remind me a lot of Horrified (Greece). The guitar riffs are very progressive and atmospheric. The drums are groovy and very up tempo. Then you got the female vocals and very evil grunts that gives very chaotic twist to the music. Normally I am not to keen on female voices with metal because most of the singers are not the best, but this lady gives the music a dark twist and with the combination of the dark and evil grunts it fits perfectly. The variety and composing of the songs are very good especially the groove that keeps the songs interesting. The production of this album is also straight in your face. I am not surprised that a band of “John walker” would sound good, but I am surprised about the band that he has and the music they make because it sounds great. If you are an old Cancer fan or into avant-garde combined with death metal then you are going to enjoy this album.
Visit their website: http://www.liquidgraveyard.com
Recordlabel: http://www.risingrecords.org
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/liquidgraveyard

80/100

MICHAEL MONROE – Another Night In The Sun: Live In Helsinki (CD) Finland April 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Glam Punk / Sleaze Rock Running time: 55:06 (Tracks: 15)
Well, the title of this CD, "Another Night In The Sun: Live In Helsinki", speaks for itself of course, because it is a live album. And it's the first live album of Glam hero MICHAEL MONROE as a solo artist. For anyone who doesn't know Michael Monroe yet, well he was the lead singer of legendary Glam Punk band HANOI ROCKS. But man, what a fantastic live album this is, SUPERB. Well, to tell you the truth, I just can't get enough of it. Anyway, this concert was recorded on July 6th, 2010 at the Tavastia Club in Helsinki, Finland. There are fifteen great songs on this CD, and this live album gives a fantastic overview about Monroe's career. Songs from Monroe's HANOI ROCKS period ("Motorvatin'", "Back To Mystery City" and "Malibu Beach Nightmare"), songs from his DEMOLITION 23 project ("Nothin's Alright", "Hammersmith Palais" and "Dysfunctional"), with whom Monroe released only one album in 1994, one song from his solo albums ("Dead, Jail Or Rock 'N' Roll") and two brand new songs ("You're Next" and "Motorheaded For A Fall"). But this album also features six cover versions, which are "Not Fakin' It" (from the "Loud 'N' Proud" (1973) album of NAZARETH, and which is also the title of Monroe's second solo album), "I Wanna Be Loved" (from the "L.A.M.F." (1977) album of JOHNNY THUNDERS & THE HEARTBREAKERS), "Love Song" and "Machine Gun Etiquette" (both from the "Machine Gun Etiquette" (1979) album of THE DAMNED), "Ain't Nothin' To Do" (from the "Young Loud And Snotty" (1977) album of the DEAD BOYS) and "1970" (from the "Fun House" (1970) album of THE STOOGES), which also has a piece of "Radar Love" (GOLDEN EARRING) and "Baby Please Don't Go" (originally from BIG JOE WILLIAMS, but covered by many bands such as TED NUGENT, BUDGIE, AC/DC and AEROSMITH etc.) in it. So, as you can see, with these covers (except "Not Fakin' It") Monroe goes back to the Punk roots of the 70's. Anyway, all songs are excellent performed by Monroe's new band, which exists of Ginger (guitar, vocals; ex-THE QUIREBOYS, THE WILDHEARTS, and briefly a member of BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION), Steve Conte (guitar, vocals; COMPANY OF WOLVES, NEW YORK DOLLS), Sami Yaffa (bass, vocals; HANOI ROCKS, JET BOY, DEMOLITION 23, JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS, NEW YORK DOLLS) and Karl Rosqvist (drums). Well, if I'm right, Monroe's new solo album "Sensory Overdrive" will be released pretty soon, and I can tell you, I'm looking forward to that new album already. One tip, the last track of that new studio album, titled "Debauchery As A Fine Art", is also featuring Lemmy Kilmister of MOTÖRHEAD. Only the two new songs on this live album, "You're Next" and "Motorheaded For A Fall", will not be on the new studio album, unless Monroe has changed the titles of those tracks. All I can say about "Another Night In The Sun: Live In Helsinki" is that it is an AWESOME live album. THIS IS 100% PURE KICK ASS ROCK AND ROLL, BUY OR DIE!!
Visit their website: http://www.michaelmonroe.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spinefarm.fi
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/michaelmonroeofficial

92/100

MICHAEL MONROE – Sensory Overdrive (CD/DVD) Finland April 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Glam Punk / Sleaze Rock Running time: CD: 39:54 (Tracks: 13)
DVD: 18:26
Glam hero MICHAEL MONROE, who was the lead singer of legendary Glam Punk band HANOI ROCKS, which existed from 1979-1985 and from 2002-2009, is finally back with a brand new studio album. His previous studio album, "Watcha Want", already dates from 2003. In October 2010, MONROE released his first solo live album "Another Night In The Sun: Live In Helsinki" (see for review also this month's update of MMM), on which he already presented two brand new songs ("Motorheaded For A Fall" and "You're Next"). And now his sixth studio album, entitled "Sensory Overdrive", has been released on Spinefarm Records. I have the limited "Deluxe edition" of "Sensory Overdrive", which features two bonus tracks ("Another Night In The Sun" and "You're Next") and a bonus DVD titled "Michael Monroe Road Movie 2010". So, if you like MICHAEL MONROE, try to get this limited edition version, because the bonus tracks are, just like all other songs on the album, great. And the bonus DVD, which exists of shots filmed by guitarist Ginger, is just nice to have as well. "Sensory Overdrive" is again a brilliant album with awesome 100% kick ass rock and roll songs. Also the production, which was done by Jack Douglas, sounds great. I don't have to tell you that MONROE's band exists of excellent musicians, which are Ginger (guitar, vocals), Steve Conte (guitar, vocals), old HANOI ROCKS band mate Sami Yaffa (bass, vocals) and Karl Rosqvist (drums). Special guest vocals on "Sensory Overdrive" are done by American singer-songwriter/folk rock/(alternative) country singer LUCINDA WILLIAMS ("Gone Baby Gone") and metal icon Lemmy Kilmister of MOTÖRHEAD ("Debauchery As A Fine Art", which was titled "Motorheaded For A Fall" on the above mentioned live album). To me, there are no weak songs on "Sensory Overdrive", because I like all of the songs very much. And that makes it very difficult to say what my favorite songs of this album are. Because it is just a pleasure to listen to the songs "Trick Of The Wrist", "'78", "Got Blood?", "Superpowered Superfly", "Modern Day Miracle", "Bombs Away", "All You Need", "Later Won't Wait", "Gone Baby Gone", "Center Of Your Heart", "Debauchery As A Fine Art", "Another Night In The Sun" and "You're Next". This album is so addictive, you wanna listen to it over and over again. "Sensory Overdrive" is one big rock and roll party, and a real recommendation for anyone who's into Glam/Sleaze Rock and a must have for all MICHAEL MONROE fans. To me, "Sensory Overdrive" is already one of the best albums of 2011, because this album kicks ass. So, boys and girls, let's rock and roll all nite and party every day.
Visit their website: http://www.michaelmonroe.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spinefarm.fi
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/michaelmonroeofficial

95/100

NATION DESPAIR – Lies (MCD) Finland April 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death Metal Running time: 16:20 (Tracks: 4)
'Lies' is the four track counting new E.P. from the Finish death metal act Nation Despair. Not a groundbreaking record, but a solid an interesting item for the death metal enthusiast. The main focus lays within the up tempo songs with some real catchy aggressive parts and subtle breaks. The band shows that they are capable of writing diverse songs and know how to produce a CD. In theory it's all good, but the lack of memorable songs is making 'Lies' a qualitatively good, but mediocre death metal record. This might be interesting for the aforementioned death metal enthusiast, but I think I'll wait for their next one...
Visit their website: http://www.nationdespair.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nationdespair

65/100

OLIVER WEERS – Evil's Back (CD) Denmark April 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 45:55 (Tracks: 12)
Oliver Weers is well known in Denmark because he blew Denmark away with his version of Queen's classic “The Show Must Go On” at the final of the Danish X-factor competition in 2007. This success led to another success as his debut album “Get Ready” was quite successful. On that album, famous musicians like Tommy Aldridge (drums) and Marco Mendoza (bass) contributed their talents. This album, “Evil's Back”, is his second effort and this time the band consists of Anders Bo (guitars), Laki Ragazas (lead guitars), Anders Borre (bass), Morten Hellborn (drums) and of course Oliver Weers on vocals. After a short intro, the album starts with the title track. The thing that strikes me most right away is his fantastic rock voice. This guy knows how to sing. The song itself is a classic rock track with some keyboards and the bass and drums laying a solid base. At the beginning of “All My Life” Weers voice sounds a bit hoarse. The bass dictates this song as it clearly leads the way. Towards the end, Ragazas delivers his visiting card. After a short-spoken word by a woman, “Without You”, is a slower song but that remains heavy. Oliver shows his immense vocal qualities. His passionate and emotional voice suits this song perfectly. Some distant sounds turn into a deformed voice. Then the tempo goes up and “Hero” is on its way. Both Weers and female singer Rebecca Armstrong compete for the lead on the rest of the track, which results in a great song. On “Need It Bad” besides Weers great vocals he also uses a bit of a deformed voice. The end of the song belongs to Ragazas. “Beautiful Rain” is a ballad with Weers using his voice in yet another more quiet way. “Much Too Much” is much heavier and up-tempo again and it also includes the great rock voice of Weers. “Fighting The Mountains” is a bit of a different song but Weers trademark, his voice, Is ever present. “Devil's Chain” is a real heavy up-tempo song with a pounding bass and screaming guitars combined with some classical influences. Guitars combined with the bluesy voice of Weers start off “Demolition Man” on which Weers takes the lead. The last song of the album is “Rainbow Star” which is a heavy semi ballad and that is a homage to Ronnie James Dio. The overall conclusion is that Weers is an excellent singer (his voices resembles Jorn Lande on some parts), that he has a great band, good songs and a great producer which results in this piece of quality called”Evil's Back”. Weer has it all to make it major internationally. We will just have to wait and see what happens.
Visit their website: http://www.oliverweers.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/oliverweersband

86/100

PANDORA - Sempre E Ovunque Oltre Il Sogno (CD) Italy April 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 61:55 (Tracks: 8)
Pandora was founded in September 2005 and consists nowadays of Beppe Colombo (Keyboards and Vocals), Claudio Colombo (Drums and Bass) and Corrado Grappeggia (Vocals and Keyboards). When they perform live, the band is reinforced by Jerry Arcidiacono (Guitars) and Leonardo Gallizio (Bass). Claudio Colombo, multi-instrumentalist and drummer, is the son of Beppe Colombo. Together with keyboardist Corrado Grappeggia, father and son Colombo launched a musical project based on the progressive rock of the `70s like Genesis, Emerson Lake and Palmer and Gentle Giant, though aimed toward a newer sound. It has to be said, influences of these bands can be heard. Pandora released their second album on January 15th, 2011. It is labelled by record company BTF again and it is called Sempre e Ovunque Oltre il Sogno.
In my opinion, the band has really potency but they do not show this always. The band tries sometimes to show all their skills and sometimes they go too far. The music becomes then to complex and entangled. Some breaks etc. during the songs are not functional anymore. Especially the drummer is sometimes hyperactive. Then the music becomes sometimes quite annoying. However, in the second part of the album, Pandora shows their skills and the music becomes more interesting. The (sometimes instrumental) songs here are both long (the last song on the album takes 23 minutes!) and complex, but I can appreciate it. I do not know if the album has a central theme, all the songs are sung in the Italian language... But if you want to fathom this album, please take your time and do not throw it away after the first songs. Give it a chance!
Visit their website: http://www.pandoramusic.eu
Recordlabel: http://www.btf.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pandoramusica

76/100

PRAYING MANTIS - Metalmorphosis (MCD) United Kingdom April 2011 Eddie van Vugt
Style: NWOBHM Running time: 27:29 (Tracks: 5)
Praying Mantis are one of those once famous NWOBHM bands who were promised a great future but were not fortunate enough to make it big. However, they still play regularly and their back catalogue is impressive. The title for this 30th anniversary collection of rerecorded oldies is very well chosen and this Praying Mantis have gone through a greater meta(l)morphosis than their tiny namesakes. The reason for putting these songs out could be that the band want to give the fans something extra in between albums. Fact is that the band play these songs very differently than they did 30 years ago.
Although I am not a big fan of rerecordings, the reason being that they often sound like covers especially when they are sung by a different singer, there is more to these performances. The vocals are far more on top of things. The sound is fuller because of the better production, better vocals (although they are quite strained) and even longer guitar solos. Even a simple rock song Praying Mantis now sounds more completed and more mature. The same goes for the last song Captured City, originally released on Metal For Muthas, the NWOBHM compilation they shared with Iron Maiden, Samson and Angelwitch among others. Best two performances are of Lovers To The Grave – great epic song and sung very well here – and Panic In The Streets – which has more attitude put into it. In general the band have taken these songs a step further than they do on stage, which takes courage. They do not disappoint!
Visit their website: http://www.praying-mantis.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/prayingmantisrock

75/100

RANCOR – Release the Rancor (CD) Spain April 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 45:07 (Tracks: 10)
Rancor was formed in 1999 in Madrid, Spain and this is the band's first full length album. Two demos and one EP were released during 2002 and 2006 while the band played numerous shows locally supporting famous international acts. Although Rancor is a European band, it's more influenced by the American thrash metal sound; particularly by Anthrax and Exodus while there is some Annihilator, Overkill and Slayer in the mix. The band has chosen English as its singing language (a not so popular choice among Spanish bands which seem to prefer their native one) and singer Dani scores well in pronunciation. The rest of the band is good players too and this results in an enjoyable album of American oriented retro thrash.
Visit their website: http://www.rancor.es
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rancorthrash

70/100

RÈSISTANCE – A Tale of Decadence (CD) France April 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 42:47 (Tracks: 9)
RESISTANCE started out as a traditional heavy metal band at the end of the 90's. Later on some thrash influences started to get mixed in the band's sound. From 2005 on it got serious with new members coming in with Marc on drums and Nathaniel on vocals joining Joel (guitars) and Florian (bass). RESISTANCE recorded their self titled demo, which was released late 2006, and led to signing with Emanes Metal Records after a successful gig with Hirax in September 2007. In 2008 their debut album “Bang Your Fucking Skull” was released, and got them more exposure by promoting it in several countries like France, Germany, Belgium and Sweden. They toured with Fueled By Fire and played with bands like Pentagram, Killers, Cage a.o. With this second album RESISTANCE decided to compose a concept album based on the novel of Lewis called “The Monk”. With the collaboration of some guest musicians they succeeded to deliver a colourful and diverse album. Superb heavy thrash metal with some great riffing, with vocals I needed to get used to, but after a couple times of listening to the album, they actually fit the music right. Some spoken word passages added to the whole concept idea like in 'Conjurer Of Fate', fanatic thrashing is done in songs like 'A Silent Kill' (my favourite) and 'The Rape', while 'Revenant' has some unconventional instruments in it. Overall the result of their hard work is one to be heard, a great album I must admit, give it a try and enjoy this French approach.
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/resistance667

84/100

RHINO BUCKET – Who's Got Mine? (CD) USA April 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 37:32 (Tracks: 11)
On March 5th, 2011 I went to The Rambler in Eindhoven, Holland to see RHINO BUCKET (see also my live review on this months MMM update). When I was looking at the merchandise stand, I saw that the band had a new album out, titled "Who's Got Mine?", so I bought it. During their show that evening, the band also played three songs of this new album ("Message In My Bottle", "Joke's On You" and "Who's Got Mine"). But the next day, when I put the CD in my CD-player and listened to "Who's Got Mine", which is the sixth studio album of RHINO BUCKET, for the first time, I was a little disappointed. Okay, the more I listened to the album, the more I began to like it, but in my opinion it will never get the level of it's predecessor "The Hardest Town" from 2009 (see MMM update of January 2010). Don't get me wrong, "Who's Got Mine?" is absolutely not a bad album, it is still a nice album in the well-known AC/DC style (the Bon Scott era). Also this album has a few songs which are less, like "Lifeline", "Back To Nowhere", "Her Way" and "Rare Beauty", but generally the songs are from good to nice anyway.
New drummer of the band is Anthony Biuso and the rest of RHINO BUCKET still exists of original members Georg Dolivo (vocals, guitar) and Reeve Downes (bass), together with excellent guitarist Brian Forsythe (also KIX), who joined the band in 2001 when he replaced Greg Fields. And it's a real pleasure to listen to Forsythe's guitar solo's, because they sound like if they were played by Angus Young himself. Anyway, the album was produced by Dough Boehm and sounds good. The songs which I like the most of this album are "Message In My Bottle", "Drive Thru Liquor", "Who's Got Mine", "Joke's On You", "Chase The Case", "Hollywood And Wine" and "Something For Nothing". But to be honest, these songs can't compete if you compare them with great songs of "The Hardest Town" like "The Hardest Town" itself, "Justified", "Know My Name", "Dog Don't Bite" and "Street To Street" to name a few. So, my end conclusion is that "Who's Got Mine?" is just a nice album of RHINO BUCKET, but I'm still of opinion that "The Hardest Town" is a much better album. And that's why "Who's Got Mine?" scores a lower point as "The Hardest Town" (which got 87 out of 100). Anyway, "Who's Got Mine?" is an album which fans of especially AC/DC but also of AIRBOURNE would like as well.
Visit their website: http://www.rhinobucket.com
Recordlabel: http://www.acetate.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rhinobucketmusic

81/100

SACRED DAWN – A Madness Within (CD) USA April 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Progressive Metal / Symphonic Metal Running time: 63:39 (Tracks: 10)
First of all, the line-up of SACRED DAWN, who are from Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., has been changed from a four piece band into a five piece band. Besides Lothar Keller (vocals, guitar) and Joey Vega (bass, backing vocals), the new members of SACRED DAWN are Mykull (guitar), Eddie Foltz (drums) and added keyboard player Brian Kim. In June of 2009 I reviewed SACRED DAWN's debut album ”Gears Of The Machine: A New Beginning”, which was a real nice acquaintance with the band, and now SACRED DAWN are back with their second album, titled “A Madness With”, which is released on Dark Star Records. And believe me, these guys again delivered a fantastic album, with songs of a very high level. Well, in fact, in comparison with their debut album, this second one “A Madness Within” is even more progressive. The band still reminds me of bands like DREAM THEATER, FATES WARNING, NEVERMORE, IRON MAIDEN and SAVATAGE. So, I guess I don't have to tell you that all members of the band are excellent and skilled musicians, who know how to write songs. Like I already said about Keller in my review of “Gears Of The Machine: A New Beginning”, he's is a good singer with a varied voice. “A Madness Within” features 10 songs, of which most of them have a pretty long running time. Only “What You Did To Me” (4:20), “Demonlover” (4:17) which sounds like NEVERMORE, and the nice ballad “It Shall Be” (4:48) are the shorter songs of the album. Anyway, “A Madness Within” is again a very good album, with marvellous compositions and a good production. Okay, it needs some time to get to know the songs better, but after several times listening to them, you will come to the conclusion that this is great stuff. Songs like “The Untold Story” (7:21), “Demonlover”, “A Madness Within” (7:35), “Summer Of Treason” (7:12), “Delerium” (6:29), “The Decision” (5:32), “Wrongfully Accussed” (6:21) and the epic “Dawn Of The Day” (9:45) are all awesome, and are songs which any Prog Metal fan would like. So, if you already liked their first album “Gears Of The Machine: A New Beginning” or if you don't know this band so far, but you like the above mentioned bands, then you will like this second album of SACRED DAWN as well.
Visit their website: http://www.sacreddawn.com
Recordlabel: http://www.darkstarrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sacreddawnmusic

84/100

SHROUD OF DESPONDENCY – Dark Meditations in Monastic Seclusion (CD) USA April 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Black Metal Running time: 57:25 (Tracks: 07)
Shroud of Despondency is a very interesting black metal band that started in 1999. This is their second full length album and it begins weird. This album contains 7 tracks and starts with a song that gives you the idea that it is a folk band and not a black band. Because it starts instrumental and acoustic combined with a clean vocal. But then you get the second song and makes up the first one hahaha. The guitar riffs are pure and evil black metal riffs that remind me a bit of Darkthrone. The drums are fast and furious and of course filled blast beats. Then you get the evil vocals, not the typical screams but a bit more in the style of a light grunt with and filthy and sick touch. They combine that with a hysterical clean vocal that gives it dark and atmospheric twist. The variety and composing of the songs are long and brutal. The same goes for the production. When you listen to the first song do not think what the fuck is this but give it a try because these guys know how to make evil and sick black metal at a groovy way that makes you listen to the entire album. Because this band is unsigned you should check their myspace and order your copy.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/shroudofdespondency

76/100

SIDEBURN – Jail (CD) Switzerland April 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 46:09 (Tracks: 12)
However SIDEBURN already exists since 1986, I never had heard of them before. Well, listening to this album "Jail", which is the band's fifth studio album, it's very clear to me. This band is heavily influenced by AC/DC and compatriots KROKUS. So, you understand it already, the songs on this album do not sound very original at all. Well, in that case "Jail" isn't a very surprisingly album. But luckily I like AC/DC and KROKUS very much. To be precise, I like AC/DC since 1977 (with the "Let There Be Rock" (1977) album) and KROKUS since 1980 (with the "Metal Rendez-Vous" (1979) album), so I can appreciate this album, and do like most of the songs on this album. Anyway, let's get back into the history of the band. Well, first the band was called GENOCIDE (period 1986-1997) and at that time they played Heavy Metal. Under the name GENOCIDE they have released the EP "Roots In Rock" (1990), and the albums "Showtime" (1992) and "Stranded" (1994). Then these Swiss guys changed their name into SIDEBURN, and from that moment their music style also changed from Heavy Metal into classic Hard Rock. As SIDEBURN they have released the following albums so far: "Sell Your Soul" (1997), "Crocodile" (2002), "Gasoline"(2004) and "Cherry Red" (2008). The band exists of Roland Pierrehumbert (vocals, harmonica), Boris (lead guitar), Fred Gudit (rhythm guitar), Michel Demierre (bass) and Lionel Blanc (drums). This album "Jail", which is my first acquaintance with the band, features twelve songs, and was produced by well-known producer Beau Hill (RATT, GARY MOORE, TWISTED SISTER, WINGER etc.). Well, actually "Jail" is not a very spectacular album, but in general it sounds damn nice. So, it never will get the status of a "classic" album, such as AC/DC's "Back In Black", "Let There Be Rock" or "Highway To Hell", to name a few. Anyway, the least song of "Jail" is in my opinion the last track of the album, which is "Creedence Vibe". But the rest of the songs vary from nice to very good Hard Rock songs in the well-known AC/DC tradition. So, I guess I don't have to tell you that a lot of riffs, which are coming by, are sounding very familiar, like we already have heard them before by Angus & Co. themselves, but what the hell…..! Oh yeah, the chorus of "Good Boy" is a totally rip off of JUDAS PRIEST's "Hell Bent For Leather". Anyway, I like this album, and my favorite songs of "Jail" are "Live To Rock", "Devil And Angel", "Rock 'N' Roller", "Lazy Daisy", "Jail" and "The Red Knight". Fans of AC/DC and KROKUS, give this band a chance by checking this album out yourself. I'm sure, although it's not very original, you will like it.
Visit their website: http://www.sideburn.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sideburnrock

78/100

SLAVES TO FASHION – Artistic Differences (CD) Norway April 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Progressive Rock / Symphonic Rock Running time: 44:20 (Tracks: 10)
In April 2010 I reviewed the self titled EP "Slaves To Fashion" of Norwegian four-piece band SLAVES TO FASHION. I really liked the first three songs of the four songs which are on that EP ("Mrs. Hero", "Left Out In The Cold" and "The Garden (Remix)"), and I wrote in my review of that EP, that I was curious about how their debut album would be. Well, now in front of me I have that debut album of SLAVES TO FASHION, which is titled "Artistic Differences". There are ten songs on "Artistic Differences", and three songs of the EP are also on this debut album, which are "Mrs. Hero", "Left Out In The Cold" and "Out Of Here". And I still don't like "Out Of Here", because in my opinion it is a dull song. Well, the line-up of the band hasn't been changed, so the band still exists of Johannes Støle (vocals, keyboards), Torfin Sirness (guitar), John Henry Lind (bass) and Vidar Ingvaldsen (drums). The album was produced by guitarist Sirness and sounds very good. The last song of the album, "Facts On The Ground", is with 10:05 minutes the longest track on "Artistic Differences". It is a nice song, just like "Superstar (I Want Out)", but they do not belong to the best if you ask me. Anyway, all other songs have an average running time of 3 minutes. The fifth track "Empty Chairs" is, just like "Out Of There", a boring song. Musically the band, which exists of excellent musicians and has in Støle a good singer, reminds me of bands such as STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, DREAM THEATER, LIVE, ALTER BRIDGE. The best songs on "Artistic Differences" are "Love You Back", the STONE TEMPLE PILOTS sounding "Mrs. Hero" (superb), "Made To Meet My Eyes", "Hands", "Left Out In The Cold" and "Libido Ride". Anyway, SLAVES TO FASHION is a good rock band and "Artistic Differences" is a nice debut album.
Visit their website: http://www.slavestofashion.net
Recordlabel: http://www.hands-of-blue.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/slavestofashion

75/100

SUPERCHARGER – That's How We Roll (CD) Denmark April 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Speedrock / Rock And Roll Running time: 45:54 (Tracks: 12)
SUPERCHARGER is a six-piece Rock And Roll band from Denmark which was formed in 2006, and exists of Mikkel Neperus (vocals), Thomas Pedersen (guitar), Thomas Buchwald (guitar), Brian Jensen (bass), Benjamin Funk (drums) and Lars Rygaard (organ, harmonica). I already knew SUPERCHARGER by name, but never heard music of them so far. Anyway, according to the info sheet, the band's debut album "Handgrenade Blues" (2009) was pure Hard Rock. But now, the band has also some Country and railroad Blues influences in their music, like in "Mrs. Ferguson". And "Ruler Of The Day" sounds very as a Southern Rock song to me. Anyway, this second album "That's How We Roll" is my first acquaintance with SUPERCHARGER, and I must say that I like this album very much. These Danish guys know how to rock, because this is kick ass Rock 'N Roll. The band has in Neperus a very good singer, and exists of excellent musicians. The album, which features twelve tracks, is fantastically produced by Kristian Thomasen. The first single of this fantastic album is "Are You Satisfied?" and sounds very much like QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. In fact, I can not say that "That's How We Roll" has many weak songs. The last track "Sunrise Over Reeperbahn" is in my opinion the least song of this CD. The duet between Mikkel and Mia Coldheart (real name Mia Karlsson) from Swedish rockband CRUCIFIED BARBARA, "Redemption Song", is nice. But really, songs like "Heart On Overdrive", "Rise And Fall", "Are You Satisfied?", "You Disgust Me", "That's How I Roll", "Rulers Of The Day", "From Another Planet", Aim High" and "Roll The Dice" are all sounding awesome. Well, I guess SUPERCHARGER is a fantastic live band as well, so I will try to go see the band on their next European tour. Anyway, "That's How We Roll" is a fantastic album and absolutely a recommendation.
Visit their website: http://www.supercharger.dk
Recordlabel: http://www.vme-group.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wearesupercharger

83/100

SYNDONE - Melapesante (CD) Italy April 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Rock Running time: 47:16 (Tracks: 10)
Italian based rock band Syndone has released a new album: Melapesante. It is hard to find some information in English about the band. Almost all the available information is written in the Italian language. As far as I can discover, Melapesante is Syndone`s third album. The other albums were released in the 90`s. I do not know why it took so much time before the band released their third album. Since the release of the second album, the line-up of the band has almost completely changed. Only Nik Comoglio (piano, hammond, moog, rhodes, keyboards, backing vocals) is a stable factor. The other four band members have just recently joined the band.
It is difficult to characterize the music of Syndone. It has all kind of influences: blues, jazz and rock with some symphonic parts. My wife, who does not like metal, called some parts even classical music! And she is true; there are some very strange, calm parts / ballads on the album. In my opinion, this makes it quite progressive. After listening the album several times, I cannot find a real highlight. It can be concluded that this album is nothing for real metal heads. If you like progressive rock, I advise you to check first some songs on the internet before you buy it in a store.
Visit their website: http://www.syndone.it
Recordlabel: http://www. www.electromantic.com

68/100

TRIMEGESTO – Awake From The Blood (CD) Chile April 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 41:03 (Tracks: 09)
Trimegisto started back in 2000 and after releasing a demo they released a DVD in 2005 and their debut in 2008. This is there second album and I must say that I am not to keen of it. The guitar riffs are straight in face with a lot of groove in that sometimes reminds a bit of Master (USA). Of course you also get a lot of solos (personally I like that a lot). The vocals are old school deep grunts that really sound filthy (in a good way) but then you get the drums and they sound not to exciting and a bit simple (which is a pity). The variety in the songs are also very boring, when you hear the first song you can guess how the rest is going to sound. The production of this album is filled with bass so you do not hear everything well. If they would have had a better production this album would have sounded a lot better (in my opinion). If you like old school death metal then you should check it out.
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/trimegisto

60/100

TWINSPIRITS – Legacy (CD) Italy April 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 61:08 (Tracks: 11)
Twinspirits is a band project founded in 2004 by keyboard player and mastermind Daniele Liverani. As he had been working together with Dario Ciccioni he knew that this was the guy to cover the drummer role. The guitarist was to be Tommy Ermolli, who was only thirteen when Liverani saw him playing. The quality was excellent so this was the guy for the spot as the guitarist. Alberto Rigoni completed the band as the bass-player. The only spot left was that of the singer. At first Danish Soren Adamsen filled this spot but he got replaced after the first album by Swedish Göran Nyström. This is Twinspirits third album and I must say it is a real mature album. This album is divided in two parts.
The first part consists of six songs that are a mix of progressive and a bit more straightforward songs. The second part consists of five songs that are a concept story about the premature death of the main character and the second chance he gets of a superior entity to accomplish a human rescue mission as a second millennium messiah. The first track, “Senseless”, is with over eight minutes the longest track. It's a beautiful song that starts with heavy drums but then quickly changes in a real progressive metal song with all of its ingredients (great passionate vocals, beautiful guitar playing and lots of keyboards). The second song, “Pay For Their Art”, is a more heavy metal song with bass and drums dominating the track.
“Blind Soul” has a catchy bass/drum-groove in the beginning. It starts very slow with Nyström singing very low but he steps it up later on. On to a fast one, “Slave To The World”, which includes a lot of double-bass drumming. Towards the end, drums and bass combined with keyboards present a heavy base on which Nyström is able to excel. Piano and a very passionately singing Nyström are the ingredients for “Don't Kill Your Dreams” on which later on guitars and keyboards set in to make it a beautiful song. “Over And Over Again” is also a great progressive metal song with all musicians being really present. The concept story is told in just under thirty minutes in “The Endless Sleep” which is divided in five pieces with the first part, “The Endless Sleep”, being an intro including violins etcetera.
The other four parts have the following sub-titles “What Am I Supposed To Do”, “Legacy”, “I'm Leaving This World”and “Tell Me The Truth”. What follows is some quiet acoustic parts, guitars duelling with keyboards, sturdy bass and pounding drums combined with Nyström who is ever present. All five musicians get their share of fame and glory, as there is plenty of space to excel and show their individual qualities. However, most important the collective performance is superb. The conclusion is that Twinspirits is a great addition to the progressive metal scene.
Visit their website: http://www.twinspirits.net
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/twinspiritsband

88/100

U.D.O. – Leatherhead (MCD) Germany April 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Metal Running time: 18:59 (Tracks: 4)
Every two years U.D.O. delivers us damn fine albums filled with pure pounding metal in it's truest form. If you ever want to see a rolling thunder on stage, then check U.D.O. and you know what I mean, man this band is tight, they're a real machine. This single “Leatherhead” preceeds their new album which will be titled “REV-Raptor” scheduled to be released on May 20th. “Leatherhead” opens fierce and pounding, just what you may expect. The master himself still sounds like a always; threatening and drilling just the way we like it. Accept may be back with another voice in Mark Tornillo but there's only one UDO. Follower “Rock'n Roll Soldiers” will also be on the new album and is another brilliant one. Both tracks are more than promising to what more has to come on “REV-Raptor”. “Free or Rebellion” (a very good one with sing along chorus) and “Run” (Ballad) are the bonus tracks on this single. These tracks are available here for the first time on cd. They only showed up before on the 2004 “Thundervision” dvd. To make it all more worthy to spend your money on this one, the video clips “Leatherhead” and “Jingle Balls” (from a coorporation with the Evil Disposition band of EMP mailorder) complete this nice package that makes even more hungry for the new album and tour!
Visit their website: http://www.-udo-online.de
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/udoonline

85/100

UNDER THE FLESH – The Theory of Chaos (CD) Chile April 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Death / Thrash Metal Running time: 54:40 (Tracks: 11)
Under The Flesh a new death metal band from Chile. They recently released their first full length album and I got to listen to it a few times. The band plays a modern kind of brutal death metal mixed with thrashy influences. First thing I noticed was the very loud production which sadly doesn't fit the music. It sounds like all the instruments are thrown together without actually knowing what they are doing. Overall this cd doesn't really cut if for me. The riffs are mediocre and repetitive, the voice isn't that much better and the rhythm section, while supporting nicely, doesn't add all that much either. This is yet another example of a modern death metal band that pays to much attention to aggressiveness then it does to actually playing a good song. For fans of bands like Legion of the Damned.
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/underthefleshchile

59/100

UNSILENT– The Return of Sin (CD) Chile April 2011 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black Metal Running time: 41:02 (Tracks: 9)
The information I got together with this release from Unsilent says that “Black Spell Sessions” is the long awaited debut. A little research on the internet says something else and tells me that the full- length album “The Return of Sin” was already released in 2008. Looking further I come to the conclusion that what I hold in my hands is the re-release of the debut album (without mentioning the title on the cover) together with the “Black Spell Sessions” but without the “Repined Bastard Nation” (Satyricon) cover on it. Thanks for the puzzle Australis records!
Unsilent hail from Chile and brings us a form of harsh black metal which is at times almost too raw to listen to. I tend to like raw production, especially in black metal since it makes the music seem more sincere for some odd reason, but this is past the point of raw and into the realm of ludicrous. If I wanted to listen to noise I'd put in a band like Abruptum . The drums are absolutely atrocious, the vocals obnoxious, and almost everything else is just a blur of white noise with something approaching a melody infrequently surfacing. Song structures are far, far away on this album. The beginning of the songs: “Godless Life” and “The Realm Inside” are o.k. and understandable but not long after that and mister Ea falls back in his old patron of chaos. Last song of the album is a cover from Behemoth “Pure Evil & Hate” The EP has a somewhat of better sound quality and is less chaotic but also far from good. Conclusion: a bad Xasthur copy with typical South American death/ grind madness which I don't like at all.
Recordlabel: http://www.australisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/unsilent

39/100

VICIOUS RUMORS – Razorback Killers (CD) USA April 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 51:09 (Tracks: 10)
What to tell about this band that is not said before? Okay; I can mention the many line up changes of the band because this changes at least every album. But does it musically make any difference? Not really when its up to me. Vicious Rumors delivered again a fine album after 5 years. Their latest album "Warball" was released in 2006 with Helstar shouter James Rivera. Due to internal problems James left Vicious Rumors after 1 album/tour. A few years ago Ronnie Stixx took over the vocal duties and he got great replies from the press because vocally he was close to Carl Albert's (R.I.P.) voice. Sadly also Ronnie left the band after 2 tours (they headlined the 2nd edition of Mario's Metal Meeting) and without releasing any stuff with VR. I heard that Ronnie was the 23th ex-member of Vicious Rumors but I cant confirm that for sure.
The band lately found a new singer in Brian Allen (Malice, Wild Dogs, Last Empire) and recorded the new, 10th, album "Razorback Killers" with him. Well the guy is doing a great job and has a typical high pitch voice that suits me well. I also saw the band already with him and on stage he is also acting/singing great! But still I was curious how the album would have sound with the much more melodic voice of his predecessor Ronnie Stixx.
The album is filled with mostly highspeed metal songs in the wellknown Vicious Rumors style and im glad that the band is back in business after releasing several weak albums such as Cyberchrist, Sadistic Symphony & Something's Burning. With the latest 2 releases "Warball" and "Razorback Killers" the band went back to their roots and I can only encourage that!!
Looking out for the VR show at the end of this month at the Keep it True festival where the son of the legendary Carl Albert will be doing a guest performance! Good album guys!
Visit their website: http://www.viciousrumors.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/viciousrumors

80/100

WAKE UP CALL – Wake Up Call (MCD) Italy April 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Punk Rock / Emo / Sleaze Rock Running time: 20:03 (Tracks: 5)
WAKE UP CALL is a brand new rock band from Italy (there's also an American Hardcore band called WAKE UP CALL), and exists of Tommy (vocals, guitar), Olly (lead guitar, backing vocals), Dario (bass, backing vocals) and Matt (drums). According to the biography, all members of WAKE UP CALL have been around in the underground scene for years, playing in their previous bands, despite the young age of these guys. Anyway, this self titled EP was released in January of 2011, and I must admit that all five songs are sounding great and are very catchy. This band really has some potential. Well, you could describe their music style as a mixture of Punk Rock, Emo and Sleaze Rock. This EP was produced by the band themselves, and sounds very good. Only the last track of this EP, which is titled "Full Of Regrets", was produced by famous producer Beau Hill. With the first song of this EP, "Revolution", I immediately had to think of our own Dutch band DESTINE. Anyway, WAKE UP CALL is a band whom absolutely can get very popular, especially among young teenage girls, because they've got the looks and their music is so f**kin' catchy, that almost every song can get radio airplay. But really, "Revolution", "The Devil's Round", the first video single "Before I Fall", "Here To Stay" and "Full Of Regrets" are all great songs. These young Italians are fantastic musicians and can write fantastic songs. Guys, don't wait too long with releasing your debut album, 'because I'm sure it would be a huge success album.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wakeupcallmusic

77/100

WITHERING SOUL – No Closure (CD) Sweden April 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Symphonic Black Metal Running time: 45:50 (Tracks: 10)
Withering Soul has surprised me more than any other band in the past couple of months. In a positive way. When I listened to 'No closure' for the first time, I was blown away by the strong song material as well as the brilliant production. Is this because Withering Soul is a seasoned studio band? No, not exactly. This is yet their second record. The first one 'Apparitions of the surreal' came out nearly seven years ago. The symphonic black metal of Withering Soul is well written and contains a lot of breaks and spherical moments. With the use of keyboards, they'd manage to create an atmosphere that goes well with the lyrical theme. But it's not just black metal with some theatrical aspects. There are also a lot of death/thrash metal riffs and grunts present. A combination of styles that is pretty addictive, I must say. The result? A brilliantly produced album with songs that contain little to no weak moments. Does this sound overly exited? It probably does. But there must be a reason why this album hasn't came out of my CD player in over two weeks now...Check them out if you dig Symphonic black with a brutal and heavy twist.
Visit their website: http://www.witheringsoul.com
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/mortalmusic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/witheringsoul

85/100

MARCH

40 WATT SUN – The Inside Room (CD) United Kingdom March 2011 Wim van Grunsven
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 47:35 (Tracks: 05)
Let's go slow, but not to the brink of standing still. Let's do heavy, and forget about subtlety when it comes to the music. The vocals will make it all just a bit more melodic, without taking the doom out of the metal at all. That is what the guys of 40 Watt Sun must have been thinking when they started out making their music. It's not all that accurate though, because when these English negativists take it slow, the guitars become acoustic and tame. The fact that the drums join along is obliterated by the bass, that just keeps on pounding through my headphones regardless. The amazing thing is that the band recorded this debut album in just three days and nights, andit never shows. This is bloody great. Patrick Walker of Warning UK fame is the driving force in this new project, as he is the one that wields the guitar axe and has the distinctive voice that fits so perfectly. He is joined by drummer Christian Leitch (The River) and bassist William Spong. These three men have delivered an astounding album, as The Inside Room is one to behold. Bloody Well Right!
Visit their website: http://www.40wattsun.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cyclone-empire.com

81/100

ABACINATE – Genesis (CD) USA March 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Hardcore / Death Metal Running time: 41:40 (Tracks: 10)
This is no ordinary second record from the American based death(hard)core band Abacinate. It will be the first and last one with vocalist Jason 'plunger' Sica, since he past away last year at the age of 25. This album is dedicated to him with a big picture inside the booklet. With this information, I couldn't help listening to the album differently. It's like the Chuck Schuldiner effect: singing about death is cool, but not when it really happens...But let's take a look at the album shall we? I'd like to describe the music of Abacinate as a combination of Death metal and Hardcore, the latter mainly because of the attitude, guitar sound and vocals. It's an interesting combination because the songs offer plenty diversity with the use of tempo breaks and some catchy guitar solo's. Although the things mentioned above are all positive, I also have a few points of criticism. First there is the lack of recognizable songs. It's never bad, but I have not yet heard an instant classic. Second there are the vocals. I hate to say it, but with another vocalist the songs might have turned out better. His screams are getting on my nerves after a while. Okay, back to the positive side now. Another interesting part are the lyrics. Most of them are sick and twisted, (for example: listen to 'Necroplunger') but that goes well with the gore painted booklet and the energetic brutal parts. The track that stands out the most, at least lyricwise, is the closing track 'the Bundy curse' which describes the character of former sitcom hero Al Bundy from Married with Children. With this song, the album ends in good humor, but will always be overshadowed by the loss of their vocalist. So the bottom line is: not a great, but a good Death metal / Hardcore record for the people who are intrigued by this combination. If you dig the music, make sure to buy the original product. The artwork is very well taken care of. Go to their MySpace and have a listen...
Visit their website: http://www.abacinate.net
Recordlabel: http://www.epitomite.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/abacinatenj

72/100

AFTER ALL – Betrayed by the Gods (MCD) Belgium March 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Power / Speed Metal Running time: 9:26 + 30:18 (Tracks: 2 & 7 video)
After All already exist for about 20 years and released 7 full length albums and this is the bands 6th MCD/EP. But this time with new members Sammy Peleman (vocals) and bassplayer Frederik Vanmassenhove (ex-Aborted). Does this make any difference musically? YES, it does! My main problem with all the bands latest reviews (see Archive CD/DVD reviews) was their very moderate singer Piet Focroul. He was not a bad singer but he got me bored every time after max half an hour. Musically the band was always playing as tight as a ducks ass! Is this new line up than so much better? Again; YES!!! I already spoke to singer Sammy last year at the KIT festival in Germany and he showed me his vocal capacities and I was impressed! That was the reason to invite the band to the last edition of Mario's Metal Meeting (4) last October. Pity the band build up a name in the scene that was for most people not a reason to show up that particular evening. But they all where wrong; After All came, saw & conquered that night! The band decided to re-record 2 songs of their latest album “Cult of Sin”. On the title track Juan Garcia & Bernie Versailles (both Agent Steel) and Joey Vera (Armored Saint/Fates Warning) are doing guest appearances! They also added a live video to this EP; recorded in Berlin, as a bonus. This video contains seven songs with the new line-up. Okay it are not the best recordings but hey; this is oldschool!!!
Everybody knows that I adore high pitched vocals and I can assure you that Sammy is one of the best singers in this genre in Europe! If you don't believe me; check them out this spring during the Killfest tour with Heathen, Destruction & Overkill!
Cant wait for a full length album guys!! Good job!!
Visit their website: http://www.afterall.be
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/afterallmetal

95/100

ASSASSIN – Breaking The Silence (CD) Germany March 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 43:12 (Tracks: 10)
These last few years the old school thrash metal scene has been bombarded with releases. Not only did the older bands keep bringing out new material, there was also a steadily increase of new bands. Because of the popularity in the genre nearly every band that released some great records in the 80's decided the time was right for a comeback album. Sadly I must admit that most of the new thrash metal records aren't nearly as good as the one's from the period when it all started. And the few good ones were almost never released by a comeback band. It was therefore that I wasn't all that enthusiastic about the new album of German thrashers Assassin. Even though they released an album in 2005, which wasn't received all that well, the only records before that dates back to the 80's. But my scepticism was about to be proven wrong. From the brilliant first track to the punkish last this album seems to point out to all the has-beens what they did wrong. This is thrash metal! It's raw, it's aggressive and yet it's all nicely melodic.The drums pound straight trough every song, the guitars produce good riff after nice solo and the vocals are just awesome. If you're into 80's thrash metal the way it's meant to be played, you might want to give one of the old legends a new chance.
Visit their website: http://www.assassin-online.de
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/assassinthrashmetal

79/100

BLIKSEM – Bliksem (MCD) Belgium March 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 28:55 (Tracks: 5)
Bliksem is a female fronted thrashband from Belgium that exist since 2007. Singer Peggy Meeussen is suited with a raw voice but can vary very good between dark en screamy vocals. The band uses a lot of breaks in their songs which makes the album sounding not to average, or even better, this album easily makes a more then average impression. The band subscribes their music as a mix of thrash, stoner and rock with some small prog elements; well I can agree in that. But luckily its mostly thrash I hear! This is a very nice MCD and I hope to check this band out live very soon! Im really curious about the bands live performance!! Good job guys & girl! Up to the first full length album when its up to me!!.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bliksem666

80/100

BUTCHER – Welcome to the Night (CD) USA March 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 57:13 (Tracks: 26)
Hey a band with the same name as my nickname, so now I am interested. Butcher from the United States of America seems to be a cult band that's origin goes back to 1991. They released their debut “Iron Tiger” in 1996. After a silence of 14 years their back with this album. When something is called a cult band it does not mean that it is fantastic. The same goes for this band. You got 14 songs and 12 intros that are crappy and not interesting (in my opinion). The guitar riffs are classic hard rock riffs and filled with solos that give you the feeling that you are listening to a band from the 80`s (which is good if you like bands like Saxon etc.). The drums are standard and groove through the songs. Then you got the vocals which are clean and not the best I ever heard. They also have a female vocalist on the song “Silence” and that really sounds bad. This band is a good band but brings you nothing new and original. The composing of the songs is good but not interesting. The production of this album is also not the best I heard. But if you like underground heavy metal with the name cult because they made one album and after 14 years their back then you should give it a try.
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/butcherusa

60/100

CAVUS – Fester and Putrefy (MCD) Finland March 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Black Metal Running time: 44:45 (Tracks: 10)
Cavus is a black metal band from Finland that was formed in 2007.This is their debut album and it gives you 10 tracks of ravaging and furious black metal. The guitar riffs are very fast and evil sounding. The same goes for the drums fast and furious. Then you got the vocals that are straight in your face evil screams. The only thing that I think that is a pity is the variety and composing of the songs every song sounds the same and the definition of the songs are also very hard to hear. Is this original? No, but is this well listenable? Yep. If you like bands like Mayhem, Dark Funeral then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.listenable.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cavusmusic

72/100

CRUSHING BLOW – Cease Fire (CD) France March 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 49:25 (Tracks: 11)
Crushing Blow are a five piece metal band from France and started out in 1997. The band wanted to create a refined style of heavy metal evolving around 3 main principles; Melodies, power and emotion. The band's first years were busy trying to complete a stable line-up, but when singer Audrey and guitarist Ben joined Crushing Blow in 2000 they made a big step forward in their quest for musical identity. In 2003 the band released their debut album “Far Away” made on French label Brennus Music, and also released in South America on Haunted Records with a different front cover. They did a lot of live playing to promote the album and got some good responses from various media. After some line-up changes the band found a new singer in Valene and a new drummer in Laurent. Then the time was there to re cord the follow up to “Far Away”, which resulted in the new album “Cease Fire”. Recorded, mixed and mastered by guitarist Ben at NVStudios and out on Inferno Records. The album is full of melodious heavy metal classics, and will certainly appeal to fans of bands like Maiden, Priest, Helloween and Doro. Strong, powerful songs with the right production and the superb voice of Valene. Crushing Blow sounds a bit like the French version of Sister Sin, maybe a little more traditional, but certainly the voice of Valene sounds like Liv in the more up tempo songs. After the opening intro, 'The Wizard's Tale' bursts loose followed by the powerful 'Redemption', after the this they take it a little slower with 'Shadow'. “Dreams' picks up the pace again, followed by the beautiful title track, with some very nice guitar work in there. Some heavy guitars and lots of double bass in the next tracks, definitely influenced by the mighty Priest and Doro, but very well done by this energetic band from France! A power ballad in the form of 'My Venom' truly does it right, before 'The Prophecies' closes this album, definitely a strong and entertaining great metal album, although nothing new is done here, it is all done perfectly well, and Valene is a big part of that!
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crushingblowmusic

87/100

D.A.M.N. – Forbidden Anger (CD) Germany March 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 48:04 (Tracks: 10)
Diary About My Nightmares was formed in Braunschweig, Germany in 2001. Since they started out, the band has recorded a demo in 2002 and released their debut album 'Das Vermachtnis' in 2006. After the release of their debut album the band toured over Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Denmark to promote it. D.A.M.N.'s music is a combination of fast and aggressive death metal including melodic and groovy parts, with a female grunting vocalist in Antonie Mrusek. D.A.M.N. has now released their second album 'Forbidden Anger' upon the world. The album is produced by Jakob Hansen (Illdisposed) and mixed by Ziggy at Zigsound Studios (Behemoth, Illdisposed, Mercenary, Hatesphere, Scamp). About the album, well it really has a heavy sound, production wise, which makes it come out so much better! Drums are sounding super fatt, while it is perfectly in balance with the more thrashy guitar riffing and unbelievable growling vocals. This is very melodic death metal, sometimes even catchy, but still very brutal and aggressive. On the album are also two instrumental pieces, opener 'Urt La Bu Tral' is a groovy death thrash song, while 'First Class Suicide' is a more acoustic “resting point” between all the death and aggression. The overall sound of the album musically reminds in some parts a bit of Amon Amarth, while the vocals of Antonie are somewhere in between Angela Gossow and Sabina Classen, and very convincingly done, in fact first time listening I didn't even notice there was a girl singing, and a beautiful one too, I had to read it in their bio! Musically there is nothing new done here, but who does these days, but this band delivers a quality melodic death/thrash metal album with a lot of variation, which unfortunately doesn't really stick out in the pile of releases these days. Nevertheless it's a very pleasant and enjoyable piece of work, for those who like there death metal melodic and thrashy!
Visit their website: http://www.damnmetal.de
Recordlabel: http://www.unexplodedrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/damnmetal

84/100

DANGER ZONE – Line Of Fire (CD) Italy March 2011 Wim van Grunsven
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 41:35 (Tracks: 10)
These guys were heading for great things in the eighties, as they were seen and heard by people who thought they had a bright future ahead of them. Unfortunately long delays and in the end the grunge hype killed off their chances once and for all. Line Of Fire was recorded in 1989 and back then it could have really made a mark on you as a listener of American style hard rock. Because that is exactly what you get. This is as American as the hamburger. Think Dokken, Rough Cutt and Malice and you are heading in the right direction. Productionwise this is quite good, and the songs on offer aren't exactly bad either. Even their version of T-Rex's Children Of The Revolution has made it through unscathed. Simply said, if you do like your American style eighties hard rock, you can't go wrong with Danger Zone. Just don't expect them to make the earth move, as they just miss that special spark that would make them a cut above the rest.
Visit their website: http://www. dangerzoneweb.com
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dangerzoneband

70/100

DEUS INVICTUS – Staged In Awaiting (CD) USA March 2011 Wim van Grunsven
Style: Extreme Progressive Metal Running time: 65:15 (Tracks: 11)
This isn't for the fainthearted, as it does make your mind wander all over the stratosphere through the intensity of the way Deus Invictus play their music. This is a mix between Meshuggah and Opeth and then some. These guys must have thought to themselves; why do anything easy when we can make it hard and unfathomable for the normal human ear. Complexity and heaviness are the name of the game on Staged In Awaiting, but, you know what? They actually do it right! This might take you a number of listens to take it all in, in the end it all makes sense. And it's effing good as well. If you are one of those people who enjoy being taken to places mankind has never been before (Thanks Kirk), than you must enter the Deus Invictus spaceship and enjoy the ride. Just remember to bring a sleeping bag, because you'll be knackered by keeping up with everything that is going on around you!
Recordlabel: http://www.bombworkrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deusinvictus

82/100

EDGE OF SPIRIT – Edge Of Spirit (CD) Japan March 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metalcore / Hardcore Running time: 39:36 (Tracks: 9)
From Tokyo, Japan comes Metalcore band EDGE OF SPIRIT. To me, this is my first acquaintance with these Japanese band, which was formed in 1997. The line-up of EDGE OF SPIRIT exists of Sho (vocals), Yamaken (guitar), Hiroki (guitar), One#1 (bass) and Dr. K. (drums). So far the band has released the following albums "Screaming For The Truth" (1999) and "Rebirth" (2005). This self titled album, which is produced by the band themselves and was released in December 2010 on Demons Run Amok, features 9 excellent Metalcore songs. The last track of the album is a European bonus track by the way. Okay, the band doesn't sound very original, but songs like "Progression And Revolution", "Destroy", "Songs Of The Truth", "Dear Fuckers" and "Never Ending Path" are all sounding damn good and very tight. EDGE OF SPIRIT exists of very good musicians and Sho is a perfect singer for this type of music. Very good album and fantastic band, so Hardcore and Metalcore freaks who like bands as UNEARTH, HATEBREED and CHIMAIRA check this album out.
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/edgeofspirit

82/100

EVERGREY – Glorious Collision (CD) Sweden March 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 61:43 (Tracks: 13)
This is the first album the completely renewed Evergrey has put out. I saw the completely renewed Evergrey live at the “Boerderij“ in Zoetermeer for the first time last year. I've seen Evergrey over twenty times and loved their shows but at this show for me the magic had disappeared. So I was very curious what this album would bring. I'm very happy to say that this is again a great Evergrey album. Last year Evergrey had an important message to share. Apparent three members of the band were leaving. They left because the passion had disappeared and to avoid that the friendship they share would get ruined. The only original member nowadays is Tom S. Englund (vocals, guitars) that has been around since 1995. Further on Rikard Zander(keyboards) is part of the band since 2002. The newest members are, Marcus Jidell (guitars), Johann Niemann (bass) and Hannes Van Dahl (drums).
The album, their eighth full-length studio album, starts of with “Leave It Behind Us”, which shows that Evergrey is still alive and kicking. The power is present and this combined with subtle keyboards and great vocals results in a great song. “You” also goes full speed ahead. Tom's beautiful voice is the most important trademark of Evergrey's sound. He has a very distinctive voice and he is able to sound very passionate, emotional, sensitive but heavy too. A perfect example of his vocal capacities can be heard on “Wrong” and this combined with some fantastic guitar playing results in another beautiful song. Machine-like blasting drumming and atmospheric keyboards dominate “Frozen”. The next track, “Restoring The Loss”, has a more straight-forward vibe. Another perfect example of Evergrey's quality is “To Fit The Mold”, that contains a monstrous guitar- solo, great keyboards and again Tom to finish it off. The shortest song on the album, “Out Of Reach”, is also the most catchy song on the album. Tom delivers yet another great vocal performance on “The Phantom Letters” as he puts a lot of emotion in his singing. This carries on at “The Disease…” which is another great Evergrey-song. “It Comes From Within” kicks of very heavy with great guitar riffing. This song keeps on going and only slows down in the middle to end heavy with a screaming guitar-solo. The pace goes down as “Free” is a very slow song with Tom singing very emotional and Rikard colouring the sound with his atmospheric keyboards. Some sounds of a child can be heard at “I'm Drowning Alone” that is a classical Evergrey-track. “…And The Distance” is one of the shorter songs but is a high quality track. The overall level of the songs is high but that is almost what you expect of Evergrey because they have released several great albums. I'm going to watch them perform live with Kamelot and also so headlining-gigs, if this dates don't get cancelled, and I'm sure the new Evergrey will be a better oiled band than the last time I saw them. What a great band this is !!!
Visit their website: http://www.evergrey.net
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/evergreyofficial

88/100

GLAMOUR OF THE KILL – The Summoning (CD) United Kingdom March 2011 Wim van Grunsven
Style: Glam Heavy Metal Running time: 51:20 (Tracks: 12)
Glamour Of The Kill released their debut almost three years ago, and they call this their debut once again. I know, as I reviewed the album back in the olden days. It just carried the name of the band, not The Summoning. I thought it was an average attempt to renew the glam music that is around. Apparently nobody followed up on them since those days, and that usually is for a reason. BUT, and it's a big one, they have cleaned up their act considerably. The songs have been rerecorded and are a lot heavier, a lot more divers and a lot more interesting. On the other hand, they haven't become any better. They still are average, only sounding a lot better than they did. The reason they don't stick out is easy: they don't have that gripping factor that makes a nice song into a good one, or an average album into a better one. Sorry…
Recordlabel: http://www.afflicted1.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/glamourofthekill

64/100

HIEROPHANT – Hierophant (CD) Italy March 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hardcore Running time: 35:04 (Tracks: 10)
First of all, I never had heard of HIEROPHANT before. HIEROPHANT is an Italian five-piece hardcore band, existing of Carlo (vocals), Lorenzo (guitar), Roberto (guitar), Matt (bass) and Ben (drums) and was formed in April of 2009. As you can see, this is the self titled debut album of the band, and it features ten songs. But to be honest, this isn't really my type of Hardcore band. The band themselves call their music style Black Metal, Hardcore and Psychedelic on their MySpage page. Anyway, I've listened several times to “Hierophant”, but I must say that every time I listened to it, I really didn't get impressed. To me it all sounds like one piece of brutal noise. So, I don't have any favourite songs on this CD at all. And another thing is that I also don't like the vocals of Carlo. Anyway, I'm sure that there are Hardcore freaks out there, who will like this stuff very much. So if you like bands as RINGWORM or INTEGRITY, then check this Italian band out. I'm giving this album 50 points out of 100, but people who will like this album are of course giving “Hierophant” a much higher rating as I did. Personally I have heard much better Hardcore albums on Demons Run Amok.
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hierophantkvlt

50/100

INFINITY OVERTURE – The Infinity Overture Pt. 1 (CD) Denmark March 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 47:19 (Tracks: 9)
From Denmark comes this band (project ?) founded by guitarist Niels Vejlyt in 2005. In 2009 their debut “Kingdom of Utopia” came out. I'm not familiar with this one, but besides founder Niels we are talking about a complete different line up. The course of that lies in the fact that the musicians who played on the first album and those who played live were completely different, so he chose for the best alternative: a line up that plays live as well as on this new album.
Besides a few guest appearances, which seems to be so normal nowadays, this band's got to do the job. Basically they play very melodic, symphonic and progressive stuff with neo-classical influences. There is no doubt that all is played by very skilled musicians, especially the guitarwork by Niels and the fantastic voice of new vocal talent Kimmie Tenna Nielsen are worth to mention. Nothing wrong with that at all. Nevertheless this album doesn't convince any moment. Strange that so much talent isn't capable of reinforcing each other to come up with a descent track. It doesn't match, it's like everyone has played his thing and in the studio it has been stick together with adhesive tape. To make things even more worse, somebody found it necessary to adjust a very bad, highly irritating grunt in some tracks, which really doesn't fit in, bringing the compositions further down. The piano/keyboard riddles and guitar escapades are way too much for me either, but that is a matter of taste and opinion. Nevertheless, I think it's all a waste of talent on this album; it could have been so much better. On the scale of indicating points this results in 40 compositional and 84 musically skills (with regards to Kimmi) averaged as below.
Visit their website: http://www.welcometoinfinity.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/welcomtoinfinity

62/100

IRONWOOD – Storm Over Sea (CD) Australia March 2011 Wim van Grunsven
Style: Extreme Metal Running time: 55:47 (Tracks: 08)
Ironwood cares. Especially about the seas and oceans of this earth. They cherish the extreme diversity it offers. To match that they have made their music just as divers. You go from folk metal to death metal and back to acoustic stuff in seconds, and of course you will hear everything in between. Ironwood can't make their mind up. Just look at the band name. The same can be said for their music, as the pots they take their influences from vary so much that you never can tell what you are going to get next. That is not an issue when the music is extremely good, because in that case people will follow you wherever you go. The music of Storm Over Sea is definitely good and well played, but I'm just not sure it's good enough to have most of the listeners follow suit. Well, there is only one way to find out whether this is your cup of tea, just download the album! And yes, it is legitimate, as the band do offer it for free on their own website.
Visit their website: http://www.ironwoodsound.com.au
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ironwoodband

76/100

IZEGRIM – Code of Consequenses (CD) The Netherlands March 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 43:32 (Tracks: 10)
Last year I did a review on 'Point of no return,' the MCD that Izegrim released in 2009. I really liked that CD and therefore I was very excited to receive their latest album 'Code of consequenses' in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago. The album contains ten songs and is released through Listenable Recods. With their previous releases, Izegrim has built up a steady reputation in the (inter)national thrash metal scene. With the addition of 'Code of consequences,' I think they will establish themselves even more. The musical style as played by Izegrim is a combination of classic thrash metal with a lot of death metal ingredients, but thrash always remains the centre. I know this sounds a bit vague, but listen tot the songs and you will understand what mean. What I personally like very much are the typical, mid-tempo thrash parts that makes you want to bang you f*cking head of. Take for example the opening track 'Victim of Honor.' This song will do great during their live performances. Take the brutal riffs, catchy solo's, powerfull drums and the sick vocals of vocalist Marloes and what do you get? One of Holland's most interesting Thrash acts at this moment. There is not much more to say about this album really, except the fact that if you like qualitatively good Thrash metal, you have to give this album a try. In fact: that's obligatory!
Visit their website: http://www.izegrim.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.listenable.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/izegrim

90/100

JAG PANZER – The Scourge of the Ligtht (CD) USA March 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 48:50 (Tracks: 10)
Seven years after their latest release “Casting the Stones” Jag Panzer is finally back with a new album! The band still consist of original members Mark Briody (guitar), John Tetley (bass) and the best metalsinger in the whole universe Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin. Not to forget drummer Rikard Stjernquist (member since 1986) and returned guitarplayer Christian Lasegue who replaced Chris Broderick (now in Megadeth) a couple of years ago.
What to tell about this album of my favorite metalband? Well; difficult because to be honest; I am a bit disappointed. Why? After 7 years I was expecting a hell of a metal album and now, after listening the album for at least 20 times, I have to notice that this album is not making my expectations satisfied. Okay, musically and vocally its of course good but I've heard most of the songs already before on other Jag Panzer albums. The album reminds me most to the “Thane to the Throne” album (2000). Of course there are a few classic songs like 'Condemned to Fight', 'Overlorde', 'Let it Out' and 'Burn'. Other songs like 'Union” are boring and 'Bringing the End' could have been copied from a Jorn Lande album. The other 4 songs are average Jag Panzer songs
As said; my expectations where maybe to high but I still hope to see the band live again soon because on stage the band is at their best!!
Visit their website: http://www.jagpanzer.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jagpanzer

78/100

JUROJIN – The Living Measure Of Time (CD) United Kingdom March 2011 Wim van Grunsven
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 30:12 (Tracks: 07)
When I spoke to the Dutch promoter of Jurojin he called the band Tool light. And in all fairness, he has a point there. This is exactly the kind of music that Tool is famous for, only with just that bit more groove and swing. This doesn't dig as deep, doesn't leave you panting and grasping for air. No, Jurojin get the better of you, but they also leave some space to breathe, to enjoy and occasionally even party. Musically this is as strong as a brick house and the vocals are the pinnacle of what they should be to make the music stand out just that bit more. And what is more important, this grabs you by your balls and doesn't let go until the much too short half hour of this record has passed. If you dig Tool and similar kinds of bands and music, don't hesitate, go for the throat and dive right into The Living Measure Of Time. You will discover that these Uk citizens even have the ability to make music that is outside the metal box, but fits in perfectly (Proem).
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jurojin

84/100

MANTICORA – Safe (CD) Denmark March 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Power Metal Running time: 49:29 (Tracks: 7)
Manticora is a progressive power metal band from Denmark, that was formed in 1996 under the name Fear Itself by Lars F. Larsen (vocals), Kristian Larsen (guitars) and Mads Volf (drums). The name was changed into Manticora in 1997. After some line-up changes, nowadays Manticora consists of the three founding members and Martin Arendal (guitars), Kasper Gram (bass) and Ronni Clasen (keyboards). “Safe” is Manticora's seventh full-length album. Me, I don't know all of the other six, but this one is a real killer. Right from the first second of “In the Abyss Of Desperation”, the power hits you in the face. A comparison can be made to Blind Guardian but even more to Demons & Wizards, the project between Jon Schaffer (Iced Earth) and Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian). It's power metal at it's fullest and it's just the beginning. Like on the biggest part of the album, Volf is very present in “Silence The Freedom” as he hits his drum-kit big time. It almost sounds machine-gun a-like, firing rounds of ammunition. Larsen has a very distinctive voice that I like but I don't know if it's to everyone's liking. “Complete” is yet another real fast one with blasting drums and a sturdy bass but above all a real fantastic guitar solo. The end of the song is rather abrupt. I don't know who chose the name of the next track, “From The Pain Of Loss (I Learned About The Truth)”, that is the shortest track by the way. It's a nice one to announce on stage! This song has some parts that are slightly slower but the track has the same intensity like the rest on the album. “A Lake That Drained” starts in a galloping fashion that doesn't stop until the end of the song. Like on the biggest part of the album the twin guitars are all around. So are they on “Carrion Eaters” and they take their chances amongst the ever present drums. Like many bands the last song is a epic song. Manticora is no exception as they end the album with “Safe” that lasts over fourteen minutes and that is divided into four parts. On this track the diversity is bigger than on the other tracks, making it a true epic song. It is a good way to show what Manticora is all about. One will call it power metal, others will call it speed metal. I think it's a mix of different styles that result in Manticora. They have been around for quite some time. It's good to see that bands keep on doing what they love and want to show it live too like Manticora did so far on several tours they were on. Keep on the good work, guys.
Visit their website: http://www.manticora.dk
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/manticorarocks

84/100

MASS – '84 Unchained (CD) USA March 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal / Hard Rock Running time: 21:49 (Tracks: 5)
What we are dealing with here is the re-issue of the Mass 1984 debut with the addition of a bonus track (“Bones”). Mass is a white metal band that was formed in the early 80s and released two albums and two EPs before splitting up in the late 80s. The band made a comeback in 2007 and has been releasing albums and EPs ever since. This EP is a testimony of early white metal with lots of hard rock influences. Holy One is the track that stands out with its epic metal feeling while the other cuts are in a more hard rock fashion but still powerful. For those who have issues with the lyrics, it might help mention that Mass is not as preachy as other bands of the genre. Definitely for fans of Barren Cross, Stryper and Bloodgood.
Visit their website: http://www.massrocks.com
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/masstheband

74/100

MASS – Fighter (CD) USA March 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal / Hard Rock Running time: 41:03 (Tracks: 10)
Unlike what most people think (including myself until recently), the 1984 EP is not the first album recorded by American White metal-hard rock band Mass. “Fighter” was recorded in 1982 and was meant to be the band's debut through the huge A&M label but things got ugly between the corporate guys and the band so the album was shelved while Mass struggled for years to gain its freedom through courts of justice. Apparently the band made it and here it is, almost 30 years since its original recording. One can easily understand that this is a piece of hard rock history more or less. In my humble opinion, “Fighter” is better that the 84 EP! And although it was recorded two years earlier it's quite as heavy. The highlight of the album is “Voyager” a great tune with heavy guitars, catchy chorus and an epic feeling but there are many songs that will draw your attention. The song “Fighter” is also amazing, the most epic tune of the album. Mass sounds like a heavier version of Giuffria's Angel and that counts as a plus if you ask me.
Visit their website: http://www.massrocks.com
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/masstheband

78/100

MESSIAH – Final Warning (CD) USA March 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Heavy Metal Running time: 41:40 (Tracks: 9)
Although I am into Hard Rock since 1977, I must admit that I never had heard of American band MESSIAH before. I only know the Swiss Death/Thrash metal band MESSIAH. Anyway, this MESSIAH is a Christian Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band which started in the mid 70's as a highly successful tribute band, with tribute shows to ALICE COOPER, KISS and BLACK SABBATH. But eventually they started to write their own songs, which resulted in their vinyl album “Final Warning” (1984) and the vinyl five track EP “Going Insane” (1986). Both releases had no distribution and, when the band broke with their management, all copies of the album and EP disappeared. Shortly after that, the band disbanded. So, the band had existed until 1987. Now nearly three decades later, “Final Warning” as well as the EP “Going Insane” are released on CD for the very first time by Retroactive Records. Anyway, the line-up on this album and the “Going Insane” EP existed of Charles Michael (vocals), Scott Wood (guitar), Dave Johnson (bass, keyboards) and Keith Behnke (drums). Well readers of MMM, this is really AWESOME stuff. Now I do understand why this album is CULT to a lot of people, and that this album is considered as a classic Christian metal album. After all those years, the songs on “Final Warning” are still sounding great. The band existed of very talented musicians, and Charles Michael is a good singer as well. But man, what a GREAT guitar player Wood is, and what a fantastic compositions. “Where Are You”, which is the third track, isn't a bad song, but in my opinion it's less in comparison with great songs like “Who's To Blame”, “Outta Control”, “The Choice”, “Heavenly Metal”, “Mistaken Identity”, “Keep Searching”, “Lucifer” and “Final Warning” (SUPERB). And to me, “Lucifer” and “Final Warning” are absolutely the high lights of the album. Two superb songs with killer guitar solo's of Wood. Great album. Thanks to Retroactive Records for putting this “classic” album on CD.
Visit their website: http://www.messiah-the-final-warning.com
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net

87/100

MESSIAH – Going Insane (CD) USA March 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Heavy Metal Running time: 44:51 (Tracks: 8)
For more info about Christian Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band MESSIAH, look at my review above of their fantastic album “Final Warning”. Also the five track EP “Going Insane”, which was released in 1986, has now been released on CD for the very first time. And that EP is added with three songs of their 1979 demo. Those three songs of that 1979 demo are “Lucifer”, “Final Warning” (both songs ended up on the “Final Warning” album), and “You'd Better Say A Prayer”. Two songs of the EP were already on the “Final Warning” album, namely “Heavenly Metal” and “Where Were You”, but I think these are newly recorded versions. Anyway “Going Insane”, “We Will Rock” and “Evil Lies” are all complete new songs on this EP, and are great as well. And it's also very nice to have the demo songs as an extra on this CD as well. The booklets of the album and EP are both very well provided with lyrics and liner notes. Together with “Final Warning”, this EP is just fantastic.
Visit their website: http://www.messiah-the-final-warning.com
Recordlabel: http://www.retroactiverecords.net

85/100

M.I.C. – 3rd Degree (CD) China March 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock Running time: 41:04 (Tracks: 12)
Again I got the newest album of M.I.C. (MADE IN CHINA) from Mario to review. In February 2010 I reviewed M.I.C.'s self titled album "Made In China" (2008) and in April of 2010 I reviewed the band's second album "Out 2 Rock" (2010). There already was a slight improvement between the first and second album, and I must say that that improvement continues a little bit on this third album. But it's not so that I'm saying 'wow what a great band and fantastic music'. Okay, the level of the songs is in my opinion also a bit better, although most of the songs are still very simple. What notices me also is, that with every new album the band has a new line-up. Besides Yvon Serre (vocals, guitar) and Angela Renzetti (vocals; on "Out 2 Rock" she also played guitar), the new members are Uchida "Yugi" Yuuji (bass), Tommy Burke (drums) and Dave Smith (keyboards). Well, this third album features 12 songs, of which "I'll Be Back" is a duet between Serre and Renzetti. Okay, it's all still not very spectacular what the band does, and I can listen to the songs on this album, but with that enough is said. It's just like with the two previous albums an album which I wouldn't easily buy myself, and in that case M.I.C. would never be one of my favorite bands. Anyway, "3rd Degree" was produced by Serre himself and sounds good. A few songs which I like are "What You Do To Me", "Barbie Lady" and "I Am Ready". People who already liked the first two albums of M.I.C., can buy this one too, and anyone who is curious about this Chinese band, I would advise to check them out on their MySpace page. Oh yeah, according to the info sheet, M.I.C. has already begun working on their 4th album, which is scheduled for a release in early 2012.
Visit their website: http://www.yvonserre.com/mic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/madeinchine

64/100

MIKE CAMPESE – Electric City (CD) USA March 2011 Ronny Elst
Style: Guitar Dominated Rock Running time: 76:31 (Tracks: 14)
Mike Campese was born in New York City, started playing the guitar at the age of thirteen and moved to California after High School to go to one of the top guitar schools in North America, GIT. He graduated with top honours and moved back to NY. These days, Mike is known as a guitar virtuoso, an all-around music performer, and a session artist competent in many musical styles (electric and acoustic). Mike has been featured and is a lesson writer for many national guitar magazines such as Guitar World and Guitar Player. He also writes lessons for several online sites such as Guitar9.com and Chops From Hell. Mike teaches over 60 students a week and is one of the top teachers in the NY area. He also released 3 instructional dvd's for Chops From Hell. Further more, Mike was a member of the Trans-Siberian-Orchestra, appeared on a Jason Becker Tribute cd, and performed and opened for many acts such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, Vinnie Moore and many others! Mike has released 7 solo cd's to date, of which “Electric City” is the latest one. This 14 song, over 76 minute release, is filled with some of the most blistering guitar work Mike has ever recorded! The cd kicks off with some over the top shredding songs like “Eleventh Degree” and Shred Machine”. But there is not only over the top shredding, there are also some Indian inspired songs like “Cruisin Across The Mojave” and “Camelryde”. Besides that there is also the ballad “Closer To The Sun” and some funky tunes in “Butterfingers” and “Punk Ass”. On the album are also influences from other music styles, and Mike also sings on three songs. So there's a lot of variety on “Electric City”. The conclusion is that Mike can really shred but he also has a strong sense of melody. I personally don't like that much his vocals, but he certainly is a very talented guitarist!
Visit their website: http://www.mikecampese.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mikecampese

77/100

MILES TO PERDITION – Vengeance (MCD) Luxembourg March 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death / Death Core Metal Running time: 27:45 (Tracks: 7)
Miles To Perdition is a new band that started spreading their rage in 2007. In 2008 they released a demo and 2010 gave birth to this EP. This EP totally kicks ass. Seven tracks of furious and powerful melodic death/death core. The guitar riffs are technical, melodic and groovy thrash metal riffs combined with death metal riffs and filled with melody and solos (and very fast). Then you got the drums that are pounding through every song like a train that cannot be stopped, and the double bass and groove in the drums are also fucking great. The vocals are screams and grunts that remind me a lot of Exhumed (very well done). The variety and composing of the songs are straight in your face and interesting enough to make you listen to all the songs. The production of this EP is also fucking brutal (done by Sven Janssens, ex Aborted, Red left Hand). If you like bands like Melodic Death and Death core then you should their myspace and order it because this band is not signed.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/milestoperdition

75/100

M.ILL.ION – Sane & Insanity (CD) Sweden March 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / Melodic Metal Running time: 52:02 (Tracks: 13)
It's been a long time ago since I've listened to M.ILL.ION's previous album “Thrill Of The Chase”, which I reviewed in June of 2008. That album was a very nice acquaintance to me at that time. Well, now I received the newest album of these Swedish rockers from Mario, titled “Sane & Insanity”, and it's the seventh album of the band. What notices me, is that there has been a slight changing in the line-up of M.ILL.ION. The band has a new guitarist, which is Andreas Grövle and a new keyboard player called Angelo Modafferi (who's from Australia). The rest of the band members are still Ulrich Carlsson (vocals), B.J. Laneby (bass; who's the only member from the beginning) and Per Westergren (drums). Anyway, “Sane & Insanity” features thirteen tracks, and is just like it's predecessor “Thrill Of The Chase” a fantastic melodic Rock album with heavy and catchy songs. The CD starts with the intro “Sea Of Fate”, followed by the fantastic “Cry Of Heaven”. Then we get the heavy “Everyday Hero”, which sounds like a mixture of DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW, and is also a great song. On the limited edition of this album, there's also a video of “Everyday Hero” on it. But in fact, the whole album is fantastic. Great songs, awesome guitar solo's of newcomer Grövle, very good production (done by Martin Kronlund). What else do you need! Anyway, I don't have any negative points to mention about “Sane & Insanity”. M.ILL.ION is mostly influenced by the classic 70's Hard Rock bands like KISS, DEEP PURPLE, UFO, WHITESNAKE, RAINBOW, THIN LIZZY and BLACK SABBATH. “Test Of Time” is another song which reminds of DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW. But on some other songs, M.ILL.ION reminds me also of early EUROPE and of DOKKEN. The semi-ballad on this CD is titled “Fuel To My Heart” and is just nice. Although all songs are fantastic, I would say that my favourites of this excellent album are “Cry Of Heaven”, “Everyday Hero”, “Tomorrow Never Dies”, “Hell's Gate”, the up-tempo “Drama Queens”, “Test Of Time” and “Hate”. This is again a fantastic Melodic Rock album of M.ILL.ION, which I can recommend to anyone who's into good melodic rock, and of course to anyone who liked their former albums as well.
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/millionized

87/100

MORITZ - Undivided (CD) United Kingdom March 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: AOR Running time: 49:39 (Tracks: 12)
Moritz was formed in 1986 and in that time, they released a single, an EP and some demo`s. Because of the lack of interest of record labels, Moritz stopped in 1988. Guitarist and songwriter Greg Hart, bassist Ian Edwards, drummer Andy Elphick and keyboardist Andy Stewart formed the band If Only together with singer Tina Egan. Singer Pete Scallan joined Samson where he sang the album Refugee. Years later, Greg Hart (on the advice of British music journalist Rob Evans) released City Streets, an eight-track album with mostly old songs from the EP for example. Because the responses were enthusiastic, Hart contacted his old band mates and together they decided to give Moritz a new chance. Compared with the old line-up, the only change is the position of the drummer. Mick Neaves has joined the band to fill this position. The band reunion has now lead to the release of Undivided.
Undivided has become an average AOR album. It is a mixture of brand new songs and some from twenty five years ago that have been re-recorded. The musical skills of the band members are good, and Pete Scallan has a nice voice which fits very well with the music. The album starts quite promising with nice AOR songs, influenced by bands like Journey, Survivor etc. However, I miss sometimes variation and excitement, especially the second part of the album is played on the automatic pilot. That`s why the music is not always innovative. The best song of the album is the title track where every band member outshines. I can recommend this album to people who like well played AOR.
Visit their website: http://harmonyfactory.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/moritzblitz

75/100

MOTHERSTONE – Terror Is Over (CD) Italy March 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal Running time: 38:20 (Tracks: 10)
First of all, I never had heard of Italian metal band MOTHERSTONE before, so this album "Terror Is Over" is my first acquaintance with these Italians. And I must say it's a nice acquaintance. Okay, it is not a very striking album, but simply a nice album which I do like in any case. MOTHERSTONE was formed in 2003 and has released a demo "Just A Little Dose", a four track EP "Through The Paths Of Insanity" (2006) and their debut album "Biolence" (2008). So, "Terror Is Over" is the band's second full length album, and it features 10 tracks. According to the info sheet, "Terror Is Over" is the last chapter of the trilogy about insanity. Anyway, during the existence of the band, there were of course some line-up changes, but the current line-up of MOTHERSTONE exists of Vale (clean vocals), JJ Mammasasso (vocals; screams & grunts), Daniele "Dani Hell" Pompei (guitar), Ivano Conti (bass) and Rik Mackey (drums). I like the combination between the clean vocals of Vale and the screams/death grunts of Mammasasso. Vale's voice reminds me of GUANO APES' Sandra Nasiæ, and Mammasasso sounds just like any other grunter. The band is inspired by Metal bands such as METALICCA, SLIPKNOT, PANTERA and MACHINE HEAD, but also by melodic Rock bands as ALTER BRIDGE and FOO FIGHTERS. And indeed, in a few songs you can hear that METALLICA is one of the band's influences. For example, the beginning of “Mental Wreckage”, sounds exactly as METALLICA's “Harvester Of Sorrow”. And of that classic METALLICA song, the band also used a sample (or they played it themselves??) of it in the last few seconds of second track “24/7 Sedation”. Anyway, because of Vale's voice, makes that the band reminds me of the GUANO APES very much (only a bit heavier). The production of "Terror Is Over" was done by the band themselves and sounds very good. As like I said, "Terror Is Over" is not a very striking album, but it is at least an album worth for checking it out, because songs like “Face Your Fate”, “24/7 Sedation”, “Mental Wreckage”, “All Denied”, “Satellite” and “Terror Is Over” deserves it to be heard. So give this band a chance, because it's not a bad album at all. To me, MOTHERSTONE is in my opinion a good and interesting Italian metal band, because I've heard a lot of Italian bands who are much worse.
Visit their website: http://www.motherstone.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/motherstonemusic

80/100

MOTÖRHEAD – The Wörld Is Yours (CD) United Kingdom March 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock And Roll / Hard Rock / Metal Running time: 39:13 (Tracks: 10)
MOTÖRHEAD doesn't need any introduction of course. Which metalhead or rocker doesn't know this legendary Rock & Roll band? Since the band was formed by Ian Fraser Kilmister, better known as Lemmy, in 1975, the band gave us many classic albums, especially with the classic line-up of Lemmy (vocals, bass), "Fast" Eddie Clarke (guitar) and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor (drums). But MOTÖRHEAD also released some albums which were less. During MOTÖRHEAD's 35 year career, the band had several line-up changes, but everyone who's into metal knows (or should know) that the current MOTÖRHEAD line-up has been steady for many years now. Guitarist Phil Campbell is in the band since 1984 and drummer Mikkey Dee since 1992. So, Phil and Mikkey are longer in MOTÖRHEAD than the classic MOTÖRHEAD line-up has ever existed. Anyway, "The Wörld Is Yours" is MOTÖRHEAD's 20th studio album, and it is again a fantastic MOTÖRHEAD album if you ask me. "The Wörld Is Yours" is available as a digi-pack version as well as the standard (jewel case) version, which I have bought, and has been released through MOTÖRHEAD's own label Motörhead Music and distributed by EMI Music Services. The album was, just like the previous albums "Inferno" (2004), "Kiss Of Death" (2006) and "Motörizer" (2008), again produced by Cameron Webb and sounds very good. In fact, "The Wörld Is Yours" is of the same level as the albums "Inferno" and "Motörizer". MOTÖRHEAD sounds of course such as we all got used of them, because the band has such a very recognizable sound. And the reason of it is of course mister Lemmy himself. Actually, Lemmy is MOTÖRHEAD. This new album features 10 songs, and starts with the awesome "Born To Lose", which is, together with "Outlaw", one of the fastest songs of the CD. "Brotherhood Of Man" is a good song, but it's not one of my favorites. "Waiting For The Snake" has a fantastic groove, "Rock 'N' Roll Music" has also some AC/DC in it. Well, actually I like all songs, but to name a few favorites of this album, I would say "Born To Lose", "I Know How To Die", "Get Back In Line", "Devils In My Head", "Waiting For The Snake" and "Outlaw". "The Wörld Is Yours" is another perfect MOTÖRHEAD album, which can't be missed in your collection. So, if you don't have it yet, BUY IT!!!!
Visit their website: http://www.imotorhead.com
Recordlabel: http://www.emimusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/motorhead

88/100

OVERDRIVE – Angelmaker (CD) Sweden March 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 58:28 (Tracks: 12)
Overdrive has their roots in the eighties when they released two albums. The original line-up reunited in 1997 and once again in 2003. “Angelmaker” is their second album since the second reunion. Overdrive has had a very consistent line-up, dating back to their formation in 1980. The only “new” member is vocalist Per “PerilOz” Karlsson, who joined the band in 2003 and replaced Pelle Thuresson shortly after the last reunion. The rest of the band consists of Janne Stark (guitars), Kjell Jacobsson (guitars), Kenth Ericsson (bass) and Kenta Svensson (drums). Back in the eighties, I bought their first two albums so for me it was a big surprise to get to hear these songs live at Sweden Rock Festival over twenty years later. They put down a great show, which proved that Overdrive is still alive and kicking. This album kicks off heavy with “Signs All Over” on which Kenta pounds his drum-kit combined with screaming guitars and vocals supported by heavy bass-lines. The tempo goes down a bit on the next track, “In Gut We Trust”, but the heaviness remains. The title-track “Angelmaker” tells the story of the Swedish angelmakers. These were a group of women that lived a long time ago and that “took care” of illegitimate children through drowning, suffocation or starvation, being paid for their services. This song is fast, heavy and has a real driving pace. It will hit you in the face. These first three, real traditional heavy metal songs, are followed by a Russ Ballard–song that was sung by Frida Lyngstad from Abba back in 1982. It's “I Known There's Something Going On” and it sounds very good in this heavy version. Iron Maiden-influences are al over “Under The Influence”. The sound of thunder starts of “On With The Action”, a song filled with heavy bass, pounding drums, true heavy metal vocals and of course two excelling guitarists. The rest of the songs on the album all have the same great sound and constant high quality. It's traditional heavy metal at it's best. The last song is the longest song on the album. It's “The Wavebreaker” and clocks just over ten minutes. It starts with acoustic guitar and soft vocals but turns into a real epic song with a heavy middle part with both guitarists showing their individual qualities. Towards the end of the song the acoustic guitar takes over and Per closes the song on a sensitive note. If you like traditional heavy metal with a lot of power you will love this album. Some people think that older bands that reunite are not very interesting. Overdrive proves them wrong. They are here to stay!
Visit their website: http://www.overdrive.se
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/overdrivesweden

85/100

PATATJE METAL – Proef de Peen 'ns (MCD) The Netherlands March 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Cover / Tribute Rock Running time: 28:04 (Tracks: 6)
Another MCD by these Dutch party rockers! I already reviewed their previous releases (see Archive CD/DVD reviews) and I really like what the band is doing; covering dutch evergreens like “Suzanne” (VOF De Kunst), 'Ik verscheurde je foto' (Koos Alberts), 'Toveren' (K3), 'Zeg maar niets meer' (Andre Hazes), 'Als de morgen is gekomen' (Jan Smit) & 'De Clown' (Ben Cramer).
A song like 'Ik verscheurde je foto' is recorded in a Kiss context and sounds better than the original Kiss (or has that to do with my personal hate against these metalclowns ;-).
The song 'Toveren” is mixed with Ozzy's 'Crazy Train'.
'Zeg maar niets meer' is suited with some acoustic guitarsolos and ends up heavier than the original singers weight!!!
'Als de morgen is gekomen' starts very Iron Maiden-a like with a leading role for singer Marco Borsatan! Bassplayer Nico Haat also lifts this song up to even more Maiden nostalgia.
Opener 'Suzanne' and the last song 'De Clown' are also both sounding better than the original songs; this all because of the great musicianship of Marco Borsatan, Nico Haat, Rammstein Shaffy, Het Beest & Dennie Antichristian.
Time to see this band alive finally!!!! For fans of metal and carnival ;-)
Visit their website: http://www.patatjemetal.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/patatjemetal

80/100

PENTACROSTIC – The Pain Years 1989-2010 (CD) Brazil March 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death Doom Metal Running time: 71:21 (Tracks: 15)
Pentacrostic from Brazil is an old school death doom band that was formed in 1989. They released their first demo in 1990 and the second in 1991. The debut “The Pain Tears” was released in 1992. Their second album “The Profundis” in 1996 and their third “Moments of the Affliction” in 2003. 2009 gave birth to their 4th album “The meaning of Life”. The Pain Years is a compilation album of their releases. It contains 14 tracks of their self and an cover of the legendary “Vulcano” (the song is named “Fallen Angel”). The guitar riffs are straight in your face death doom riffs with a lot of groove and solos, sometimes you can hear a bit of Morbid Angel and Celtic Frost influences in it. The drums are also very groovy with a lot of double bass and up tempo in it. Then you got the vocals…dark evil grunts that reminds a lot of Bolt Thrower and Mourning (old school Dutch doom/death). The production of this album is very filthy and old school, but not bad. If you like doom death metal then you should definitely give this a try.
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/murderrecords
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pentacrosticbr

74/100

PREMATORY - Suiciety (CD) Belgium March 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 30:00 (Tracks: 8)
Prematory is Belgian thrash metal band formed in 2007. After a demo in 2009 they have released there debut album in the end of last year. Even though I do a lot of local shows I still hadn't had the chance of seeing these guys live which is kind of sad cause thrash metal simply belongs on stage. Anyway this debut isn't all that special but it definitely isn't bad at all. Overall the band plays a mix of thrash and heavy metal which sound mostly thrash because of the drums. The guitars have a more heavy metal sound but still fit quite goud in the overall mix. The vocals aren't bad at all but they don't stand out among the rest of the bands. Since the band released this without a label they do deserve full support from the underground so I suggest you go and buy this one to help out the local metal scene. We all know they deserve it and you're really can't go all that wrong with this one.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/prematory

68/100

SHW – e-life (CD) Italy March 2011 Wim van Grunsven
Style: Alternative Rock Running time: 39:41 (Tracks: 10)
This album actually is three years old, according to the SHW website. It makes me wonder why it hasn't reached my ears before, as I do like what is on offer here. Groovy rock that doesn't follow the downtrodden paths, but dares to go through a full field of landmines, occasionally hitting one or other, setting things of in one direction or other. You could even call this easy listening, as it will draw you in instantly, making you tap your foot whilst listening to the music. This isn't the first SHW album, and I can't help but feel that if they would tour every corner of Europe they could actually become quite a household name. No, they don't write hit songs, but they can make you dance when you see them live. If metal is just too rough for you and melodic rock just too soft, you want something that fits in between. Well, just go for e-life.
Visit their website: http://www.shweb.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/shwband

74/100

SKIP ROCK – Hit And Run (CD) Germany March 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Glam Rock / Sleaze Rock Running time: 43:29 (Tracks: 11)
As from the first time that I listened to this CD of SKIP ROCK, I loved it very much already, because the songs on this album really ROCKS. While I was listening to this album, I looked at the back of the CD for the song titles, and when I saw those titles I thought by myself 'well, these guys aren't very original with some of their song titles'. With a song titled "Motorcycle Man", which is the first track of the album, it's not strange that I have to think of SAXON. And when you see a song titled "We Rock", you automatically think of course of DIO, and with "Hit And Run" of GIRLSCHOOL and of LITA FORD, with "Rough And Ready" of WHITESNAKE, with "Time Will Tell" of VANDENBERG and with "Lies" of STATUS QUO. But luckily all these mentioned songs are not cover versions. The only cover on this album is a nice cover version of IKE & TINA TURNER's classic "Nutbush City Limits" (1973). Anyway, SKIP ROCK comes from Germany and was formed in 2008 by former members of bands like DARKSEED, LACRIMAS PROFUNDRE and SPIDERFORCE. The band consists of Marc Terry (vocals, guitar; formerly of ROCKAINE, ROXX, BIG DADDY'S TOY), Darius Dee (guitar, backing vocals), Rico Galvagno (bass) and Willi Wurm (drums). Dee played in SPIDERFORCE before, and Galvagno & Wurm both played in DARKSEED as well as in LACRIMAS PROFUNDRE before. In 2009 these Germans released a five-track EP titled "Rough And Ready", which got pretty good reviews. Now on March 11th, this album "Hit And Run", which is the band's debut album and features eleven songs, will be released on Street Dog Records. Besides a singer and guitarist, Marc Terry is also working as a producer, so I assume he has produced "Hit And Run" too. Well, in fact, all 5 songs of the "Rough And Ready" EP are also on this album, but I assume that those songs, which are "We Rock", "Time Will Tell", "Stinky, Filthy, Rich And Nazty", "Lies" and "Hit And Run", are all new recordings. The only song on "Hit And Run", which in my opinion is less, is the last track called "It's You My Friend". To me, that song is just an average ballad, and doesn't fit at all between those other fantastic rock songs. Anyway, the band of which SKIP ROCK reminds me the most are Swiss rockers of KROKUS. The first few tunes of "Motorcycle Man" reminds of MÖTLEY CRÜE, and "World Is Hell" sounds very much like AIRBOURNE. Altogether, songs like "Motorcycle Man", "We Rock", "Hit And Run", "Little Nazty", "Stinky, Filthy, Rich And Nazty", "World Is Hell", "Rough And Ready" and "Time Will Tell" are all very delicious rock songs and a real pleasure to listen to. And that makes "Hit And Run" into a very good rock album. Well, I'm sure SKIP ROCK will be a great live band, and make of every show a hell of a party. So I would love to see a show of them, when they are gonna do a European club tour. Anyway, if you like bands such as AC/DC, KROKUS and AIRBOURNE, you'll have to check out this band. I'm sure you will like SKIP ROCK very much too. Fantastic debut album guys.
Visit their website: http://www.skip-rock.com
Recordlabel: http://www.streetdogrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/skiprockband

80/100

SKW – Numbers (CD) Italy March 2011 Wim van Grunsven
Style: Crossover Rock Running time: 45:18 (Tracks: 12)
I must admit that the style above this review is chosen because I really couldn't find anything else that was suitable. SKW make heavy rock with melodic vocals. The music even has some Machine Head and Pantera embedded, especially in the way the riffs are written and played. But the vocals are reminiscent as well. You could say that SKW are the rock version of the bands mentioned. It would explain about 75% of what you find on Numbers. The other 25% is form many other angles, such as Infectious Grooves and Suicidal Tendensies style hardcore. It all works well, judging by the arrangements and heaviness of the songs. Which are quite good, as they do have a flow and intensity that makes you want to hear more. The thing is, this never gets too lame, never becomes too heavy, doesn't speed up too much, but also strays from slowing down too clearly. All that doesn't mean that it's all in the middle and the same. Hell no, it just means that there are a lot of sets of ears out there that actually might be able to cope with SKW and even enjoy Numbers. The cd, not the series….
Visit their website: http://www.skw.it
Recordlabel: http://www.risingworks.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/skwband

78/100

SONIQ THEATER - Force Majeure (CD) Germany March 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Symphonic Rock with electronic elements. Running time: 54:17 (Tracks: 11)
Soniq Theater is the one-man project of Alfred Mueller from Stuttgart (Germany). Mueller is active in the music industry for quite a long time. He played in different bands (Rachel`s Birthday, Fischer X) but in 1999, he founded Soniq Theater. He and his music is influenced by many great progressive rock bands of the 70`s and 80`s like ELP, Kansas Marillion and Pink Floyd. Mueller is very active with Soniq Theater since he founded his project. He has released an album every year since the formation! All the music is composed, performed and produced by Mueller himself.
Force Majeure is an instrumental album which cannot fascinate me all the time. The main reason is that I am missing an adventurous aspect in the music. In my opinion the music is mostly played on the automatic pilot and I miss some tension. That`s why I have no favourite song on the album. Another reason is that the only equipment that he uses is the keyboard and keyboard related equipment. I prefer the use of real instruments. Sometimes it sounds a little bit artificial. However, if you like keyboard music, give this album a chance. If you are interested, check Soniq Theater`s website. Here, you can download different songs so that you can found out if this music is something for you.
Visit their website: http://www.soniqtheater.de
Recordlabel: http://www.soniqtheater.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/soniqtheater

68/100

SPEED LIMIT – Moneyshot (CD) Austria March 2011 Wim van Grunsven
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 53:08 (Tracks: 10)
Plain and simple: if you like your hard rock to be as straightforward as a Whopper, just listen to Speed Limit. This has nothing to do with metal, but still has the heaviness you want to hear from a proper hard rocking band. I'd even dare to say it's an easy listening version of Saxon at their best. And that is saying something. You don't have to expect them to come up with difficult structures or mindboggling playing, on the contrary. These Austrians like their music straight, without fuss, but with quality, and there definitely is an abundance of that on Moneyshot. They originate from 1979, but were disbanded in 1994. The decision to get back together again in 2008 proves to be a good one, because the more I listen to Moneyshot, the more I am enjoying it. Come on and join me!
Visit their website: http://www.speedlimit.at
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/speedlimitmyspace

80/100

SUPLECS – Mad Oak Redoux (CD) USA March 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Stoner / Hardrock Running time: 40:52 (Tracks: 10)
My respect goes out to the members of Suplecs. Originating from New Orleans, nearly everything the band possessed was washed away by Hurricane Katrina a couple of years ago. But that didn't stop the band from making music. In fact, it is safe to say that Suplecs seems stronger than ever. The result? One hell of a Stoner Rock album. The songs are pretty straight forward, but there is nothing wrong with that if the music is well played. And that is most certainly the case. 'Mad Oak Redoux' gives of an energetic vibe with a lot of classic stoner/hardrock elements. Also there are the occasional ambient parts like in the song '2 x 4' in which the band creates a doom oriented and mysterious atmosphere. The solo's are bluesy, the riffs are groovy and the vocals are really suiting the songs. A must for every Stoner and/or groovy hardrock enthusiast. No more, no less!
Recordlabel: http://www.smallstone.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/suplecs

82/100

TETRAFUSION – Altered State (CD) USA March 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 50:35 (Tracks: 7)
Tetrafusion is a young Louisiana-based band that got together in 2006. “Altered State” is Tetrafusion's second album. The first one, “Absolute Zero”, (2009) was an instrumental album that received great critics. The second album consists of seven tracks ranging from almost five minutes to over twelve minutes. The songs are a mix of progressive metal and progressive rock. On the first song, “Collage Of The Present”, you can hear that Gary Tubbs has a very sophisticated clear voice. This combined with a couple of excellent musicians paves the way for a great album. Towards the middle the song turns heavier with some heavy guitars, beautiful keyboards and almost death metal-like drumming. The other second slow and atmospheric singing is what you get. This song is very diverse as it has different mood swings. “Monologue” also offers a beautiful mix of softer atmospheric parts combined with heavy guitar riffs and heavy drums.
The band that pops up in my mind at the next song is Riverside. “Last Chance” is a real slow song that is sung in a very spun out way. “The Deserter” starts of where “Last Chance” ended, but this song has a heavier vocal part, beautiful guitar-work including a superb solo and to top it all an excellent organ solo. The only instrumental song on the album is “Altered State” on which heavy guitar riffing, pounding drumming, modest guitar playing and spun out keyboards take turns with each other. The beginning of the next track defines through atmospheric keyboards, bass and quiet singing. Towards the end the tempo goes up and “Shadows” ends on a heavy note. The last track on the album, “Tears Of The Past”. Is also the longest song on the album. It lasts for over twelve minutes and offers Terafusion a platform to show their individual qualities that is of a very high level. I think the choice to add vocals to the music was a wise decision. This album contains some very great lyrics that suit the music perfectly. If Gary Tubbs (vocals, keyboards), Brooks Tarkington (guitars, vocals) , Mark Michell (bass) and J.C. Bryant (drums) stay together I'm sure they are going to surprise us with a lot more fantastic music.
Visit their website: http://www.tetrafusion.net
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tetrafusion

85/100

TO CAST A SHADOW – In Memory Of (CD) Italy March 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Melodic Goth-Doom Metal Running time: 44:18 (Tracks: 10)
Well, it may come as no surprise nowadays. Almost all bands coming from the icy north are a guarantee for quality. So also this Norwegian Melodic Goth-Doom Metal attack by To Cast a Shadow. Influenced by My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Type O Negative and Black Sabbath they deliver us with “In Memory Of” their second album. An album where the pure class and craftsmanship drips off like melting icicles of the roof of a dark, grim castle on a sunny cold day. Unfortunately being not familiar with their debut “All Alone” this one is a more then a welcome surprise. Marcus Granlien (guitars), Stian Dalslaen (bass) and Kent Arild Helset (drums) are responsible for a massive doom sound, upgraded with brilliant, heavy riffs and smooth, melodic intermezzo's. The cherry on this black, creamed pie listens to the name of Gunnhild Huser (vocals) who has the perfect voice to colour these beautiful songs. “Tormented” kicks off and brings back some memories of the Gathering's finest age of Mandylion. Accompanied by fierce riffs and fast intermezzo's this one is a fine opener. “Morose” slows down a lot; heavy, doomy and with the, this time, storytelling, enchanting voice of Gunnhild. “No one will ever know what happened that night “, she sings, and man, I really don't want to know what happened under that old three. “Nightfall” and “Oceans Apart” (hello Candlemass, and yes, including up tempo riffwork and twin solo's at the end) continues the slow, heavy doom with majestic melodies and that enchanting voice that really moves. “Betula” comes next; a baladesque track featuring Theatre of Tragedy's singer Nell Sigland on vocals and is way too short finishing already after 1.09 minute. “My Misery” shows the band from a more catchier side and from now on it even gets better. More rock orientated, dark grim male vocals assisting Gunnhild, so; yeah To Cast A Shadow develops their own music from her on. Follower “When You Leave The Room” can easily match the finest of Candlemass and certainly will be a live classic. As you have read so far, this album is filled with pearls, ready to come out of their oysters. But you have pearls and the pearls which lie deeper down in the ocean; the ones that shine just a bit brighter, you only need to dive a bit deeper. These ones are the superb “Set Afire” and the enchanting “The Answer”. Songs that combine the best of this sublime band that brings us TCAS music that moves. I'm in tears of such beauty. Majestic is the only word that comes in mind. “In Memory of” ends this album in dark style. With a top production by Kristian Sigland (The Crest, Theatre of Tragedy), mastering by Rikard Lofgren, high standard lyrics and musical craftsmanship this all provides a high quality album on all fronts. Packed in a luxury digipack with awesome, appropriate artwork by Matthew Vickerstaff from Darkwave, this album certainly belongs in the collection of everyone who has some ear for decent music. Finishing off with a quote from the band that says: “The new opus, entitled In Memory Of witnesses the evolution of band's new sound and huge potential and authenticity of TSCA music”. Really nothing to add for me on this statement ……….. only one thing; make sure you get this product of this absolute top band!
Visit their website: http://www.tocastashadow.com
Recordlabel: http://www.kolony.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tocastashadow

90/100

TORMAN MAXT -The Problem of Pain: Part 2 Book of Job (CD) USA March 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 41:29 (Tracks: 8)
The Problem of Pain: Part 2 Book of Job (further called TPPP2) is my first acquaintance with Torman Maxt although they are active in the progressive music industry for almost 30 years. The band was founded in 1983 in California and has released 4 albums until now. The band consists of the Massaro brothers: Vincent: Drums, Tony: Guitar and Vocals and Dominic: Bass and Keyboards. The album is produced by Tony Massaro.
As can be read on their website, Torman Maxt is influenced by Christianity. The lyrical content of any Torman Maxt song is pointing to Jesus. However, they do not want to have the banner Christian Rock Band for the reason that the band believes such titles can create distorted perspectives of their music.
TPPP2 continues the story of Job from the Old Testament which was started at TPPP1. For those who are not familiar with the story of Job, he was a wealthy man who went through all sorts of trials and tribulations. He remains faithful to God, and is ultimately rewarded for his faithfulness by having his health restored and even more wealth than he had previously. The lyrics on the album pick up where part 1 left off and continue through the end of the saga, Job's restoration.
I am enthusiastic of TPPP2. It contains very nice parts of progressive rock and it sometimes reminds me of the best work of Rush. The composition of the songs is sometimes excellent, as well as the music skills of the band members. It is possible that you have to get used to the voice of Tony Massaro. But if you can handle Geddy Lee`s (Rush) voice, than this is not a problem.
The album opens with Job`s Lament. This is, together with Eliphaz, the best track of the album and it shows best the capabilities of the band. TPPP2 has become a versatile album. Zophar is a very accessible and catchy song, however Eliphaz is the heaviest and powerful song on the album, although it still has plenty of melody. A lot of progressive albums tend to last too long, but that's not the case here. Concluding, I can recommend this album to people who like nice progressive rock.
Visit their website: http://www.tormanmaxt.com
Recordlabel: http://www.deadmediamusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tormanmaxt

89/100

VASTATOR – Machine Hell (CD) Chile March 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 54:11 (Tracks: 11)
Vastator is a Chilean cult metal legend. Formed in the mid 80s, the band released a series of demos before disbanding a few years later. The group re-emerged in 1998 and has been releasing albums ever since. Machine Hell is the latest album of the band and the first one for a European label. The band delivers intense power metal, frequently crossing the line towards speed metal. I could say that it's a latin American version of something that could be described as Helstar meets Agent Steel on most occasions while Judas Priest is obviously the main influence. It is really hard to categorize this band though. 4 out of 11 songs are sung in Spanish and the album features two guests on two songs. Veronica Freeman (Benedictum) on “The Gods Give No Reply” and Metal Mike on “Hawker Hunter”. Maybe the best Vastator album to date.
Visit their website: http://www.vastator.cl
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vastatoronline

77/100

WARREN ROBERT – Music From The Void (CD) Canada March 2011 Ronny Elst
Style: Progressive Instrumental Orchestral Metal Running time: 46:25 (Tracks: 11)
Warren Robert started playing the guitar at the age of seven, inspired by hearing his father and older brother play. Since the age of 12, Warren has been playing in bands. The most important band he played in, was Avacost, a very experimental progressive rock band, in which he played 8 years. In 2004/2005 Warren recorded and released a first solo album, “Thoughts And Realities”, filled with experimental shred guitar instrumentals. In 2009 Warren released his second solo album “Music From The Void”. This is once again an instrumental guitar album, with melodic tunes, complex textures/orchestrations and fast shred guitar playing! It's a kind of instrumental prog mixed with elements from film music. Guitarists which come to mind while listening to “Music From The Void” are especially Uli Jon Roth, Patrick Rondat and James Byrd. It certainly is a very good instrumental guitar album, maybe a bit too complex for some of us. Recently, Warren recorded and released a performance of W.A. Mozart's “Requiem Mass In Dm KV626”, an arrangement of the full mass for orchestra, with all choir and soloist parts performed on the electric guitar. Keep on shredding Warren!!
Visit their website: http://www.thoughtsandrealities.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/warrenrobert

84/100

WITCHCURSE – Heavy Metal Poison (CD) Greece March 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 45:40 (Tracks: 11)
Witchcurse is a Greek metal band formed in 2005. This is actually the band's full length debut after a series of demo and split vinyl releases. Witchcurse is true to the old N.W.O.B.H.M. sound and classic heavy metal of the early 80s. The improvement of the band both in terms of musicianship and songwriting is obvious compared to its previous works but in my opinion the group can get much better. The passion is there and so is the love of these guys for the early 80s metal. They just need to take it to the next level with constant work and effort. I could compare them with the Swedish band Helvetets Port, they seem to have may things in common. Both bands are through a stage of evolving and shaping their own identity. I bet that their future releases will show great signs of improvement. If you are into the vintage metal sound and the whole revival movement then you should check them out.
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/witchcurse6669

65/100

FEBRUARY

ADIMIRON – When Reality Wakes Up (CD) Italy February 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death / Thrash Metal Running time: 50:01 (Tracks: 10)
Those of you who went to an Annihilator show in 2010 might know Adimiron, since they've opened for them on their European tour. I say them when they played the Pul in Uden a couple of months ago and remembered to be quite impressed with the energetic stage presence. Especially since the venue was rather empty around that time. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to receive a copy of their latest album “When reality wakes up”. The album starts out very strong with very heavy passages and nicely arranged melodic parts, but as the songs continue you start to understand why the band is still playing as an opening act. Now let me be clear here: there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an opening act, but to me, headliners normally bring something new or original to the table. Adimiron is, at least not yet, that type of band. At this point they are, and shoot me if i'm wrong, obviously inspired by Nevermore and the riffing of Pantera. Great bands off course and a nice attempt, but I can't help comparing them with the material of the aforementioned bands. In that aspect the songs, with the exception of “Desperates” and “Forgiveness” never exceed the mediocre. The songs have their moments, but it doesn't stick with you. Normally that would be that, but there is a reason I want to like this record. Here's why: after I listened to this album numerous times, I thought it would be nice to look up Adimiron's debut album 'Burning Souls” which was released in 2004. Holy shit!! What a great record that is. Full of technical death metal and brilliant riffs. So I KNOW that Adimiron is capable of writing excellent songs. I also KNOW that they can put on a killer live show. So now I can only hope to say the following when they release their third album: I KNEW it!!
Visit their website: http://www.adimiron.org
Recordlabel: http://www.alkemist-fanatix.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/adimironcrew

65/100

AGRESIVA – Sent to War (CDemo) Spain February 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Heavy / Thrash Metal Running time: 20:00 (Tracks: 4)
Agresiva is a fairly new band from Madrid formed by a couple of friends who share the love for heavy and thrash metal. After the obligatory covers they started to write their own songs and this is a first demo. The demo consists of 4 songs and is entirely self-recorded which also explains the production that isn't all that good. The band describes itself as a thrash metal band, I hear more heavy metal into the songs but that will always be a discussion. This demo shows me that these are guys with talent and potential but they still have a long road to go. It's not bad but it just doesn't do it for me. Even though there are 2 guitars who play decent rhythm sections and good solo's, all supported by a bass that may be a bit loud in the mix and average drums, the songs still sound pretty hollow to my ears. I'm also not a great fan of the vocals but that is merely taste of course. The band does deserve your attention so go check out this demo, it's entirely on their myspace.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/agresivametal

59/100

BLACK HAWK – Straight To Hell (CD) Germany February 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 47:18 (Tracks: 12)
BLACK HAWK is a German Heavy-, Power Metal band which was formed way back in 1981. Until 1995 the band had several line-up changes, mainly with their guitarists, and eventually the band call its quits in 1997. In early 2001 the band members got together again for a session and they saw that the spirit was still there. So in 2003 the band recorded a new demo called "Back For Attack". Between 2004 and 2005 there were again several line-up changes. Anyway, BLACK HAWK has released the following products so far: the demo "Thank God For The Rock" (1985), the mini album "First Attack" (1989), the demo "5 By 5" (1995), the aforementioned demo "Back For Attack" (2003) and the full length albums "Twentyfive" (2005), "Dragonride" (2007) and "The Invasion" (2008). In 2008 the band played on HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR, where they opened on the second day. Well, "Straight To Hell" is the band's fourth full length studio album and features twelve tracks. The line-up of BLACK HAWK on this album exists of Udo Bethke (vocals), Torsten Bettge (guitar), Wolfgang Tewes (guitar), Michael Wiekenberg (bass) and Niko Schaper (drums). To me, "Straight To Hell" is my first acquaintance with BLACK HAWK, and I must say that, while I'm listening to this album, the music of BLACK HAWK reminds me very much of bands like ACCEPT, HELLOWEEN and SAXON. On this album there's even a cover version of SAXON's classic "Crusader", which is a nice version. Also the semi-ballad "Seven Years Of Pain" reminds me of SAXON. To me, Bethke isn't a real fantastic singer, okay he isn't bad, so let's say he's just an average Metal singer. The other members of the band play their instruments very well. Only, I must admit that not all the songs on this album are even strong. The only songs which I like are "Shoot Shoot", "Straight To Hell", "Seven Years Of Pain" and of course "Crusader". The rest of the songs, like "Isolation", "Nothing To Lose" and "Bad Pussy" to name a few, are much less. Well, my end conclusion is that BLACK HAWK isn't a very spectacular band, and "Straight To Hell" is just a nice album to which I can listen to now and then. Anyway, I'm sure that BLACK HAWK will undoubtedly be popular in Germany and among diehard "True Metal" fans in general, so they will like this album more than I do.
Visit their website: http://www.black-hawk-music.de
Recordlabel: http://www.karthagorecords.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/blackhawkmetal

68/100

CATEGORY 5 – Off The Ivory Coast (MCD) USA February 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 25:12 (Tracks: 5)
The roots of Category 5 date back to 2006 when guitarist Joe Czentnar got together with vocalist Perry Zaremba. It took a while until the remaining part of the band consisting of Kevin Davis (guitars, keyboards, vocals) , George Koch (bass, vocals) and Kenny Morss (drums, vocals) got together and thus completed Category 5. Category 5 started playing the local clubs in and around Detroit, Michigan performing covers, including songs from Boston, Journey, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin. This EP is the first record they have released so far. Joe Czentnar played with the prog rock band Twist of Fate in the late 90's , earning a Grammy nomination. The influences of the band members range from Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Rush, Dream Theater to jazz and classical music. Like the influences of the band members the five songs on this EP are rather different. “Lost in Legacy” is a strong AOR-song with an excelling Perry Zaremba. This song and especially his vocals sound a lot like Tyketto. Czentnar plays his guitar in a very passionate way. All together this is a very beautiful song.
The second song, “Home Again”, is a mid tempo song and also has a strong Tyketto resemblance. Zaremba's voice ranges from tender to powerful on this song. The third song, “I Wonder” is a slow song and is a reflection of George Koch's memories of his well respected mother. Towards the end there is some space for a great guitar-solo. The next song, “Party If You Want To” is a funky song that really suits the title. It includes song different sounds like a saxophone played by Dave Whitelaw. “7 Daze Warning” ends the album. First you hear a voice announcing a storm warning and then the band hits of with a lot of power. This is a complete other side of Category 5 with pounding drums, screaming guitars and above all again with a tremendous performance of Zaremba. He stays on top of it all. It's a pity that this is a EP because I think Category 5 has much more to offer. Musically they have it to get much bigger so hopefully they will release a complete album in the near future. In the meantime they can keep their music alive by performing frequently live in the local Detroit-scene.
Visit their website: http://www.cat5rocks.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cat5rocks

85/100

CHAOS CORE – Born in Silence (CD) Italy February 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 44:21 (Tracks: 10)
That Italy is a productive land in the metal scene is very clear to me. This band Chaos Core plays melodic Death Metal with a very progressive groove in it. This band started in 2002 and this is their debut. Ten tracks of very aggressive and groovy melodic death metal. The guitar riffs are furious and very melodic combined with a lot of technical moves. The drums are also filled with groove and technical parts. Then you got the vocals which are very strong grunts but well understandable (think of Vader). This album contains 10 tracks and doesn't get boring for a minute. The production and variety of the songs are furious and ravaging. Every song is filled with solos and progressive riffs. Sometimes the music reminds me a bit of Watchtower combined with a bit of Nevermore with a jus of death metal. This band is unsigned but when you listen to this album you think that this band plays for several years and released a lot….All though this is their debut album I think that we are going to hear a lot of Chaos Core. If you like technical and melodic death metal then you're going to enjoy this album. So check their myspace and order your copy or you can check their distributor at the address below.
Visit their website: http://www.chaos-core.com.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frankandiver.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thecoreofchaos

75/100

CONSTANTINE – Shredcore (CD) Greece February 2011 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Shred Metal Running time: 36:15 (Tracks: 9)
Konstantinos Kotzamanis, aka Constantine, was born in Greece in 1987 and started playing the guitar at the age of 12. He began by playing his favourite songs from Iron Maiden, Slayer, Metallica and others. Some time later he also added influences from guitarists such as Satriani and Zakk Wylde. These days he's the guitarist from the bands Mystic Prophecy, Descending and Nightrage. But with “Shredcore” he now also released his first instrumental guitar solo album. He got the help from Bob Katsionis (Firewind/Outloud) on keyboards and Frank Huber (ex-Valley's Eve) on drums. As the album title already tells, “Shredcore” is especially an album which showcase Constantine's fast guitar playing. His influences range from neo-classical, speed/power, prog and a few modern metal parts. “Shredcore” is a fantastic instrumental guitar shredfest (with also enough space for the keyboards) ; aggressive but melodic at the same time too. A mixture of his first, harder influences (Megadeth, …) and his later guitar heroes influences (Michael Angelo, Malmsteen, …).
Recordlabel: http://www.7hart.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/constantine3000

85/100

DEATHFIST – Too Hot To Burn (CD) Germany February 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 40:11 (Tracks: 12)
For a few years old school thrash metal is in. Every week another new band that plays it old school is formed and sometimes there are some rare gems in the never ending list of new releases. Deathfist is a German old school thrash metal band who honour the Teutonic thrash masters of their country. Even though this is a very young band, the members already earned their stripes in other projects and you can easily hear the experience of these musicians. These guys know how to bring a good old school thrash song. As previously stated, this is pure German thrash in the vein of Kreator, Destruction and all the other great bands. It's easy to hear that the band members wore out the first albums of all these masters. The songs are all a nice combo of fast paced drums, speedy riffs, choruses that invite you to shout along and good solo's in between. At first I was a bit sceptic about the vocals once I realised the singer is a woman. The only female fronted thrash metal band I know of is Holy Moses and their vocals are a major downside in my opinion. But my initial fears turned out to be for nothing as Corinna's harsh barking vocals are simply yet another German thrash tradition and fit perfectly with the aggressive songs of the band. Somewhere in the middle of the cd I started to lose my attention a bit but the last 2 songs made that up perfectly. Recommended for every old school thrash fan !
Visit their website: http://www.deathfist.de
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deathfistgermany

78/100

DREAMSHADE – What Silence Hides (CD) Switzerland February 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 44:39 (Tracks: 10)
Dreamshade from Switzerland is relatively new band in the scene. They started in 2006 and released their first demo in 2008 after that they released an EP. In 2010 they released an one song single and I guess that brought them a deal with Spinefarm Records. This is their debut and it sounds great. 10 tracks of melodic death metal in vain of bands like Children of Bodom combined with a bit of Soilwork. The guitar riffs are progressive and melodic and the drums are straight in your face with a great groove in it. They also use keyboards and that sounds great (not to loud in the mix so you can hear everything well). The vocals are light grunts with a lot of groove. Then you got the production and the composing and variety…everything sounds ravaging. But is this original? NO. Everything they make is very well performed but definitely not original. When I listen to this album I hear a lot of influences of bands that are so typical for this genre that I personally would have liked to hear different. But never the less if you like bands like Children of Bodom, Soilwork, In Flames then you should give it a try!
Visit their website: http://www.dreamshade.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.spinefarm.fi
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dreamshadeband

70/100

FORGOTTEN SUNS – Revelations (CD) Portugal February 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 35:58 (Tracks: 5)
Portugal is not famous for its metal scene but many quality bands have emerged from this south western European country. I had never encountered Forgotten Suns before and while I was searching for information I found out that the band exists since the early 90s and has already released three full length albums! Revelations is the band's latest EP but it contains material written back in 2006 and 2007. Forgotten Suns delivers contemporary progressive metal with nice melodies, great vocals and a healthy dosage of this crunchy guitar sound that most progressive bands of today prefer. I could compare them with the majority of the Swedish prog metal bands like Cloudscape, Darkwater or Harmony. I was quite satisfied with the quality and the tunes on Revelation that I will definitely look for the band's previous works.
Visit their website: http://www.forgotten-suns.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fsuns

80/100

GHOST – The Engraving (CD) Norway February 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Classic Hardrock / Heavy Metal Running time: 45:00 (Tracks: 10)
In spring 2002 the first steps were taken of what later would become GHOST by Kim Sandvik (vocals) and Oystein Wiik (guitar). It would last till summer 2006 before the band had a steady line up complete, but they found something was missing, so in winter 2008 a second guitarist was added to the band. In November 2008 they had their first gig as a 5 piece band, and in February 2009 they entered the Nye Losjen Studios to record their first EP 'Days Undercover'. It received positive reviews from the metal press in Norway as well as abroad. In March 2010 they returned to the Nye Losjen Studios again to record their debut full length album 'The Engraving'. The music of this ambitious hardrock band is solid, melodic hardrock with a metal edge that was made famous in the 1980's. This doesn't mean it sounds outdated, absolutely not, this is a modern sounding band with a great voice for this kind of music. The album has a superb production and a very solid sound. Awesome twin lead guitars, and great melodic hardrock songs, makes this a perfect debut album for GHOST, they couldn't have made a better start. This is a debut most band dream about, but GHOST made it happen, very impressive, especially when you take in consideration this is a self produced album. I honestly don't know why this band hasn't been picked up by any label yet. From opener 'The Engraving' until 'Here I am' closes the album, only quality to be found on here. The follow up is already in the making so let's hope that won't take another eight years!
Visit their website: http://www.ghosttheband.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ghostrocks

89/100

HALCYON WAY – Building The Towers (CD) USA February 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 59:19 (Tracks: 10)
After an EP in 2004 (Deliver the Suffering) and a full-length album in 2008 (A Manifesto for Domination), this is Halcyon Way's second full-length album. This Christian-themed progressive metal act originate from Georgia, Atlanta. They started of in 2001 and remained reasonably stable throughout the years. The current line-up consists of Steve Braun (vocals) , Jon Bodan (guitars , backing vocals) , Zane Matthews (guitars, backing vocals) , Kris Maltenieks (bass, death vocals) and Ernie Topran (drums). Pamela Moore (well-known for her work with Queensryche) guests on a couple of tracks on this album. “Rise to Revise” starts of quite heavy with some death metal vocals combined with clear vocals, the vocals of Pamela Moore, plenty of double bass drums and above all a lot of power. “Death of a Dream” is a more heavy progressive song with some raw vocals and Ernie Topran hitting the skins firmly. The song is also filled with a lot of guitar-riffing.
The third song “The Age of Betrayal” has a very catchy start but later the grunting voice takes over for a while and the guitars start duelling and screaming. The song ends like it started, namely on a catchy note. Clear vocals, beautiful guitar playing and plenty of quiet parts is what you get on “The System”. When the power picks up Topran lashes his drum-kit and you get to hear a different Braun, who is capable of singing several styles. Double bass-drums signal the beginning of “Inversion” that continues with a lot of drums, bass, guitars and of course Braun yet singing in a different way. Braun starts of the sixth song, “Mouth Without a Head”, a bit later joined by Pamela Moore. This is a slower , quieter song that flows beautifully with adequate guitars.
“Desecration Day” contains a lot of power and includes twin guitars that scream a lot. It's riffing-time on “Icon of Resolution” as the song keeps on pushing. Towards the end of the song it's Pamela Moore again that shows her vocal qualities. The longest song (8.20 minutes) is “Inside Looking Out(The Icon & The Ghost) is yet another progressive song containing a contribution of Pamela Moore and some background vocals. Despite that it's a great song, it is not the real epic one would expect from a band like this. To finish of the album, it's the title-track that contains some thunderous drums and Braun singing in a nasal way. When the tempo goes up the song improves and becomes heavier. This album is great effort delivered by Halcyon Way but to me they need to write a real epic to make to the absolute progressive metal top.
Visit their website: http://www.halcyonway.com
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/halcyonway

85/100

HELLHOUND – Metal Fire From Hell (CD) Japan February 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 35:00 (Tracks: 8)
Japanese band Hellhound was formed in 2003 and released the debut album “Tokyo Flying V Massacre” in 2006. It was a fine album of classic heavy metal mixed with some speed elements. This is the band's second full length album and there are no obvious changes regarding its style. Hellhound still delivers high octane heavy metal with equal amounts of N.W.O.B.H.M and Speed metal. I could describe them as a speedy and less epic version of Metalucifer. While most Japanese bands sing in their native language, Hellhound sing in English and the average listener who is not into other languages can easily relate to them. Those who are into high pitched classic metal with gang choruses and an Accept-Judas Priest approach should check these guys out. The metal fans definitely need to get more familiar with the Japanese metal scene. There are great bands waiting to be discovered!
Visit their website: http://www.hellhound-japan.com
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hellhoundjapanofficial

76/100

HELL IN THE CLUB – Let The Games Begin (CD) Italy February 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Rock / Sleaze Rock / Glam Rock Running time: 44:51 (Tracks: 12)
HELL IN THE CLUB is a brand new Italian Sleaze/Glam Rock band, which was formed by members of two of the most talented Italian bands around, SECRET SPHERE and ELVENKING. Andrea "Andy" Buratto, bass player of SECRET SPHERE, had an idea for an ambitious Rock 'n Roll project in mind for many years, that was different to the sound of SECRET SPHERE. So, the line-up of HELL IN THE CLUB exists of Davide "Dave" Moras (vocals; also from ELVENKING), Andrea "Picco" Piccardi (guitar), and the rhythm section of SECRET SPHERE Andrea "Andy" Buratto (bass) and Federico "Fede"Pennazzato (drums). Well, from the first time I listened to this debut album "Let The Games Begin", I liked it very much. And that's because the band treats us on high quality Sleaze Rock. HELL IN THE CLUB reminds me of bands like SKID ROW, GUNS 'N ROSES, STEADLÜR, SLEEZE BEEZ, TESLA etcetera. Moras is a great singer, and his voice is perfect for this type of music. Also Piccardi is a fantastic and very talented guitarist. And Buratto and Pennazzato are doing a great job as well. Really, this is an album full with fantastic kick ass Rock 'n Roll songs, which have an average time of 3 and a half minutes. The longest track on "Let The Games Begin" is the ballad "Star" (5:10). "Another Saturday Night" is a real party rocker. The second track, "Rock Down This Place", could have been from STEADLÜR. The first single of this album is "On The Road", and that's just an excellent choice. In fact, I can't find any negative points about this album, because the songs are so addictive. "Let The Games Begin", which is fantastically produced by the band themselves, is just a real recommendation if you like the above mentioned bands and are into fantastic Sleaze Rock. My favorite songs are "Never Turn My Back", "Rock Down This Place", "On The Road", "Natural Born Rockers", "No Appreciation", "Forbidden Fruit", "Daydream Boulevard" and "Don't Throw In The Towel". Excellent debut album and very promising band. Well, with this album these four guys prove that they are real "natural born rockers", who will rock down EVERY place. So guys, let the games begin with a European club tour.
Visit their website: http://www.hellintheclub.com
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hellintheclub

86/100

HOLY BLOOD – Shining Sun (CD) Ukraine February 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Folk Heavy Metal Running time: 40:04 (Tracks: 10)
Well what I can say about this band from the Ukraine. I like Folk metal but I do not like female vocals in this kind of music. This is their fourth release and musically it is well listenable but definitely not original. They like to say that this is for fans of Finntroll and Eluveitie….this is not even coming near to their level. The guitar riffs are heavy metal (standard) and the drums are also very simple. The vocals are screams (they are trying to go for a black scream) combined with an opera vocal that is way to hard in the mix. The instruments that they use for the “Folk” feeling are the block flute, buzka and valinca and they use that well. When I listen to the production of this album then I have to say it could have been better. The same goes for the composing of the songs, when you listen to one song you can guess how the rest is going to sound. This album is not bad but if you like Finntroll, Falkenbach etc. then I would listen first before buying.
Recordlabel: http://www.bombworkrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/holybloodband

65/100

INGRAVED – Onryou (CD) Italy February 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Modern Metal / Hardcore Running time: 35:00 (Tracks: 10)
From their hometown Brindisi, Italy brings us INGRAVED, who unleash their mix of extreme metal with hardcore elements upon us. This is the band's third effort, they already released an album on Deadsun Records in 2006 called 'Hatred from Outside' and a self produced promo cd 'Moe Agare' in 2008. The band has already shared the stage with bands like Hate Eternal, Brutal Truth, Brujeria and Soulfly, this should tell you something about the kind of music they are playing. Their music has a mean, hardhitting sound with mostly screaming vocals, with some clean vocal parts in some songs. On this new album they are moving towards new territories as they call it, exploring melodies and new solutions, without losing any of it's impact force. Well in my opinion they succeeded, melodies are included in the form of some good guitar riffing and strong rhythms, with still an explosive impact. Some songs even reminded me of the Fear Factory sound, and there's nothing wrong with that, still they keep their own style and in a convincing way I must admit. The album is recorded at the legendary '16th Cellar Studios' in Rome, and is based on rise and revenge, as seen throughout Japanese culture. This is a good album from these Italians, and it definitely deserves a change to be listened to!
Visit their website: http://www.ingraved.com
Recordlabel: http://www.power-pain-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ingravedband

82/100

LAST MISTAKE - Living Again (CD) Italy February 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Rock Running time: 42:50 (Tracks: 11)
As can be read on their nice website, Last Mistake was founded in 1998 in Formia (Italy). The group is nowadays formed by Alex Forlani (vocals), Alex Brengola (keyboards), Kosmo Masiello (guitar), Adriano Masella (bass) and Davide Masella (drums). The songs are mainly written by Forlani, Brengola, and Masiello. The band has a challenging objective: “bringing back melodies from old rock bands such as: Queen, Rainbow, Pink Floyd, Scorpions, Journey.....and blend them with the electronic and modern sounds.”
In 2003 and 2004, Last Mistake released 2 demo cd`s called Fuoco and Fuoco vs Terra, however, it lasted until 2007 that they released their first full-length album. This album was called Last Mistake too. During the last 10 years the band toured quite a lot trough Italy. One of their highlights was that they supported Sadus (the band from Steve Di Giorgio, known from Testament and Death). In my opinion quite strange because both music styles are totally different and can hardly be compared!
In the spring of 2009, the latest album of last mistake was released, entitled Living Again. The album contains 11 songs and it was recorded in October and November 2008 at “In Studio” which is located in Formia, Italy. It has become quite a nice album, but if you are a real metal head (and like music like Sadus), than you could better skip this album.
The album opens with Escape, an instrumental intro which is heavily influenced by Pink Floyd. But when you listen further, it becomes clear that the band does not reach the level of the bands which inspired them. The album is, however, not bad if you like easy listening rock music. The composition of the songs is quite nice and some heavy parts (intro I Will Live There) are alternated with ballads (Time to Shine and Lady Time). Concluding, it is quite entertaining and I hope that they will make a step forward with their next album.
Visit their website: http://www.lastmistake.com
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/ukdivision
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lastmistakerock5

75/100

MAGNUM – The Visitation (CD) United Kingdom February 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Melodic Rock / Hard Rock Running time: 57:23 (Tracks: 10)
No folks, this is not going to be a story of ice cream or some moustache wearing private detective. Long before this features above, around the mid '70's this Magnum was founded in the UK. Their debut album in 1978 “Kingdom of Madness” was impressive and since then they have delivered 15 (if I counted right) damn fine pieces of rock. Among them are a bunch of real classics like “Chase the Dragon”, “Vigilante”, “Sleepwalking” and the suburb “On a Storyteller's Night” to name just a few. So far a short lesson in history for the younger dudes among us. These rocking dinosaurs, in an honourable way of saying, don't let there be no misunderstanding here, enter 2011 with a blast in melodic rock. Opener “Black Skies” sets the tone with some brooding riffwork and falls in heavy, reminding me of Zep's “Kashmir” but further on a classic Magnum song. Follower “Doors to Nowhere” ups the tempo and again reminds of the good old days. Catley's voice is still in a good shape and Clarkin's guitar work and song writing are definitely back in business. Wow, this is a very good start gentleman!
During the album most of the tracks impress and show a very inspired band that certainly had an enjoyable time recording this one. The pleasure drips off the tracks. Just take time for listening to “Wild Angels”, the mighty “Freedom Day”, “Mother Nature's Final Dance” and the brilliant, hard hitting “Midnight Kings”. I never thought they should reach the upper level of songs like “Soldier of the Line” or “How far Jerusalem” but they do man! When you are looking for epic rock songs with a capital M then buy this one ! A fine start for 2011 and if Magnum has really set the standard for this year, then it's going to be a very enjoyable one. A big applause for the only real Magnum in this world. So forget about ice cream and private detective's, this one is going to outlast them! I only can say: thank you! (and make sure you catch them live real soon; check there website; “Tonight's the Night” as they say on their last song).
Visit their website: http://www.magnumonline.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/magnumuk

89/100

MISS BEHAVIOUR – Last Woman Standing (CD) Sweden February 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Rock / AOR Running time: 50:30 (Tracks: 11)
Swedish melodic Rock band MISS BEHAVIOUR exists since 2003. So far these rockers have released the 3 track EP "Give Us The World" (2003) and their debut album "Heart Of Midwinter" (2006). After "Heart Of Midwinter" the band went through a series of personal changes in search for the perfect line-up to record a follow-up album. Well, now finally MISS BEHAVIOUR's second album, titled "Last Woman Standing", has been released on Avenue Of Allies. The current line-up of the band exists of Sebastian Roos (vocals, bass), Erik Heikne (lead & rhythm guitar), Henrik Sproge (keyboards) and Anders Berlin (drums). This second album features eleven fantastic melodic Rock songs, and has a very good production, which was done by Sproge and Heikne (the founding members of the band), as well. From the openings track "1988" until the last one "11th Hour", it's a real pleasure to listen to this album, because “Last Woman Standing” is full of high quality melodic rock and doesn't feature any weak song. Besides a good bass player, Roos is a fantastic singer as well, who sometimes sounds a bit like Michael Sweet of STRYPER. Anyway, there's great musicianship on this album. Heikne is a fantastic guitar player who treats us on awesome guitar solo's. Musically the band, who's influenced by bands like FOREIGNER, MAGNUM, EUROPE, JOURNEY, also reminds me of STRYPER sometimes. The heaviest song is the fantastic “Perfect War”, which features a guitar solo of Roland Grapow (MASTERPLAN, ex HELLOWEEN). The ballad on this album is titled “Till We Meet Again”, and is a nice ballad. I've heard many worse ballads, which are really boring. The title track is a duet with Kajsa Berg and is with 7:07 minutes the longest track on the album. "Last Woman Standing" is an excellent Rock album, which I can recommend to anyone who's into high quality Melodic Rock.
Visit their website: http://www.missbehaviour.se
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/missbehaviourmusic

83/100

MYGRAIN – Mygrain (CD) Finland February 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 51:00 (Tracks: 9)
Mygrain is a band from Finland that is well known in the scene because of the music and members that also play in other known metal bands (Ablaze in Hatred, And Oceans, Misery Inc.). They were formed in 2004 and released their first album in 2006 “Orbit Dance” and the second “Signs of Existence” in 2008. This is there third album and it sounds great. Nine tracks of melodic death metal with a great power and drive in it. The guitar riffs are technical with a great groove and thrash feeling in it. The drums are very groovy and technical with a lot of power in it. Then you get the vocals…light grunts combined with clean vocals (well performed). The keyboards are also well done and not to loud in the mix so you get a good balance in the music. All the songs have a lot of variety in it and the composing is great. The songs start melodic and aggressive and also bring you a great atmosphere in it like bands like Pain (Peter Tägtgren). Melodic death metal is very hard to make because a lot of bands do that and do not sound so original. This album gives you everything you would want to hear in that genre. Strong songs with groove, melody and aggression. If you like bands like Soilwork, Shadows Fall and Pain then this album is a must have.
Visit their website: http://www.mygrain1.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spinefarm.fi
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mygrain

80/100

NECROMID – The Sleep of the Reason (CD) Italy February 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Metal Core Running time: 47:03 (Tracks: 10)
Necromid is a band from Italy that started in 2003. They released a demo in 2007 and this is their debut. This album contains 10 tracks of melodic trash / metal core. This band is unsigned and that is something that definitely surprises me. The guitar riffs on this album are furious, technical, melodic and filled solos….hell fucking yeah. The drums are also straight in your face, filled with groove and up tempos (the only thing that is a bit too much for me are that they triggered the double bass a bit to much). The vocals are screams in vain of metal core. When I listen to this album the first thing that gets my attention is that all the songs are filled with variety and the production of this album is over the top good, mastered by Dario Mollo (did several projects with Tony Martin like The Cage) who is a very good guitar player. This band brings you Metal Core combined with thrash riffs and a lot melody and solos and very well performed. So check their myspace and order your copy.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/necromid

75/100

NEVER2LATE – Between Love And Darkness (MCD) Italy February 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Pop Punk / Rock Running time: 19:18 (Tracks: 6)
NEVER2LATE is a totally unknown band for me. I didn't get any information with this EP of the band. So, I had to search on their official website and MySpace page for some more info about the band, but I couldn't find any information. All I can tell is that NEVER2LATE is an Italian five piece band, which exists of Mirco (vocals), Alberto (guitar, vocals), Gianluca (guitar), Teo (bass) and Matteo (drums). I assume that this EP "Between Love And Darkness" is the first product released by the band. Anyway, the band doesn't sound very original, because it all sounds so familiar. We've heard this type of songs many times before by other (and bigger) bands. Don't get me wrong, it's absolutely not bad, because I can listen to the songs "Into The Darkness", "Kissin' Shadows", "Cu Anymore", "Good Feelings", "So Alive" and "Her Name Should Be Love". But I can understand why this band would do it very good especially amongst young teenage girls, who like poppy punk rock, and that's in the first place because the members of NEVER2LATE are good looking guys for all these teen punks. Anyway, in my opinion the last three tracks are the best songs on this EP. "Between Love And Darkness" was produced by Daniele Landi and the band themselves, and sounds very good. On the band's MySpace page you can also listen (and watch a video) of the cover version of pop song "What Is Love" from HADDAWAY. Well, that's says enough for me. Definitely a band who would break through for a wide audience. But or that will happen, that's the question?
Visit their website: http://www.never2late.it
Recordlabel: http://www.alkemist-fanatix.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/never2laterock

63/100

NIGHTWARD – Adrenaline 12 (CD) Italy Feburary 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death Metal Running time: 50:01 (Tracks: 10)
This Italian based melodic death metal band has been around since 1997. After a three track demo an MCD, they now finally released their debut album “Adrenaline 12” on the Alkemist Fanatix label. The music can still be described as melodic death as played by At the Gates for example, but with the (clean) vocal and melodic approach of a band like Killswith Engage. The band shows their ability to write complex, melodic songs with some really cool explosions of aggression. The only thing that really bothers me are the screaming vocals. In Holland we have a saying that when someone is singing really bad, it sounds like a cat is dying. With this album, I really thought that this was the case! But all jokes aside, it's a shame that the screams are so annoying because the album has a lot of potential. Nightward is definitely not on top of the melodic death genre, but there are enough moments on the album that makes this release relevant.
Visit their website: http://www.nightward.com
Recordlabel: http://www.alkemist-fanatix.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nightward

72/100

NOVEMBER-7 – Angel (MCD) United Kingdom / Switzerland / Italy February 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Electro / Industrial Running time: 20:03 (Tracks: 5)
First of all, this EP "Angel" already dates from 2007. So, in fact it's a bit strange to review it now in 2011. Anyway, NOVEMBER-7 was formed in 2005, and has released two studio EP's, which are "Mesmerize" (2006) and this EP "Angel" (2007), and they have released a live CD/DVD "Alive!" (2008). The line-up of the band on this EP exists of Annamaria Cozza (vocals), Stéphane Geiser (all music) and Gil Reber (drums). Additional musician on this EP is Emmi Lichtenhahn, who's taking care of the bass guitar. But the current line-up of NOVEMBER-7 exists of Annamaria (vocals), Stéphane (guitar), Matt Walters (guitar or bass?) and Yann Siegenthaler (drums). Anyway, the songs on this EP are "Angel", "Two Sides", "Falling Down", "All The Things" and a radio edit version of "Angel". And I must admit that all those songs are sounding very nice. In fact the band reminds me a bit of bands like REPUBLICA and GARBAGE, but then a bit heavier. The combination of Metal with Electro influences sounds pretty good, and I think with this combination they can reach a wide audience. And another thing is that Annamaria is a fantastic singer as well. According to the band's official site, their full length debut album "Season 3" will be released in February 2011. Well, I'm looking forward to that album, because I already like the songs on this EP. Anyway, an interesting and promising band.
Visit their website: http://www.november-7.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/november7ch

80/100

OPPOSITE SELF – Almost Over (MCD) France February 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Alternative Metal Running time: 28:12 (Tracks: 6)
France isn't far from Holland. Yet it took three years before this EP lands on my desk. Without any information and never heard of this band before there's only one thing left, indeed the google machine, where would you be without it nowadays. Well, after checking them out, I find it rather surprisingly that they have already released a successor.
So, what is there to say about this “oldie” that makes sense nowadays. But okay, let's introduce you to this France metal attack. Opposite Self is formed in 2004 in Perpignan, France and play something you can call Alternative but then with a vocalist who could easily match in a doom- or death metal band. It makes it sound rather special. Opener “More and More” is certainly good and attractive with heavy, yet a bit dominating, drums and fine crunchy guitar work. The vocals of Mars fit in perfectly and gives this song a real desperate feeling. Listening to the other songs the level increases because it sounds a bit the same. Mars should take some lessons to develop his voice, giving more variation. The band certainly has potency (“Get Bright” is brilliant) and for a debut the sound is oké. I am curious what they have produced on the follow up “The Paradox of Power”. Maybe it reaches my desk, or someone elses in Holland, a bit faster. Nevertheless I'm glad to hear some decent stuff again from France. This reminds me of one of France's finest called Jadallys; way to long that I heard something of them.
Visit their website: http://www.oppositeself.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/oppositeself

70/100

PATHFINDER – Beyond The Space, Beyond The Time (CD) Poland February 2011 Ronny Elst
Style: Symphonic Power Metal Running time: 71:53 (Tracks: 14)
Pathfinder from Poland was formed in 2006. In 2007 and 2008 they released demo's and in early 2010 also a single. A few months after the single release, they put “Beyond the Space, Beyond the Time” on the market. Their debut album is a long and complex concept album, released independent. I couldn't believe that they aren't signed yet after listening to it! On their debut album are a variety of tempo's ; from blowing fast, through mid-tempo to slowed-down, the full range. There are also many symphonic instrumental parts, fast guitar solo's, orchestral keyboards, lot of choirs, melodic male vocals and some female operatic vocals. Impressive guests are Roberto Tiranti from Labÿrinth, Matias Kupianen from Stratovarius and Bob Katsionis from Firewind. Okay, Pathfinder's debut album isn't one of the most original albums of all time (because there are many influences from bands such as Rhapsody (of Fire), Labÿrinth, Symphony X and Kamelot), but it's a very well played-and-sung symphonic power metal release!!
Visit their website: http://www.pathfinderband.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pathfinderband

86/100

RAMPART – Voice Of The Wilderness (CD) Bulgaria February 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 43:16 (Tracks: 9)
RAMPART is a female fronted Heavy Metal / Power Metal band from Bulgaria, which was formed in 2006 by Yavor Kamenov (guitar, bass) and Borislav Glavev (drums). In that same year Maria Doychinova joined the band as their singer. On 08-08-2008 the band released their debut demo "Warriors", which got, according to the press sheet, good reviews in the metal media in Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Norway and Denmark. In the beginning of 2009 the band was joined by Victor Georgiev (guitar) and Alexander Spiridonov (bass), and they took an active part for the live concerts. Well, "Voice Of The Wilderness" is the band's debut album, which was released on November 20th 2009 on French label Inferno Records, and features 9 songs. Musically it all sounds nice enough, although not all the songs are in my opinion even strong. To me, the title track is less and the ballad "Age Of Steel" is pretty boring. And to be honest, Maria isn't a real fantastic singer. To me, she sounds to monotone, which begins to annoy me real quickly. And also her accent could be much better as well. In fact Maria is the weakest link of the band. But songs like "Warriors", "The Flood" and the longest track of the album "Desert Of Time" (6:36) are good up-tempo Power Metal songs. And those songs are in my opinion the best tracks of the album. So, all I can say is that "Voice Of The Wilderness" is just an average metal album. But if you are into old school Heavy Metal / Power Metal, then I would advise to take a listen to the four songs on their MySpace page first. And otherwise, I would recommend female fronted Heavy Metal / Power Metal band like CRYSTAL VIPER or MYSTERY BLUE, because these bands have female singers, Martha Gabriel (CV) and Nathalie (MB), who really can sing.
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rampartbg

64/100

RED FRONT – Memories Of War (CD) Brazil February 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 41:57 (Tracks: 11)
RED FRONT is a five-piece Brazilian Thrash Metal band which was formed in January of 2007. These guys are influenced by bands like SLAYER, PANTERA, METALLICA, SEPULTURA, EXODUS, DESTRUCTION et cetera. In 2009 RED FRONT released their first EP, which is simply titled "Demo". "Memories Of War", which was released in 2010, is the debut album of these Thrashers and features 11 tracks and a video clip of "Circle Of Hate". The line-up of RED FRONT exists of Leo (vocals), Marcello (guitar), Oscar (guitar), Marq (bass) and Bradock (drums). From January 16th until February 12th 2011, they are doing their first European Tour, called "Third War Tour".
Anyway, "Memories Of War" starts off with an intro called "Welcome To Chaos", followed by the title track "Memories Of War", which is one of the best songs on the album. "Memories Of War" was recorded in the home studio of the band and sounds pretty good. The next two songs "Disaster" and "Killer" are sounding nice. Another great song is absolutely "Institutions Down". Also "Circle Of Hate" is one of best tracks, and it's a song which absolutely will do it very good during their live shows. But to me, all the other tracks like "Just A Game", "Get Out Here", which is a pretty boring song, "Self Flagellation", "Born To Death" and the bonus track "Metalsplash" are very average songs. So, my end conclusion is that "Memories Of War" isn't a real spectacular album, but it's nothing more than just an average Thrash Metal album. The best songs are "Memories Of War", "Institutions Down" and "Circle Of Hate".
Visit their website: http://www.redfront.com.br
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bandaredfront

70/100

SENTENTIA – The Center in the Sand (CD) USA February 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 52:21 (Tracks: 11)
Sententia is the “one woman” project of Dede Booth who sings and plays all instruments on this debut album. It's a very dark melancholic album that tells about a story of one person's search for balance as they face the cross roads between life and death. Well, the lyrics are certainly deep and dark so this is not an album that cheers you up really. All the songs are in slow motion so you can say it's a ”listening” album. Because all the songs have the same sound and repetitive voice, to me, it's a bit dull, despite the adding of some elements here and there. Deep respect for Dede for doing this all by herself because there's nothing wrong with her voice and her skills on all the instruments she plays, but overall it's too soft and monotonous for me. The ones who are more into bands like Porcupine Tree must give this one a chance. If I had to pick a highlight then it would be the beautiful track “Surrender”, which would be a great single and could care for some radio airplay.
Visit their website: http://www.sententia-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sententiamusic

68/100

SPARZANZA – Folie a Cinq (CD) Switzerland February 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Hardrock Running time: 36:40 (Tracks: 11)
Ever since Nightwish released their debutalbum 'Oceanborn,' I've been keeping an eye on Spinefarm records. The quality of the bands may vary sometimes, but overall it's always worth checking out. The same goes for Sparzanza, who just released it's fifth album entitled “Folie a Cinq”. Previously they released the albums “Angels of Vengeance”, “Into the Sewers”, “Banisher of the Light” and 'In Voodoo Veritas”. Rather productive, you would say. Strangely enough, the band isn't that well known in hardrock/metal circles, but there is a good possibility that this will change with 'Folie a Cinq”, and I will tell you why. The album is very accessible. And I mean in a good way. The hardrock, which reminisces of bands like Mustasch and a little less like Volbeat, is very catchy. The songs, which all last around three and a half minutes, are well written and contain great riffs and melodic arrangements. I'm a little less impressed with the grunting abilities of singer Fredrik Welleby, but he more than makes up for it with his clean vocals, which are really suiting the songs. Overall, the quality of the music is excellent. But with this formula, there is always the danger of repeating yourself. And that is also what I experienced while listening to this record. I tend to lose focus as the album reaches it's second half. This because of the same song structures and the lack of speed. Nevertheless, I'm glad i've got to know Sparzanza and if you like modern hardrock with a clean production, be sure to check them out. And as far as the popularity of band goes: I believe it can go either way with this record. Time will tell...
Visit their website: http://www.sparzanza.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spinefarm.fi
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sparzanza

70/100

TIERRA SANTA – Caminos de Fuego (CD) Spain February 2011 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Heavy Metal Running time: 42:02 (Tracks: 10)
This Spanish heavy metal band started in 1992 as Privacy. Under that name they released one demo in 1993. After that they changed their name into Tierra Santa as which they released their first album “Medieval” in 1997. This was already a decent heavy metal album, mainly fast Iron Maiden influenced stuff. During the years they released more studio albums in the same style, but their latest albums also had some more melodic hardrock influences instead of only Iron Maiden influences. In 2008 they split up to take some rest and clearing ideas. But in 2010 they re-formed with a new label and album. “Caminos de Fuego” is their 8th studio album and now they sound as a very mature melodic (heavy) metal band!! Okay there are still a few Maiden influences but there is a lot of variety in songs ; some are slow(er), some mid-paced and only a few faster. They have managed to record a very interesting melodic metal album mixed with melodic hardrock. Together with Zenobia they are certainly the top of the Spanish melodic heavy metal scene!!
Visit their website: http://www.tierra-santa.es
Recordlabel: http://www.malditorecords.net.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tierrasantaweb

88/100

TO A SKYLARK – To A Skylark (CD) Italy February 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Death Metal / Psychedelic / Progressive Running time: 44:46 (Tracks: 8)
This self titled debut album, which was already released in 2008, of Italian band TO A SKYLARK is just fantastic. The band is named after a precious poem of Percy Bysshe Shelley, one of the greatest British romantic poets. TO A SKYLARK exists of Alessandro Tosatto (vocals), Marco Ziggiotti (guitar), Ricardo Morgante (guitar), Filipo Ranghiero (bass) and Stefano Santagiuliana (drums). Additional musicians on this album are Silvia Pillon (female vocals) and Matteo Gaiarsa Valle (synthesizer). The album features only 8 songs, but it's a real pleasure to listen to it, because there's so much happening on this album. Heavy parts varied with some very beautiful atmospheric parts. Also the vocals of Tosatto are very varied, from clean vocals to brutal death metal grunts. This band exists of very technical musicians. You absolutely can hear influences of bands like MASTODON, PINK FLOYD, OPETH, KATATONIA et cetera on this album, but to me, some of the atmospheric parts of the songs also reminds me a bit of THE CURE as well. The production, which was done by Alessandro Paolucci, is just excellent. The album starts with “Seraphic Feathers”, which is a beautiful intro for “Icarus' Redemption” (10:07). “Hic Et Nunc” is again a beautiful atmospheric song, which is the intro for “At Dusk, By Lake Walden” (6:43). The fifth track is called “The Aftermath” and is also a fantastic song. “The Fading Process” exists of three parts, namely “Charmed By Mermaids” (2:27), “The Lotus Eater” (12:06), which is absolutely the high light of the album, and “Abandon” (3:27). Very interesting Italian band and an outstanding debut album. Great work guys.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/toaskylark

85/100

VÖRGUS – Hellfueled Satanic Action (CD) Sweden February 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Heavy / Thrash Metal Running time: 30:35 (Tracks: 9)
Vörgus is a Swedish band that is made up out of 3 musicians who earned their stripes in the underground in tons of bands. They are also a band that combine a lot of good stuff from different underground genres into one album. This record is a great mix of old school heavy metal with old thrash metal to make an amazing tribute to bands like Venom. Speedy riffs, good solo's overall raw harsh vocals and pounding drums all flow together nicely in 9 tracks that has you banging your head nearly nonstop. Of course the production is nice and filthy but it is also good enough to make you truly enjoy the record. The songs are also way more catchy then one would expect from this genre. Anyone who is into the old school sounding underground stuff should check these guys out. I personally hope to see them live once cause this band must rock on stage.
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vorgus

79/100

WEAPON HEAD – Surgical Smile (CD) Australia February 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Alternative / Grunge / Stoner Running time: 41:19 (Tracks: 12)
Well, first of all, WEAPON HEAD is a totally unknown band for me. The band comes from Australia and exists, I guess since 2005 of Boris Billing (vocals, drums), the brothers Steve and Dave Bishop (both guitar & backing vocals) and Drew Allen (bass & backing vocals). In 2007 WEAPON HEAD had the opportunity to travel to America to play at the Locobazooka Festival in New England, with HEAVEN AND HELL (with Dio) as headliner, along with other bands/artists like ALICE COOPER, QUEENSRŸCHE, SHADOWS FALL and many other “unknown” bands. At this festival WEAPON HEAD played in front of 15.000 screaming fans. When the band returned home, it was time to find a producer and record. Well, the result was a self titled E.P. (2008). Mid way through 2009, these guys decided to focus all of their energy for material for their official debut album. Well, in front of me I have WEAPON HEAD's first album, which is titled “Surgical Smile” and features twelve songs. The CD has been packed in a very well provided digi-pack and has an excellent production, which was done by Steve James (COLD CHISEL, AIRBOURNE, THE SEX PISTILS, THE ANGELS). One of the twelve songs on this album, the last track to be precise, is a cover version of JOHN LENNON's classic “Cold Turkey”, which is a great song and very nicely done by the band. I must say that “Surgical Smile” is a very accessible album, but to be honest, it isn't a real shocking album. It's just a nice album with a few less songs (“Surgical Smile”, “Bring Me Home”) and a lot of good songs. Anyway, drummer Billing is a nice singer and the other members play their instruments very well too. In my opinion the best songs on “Surgical Smile” are “Bullshit Has No Sound”, “Gimmie Gimmie” (reminds of NIRVANA), “Got No Money”, “Charade”, “Rescue Me” (fantastic groove), “Lucifers Lunch” (the riff reminds a bit of KISS's “Master & Slave” of their “Carnival Of Souls” (1997) album, but only a bit slower) and “Cold Turkey”. Like I said, this is just a nice album. Curious, well check them out on their MySpace page or website.
Visit their website: http://www.weaponhead.com.au
Recordlabel: http://www.foghornrecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/weaponheadmusic

78/100

YNGWIE MALMSTEEN – Relentless (CD) Sweden / USA February 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Power Metal Running time: 68:25 (Tracks: 15)
Well, I guess YNGWIE MALMSTEEN doesn't need any introduction. After he played in the bands STEELER and ALCATRAZZ, this Swedish guitar hero and multi-instrumentalist started his solo career as YNGWIE MALMSTEEN'S RISING FORCE in the early eighties. I have to admit that I didn't follow Malmsteen anymore for quite a long time. The only albums which I have of mister Malmsteen are "Rising Force" (1984) and "Marching Out" (1985). And I also have the fantastic debut album "No Parole From Rock 'N' Roll" (1983) of ALCATRAZZ, the band which was formed by Graham Bonnet. Other Malmsteen albums which I do know, but never got them myself, are "Trilogy" (1986) and "Odyssey" (1988). So, since the late eighties I didn't follow Yngwie anymore. Recently I listened a few times to the classic "Marching Out" again. A couple of days later, when I was at my local CD store, and saw Yngwie's newest album "Relentless", I thought 'let's take a listen'. And while I was listening to "Relentless", the album reminded me of Yngwie's early stuff, so I decided to buy the album. Anyway, "Relentless" is Malmsteen's 18th solo album, and is the second album with Tim "Ripper" Owens (ex-JUDAS PRIEST, ex-ICED EARTH) on vocals. The album was released on November 23, 2010 on Malmsteen's own record label Rising Force Records. "Relentless" features 15 songs, of which the last track "Arpeggios From Hell" is a bonus track. On "Relentless" are eight instrumental songs, six songs sung by Owens and one song ("Look At You Now") sung by Malmsteen himself. And to be honest, Yngwie is a great guitar player, but he isn't a great singer. The album was produced by the master himself and sounds good. Of course Malmsteen is playing all the lead & rhythm guitars on this album, but also bass and additional keyboards. Other musicians on "Relentless" are Nick Marino (keyboards) and Patrick Johansson (drums). And with Owens on vocals, Yngwie has of course a fantastic singer in his band. "Relentless" is a fantastic CD, and although I don't know all albums of Malmsteen, it's just as if I knew this album already for years. Well, Yngwie's playing style is so recognizable, and also his fast guitar solo's mostly sound the same, that in that case he isn't very innovative. A few less songs on "Relentless" are in my opinion "Look At You Now", "Enemy Within" and "Knight Of The Vasa Order". Anyway, the album opens with the short instrumental intro "Overture", followed by "Critical Mass", which is a great metal song, with awesome vocals of Owens. Also the up-tempo instrumental "Shot Across The Bow" is a killer song. "Caged Animal" and "Blinded" are superb songs as well. And one of the high lights of the album is absolutely the beautiful instrumental "Cross To Bear", which is the longest track of the album. So, I must say that I like this album very much. My favorite songs are "Critical Mass", "Shot Across The Bow", the instrumental title track "Relentless", "Caged Animal", "Tide Of Desire", the instrumental "Adagio B Flat Minor Variation", "Axe To Grind", "Blinded" and "Cross To Bear". This is a fantastic album, which will absolutely please all MALMSTEEN fans and other guitar freaks very much.
Visit their website: http://www.yngwiemalmsteen.com
Recordlabel: http://www.risingforcerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/yngwiemalmsteen

85/100

ZENOMORF – Wings of Madness (CD) Norway February 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 49:53 (Tracks: 12)
Norwegian band Zenomorf debuted in 2009 through the Karthago label. Just one year later the band returns with its second assault through Pure Steel, the label that merged with Karthago just a few months ago. The debut was not an impressive piece of metal but it contained some good old fashioned heavy metal played with passion and power. The second one does not appear to be any different. Classic heavy metal influenced mainly by Running Wild, Accept, Judas Priest and early 80s Scandinavian metal. If I had to compare them with a “contemporary” metal band that would be Hanker with the Canadians being better in the songwriting field though. I believe that heavy metal needs bands like Zenomorf, groups that stick to the classic sound and deliver nostalgic metal as taught by the great masters several years ago.
Visit their website: http://www.zenomorf.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/zenomorfmetal

72/100

JANUARY

ABSINTHE – Chapter one: Urban Fairytales (CD) Italy January 2011 Frans Neelen
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 38:16 (Tracks: 13)
Any idea how many bands call themselves Absinthe nowadays? Well I can tell you there are a lot! I know it's difficult to come up with an original name for a band and I must admit that Absinthe sounds really cool but that there were so many …. So it took some time to find the right background information about this Italian sprout of the Absinthe tree. Well as long as it is worth the search, I don't really mind. Absinthe is founded in 2006 by Stefano Zuccala (guitars) and Riccardo Lazzari (bass) in Milan, Italy. In 2007 they released their EP “Absinthe” from which their single “Fallin' Down” was chosen to be a part of a campaign against child-pornography and that's a real good thing of course. On this album the band was completed by Andrea Costantini (guitars and backing vocals), Sara Frusciante (vocals) and Mauro Mengetto (drums). All these members have been already replaced “in order to improve and refresh the sound” as said by the main members. The band plays a mixture of hard-rock, pop and blues and balances on the interface of radio airplay. What they deliver are 11 fine and compact rock songs. “Limpido” and “Guardami Bruciare” (Italian version of ´Watch me Burn”) are the bonus tracks. The only minor is that sometimes it sounds a bit monotonous, but the songs mutual are varied enough. It's just that in some tracks I miss a bit of firework in it, they babble on just a bit too easy. Tracks like “Watch me Burn”, Like a Hollywood Star”, Fallin' Down”, “Blind the Sun” and the fierce “Without You” (excellent!) offer enough to make this debut a success. Very nice album that even makes more curious what Chapter two with a new singer will bring.
Visit their website: http://www.absintheband.net
Recordlabel: http://www.ukdivision.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/absinthemilan

77/100

ANDERSON – Take a Bow (CD) United Kingdom January 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Experimental Rock Running time: 26:37 (Tracks: 6)
Take a Bow is Anderson's first release. The band consists of three band members: Ollie Chanter (Bass and Vocals), Stu Toms (Guitars / Vocals) and Lucy Piper (Drums) although I have seen band pictures with 4 members. The new six track CD is recorded in Italy at the Forears and Cavernjatt studios. This is almost all the information that I could find on among others the internet. The band has no official home page; a my space website which contains not much information, is the only available source.
In my opinion, Take a Bow is a relative average album, it is not a highlight. It can suit me reasonably and maybe it can suit also people who like quite dark experimental rock. However, it is not really innovative, I was never surprised by an exciting composition etc. The voice of bassist Chanter is also quite tedious and this bores me sometimes. The overall production of the album is quite well. If you like this musical style, I advise you to listen first before you buy this album. There are a lot of opportunities on the internet to check if this music is something for you.
Visit their website: http://www.myspace.com/andersonband
Recordlabel: http://www.ukdivision.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/andersonband

65/100

ANGERCORE – Time Reveals (CD) Italy Januari 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hardcore / Emo Running time: 39:36 (Tracks: 11)
With this album “Time Reveals” of ANGERCORE wasn't any information, so I had to search for some info on their MySpace page. Well, ANGERCORE is a five piece band, who are from Torino, Italy and was formed in late 2003. But readers of MMM, I really can't tell you who the band members are, because there's isn't any more information on the band's MySpace page at all. All I can say is that “Time Reveals” is the debut album of the band, and was released in 2008 on Myphonic Records. In 2009 they also released a 6-track EP titled “The Opposite Of You”. Anyway, “Time Reveals” features eleven songs, and the only song which I absolutely don't like is the last track titled “The End”. That song is so boring, and doesn't fit at all on this album. The band doesn't sound very original, because what they presented on “Time Reveals” sounds very familiar. We've hear it many times before by other bands. Don't get me wrong, it's absolutely not bad, because I really can listen to songs like “For A While”, “Fake Transmission”, “Battlefield”, “Diversions” and “Still Emotions”. But while listening to ANGERCORE, bands like PAPA ROACH, FACE TO FACE, HELMET, LIMP BIZKIT et cetera comes in mind. Well, one thing is for sure, the band has a great singer. Altogether, “Time Reveals” is just nice album, and ANGERCORE is at least a good Italian band, because I've heard many worse Italian bands.
Recordlabel: http://www.myphonic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angercore

77/100

ANTHRIEL - The Pathway (CD) Finland January 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 65:56 (Tracks: 12)
Hailing from the north, Anthriel, which means “the Archangel of balance and harmony”, deliver their debut album “The Pathway”. The first signs of Anthriel date back to 2004, when guitarist Timo Niemistö, keyboardist Antti Hakulinen and drummer Jari Kuokkanen got together. The band had a couple of line- up changes and together with bassist Klaus Wirzenius they released a 3 track e.p. called “Visions of Inner Light and Deeper Thoughts” in 2007. In 2008 the band found vocalist Simo Silvan and thus the line-up was completed. “The Pathway thematically is a concept based on a sequence of individual songs and themes with inspiration coming from R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms: “The Dark Elf Trilogy”. The first song on the album is “Devil's Lullaby”. It's Timo Niemistö who starts the song in a furious way. He plays superfast accompanied by pounding drums. Later on Antti Hakulinen tries to beat him when he plays his keyboards at the same fast pace.
On this song Anthriel show right-away what they are capable of. This song is one of the songs on which the resemblance with Symphony-X is rather obvious. On the second song, “Mirror Games” , it's the same display of musical craftsmanship. This time Simo Silvan excels with his powerful voice. The song contains lots of neo-classical influences combined with power metal. This gives Niemistö and Hakulinen lots of opportunities to show their talent. In the meantime the listener gets tossed between guitar and keyboards. Towards the end of the song the sound fades away and so this song shades off into the next song. On this song, “Guardian”, it's Silvan again who excels and toward the end it also fades away and ends with some piano-sounds. “Repression” is a short instrumental with some piano/keyboards and acoustic guitar. The next two songs, “Haven of Grace” and “Dark Divided Minds” , continue the chosen path of great vocals combined with high quality music. After the instrumental “ The Deliverance” it's time for “Controversial Euphoria” which sounds like Pagan's Mind. “Light Divine” is a song that is a bit more straight forward than the other songs. “Scent of Dawn” is the third instrumental that all clock between one and two minutes. Before the grand finale it's “Promised Land” where Anthriel goes full speed ahead. The longest song on the album is “Chains of the Past”, that runs for almost 14 minutes. Like most progressive bands their longest song is a real epic song. This is also the case for Anthriel. We get to listen to the complete spectre Anthriel has to offer. This is a really beautiful song. The artwork also deserves a compliment as this looks very good. This debut album is a very good album. The songs aren't always original but the quality is very high. Hopefully we'll see these guys live at Progpower 2011 in Baarlo.
Visit their website: http://www.anthriel.com
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anthrielmusic

86/100

ARCADIA – Roy Philip Nohl (CD) Italy January 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Hardcore Metal Running time: 47:54 (Tracks: 11)
From Italy comes ARCADIA and started out in 1996, and released their first demo 'War of Silence' in 98. In 99 the band recorded a 3 track demo 'Trust', with a new line up. Through this demo they got signed by No Brain Records, and this led to the first official full length 'Synth'. The band played throughout Italy supporting bands like Rawpower, Extrema and Crackdown. Also the band toured the US, supporting bands like Obituary, Testament, Body Count and Henry Rollins on the Sun and Steel Fest tour. After a break a new and definitive line up was formed and the band entered the Nadir Studio in Genoa to record 'Fracture Concrete'. After this the band moved to Los Angeles for a year and a half to play more than 250 shows. In 2007 they got back to Europe and organized their first European tour. After a gig in Prague, the band was contacted by Valery Records, which resulted in a new album 'Cold Cold Bodies'. In the mean time they did an Italian tour opening for Agnostic Front, and headlined another European tour. Now they just released a new album 'Roy Philip Nohl' and already toured with Six Feet Under and Illdisposed, and supported Napalm Death on their Italian tour. Now they are also working on a couple of videos as well, busy guys they are. About this album, I can be short, not my cup of tea, they call this hardcore, but that is not exactly right. The music of Arcadia is above all very experimental, for open minded people, with some influences of metal, rock, funk, prog and even electronic music. Lyrical wise the concept of the album revolves around medicine addiction, psy-substances and stuff. Production sounds a bit like Metallica's St. Anger in my opinion, need I say more. But especially the vocal parts irritate the hell out of me, wel there are people for every kind of music, and this band has proven to have a lot of followers, but I'm not one of them. Is it that bad I hear you ask yourself, well not really, it is a nice album if you are into this kind of experimental music, except don't call it hardcore, it really isn't, maybe emocore or something like that is a better name for this.
Visit their website: http://www.arcadiacrew.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/arcadiabastardcore

68/100

BAD HABIT – Atmosphere (CD) Sweden January 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / AOR Running time: 47:55 (Tracks: 13)
BAD HABIT is a Swedish melodic Hard Rock/Metal band which was formed way back in 1986 by American born guitarist/songwriter Hal Marabel. I must admit that I only knew the band by name, but somehow I never took a listen to any of their albums. Anyway, as far as I can see on the band's official site, BAD HABIT has released the following CD's: the mini-album “Young & Innocent” (1987), “After Hours” (1989), “Revolution” (1995), “Adult Orientation” (1998), “Hear-Say” (2005) and “Above And Beyond” (2008). Besides those albums, there's also been a compilation album, titled “13 Years Of Bad Habit” (2000), released of the band. “Revolution R.E.D.U.X.” (2003) is simply a re-release of “Revolution” and also “Adult Orientation” has been re-released in 2005. Those two re-released albums are also featuring some bonus tracks. Well, the newest BAD HABIT studio album is titled “Atmosphere”, which will be released on January 21st 2011, and is my first acquaintance with the band. And what an album it is…just brilliant. The album features 13 tracks, and believe me, there's no weak song on it. Really, the whole album is full of good and fantastic compositions. The songs are very catchy and most of all very addictive. And that's why this album has made a lot of spins in my CD player so far. The band exists of Bax Fehling (vocals), Hal Marabel (guitar, keyboards), Sven Cirnski (lead guitar), Patrick Södergren (bass) and Jaime Salazar (drums). The members of the band are excellent musicians, but man, what a GREAT singer Bax Fehling is, unbelievable. This album was produced by guitarist Marabel and sounds excellent. “Atmosphere” features fantastic melodic rock songs like “In The Heat Of The Night”, “Words Are Not Enough”, “Everytime You Cry”, “I'll Die For You” (great heavy riff), “Break The Silence” and “Catch Me When I Fall”, but also some beautiful ballads & semi-ballads like “I Wanna Be The One”, “Angel Of Mine”, “Fantasy” and “Save Me”. Well, all I can say is that “Atmosphere” is just a fantastic album of a GREAT band. This album is absolutely a real recommendation to anyone who's into high quality melodic Hard Rock/Metal. So, if you like early BON JOVI, SIGNAL, ECLIPSE, GIUFFRIA, DOKKEN etcetera, buy or order this album at your local record store, because you won't regret it. To me, “Atmosphere” is the album of the month.
Visit their website: http://www.badhabitvip.com
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/badhabitvip

85/100

BAD THINGS – Age Of Wisdom (CD) USA January 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Rock / Southern Rock Running time: 41:21 (Tracks: 12)
The nicest thing about being a reviewer is, that you always get to learn a lot of new bands. Sometimes you discover a great band, but of course you also get to learn a lot of bad bands. Well, in the case of BAD THINGS, we're speaking of a very moderate band. The band was formed in 2005, started as a cover band, but they were getting tired of the cover scene, so they got the desire for writing songs of their own. This resulted in a 5 track demo, which was released in 2007. In late 2009 the band began to work on their debut album "Age Of Wisdom", which saw the light of day on May 28th 2010. BAD THINGS exists of Don Sloan (vocals, lead & rhythm guitar), Donnie Creitz (lead & rhythm guitar, slide guitar), Harvey Jackson (vocals, bass) and Kelly Endsley (drums). As you can see, the lead vocals are done by Sloan as well as by Jackson. Well one of those guys has a reasonable voice (and reminds me slightly of great singer Danny Joe Brown (R.I.P.) of MOLLY HATCHET) and the other one has a very moderate voice. Another problem of this debut album is that the songs are so simple and of such a low level, that the whole album really doesn't fascinate me. Songs like "Killing Time", "Jack The Ripper", "Where Few Have Tread" and "Numb" are so boring, that I almost fell asleep. You can hear on these songs that the band is influenced by bands like MOLLY HATCHET, early BLACK SABBATH etcetera. But I wonder who's really interested into this album of BAD THINGS, because this is just a typical rock band that will never make it, and will be only world famous in their own local area. BAD THINGS…..BAD ALBUM.
Visit their website: http://www.badthingsrocks.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/badthngs

52/100

BLAME – Goes To Hollywood (CD) USA Januari 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Metalcore Running time: 48:52 (Tracks: 12)
This album “Goes To Hollywood” from American Metal / Metalcore band BLAME was already recorded in December of 2007, and released in 2008. In the booklet of the CD there isn't any information about the band. So I tried to find some information about the band on their MySpace page. Well, it seems the band, who are from Washington DC, started in 2003. In 2004 they released their self produces EP “Food For Your Brain”, and in 2005 their debut album “Life Is Not Like A Porn” was released. So, “Goes To Hollywood” is the second album of the band, and features twelve tracks. The album was produced by Frank Andiver for Risingwork Records and co-produced by the band themselves. Well, I must say that all songs are sounding so predictable. Okay, I can listen to songs like “Broadcast Your Death”, “We Cross The Line” and “My Epitaph” (featuring Guilliernmo Gonzales), but that's all. The short acoustic “Best Superstars” (0:43) is just the intro for “…Are Dead Superstars”. “Feed Me” and “The Recipe” are pretty boring songs. The members of the band can play their instruments well, but the weakest link of BLAME is absolutely the singer. But altogether I can't say that I'm really impressed by these four guys. I have heard way much better Metalcore bands in my life.
Recordlabel: http://www.risingworks.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lifeisnotlikeaporn

50/100

DEVAST – Radical Excruciations Concept (CD) Algeria January 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Brutal Death Metal Running time: 24:34 (Tracks: 9)
Devast is a brutal death metal band from Algeria that was formed in 2006. In 2007 they released a demo and 2008 gave birth to their debut album “Art of Extermination”. This is their new album “Radical Excruciations Concept”. What can I say about this…A crap ass copied CD-R with no cover on it and a short biography with a lot of adjusted info? Maybe next time when they send a promo for reviewing they should make sure that the CD gets undamaged to the reviewer with a bit more to work with. But never the less this new album is ravaging and brutal. Nine tracks of ravaging brutal death metal with no time to breath. The guitar riffs are very technical and fast. And then you got the drums that are pounding through every song like train that is unstoppable (one big blast). Then you have the vocals that are definitely pulled out of the gutter….very low and not understandable. The only thing that I personal miss is a bit more variety because when you heard the first song you know how the rest is going to sound. Same goes for the production of this album, it is not totally crap but it sounds like one big sounds cape without definition. If you like brutal death metal then you should check it out.
Recordlabel: http://www.deepsend.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/devast

60/100

EMPIRES OF EDEN – Reborn in Fire (CD) USA January 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Power Metal Running time: 45:17 (Tracks: 9)
EMPIRES OF EDEN is the brainchild of PAINDIVISION/ex-DUNGEON guitarist Stu Marshall who has inked a deal with 7Hard lately. The band's sophomore album, "Reborn In Fire", features "an all-star cast of metal's finest voices; Mike Vescera (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, LOUDNESS, OBSESSION), Zak Stevens (CIRCLE II CIRCLE, MACHINES OF GRACE, ex-SAVATAGE), Steve Grimmett (GRIM REAPER, LIONSHEART, ONSLAUGHT), Carlos Zema (OUTWORLD), Sean Peck (CAGE), Louie Gorgievski, Chris Ninni and Mike Zoias . They all give top notch performances. The songs are written around the individual voices which is giving the album a special touch.
This album is filled with decent powermetal songs and this the metal I like most; mostly fast & furious speedy songs with a lot of variety and awesome vocals (especially with Mike Vescera, Sean Peck & Carlo Zema on vocals)! Cant wait for the next masterpiece of Stu Marshall!!!! Well done!
Visit their website: http://www.empiresofeden.com
Recordlabel: http://www.7hard.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/empiresofeden

88/100

ENEMA – What makes you Human (CD) Italy January 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Metal / Hardcore Running time: 44:39 (Tracks: 12)
The Italian based metal/hardcore formation Enema officially released this album in 2008. For some reason it took nearly three years for MMM to receive this CD. On their website there is little information on whatever the reason for this may be. I assume that they are currently writing new material and they want to make the people aware of the band again, but one can only speculate. 'What makes you Human' is the band's debut album and consists of twelve tracks that can be labelled as metalcore. But not the typical standard metalcore that the genre is known for. Enema uses a more melodic approach which are making the songs a bit 'softer', so to speak. This especially comes to show in the many guitar solo's, which are very well played. Unfortunately the other important part of melodic metalcore, the clean vocals, are not that great. It fails to deliver the emotion that one can hear in the music. This can get pretty annoying from time to time. The screams on the other hand are fine and the aggressive parts are fairly enjoyable. That's what makes it so hard to form an opinion about this record. I want to like it, because you can hear the potential that these guys have. But overall the album is far to inconsistent to be played over and over again. At least by me. However, if the band will indeed release some new material in the near future, I will certainly give it a try. Because if they've spent the last few years on perfecting their sound, it may be well worth it. If you dig modern metal, hardcore or metalcore, Enema might be of interest to you.
Visit their website: http://www.enema.it
Recordlabel: http://www.blackfading.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/enemacore

65/100

ETERNAL REIGN – The Dawn of Reckoning (CD) Germany January 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Melodic Power Metal Running time: 57:17 (Tracks: 11)
After two albums , one in 2002 (Crimes of Passion) and one in 2005 (Forbidden Path) , this is Eternal Reign's third effort. It took them a long time to get a new record out, but according to Eternal Reign it's their most varied album. You can hear US metal, melodic metal, a bit of progressive metal mixed together with 80ies roots. If you read the bio fans of Breaker, Shok Paris, early Dream Theater and Ivanhoe will like this album. I can agree with that. The album starts off very quietly and slowly with some piano combined with the modest voice of Dirk Stühmer. Not for very long though as Eternal Reign speeds it up during the second track “Beyond the Black”. It's power metal what you get. The guitar-duo Michael Sebastian and Thorsten Fünfhaus fight their first duels. Stühmer has a very powerful voice that suits this music perfectly. Drummer Lennart Medebach, bassist Jörg Hassel and keyboard-player Björn Meyer colour this arrangement beautifully. The song contains tempo changes and screaming guitar leads. The next song, “Lords of Chaos”, takes of as a galloping horse but later on turns into more a straight-forward power metal song with some keyboards and of course plenty of guitars and with Stühmer hitting the high notes. On “Shadows of the Past” twin-guitars, pounding drums, raging keyboards and bassist Hassel, that keeps it all together, can be heard. This is one of the fastest songs on “The Dawn of Reckoning”. During this song Stühmer tries to sing his lungs out of his body. The fifth track, “Emptiness Devours” begins like a ballad with emotional vocals. Suddenly the pace changes and after some guitar-riffing the pace and power go up. It's power metal time again. “Lost Clouds” is the intro to “ Forgotten Sunrise” that is a fast and heavy song and on which the complete band gets the opportunity to show their skills. Drummer Medebach is the main man on “The Beast Within” as he hits his drums very hard but precise. Accompanied by screaming guitars this is also a very fast song. “Devil and Daughter” is a Black Sabbath-cover from the “Headless Cross” album with Tony Martin on vocals. Eternal Reign deliver a fantastic cover. The last two songs are “Gone too Far”, on which the title gets repeated over and over and “Still Remains” that begins as a quiet ballad with the sound of the guitars building up around the middle and then slowly fades away towards the end with some keyboards. This is a great album in this genre so guys please don't wait another five years to put out another album.
Visit their website: http://www.eternal-reign.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/eternalreign

84/100

EVERGLADE - Things to Save (CD) Italy January 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Heavy Rock Running time: 42:41 (Tracks: 9)
Everglade (Italy) was formed in 2003 and during these days, they acted mainly as a coverband playing songs of Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. In 2005, Everglade recorded a demo called October Sessions. The songs of this demo were improved during some years which has lead to the release of Things to Save. Nowadays, Everglade consists of Matteo Panin (vocals), Silvio Maestri (guitars), Luca Boscarato (drums), and Mattia Baratto (bass). All the songs were written by all the band members however, the lyrics we written by Matteo Panin only. As can be read on the website of the band, the band name has nothing to do with the national park The Everglades in America. It was the name from the place where the four members founded their home studio.
Things to Save has become an album which I can appreciate. Some songs sound a little bit “clinical and minimal”, but generally speaking the production is good. This is also an album which you have to listen some times before you hear every aspect. Listening to the album, I feel a quite “dark” and melancholic atmosphere, this is something that you have to like, but I can appreciate it. Maybe this is also a reason that the production sounds minimal, but I am not sure about this. Something what becomes clear is the influence of the bands which were covered in Everglade`s early days. Especially Alice in Chains had a big influence. Finally, the musical level of the band members is also ok so I am beyond all doubt that more people will like this album and band.
Visit their website: http:// www.everglade.it
Recordlabel: http://www.ukdivision.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/evergladeband

79/100

EVIL SHEPHERD – Sowing Death (CD) Belgium January 2011 Sammy De Maere
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 38:05 (Tracks: 13)
The thrash metal revival of the last couple of years brought us a lot of useless records. Most of them by wannabe bands lacking talent or talented musicians just jumping on the hype. Some of it by old legends who thought they still knew how to do it but failed miserably. Fortunately it also showed us which of the old bands still had it in them. Even more important, it introduced a few rare gems to the world. Hailing from Belgium is one of those precious kick ass old school thrash metal bands who combine it all: musical talent, an old school feeling, overall fun and decent song writing. Evil Shepherd rose from the ashes of two other Belgian bands who weren't that bad either but just missed something to really make it. The result of merging these two is simply kick ass and this debut has not left my stereo for weeks and weeks. Sowing Death brings you 13 old school thrash songs the way they are meant to be. Aggressive riffing supported by a pounding drum easily switching to nice solo's and sing a long choruses. Besides the fact that the music is really good the two strongest points of this record are the simple fun you here in the music and the vocals. They are just amazing! An old school fast shouting with high pitched squeals at the appropriate times. I can't wait to hear these tracks live, where they belong. This record is a must have for every thrash metal fan!
Record label: http://www.witches-brew.org
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/evilshepherdthrash

97/100

GRENOUER – Lifelong Days (CD) Russia January 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Industrial Death Metal Running time: 46:35 (Tracks: 11)
Grenouer is a band which origin goes back 1992. They started as death/thrash metal band and released several albums. This is their latest release and these guys decided that it was time to change in style to an industrial metal band…not the best choice if you ask me. Eleven tracks of industrial death metal with a lot of new metal influences. The guitar riffs are very progressive and remind me a bit of Soulfly and Fear Factory (but not that well performed). The drums are well done with a lot double bass in it and also technical combined with groovy parts. Then you get the vocals, low grunt screams combined with clean vocals that are also not the best I heard. That together with some noises on the background is their version of industrial metal. The composing and variety in the songs are also boring, when you heard the first song you can guess how the rest sounds. When you take all this together my conclusion is that this album sounds good, but brings you nothing new and original. In my opinion they should have stayed with playing technical thrash death metal.
Visit their website: http://www.grenouer.com
Recordlabel: http://www.locomotivemusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/grenouer

70/100

GRIFFEN – Life, a Way to Die (CD) Sweden January 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 56:11 (Tracks: 12)
Swedish band Griffen is an assembly of experienced musicians and this album is their debut brought to you by the Italian Steelheart label. The press release mentions Jorn, Whitesnake, Talisman and R.J.Dio as primary influences and I tend to agree. The band delivers modern melodic metal with traditional values reminiscent of current Pretty Maids. Crunchy rhythm guitars, melodic lead ones and a voice which combines melody and power. All songs are interesting but unfortunately I couldn't find the big hit or a track that would blow my mind and this is the only drawback I could think of. At least this is a decent album with enjoyable music.
Visit their website: http://www.griffen.se
Recordlabel: http://www.adrenaline.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/griffentheband

75/100

GUILTY'S LAW –Total Insanity (CD) Japan January 2011 Ronny Elst
Style: Melodic Power Metal Running time: 49:41 (Tracks: 11)
This Japanese band was already formed in 1994. Through the years there were many line-up changes. During all these years they managed to release a demo in 2002, a single in 2003 and an EP in 2004. Now they finally recorded their full-length debut “Total Insanity”, released through Black Listed Productions. Guilty's Law plays real power metal, without keyboards but with 2 guitarists, who play some catchy rhythms and good lead solo's. The vocals are high pitched, with a slight accent, and there are also several sing-a–long choruses. They are most of all influenced by German power metal bands of the 80's like Helloween, Running Wild and Accept. Not a bad band at all, but not sensational also.
Visit their website: http://www.guiltyslaw.com
Recordlabel: http://www.black-listed.jp
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/guiltyslaw

71/100

HALFORD – Made of Metal (CD) United Kingdom / USA January 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Power Metal Running time: 62:47 (Tracks: 14)
Halford? Yep, Rob Halford, the legendary mainman of one of the most influential metalbands ever! Im not gonna name this band of course because if you don't know about which band im talking than you must be from outerspace….
Ive seen Rob Halford several times, not only with his main band but also with his solo stuff like on the semi-successful FIGHT and this solo project HALFORD. To be honest; I love nearly all his stuff but live he could never convince me! Musically it was always okay but Halford was always singing mediocre during the gigs I saw him. After his first two solo albums “Resurrection” (2000) and “Crucible” (2002) it was quiet around this solo project due the fact that he rejoined his old bandmates in Judas Priest (shit, now im betraying myself…). He once in a while released some live footage or compilation stuff. Last year he also released a Christmas EP (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews).
So this is his first real full length since 2002! The music is as always pure traditional powermetal but with a lot of variation in the song structures. One of the weakest songs in the title track 'Made of Metal' with a strong sing-a-long grade. 'Till the Day I Die' has some stoner/country influences but (and I don't understand why) that's very hot these days in the metal scene….maybe im not to open-minded for this kind of branches?
Nevertheless this is a very good album which should have been a good JP album also! Favorite songs; 'Undisputed', 'Fire and Ice', 'Speed of Sound', 'The Mower' & 'Hell Razor'.
Visit their website: http://www.robhalford.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalgodrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/robhalford

85/100

HEMOGLOBINA – Era of the 5th Sun (CD) Italy January 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Hardrock Running time: 52:34 (Tracks: 11)
Hemoglobina was formed in 2000 because of the mutual love for '90's hardrock and the classic stuff as it was made in the 70's. The first E.P. “Conception with Rage” was released in 2006 and a second E.P. quickly followed. This to gain interest from a label, which ultimately resulted in the signing with Black Fading Records from Italy. In 2009, the debut album “Era of the 5th Sun” came out. The album has turned out to be an enjoyable hardrock album in which you can hear influences from bands like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains as well as some real punk and metal passages here and there. A successful and pretty original mix, if you ask me. The musicians are very capable, the riffs are addictive and the solo's are superb. Especially the instrumental passages are great, which reminisces about Led Zeppelin sometimes. “Era of the 5th Sun” only has one problem, and that is the lack of memorable songs. That's a shame, because all the ingredients are there. I have no doubt that this music will be received well on a festival or concert, but based on this record I'm not convinced. Based on their MySpace I couldn't really tell if the band is still active or not, but we'll see what the future holds for Hemoglobina. If you like the above mentioned styles, please listen to the material on their website and prove me wrong...
Recordlabel: http://www.blackfading.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hemoglobina

70/100

HION MARTELL – Will Cure Any Disease (CD) Sweden January 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock Running time: 38:39 (Tracks: 12)
“Will Cure Any Disease” is already the seventh album of Swedish Rock band HION MARTELL (pronounced “High On Martell”). But I have to admit that I never had heard of this band before. Perhaps they are very popular in their own country, I don't know!! Anyway, according to the biography on their official website, the band was formed way back in 1992. HION MARTELL has been mostly influenced by 70's bands like SWEET, ROLLING STONES, STATUS QUO, JJ CALE, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, SLADE, but also by ELVIS PRESLEY and CHUCK BERRY. The current line-up of the band exists of Christer Nilsson (guitar, vocals), Ulf Hagberg (guitar, vocals), Stefan Larsson (bass), Hakan Nilsson (drums, vocals) and Peter Subäck (keyboards). As you can see, there's no specific lead singer in the band, because both guitar players and the drummer are singers. Well, “Will Cure Any Disease” features eleven tracks and starts with a very short intro called “Perfect Remedy” (0:17). The second track, which is “Built As A Boxer”, reminds, because of it's riff, a bit of T-REX's “Get It On”. On the boogie woogie rocker “Built As A Boxer” you can indeed hear they are influenced by STATUS QUO. And “Don't Mess” is even a mixture of THE ROLLING STONES and the QUO, with vocals sounding like Mick Jagger. “Wasting Time” sounds nice and reminds me of JET. The vocals on “Brand New Day” reminds me of IGGY POP. Not all the songs on this album are fantastic. To me, songs like “(Don't Cry) Mary Anne”, “In The Meadows” and especially “Long Distance Love” are very boring. In fact, I can't say that it's very spectacular what I hear on this album. Okay I can listen to it, but that's all. And although I like 70's Rock and Hard Rock very much (I grew up with it), I wouldn't buy it myself easily. Anyway, the production of this album is okay, the musicianship is good and the vocals are good as well. So, if you are still curious about these Swedish rockers, well take a listen to some of their songs on the band's MySpace page. I should say that the best songs of this album are “Built As A Boxer”, “Fed Up”, “Wasting Time”, “Don't Mess”, “7 Devils” and “B.D.M. (Beer Drinking Music)”. Altogether, my end conclusion is that “Will Cure Any Disease” is nothing more than just an average rock album.
Visit their website: http://www.hionmartell.com
Recordlabel: http://www.viskningarochvral.se
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hionmartell

64/100

HORIZON ABLAZE – Spawn (CD) Norway January 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 60:14 (Tracks: 14)
Horizon Ablaze is a death metal band from Norway that started spreading their rage in 2008. They released their debut EP in 2009. This is their debut album “Spawn” and it sounds really brutal. Normally when you think of Norway you think of Black Metal, this band takes that thought right away. Fourteen tracks of ravaging death metal with heavy guitar riffs and old school groove in it. The same goes for the drums fast and technical and filled with up tempos and blasts with a great groove in it. Then you got the vokills…hell yeah, deep grunts that sound like a pit of misery (well done). The composing and variety of the songs are straight in your face and brings you right back to the 90's. The production of this album is also very good. When you take all this together then you get a band that really got my attention…..
Visit their website: http://www.horizonablaze.com
Recordlabel: http://www.mayhem-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/horizenblazeband

75/100

KIJU – Ignite The Revolt (CD) Italy January 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Modern Metal Running time: 33:00 (Tracks: 10)
KIJU started out in the late 90's, with a sound influenced by bands like Faith No more and Soundgarden. While touring the North of Italy they found new singer Vitto, and with a new singer their sound changed a bit to more low tuned guitars and became more aggressive. In 1999 their first demo came out called 'Hook My Neurons' followed by a lot of live shows. Late 2000 the next step was to start recording a debut album 'Nothing To Play For' saw the light of day in 2003, and was a mix of Sepultura - Machine Head musical violence and the Fear Factory's wall of technological sound. Their second album 'Demo(n)cracy' was released in 2005, and had more hardcore influences and was more straight in your face then before. After again a lot of touring throughout Europe with bands like Destruction, Labirinth and Freedom Call, plans were made for the third album. They took about 5 years to release the follow up to 'Demo(n)cracy', and in 2010 'Ignite The Revolt' was released. The influences of Sepultura and Fear Factory are still there, with a hardcore twist and a powerful, groovy sound! Songs like 'Breathe or suffocate/resurrection' ,'Clouds start to burn' and 'Endless storm' show what KIJU is capable of! Heavy, grooving modern metal with undeniable hardcore influences gives this music their KIJU sound. People into fore mentioned bands should give this band a listen, and will not be disappointed by what you get to hear!
Visit their website: http://www.kiju.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kiju

78/100

KILLFACE - Faceless (MCD) Ireland January 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Death Thrash Metal Running time: 22:16 (Tracks: 4)
Killface is 5 piece band from Ireland that started spreading their rage in 2008. Their style is death thrash metal and that you can definitely hear. This is their first release and it sounds great. Four tracks of ravaging death thrash metal influenced by Exodus and Malevolent Creation etc. All the songs are filled with variety. The guitar riffs remind me a lot of Dew Scented. The drums are up tempo and filled with groove and blast beats. Then you got the vocals grunts combined with thrash screams. This record contains 4 tracks and that's way to short. What this band makes is not original but sounds fucking brutal (well done). If you like death thrash metal then you should check their myspace and order your copy!
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/killfaceband

75/100

MASSIVE SLAVERY – Global Enslavement (CD) Canada January 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Industrial Death Metal Running time: 46:35 (Tracks: 10)
Massive Slavery is new band from Canada that started in 2009. When you listen to this album you don not get the idea that this is a new band, which is logical because their drummer also plays in “Decrepity” and their guitar player plays in “Descend into Nothingness”. This album is their debut “Global Enslavement” (self released) and now picked up by Maple Metal Records. This band knows how technical death metal should sound. The guitar riffs are straight in your face and technical, the riffs are groovy, melodic and furious. When you listen to the drums the first thing you say is fucking hell. One constant wall of double bass parts with enough variety and technical shit in it. The drums are triggered and very fast and constant, if you would not check there history then you think it's a computer drum because of the constant sound. And then you get the vocals that are evil grunts combined with thrash screams. This band brings you 10 tracks of brutal, technical death metal that is well produced (by Yannick St-Amand (Despised Icon, Beneath the Massacre, Neuraxis) and straight in your face. Ravaging and fast songs with a very aggressive attitude. If you like straight in your face death metal with melody and enough variety then you should definitely check this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/maplemetal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/massiveslavery

75/100

MELQART – Libre (CD) Spain January 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 58:00 (Tracks: 10)
MELQART hail from Vallidad, Spain and was formed in the year 2000. The band already released 2 full length studio and one live album and an ep, this is their third full length studio effort 'Libre'. Although they do have some songs with English lyrics, most of it is all in their native language Spanish, that also goes for the bio and all info and on their website. MELQART plays traditional heavy metal with a bit of a Maiden feel to it, although it sounds totally different lyrical wise because of the Spanish language. The band already played with bands like Baron Rojo, Mago de Oz, Warcry, Silver, DreamMaker and lots of others and build up a live reputation, mainly in Spain I guess. The album has a fairly good production and sounds pretty good, nice songstructures, you have to used to the Spanish language though. Their singer sounds a bit like a Spanish version of Rob Halford, and fits the music right. All musicians know how to handle their instruments, and how to write songs and make a diverse album. Great songs on this album 'Sin Patria', 'Living Alone'(with English lyrics), 'Nada' actually there are no bad songs on this album. Also some kinda ballad isn't missing in the form of 'Suenos sin alcanzar pt.II' and 'ptIII', part I was on their predecessor album 'Esclavo del destino' from 2007, with acoustic guitar parts and female vocals. While 'The Last Day' is another ballad but with English lyrics this time, and a great song to close the album with. Not to forget some powerful tunes like 'Sobre el asfalto'and 'Un camino a seguir' which are more uptempo and rock your socks off. MELQART delivers true heavy metal in the Priest/Maiden vain, but they give it their own twist, superb guitar work, powerful rhythms and a variety of great songs make this a great album, if you can take the Spanish lyrics then there's nothing in your way to give them a listen, just try!
Visit their website: http://www.melqart.es
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/heavymelqart

79/100

MICHAEL BORMANN - Different (CD) Germany January 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / AOR Running time: 46:52 (Tracks: 12)
When I heard the first tones of the album, I thought I was listening to a new album of Steve Walsh or a solo album of Bon Jovi! However, it was the album “Different” of the German vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Michael Bormann. His voice has quite a few similarities with above mentioned singers! Different is Bormann`s fourth solo album.
Bormann is active in the music industry since 1979. He started as an early teenager in the band High Voltage. During the years he played in different bands (as vocalist) and in 1995, chosen out of 2500 singers, he won the first prize in Linda de Mol`s German version of the Soundmixshow on the TV-channel RTL. He performed Bon Jovi`s "Wanted Dead or Alive". During these days, he played in Jaded Heart, but winning this contest did not support the development of Jaded Heart's career. Nobody wanted a German Bon Jovi, especially not in the metal-scene. But during the years, Jaded Heart became bigger and bigger but in 2004, Bormann left the band.
Different has become a nice album. At this album, Bormann is responsible for song writing, production, all instruments and the vocals. He also had a little help from some of his long-time companions Andreas Rippelmeier. Chris Ivo, Eric Ragno, lanvall and Marco Grasshoff. This album is not a really innovative melodic AOR / hard rock album, it is not “Different”, but if you like easy listening hard rock of the 80`s, than it is entertaining enough. The album is alternating; the album does not only include a mix of typical AOR but also some fine acoustic (reticent) tracks, powerful up-tempo songs (To the Top) as well as sensitive ballads (Think Twice), mostly all with quite a commercial influence. Different is a melodic rock album which takes you back to the 80`s.
Visit their website: http://www.michaelbormannpage.de
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/michaelbormann

75/100

MINDSHADE – MindShade (CDemo) The Netherlands January 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 17:25 (Tracks: 3)
MINDSHADE started out in 2007 when Norbert and Jeroen started jamming, and soon after Marco (guitar) was asked to join in, and MINDSHADE was born. Then they started searching for a singer, and by the end of 2007 the band was completed by Bart on drums and Nienke on vocals. In 2008 they started doing live shows and in the beginning of 2009 the entered the studio to record their first demo under professional guidance of Andre Borgman (After Forever, Valentine). Right after the recordings the first line up change was a fact and Barry became their new drummer. This self titled demo came out in September 2009, and since then MindShade is working on their live reputation by playing live as much as they can and writing new material. On this demo are 3 songs 'Equilibrium', 'Don't walk astray' and 'In life or death' , this is not enough and makes me wanna hear more, but the good news is, a debut album is planned for 2011. Overall the songs are all in a lower pace, nothing up tempo or anything like that, but the diversity is their, especially in the last two songs. Great guitar work, listen to 'In Life or Death', while Nienke shows what she can in 'Don't walk astray'. With a front woman like Nienke the visual aspect is covered, and live shows will be a party guaranteed! I can't wait to see them play live sometime soon and hear some new songs.
Visit their website: http://www.mindshade.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mindshademetal

75/100

NEFERTUM – Revered Lames (CD) Italy January 2011 William Nijhof
Style: Symphonic Black Metal Running time: 41:00 (Tracks: 8)
Nefertum is a symphonic black metal band from Italy that was formed in 2004. They released two demos and 2009 gave birth to this album (their debut) "Revered Lames". This album contains 8 tracks of well executed black metal with great melody and dark atmosphere. The guitar riffs are very technical and melodic with a great groove in it. The drums are straight in face with blasts and up tempos in it. They also use synths to get a dark atmosphere in it and that works perfectly because they understand that when you use them to hard it will overrule, they use it subtle. The vocals are screams with a raw twist. When you listen to this album you will hear that it is filled with variety so you will not get bored (I like the variety very much) and then you get the production which is also straight in your face. There is only one thing that is not so good for me, even though it is filled with variety and atmosphere it is not original...but never the less this album sounds great and brings you quality. If you like symphonic black metal then you should definitely check this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.ukdivision.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nefertum

70/100

PASADENA NAPALM DIVISION – P.N.D. (MCD) USA January 2011 Mario van Dooren
Style: Crossover / Thrash Metal Running time: 14:59 (Tracks: 6)
PASADENA NAPALM DIVISION is a new band featuring members of D.R.I., DEAD HORSE and VERBAL ABUSE and they releasd their debut EP at the end of 2010 via Abyss Records. PASADENA NAPALM DIVISION is: Kurt Brecht (D.R.I.) - Vocals, Greg Martin (DEAD HORSE) - Guitar/Backing Vocals, Ronny Guyote (DEAD HORSE) - Drums/Backing Vocals, Scott Sevall (DEAD HORSE) - Guitar/Backing Vocals & Bubba D. (VERBAL ABUSE) - Bass/Backing Vocals.
It's a long time ago that I reviewed a crossover band because normally I only focus on power/true & progmetal. Than why this review?? Simply; when I was reading the bio and I saw the name of Kurt Brecht it was clear for me that I had to review it myself; simply because his other band D.R.I. is just one of the few hardcore bands that still have a small place in my (once big) crossover heart!
Also after listening to this MCD is was clear by which band this new society was influenced; D.R.I. and a bit of Verbal Abuse. Maybe also by Dead Horse but im not familiar with this band. This MCD contains 6 songs in the oldschool crossover tradition. Only difference between PND and D.R.I. is the fact that PND has much more guitarsolo parts. So if you're into real oldschool hardcore than you should check this band out!! Looking out to see them live someday! For fans of D.R.I., Verbal Abuse, No Mercy & Attitude Adjustment.
Visit their website: http://www.pasadenanapalmdivision.com
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pasadenanapalmdivision

82/100

PROPHEXY – Alconauta (CD) Italy January 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 47:50 (Tracks: 8)
This Italian band started in the early 00s under the name Prophecy. This is its second full length release, a self financed effort by the looks of it. Prophexy is a progressive metal band with some prog rock elements and sings in its native language. Progressive metal sung in Italian is a tough combination and we don't get that very often. I wouldn't say that it's repelling; one could get used to it since the vocal abilities of Matteo Bonazza are great. Unfortunately I found the songs too progy for my taste and there where times I couldn't follow them. Although the songs are not fast, there is a frantic change of rhythms that somehow disoriented me. The flute parts where very interesting though and its usage helps build a cool atmosphere around most tracks.
Visit their website: http://www.prophexy.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/prophexy

65/100

RAVEN BLACK NIGHT – Lips of Desire (CD-Single) Australia January 2011 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 5:29 (Tracks: 1)
Aussie band Raven Black Knight has been around since the early 00's. With a full length self released album and some demos under its belt, the band presents a demo with only one song included. Lips of Desire is a doom metal song with an epic touch. The song is reminiscent of early Candlemass with a healthy dosage of Count Raven and it's actually quite good. Interesting vocals and great atmosphere. I think that the band should put more effort and add a couple of songs to this demo though just to give us something more representative of its work.
Visit their website: http://www.geocities.com/ravenblacknightmusic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ravenblacknight

70/100

SCHIZOPHRENIC VOICES – Derailment (CD) Germany January 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Thrash / Progressive Running time: 52:22 (Tracks: 11)
"Derailment" is the second full length album of German metal band SCHIZOPHRENIC VOICES. Well, I wasn't really positive about their debut album "Tesno" (see MMM update of March 2009), which got 25 out of 100 points from me. And to be honest, I still can't get impressed by these Germans with this second album as well. Okay, maybe we can say that there's a slight improvement, but altogether most of the compositions really can't impress me and are still working on my nerves. Just like the debut album, also this album features 11 tracks. "Derailment" starts with the intro "Train Of Thoughts" and ends with the outro "Dreaming Reality". A few songs on this album have a long running time, like "Just Imagine 666" (7:52), "Black Cathedral" (8:34) and "Super Gau" (9:30). And in my opinion those songs do have a running time which is just too long. There are so much tempo changes within those songs, that to me it really doesn't sound structured at all. Let's say it sounds like they wanted to put too much different parts in one song. Oh yeah, on several tracks there's also a woman singing as well. "Genesis 5.7" is an instrumental track with sounds in it of a crying baby, and "Drumcoholic" is also a short instrumental track. Anyway, like I also said in my review of the band's debut album, the members of the band play there instruments well, that's not the problem, but in my opinion they have to learn to write good structured songs. Now it still sounds like a bunch of crap. So, my advise is again, don't spend your money on this second album of SCHIZOPHRENC VOICES, because there are way much better albums for sale.
Visit their website: http://www.schizophrenic-voices.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/schizophrenicvoices

28/100

SENES – De-Evolution Of Theory (CD) USA January 2011 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Rock Running time: 51:18 (Tracks: 12)
Steve Senes started playing seriously the guitar until the age of 15 after hearing the insane playing of Yngwie J. Malmsteen. Having played with various bands over the years, Steve has amassed quite a large variety of styles. Every band Steve has played with left a mark on his playing and writing style. The prove of this we can hear on his instrumental solo album. “De-Evolution Of Theory” is a meltdown of several music styles such as rock/hardrock, ballads, baroque, funk and soul. So his album never lacks of variety. I personally like the more hardrock influenced songs like for example the opening track “The Swami”, which is a kind of Satriani mixed with Malmsteen song. Steve is certainly a very gifted musician, but maybe he can better choose one style. Now there's a lot of variety (influences from several guitarists such as Santana, Morse, Satriani, Vai, Malmsteen), but not all the songs can convince me enough.
Visit their website: http://www.senesmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.dr2records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/9yu

73/100

SEVENTH WONDER – The Great Escape (CD) Sweden January 2011 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 67:21 (Tracks: 7)
Seventh Wonder to me is top of the bill in progressive metal. So far they delivered three albums which all reached a high level. The founding trio, bassist Andreas Blomqvist, guitarist Johan Liefvendahl and drummer Johnny Sandin are also present on this album. They are completed by keyboard-player Andreas “Kyrt” Söderin, who joined the band late 2000 and singer Tommy Karevik who joined the band in 2005. This album is the last one Johnny Sandin plays on, as he has left the band in the meantime. This band is excellent on c.d. but equally excellent live. So far I've seen Seventh Wonder performing live several times but especially the gig at Sweden Rock Festival 2009 was superb. Often progressive metal bands are great in the studio but very static on stage. Seventh Wonder know how to get the energy from the stage to the crowd. So far their studio-efforts have been superb. This album is no exception. The biggest problem for bands that deliver masterpieces like “Mercy Falls”, the previous album, is to top that effort. “The Great Escape” is divided into seven songs of which the first six songs last for 37 minutes and the title-track just over 30 minutes. Seventh Wonder knows how to write first class songs that contain beautiful melodies and great choruses. Beneath that the musical craftsmanship is extraordinary. It does not matter if it is the vocals, bass, guitar, drums or keyboard this is quality with a capital Q. What to say about the songs? “Wiseman” starts of the album on a high note. All I have said before can be heard on this track. When you hear Johan Liefvendahl playing his guitar it sounds like magic. In the person of Tommy Karevik the band also has one of the best, if not the best, singers in the genre. What an amazing voice this guy has. To only mention these two is not fair because the total performance of the band is fantastic. The second song, “Alley Cat”, is the band's promotional video that has been very popular on YouTube so far. The song itself sounds excellent with a lot of guitar- en keyboard-duels while Tommy sings in a very passionate way. “The Angelmaker” is yet another highlight. This is a more heavy song combined with Tommy's superb vocals and beautiful choruses. The next track “King of Whitewater” gets to you right away. It's a typical complex Seventh Wonder song but at the same time it captivates you immediately. Tommy's voice sounds very high and crystal-clear. “Long Way Home” is a rather different song. It's a beautiful ballad with Tommy and his sister Jenny excelling. “Move on Through” is another display of Seventh Wonder's quality. The total song and it's sound are just fantastic. Like many other bands in the progressive genre Seventh Wonder thought it was time to write and record an epic song that lasts more than 10 minutes. Well Seventh Wonder have taken it to the limit by writing a song that takes over 30 minutes. When writing a long song it's very difficult to keep the unity within the song. Seventh Wonder has succeeded big time as they've written their epic. It takes several hearing-sessions but then you can appreciate this song. The story of this track is based on the epic space saga “Aniara” , written in 1956 by Swedish Nobel Prize winner Harry Martinson. I can't wait to hear this song being performed live. Hopefully they'll be able to play at one of the bigger stages at Sweden Rock Festival. The only right conclusion is that this fourth album is yet another highlight in the progressive metal scene.
Visit their website: http://www.seventhwonder.nu
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialsw

95/100

STRAIGHT TO YOUR FACE – The Struggle (CD) Denmark January 2011 Kees Schijven
Style: Hardcore / Metalcore Running time: 47:00 (Tracks: 11)
From Denmark comes STRAIGHT TO YOUR FACE, with their third album 'The Struggle', on DemonsRunAmok. This band plays true aggressive hardcore/metalcore in the vein of bands like Merauder, Ryker's, Backfire or Terror! From the first song 'The Sruggle' to the last song 'Salvation' the album is full of power and aggression. Production is done by Jacob Bredahl (Last Mile, Hatesphere, Barcode) and is perfectly for this kind of music, real hard, fat and heavy! This is an awesome album, pure, fast and certainly not disappointing at all, these guys did a great job! If you need an adrenalin shot, get this album, it works better! This is just a great album, nothing more nothing less, if you like earlier named bands, you can get this album blind, cause it's just great stuff! I know I like this one very much!
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/s2yf

84/100

SWEETKISS MOMMA – Revival Rock (CD) USA Januari 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Southern Rock / Rock / Blues Running time: 46:41 (Tracks: 12)
Well, I was really surprised with this debut album “Revival Rock” of SWEETKISS MOMMA, which is a five-piece band existing of Jeff Hamel (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Waid Hoyt (guitar), Aaron Arnold (lead guitar), Randy Jackson (bass) and Tyson Lickert (drums). This debut album is the follow up of their self titled three track EP, which was released in August of 2008. These guys couldn't come up with a better title for their fantastic debut album, because on this album we'll get some great Southern Rock like in the '70's. “Revival Rock” is very good produced by Joe Reineke, who's also playing guitar on the songs “Sweet Little Thing” and the ballad “Come Clean”. Besides fantastic rock songs, there are also some quieter moments on this album with songs like “Slow Fade”, “Strange Fire”, which is the longest track of the album, the just mentioned “Come Clean” and “To Help A Man”. In fact, it's just a real pleasure to listen to this album. Perfect songs, excellent musicians and Hamel is a fantastic singer. I don't have any negative points to mention about this album. Well, if you like bands as THE ALLMAN BROTHERS, MOLLY HATCHET, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, RAM JAM and THE BLACK CROWES very much, then you'll absolutely have to check out SWEETKISS MOMMA, because they are awesome. My favorite songs of this album are “Ready To Go”, “Son Of The Mountain”, “Mercy Love”, “Rocket Ride”, “Sweet Little Thing” and the beautiful “To Help A Man”. Excellent album of a fantastic band. Well done guys. Keep on rockin'.
Visit their website: http://www.skmband.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sweetkissmomma

82/100

TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION – Rollin (CD) USA January 2011 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Southern Metal Running time: 40:09 (Tracks: 10)
After the demise of Pantera and it's successor Damageplan, southern metal music was, for obvious reasons, not very much in sight. But now the tables have turned once again. Europe was already aware of Hellyeah, which includes members of Pantera and Mudvayne, but prepare to be blown away by another band from Texas: the Texas Hippie Coalition. They released their first album “Pride of Texas” in 2008 and in 2010 they gave birth to “Rollin” via Carved Records. Did I already mention they're from Texas? There can be no misunderstanding of what this band is all about. The following sentence in the titletrack “Rollin” says it all: “Where ever there's trouble, you know that's where we'll be. Cause we're the band of outlaws baby. They call us the T.H.C.” And when I look at the band members in the booklet, I believe it right away. But toughness is nothing when the music isn't worth listening to. Luckily, the album has turned out great. There is no denying where they come from, but unlike Hellyeah, THC takes things a bit further in a more Rock 'n' Roll kind of way rather than metal. They combine the heaviness and tightness of Pantera with the southern melodies of, let's say, Lynard Skynard. Also a band like Volbeat comes to mind because of the country influences, but you simply cannot avoid that when you share the same love for the ultimate outlaw: Mr. Johnny Cash. The album contains powerful metal songs like “intervention” and “Pissed off and mad about it”, as well as the groovy “Rollin” and the bluesy “Groupie girl.” Also make sure to pay attention to the lyrics, because they are full of sarcastic remarks and are pretty funny. In 2011, the band will tour extensively and will visit Holland in January for no less than 4(!!) Shows. I will be there when they play with Dog Eat Dog at the Mezz, Breda. I'm thirsty already...Grab a pint and check them out!
Visit their website: http://www.thcoutlaw.com
Recordlabel: http://www.carvedrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/texashippiecoalition

82/100

THE BLACKLIES – Sorry But I Feel So Bad (MCD) Italy January 2011 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Alternative / Pop Running time: 16:03 (Tracks: 4)
THE BLACKLIES is an Italian Rock band and was formed by F. Thomas Ferretti (vocals, piano, synthesizer) and Salva Lebella (drums) during their high school days. With the very first line-up the band recorded some demos and EP's, but in 2005 THE BLACKLIES' definite line-up was completed with Emiliano Mammini (guitar) and Francesco Rossi (bass). In 2008 the band's debut album "Groundfloor" was released on UK Division Records, which features eleven songs. Well, "Sorry But I Feel So Bad" is the single of that debut album, and was released in 2009. "Sorry But I Feel So Bad" is an edit radio version. The second track of this single is "My First Day On The Earth", and is the same version as on the album. The t