CD & DVD REVIEWS 2012

CD & DVD REVIEWS 2012

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UPCOMING CD REVIEWS: OCEANS OF NIGHT, EMPIRES OF EDEN, CORROSIVE CARCASS, MASSACRE, SICADIS, SUTUANA, NAGLFAR, THE STOMPCRASH, INSIDE I, UNDERWELL, THE WAY OF PURITY, HEAVEN'S CRY, ASSASSIN (DVD), VILLAINY (2x), SAXON (2DVD), GRIEF OF EMERALD, 3rd MACHINE, DARKSIDE, KAOS, SEPTIC CHRIST, TALAMYUS, ABSENTIA, VOID MOON, PAGAN ALTAR, PHANTOM-X, ETC, ETC.....

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DECEMBER

ACROSTICHON – Return to Killburg (2 LP) The Netherlands December 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Female Fronted Death Metal Running time: over 1:22:24 (Tracks: 18)
Old school female fronted Dutch death metal band Acrostichon played a one-off gig in 2009 at my own Mario's Metal Meeting 3 (not Mario's Metal Mania as reported on the innersleeve) and they decided to record and eventually release this reunion gig. Finally a few years later it is released on vinyl and the reason I'm reviewing it this late is simply: my record player was on the attic already for years……
I'm an oldschool fan extraordinary but when its up to vinyl/cd I definitely choose the luxury of a compact disc!

If you know all the Acrostichon stuff than this is nothing new; just a nice addition to your death metal collection. There are only 300 copies (11 testpressings fingerprint in dog's blood & numbered, 50 colored copies & 250 black sludge copies) of this album around which also includes the 'Prologue' demo: the demo that started everything for the band in the 90's! This demo sounds still so damn heavy and still relevant these days. The complete album sounds very good and im really proud that I personally was the one that started this whole reunion idea! Also thanks to the band of course for putting their trust in me and cooperate with this whole idea.
For all the people that think Arch Enemy is Heavy and don't know Acrostichon; check this band out and you will agree with me! The band did 2 shows again after this “one-off” reunion show but other live shows will be very rare in the near future… I also don't know how much albums are still left but you can always inform: badger_records@hotmail.com

Most of the members, except for Guru Richard Schouten, these days are playing together in a new band called Razend…but don't expect a deathmetal outfit because singer Corinne is singing in a more clean style after she started singing lessons lately……will be continued……
Visit his website: http://acrostichon.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.badgerrecords.nl
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/acrostichon/124038914347769

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A PERFECT DAY – A Perfect Day (CD) Italy December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Modern Melodic Rock Running time: 51:51 (Tracks: 10)
A Perfect Day is an Italian powerrock trio formed by two musicians from Labyrinth, the melodic fast metal band from Massa. Andrea Cantarelli, guitarist for Labyrinth, wanted a platform for his modern melodic rocksongs with aggressive riffs and compact structures. In Roberto Tiranti, singer and bassplayer bandmate, also known for his vocal input in many Italian rockoperas and concept albums, he found his partner for the songs and the lyrics and a mutual friend, Alessandro Bissa (from Vision Divine and Labyrinth (since 2010)) took care of the drumparts.
The music of APD is very far from the metal riffs with keyboards Labyrinth use to provide. The songs have a Nickelbag- feeling, with nods to their stylemembers AlterBridge, Shinedown, Skillet, Stone Sour and the Christian act Third Day. The production is fair and dry and that has its effect on the wall of sound APD brings to us. I like the songs, they have an atmosphere of recognition and power: The last song " We only say goodbye" reminds me of Alter Bridge, " Now and forever" and the beautiful "Silent cry" have that Nicklebag- touch, "Warm embrace" is heavy Shinedown- stuff, but played in an APD-style and the heavy " Alone and free" has winks of Skillet and their stylistic friends. The fast track " Waiting on the egde" is the prizewinner of the album(so far). Great album, I became a fan of Labyrinth in their most creative period (the” Return to Heaven denied”- album is the one to get), but I like this sidestep as well. Give it a try, If you're a fan of the modern sounding rockbands that were mentioned above.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/apdband
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace 2: http://www.facebook.com/andrea-cantarelli

80/100

ASIA – Resonance / Live in Basel Switzerland (CD/DVD) USA December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock Running time: 1:47:51 (Tracks: 18)
In 2010 rockgiant Asia recorded " Omega", their fourth studio album and the second album after the reunion of the original line- up in 2006. The album did very well in Japan, Sweden and Germany, countries where all the Asia albums had entered the charts before. But Omega was also successfull in Norway, Switzerland, Canada, USA (on the online-market) and in the UK (it entered the indie-Charts). A huge tour followed and on May 4th 2010 Asia concerted Basel, Switzerland. Eighteen cameras captured every moment of this concert and a great variety of recording equipment shelved the live, in your face-environment of the songs. Frontiers, the great Italian rock label, will release a CD/DVD of the Basel concert. I have the audio recordings as a review copy and this gem sounds good! 18 songs pass the revue and the classic anthems are accompanied by the songs from Omega and Phoenix, the first album of the classic line-up-reunion. Asia released a great album on Frontiers this year. I reviewed it and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of XXX. This second Frontiers' album captures a good sounding concert. Asia has released many concerts in many line-ups, but this is one of the best, songwise and soundwise. I'm curious about the images of this concert, the DVD gained fair reviews in the Asia fancamp till now.
Visit their website: http://www.originalasia.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/originalasia

85/100

ATTIC – The Invocation (CD) Germany December 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 47:49 (Tracks: 10)
Attic comes from Germany and presents us the very best vocally sound alike of King Diamond ever heard. If there were talent contests where descent music should be possible, this guy, Meister Cagliostro, would easily win, performing a Mercyful Fate track. It's almost unbelievable how much he sounds like the King himself as well in the high as in the low/spoken regions. This great vocalist expresses his stamp on the music by this great performance, so it automatically refers to Mercyful Fate. Well, this in 2010 founded band sounds less technical and gets their influences from classic, old school Heavy Metal like Judas Priest and a lot of early Iron Maiden punctuated with a dark atmosphere to give way to their interest in occultism. It seems that nowadays there's a real revival of occult bands playing traditional Heavy Metal with painted faces and lyrics about worshipping his Royal Evilness. Just think of Ghost and the awesome Hell. Now these bands don't sound musically the same and neither does Attic, so there's room enough for them in the scene. The self- titled demo was brought to the masses in the beginning of 2012 and was received very well by the press. And this debut … well ehm, it's simply damn brilliant. Not many bands are gifted bringing out a debut with only good solid varied metal. From the first awesome opener (I don't count the instrumental warm-up “The Hidden grave”) “Funeral in the Woods” till 'Evil Inheritance” this album is just one big highlight. It's catchy, varied and damn inventive. Just listen to keeps on hanging 'in your head song “Join the Coven”, the creepy “Edlyn”, the amazing epic “The Headless Horseman” or the countless breaks in 'Satan's Bride”. This band takes you back to the early 80's and combines the good stuff of those days. Okay, the production is 80's to and could have been better and fatter. I have to say the album needs some listening times to grow, to explore new breaks and inventive solo's and that makes it even better. Simply it's just a good album. The only thing about bringing out a real good debut is that it will be hard to exceed, but that's some trouble for the future. I think this very skilled band has much potention. The occult style with the pretty extreme vocals are hot nowadays and that can help the band making a flying entry in metal kingdom. They are already confirmed for Keep it True 2013 so that's already a fine statement. Every metalhead should give this a chance and I'll think 98% will like it. Brilliant debut ! Also the big boss of MMM, mr. Mario himself has already booked them for a gig at “The Little Devil” on the 8th of march 2013. Get your chance to capture them live over there before they become too big for the small stages. Don't say I didn't warn you !
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/atticfuneral
Recordlabel: http://www.van-records.de
MySpace: http://www.facebook.comatticfuneral

88/100

BLOODBOUND – In The Name Of Metal (CD) Sweden December 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Power Metal Running time: 45:44 (Tracks: 12)
I don't get it, can't dig it …. for myself although. Let's say I'm not really into 'gimmick” metal which is provided with brave lyrics that have been heard tons of times before (Manowar, Hammerfall to name some truest of the truest). So naming your newest sprout “In the Name of Metal” is so damn cliché that I was very, very doubtful about this 5th Bloodbound record. Been unaware of their first 4 releases I took my changes for this one. This Swedish Power Metal Force give expression to traditional heavy metal especially Accept (Metal Heart era).
Lyrically it still drags my eyebrows sometimes and you feel a bit ashamed for loving metal, it's so childish (M E T A L for Metal….). But this band has done it. I don't give a shit about that anymore; they're just right ! Shout it out loud man, throw yourself back in time and let it all go. Why? Simply, this record has a real sublime production and sound that justifies it all. Everything sounds splendid and the whole album is a trip back in time. Okay it's all damn recognizable; the hooks, the riffs, the solid rhythm section, the powerful voice and screams, yeah it's all pure heavy metal. Okay, the few more melodic tracks like “King of Falling Grace” and “When Demons Collide” don't belong to my favourites but the real neckbreaking, ballbusting and heavyweight metallers like “Black Devil”, “I'm Evil”, “Bonebreaker”, “Mr. Darkness” and the brilliant “Book of the Dead” (rerecording of the title track of one of their former albums) are still wandering in my head for days and be sure; they will trouble your grey brains for a long, pleasant time. Even the cheesy sing along ones “In the Name of Metal” and “Metalheads Unite” are more than convincing. It's been done several times before, I know, but often this good! Great band, skilled musicians and very good vocals guarantee you a metal journey that blows your speakers. I'm sold dear metalfans around the world. This album screams to be played live in front of thousands enthusiastic maniacs like us. As they say themselves; In the Name of Metal is a record, a title, a statement! Nothing to be added by me here.
Visit their website: http://www.bloodbound.se
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bloodboundonline

86/100

BLOODSHED WALHALLA – The Battle Will Never End (CD) Italy December 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Viking / Epic Metal Running time: 55:10 (Tracks: 7)
Viking Metal from Italy, highly inspired by Quarthon who is like the godfather of this genre. If you are into the Viking era of Bathory than this is your stuff. The only thing is that this one man project Drakhen delivers an almost exact copy of his great example. Six long epic songs follow after a long intro in the same style and that makes it a long sit. It never really excites, it sounds flat, the production isn't great and Drakhen himself isn't behept with a decent voice. Sometimes he sounds so false that even Odin's ravens Huginn and Muninn would be scared shitless. But hey, ever heard a Viking sound melodic ….. So indeed, by times it fits into the music he has created, isn't that disturbing but in the long run it is. A better production would help even as the adding of more vocal diversity to make it all more exciting. The building up of the songs is quite good but sometimes there are sudden gaps that makes you wonder, what the hell … is this track over or what and then it continues. Weird so to say. For fans of this genre, all the above doesn't count I guess, because when you are into Bathory like bands as Crom (whose album I really liked), Sleipnir, Baldur etc. you can give this album a chance. Although it doesn't reach the level of those bands it certainly sounds very authentic.
Recordlabel: http://www.fogfoundation.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bloodshedwalhalla

61/100

CIVILIZATION ONE – Calling the Gods (CD) Germany December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic European Power Metal Running time: 46:00 (Tracks: 13)
Civilization One was formed in 2006, when the famous German singer Chity Somapala joined forces with the Italian shredmaster Aldo Lonobile, his long time drummer friend Lucas Cartasegna, bass player Emmanuel Pelisson and the Brazilian keyboard wizzard Jesper Stotz. The debut album was ready shortly after the writing and demoing sessions with producer Markus Teske, responsible for many German and Italian acts like Frontline, Vandenplas, Red Circuit and Mob Rules. Metal Heaven and Spiritual Beast took care for the distribution and the debut album got rave reviews. The band played many gids in the countrys in Central Europe and even Sri Lanka (Ceylon) ( it's the native country for Chity) welcomed the fierce and powerful melodic metal, with symphonic touches,of the Europeans.
But there were troubles as well: It was difficult to record and to rehearse new material, because of the geographic distance between the bandmembers, living in Italy and Germany. The line-up changed dramatically: Chity and Emmanuel got new friends. Olivier Marmann and Nicklaus Bergen are the new guitarplayers and drummer Michael Stein left Red Circuit to join Chity and his new fellow musicians. The German label Limb from Hamburg has became the company to launch their new cd, "Calling the Goods" and what a fine album this is! Packard with fast and furious songs, with great hooks and melodies, an extreme tight rhythm section, power riffs and solos and vocals in the best Johnny Gioeli- stylistic approach.
I like the fast tracks ( Hell awaiting, the title track, Arch angel), but the balladesque material (Evil eye, Reunite, Believing the dream) and the protrusive tracks (Land in flames, New world, Spirit in the wind) are fantastic as well. The song " Believing the dream" was written for the Sri Lanka Cricket Team and the pop song ( yes: Chity can write pop material as well) " Dreams of fire " was written for the 2012 Olympic Games. Hats off for this sympathetic band and for their newest album!
Visit their website: http://www.civilization-one.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.de

83/100

CLENCHED FIST – The Gift of Death (CD) Brazil December 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 36:28 (Tracks: 10)
My first impression of this cd was that this band belongs to the black metal genre and was baffled on why Mario chose me to review it. The first seconds gave me the answer though. Brazilian band Clenched Fist delivers traditional heavy metal with epic overtones, influenced by bands such as Manilla Road and Omen with some old Running Wild and Helloween to provide some European flavour to the mix. The material is obviously not as stellar as the aforementioned bands but falls under the category of decent and enjoyable true metal. If you like Ironsword, Premonition or Dominus Praelii then Clenched Fist is for you.
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/clenchedfistband

70/100

CLOUDSCAPE – New Era (CD) Sweden December 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 62:33 (Tracks: 12)
Cloudscape is one of the few bands I have seen live in three different Scandinavian countries. They played Metal Heart Festival (Norway), Progpower Scandinavia (Denmark) and Sweden Rock Festival (Sweden). It has been a while since their last release, “Global Drama” in 2008, but Cloudscape is back and how! This album is their fourth one, after releases in 2005 (self-titled) and 2006 (Crimson Skies) and the one mentioned above in 2008. A lot, especially concerning the line-up, has changed since the last release. Guitarist Patrik Svärd and vocalist Mike Andersson are still around. The new members are Stefan Rosqvist (guitars), Håkan Nyander (bass) and Fredrik Joakimsson (drums). There are twelve tracks on this album ranging from 3.44 minutes to 8.37 minutes. “Silver Ending” is the starting point of this album. It is a good piece of progressive metal with a great deal of heavy pounding bass and drums complemented with some beautiful guitar-parts. On “Share Your Energy”, it is Andersson that hits the really high notes fantastically. Peter Wildoer is responsible for the growling that fits perfectly into this song. Let us not forget the rest of the band as they really share their energy with the listener. The beginning of “Kingdom of Sand” has a very middle-eastern vibe to it like can be heard on some of the Myrath songs. There is a lot of heavy guitar riffing and a superb guitar solo on this track. This will be a great live-song as Andersson already has included some “hey”, “hey”-choruses in the middle of the song. There are some weird noises and piano to be heard when “Pull the Brake” starts. This song deals with the fact that because of the fast and stressful lives we live we forget that life is gone before we realise it and we do not take the time to relax and enjoy life. This is a great song both musically and lyrically. The song ends on a heavy note. The “hey's” are also present on “Seen It All Before” that has some catchy tunes. Just after the middle of the song, the tempo goes down and Cloudscape displays a more sensitive side. “Your Desire” is a very fast song with Andersson singing in a more aggressive and rougher way. The band really pushes through on this track that is one of the harder tracks on “New Era” although it always remains very sophisticated. “Voyager 9” is by far the longest track and it shows Cloudscape in a more modest way as there is plenty of space for very well polished vocals and guitars. Now it is time for the shortest track, “Simplicity… Huh...” that is a more straightforward song with Andersson using his voice in different ways. Tribal is the way I would describe the beginning of “Before Your Eyes”. The African-like sounds remain present throughout the song that for the rest balances between quiet modest - and heavy pushing progressive metal. On “Violet Eve”, the tempo is up and the complete band lays down a great progressive metal track. “Into The Unknown” is a less complex song that features Andersson and Svärd. The closing track, “Heroes”, has an Asian touch to it at the start of the song but it transforms in yet another great progressive metal track. It is great that Cloudscape is back because they belong to the top of the progressive metal league. I hope they will come over to prove that live on stage again. They do not have to win me over as I have already witnessed their live qualities, but I am looking forward to some new gigs.
Visit their website: http://www.cloudscape.se
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cloudscapemetal

86/100

CORAM LETHE – Heterodox (CD) Italy December 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death Metal Running time: 50:32 (Tracks: 8)
Metal bands often get the comment that all their songs sound the same, you can't tell which is which and you don't know whether the song begins or end. Well, while listening to the new Coram Lethe album 'Heterodox', I most certainly didn't have that problem. 'Heterodox' is probably the most diverse Death Metal album I've heard in quite a while. The band, originating from Italy, was founded in the late nineties and released a total of four records to date. The 'Reminiscence' demo in 2000, the full length album 'The Gates of Oblivion' in 2004 and 'A Splendid Chaos' in 2009. Most recently the aforementioned 'Heterodox' saw that light of day. When you look at the periods between albums, it seems that Coram Lethe is taking their time for each and every release. Quality over quantity, which comes to show while listening to the album. As said before, the album has turned out to be very diverse, despite the length of the technical Death Metal songs, which often clock over five or six minutes. Truth be told: you have to listen to the album more than once before you 'get' the songs. But once you get used to the tempo-breaks an spherical arrangements, songs like 'Hypnomagik', 'Where the Worms Crawl' and 'Light in Disguise' get pretty addictive. Mean guitar-riffs are the main focus, combined with synthesiser and guitar fills and solo's. The songs have many different faces, which demands your ears to really listen to what is happening. Traditional riffing, complex drum patterns , the epic feel to the songs and the diverse vocals are making 'Heterodox' a more than relevant album. Certainly one of the most interesting Death Metal releases that has come to my attention in 2012. Not just interesting for Death Metal enthusiasts, but also for anyone who appreciates experimental metal. A very wise decision of Buil2Kill Records to sign these guys. Keep up with the quality over quantity approach! Very nice record.
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/coramlethe
Recordlabel: http://www.buil2kill.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coramlethe

85/100

DANKO JONES – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue (CD) Canada December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Hard Rock Running time: 43:53 (Tracks: 13)
Well, anyone who's familiar with Canadian rockers of DANKO JONES can't deny that they have a very recognizable sound. Anyway, I like DANKO JONES very much. The albums which I have of DANKO JONES are his debut album "Born A Lion" (2002), "We Sweat Blood" (2003) and "Below The Belt" (2010). And so far, I've seen DANKO JONES four times live (in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2011). "Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue" is the sixth album of DANKO JONES, and was again produced by Matt DeMatteo (who also produced "We Sweat Blood", "Sleep Is The Enemy" (2006) and "Below The Belt") and Danko Jones. So, anyone who is familiar with DANKO JONES knows what to expect, kick ass Rock 'n Roll. Earlier this year, also DANKO JONES' first DVD "Bring On The Mountain" was released. About the songs on this album, this CD opens very strongly with "Terrified" and "Get Up". The beginning of the guitar in "Always Away" reminds me very much of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck". "You Wear Me Down" sounds very much like LED ZEPPELIN. "I Believed In God" starts with a gospel kind of vocal intro. "I Believed In God (Reprise)" is nothing more than a 46 seconds outro of "I Believed In God". One of the less songs to me on "Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue" is "Legs" (I don't like the 'lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala…..legs' parts). Don't get me wrong, "Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue" is a good rock album, but in my opinion it's predecessor "Below The Belt" (2010) is in total a stronger album. The songs which I like the most of this sixth DANKO JONES album are "Terrified", "Get Up", the catchy "Just A Beautiful Day", "You Wear Me Down", "Conceited" and "The Masochist".
Visit their website: http://www.dankojones.com
Recordlabel: http://www.badtasterecords.se

78/100

DARSOMBRA – Climax Community (CD) Sweden December 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 45:00 (Tracks: 3)
Darsomgra is a band that really makes it difficult to give it a genre. It is subscribed as Doom Metal but in my opinion it is more spacier and even heavier. Not because of the heaviness of the songs but because of the atmosphere that it brings. Three tracks that give it the time of 45 minutes. It is really spacie but not in a stoner way. The funny part is that I really like doom metal but this is a new adventure for me and I really like this! It has the rest in the music of 40 Watt Sunn but without the distortion guitar but with a lot of soundscapes and acoustic guitars and leads. This album is a musical journey that keeps you listening and listening.
Visit their website: http://www.darsombra.com
Recordlabel: http://www.suburban.nl

75/100

DEATH – Spiritual Healing (Deluxe Edition) (2CD) USA December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Death Metal Running time: CD1: 43:20 (Tracks: 8)
CD2: 72:27 (Tracks: 16)
Recently, DEATH's third album "Spiritual Healing" (1990) has been reissued by Relapse Records in a deluxe 2-disc edition. At the time of "Spiritual Healing" the line-up of DEATH existed of Chuck Schuldiner (vocals, guitar), James Murphy (guitar; who also has been a member of OBITUARY, his own band DISINCARNATE and TESTAMENT), Terry Butler (bass) and Bill Andrews (drums). "Spiritual Healing" always has meant something special for me, because during that period I also wrote with James Murphy. I think I started writing with James around July of 1987, after I met him (and John Cyriis) backstage after the concert he did with AGENT STEEL on June 27th, in Noorderligt, Tilburg, Holland. And I think I have written with James until somewhere in 1993. James even mentioned my name in his "Thanks list" in the booklet of "Spiritual Healing". Well, as any Metalhead knows (or should know), Chuck Schuldiner died on December 13th, 2001 on cancer. Too bad he past away, because Chuck was a great songwriter and musician. With each album of DEATH the band got more and more technical. Anyway, disc one contains the "Spiritual Healing" album in a re-mastered version, and sounds marvellous. And wow, the booklet looks just awesome. It features liner notes from James Murphy, Terry Butler, Michael Poulsen (VOLBEAT) and of Beth Schuldiner, great pictures (I even recognize a picture of Chuck (with the MORBID ANGEL shirt on, top right on page 10), which I took (shot at a DEATH concert on February 28th, 1989, when DEATH played in 't Schooltje in Kaatsheuvel, Holland), and which I have send once to James, and of course the lyrics of the songs. Just like any other album of DEATH, also "Spiritual Healing" is a real classic album. "Living Monstrosity" (5:08), "Altering The Future" (5:34), "Defensive Personalities" (4:46), "Within The Mind" (5:34), "Spiritual Healing" (7:44), "Low Life" (5:23), Genetic Reconstruction" (4:52) and "Killing Spree" (4:16) all still sounding great after all those years. Disc 2 features rehearsal versions of "Altering The Future" (5:34), "Defensive Personalities" (4:49), "Within The Mind" (6:08), "Within The Mind: Take 2)" (5:59), "Spiritual Healing" (8:44) and "Killing Spree" (4:18), instrumental studio versions of "Defensive Personalities" (4:47), "Spiritual Healing" (7:48) and "Within The Mind" (5:37) and joke and jam tracks titled "Satanic Jam", "Primus Jam", "Jon A Qua: Take 2" (3:05), "Jon A Qua: Take 3" (3:06), "Jon A Qua: Take 4" (1:35), "Jon A Qua: Take 5" (1:38) and "Jon A Qua: Take 6" (2:51). The sound quality of the songs is, as you will understand, not that fantastic, but hey….it's now a historic memory. What else can I say, this deluxe edition of "Spiritual Healing" is just a MUST. If you already have the 1990 version of "Spiritual Healing" like myself or not, buy this deluxe edition.
Visit their website: http://www.emptywords.org
Recordlabel: http://www.relapse.com

96/100

DEGRADATION – Juggernaut (CD) USA December 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Oldschool Thrash Metal Running time: 30:35 (Tracks: 8)
Degradation, a metal/thrash outfit from Chicago, embodies the raw aggression of old school thrash along with technically driven song writing and addictive grooves. Degradation strives to set a new level in the heavy metal world with its strong emphasis on live sound, quality recording, high energy shows, and every note sounding “tight.”
This according the bands own website; and I agree totally!! The band was established in 2001. In 2007, the band produced their 4 song EP, “Unleashed”. Returning to the studio in 2010, Degradation recorded their debut album “Juggernaut,” working with producers Jonathan Clardy of Progression Productions and Dan Precision of Bombshelter Chicago. Even if this band exist for over 10 years; this is there debut full length (well, over 30 minutes) and damn it's a great one! This is oldschool thrash, no retro thrash like most youngster make these days. Energetic thrashmetal with a lot of technical parts which suits me a lot! The music is very fast and aggressive as thrash should be! These guys simply just never slow the pace down for the whole 30 minutes. Check these guys out; they deserve it! Awesome album!!! For fans of Exodus, Slayer, At War, Hallow's Eve, Testament and Vio-Lence. The biggest surprise on the album is that they've included a cover of "Executioner...Slayer of the Light" from Swedish death/thrashers The Crown.
Visit his website: http://www.degradationband.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/degradationband
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/degradation666

90/100

DESTITUTION – The Human Error (MCD) The Netherlands December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 16:04 (Tracks: 3)
DESTITUTION was formed in 2007 out of the bands TORCHED and XI-VOID. The band exists of Emiel van der Ploeg (vocals, guitar), Geert van der Laan (guitar), Robert Schutte (bass) and Tristan Sievers (drums). These four Dutch guys shared the same interests, namely beer, pizza and old school Thrash Metal. In 2009 their first 2 track promo, simply titled "Promo 2009", was released, and this three track EP "The Human Error" was released by the band themselves in October of 2011. Personally I never had heard of TORCHED and XI-VOID before. About DESTITUTION, well, I saw DESTITUTION on September 21st, 2012 at the warm-up show of MARIO'S METAL MEETING 6 in the Little Devil, Tilburg, Holland. What I remember is that I liked the band that evening. Now that we are a couple of months further, I don't remember what songs they have played that evening, but they will have undoubtedly played the songs of this EP. So, now that I've got this EP "The Human Error" from Mario to review, and put it in my CD player for the first time, I remembered why I liked these guys. Because this band plays high quality old school Thrash Metal. The songs on this EP, which are titled "Radiation" (4:40), "Global Content" (5:10) and "Genesis" (6:12), are all excellent and interesting compositions. DESTITUTION has put a lot of variety in their songs. In that case, this EP doesn't bore one moment. To me, DESTITUTION reminds me of a mixture of bands like VOIVOD, KREATOR, early METALLICA, DESTRUCTION and even EVILE. Anyway, these three fantastic songs were recorded and mixed by Jörg Uken at the Soundlodge Studios in Germany, and he did a pretty good job, because this EP sounds very good. Although I like all three songs very much, I think "Global Content" is my favourite one. DESTITUTION exists of very good musicians, who master their instruments very well. But it's pretty technical stuff what these guys present on this "The Human Error" EP. And that's why this is an excellent EP and is DESTITUTION absolutely an interesting and promising Dutch Thrash Metal band. So, Thrash fanatics check this band out. Guys, hopefully the next product of DESTITUTION will have more than three songs, because this really tastes for more. So a full length album would be nice. Anyway, well done.
Visit their website: http://www.destitution.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/destitutionthrash

80/100

DESULTOR – Masters of Hate (CD) Sweden December 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Progressive Power / Death Metal Running time: 33:40 (Tracks: 11)
This band was formed in 2007 by Ibrahim Stråhlman (Drums) and Markus Joha (Gitaren, Vocals) and they make a mix of Progressive Power & Death Metal; a weird but original idea! When I first listened to this album I was already convinced that this was “another” Abyss Records death/black metal release….the more I was surprised by the Warel Dane (Nevermore) sounding vocals! Incredible!! Desultor is a mix of thrash with death/black metal but with (mostly) clean melodramatic vocals that really suit me! The complete album is filled with full speed ahead songs that I don't want to listen to in my car radio, just afraid of yet another few charges for driving far above the speedlimits…..Superb album with turning up riffs, blasting beat drums and awesome vocals! I love it!! Just curious how they will do this on stage with only 2 members??? Hope to see these guys someday ON stage! Cant wait for it!!!
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/desultorsweden
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/desultorsweden

92/100

EDGE – Heaven Knows (CD) Sweden December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 46:00 (Tracks: 11)
Sweden must be the country where any musician can play or sing a good rocksong. The heavy rock music scene is prosperous, alive and kicking out there. In an earlier review I've mentioned the New Wave of Swedish Sleaze Metal, bringing numerous bands and good sleazy and glamrockin' music to the European (and Asian) market. But the sleazy wave isn't the only musical wave in Sweden. The melodic rockscene is flourishing as well .European and Asian record / music labels, specialized in Adult Orientated Rock, melodic rock, Westcoast – music and poprock have added many new Swedish melodic rock bands to their roster. And this new record from the Karlskoga (in the Mid-Southern regions of Sweden) –based band “Edge” is a new melodic icing on the cake.
Tobias Andersson, guitar player of the Sewdish progressive metalband Shadowland and Seven Wishes, and his friend Jonas Forss joined their experience, their favourite musical ideas and their skills two years ago to write and compose songs for an album with melodic structures and contagious musical adventures. The Swedes sent one song to various labels in Europe and the prodigious response came quickly. The duo teamed up with the British Escape label, founded in 1996, owned by Khalil Turk and Barry Kirtley and the home of many, many great bands of the melodic rockfront. In January 2013 this disc will be released. I can recommend this disc to the fans of the genre. The songs are catchy, there's is a lot of variety and the musicianship is fine. The vocals of Jonas are clear, with that tiny rasp to make it mean and the guitarwork is very good. Torbjörn Brogren ( from Heads or Tales) on bass and drummer Olle Rodehn (from Shadowland and Just Kidding) provide that thick background and a perfect environment for the vocal and guitaristic focus and melodies. If you're a fan of the Scandi-rockers like Heat, Wigelius, T'Bell (Patrik Tibell), Eclipse (especially their first album has their influence on this record), early Bad Habit, Street Talk, Talk of the Town (in their end-phase) and Rainmaker this is the one to get. Tommy Denander, guitar wizard on many gems these days, plays a short but fine guest solo on “How Long “, the second song of the album. Martina Edoff (a Swedish beatuy-singer, she used to sing beats and fluffy popsongs in the mid-nineties of the former century, but in the new millennium she appears also on records of The Poodles and Novak) joins Jonas in the heavy ballad “Get over it”. I like this record, that's for sure. The sound and mix could have gone a bit deeper in a more dimensional way and yes, this is a typical Scandi-melodic rockband, you'can't hide these remarks. But the rock music of Edge is filled with classy, melodic songs, beautiful musicanship and enough balls to fill your head with! Get it!
Visit their website: http://www.myspace.com/tobiasandersson1
Recordlabel: http://www.escape-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/shadwoland1

82/100

ENDLESS VOID – Apparitions (CDemo) USA December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Doom Metal Running time: 20:28 (Tracks: 4)
ENDLESS VOID is currently an one man project of James Owen, but originally it was a band which was formed way back in the fall of 1985 and existed of James himself on vocals and bass, Paul Sayre (rhythm & lead guitar) and Kenneth Lawless (drums). Anyway, the band broke up pretty quickly, so at that time Owen decided to start a solo career (although he still uses the name ENDLESS VOID). In all those years this guy worked with a lot of musicians. Some of his songs appeared on compilation albums. I don't know exactly when, but ENDLESS VOID had released a 5 track EP earlier, which is titled "Final Doom". Now James Owen, uhhh sorry, ENDLESS VOID is back with a four track EP, titled "Apparitions". Well, I'm not familiar with the "Final Doom" EP, so this one is my first acquaintance with ENDLESS VOID. I have listened several times to this EP, and although it all reminds me of bands like early BLACK SABBATH, WITCHFINDER GENERAL and PENTAGRAM, I can't say that I am that impressed about this EP. The production was done by Owen himself, but in my opinion it could have been a bit better produced. All in all it sounds just nice but not that spectacular. I can listen to it, and with that all is said. The songs on this EP are titled "R.I.P./March Of The Dead" (5:45), "Spiritualistic Medium" (4:01), "Bereaved" (5:29) and "Apparitions And The Undertaker" (5:12). If you ask me what the best songs are, I would say "R.I.P./March Of The Dead" and "Bereaved". Like I said before, I can listen to these songs, but if I have to choose, well, then I'd rather listen to the classic albums of BLACK SABBATH or to WITCHFINDER GENERAL, TROUBLE and PENTAGRAM, understand!
Visit their website: None
Recordlabel: None
MySpace: None

56/100

EUGENIC DEATH – Crimes Against Humanity (CD) USA December 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 37:25 (Tracks: 7)
This is a young band, formed late 2010, hailing from Greensboro, North Carolina. Eugenic Death consists of Jonathan McCanless (guitars), Keith Davis (vocals), Shane Lucas (bass) and Ian Paquini (drums). “Crimes Against Humanity” is an album filled with old-school brutal thrash metal. The album starts with the title-track. It is not a cover of the Sacred Reich song but it is the first encounter with Eugenic Death's music. It is like being young again because this album breathes the eighties-vibe. Davis sounds a bit like Testament's Chuck Billy. His voice is very prominently present on this track as he roars big-time whilst the band pushes on. The next track, “Indicative Deity” is yet another example of their love for the old thrash era. McCanless has plenty of time to show his musical qualities. Now, it is time to get well as “Medication Time” has come. This track has a fast pace to it as the band keeps galloping. It brings back even more memories of the time that raw unpolished thrash was all around us. It is a pity that there is only one guitarist in the band otherwise the sound would be a bit more robust. “Plagued by Ignorance” is also played at high speed but the band delivers a good job, as this to me is the best track on the album. “Epitaph” is an instrumental track that takes almost six minutes. Although there are no vocals on this one, the song remains interesting until the last tones. Perhaps, one would not expect this but I think it was a great choice to put it on the album. The last song, “The Practice”, is also the longest track, lasting over seven minutes. After a bit of a slow start all hell breaks loose as the band thrashes towards the end. Perhaps some people will have problems with the more basic sound quality but to me this is just the charm of this album. I you listen carefully it is obvious that there is a lot of potential in Eugenic death. I cannot wait to hear the next album, but in the meanwhile, I will enjoy this one.
Recordlabel: http://www.heavenandhellrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/eugenicdeath

79/100

FACES – Stay With Me: Faces Anthology (2CD) United Kingdom December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Classic Rock / Blues Rock Running time: CD1: 75:14 (Tracks: 18)
CD2: 72:00 (Tracks: 18)
FACES was an English Rock band during the early seventies and was formed out of the ashes of the SMALL FACES, when singer/guitarist Steve Marriott left SMALL FACES to form HUMBLE PIE (which also featured PETER FRAMPTON). The most well known members of FACES are of course singer Rod Stewart (formerly of the JEFF BECK GROUP, and after the FACES a very successful solo artist) and guitarist Ronnie Wood (formerly of the JEFF BECK GROUP and since 1975 member of the legendary ROLLING STONES). Anyway, FACES recorded only four studio albums during their existence, namely "First Step" (1970), "Long Player" (1971), "A Nod Is As Good As A Wink...To A Blind Horse" (1971) and "Ooh La La" (1973). The band did have some hits with singles like "Cindy Incidentally" and "Pool Hall Richard", but the biggest hit FACES ever had was of course "Stay With Me". The FACES were absolutely a big influence for bands such as THE BLACK CROWES and THE QUIREBOYS (which I like both very much as well). Through the years there have been released several compilation albums of FACES, and there has recently been released a new one titled "Stay With Me: Faces Anthology". This 2 disc compilation album features, besides songs of all four above mentioned albums, also the singles "Pool Hall Richard" (1973) and "You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything (Even Take The Dog For A Walk, Mend a Fuse, Fold Away The Ironing Board, Or Any Other Domestic Shortcomings)" (1975) (which was the band's last official single), the B-sides "Rear Wheel Skid" (1970) and "As Long As You Tell Him" (1975), and three previously unreleased live songs (IKE & TINA TURNER's "Too Much Woman (For A Henpecked Man)", the ROBERT JOHNSON blues cover "Love In Vain" (also covered by ROLLING STONES in the 70's) and "Gasoline Alley", which is from Rod Stewart's second solo album of 1970 "Gasoline Alley") all recorded at the Fillmore East in New York in 1970. Other covers on this compilation are PAUL McCARTNEY's "Maybe I'm Amazed" (from his first solo album of 1970 "McCartney"), BOB DYLAN's "Wicked Messenger" and CHUCK BERRY's "Memphis, Tennessee". Besides rock songs, FACES also had a lot of quieter songs in their repertoire, such as "Flying", "Love Lives Here", "Just Another Honky", "Maybe I'm Amazed", "Glad And Sorry", the instrumental "Pineapple And The Monkey", and "Sweet Lady Mary". "Stay With Me: Faces Anthology" is an excellent compilation album for anyone who's into classic 70's rock. But if you also like bands such as THE BLACK CROWES or THE QUIREBOYS, then you will like FACES as well. My favourite songs of this 2-disc compilation are "Stay With Me", "Miss Judy's Farm", "Cindy Incidentally", "My Fault", "Had Me A Real Good Time", "Too Bad", "Pool Hall Richard", "Bad 'N' Ruin", "You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything (Even Take The Dog For A Walk, Mend a Fuse, Fold Away The Ironing Board, Or Any Other Domestic Shortcomings)", "Maybe I'm Amazed", "Around The Plynth", "Three Button Hand Me Down", "Sweet Lady Mary" and "Shake, Shudder Shiver".
Visit their website: http://www.the-faces.com
Recordlabel: http://www.rhino.com

78/100

FALLEN MARTYR – Shadows (CD) USA December 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 71:35 (Tracks: 12)
At the world famous Keep-it-True-festival, Mystic Force performed a superb set. A part of Mystic Force's line-up consists of members of a band called Fallen Martyr. It concerns J. Ryan Rawlings (vocals) and Gabriel Luis (guitars) who performed in Lauda-Königshofen and during the festival did some promotion for Fallen Martyr. Whilst being in high school in Germantown, Maryland, Rawlings and Luis together with bassist Doug Albers started the band about eight years ago. A couple of years later, Jake Ford (drums) joined the band whilst Joe Martin (guitars) completed the band at the end of 2011. So far, they have released one EP called “The Six Roots of True Will”. This first full-length album kicks off with “Revelry and Reverence”. I was completely overwhelmed by the fast guitar riffing and the blast beats by Ford. There are also some samples to be heard which together with the great vocals of Rawlings and the superb guitar playing melts together fantastically. What a way to start an album. Later in the song, Rawlings starts screaming brutally. There are a few resting points as there are choirs to be heard, but not for long as the band blasts through the song. The tempo remains high on “Wake up, It's Time” and on this track it is Rawlings again that varies his vocal styles very easily. There is a lot of diversity on this track but it all blends in. This high quality remains present through the next tracks like “Therian Premonition” and “Doubt”. Fallen Martyr plays as if their lives depend on it and the tracks itself are very solid. “The Restless King” is a slow song filled with acoustic guitars and very quiet vocals. I do not really like the backing-vocals (or sounds). This experiment, as I would like to see it, is not my cup of tea. It is back to business on “Passing Through the Veil of the Exterior World” which is with it's almost eight minutes is the longest track on this album. I really love the guitar playing on this track. This is a very strong composition including the complete spectre of what Fallen Martyr has to offer, ranging from very modest to very brutal. The intro of “Body of Light” consists of some piano very soon followed by fast guitar riffs, screaming vocals and blistering drums. However, let us not forget Albers as he is perhaps not so present on the forefront but he is the one gluing the total sound together. The only instrumental on Shadows is “Invocation” that with it is almost three minutes is a very interesting piece of music. Sometimes I am surprised by song titles. “Cognitive Dissonance and the Children of Hamelin” is a perfect example of that. Who comes up with song-titles like that? The song itself is great with many blast beats and plenty of great and heavy guitar-parts. “The 8th Circle” is also a very special song as it consists of very quietly sung lyrics accompanied by a bit of guitars. It is an unbelievable modest track and the contrast could not be bigger with the next track, “Soul Left Bare”, although the beginning is modest and quiet too. Not for long though, as Fallen Martyr hits the pedal again with Rawlings using a deformed voice. The complete band shows us their extreme technical craftsmanship. The last track on the album, “(Cast Me Out)” is also a very quiet track featuring Rawlings. To me having three songs, that mainly consist of vocals and are also being sung very quietly, is too much, although it is good that there are bands around that dare to experiment. The overall quality of the musicians and the compositions they wrote and recorded is extremely high so perhaps next time they will limit the type of songs mentioned above so the overall score will be a bit higher. Besides that, I hope that we will get a chance to see them somewhere in Europe on tour so we can enjoy their overwhelming musical quality.
Visit their website: http://www.fallenmartyrmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.siegenrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fallenmartyr

83/100

FEED FORWARD – Upstream (CD) The Netherlands December 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Progressive Rock / Melodic Metal Running time: 58:51 (Tracks: 9)
Dutch progressive metal band FeedForward has been around since 2001. Since then the members have created their own unique style, which can be best defined as a mix between progressive rock and melodic metal. In spite of the sometimes complex arrangements, the songs are accessible for a large audience, due to the recognisable vocals and catching melodies. This according the bio on the bands website…………..
At the end of 2006 FeedForward recorded their full length debut album “Barefoot & Naked” (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews), which really showed the many sides of this band. Due to the fact that this album received great reviews worldwide; it lead to signing a record deal with the dutch label Rusty Cage Records, resulting in a re-release of their album in 2008. After a while vocalist and co-founder Biejanka decided to move to Finland in June 2009. After a lot of searching and auditions FeedForward found a worthy successor: Patrice.

In 2011 the band finally recorded its predecessor “Upstream” which will be distributed by Nightmare Records. This album is again a pleasing to the ear!! Nine well produced tracks of symphonic melodic metal with a bit of gothic taste. This due to the fact that new singer Patrice has a remarkable voice which reminds me sometimes to Anneke van Giersbergen (i.m.o. the BEST dutch female singer ever!!) during The Gathering's “Nighttime Birds” album era. Her pleasant voice, the smooth and melodic guitar lines of Mario and the solid drumming of Pi form the basis for the nine tracks on this disc. This is an album which I can recommend every progmetal lover! High quality, again, from a dutch band! Holland is not only a leader when its up to Gothic Metal; they also deliver some damn fine progmetal bands during the last few years! Compliments guys…....and girl…
Visit his website: http://www.feedforwardband.com
Recordlabel: http://nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/feedforward

88/100

FOGALORD – A Legend to Believe In (CD) Italy December 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 54:17 (Tracks: 12)
Italian power metal was huge in the 90s. Tons of albums emerged every year with Labyrinth and Rhapsody being the leaders of the scene. Unfortunately the quality of the material was not the highest in most cases while originality was definitely absent. The scene gradually faded but the country never stopped producing countless bands and records. Fogalord and its debut album represent that exact era and all its characteristics. Drums faster than the speed of light, tons of keyboards, soaring vocals with questionable accent, Helloween-like choruses. This effort will definitely appeal to the loyal fans of the genre. Fogalord can surely play but the songs are quite typical and that particular style is far from my personal preferences although I used to be a fan of the genre in my teens.
Visit their website: http://www.fogalord.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fogalord

62/100

GENE THE WEREWOLF – Rock 'n Roll Animal (CD) USA Decemer 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock / Bluesy Rock Running time: 40:25 (Tracks: 11)
You want a band with loud, proud and crude rock'n roll, with big and heavy guitars, a thick rhythm section and a powersinger? Gene The Werewolf will be your thing! The third album of this Pittsburgh' pride will be released by Frontiers Records and it's very nice! Gene The Werewolf debuted in 2009 with an EP (Light me up), produced by Jamie Woolford at the Innovation Studios in Steubenville, Ohio. The mini album provided good rocking songs with nods to Motley Crue, Cheap Trick, dirty Aerosmith and modern melodic rockers like The Ginn Blossoms and Matchbox Twenty (on steroïds). Their second album "Wicked love, recorded at the STEM Recording Studio in Phoenix, provided more rock with great guitar work of Mike Ofca and Drew Donegan. This third opus, Rock 'n roll animal”, is even heavier, more compact and more powerful than a locomotive, it 's the perfect soundtrack to a beer-infused, sex, drugs and rock' n roll evening! From the opener" Wicked love" to the closing track " The ballad of Gene" the record is a swinging party: Early Kiss, Bon Scott-era-AC/DC, early Helix, pre-commercial Crue, modern rock like Waltham, pre Gotthard, I like this opus. The production is a little thin and a bit flat, a few extra bucks and balls woud provide a miracle, but this album is an absolute surprise! Thumps up for Gene, his bandmates, the ItalianFrontiers Records and the fans of this genre. Get it!
Visit their website: http://www.genethewerewolf.squarespace.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/genethewerewolf

88/100

GLORIA VICTIS – Gloria Victis E.P. (MCD) The Netherlands December 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 27:07 (Tracks: 5)
It's no coincidence that Mario asked the Dutch based Heavy Metal band 'Gloria Victis' to play on the sixth edition of Mario's Metal Meeting when Act of State couldn't make it. With a bill that included Avenger, Powerized and Tysondog, the musical style of Gloria Victis blended right in and has proven to be a good way to open the festival. Unfortunately, just like Act of State I couldn't make it that day, but gladly offered to write a review on the 2012 EP of these Dutch metalheads. This five track record, with song titles such as 'Dresden', 'Saviour' and 'Blood & Sand' have old-school Heavy Metal written all over it. The 'War' theme of the artwork reveals the lyrical topic of the songs, reminding me of another Dutch band called Methusalem. Now, onto the songs themselves. Opener 'Dresden' is an epic composition in which the band displays their identity of a Heavy Metal band in all aspects. Melodic soloing, powerful riffs and passionate vocals making it sound very recognizable without falling into clichés too much. Well done, since this is often a pitfall for a lot of bands in the genre. Another good example of this quality is the more up-tempo song 'Confusion.' Very powerful. Although the vocals are passionate, it doesn't work as well on this record as it does during live performances. You can hear that the E.P. has been recorded with limited budget. Nevertheless, the song material is of an excellent quality, which gives a good impression of what to expect when you see Gloria Victis live.
Visit their website: http://www.gloriavictisheavymetal.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gloriavictisheavymetal

75/100

GOREMENT – Within the Shadow of Darkness – The Complete Recordings (CD) Sweden December 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death Metal Running time CD 1: 41:10 (Tracks: 10)
CD 2: 67:47 (Tracks: 18)
Swedish Death Metal is a genre on its own. In the late eighties/early nineties, dozens of bands emerged from Sweden and started to play a more melodic style of Death Metal. While losing popularity in the late nineties, as almost all styles of metal did at the time, the genre has gained some of that popularity back in the last decade. Pioneering bands are credited for influencing newer groups and a lot of the classic material has been given a second life through re-releases. We can place Gorement in that last category. Founded in 1989, the group released one album, an EP and a couple of demo's, of which most records were sold in their home country. Some of the material is still available through online auctions, with the price that comes with such collectors' items. Under the supervision of well-known producer Dan Swano, who knows the Swedish Death Metal scene from first hand, Century Media has decided to remaster the original records an put it out under the title: 'Within The Shadows Of Darkness – The Complete Recordings.' As the title implicates, the 2CD and/or 2LP set contains nearly everything the band has ever recorded during their active period between 1989 and 1995. Their old material, such as the 'Human Relic' and 'Obsequies' demo, displays the kind of Death Metal Sweden was known for at the time. Although remastered from the original mastertapes, the music sounds relevant without losing the authentic character of that period in time. The use of melodies in combinations with heavy riffs and various speed are making the songs exciting and varied. On their later material such as the full length album 'The Ending Quest', the music sounds more experimental, which indicates a changing musical landscape. Overall 'Within The Shadow Of Darkness – The Complete Recordings' offers a nice historic overview of the musical legacy of Gorement. The quality of the music justifies this release. For the enthusiast of Swedish Death Metal, this carefully composed package might be very interesting.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gorement
Recordlabel: http://www.centurymedia.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gorement

75/100

GUNSLINGER – Lessons in Logic (CD Single) United Kingdom December 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 11:38 (Tracks: 3)
For a short biography I ask you to look to the review below of Gunslinger's live-album “Unlawful Odds”
This CD single is just an ordinary song which is on the CD in 2 different mixes; also added is a cover of “Hound Dog”; a Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller song originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton and later popularized by Elvis Presley. Due to the fact that I don't like the new song “Lessons in Logic” that much; this is for me an unnecessary release. A nice song; nothing more; nothing less. Looking out for a new full length album of Gunslinger especially now that the line-up has changed so much…..
Visit his website: http://gunslinger-official.com/index.php
Recordlabel: http://www.flicknife.n.nu
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/alandaveygunslinger

65/100

GUNSLINGER – Unlawful Odds; Live 2010 (CD) United Kingdom December 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 58:47 (Tracks: 15)
GUNSLINGER are a 3 piece band featuring (on this live album); Alan Boomer Davey (ex-Hawkwind) on bass/vox, 24 years old Louis Davey on lead guitar/vox and 20 years old Cat (the new female drumming sensation) on drums/vox. Alan Davey replaced Lemmy Kilmister in Hawkwind when Lemmy was kicked out of the bands…years ago…. But beside that; both Lemmy and Alan are good friends!
Gunslinger form a potent mix of hard rock, a cross between Motorhead and Hawkwind but with a modern edge. This album lately received at my P.O. Box but is already from 2010…
The band has nowadays founder Alan Davey as original member and both Cat and Louis are replaced by Tom "Squatch" Ashurst - Rythm and Lead Guitars and Tom Crux - Drums, Percussion. This live album was recorded at the end of 2010, just a few months after the band played my own Mario's Metal Meeting 4 also in 2010. If you have seen the band live; you know what to expect! Great rock 'n roll in a typical Motorhead way but than even much better!!! And me saying this as one of the greatest Motorhead fans on earth says enough!!! Check this band out live or otherwise try to order this great live album!!
Visit his website: http://gunslinger-official.com/index.php
Recordlabel: http://www.flicknife.n.nu
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/alandaveygunslinger

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GX PROJECT – Bite Stick (CD) USA / Canada December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 47:24 (Tracks: 11)
GX PROJECT is a project between American singer, guitarist Rex Scott (X-SINNER and ZION) and Canadian producer, musician Glenn Thomas. Together they recorded this album "Bite Stick", which features eleven very nice sounding songs. All guitars are played by Scott and Thomas. All guitar solos on this album are done by Glenn Thomas, except on "Waitin' On J.C.", of which the guitar solos are done by Scott and Thomas. Additional musician on "Bite Stick" is Todd Bennet, who played bass on "Love I.V.". It's not clear to me who played the drums and bass on this album. I guess it is done by Thomas as well. Anyway, in July of 2008 I reviewed X-SINNER's album "Fire It Up", which got a pretty good review of me, and in that same month I even did an interview with Rex Scott for MMM (see the archive section with interviews). X-SINNER is a band which is heavily influenced by Australian rockers AC/DC. Well, the same goes for GX-PROJECT, because this album "Bite Stick" sounds very much like AC/DC as well. But also Swiss rockers of KROKUS comes in mind. To me, the vocals of Rex Scott are a mixture of Brian Johnson (AC/DC), Marc Storace (KROKUS) and Udo Dirkschneider (ex-ACCEPT, UDO). Well, there are a lot of AC/DC influenced bands in the rock scene, of which of course good and bad ones. To me GX-PROJECT belongs to the good AC/DC sounding bands. Although it sounds not very original, it all sounds very delicious. It doesn't matter which song you take, because they sound all good. That makes this album a pleasure to listen to. The production of this album was done by Thomas and Scott, and sounds excellent. My favourites are "Let's Turn It Up", "Waitin' On J.C.", "Tricky Little Devil", "Angry Eyes", "Long Way Down" and "Soul Stealer". "Bite Stick" is a nice sounding album, which is a recommendation to all fans of AC/DC, KROKUS, AIRBOURNE, '77, RHINO BUCKET etcetera. I'm sure they will like album.
Visit their website: http://www.thegxproject.com
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/imagerecords07

78/100

HATERIAL – Twisted Verses (CD) Finland December 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash Metal Core Running time: 42:08 (Tracks: 12)
Haterial from Finland started in 2010 and also released their first demo that year. This is their debut album and musically it sounds amazing. 12 tracks of well thought Thrash metal with metal core influences in it. The guitar riffs are really groovy and technical. Filled with typical heavy metal riffs and some influences of newer bands. The drums are also groovy and technical. The thing I really do not like on this album are the vocals. A typical metal core vocal, scream voice and the best I ever heard. But the music makes a lot good for me. Good songs that are filled with variety and a killer production. If you are into Thrash Metal Core you should give them a try
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/h8rial
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/haterial

65/100

ILL NINO – Epidemia (CD) Brazil December 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Latin / Nu Metal Running time: 37:28 (Tracks: 10)
With the release of their 2001 hit-album 'Revolution, Revolucion' which came out on Roadrunner Records, Brazilian based Metal Band Ill Nino was the right band at the right time. Sounding more like Sepultura than Seputura itself at that point, the band hitched a ride along with the Nu-Metal popularity. Also their second album 'Confession' was a huge success. After that, and although the band still enjoyed a respected live reputation, follow-up albums 'One Nation Underground', 'Enigma' and 'Dead New World', weren't as successful as their predecessors. The band nevertheless carried on and has recently released their sixth studio album entitled 'Epidemia' through Victory Records. Being a follower of the band since the 'Revolution, Revolucion' era, I've always listened to the albums with great interest. (R)evolution is not the word for the musical path that Ill Nino has tread upon over the years. Although adding some new influences from time to time, the core is still Latin-Metal with a tendency of writing catchy songs. That is still the case on 'Epidemia.' The new songs often have the feel of previous hits like 'Unreal' and 'What comes around.' Is that a bad thing? No, most definitely not. For example: 'Only the Unloved' and 'Forgive me Father' have that typical Ill Nino sound written all over it, but somehow the band manages to keep it fresh and relevant for today's standards. The quality of the material easily matches the earlier stuff, but only the time has changed. When they keep the quality up like this and their loyal fanbase sticks with them, Ill Nino will have several good years left in them. I surely hope that they will come to Europe fairly soon, because they have never disappointed me live on stage!
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/officialillnino
Recordlabel: http://www.victoryrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/illnino

72/100

ISSA – Can't stop (CD) Norway / UK December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Melodic Rock Revisited Running time: 57:08 (Tracks: 12)
Issa (Isabell Oversveen) debuted with a fantastic melodic rock album “Signs of Angels”. Her vocals were pretty good, the songs were accessible and her musicians provided that thick, rich and hard rocking atmosphere that fitted like a glove to the songs. “Signs of angels” got many rave reviews and many listeners and fans of the blonde bombshell from Norway (she is UK-based by now) were eagerly awaiting the second disc of Issa. “The storm” was indeed a good record, but the rocking vibe had gone and the raw songs and structures that shined of her first, were lost on this overproduced follow up. Too bad, because Issa can sing pretty good, she's quite a personality and the team of artist & repertoire managers, producers and musical friends stays close to her. This third Issa output is called “Can't stop” and I think it's a good one. Issa didn't write a single song herself, she chose many songs of the AOR and melodic rock back catalogue and rearranged the material. Classic songs of Worrall, Tower City, Steelhouse Lane, Aviator, Atlantic, 21 Guns, Regatta, Boulevard and Mark Free are given a shiny new coat and a fresh make over. Was it worth it? Yes, I am a bit disappointed she couldn't surprise us with something completely new, but this record is a nice déjà vu and a pretty good interpretation of the best unknown gems and melodic songs from the vaults of the eighties. I like the production and the arrangements by Alessandro Del Vecchio and the guitars of Mario Percudani shine on this record. Thumbs up for Issa and Frontiers Records, the Italian melodic rock label for giving us this top eighties rocking flashback!
Visit their website: http://www.myspace.com/isabelloversveen
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/issa.oversveen
Record label: http://www.frontiers.it

83/100

JIMI JAMISON – Never too late (CD) USA December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Adult Orientated Rock Running time: 51:05 (Tracks: 11)
Jimi Jamison stayed active after his heydays with the Gods of AOR, Survivor, his life as a singer for Cobra and the frontman of Target. He made a soloalbum in the beginning of the nineties and he gained commercial success singing a theme song for the popular TV-series of Baywatch, the beach and boobs screen filler many men (and women) kept dreaming about. Besides that, Jimi remained the most popular commercial and jingle US-singer, he was Grammy rewarded for his Starbucks- commercial in 2005. And Jimi is known for his charity contributions during his whole career so far (Make a wish - Foundation, St.Jude Children's Research Hospital). Survivor reunited for a short time in 2006 and after their second split, Jimi crossed the Atlantic Ocean to join forces with European musicians. He released his second solo album in 2008 on the European Frontiers Records. The Italian label kept the singer in shape combining his talents with his former musical partner Jim Peterik (in 2010), with Toto troubadour Bobby Kimball (in 2011) and with Fred Zahl, a German songwriter and musician. In 2010 Jimi Jamison was linked to Swedish musicians to perform at the Firefest Festival , a concert that was filmed on DVD and released on cd as well. The collaboration was successfull and Jimi felt he had found a new musical writing partner in Erik Martensson. This studio liaison is called " Never too late" and the album is a real killer!
The production by Erik is thick, open with a lot of focus on the vocals. Jimi has lost his power, he sounds a bit raspy and hoarse, but his voice sticks like glue to the melodic rock songs of Erik. Just listen to the opener " Everybody's got a broken heart", " Street survivor" and " Heaven call your name" with fantastic guitarwork of Magnus Henriksson (Eclipse guitarslinger). The album has a Vital Signs (one of the masterpieces of adult orientated rock, sung by Jimi in Survivor) feel and flow. The album is coherent and the eyes and ears of many melodic rock fans, fallen asleep in the decennia melodic rock was gone, will welcome this new Jimi Jamison epos! Essential!
Visit their website: http://www.jimijamison.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/kimijamisonofficialpage

90/100

JOHN TAGLIERI – The Best of / The Songs that should have made me Rich (CD) USA December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Midwest Rock / Country Rock Running time: 1:19:19 (Tracks: 20)
John Taglieri, a New Jersey born recording artist made nine records from 1989 to up to now, selling over 20.000 records worldwide, playing his ass off as a solo- artist, as a sideman of Tag and The Joe Bachman Band and being a soundspecialist, an engineer, a producer in his studio, the Dawg Pound Studio's in East Rutherford, for many other artists, being an Ovation endorser as well, the man has quite a busy schedule.
Last summer I reviewed his " Lucky #9" album, a great cd full of fine Midwest rock, that's for sure. The album was quite succesful as well, especially on Amazon.com, the single “Make me believe” did very well on the Hot New Releases Chart. The man can write, play and perform a great piece of music. His new album is a compilation album, showing his versatility, his skilled songwriting, his profound lyrics and his musicianship again. You can hear John has started as an Adult Orientated Rocker. But he' s changed his style in more pop-country based rock with lots of hooks and good themes in his songs. Each album is represented by two songs and the last two bonusses, " What I wanted after all" and " Back to you" ( both penned with his long time writing partner Brad Whitley) are new songs. I like this compilation, funnily titled " The songs that should have made me rich ". A great album for the fans of Daughtry, Edwin McCain, Bo Bice and new millennium Bon Jovi and a fine album to get acquainted with the music of John Taglieri.
Visit their website: http://www.johntaglieri.com
Recordlabel: http://www.leapdogmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/johntaglierimusic

86/100

KAMELOT – Silverthorn (CD) USA / Sweden December 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 53:57 (Tracks: 12)
I have been following this band from the start. The first time I saw Kamelot live was back in the nineties. The last time was just a few weeks ago. I must say that Kamelot has made a lot of progress. Kamelot has been around since 1991 and this album is their 10th studio album. So far, they have released a big number of fantastic albums. This album marks the first vocal performance of Tommy Karevik (Seventh Wonder) who replaced Roy Khan, which had been the singer since 1997. The first track, “Manus Dei”, takes just over two minutes and is a mix of some quiet piano-playing, bombastic choirs and orchestral arrangements. It ends in some spoken word that flows into the second song, “Sacrimony(Angel of Afterlife)”, which is Kamelot in optima forma. The complete Kamelot-spectre is present on this song. At first, you get some to hear some fantastic male and female vocals. Responsible for these female vocals is the very talented and beautiful Elize Ryd, who also sings the female and backing vocals on the live shows. She is also one of the singers in Amaranthe, which is a band that I can recommend highly. The vocals fit in perfectly in this composition that is superb and is filled with pounding fast parts varied with a few resting points. The craftsmanship is exquisite and the song sounds superb. There is even space for some rough female vocals that are sung by Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist). The next track, “Ashes to Ashes” is less bombastic and features a musical fight between guitarist Thomas Youngblood and keyboardist Oliver Palotai. Sean Tibbetts (bass) and Casey Grillo (drums) deliver the sturdy base while Tommy is singing fantastically. I have seen Tommy several times with Seventh Wonder so I know that he only uses a little part of his vocal qualities on this album. Just listen to “Torn” and the way Tommy sings to understand how good he is. The way Youngblood and Palotai play together is fantastic on this great track. This album is a concept-album and it tells the story of a young girl that dies in the arms of her twin brothers, taking the sibling's big secret to her grave. The songs on Silverthorn talk about despair, a sense of guilt and the pursuit of truth. “Song for Jolee” is a monstrous ballad and shows again what an excellent singer Tommy is. I, being a huge Seventh Wonder fan already knew this of course. Towards the end, the song turns into a power ballad. What a fantastic performance by Tommy this is. “Veritas” is yet another fine composition that includes both pounding metal and more modest parts played by a band that is top of the bill. On this song, Elize Ryd gets another chance to show her vocal qualities. It all ends with a little piece of accordion. “My Confession” is a bit less bombastic but has some superb vocals and guitar playing on it. Now it is time for the title-track, which after a quiet intro hits you right in the face with the typical Kamelot approach. “Falling like the Fahrenheit” shows more gentle vocals by Tommy and this combined with the beautiful vocals of Elize Ryd results in a great song that excels in tenderness. It is perfect example of a great song without the bombastic approach. The tempo is back on “Solitaire” that is a typical Kamelot-track with all fantastic ingredients inside. Now it's time for the longest track by far, “Prodigal Son” which lasts for almost nine minutes and is divided in three parts. On this track Kamelot really shows off by putting all of Kamelot's qualities into one song. Especially the built-up towards the end is impressive. It really comes to a musical-climax. The last track on the album. “Continuum” is filled with choirs and a bit of piano. This marks the end of yet another great album. Off course, there are some resemblances with songs on one of the other albums but in the end Silverthorn is a fantastic album that sounds superb, has magnificent musicians on it, and is just another example of how good Kamelot really is. I have seen Kamelot live many, many times. I would say buy the album and go and experience the live-vibe for yourself. Kamelot deserve it big-time as they have been coming over to Europe over and over again and Holland is their favourite country.
Visit their website: http://www.kamelot.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kamelot

90/100

LEVANIA - Parasynthesis (CD) Italy December 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 45:00 (Tracks: 10)
And again a gothic metal band with female vocals from Italy. Unfortunately also again one that doesn't convince. And again one that has some good ideas but sound flat and dull through a lack of production. The vocals of Ligeia doesn't help either. She certainly can sing but her voice sounds like she's about 12 years old and is very high, yet after a while annoying. The album has it's moments in songs like “Midnight in Silence” (chorus) and “Basteth's Kiss” but overall it doesn't convince. Yet another record that drowns in the overflooded sea of female gothic. I hope next time they can spend more time/money on a good production so it sounds more exciting and powerful. Also vocally there's work to be done by all three (two male vocals are also in the game here) but it all can be solved. Now it's really not good enough.
Recordlabel: http://www.auralmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/leavania

52/100

MAGNUM - On the 13th Day (CD) United Kingdom December 2012 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 58:57 (Tracks: 11)
Hardly one year after the release of the album Evolution, Magnum is back with a new album: “On the 13th Day”. This is Magnum`s sixteenth studio album and it is released again at SPV. The history of Magnum goes back to the seventies. The band was founded in 1972 and they first started as a cover band. In 1978, Magnum released their debut (with own songs) at Jet Records and it was called 'Kingdom of Madness'. Their history has been quite turbulent with a lot of line-up changes. This lead among others to a temporary split in the nineties. Fortunately, the band reunited in 2001, initiated by vocalist Bob Catley and guitarist Tony Clarkin, and since that time, albums are released on a regular basis. Since the reunion in 2001, this is Magnum`s ninth release.
With “On the 13th Day”, Magnum consolidates their high position in the “Melodic rock Premier League”. The album contains eleven songs which never bored me. The music still sounds very convincing with a lot of power and energy but also a lot of warmth. The band stays loyal to their own style. There are people who will call this a lack of creativity, but I have another opinion. I appreciate the ability of the band that they can still keep their fan base enthusiastic. That is also a quality. The album opens with “All the Dreamers” and this is the perfect opener. All the skills of the band come back in this song: mature arrangements / harmonies and nice play. A big surprise is the heavy “Dance Of The Black Tattoo”, the guitar riff is really surprising. Of course are also some ballads present, these songs keep the album alternating. Although some band members are in their sixties, the band is still alive. “On The 13th Day” once more offers us some of the best Melodic Rock you will find out at this moment.
Visit their website: http://www.magnumonline.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/magnumuk

83/100

MORBUS CHRON – A Sounter Through The Shroud (10'' Vinyl) Sweden December 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 13:30 (Tracks: 3)
Morbus Chron from Sweden is a well known name in the old school death metal scene. This band is already a classic even though their just active since 2007. With 2 demos and an EP (Creepy Creepy Creeps) released in 2010 and their debut album “Sleepers in the Rift” released 2011 their name is already settled! Killer album and EP. Their new release “A Sounter Through The Shroud (10'' Vinyl)” sounds ravaging! Three songs of well executed death metal in vain of bands like Entombed etc. Filthy sounding riffs with Atheist kinds of melody and a voice that sounds like it has risen from the old school Sweden death metal vault. Amazing songs but only three....AAAAARGHH. Oh well after listening to this promo I ordered it at our local CD store on vinyl and it kicks ass. If you like Swedish death metal then this is a must have!
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/morbuschron
Recordlabel: http://www.centurymedia.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/morbuschronband

80/100

MOTÖRHEAD – The Wörld Is Ours Volume 2:
Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else (2CD/DVD)
United Kingdom December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock And Roll / Heavy Metal Running time: CD1: 69:18 (Tracks: 15)
CD2: 65:56 (Tracks: 13)
DVD: 2:16:56
In March of 2011 I reviewed MOTÖRHEAD's twentieth studio album "The Wörld Is Yours" (88/100). Well, during the career of MOTÖRHEAD there have been released several official live albums. To me, the best live album of MOTÖRHEAD is of course the classic and legendary "No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith" (1981). Anyway, in November of 2011 "The Wörld Is Ours Part 1; Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else" (a show from Chile) was released. Now Lemmy & Co. are back with "The Wörld Is Ours Part 2: Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else", which features shows from Wacken Open Air 2011, Sonisphere 2011 and Rock In Rio 2011. Well, if you compare the show from Chile and this one from W.O.A. 2011, there's just a slight difference in the set lists. But I guess I don't have to tell you that you can expect the ultimate MOTÖRHEAD classics such as "Iron Fist", "Stay Clean", "Metropolis", "Bomber", "Killed By Death", "The Chase Is Better Than The Catch", "Ace Of Spades" and "Overkill". About the show MOTÖRHEAD did on Sonisphere 2011; before Lemmy did the announcement "We are MOTÖRHEAD and we play Rock 'n Roll", he would like to tell the audience that the day before the concert (July 9th, 2011) ex-MOTÖRHEAD guitarist Würzel died on a heart attack. So, Lemmy dedicated the entire set (and indeed for the rest of their lives) to Würzel. Anyway, the complete set list of the W.O.A. show is: "Iron Fist", "Stay Clean", "Get Back In Line", "Metropolis", "Over The Top", "One Night Stand", "Rock Out", "The Thousand Names Of God", "I Know How To Die", "The Chase Is Better Than The Catch", "In The Name Of Tragedy" (including drum solo of Mickey Dee), "Just 'Cos You Got The Power", "Going To Brazil", "Killed By Death", "Bomber", "Ace Of Spades" and "Overkill". Well, it's nice they put parts of the Sonisphere and Rock In Rio festival as well on this CD/DVD, but that means you get the same songs as on Wacken Open Air. The songs which are of the Sonisphere festival on this CD/DVD are "Iron Fist", "I Know How To Die", "In The Name Of Tragedy" (indeed with drum solo), "Killed By Death", "Ace Of Spades" and "Overkill". And of the Rock In Rio festival the songs "Stay Clean", "Over The Top", "The Chase Is Better Than The Catch", of course "Going To Brazil" and "Killed By Death" are on this CD/DVD. The bonus material of the DVD are the festival impressions of W.O.A. (1;59), and shows us "The Adventures Of Robert & Mick, MOTÖRHEAD super fans". These two MOTÖRHEAD fans talk with other fans, the organisation, and backstage they talk a bit with Rudolf Schenker (SCORPIONS) about MOTÖRHEAD, and of course with Mickey Dee, Phil Campbell and mister Lemmy himself. Well to tell the truth, it's nice to have seen it once, but I prefer to watch the live shows of MOTÖRHEAD on this DVD. Nevertheless, "The Wörld Is Ours Part 2: Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else" is a nice live album and DVD.
Visit their website: http://www.imotorhead.com
Recordlabel: http://www.emimusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/motorhead

80/100

MY DYING BRIDE - A Map Of All Our Failures (CD) United Kingdom December 2012 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 63:42 (Tracks: 8)
I am glad with a new album of My Dying Bride (MDB). Their music caught me almost 15 years ago and I am still a huge fan. That`s why I am glad to review their new album: A Map Of All Our Failures. Of course, I will try to be as neutral as possible. MDB were formed by Aaron, Andy, Calvin and Rick in the summer of 1990, and after only 6 months of writing together, they released their first demo “Towards The Sinister”. This release lead also to a contract with Peaceville records, one of the leading record companies in the metal scene. Quite soon, Ade (Bass) joined the band and the band's first full-length album “As The Flower Withers” was released. The response was phenomenal, and it wasn't long before they were back in the studio recording their second EP “The Thrash Of Naked Limbs”. In the meantime, MDB recruited session musician and classically trained violin and piano player Martin Powell as a full time member. Writing then begun for their second album “Turn Loose The Swans”, released in 1993. With these two full length albums, MDB established themselves as a trendsetter in the Doom metal scene. One of the characteristic elements in MDB`s music is the use of the violin. Everybody who is familiar with their music admits the important role of the violin. It distinguishes MDB from other bands. In 1995, MDB released their third album, “The Angel And The Dark River”. In my opinion, this is their best album. 1995 was also the year that the band released Trinity, a single CD compilation of the first 3 EP's. This year, they were also invited to tour with Iron Maiden. After the release of “Like Gods of the Sun” in 1996, Rick (drums) left the band. His successor was Bill Law, drummer of Dominion. This is also the start of a more experimental (and in my opinion less interesting) period. The band released 34.788%... Complete, an album which received mixed responses because of it`s experimental character. After the release of this album, Martin and Bill left the band. Bill is replaced by Shaun Steels, ex drummer of Anathema. The release of the sixth album, “The Light At The End Of The World”, meant a return to the old sound, with a new perspective of MDB, a trend which was continued on “The Dreadful Hours”. The Dreadful Hours received stunning reviews from the international metal press.
In 2003 MDB settled into work on their follow up to `The Dreadful Hours`. With plenty of ideas already formulated the band were keen to keep up momentum. The result of that recording session was `Songs Of Darkness, Words of Light`, MDB's eight studio album. The band entered Academy Studios in Spring 2006 to record the follow up to Songs Of Darkness, entitled A Line of Deathless Kings. Drums were handled by John Bennett of Yorkshire Doomsters, The Prophecy. The album was mixed at The Chapel in Lincolnshire and mastered at the famous Abbey Road studios. The start of 2007 saw bassist Adrian Jackson and session drummer John Bennett leave the band, and replacements Lena Abé and Dan Mullins were announced prior to the first concerts of the year. The official statement from the band stated that "MDB has a new fresh focused feel to it and we are looking forward to the shows with a vengeance."
Recording of the follow-up to `A Line of Deathless Kings` began in spring 2008 with work continuing through the Summer. In the meantime My Dying Bride made some extra special festival appearances with the re-introduction of violins, courtesy of new member Katie Stone - an unforeseen highlight for all fans who witnessed the shows, which was then followed by the uniting of the 'Peaceville 3' (MDB, Anathema, Paradise Lost) for 2 special shows to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Paradise Lost. These took place in Paris and London and was an unforgettable occasion for many fans wishing for this line-up for many years. By this time, work on the album, titled 'For Lies I Sire' was almost fully completed, as the band had spent the previous months at work in Manchester with long-time MDB engineer/producer Mags.
Now it is autumn 2012 and this time of the year is an excellent time for MDB to release a new album. This new album is entitled `A Map Of All Our Failures` and it contains 8 new songs, all in the depressive style which characterises MDB for almost 20 years. After listening to this album several times, it becomes clear that the new album is very recognizable again for the die-hard MDB fans. It is very solid, but it is in my opinion not the best work that has been released by MDB. The highlights of this album are the two first songs. The represent excellent the qualities of the band and they make clear why I like MDB so much: familiar guitar work, a dramatic performance of amongst others Aaron Stainthorpe, atmospheric violin and keyboard parts and sometimes some explosions of heavy death metal parts. 'A Map of all our Failures' is perhaps best and most effectively summarised by guitarist Andrew Craighan, who describes the album as “a controlled demolition of all your hopes”. The music is heavy stuff again and if you are in a depressive mood, do not listen to MDB. The other six songs on the album are also really well, but I miss sometimes the rawer production of the albums which were released in the early days of MDB. Nevertheless, `A Map Of All Our Failures' can be bought blindly when you like the music of MDB.
Visit their website: http://www.mydyingbride.net
Recordlabel: http://www.peaceville.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialmydyingbride

82/100

NIGHTMARE – The Burden Of God (CD) France December 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Power Metal Running time: 52:50 (Tracks: 11)
The birth of Nightmare as a band dates back to 1979. Since that moment, this is their eighth album. They were not active for over ten years but after their restart in 1999, they stayed around. The band nowadays consists of Jo Amore (vocals), Franck Milleliri and Matt Asselberghs (guitars), Yves Campion (bass) and David Amore (drums). Since their comeback in 1999, Jo Amore has handed the drumsticks to his brother David to become the front man. The intro, “Gateways to the Void”, is quite orchestral. There are violins and other instruments to be heard that you normally expect in a classical orchestra. At the end of these almost two and a half minutes there is a very low dark voice that announces that what it is to come is worse than your worst nightmare. “Sunrise in Hell” is the starting-point of a true power metal crusade. After this display of power, it is time for the title-track. The guitar riffing is great at the beginning of the song. For the rest it is a decent piece of power metal with some guitar duelling halfway through the song. “Crimson Empire” starts off very quiet and turns into a straightforward song that makes you want to rock. “Children of the Nation” has a slow start with some keyboards present until it becomes a heavy piece of pounding metal. As one would expect by looking at the title, “The Preacher” has some spoken word with a religious content. Towards the middle of the song, it becomes a great heavy metal song with the complete band bringing the composition to a heavy climax. The next one, “Shattered Hearts”, is a mid-tempo track with Amore's raw voice prominently present. “The Doomsday Prediction” has some nice guitar-riffs combined with some keyboards at the beginning of the song. This is an up-tempo song featuring Campion and David Amore. Halfway through the song there is also a deformed voice to be heard. Throughout the song, there is a real pounding vibe. Amore sings some duets with a female singer on “The Dominion Gate (Part III), which results in a big contrast with Amore's rough voice. The song itself is one of the better ones on this album. “Final Outcome” revolves around Amore's very powerful voice although the composition itself is strong also. The bonus track, that is only present on the first pressing of the CD, is called “Afterlife”. It is a good way to end this album. Nightmare is a band that after being musically active for so many years is still alive and kicking. I guess there will be another album in 2013 or 2014.
Visit their website: http://www.nightmare-metal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nightmareoffcial

79/100

PAGAN ALTAR – The Time Lord (CD) United Kingdom December 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 32:16 (Tracks: 5)
Pagan Altar is considered a cult doom metal legend. Hailing from the birthplace of doom, the band was formed in the late 70s but didn't present a full length release until 1998! The Time Lord is actually the band's second studio release and originally hit the streets in 2004. This is a reissue by the Italian label Cruz Del Sur which has been showing great interest in doom metal with releases from bands like While Heaven Wept and Atlantean Kodex. Pagan Altar delivers vintage proto-doom metal as taught by the pioneers of the 70s like Black Sabbath, Black Widow, Blue Cheer, Hawkwind etc. Founder and vocalist Terry Jones owns an Ozzy-like voice but with some very distinctive characteristics that can easily fall under the love or hate category. I myself used to be a fan but my interest for the whole genre gradually subsided. That of course doesn't prevent me from acknowledging the value of this very special band. Please take note that the recordings come from the early era of the band and since The Time Lord is something like a compilation, some tracks are a bit raw. That shouldn't be a problem from the lovers of the underground. This is a release strictly for them after all.
Visit their website: http://www.paganaltar.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/paganaltar

70/100

PERIPHERY – Periphery II (CD) USA December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 76:22 (Tracks: 16)
PERIPHERY is a band which was formed in 2005 by guitarist Misha Mansoor. The self titled debut album "Periphery" was released in 2010, and in 2011 the "Icarus EP". Now PERIPHERY are back with their second full length album, simply titled "Periphery II". To me, this album is my first acquaintance with PERIPHERY, and what an acquaintance it was, because this band is so brilliant and so technical. Well, PERIPHERY is a perfect mixture of bands such as LINKIN PARK, SLIPKNOT, DREAM THEATER and SYMPHONY X. Musically there is so much happening in each song, and the vocals of Spencer Sotelo are varied as well, because he sings as well as clean as brutal. Really, each song on this second album is a real pleasure to listen. In fact, there isn't any weak song on "Periphery II". The band did have several line-up changes in the past. Actually, the only original member on this album is founding member Misha Mansoor. The rest of the line-up on "Periphery II" exists of the aforementioned Spencer Sotelo (vocals), Jake Bowen (guitar, synths), Mark Holcomb (guitar), Adam "Nolly" Getgood (bass) and Matt Halpern (drums). Guest musicians on "Periphery II" are DREAM THEATER's John Petrucci, who's doing a guest solo on "Erised", Guthrie Govan from THE ARISTOCRATS, who's doing a guest solo on "Have A Blast", and THE FACELESS' Wes Hauch who's doing a guest solo on "Mile Zero". Although I got the promo disc of Mario to review for MMM, I liked it so much, that I even bought the limited edition digipack of "Periphery II", which also features two bonus tracks, which are the beautiful instrumental "Far Out" and an excellent cover version of SLIPKNOT's "The Heretic Anthem" (of their "Iowa" (2001) album). Although I like the entire album very much, otherwise I wouldn't have bought it myself, my favourite tracks are "Have A Blast", "Facepalm Mute", "Scarlet", "Ragnarok", "The Gods Must Be Crazy!", "Erised", "Froggin' Bullfish", "Mile Zero" and the two aforementioned bonus tracks "Far Out" and "The Heretic Anthem". Anyway, if you like the above mentioned bands, I'm sure you will like PERIPHERY as well. At least you can check them out, so you can discover yourself PERIPHERY is a great band, and that "Periphery II" is a fantastic album.
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/peripheryband
Recordlabel: http://www.centurymedia.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/periphery

89/100

PROJECT PAIN – I have Sinned (CD) The Netherlands December 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 38:25 (Tracks: 10)
This is the shit from Holland, PROJECT PAIN, started out early 2011 playing thrash metal with a capital T!!! This is what we, or at least I, have been waiting for, for some time now, and I'm sure of it, Holland has got his own 'Exodus' from now on! 'I have Sinned' is their debut album and blew me away right from the start until the very (unfortunately) end. The album has a perfect heavy thrash metal sound, and the songs are killer, 'False Prophet', 'Retribution', 'Embrace Death', 'Hatred', well actually all songs, fast and furious aggressive thrash metal is the message here. If you are into this stuff then listen or die!! You won't regret it, this is the promise for the future of thrash metal at its best, well I guess you got the message by now, I love this band, don't forget their name PROJECT PAIN. The members of this band already earned their stripes, while Bauke Goudbeek (vocals) and Guido den Hoed (guitar) played in Killer Force and Minas Tirith, and drummer Roland van der Kruk played in Riptide. All experienced guys who know what they are doing, and it shows!
Visit their website: http://www.project-pain.nl

86/100

PROTOTYPE – Catalyst (CD) USA December 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Thrash Metal Running time: 61:19 (Tracks: 12)
Back in 1994, Kragen Lum (guitars) and Vince Levalois (vocals, guitars) who formerly were members of Psychosis put together a new band, named Prototype. The first result of this collaboration was a demo called “Seed”. It took them four years to get their first album, “Cloned”, out as an independent release. The following records, Trinity (2003), Continuum (2005) and this release came out on Nightmare Records in North America and Massacre Records in Europe. It took Prototype a very long time to get Catalyst out but I must say that it was worth the wait. In between this release and the last release, Prototype provided a track for the Guitar Hero III video game. It concerned “The Way It Ends” from the “Continuum” release. This release starts with “Inceptum”, an intro lasting almost one and a half minutes and that consists of a bunch of different sounds. It flows into the title-track, which is more thrash metal and has some real mean guitar riffing and great guitar solos throughout the song. “Cynic Dreams” starts very quiet but turns into a superb progressive metal song with both guitarists excelling. Just listen to the guitar parts although we should not forget the rhythm-section as they complete the total package in a great way. The quality remains high on “The Chosen Ones” with again a leading role for Lum and Levalois as the guitars are so prominently present all through the song. It sounds like they play one long solo varied with some riffing. It is just fantastic. “Illuminatum” is the second instrumental on this album and this one varies some quiet modest bass and guitar playing with some heavy guitar riffing. There is no pause between this track and the next one, “My Own Deception”, that with its eight minutes and thirteen seconds, is the longest track on Catalyst. Besides the raw vocals there is also some growling to be heard on this track. It is a bit slower song with plenty of space for the guitarists to excel. The tempo is back on “Into Oblivion” that also includes some grunting and again some fabulous guitar riffing but it is the rhythm-section consisting of Pat Magrath (drums) and Kirk Scherer (bass) that takes the leading role on this track. Then it is time for yet another instrumental called “Impetus” that has some keyboards, samples and the sound of a choir creating a spacey atmosphere. It is back to business with “Gravity Well” that has Levalois singing a bit like Tom S. Englund of Evergrey whilst the song has a bit of a Nevermore-feel to it. “The Ageless Heart of Memory” kicks of very fast and aggressive. This is thrash metal played by a very talented band as the music is always played with great precision. Just after the middle of the song, the track becomes a bit slower and the heaviness is gone too. It is replaced by very modestly played music but the song ends with some heavy guitar riffs again. “Exiled” is a typical Prototype-track as it has power, melody and technique melted together in one great composition that is fun to listen to. “Communion” is the last piece of metal on this album and like the rest of them, it shows a band with great musical capabilities that combines this with great raw vocals and sturdy thrash metal but mixes it together in one superb arrangement. The only right conclusion is that Prototype is back to stay and that it is a pity that it took them so many years to come up with new material.
Visit their website: http://www.prototypeonline.com
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/prototypeonline

86/100

RAZÖRWYRE – Another Dimension (CD) New Zealand December 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Heavy / Power / Speed Metal Running time: 46:26 (Tracks: 11)
RAZÖRWYRE was formed in 2008 by Chris Calavrias and James, whom both had a strong desire to write and perform heavy metal music in the true style of the 1980's. Though ideas were discussed, and initial material was written, it wasn't until later when the project began to come to fruition. RAZÖRWYRE began playing in early 2009 under the banner 'GAYWYRE'. Later on they changed their name into RAZÖRWYRE.
When I first listened to this album I was already blown away by the first few songs and I was convinced that I had to deal with a US-metal band.....the more I was surprised when I heard that this band comes from New Zealand!!
RAZÖRWYRE have now unleashed their debut album on INFERNÖ Records (CD Version) and UNDERGROUND POWER Records (Vinyl version). This band plays classical heavy-power-speed metal and sound like a mix of bands like Savage Grace, Abattoir, Riot, Judas Priest, Saxon, Helstar, and so on…..!
I was really surprised by the energy of this incredible band which combines all the kind of metal I like most! Check them out if you're into the above mentioned bands; you will agree with me!!
Don't miss RAZÖRWYRE at KEEP IT TRUE Festival 2013 !!! Also hope they will do some more shows beside this festival……..(MMM is waiting for you guys…….)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/razorwyre
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
Facebook: http://www.myspace.com/razorwyreband

90/100

RED LAMB – Red Lamb (CD) USA December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Speed Metal / Rock Running time: 47:40 (Tracks: 12)
RED LAMB is the new band of ex-ANTHRAX guitarist Dan Spitz, and was formed in 2010. The band exists of Don Chaffin (vocals), Dan Spitz (lead guitar, bass), Patrick Johansson (drums) and Chris Vrenna (synthesizers, programming). All the songs on this self titled debut album are written by Dan Spitz, and all the lyrics were written by Spitz and no one else then Dave Mustaine (MEGADETH, ex-METALLICA). Well, when I listened for the first time to "Red Lamb", the songs on the album immediately reminded me of MEGADETH. Not only because of the guitar riffs and the vocal lines, but also because of that Don Chaffin's voice sounds like mister Mustaine. This debut album tells about living with children with autism and the fight of the parents who have to deal with this every day. Best example of this is the song "Puzzle Box". Dan Spitz himself has two children (twins) with autism as well, so actually this is pretty personal. Of every sold album of "Red Lamb" 50 euro cents are going to the organisation Autism Speaks, of which Dan and his wife Candi are spokesmen. Since I got this album to review, I have listened several times to "Red Lamb", and I must say that every time I enjoyed this album very much. In my opinion there's no weak song on it. Okay, because it sounds very much like MEGADETH, you could say it sounds not that original, but like I said all songs on this album are great, so why complain about it. But most of all it's great that Dan Spitz is back in the metal scene, and it's a pleasure to listen to his riffs and solo's on this album. To me, the best songs on "Red Lamb" are without a doubt "The Cage", "Runaway Train", "Standby Passenger", "Puzzle Box", "Watchman", "Keep Pushing Me" and "Get Up". This is a fantastic debut album. Especially fans of MEGADETH should check it out.
Visit their website: http://www.redlambofficial.com
Recordlabel: http://www.mig-music.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/redlamb

83/100

REVERENCE – When Darkness Calls (CD) USA December 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 49:11 (Tracks: 11)
Hailing from Detroit, this is Reverence's debut full-length-album. The band consists of Todd Michael Hall (vocals), Pete Rossi and Bryan Holland (guitars), Steve Wacholz (drums) and Ned Meloni (bass). All of the above have been active in other bands with Wacholz being a founding member of Savatage, Bryan Holland being in Tokyo Blade, Hall and Meloni being in Jack Starr's Burning Starr and Rossi being with Joe Stump. The start of Reverence dates back to 2010 when Holland and Hall hatched a plan to form a new band. Slow howling guitars mark the beginning of the title-track. After one minute, the speed goes up and the guitar riffing feast starts. There is a lot of great guitar playing to be heard. “Bleed for Me” keeps the action going on. Hall has a fantastic voice and he has a huge vocal range. The two guitarists do some superb riffing combined with some great solos. The numerous backing vocals create an overwhelming sound. The tempo is high on “Phantom Road” as the rhythm section pushes through on this track. There are plenty opportunities for Rossi and Holland to excel, what they do big time. All through the song, Hall really takes the leading-role. The quality remains high, as “Devil in Disguise” is yet another great track. It is obvious that Reverence is a very experienced band as the tracks sound mature. “Too Late” starts with a short and modest guitar solo followed by some monstrous guitar-riffs and Hall singing very high. Wow, this guy knows how to sing!! The song ends the way it started, in style! “Gatekeeper” is more of a power metal song with some resemblance to the Metal Church-stuff. Rossi plays some screaming metal guitar solos in between the sturdy riffing. “The Price You Pay” is a tiny bit slower but more heavy song that has every member of Reverence taking time to show his musical qualities. This is a fantastic composition. “Monster” features Meloni, Wacholz and Holland, whilst Hall screams like an air horn. The next one is with its five minutes and thirty-three seconds the longest track on the album. We are talking about “Revolution Rising” that has a chorus that sticks to your mind and has Hall singing as high as Geoff Tate on Queensryche's “Revolution Calling”. The next song, “After The Leaves Have Fallen”, shows Hall singing as if his life depends on it. This is very beautiful and sensitive track with a fantastic guitar solo by Rossi and Hall delivering an impressive performance. The album ends in style, with “Vengeance Is Mine”, that is one of the eleven great tracks. To me this album took me by surprise. It is a great debut-album and hopefully they will be making more albums in the future. All tracks are good compositions and show that these guys know what they are doing. Unfortunately Reverence's tour in November was cancelled otherwise I would have been present. I hope that I will get a chance next year to see them live because I want to hear these great tracks live as an experienced band as Reverence is playing them.
Visit their website: http://www.reverencemetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.razaricerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/reverencemetal

86/100

RICK SPRINGFIELD – Song for the end of the World (CD) USA December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Modern Melodic Rock Running time: 41:52 (Tracks: 12)
He's rich, he's famous, he has got the looks, the smile, the body and he has had a creative career with a lot of tops. Rick Springfield is sort of a legend from down under. Many melodic rockers and lovers of adult orientated rock know the man has a musical career that started in the late sixties (yes, Rick was born in 1949) of the former century next to his career moves as an actor in soap operas as well. Rick has played in Zoot, was launched as a teenybopper pop model like David Cassidy in the seventies , but his musical output as a solo-artist has brought him a lot of successes in the eighties, scoring two top ten albums and seven top ten singles between 1981 and 1985. In 1988 he stopped his musical career, creating more time to spend with his family and friends. Eleven years later Rick started his 'second life ' as an artist. He accepted movie roles again and made six albums from the year of his restart, changing his musical style to an in-depth modern rock style with pop rock elements from the late seventies and eighties.
But there were / are not all days of wine and roses in Rick's career. The death of his father, his melancholy depression moods, his impulsive character had an effect on his personal life and it's the shade behind his smile. It's reflected in the lyrics of his new record. Lines like :” I'm the wrecking ball, I hate myself, this is your / my battle ground, this life screws me up “,repeating themselves in many songs are signs of the darker side of Rick's life so far. I'm glad these lines doesn't have any effect on the songs and their production. Both stand out. The sound of this record is amazing, giving away many sound details and musical landscapes. And the songs, WOW! Variety in all aspects keeping the music in his tight structure. I like this record very much, it has an anthem-vibe and it's a lush pop rock adventure of the greatest order! Fantastic record, that made me think of the Hysteria album by Def Leppard, one of the gem-albums of the eighties. The album will be released with bonus tracks in four formats, a bit of a let-down for the real fans, but the twelve songs I've listened to will be the main frame of these albums. Great one! Frontiers will release this one very soon! Get it while it's hot!
Visit their website: http://www.rickspringfield.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it

91/100

ROYAL HUNT – 20th Anniversary (Special Edition) (CD/DVD) Danmark December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock with Symphonic and Progressive overtones Running time: 2:57:33 (Tracks: 25)
Royal Hunt should be a household name in rockland. After eleven albums, four live albums, five mini-albums/EP's and six compilation albums, selling one million records up to date, the Danish band made fame and fortune in Japan and in Northern Europe. The band was found in 1989 and their founder, keyboard and classical wizzard Andre Andersen, wrote furious classic rock with a symphonic and progressive flair. Their first two albums were released in Japan only (initially), the third and fourth album (Moving Target and Paradox) however, did reach the European continent. And both albums sold very well .But dramatic line - up changes followed: Singer DC Cooper (he was the singer of this band from 1994, replacing original vocalist Hendrick Brockmann) was replaced by John West, a later line-up showed Mark Boals behind the microphone. Guitarwizzard Jakob Kjaer, bass player Steen Morgensen (responsible for a few great albums with Cornerstone) and drummer Ken Olson made room for other instrumentalists. It had their effect on Royal Hunt, too bad. But in 2011 the original singer of their heydays, DC Cooper, returned and their latest album marked a great nod to the music of their mid-nineties successes. This new compilation is fabulous: three cd's and a dvd in a great looking digipack. The band took the time to select their 25 best songs. A new song was written for this occasion (Save Me, the first track on cd 3), three songs reapperar in an unplugged mode and the dvd shows twelve promotional clips from their most successfull hits. Great package from a great band, I hope the band will relive their success again.
Visit their website: http://www.royalhunt.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/royalhuntmusic

90/100

SACRED OATH – Spells & Incatations; The best of… (CD) USA December 2010 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 1:17:35 (Tracks: 14)
Sacred Oath managed one album in their initial career, releasing the Iron Maiden-inspired "A Crystal Vision" in 1988. The band was short-lived (in fact, due to delays with the record label, the band had actually broken up by the time the album finally saw the light of day), but the original line up reformed in 1998 to re-record that album, resulting in "A Crystal Revision". Finally, the band released several albums later like “Darkness Visible”, “'Till Death Do Us Part “, “Sacred Oath”, “World On Fire” and now this new one: a compilation album with 12 songs from their earlier releases and 2 previously unreleased bonus tracks; “Wings of Salvation” & “Posers must Die”. I'm a huge fan of this band and nearly all their releases are reviewed on this webzine (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews). I also had the luck to see the band live and this is US power metal extra ordinary; powermetal with great musicianship and highpitch vocals! My kind of favorite metal!
Still I don't see the utility of releasing this album? Every Sacred Oath fan (the real die-hard metalfans) have all their original albums and wont buy this album for the 2 bonus songs I'm afraid. Nevertheless; if you're not known with their stuff; this is a good way to check it out. My advise is better; buy all their albums asap!! You wont regret it if youre also into real US powermetal. For fans of Iron Maiden, Steel Prophet, King Diamond.
Visit his website: http://www.sacredoath.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sacredoathofficial
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sacredoath

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SATANIKA – Infection (CD) Italy December 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Black / Thrash Metal Running time: 47:25 (Tracks: 11)
SATANIKA was founded by Cristian (vocals) and Gilberto (guitar) in Rome, Italy in 2009. SATANIKA plays old school thrash metal, and after a few EP's the band released its debut album 'Satanikattack' in 2010. The drummer was Tormentor, from German band Desaster, at that time. In December 2011 the band released a special 15 track EP named 'Metal Possession' through Iron Shield records. This one is their regular second album 'Ínfection'. On this album you will find 11 new titles like 'Satanik Overkill', 'Horrorcult', 'Apocalyptic Terror' and 'Psycho Slut'. This is thrash metal most raw and fast you can get, the production is a little bit chaotic, but not disturbing, it actually suits their music well. Nice intro's are used, also some guest musicians from bands like Thanatos, Desaster, Nocturnal Breed, Overkill, F.K.U., Dekapitator and Helheim on this album. Cristian sometimes sounds like Schmier of Destruction, some great guitar work also to be found on this album, this is blackened thrash metal at its best and will give you a real genuine eighties feeling about it. The lyrics cover some gruesome and putrid horror categories, as you've probably guessed by know when you read the song titles mentioned above. Also the album cover is a work of art which leaves no questions open of what's going on, on the inside, great second album from a promising underground band, now I'm anxiously awaiting what their third one will bring!
Recordlabel: http://www.ironshield-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/truesatanika

82/100

SINISTER – The Carnage Ending (CD) The Netherlands December 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Death Metal Running time: 48:13 (Tracks: 11)
Writing down a biography of Sinister is:
1st: boring, they already exist since 1988
2nd: their line-up changed nearly as much as I change my underwear

So lets start to review this 10th full length of Sinister. Except for Aad Kloosterwaard, who is still the only original member, the complete band is replaced after the predecessor album “Legacy Of Ashes” (2010).
The band never released a bad album but I have to admit that I lost contact/interest in the band at the beginning of the new millennium. This new album other wise sounds heavier than ever and reminds me a lot to the oldschool gods of Morbid Angel, Autopsy and Malevolent Creation. Productionwise (done by Jorg Uken who also produced God Dethroned, Dew-Scented a.o.) this album is also worth checking out if you're into oldschool deathmetal (US-style). I have to say I like this album very much; even if I don't listen to deathmetal as often as I did in the past.
Visit his website: http://www.sinister-hailthebeast.com
Recordlabel: http://www.massacre-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sinisterwingsofdeath

82/100

SISTER SIN – Now and Forever (CD) Sweden December 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 40.54 (Tracks: 11)
Aaaarrgghhhh ! The new Sister Sin is out! Yes, new pure metal shout a long stuff from this brilliant Swedish formation. From the first time I heard their blistering debut “Switchblade Serenade” and saw them live, crushing the stage in Uden, I was sold forever. This band breaths pure rock and metal and the dear, sweet frontlady Liv Jagrell is the incarnation of the finest rock'n roll' attitude. Her spitting, biting vocals filled with fury, power and aggression are of such a high level that really no one, male or female, even gets near. The story goes that when recruiting a singer for the band Liv blew every male vocalist away and there's no doubt that this shouldn't be true. Only talking about this amazing and very sympathetic, young lady wouldn't be fair to the rest of the band. Drummer and founder Dave Sundberg and new bass player Strandh are responsible for the “tighter as a duck's ass” rhythm section and Jimmy Hitula on guitar delivers the finest hooks and power rhythms on this third masterpiece. Similar to their pre successors “Switchblade Serenade” and “True Sound of the Underground” is that it's all high levelled stuff filled with gang vocals and based on tight, razorsharp riffs in a mixture of the finest tradition of bands like Motorhead, Saxon and Motley Crue. New are three things notable; the sleazy sound is less in favour of more metal, there's no room for the traditional cover (Motorhead's “On Parole” and U.D.O. 's “24/7 were done before on the full length albums) and surprisingly there's a ballad … A wha ! Yes a ballad which is done very properly and where Liv shows that her talents are more than constantly sneering and spitting out vocals the best way she can. Nevertheless this woman is at her best in up tempo tracks (“On stage, I'm in a rage, I'm like an animal locked in a cage” she said before in “Breaking New Ground” on their debut, and that still hasn't changed a bit). “Fight Song” is the finest, hardest and most catchy example on this one. Opening with the following phrase says enough of what to expect further: “Fuck you, fuck them, and fuck the world too / Do I look like some kind of bitch to you?” Yeah, Sister Sin in optima forma. Also the speedy “In it for Life”, “The Chosen Few” and “Hang 'Em High” are a guarantee for massive headbanging. With three records out and all three of them score easily over 90 points for me, I don't have anything to add to this awesome band that combines the best of retro metal. I just love this band and they have truly everything to become big. If this band gets the opportunity to tear down the walls at some festivals the world is theirs, I'm sure. If you like metal, then this is your stuff ! There will be no regrets! Victory records has gold in his hands with this awesome band. "The next step for mankind will be the last season in sin" ; Sister Sin; Now and Forever!
Visit their website: http://www.sistersin.com
Recordlabel: http://www.victoryrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sistersin

92/100

SOLEIL MOON - On the way to Everything (CD) USA December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Westcoast / Adult orientated Rock Running time: 1:05:33 (Tracks: 14)
In 1994 musician Larry King met John Blasucci, keyboard player for NSynch, Richard Marx and many other artists. They immediately started writing music together combining jazzy elements with technical Westcoast songs. The duo released a single under the monicker of Soleil Moon for React Entertainment. The single" Worlds apart" and the b-side " Raining in Ashville" got rave reviews. Larry and John were backed up by famous studio cats like Michael Thompson and Lanny Castro. They decided to make a full-length album to be released on the MTO label of Larry combining their influences, their creative output with the skills of top musicians that had accompanied the Westcoast duo. The result was amazing, " Worlds apart" is / was a classy musical adventure. An unique approach with pop, jazz and light rock- elements, progressive themes and lyrics with a body and soul.
The singles of this album charted on the Contemporary Adult Chart and the reviews were again largely positive. The duo made a remake of a Christmas song in 2001 and the work for a follow-up album began short after that. But Larry and John didn't make much progress, the keyboard player John had a busy tour schedule and Larry joined forces with guitarslinger and top-musician Michael Thompson to connect Michael's famous fretwork to a vocal musical environment (his vocal output can be heard on the new Michael Thompson Band disc). In 2010 " On the way to everything" was released on MTO and now Frontiers will release the album with three extra tracks trom the famous debut album. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely yes! Again this album is superb! The songs, the vocals, the great musicians (Vinnie Colaiuta, Leeland Sklar, Michael Thompson, Chris Siebold and Craig Bauer amongst others) that can carry the musical package like no other, the lyrics, all wonderful! This is not only an album for the adult contemporary listeners. Fans of melodic rock will be pleased hearing songs like" Down", " Move on" , " Here I am" and " History repeats its pages" . Lovers of the epic ballad-genre, fans of technical jazzy pop with a strong backbone will find one of the treasures of this year so far. Fantastic record!
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/soleilmoonmusic
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/soleilmoonmusic

89/100

T.A.N.K. – Spasms of Upheaval (CD) France December 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death Metal Running time: 50:24 (Tracks: 12)
The name TANK will probably ring a bell by a lot of the MMM readers. But beware: this is not a review of the new album by the illustrious NWOBHM combo. This article is about the second album of T.A.N.K., which is an abbreviation of Think of A New Kind. A technical Death Metal band hailing from France. Their first record entitled 'The Burden of Will' received mixed reviews. On one hand they were praised because of their energy, aggressive yet melodic material and the ability to write catchy songs. On the other hand, like many bands in the technical Death Metal genre, the lack of original and/or recognizable songs were comments of the critics. But let's face it: this last aspect is applicable on nearly every musical genre. It's just that there are so many bands that play this type of music, that such comments are inevitable. When we put that aspect aside, 'Spasms of Upheaval' has turned out to be a qualitatively good technical Death Metal album which contains all the traditional ingredients. The songs are all from the same level, which is a good thing. All the comments the band got on their debut-album are also applicable on 'Spasms of Upheaval.' I personally would like to add that the band has definitely grown in their ability of writing catchy songs. They have more character now. The production is clear, heavy and in your face. A valuable addition to the genre and a recommendation for the Death Metal fan.
Visit their website: http://www.thinkofanewkind.com
Recordlabel: http://www.brennusmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tgmetal

70/100

TAO MENIZOO – Journey Through A Devastated Mind (CD) France December 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Thrash / Death Metal Running time: 58:25 (Tracks: 11)
Tao Menizoo is a band with the so called 'Do it Yourself' attitude. The production, editing, mixing and promotion is once again done by the band itself by the lack of a record label. And I must say: the promotion and packaging of the promo looks very professional. Tao Menizoo was formed in France in the year of 1997. Since then, the band has released two albums before 'Journey Through a Devastated mind', of which 'So Blind' was reviewed right here on MMM in 2008. I've never heard of this French combo before, but I'm glad that a copy ended up in my mail box. As a big fan of blending metal-styles together, Tao Menizoo pleasantly surprised me with their mixture of Thrash, Death, Black and even industrial influences. That combination can sound a little bit messy and sometimes it does, but op 'Journey Through a Devastated Mind' the band manages to keep it interesting most of the time. As the album title and the cover art implicates, the music is rather melancholic and twisted, like the human mind can be at times. The use of slow, heavy riffs in combination with aggressive faster parts and raw vocals are creating an atmosphere that is really suitable for the lyrical topics. Although the songs are not equally good, the album as a whole is a very enjoyable listening experience. With the numerous breaks and tempo-changes, the band manages to keep it fresh and interesting. And it has to be said: the thrashy riffs simply kick-ass! Respect for Tao Menizoo, for yet delivering another record to be proud of. An album which deserves to be heard.
Visit their website: http://www.taomenizoo.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/taomenizoo

80/100

TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION - Peacemaker (CD) USA December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Red Dirt Metal Running time: 42:41 (Tracks: 11)
Texas Hippie Coalition makes a unique brand of furious metal in the stylistic veins of Pantera and Black Label Society. Their third record on Carved Records (The Dallas 'based label for No Justice, Tyler Bryant, Juke Kartel, a.o.) “Peacemaker” is a very good record. Texas Hippie Coalition have explored their sound of the first two albums (The Pride of Texas (2008) and Rollin'( their David Prater' produced album with the great single “Pissed off and mad about it” in 2010)). The new songs sound fresher, thicker and producer Bob Marlette has given more depth to the raunchy outlaw Southern-fried rock of this heavy quartet (Yes: singer and frontman Big Dad Rich and bass player John Exall are accompanied by Wes Wallace on guitars (he co-writes most of the songs on this album as well) and Timmy Braun on drums rounding up the new line-up). I like the music very much: Heavy rock, compact songs, a tight rhythm section, great guitars and a unique vocal style, still keeping that dark image of the Southern rock giants like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, Molly Hatchet, ZZ Top and Gov't Mule. You'll get what you deserve on the lyrical front: Sex, drugs, rock 'n roll, guns, fights, tattoos and everything about the dark side of the devil's ass! Good stuff!
Visit their website: http://www.thcoutlaw.com
Recordlabel: http://www.carvedrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/texashippiecoalition

85/100

THERION – Les fleurs du Mal (CD) Sweden December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Art Rock Running time: 48:00 (Tracks: 15)
Therion's musical back catalogue is quite extensive and impressive as well. Their European stylistic death metal approach from their mid-eighties start has evolved and Therion has surprised their fans with many methamorphoses in many line-ups in the recent years. I like their bombastic, symphonic offspring, clearing the path for a great diversity of musical themes and beautiful and powerful vocals. This new release proves the fact that the bifocal view of bandleader Cristofer Johnsson can create some magical musical stuff. Therion's mastermind has chosen French classic pop songs from the sixties. Why? I don't know, but the chosen songs share one theme; the mysterious ways of the woman. The band stays far away from their mythologic, dark themed, evocative lyrics, that's for sure.Cristofer has given the France Gall, Sylvie Vartan, Serge Gainsbourg, Leonie Lousseau, Claire Dixon- songs a Therion- treatment: Orchestration, musical depth, ,variation and he has combinded the dramatized themes with powerful edges. The vocals of Lori Lewis shine throughout this album. The other vocal mainframe, Thomas Vikstrom sounds beautiful as well, but his vocals lines are very theatrical sometimes. It took me more spins to get accustomed to these lines. The musical translation of the French classic surprised me a lot: Fresh, energetic, innovative, melancholic and very original. The album was released on Johnsson's private label and only the visitors of the Therion concerts could get a copy of this special Therion- item. I hope " Les fleurs du mal" will get wider recognition, it's an album full of surprises, an absolute grower, showing the greatness of the musical ideas of Cristofer Johnsson and Therion. I wonder what the fans will think of this album, it's experimental, daring, but “Les Fleurs du mal” has suprised me, that's for sure
Visit their website: http://www.megatherion.com
Recordlabel: http://www.endofthelight.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/therion

83/100

THE CASUALTIES – Resistance (CD) USA December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Punk / Crossover / Thrash Metal Running time: 36:08 (Tracks: 15)
"Resistance" is the ninth studio album of American Street Punks THE CASUALTIES from New York City, who were formed way back in 1990. After having released 5 albums on SideOneDummy Records, "Resistance" is the band's first album on French Metal label Season Of Mist, and was released in September of 2012. Between 1990 and 1998 the band did have several line-up changes, but since 1998 the line-up of THE CASUALTIES exists of Jorge Herrera (lead vocals), Jake Kolatis (guitar, vocals), Rick Lopez (bass, vocals) and Marc "Meggers" Eggers (drums). In a very high pace, you get 15 excellent songs in just 36 minutes. Since I bought this album "Resistance", it has made many spins in my CD-player. And I just can't get enough of it. In fact, "Resistance" is a very strong album. The only song, which is a bit less to me is the track "Corazones Intoxicados", which is sung in Spanish (the mother tongue of Jorge). Don't get me wrong, it's absolutely not a bad song, but to me it's sounds a bit less. The production was done by the band themselves and Chris "Zeuss" Harris (MUNICIPAL WASTE, AGNOSTIC FRONT, HATEBREED, MURDERDOLLS, TERROR etc.), and sounds just brilliant. Actually, it's very hard to choose some favourites, because, as I said, "Resistance" is just a very strong album with excellent songs. So, my advise to all Punks and Thrash fanatics is, to check "Resistance" out yourself, so you can hear that songs such as "My Blood, My Life, Always Forward", "Behind Barbed Wire", "Resistance", "Modern Day Slaves", "Warriors On The Road", "Morality Police", "Brick Wall Justice", "Constant Struggle", "It's Coming Down On You" and "Life On The Line" are all great and of a high quality. Well, I think it's unnecessary to say "Resistance" is a real recommendation to anyone who's into Punk, Hardcore and Thrash Metal. SUPERB album.
Recordlabel: http://www.season-of-mist.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thecasualties

89/100

THE FAT DUKES OF FUCK – Honey From The Lips Of An Angel (CD) USA December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Rock Running time: 40:38 (Tracks: 9)
First of all, what a band name….THE FAT DUKES OF FUCK. I never have heard of them before. Nevertheless, when I listened to "Honey From The Lips Of An Angel", I was really surprised, because I didn't know what to expect. So, when I listened for the first time to this CD, musically THE FAT DUKES OF FUCK reminded me of a mixture of bands like CLUTCH, FAITH NO MORE and PRIMUS to name a few. Even the vocals of Brent Lynch reminds me very much of Neil Fallon of CLUTCH. Well, it's not clear to me when the band from Las Vegas, Nevada, which exists of Brent Lynch (vocals), Jarrod Miller (guitar), Jason Lamb (bass) and Jeremy Brenton (drums), was formed. Anyway, after searching on the internet I discovered that "Honey From The Lips Of An Angel" is the band's third album. Their debut album "You And Your Opinion" was released in 2009, and their second one "A Nasty Name For A Nasty Thing" in 2010. Anyway, this album, which is released by the band themselves, features 9 tracks, of which the last two songs are the longest tracks of the album. "Let My People Grow" lasts 6:18 minutes and the title track "Honey From The Lips Of An Angel" lasts 7:16 minutes. All other songs are between 2:28 and 4:40 minutes. Well, I can understand that this album will sound a bit weird to a lot of people. There's just one song on this album which I like less, and that's the title track "Honey From The Lips Of An Angel". All in all it's a nice album to which I will listen to so now and then, because songs such as "The Mighty Bulge", "Sorry About Your Dick", "Oral Agenda", "Step Aside And Let That Fucker Dance" and "Cigarette" are sounding really nice. Check them out yourself if you are interested.
Visit their website: http://www.thefatdukesoffuck.com
MySpace: ttp://www.myspace.com/thefatdukesoffuck

70/100

THE GATHERING - Disclosure (CD) The Netherlands December 2012 Mnfred Werger
Style: Atmospheric Alternative Rock Running time: 57:53 (Tracks: 8)
The Dutch rockband The Gathering was founded in 1989 and with Marike Groot and Bart Smits behind the microphones a doomy style of dark metal, often compared to the early Celtic Frost, drew the attention of the Dutch musical landscape. Their first albums on Foundation 2000 got good reviews, but shortly after the second Gathering opus, both singers disappeared and a new line- up with Martine van Loon on vocals was unsuccessful. In 1993 Anneke van Giersbergen joined the band and it marked the start of a very triumphant return. The style was different from the old-Gathering: a more modern rock approach with influences from Pink Floyd, post rock, avant garde and shoegaze. The band became the blueprint for a lot of bands with epic, alternative, Gothic rock and Century Media, their new label, opened many doors for the Dutch revelation.  Successful tours, mostly throughout the European continent, followed and the singles charted the lower regions of the Dutch Top 40, which is quite remarkable for a rockband. Anneke became the figurehead of the band with her magnificent voice, her friendly and passionate stagepresence, her attitude and her songwriting capabilities.
The Gathering changed styles per album, the band had the guts to vary the backbone and the structures of their albums keeping their integrity, their strenght and innovativeness. In 1999 the band started their own label, Psychonaut Records, to hold more grip on the creative process, the distribution and the marketing. The prosperity continued but a dramatic change was about to come. Anneke left the band to spend more time with her family and to start her new musical offspring: the magnificent Aqua d' Annique. The search for a new frontlady began and in March 2009 it was announced that Silje Wergeland, former singer of the doom metal band Octavia Sperati  (this Bergen (Norway) band released two albums on  Candelight Records) had joined The Gathering. I bought the first album of her, fronting The Gathering, " The West Pole"  and I was as enthousiastic as many reviewers. Now I'm listening to the second album with Silje and it's a major opus again: dreamy, atmospheric, lots of keyboards, silent passages that remind me of " If then else" and " Souvenirs" . The vocals are beautifully arranged and the lyrics are evocative. But the album is a pretty rustique affair. I miss the benchmark of the songs, the dramatic turn in the design of the songs, the turning point.  " Paper waves" , " Meltdown" and " Heroes for ghosts" have this turn, this bite.  The other songs  are full of quality, but they are also volatile, passingly, a bit rippling. Songs like " Gemini" , " Paralyzed" and " I can see four miles" seem to miss the big break, the grand finale. The instrumental passages remind me of a very soft Anathema, Pink Floyd, the soft side of OSI, and Alan Parsons. Good record for the soft side of your life. Great production by Rene Rutten, the engineering (by Rene Rutten and George Konings) and the mix (by Guido Albers) just give that bit of extra dimension to his album.
Visit their website: http://www.gatheringh.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.psychonautrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/pages/thegathering

80/100

THE HEATLERS – Monster (CD) Italy December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Speedrock / Rawk 'n Roll Running time: 35:02 (Tracks: 11)
In January of 2011 my colleague reviewer William Nijhof reviewed the self titled 5 track MCD "The Heatlers", of Italian band THE HEATLERS. That MCD got 75 out of 100 points from William. Well, now I got the band's debut album "Cheeseburger Holocaust" to review, which has been released in July of this year. So, this is my first acquaintance with the band. Anyway, THE HEATLERS are a four piece band existing of Tommy "Lester" Garofalo (vocals), Damiano "Idda" Porciani (guitar), Pedro "El Mazzo" Espadrillas (bass) and Bob "Vinnie" Colosimo (drums), and started in the Spring of 2008. With titles such as "Pork Oil Addicktion", "Serial Griller", "Kebabbed (Prepare To Be)", "Fried Chicken Overdose" and "Rock N' Roll Butchers", it's clear to me these guys like to sing about meat in all of their songs. Well, I'm a vegetarian for about 41 years now (since my 6th year), so you will understand that that topic doesn't interest me that much. The band plays a mixture of Speedrock and Rock and Roll, which I like very much. But to tell the truth, after listening several times to "Cheeseburger Holocaust", THE HEATLERS still couldn't impress me that much. And that has nothing to do that I'm a vegetarian, but because of the fact that it musically all sounds very moderate to me. I can't say all the songs are fantastic and strong compositions. Even "Fat Love Loser (Ten Ton Lover)" is pretty boring, and in fact it's a song which doesn't fit between the rest of the songs. Well, in that case, there are way much better Speedrock and Rock and Roll bands out there. And that's why I think THE HEATLERS won't really make it outside of Italy. Except the intro track of their MCD, all the songs of that MCD are also on this album. Well, I'm sure after finishing this review, "Cheeseburger Holocaust" won't make any spin anymore in my CD-player. I'd rather listen to a good new release or to some classic album. But if there are still people who are interested into this album, check THE HEATLERS out yourself on their MySpace page. One thing is sure for me, THE HEATLERS are not really a band for me.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theheatlers

52/100

THE WITCH – Pachyderm Storm (MCD) France December 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal Running time: 21:37 (Tracks: 5)
THE WITCH is a pretty new four piece Metal band from France, which was formed in early 2011. The band exists of Djul (vocals, guitar), Peter (guitar), Steph (bass) and Mathieu (drums). After a year full of concerts, the band recorded it's first EP, entitled "Pachyderm Storm". This self released EP features the following songs: "Silent Death" (4:15), "The Burning Tree" (3:17), "Iron Head" (2:34), "Fear And Loathing" (3:44) and the title track "Pachyderm Storm" (7:45). All the music and the lyrics of these songs are written by Djul. Well, with reviewing albums or EP's, I always listen several times to them to make a judgement. So also with this EP of THE WITCH. After a few times listening to this EP, I still couldn't get impressed that much by these songs. To me it sounds too moderate, and I don't like the vocals of Djul that much, which sounds too monotone to me. As you can see, the longest track on this EP is the title track, and when the guitars fade away around 4:34 minutes, you'll get an outro. And in my opinion that outro takes just too long. In that outro you hear sounds of rain, thunder and some animals. Anyway, THE WITCH is not really a band for me, but if you are still interested into this EP, you could take a listen to all 5 songs on the band's MySpace page.
Visit their website: http://www.witchcrew.free.fr
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/witchcrew

60/100

TYSONDOG – Hammerhead 2012 (MCD) United Kingdom December 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: NWOBHM / Hard Rock Running time: 19:22 (Tracks: 4)
After being in the kennel for the best part of 20 years; Tysondog are back, barking louder and fiercer than ever! The band lately headlined the 6th edition of my own Mario's Metal Meeting festival on 22 September and they did a hell of a job! The band is nearly in the original line-up and released this EP at the beginning of 2012. Tysondog is one of these NWOBHM bands that has little to do with the upper crust of bands who made it - but more an interest in those who came close, but just fell short of the mark. Strange but true.
Tysondog is one of the typical NEAT bands that released a few classic albums “Beware of the Dog” and “Crimes of Insanity”. This EP is more a kind of compilation of 4 songs from their debut album “Beware of the Dog” re-recorded with todays line-up and equipment. Nice EP but I prefer a new album with new songs because on stage they still know how to rock!! Check them out if you have the chance!!
Visit his website: http://www.tysondog.co.uk
Facebookl: http://www.facebook.com/pages/tysondog/53688465500
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tysondogrock

75/100

U.D.O. – Live in Sofia (2CD & DVD) Germany December 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 2.23.40 (Tracks: 23)
U.D.O. celebrates their 25th anniversary with this double cd and DVD recorded in Sofia. Unfortunately It's also is the last live statement of his partner in crime Stefan Kaufmann. Due to health problems he will be no longer available for the band, so this also marks the end of the stable U.D.O. line up. That's a very said thing in both ways. Of course for Stefan himself who I wish the very best in this and hope his problems can and will be solved, but alsof or the band. This line up is so damn good. U.D.O. sounds like a machine, a bulldozer that rolls flat every bump that comes on their way. There aren't many bands who sound so tight on record as well as live. U.D.O. is a guarantee for damn fine high levelled quality. So also on this live album. The set list isn't surprising for me, because i saw them live on the “Rev-Raptor” tour in Zwolle. There's no difference between the tracks on the cd or dvd. On dvd you capture the guys in concert live, delivering a fine demonstration of classic metal tracks from the Accept area like “Burning”, “Neon Nights”, Princess of the Dawn”, “Screaming for a Love-Bite”, Up To The Limit”, “I'm a Rebel”, “Metal Heart” and, of course, the uber hymne “Balls To The Wall”. With such songs there's no concert that can go wrong but it does a bit unjustice to the bands own solid, usurper tracks. “Rev-Raptor”, “Dominator”, “Thunderball”, “Leatherhead”, “The Bogeyman” and the bands most representive song of themselves “Man and Machine” are certainly as great as the Accept classics. That the audience get wild isn't surprising with such songs and the performance by the band is classic and good as always.
U.D.O. never dissapoints. The DVD further shows a lot of pics from around the world, the two clips of the latest Rev-Raptor album, “Leatherhead” and “I Give as Good as it Gets”, shots from the preparation for the “Sofia” gig and Udo himself fullfiling his dream while driving a tank. This is a fine last statement by the band in this line up and I hope they'l find themselves a descent replacement for mr. Herman Kaufmann. He will be surely missed. On the back of Udo's shirt stands “Born for Metal”; it's so represtative for the man, the music, the band. There's really nothing to add; just get this product and throw your balls to the wall!
Visit their website: http://www.-udo-online.de
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/udoonline

85/100

V.A. (Various Artist) - Frisian Metal Massacre Vol.2 (LP) The Netherlands December 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Frisian Metal Running time: 30:59 (Tracks: 9)
Remember the Frisian Metal Massacre part 1? Well here is part 2. Four bands one goal. The first album was not so interesting but the bands on this split sound a lot better. The album kicks of with 2 songs of Braincasket. This band brings you brutal death metal in vain of Cannibal Corpse and they kick ass. The next band on the bill is Sadotank and they make a kind of thrash death metal kind of thing that is really not my thing. Bad production and a really annoying sound. The songs reminds me a bit of 90`s speed metal but the performance is not so good. The next one to conquer is Methusalem. This band brings you heavy metal that is well produced and sort of. Good solid songs that sound great. The only thing that I miss in their music is inspiration. It sounds great but misses feeling. The last band of this compilation is Lyonite. This band plays gothic metal and it sounds all right. Normally when i hear that kind of music i get really annoyed because of females that cannot sing and sound really bad. But in this case that is not the point. Good music and well produced songs, think of a band like Epica, Delain etc. But definitely not my thing! So we have 4 bands from Friesland (that's a part of Holland near the sea) that all play different kinds of metal. Death, Thrash, Heavy and Gothic. Some sound great and some not so great haha. The band on this album for me is Braincasket! But check this album and then you will hear what bands come from that area of Holland and get surprised!
Recordlabel: http://www.bigbadwolfrecords.nl

70/100

VICIOUS RUMORS – Live you to Death (CD) USA December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: US Metal Running time: 56:00 (Tracks:11)
Vicious Rumours are the legends of the US metal attack of the beginning of the eighties of the former century. Their first two albums, Soldiers of the night and Digital dictator, are milestones in the metal kingdom so far and the band has released great stuff after their musical highlights as well, their big selling hitalbum " Welcome to the ball" brought them succes and fame again. The tragic death of vocalist Carl Albert in 1995 was the start of an unstable era both in commercial and musical ways. Various line-up changes, a new stylistic approach of their music didn't do much and the band changed their course again, this time in the direction of their heydays. It has done the band very good: In 2011 Vicious Rumours stormed European stages playing 95 shows in twelve months.Vicious Rumours supported Hammerfall's European December Tour in that afformentioned year and their guitar player Pontus Norgren, former Talisman hot shot and sound technician of many festivals and for many bands, recorded some shows. The new album" Live you to death" captures the forces and the power of this band in 9 classics and two classic covers, recorded in the studio. The sound is rough, a little flat, but you can't miss the legend songs of the past. Mixed by Juan Urteaga and produced by Geoff Thorpe, the legend " Digital dictator" album is the main focus with killer live anthems. Great memories and great stuff!
The two studio songs are anthems every metalhead should recognize: Sign of the Southern Cross (Black Sabbath' s Dio-era) and Running Wild, the famous Judas Priest speedclassic. I like the versions, but they can't outshine the magic of the original songs. This third live Vicious Rumours album, released by Steamhammer / SPV, is a fine record. The vocals require familiarization and they're quite different from the Carl Albert' recipe, but the songs hold memories of that metal attack from the past!
Visit their website: http://www.viciousrumours.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/viciousrumours

80/100

Y & T – Live at The Mystic (CD) USA December 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock / Bluesy Rock Running time: 2:02:45 (Tracks: 22)
Y&T are the legends of a dying breed. Formed in the seventies as Yesterday and Today, the band made a lot of albums to be proud of. Their eighties' output albums like Earthshaker and Black Tiger, on A&M Records, are many fans' favourites. Their mid eighties' albums ' In rock we trust' and 'Open Fire' gained even commercial succes. The band was managed by Herbie Herbert and Louis Mandy, legendary managers of Journey- fame at that time. The boys sold four million records worldwide, but it was the musical status that made them legendary. The songs, bluesy and heavy, the beautiful voice of Dave Meniketti and his absolute stunning guitar work were the ingredients of the band's musical recipe. Y&T took a break in 1991, but four years later they were back, making less albums than before, but focussing on bringing their music to the people, the legendary quartet toured extensively. In 2011 bass player Phil Kennemore, original member of the band, died of cancer. He was replaced by Brad Lang, bass player for Jet Red in the beginning of the nineties. The band took the time to prepare for their Earthshaker and Black Tiger Anniversary Tours, both being very successfull. In November 2011 Y&T played two nights at The Mystic Theatre in Petaluma, California and this double live album captures the band at their best. Classic anthems, new songs from their latest album ' Facemelter ' , the fabulous playing, the audience that's having the time of their life, Live at The Mystic is a piece of magic! It's not the first Y&T live opus, but it's the most fresh sounding live record of this band. Get it, pronto!
Visit their website: http://www.meniketti.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/yandtrocks

89/100

OCTOBER

ANTROPOFAGUS – Architecture of Lust (CD) Italy October 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 35:14 (Tracks: 9)
Antropofagus from Italy brings you very technical death metal with a very brutal jus that surrounds it. These guys started in 1997 and released their debut album “No Waste of Flesh” in 1999 and an EP in 2001. After a big gap of almost ten years they released a split album in 2011. This year the treat us with their new album and it sounds ravaging. Very fast guitar riffs that are technical but also filled solos. The drums are a constant blast beat but also filled with weird moves that are progressive. The vocals are deep grunts that sound like torture haha. The variety of the songs is as you can expect from a death metal band of this calibre....straight in your face with no bull shit. If you want to hear brutal and insane death metal in vain of Despondency, Nile or Vile then you must have this album!
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/antropofagus.official
Recordlabel: http://www.comatosemusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/antropofagusofficial

78/100

AUSTRALASIA – Sin4tr4 (MCD) Italy October 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Post-Rock Running time: 22:19 (Tracks: 7)
“Sin4tr4” is the debut EP of Italian Post-Rockers of AUSTRALASIA. And according to the press sheet, AUSTRALASIA is a duo, existing of Gian (guitar) and Rico (drums). All seven songs on this EP are instrumental. It's a mixture of atmospheric parts varied with heavy parts with blast beat drums. You could see this EP as a kind of soundtrack album. The songs on this EP, which are titled “Antenna”, 'Spine”, “Apnea”, “Scenario”, “Satellite”, “Retina” and “Fragile”, are absolutely not bad. Well, all in all it sounds nice to me, but I don't think I would buy this EP easily myself.
Visit their website: http://www.australasiamusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.goldenmorningsounds.com

64/100

AVENGER – Bohemian Dark Metal (CD) Czech Republic October 2012 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black/Death Metal Running time: 37:55 (Tracks: 8)
With a title like “Bohemian Dark Metal” I wasn't expecting that much. The Czech Republic isn't a great deliverer of quility metal. Sure there's the mighty Master's Hammer that recently brought out a new record and Sear Bliss still releasing quality. After those two bands there's a big gaping void. Maybe Anvenger will be the band that could find transition with these two. Avenger actually is no newcomer to the scene. The band has its origins in 1992 and there discography is rated quite fine on the internet. Maybe I have just overlooked this band and therefore missed some quality metal. Because that is what I am hearing on “Bohemian Dark Metal”. The album starts with an majestic sounding opening track which isn't representative for the rest of the album. On the rest of the songs Avenger plays a combination of black and death metal with some elements of thrash thrown in.
The production is as clean as black metal can be. All the instruments are represented forcefully in the mix, even the bass. The guitars have a crunchy punch to them, which contrasts with the occasional lead-work that comes in very clearly at the front of the mix. To an extent, there is a coldness to the sound but, tempered with the cavernous effects of the use of toms and clean vocals, the coldness is more immersive than impersonal. As a vocalist, Honza Kopak masters a diverse range of styles—from low-pitched growls to extended screams to clean passages. His vocals are mixed in the front which is more than fine with me. For those who stubbornly hold rawness over content, “Bohemian Dark Metal” is an album that is well-produced, well-mixed, and well-instrumented in such a way that the music's edge is not compromised.
Avenger is conjuring up an old spirituality, by using Hungarian lyrics and maintains the atmosphere even during the music's most furious sections. In the end I couldn't pick a better title for the album. This is “Bohemian Dark Metal” pur sang!
Recordlabel: http://www.deathgasm.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/avengeroffical

77/100

BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA – Poinium Cherem (CD) USA October 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Doom / Gothic Running time: 55:54 (Tracks: 12)
Well, when I got my package from Mario to review, and saw that one of the CD's was of BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA, I already knew enough. In July of 2010 I reviewed B.M.O.'s album “The Godless, The Godforsaken And The God Damned”, which got 10 out of 100 points. In that review you can read that B.M.O. is just a one man project of Sidney Allen Johnson, who comes from Greenville, Alabama, U.S.A. “Poinium Cherem” is the sixth album of this guy, and believe me, this album is just as boring as it's predecessor. There isn't any progression to find, the songs are so simple and boring and the vocals of Sidney Allen Johnson are boring as well. Again it's a real hard job to work your way through this album. I can't believe that there are people out there who really would enjoy this album. And if there are people, well, then they don't have a good taste of music. “Poinium Cherem” is just like any other album of BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA a real waste of your time. So my advise is again….don't spend your money on it. There are way much better albums to buy. Well, I had listened four times to “The Godless, The Godforsaken And The God Damned” before I had enough of it. This time I already had enough of it after one listen. This is just crap of the highest level. My advise to mister Sidney Allen Johnson is 'don't send your next album releases to Mario's Metal Mania again, because we are not waiting for such terrible albums'. And my advise to the readers of MMM is, don't even check this album out, it's really a waste of your time.
Visit their website: http://www.babylonmysteryorchestra.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/babylonmysteryorchestra

10/100

CHAOS INCEPTION – The Abrogation (CD) USA October 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 29:41 (Tracks: 9)
Chaos Inception from the US brings you straight in your face death metal that leaves no room for compromises. Nine tracks of furious and aggressive death metal. This album contains 30 minutes of hellish music that goes straight to your heart. The guitar riffs are aggressive and very technical. The drums are a constant battle field of blast beats. The vocals are filthy with deep grunts that sound really evil. There isn`t much variety in the songs but that is definitely not what these guys want to bring you. The production is straight in your face and everything is very listenable. Their music reminds me a lot of Nile and Vader and in my opinion that is a good thing. This is their second album and makes me look for the first album because this band kicks ass!
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/chaosinception
Recordlabel: http://www.lavadome.org
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/chaosinception

80/100

CLAIRVOYANTS – The Shape of Things to Come (CD) Italy October 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 57:19 (Tracks: 11)
Italian band Clairvoyants (not to be confused with the Greek heavy power band Clairvoyant) emerged in the late 00s. It actually debuted in 2009 and this is the band's second album. I never had any information about them and I didn't know what to expect. I thought that they could easily be another Iron Maiden copycat band judging by their name but fortunately they weren't although they started their career as an Iron Maiden cover band! They deliver enjoyable melodic metal which sometimes leans towards a more power metal approach. Not very far from recent Primal Fear. Iron Maiden influences are present but subtle. The band is clearly talented with a lot of potential while the guitar is the obvious star.
Visit their website: http://www.clairvoyants.it
Recordlabel: http://www.valeryrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/clairvoyants

71/100

DOGBANE – Residual Alcatraz (CD) USA October 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Doom Running time: 52:02 (Tracks: 10)
Well, while I was listening to "Residual Alcatraz" for the first time, I thought by myself 'is this some "cult" band from the eighties?'. Afterwards, that was not a bad thought of me, because when I looked at the band picture, I saw five guys in their mid or end forties, or even in their early fifties. And the music reminded me of bands like BLACK SABBATH, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, JUDAS PRIEST, TROUBLE, PENTAGRAM, MANILLA ROAD and also a bit of IRON MAIDEN. Conclusion, these guys play a mixture of classic Heavy Metal with Doom. Anyway, DOGBANE, who are from North Carolina, U.S.A., exists of Jeff Neal (vocals), Mitchell Allred (guitar), David Ellenburg (guitar), Kevin Davis (bass) and Jerry Cloer (drums), and released with "Residual Alcatraz" their debut album. So, we are not dealing with an old band here, but with a new band. Only, all members began their own career in the metal scene in the eighties or nineties (all in different bands). About the music on this album, you could say that it sounds all dated or very predictable, but in spite of that, nevertheless it sounds all okay. I have listened several times to "Residual Alcatraz", and liked it every time. The least song for me on this album is "God Forgive You" (4:17). The songs which I like the most are "Born To Die" (4:48), "Banished" (4:19), "Annihilator" (5:19), "Devil In The Dark (6:47), the superb "Burning In The Light" (9:51) and "Fire And Brimstone" (4:58). With members being in the metal scene for such a long time, it's needless to say that these guys master their instruments well. Especially Allred and Ellenburg are fantastic guitar players. And Jeff Neal is a good singer, with a high voice. The album was produced by the band themselves and sounds okay. "Residual Alcatraz" is not a very spectacular album, but just a very nice one. Check it out if you like the above mentioned bands.
Visit their website: http://www.dogbaneband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.heavenandhellrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dogbaneband

74/100

DOKKEN - Broken Bones (CD) USA October 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 47:01(Tracks:11)
Dokken is a band every true rock fanatic should know. The band had its musical, creative and commercial peak in the mid-eighties of the former century. The albums “Tooth and nail”, “Under lock and key” and “Back for the attack” should enrich every rock fans' music collection. The band sold ten million albums worldwide and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1989. Not bad for a singer who was brought in as a background vocalist for The Scorpions in Germany. But Dokken made good music: Melodic guitar driven rock, with very strong riffs, huge solos and big choruses. Behind the Dokken-scenes however there was a lot of musical and personal struggle and the band split in 1989 due to 'musical differences '. A very successful reunion-tour in 1994 brought the band back in the saddle, but it didn't last long. Dokken stranded again in 1997 and new line-ups (with Reb Beach and John Norum on guitars, replacing mastermind George Lynch) didn't help the band getting that triple A-status again. In 2004 Dokken was getting a firm line-up again with Mick Brown (Dokken drummer from the eighties), Barry Sparks on bass and guitar player John Levin (from Doro's Force Majeure). The albums became stronger and the 2008' album”Lightning Strikes Twice” gained commercial success as well. But Dokken's lifestyle destroyed this comeback. Drugs, alcohol and his constant smoking blew his voice. He was undergoing vocal surgery to correct problems with his nodes and tears in his vocal cords. Dokken released a solo album in 2008, a stylistic departure from his Dokken days and from his first solo album in 1990 “Up from the ashes”. The album was good, introvert, with easy listening, low vocal keys, a style he has made his own. And now I'm listening to “Broken Bones”, Dokken's new album for Frontiers Records in Italy. The album has eleven songs and I'm afraid it is quite a mixed bag Dokken has to offer. Dokken's voice is backed up by two / three vocal lines throughout the whole album, his voice isn't strong enough to belt and to carry the songs. The music on the album is very good: Fantastic guitar work by John Levin (in a George Lynch- approach), the drums (recorded in Tommy Lee's studio) sound good and the bass work (by Great White's Sean McNabb, replacing Barry Sparks) is tight. The albums start and ends furious with ballbreakers called “Empire” and “Tonite”. The songs between the aforementioned tracks are typical 'Dokken new millennium brand': Commercial refrains (the title track, “Fade Away”, “Best of me” and the acoustic ballad “Today”), strong backboned songs ( “Blind”, “Burning Tears”) and fabulous playing on all tracks. But the songs don't hold that tension, that adventure of the typical Dokken catalogue of the past. Too bad.
I'll be honest, I'm a big Dokken fan and their three consecutive platinum albums of the eighties are 'treasures' in my collection but this album stays far away from the success way back. In many interviews Don stated that this album could be his last band's adventure and that he'll be glad to return to his acoustic, balladesque style of his latest solo –effort. I think this will do him good and his top-musician- fellowmen with make money in other bands. Dokken will start a short American Tour in September. I hope he will be coming to Europe in 2013.
Visit their website: http://www.dokkencentral.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dokken

79/100

EMERALD – Unleashed (CD) Switzerland October 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 46:01 (Tracks: 9)
Swiss Power metal band Emerald returns with the “Unleashed” album, two years after “Re-forged”. I was the one who reviewed “Re-forged” giving it a 77/100 thus rewarding the band for its decision to rise above its previous works. “Unleashed” picks up from where its predecessor left off. Banging power metal with fitting vocals that looks towards the American coast. Once again we find a guest from the States. This time it's George Call of Aska and Omen fame who lays his vocal talents for “Eye of the Serpent”. If you liked “Re-forged”, this one is for you. Emerald seem to be in the best phase of their career. Lets support them!
Visit their website: http://www.emerald.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/emeraldch

78/100

EVILENKO – Human(disg)race (CD) Belgium October 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash Death Metal Running time: 36:48 (Tracks: 11)
Evilenko from Belgium is a death thrash metal band that brings you straight in your face well produced metal. These guys started in 2006 and released their demo in 2009. Which probably was well spoken of because their debut (this album)” Human (disg) race” is released by Shiver records. The album kicks of with an instrumental and then becomes a groovy wheel of thrash and death metal insanity. The guitar riffs are groovy and technical. The drums are straight in your face but sounds a bit to mechanical for my taste. The vocals are light grunts and very well executed. The production of this album is very good but a bit to mechanical for me (as i already mentioned). The good thing is that every song kicks ass so it doesn`t get boring for a minute! Well done! If you like death thrash metal then you are going to enjoy this album.
Visit their website: http://www.evilenko.be
Recordlabel: http://www.metalzone.be
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/evilenkoband

74/100

FATAL FORCE – Unholy Rites (CD) Denmark October 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 48:39 (Tracks: 10)
Torben Enevoldsen is a quite famous Danish guitarist among guitar freaks. He has released numerous solo albums plus some more with his full band Section A. Fatal Force is another side project of this tireless musician and this is the second release under that name. The debut was released in 2006 (featuring Mats Leven on vocals) and although I was familiar with Enevoldsen's solo efforts and his albums with Section A, Fatal Force eluded me. Unholy Rites features one of my favourite vocalists, Mike Vescera (Y.J. Malmsteen, Animetal Usa, Obsession, Roland Grapow, M.V.P., etc.). It is a pretty straight forward melodic heavy metal album. Vescera's distinctive voice helps elevate Enevoldsen's compositions while his guitar themes are interesting without being too flashy or tiring especially for those who are not into shredding. A quite enjoyable effort that will remind you of recent Helloween without the speed and maybe early Masterplan.
Visit their website: http://www.torbenenevoldsen.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net

76/100

FIAKRA – Invasion (CD) USA October 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 57:35 (Tracks: 12)
Newcomers Fiakra used to be called under the name Hexen but apparently the existence of a same titled thrash metal band caused some confusion. This is the band's second album if we count the one that was released in the Hexen days. Fiakra could be described as a Viking version of 3 Inches of Blood with lots of keyboards. Power metal with some folk elements. I have to say that I wasn't impressed though. The band's intentions are good but it failed to impress me almost in every aspect. The band obviously has faith in the true metal sound but the compositions just don't deliver. Fiakra should maintain their enthusiasm and work harder into sounding tighter and sharpen its songwriting skills.
Visit their website: http://www.fiakra.com
Recordlabel: http://www.pureunderground-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hexenband

65/100

GODBLESS THEE, MOOSEHEART – The Prison, Pt. I (CD) USA October 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 50:55 (Tracks: 16)
When a band is called 'Godbless Thee, Mooseheart' you already know that this band isn't going to deliver three minute radio friendly pop songs. It is quite the opposite actually, because the band's second album 'The Prison, Pt. 1' has become a conceptual Progressive Rock album. I've mentioned the word 'band' a couple of times now, but it is actually one person who is responsible for everything you hear on the record: the 17 year old multi-instrumentalist Brent Vallefuoco, who is apparently also the guitarist of the extreme metal band Xanthochroid. Since I'm not familiar with that band, I can't draw parallels with the musical styles. What's clearly present is his metal roots, although only when the story is asking for a somewhat heavy approach. A name like Opeth comes to mind. In the more spherical parts you can hear the love for bands like Pink Floyd and Rush. Given the fact that he composed and played the entire album by himself, it generates a great deal of respect. On the other hand, it was perhaps better to attract a singer, because the clean vocals aren't really that great at times. The music however is diverse and creates a good mood for the story that is being told. And when you realise that Vallefuoco is 'just' seventeen, who knows what he might be capable of in the future. His ambitions at this age are simply amazing. If you are a progressive-rock enthusiast, you might want to give this album a try.
Visit their website: http://www.godblesstheemooseheart.com
Recordlabel: http://www.godblesstheemooseheart.bandcamp.com
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/godbless-thee-mooseheart

70/100

GRAVE DIGGER – Clash of the Gods (CD) Germany October 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 46:38 (Tracks: 11)
Inspired by the mighty Greek gods, Grave Digger let's loose his 28th (!) release on the metal mass. 28 indeed, including all their ep's and dvd releases, but hey, just stay focused and inspired after bringing out so many stuff. In my review of the ep “Home at Last” I stated that Grave Digger never really surprises. Well with opener “Charon” they surprise immediately. Acoustic in spoken German it's a perfect interlude for their typical rough metal with scream a long choruses, chirping riffs and blazing guitarsolo's. The album contains a high level of tracks in all the facets of Heavy Metal; fierce up tempo bangers like “Medusa” and “Death Angel and the Grave Digger”, quick squatters like “God of Terror”, “Hell Dog” and “Wall of Sorrow” (a bit pity of that cheesy chorus) and epic pieces like “Clash of the Gods” (fantastic, pretty aggressive vocals) and “Call of the Sirens”. Musically there's nothing wrong with it, lyrically it's pretty good although sometimes a bit corny but this is where they're good at, very good so to say. This “Clash of the Gods” is easily one of their best opuses and can be seen as a perfect match between the early, rawer days of “Heavy Metal Breakdown” and “Witch Hunter” and the more epic pieces like “Rheingold” and “The Grave Digger”. The influences of Accept still are very clearly heard but the tracks are much more than that. The sound is great and the tales about Medusa, Odysseus, Kerberos and Hades fits them like a glove. For true metal warriors this is a far better substitute then the latest Manowar releases. So if you want to scream out your lungs on the wings of some descent metal then this is certainly something for you.
Visit their website: http://www.grave-digger-clan.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gravediggerclan

82/100

GRAVE DIGGER – Home at Last (MCD) Germany October 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 30:17 (Tracks: 6)
Grave Digger knows how to please his fans. This 6-track MCD presents a taste of what has to come on their forthcoming album “Clash of the Gods” (see review above) contains only one song which will appear on that and even this “Home at Last” is an exclusive extended version. Now Grave Digger is a very solid band which never really disappoints but also never will be very surprising. Nothing wrong with that because overall they're work offers descent pure Heavy Metal. Opener “Home at Last” isn't surprisingly either or it should be the Saxon riff work which is heard very clearly. 'Rage of the Savage Beast” is a damn fine metal stomper and because it won't appear on the next album it makes curious how good the other tracks will be. “Metal Will Never Die” is the Wacken 2011 sing a long festival screamer and sounds very good, certainly with lots of beer and metal comrades in your neighbourhood. The next three songs “Ballad of a Hangman”, “Excalibur” and “Heavy Metal Breakdown” are recorded live at Wacken 2010 and sound great. It proves that Grave Digger just is a great live band. Very fine warm up for “Clash of the Gods”. By the way again a very big plus for the fine artwork; a real trades mark of Grave Digger.
Visit their website: http://www.grave-digger-clan.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gravediggerclan

80/100

HELSTAR - 30 Years of Hel (2CD) USA October 2012 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Trash / Speed Metal Running time: CD 1: 50:54 (Tracks: 10);
CD 2: 64:50 (Tracks: 10);
When I worked for my first boss, I had a colleague who was a huge fan of Helstar. It took not so much time before he infected me with the “Helstar virus”, especially the album Nosferatu (most of the fans consider this release as the band's Magnum Opus) made a big impression. This year the band is active for 30 years in the music scene and they celebrate this pleasant fact with a really nice double cd and DVD. This review applies only to the double CD. The band was founded in 1982 in Houston, Texas by Larry Barragan. He formed Helstar with members of his previous band, Black Rose. After numerous line-up changes the band settled into it`s first solid recording line-up: James Rivera (vocals; who was later also active in Vicious Rumours), Larry Barragan (guitar), Tom Rogers (guitar), Hector Pavon (drums) and Paul Medina (bass). Quite soon the band recorded a demo which became later their first album 'Burning Star'. The metal press took notice and praised the band for its musicianship and song writing ability. Then, it goes fast. The band tours with bands like WASP, Megadeth and Anthrax and releases several albums. Unfortunately, the line-up is not stable and changes quite a lot. This has the effect that the band activities stops on a regular basis. In 2006, 19 years after the separation of the classic line-up, James, Larry, Jerry, and Rob reform with Russell to bring the basis of this classic line-up back together. This reunion leads to new releases: “Sins Of The Past” was released in 2007. This re-recorded “Best Of” album included 2 brand new songs already. 2008 saw the release of Helstar's first studio album in 13 years: "The King Of Hell". In 2010, Helstar follows up with "Glory Of Chaos", which is probably their heaviest album ever. But now it is 2012, 30 years after the formation of the band. Of course, this has to be celebrated. 30 Years of Hel is a double live cd which was recorded on Saturday the 24th of March in Helstar`s hometown Houston. The album contains 20 excellent played live songs which are a good overview of what the band has released the last 30 years. The albums contain songs of all the seven studio albums which have been released, so it is also a good opportunity for people who are not familiar with Helstar`s material. The production is not really smooth, it is quite raw. This is never annoying, it gives the music an extra dimension. James Rivera is also in a good shape but you can hear that when the concert progresses, this has an effect on his voice. It is not easy to give points for a live album, the score is an indication of their complete contribution to the music scene. This album is a must for everyone who likes really good trash / speed metal. Enjoy it!
Visit their website: http://www.helstarmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afmrecords.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/helstar

88/100

JEFF LYNNE – Long Wave (CD) USA October 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Laid back classic hits and hits from the past... Running time: 28:23 (Tracks: 11)
Jeff Lynne is a famous man. He was a member of The Move in the late sixties. He formed Electric Light Orchestra and he was the key-figure in this band as a composer, a producer and a musician. After his ELO-days he joined The Traveling Wilburys, joining Tom Petty, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan, his close friends. He composed, played all kinds of instruments and produced their musical offspring. When the members of The Traveling Wilburys went their own way, Jeff produced and composed a lot of songs for Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Del Shannon, Dave Edmunds and Brian Wilson. It brought him a lot of fortune and Jeff Lynne was named the fourth greatest producer in musical history by The Washington Post in 2008. Jeff won the ASCAP Golden Note Award and was also honoured for his contributions to the British Music in general. The man is a legend! Frontiers Records, the Italian melodic rock label, signed Jeff to release two albums almost at the same time: A covers album of the hits that had a big influence on Jeff's musical career and a re-recorded ELO – hits album, to be released in October. The covers album is the one I'm listening to. Jeff produced, rearranged and played the songs on the album, his second solo album during his career, following the “Armchair Theatre” album in 1990, all by himself. I must be honest about this album. Despite his legendary status, the renditions of the classic songs aren't that strong. The atmosphere of the record is low-tempo, Beatlesque ballady and very, very laid back. The interpretations sound flat, a bit fantasy less and only the song “Let it rock “ is an old fashioned rock song. Too bad Frontiers will release this album, I think it's a miss hit.
Track listing: She, If I Loved You, So Sad, Mercy Mercy, Running Scared, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, Smile, At Last, Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, Let It Rock, Beyond the Sea (Bonus)
Visit their website: http://www.elo.biz
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it

50/100

JEFF LYNNE – Mr. Blue Sky – The very best of ELO (CD) USA October 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock Running time: 50:47 (Tracks: 12)
I was surprised when I heard Frontiers Records had signed Jeff Lynne for two albums earlier this year. Jeff had plans to release a solo album dedicated to the songs of his past and another record with rerecorded versions of his days with the Electric Light Orchestra. Electric Light Orchestra was one of the supergroups of the seventies of the former century, releasing eleven albums selling over 50 million copies worldwide between 1971 and 1986. The band had almost thirty Top 40 hits in the USA and in the UK and their track record, having the most Top 40 Billboard singles without scoring a number one, stays firm untill now. The rock songs with pop and classical overtones filled many living-rooms, stages and arenas.
Jeff Lynne took the time to re-record the classic singles of ELO and he has performed the music, the production, the mix all by himself. I like the new versions of the ELO classics, they sound modern, fresh, thanks to the improved recording techniques and artistry. Jeff stays close to the original songs and fans of band will embrace songs like ". Don't bring me down", " Mr. Blue Sky", " Evil woman", " Telephone line" , " Strange magic" , " Living thing" and many others. The song " Point of no return" is a new version of a recorded demo from the ELO heydays. Jeff's voice lost a bit of his strength and pitch and I miss the band environment creating an outgoing, extravert character on this record, but " Mr. Blue Sky - the very best of ELO" is a release to be proud of, it's way better than the introvert solo album Jeff had come up with (see review above).
Visit their website: http://www.elo.biz
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it

79/100

KIX – Live in Baltimore (CD) USA October 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 1:18:05 (Tracks: 12)
Kix is a Maryland based hard rock band that was formed in 1977. The band achieved popularity in the late eighties and the early nineties of the former century. After two albums Kix started a partnership with producer Beau Hill, creating a new sound that brought them at the forefront of the hair metal bands of that era ( Ratt, Poison, Warrant and Winger). The hard rock and heavy funky songs of the “Midnight dynamite” album made them popular and the following album” Blow my fuse” also went platinum. But at the beginning of the nineties it was over. The 1991 “Hot wire” cd didn't sell well and a good live opus (“Contractual obligation Live”) didn't break the barrier. Kix disbanded after 'the “Show business” album in 1995. There was another musical climate paving ways for grunge music and other style bands. The band members parted ways and started new bands (Funny Money, The Shakehandlers, The Blues Vultures, Rhino Bucket) but the wish to make music again was kept alive. In 2003 Kix had some reunion concerts and the band started touring again on a smaller base.
A recent concert in Baltimore was recorded and filmed and the inspiring Frontiers Records 'team of Serafino Perugino will release this live album and the first Kix 'live DVD in the end of September. The cd is packed with energetic fan favourites and the concert marks a great performance. From the early hits like “Kix are for Kids” and “Atomic Bombs”, the glorious “Yeah, yeah, yeah” to the commercial hits of their peak period “Cold shower”, the slow ballad “Don't close your eyes”, “Cold blood” and “Blow my fuse”, from the last MTV –hit-single “Girl money” to the early AC / DC – like - anthems “She dropped me the bomb” and “Lie like a rug”, the albums offers all the best from their back catalogue! Bass player Mark Schenker (on board since 2003) produced the album and he gave it a warm sound. Great comeback and a great live compilation!
Tracklisting:
CD:
No Ring Around Rosie; Atomic Bombs; Lie Like A Rug; Don't Close Your Eyes; Girl Money; Cold Blood; Cold Shower; She Dropped Me The Bomb; Blow My Fuse; Kix Are For Kids; Midnite Dynamite; Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.
DVD:
No Ring Around Rosie; Atomic Bombs; Lie Like A Rug; Sex; The Itch; Don't Close Your Eyes; Hot Wire; Same Jane; Girl Money; Ronnie “10/10” (Solo); Cold Blood; Jimmy “Chocolate” (Solo); Cold Shower; She Dropped Me The Bomb; Blow My Fuse; Kix Are For Kids; Midnite Dynamite; For Shame; Brian “Damage” (Solo); Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.
Digital Edition: No Ring Around Rosie; Atomic Bombs; Lie Like A Rug; Sex*; The Itch*; Don't Close Your Eyes; Hot Wire*; Girl Money; Cold Blood; Cold Shower; She Dropped Me The Bomb; Blow My Fuse; Kix Are For Kids; Midnite Dynamite; For Shame*; Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.
*Bonus Tracks.
Visit their website: http://www.kix-band.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kixrox

84/100

KOBRA AND THE LOTUS – Kobra and the Lotus (CD) Canada October 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 41:54 (Tracks: 10)
KOBRA AND THE LOTUS is a female fronted Metal band from Canada, and was formed in 2009. The band released their debut album "Out Of The Pit" in March of 2010 (which features a cover version of MOTÖRHEAD's classic "Ace Of Spades") and did have a line-up change already in the same year. Both guitarists and the bass player left. Anyway, now KOBRA AND THE LOTUS are back with their second album, simply titled "Kobra And The Lotus", and the current line-up exists of Kobra Paige (vocals, real name Brittany Paige), Timothy Vega (guitar), Jasio Kulakowski (guitar), Pete Dimov (bass) and Griffin Kissack (drums). The band is signed on Simmons Records, the label of KISS' Gene Simmons, via a partnership with Universal Music Canada. In the UK and Europe this second album is released by Spinefarm Records and for the rest of the world by the Universal Music Group. I am not familiar with the band's debut album, so this self titled second album is my first acquaintance with KOBRA AND THE LOTUS. Well, about this album….it features ten songs, of which I liked the first six tracks immediately, when I listened to it for the first time. Those are excellent sounding heavy Power Metal songs, with a fast pace, great riffs and solos. The last four songs, which are "Sanctuary", "Lover Of The Beloved", "No Rest For The Wicked" and "Aria Of Karmika", sounded a bit less to me the first time. Not that these songs are really bad, because after listening several times to "Kobra And The Lotus", I began to like those last 4 songs more, but I am still of opinion that the first six songs are the best tracks. Okay, you could say that musically it's all not sounding very original, but nevertheless it sounds more than just nice. The band exists of skilled musicians, and Kobra Paige is, besides a good looking lady, a fantastic singer. About the production, well, four songs on "Kobra And The Lotus" are produced by Kevin and Kane Chucko and six songs by Julius Butty. The best songs for me on "Kobra And The Lotus" are without a doubt "50 Shades Of Evil", "Welcome To My Funeral", "Forever One", "Heaven's Veins", "My Life" and "Nayana". "Kobra And The Lotus" is just an excellent Metal album. Check it out if you're into Power Metal.
Visit their website: http://www.kobraandthelotus.com
Recordlabel: http://www.universalmusic.ca
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kobraandthelotus

80/100

LIV KRISTINE - Libertine (CD) Norway October 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Rock Running time: 41:05 (Tracks: 11)
Call it love for music, workaholicism, or no matter what, but the Norwegian blonde Liv Kristine certainly breaths music. It must be wonderful when you're able to trust you're creativity to several pieces of silver. This time she's back with another solo album. Solo she gives way to represent her beautiful, versatile voice in poppy, dreamy rock songs. Again this is a very professional album which sounds like the proverbial Swiss clock. Joined by J.B. van der Wall, Thorsten Bauer, Alexander Krull, Felix Born, Alessandro Panto, Christof Kutzer on instruments and Tobias Regner as guest vocalist on the duet rocker “Vanilla Skin Delight” it's all high class what the sweet lady brings us. My admiration for this amazing vocalist with a warm heart for her fans was already very high so my opinion for some readers may sound a bit “coloured” but this is certainly her best solo release. Liv brings us an artistically high levelled album filled with just good music. No, certainly not all of the tracks are what you call metal, not at all, but we're talking about music this time. Beautiful piano based songs like “Silence” (suburb emotional vocals), 'Wait for Rain”, “Love Crime” and “Meet Me In The Red Sky” may not be the kind of every rusted metal head, but are definitely high class enjoyable, leaning behind in your lazy chair dreaming away by the amazing bewitching voice of Liv colouring her own songs. “Solve Me”, “Vanilla Skin Delight”, and Paris, Paris” are the rockers of the album and they are nice up tempo, listen away easy and are easily nestled in your head. “Libertine” is the best she has to offer for me; it rocks, kicks ass and has great hooks and razor sharp riffs. This song goes a bit the “Gothic rock way” and it grooves pretty good. The Kate Bush cover “The Man With The Child In His Eyes” is very well done and wears it's “Liv mark” but stays very close to the original. In “Vanilla Skin Delight” and “Silence” this album should have “hit potential” enough, but in that business you'll never now. Bottom line is that “Libertine” is a very convincing, fresh sounding album filled with fine produced and thought-out numbers with a pop-rocky feeling. Another high levelled statement from La Kristine.
Visit their website: http://www.livkristine.de
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/livkristinepage

88/100

MERCURY FALLING – Into The Void (CD) Germany October 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 53:05 (Tracks: 11)
Heavy Metal is a never ending journey, full of new things waiting to be discovered. That is the most important thing I have learnt during the 22 years I am involved with this music. Mercury Falling hails from Germany and this is the band's fourth album in a 15 year old career although I had no idea of its existence. I would like to start from the guests featured in this release. Piet Sielck (ex Helloween, Iron Savior, etc.), Oliver Palotai (Kamelot, Doro) and Jens Ludwig (Edguy) are three important names in the European metal scene. But guests cannot save a release if it's crappy. Fortunately “Into the Void” does not need any help at all cause it's an album with fine musicianship and very interesting compositions. So the guests add just a bit of spice and some notability. This is one of those cases where power meets progressive the Swedish style. And I choose Sweden as reference because it has a well established scene with bands that serve this particular sound. Apart from that, Symphony X is another obvious influence but Mercury Falling keep it more simple and accessible and not so flashy and aggressive as the American masters.
Visit their website: http://www.mercuryfalling.de
Recordlabel: http://www.phonotraxx.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mercury-falling

76/100

MUNRUTHEL – Epoch of Aquarius (CD) Ukraine October 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Pagan / Black Metal Running time: 56:40 (Tracks: 8)
The history of Ukrainian based metalband Munruthel goes back to the mid-nineties. The line-up was unstable at times, as was the musical quality of the releases. A couple of years ago I was introduced to Munruthel through the re-release of their 1999's 'Oriana's Tales' album, which didn't leave a great impact on me. To me, the music seemed to stretched and not very well produced. That's why I was all the more surprised when I first heard the re-release of their 'Epoth of Aquarius' album. Originally released in 2006, the album has been re-released as a teaser for their upcoming album that is set to be put out very soon. I'm glad that 'Epoth of Aquarius' did reach the MMM office, because it offers seven qualitatively good Pagan/Black Metal songs with folk influences. The songs are again rather extensive, but the band manages to keep your attention. This because of the different musical styles. The sound varies from Black Metal to what sounds like a film score for a certain middle-earth scenario, but also because of the vocal approach. Unlike many other Pagan/Black Metal bands, Munruthel uses clean vocals as heard in traditional Heavy Metal music. A combination that works really well on this record. The songs have an epic structure, which makes it interesting to listen to the album in its entirely on a rainy day. The album closer is the Burzum cover 'Tomhet', which I think they did very well. The overall quality of the record makes the re-release of 'Epoth of Aquarius' justified.
Visit their website: http://www.munruthel.com
Recordlabel: http://www.svarga.eu
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/slavamunruthel

72/100

MY SLEEPING KARMA - Soma (CD) Germany October2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Instrumental Atmospheric Alternative Rock Running time: 56:29 (Tracks: 11)
From the ashes of the Aschaffenburg's stoner rock band The Great Escape, My Sleeping Karma resurrected in 2005. But instead of keeping the bluesy, stoner music alive, Seppi, Steffen, Matte and Norman made the choice to perform heavy psychedelic music that chilled and rocked. At the end of 2006 My Sleeping Karma released their self –financed debut album, full of weird, trippy, psychedelic post rock with avant-garde and stoner overtones. The musical themes had very repetitive designs and the references to the Buddhistic and Hindu cultural music were numerously. In 2008 the quartet released “Sataya”. The album was strange, hypnotic, but the music was intense with a lot more focus on the details. Their third album “Tri” saw the light in 2010. It drew the attention of many bigger labels and Napalm Records signed the German band. My Sleeping Karma's fourth album is the one I am listening to. It's called “Soma”. Soma is an Indian religious liquor, that, according to the Rig-Veda ( the oldest known Hindu book), kept the senses sharp and awake. It was the intoxicating drink of the gods. The eau- de – vie held ephedrine, a pep medicine with hallucinating and stimulating effects. And yes, the music of My Sleeping Karma goes beyond many senses: Heavy rock riffs, guitar parts with U2 references, atmospheric calmness, enchanting melodies filled with acoustic guitars and piano, the instrumental music is very psychedelic, keeping that stoner, moody feeling. It's not my cup of tea, that's for sure, but it's original and the music for your inner strength is brought and played with class! My Sleeping Karma will be playing two warm-up gigs in October in Germany and their European Tour will start in Norway in November. In December they will be at the Speedfest in Eindhoven. It will be quite an experience seeing and hearing these guys playing alive. Check them out. The fantastic album's artwork is done by Sebastian Jerke, the graduated illustrator that has done artwork and illustrations for Dead Head Down, Fallen Saints, Bloodwork, Zodiac, Ares, Terrorblade and many underground acts.
Visit their website: http://www.mysleepingkarma.eu
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com

79/100

NEAL SCHON – The Calling (CD) USA October 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Instrumental Guitar Running time: 55:41 (Tracks: 12)
Neal Schon's career is one of the most successful musical diaries in the world. As a fifteen year old musician he joined Santana playing his ass off beside the master on multi selling albums Santana III and Caravanserai. A great future was laying in front of Neal, but he took the time and the guts to start his own band with some musical friends from the Santana environment: Journey. Journey became the archetype band of American adult melodic rock and AOR and it brought Neal a lot of fame: 19 Top 40 singles, 25 gold and platinum albums, a Legend of Life musical award, a signature guitar deal with Paul Reed Smith and a solid and majestuoso reputation every guitar player would be proud of. Journey has reformed again, and the reunion tour became very successful in artistic and in financial perspective. Neal could rest on his laurels, but he didn't. He has made a new solo album and Frontiers Records will release this album at the end of October. “The Calling” isn't Neal's first solo spot. Neal has made a few albums for the new age label Higher Octave, making semi-acoustic latin and balladesque instrumental music. Virtuoso-stuff, but a bit laid back for the adventurous listener. His album “Songs” was an instrumental interpretation of many hits from other artists and this album is / was something for a romantic evening with not too much risks. And in the early nineties he's made an instrumental album featuring more of his fast soloing output, “Late Night”. Great stuff. His new opus isn't that far from “Late Night”. Steve Smith ( former Journey drummer and a legend musician) took care of the drums and jazz icon Igor Len provided keyboard lines on most of the songs. Special guest on this album is Jan Hammer. Neal has made two solo albums with Jan in the beginning of the eighties of the former century, both sounding very good.
Neal has made a great album with these musical giants. The drums sound fantastic, Igor provided sophisticated keys and Neal's soloing is flashy, technical and innovative. His speed licks sound more of the same, but the album has a lot to offer and the influences of Neal's past as a solo artist and as a member of two of the great bands in American musical history are evident. Just buy this album, take a good listen and let the great musicianship do the talking. Good one!
Visit their website: http://www.schonmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it

84/100

NEVER TO ARISE – Hacked to Perfection (CD) USA October 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 49:04 (Tracks: 10)
Never to Arise is a new band in the scene that makes true US death metal in vain of Hate Eternal and a lot of other great bands. They started in 2009 and this is their debut album and it kicks ass. Fast and furious guitar riffs that reminds me of Monstrosity and sometimes of Morbid Angel, long solos and technical riffs that will blow your mind. The drums are programmed but sound very real and organic. And then you have the vocals...fuck yeah deep grunts that sound like they are pulled from a gutter. A very constant grunt and brutal. The songs are filled with variety and the production is straight in your face! If you like bands like Monstrosity, Vile etcetera then this is a must have.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Never-To-Arise/117489404
Recordlabel: http://www.badgodmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nevertoarise

80/100

NIGHTRANGER - 24 strings and a drummer – Acoustic Live (CD) USA October 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Acoustic Melodic Rock Running time: 1:06:04 (Tracks:13)
The San Francisco based quintet Nightranger was founded in the early eighties of the former century when members of the jazz rock band Rubicon wanted to create music with more emphasis on power and heavy guitar melodies. The first two Nightranger albums on the West-American Boardwalk label were million sellers combining hookladen rock songs with stylistic, accessible ballads. The vocals, the harmonic vocal approach and the guitar antics by Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis were phenomenal. The third, fourth and fifth album didn't surprise more fans, the songs were mostly the vehicle for famous fretwork, but the sales remain good. The first five albums sold ten million copies worldwide. In 1990 Jack Blades, bass player and singer, left the group to form a band with Ted Nugent and his friend Tommy Shaw of Styx' fame. It was the beginning of the end. Nightranger split in 1991.
In 1995, however, the band reunited. The albums following their heydays weren't that good, but the band continued to tour on a smaller base. In 2010 Nightranger had a firm and stable line up with Eric Levy on keyboards and piano and Joel Hoekstra (TSO, The Rock of Ages Broadway Show) exchanging lead guitar with Brad Gillis. Their 2011 comeback album ”Somewhere in California”, released on Frontiers in Europe, was a smash hit album and Nightranger shared the stage with The Scorpions, Journey and Foreigner. A small European Tour in England and headlining the Swedish Rock Festival gained a lot of fans as well. Frontiers Records will release an acoustic album of Nightranger on October 19th. It's a great album with the classic Nightranger anthems performed in an acoustic setting celebrating the 30th anniversary of their debut album in Sausalito, California in May 2012. The selected fans enjoy the live environment very much and the performance is fantastic! I like the guitar-arrangements and the lead and background vocals sound very good. For new Nightranger fans this is a special album (the album will be released in a CD / DVD package) you should go for! The Nightranger fans following the band's status and live environment from the beginning will have the 2005 “Hits, Acoustics and Rarities” album already. That album was filled with a lot of classic Nightranger songs in an acoustic setting as well. This new Frontiers' release is a possible addition for them. Nice package!

Musicians:
Jack Blades (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Bass), Kelly Keagy (Lead Vocals, Drums, Percussion), Brad Gillis (Lead Guitars, Background Vocals), Joel Hoekstra (Lead Guitars, 12 String Guitar, Background Vocals) & Eric Levy (Keyboards, Background Vocals).

CD: This Boy Needs To Rock; When You Close Your Eyes; Sing Me Away; Growin' Up In California; The Secret Of My Success; Sentimental Street; Four In The Morning; Let Him Run / Goodbye; Forever All Over Again; Don't Tell Me You Love Me; Sister Christian; (You Can Still) Rock In America; Boys Of Summer (Bonus Track).
DVD: This Boy Needs To Rock; When You Close Your Eyes; Sing Me Away; Growin' Up In California; The Secret Of My Success; Sentimental Street; Four In The Morning; Let Him Run / Goodbye; Forever All Over Again; Don't Tell Me You Love Me; Sister Christian; (You Can Still) Rock In America.
Bonus feats: Night Ranger all access - Growin' Up In California(videoclip) – Making of the Album “Growing Up In California”.
Visit their website: http://www.nightranger.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nightranger

83/100

OBSESSION – Order of Chaos (CD) USA October 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 44:08 (Tracks: 10)
What ….. a new album from the legendary Obsession. The band that was responsible for some damn fine pieces of pure US Heavy Metal in the beginning of the eighties. The band of power vocalist Michael Vescera who accelerated on the albums “Marshall Law”, “Scarred for Life” (with the uberclassics “Bang 'em till they Bleed” and “In the End”) and “Methods of Madness”) before trying his luck with Loudness and Yngwie Malmsteen …. Yes indeed, he's definitely back. 6 years ago there was that other comeback album “Carnival of Lies” which was a very descent one, but after that it went silent again. I certainly hope they're back for good this time, because “Order of Chaos” contains enough killer songs to relive the good old days, but certainly sounds up to date. Less raw as in beginning but man they surely kick ass again. With a great line up containing Michael Vescera [Animetal, ex-Loudness, Yngwie Malmsteen] BJ Zampa [Dokken, Malmsteen, House of Lords], Chris Mccarvill [House of Lords, Dokken, J.S. Soto] they deliver one of the finest US Power Metal albums of this year. Tracks like “Forbidden Desire” (hello Vicious Rumors; listen to that Digital Dictator sound!), “Wages of Sin”, License to Kill”, “Mercy Killing”, Twist of the Knife” and the fabulous monster “Act of God” are a guarantee for speeding up your car, banging your head, tearing down your room enfin …. to be short, just to get you that good feeling of being in shape and ready to take on the world. Blazing vocals, wicked duo guitar work, a fresh sound and a very solid album is what you get. A must have for a wide range of metal fans worldwide. Welcome back guys and please stay back this time! “Bang 'em till they bleed” finally turns out to be an “Act of God” so to say.
Visit their website: http://www.theobsession.net
Recordlabel: http://www.innerwound.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theobsessionnetwork

88/100

OVERLORDE SR – Medieval Metal Too (CD) USA October 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 31:00 (Tracks: 8)
The underground heavy metal vaults contain a vast number of hidden jems and obscure bands that never had the chance to see their work reaching wider audiences through a cd or lp release. Overlorde SR (not to be confused with the New Jersey Overlorde) is definitely one of them. I first came across they jaw dropping hymn “Keeper of the Flame” in a Metal Massacre compilation. For years I tried to find some information about them and finally came across a 3 track demo called “Medieval Metal” dating back to 1985. The other two tracks were not as stellar as “Keeper of the Flame” but the entire demo showcased a great band who delivered heroic American power metal with lyrics that spoke of epic tales. My next thought was that someone should try to locate these guys, see if they have more songs available and compile an anthology for the world to listen. Well Heaven and Hell Records did exactly that. “Medieval Metal Too” is comprised of the band's two 3 track demos (1985 and 1987) plus the Metal Massacre track and a cover version of the musical theme “In the Year 2525”. Personally I want to extend my gratitude to H&H for unearthing this amazing peace of American metal history. Don't miss it!
Visit their website: http://www.overlordesr.com
Recordlabel: http://www.heavenandhellrecords.com

80/100

PRIDE OF LIONS - Immortal (CD) USA October 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: AOR Running time: 54:10 (Tracks: 11)
After his successes with the 'Adult Orientated Rock Gods' of Survivor, keyboard player, composer and songwriter Jim Peterik blew life again in his first band, the Illinois' quintet Ides of March (famous for the classic song “Vehicle”). He started Mecca, a soft technical Westcoast AOR band with his friend Joe Vana, continued writing songs (for The Doobie Brothers, Cheap Trick, Bo Bice, The Beach Boys and many others) and he formed a jazz rock quartet with Lisa McClowry, playing Survivor songs in a jazzy mood. Peterik has started his own label as well (World Stage International) with artists recording from a broad musical spectrum in his two studios. In 2004 he met power vocalist Toby Hitchcock and they formed a band, Pride of Lions. Pride of Lions plays music form the heighdays of the eighties, combining musical elements of that era, strong musicianship and the modern ways of producing albums. Pride of Lions has made three albums and a live album so far and the first two albums ( called Pride of Lions and The Destiny Stone) are fabulous classics in the genre. The Roaring of Dreams was Pride of Lion's latest albums and it came out in 2007. In the past five years Toby Hitchcock has made a solo album and Jim Peterik was involved in many musical adventures to get back the juices again for a new project with Toby. “Immortal” is their new collaboration on Frontiers Records and the album is a good one. The production is Jim's work of art. I think the album sounds broad with a lot of emphasis on the vocals. I had hoped the album would have sounded more powerful and 'thick'. Larry Millas, Jim's musical partner from Ides of March, engineered the new album. The songs on Immortal are fine, they have the typical Survivor backbone (one of the songs is called “Vital Signs”, named after the Survivor mega platinum album form 1984) and the in-depth approach (the reflective lyrics, the variety of themes in the songs, the changed lead vocals by Jim and Toby) is successful again. The musicianship is strong: Tenor Marc Sherer and the great Thom Griffin (famous singer of Trillion, one of the hidden AOR treasures from the start of the genre) are the wizards behind the vocal lines / arrangements and the background vocals, Eddy Breckenfeld and Kelly Keagy (from Nightranger) play drums, Klem Hayes and Bobby Lizik took care of the bass guitar duties and power guitarist Mike Aquino plays his solos very well. The second track “Delusional” will be the first single. Immortal is one of the best AOR albums from this year so far.
Visit their website: http://www.aprideoflions.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it

84/100

RAMPART – War Behest (CD) Bulgaria October 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 43:14 (Tracks: 10)
Rampart comes from Bulgaria and plays pure old school Heavy Metal. This is their second full length and some digging in their chronicles learned that the line up since the debut “The Voice of Wilderness” has been drastically changed. Only vocalist and founding member Maria D.S. was the proverbial rock in the surf. A comparison with Marta Gabriel's Crystal Viper is easily made but Crystal Viper is a few trees higher on the metal ladder. Nevertheless also this band is quite good in what they do and deliver. Some tracks are dominated by the fine heavy bass lines by Svilen Ivanov like in “Road to the Unknown” and “Up in Arms”. Mostly mid tempo stuff with some accelerations like in “Ghost of Freedom” and “Give Nothing Back” (great song, live killer) for some nice alternation. Also the use of cello's in “Fire Circle” certainly has it charms there and this one belongs to the best tracks on the album. Instrumentally and musically nothing wrong with it, vocally it's a bit flat and it should sound a bit more aggressive. That's also the main reason that their Polish equivalent Crystal Viper wins on points. Something to work on but that doesn't mind. Quite a good piece of Metal and certainly worth to check this one out.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/RAMPART/84109487077
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rampartbg

70/100

SILENT OPERA – Immortal Beauty (CD) Italy October 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 53:37 (Tracks: 11)
Silent Opera comes from Gorizia, Italy and walks the beaten path that so many bands in the Gothic genre dear to thread. From origin a band which played Nightwish covers so guess in which direction the songs go. Let's say musically it isn't that bad at all, but the high level of their idols is way out of reach. Is it worthless then ? Not really, just a few can fill the giant shoes of. In frontwoman Lady Victoria the band has his vocalist with opera background. But that's that then; read further on. Openers “Mask Manor”, the up tempo “Chapter 7” are descent songs but no more than that. The Nightwish reminiscent “Morningstar” listens away easy and sounds quite hopeful. Unfortunately this followed by “Lilium”, a song where they even shot a video for. It lacks power, inspiration, structure and above all a descent voice. Lady Victoria isn't at her best at this one and that's an understatement. What got in their minds to take this as their representation I really can't imagine. Also in other tracks like “Selene” (in Italian) and “Hidden Lies” it's just bad. “Your Muse” has the opportunity to get my attention in the form of adding male vocals but the band fails in making it threatening, exciting. Another missed change here. Their magnum opus is the last song “The Silent Opera” but that fails also vocally. Lady Victoria and bass player Alexandre in mean time have left the band in favour of Andrea Pin (Kabal) on bass and the new female vocalist Ambra Gerussi (Aria). Hope for the band this will do them good. Despite the fine artwork this release is one better to forget. Hope they get more inspired and that next time I can hear that in the sound.
Visit their website: http://www.silentopera.it
Recordlabel: http://www.ravenheart.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/silentoperaitaly

50/100

SOULSPELL – Hollow's Gathering (CD) Brasil October 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 55:33 (Tracks: 10)
“Hollow's Gathering” is the third metal opera by masterbrain Heleno Vale. This drummer collects many artists around him to fulfil his dreams in making powerful and sometimes pretty complex pieces of musical craftsmanship. This time the huge list of contributing artists contains vocalists: Amanda Somerville [Avantasia, Trillium], Blaze Bayley [ex. Iron Maiden], Carlos Zema [ex. Outworld], Daísa Munhoz [Vandroya], Gui Antonioli, Iuri Sanson [Hibria], Jefferson Albert [Vandroya], Leandro Caçoilo [ex. Eterna], Lígia Ishitani, Lucas Martins, Manuela Saggioro, Mário Pastore [Pastore], Matt Smith [Theocracy], Michel Souza, Michael Vescera [ex. Loudness, Yngwie Malmsteen, Animetal USA], Nando Fernandes [ex. Hangar], Pedro Campos, Tito Falaschi [Almah], Tim "Ripper" Owens [ex. Judas Priest, Iced Earth], Victor Emeka and as musicians: Cleiton Carvalho – Guitar, Edu Santos – Drums, Fábio Laguna – Keyboards, Fernando Giovannetti – Bass, Frank Tischer [Avantasia, Edguy] – Piano, Gabriel Magioni – Keyboards, Gabriel Viotto – Drums, Heleno Vale – Drums,Leandro Erba – Guitar, Marco Lambert [Vandroya] – Guitar, Markus Grosskopf – Bass, Rodolfo Pagotto [Vandroya] – Guitar, Rollie Feldman [Circle II Circle] – Guitar, Thiago Amendola – Guitar, Tito Falaschi [Almah] – Bass. So now that's a way to fill a review I hear you thinking?
Well, normally this is way too much indeed, but I think it shows the guys pure ambition here to get who he wants. That ambition is clearly heard in the music. It's overwhelming prog power metal with a link to bands like Avantasia and Fairyland for example. If you are into this technical epic stuff then this is really something for you. Sometimes it's just too much over the top that galloping style and the sound can be too turbulent; too much happens at the same time but that easily can be a matter of opinion. Overall it's fast, skilled and powerful and the tale has been expressed very well by the impressive cast of vocalists. Highlights are not easily to mention because the level overall is pretty high but “The Keeper's Game” and “The Dead Tree” are not to be despised. Fantastic how somebody can fulfil his artistic dreams. Recommended for adventurous metallers.
Visit their website: http://www.soulspell.com
Recordlabel: http://www.innerwound.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/soulspellmetalopera

84/100

SPARTAKIEV – Ignite (MCD) The Netherlands October 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Stoner Rock Running time: 29:02 (Tracks: 6)
Most recently I purchased the new Triggerfinger live LP 'Faders Up 2' and listened to it for numerous times. So when I received the Spartakiev EP 'Ignite', I was already in the mood for some heavy stoner rock. Good, because that is exactly what I got listening to the second EP of this Dutch band. Their first studio effort simply named 'Spartakiev', received good reviews from the media. With 'Ignite' I'm sure this will happen again, because the quality of the songs are again very well structured, catchy and contain that filthy stonergroove which reminisces of bands like Fu Manchu and Kyuss. The records starts with the title track and then demands your attention for the entire length of the album. It's hard to name a particular song when they're all from the same high quality. This band deserves to be heard. If you dig qualitatively good Stoner, I recommend you to go to their website and order this album for just 10 euro!
Visit their website: http://www.spartakiev.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/spartakiev

85/100

STALLION FOUR – Rough Times (CD) Sweden October 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 41:28 (Tracks: 10)
Australian legendary rockers of AC/DC have a big influence on many bands. These days there are so many bands who sound like AC/DC. Most of those bands sound like AC/DC's era with the late Bon Scott, but this Swedish band STALLION FOUR sounds like AC/DC with Brian Johnson. STALLION FOUR exists of Björn Fors (vocals), Peter Druck (guitar), Markus Berg (guitar), Gustav Ljung (bass) and Markus Miljand (drums). So far these guys have released three demos, a 7” “Devil In Me” in 2009, and now they have released their debut album “Rough Times” on Pure Rock Records, which is one of the divisions of Pure Steel Records. To be honest, I am not that impressed by the ten songs which are on “Rough Times”. Okay, singer Björn Fors sounds most of the time like Brian Johnson, but to me he does not sing in tune all the time. The rest of the band does their job pretty good, but I can't say that all the songs on “Rough Times” are strong compositions. The best song for me on “Rough Times” is “Running Too Hot”, the rest varies from nice to moderate. Of course there will be die-hard AC/DC fans who will like this album, but personally I prefer the real AC/DC or bands such as KROKUS, ROSE TATTOO, AIRBOURNE, '77 and RHINO BUCKET to name a few.
Visit their website: http://www.stallionfour.se
Recordlabel: http://www.purerock-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stallionfour

58/100

STRIKER – Armed to the Teeth (CD) Canada October 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 41:36 (Tracks: 10)
Wow, Canada is certainly back on track in metal land with this second release of Striker. I must have been living under a huge rock somewhere in the desert wasteland the last few years because their debut “Eyes in the Night” and the EP “Road Warrior” totally didn't ring a bell. This is certainly going to change because this album is awesome. The band brings a real meltdown of Speed-, Power- and Heavy Metal that sounds like the proverbial Swiss clockworks. Just every influence from great bands you can dream off can be heard here. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Helloween, Megadeth, Metal Church etc,, it all comes by. Old School you say, you bet! But it's so damn catchy, razorsharp and filled with the rights hooks, riffs and solo's that the tracks are immediately nestled in your brain. Also the mighty vocals by Dan Clearly contribute a lot. Man, what a classic metal voice this guy has! Striker has managed to combine the best of US Metal and NWOBHM together into a true Striker Sound. Napalm Records got themselves a good deal signing this band and the crystal clear production by no one else then Michael Wagener also has been a very good move. The enthusiasm, power and love for metal drips off this record in drops of molten steel like icicles from a frozen window. You want some recommendations of the best tracks? Well, that's not possible, because all of them are worth mentioning and sound like hell freezes over. My mind drifts to my review of White Wizzard's “Flying Tiger's “ in 2011, also that refreshing sound of old school stuff. And just like about that record I can say: Innovative? Hell no! Just awesome!
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/listentostriker

87/100

STRIKING DEATH – Represent S.D. (CDemo) Belgium October 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal / Hardcore / Crossover Running time: 13:51 (Tracks: 6)
From Heist op den Berg, Belgium comes STRIKING DEATH, a pretty young five piece band which plays a mixture of 80's Thrash Metal and Hardcore, better known as Crossover. STRIKING DEATH started in September of 2010 as a four piece band. Somewhere in 2011 singer and bass player Tim Nonneman left, and eventually STRIKING DEATH became a five piece band. The current line-up of STRIKING DEATH exists of G.G. Moshrat (vocals), Jonathan Verstrepen (lead guitar), Lowie van Roosbroeck (rhythm guitar), Mathieu Trobec (bass) and Gwen van Sande (drums). I have seen the band three times so far, and these young Thrashers really know how to get the crowd crazy. I even was at their first gig ever, on January 8th, 2011, at the Little Devil, Tilburg, Holland, when they played with EVIL INVADERS and INFERNAL BOOZER. Anyway, "Represent S.D." is a good and interesting first demo-CD of STRIKING DEATH, which features 6 tracks. Okay, it all sounds not very original, because you can hear these guys are totally influenced by Thrash and Hardcore bands from the 80's such as S.O.D., M.O.D, EXCEL, VIO-LENCE, D.R.I., NUCLEAR ASSAULT, AGNOSTIC FRONT and TESTAMENT to name a few. But nevertheless, the songs on this demo are really good. The only track on "Represent S.D.", which in my opinion is less, is "Purple Dick". That one is just a very short song of 18 seconds. But all other tracks, which are "Zombie Pit" (3:02), "Team Shitfaced" (1:49), "T.D.T.S.D." (2:04), "Riot O' Clock" (3:37) and "Save A Skater Drain A Pool" (3:02,) are really fantastic. What else can I say more about these young Belgian Thrashers than that they really have potential. Thrashers, Punks and Hardcore freaks, if you haven't seen them yet, check them out when they play in your neighbourhood. Well done guys, because "Represent S.D." is absolutely a very nice demo.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/strikingdeathband

76/100

TEN – Heresy and Creed (CD) United Kingdom October 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 1:09:08 (Tracks: 13)
Ten, the British band formed by Gary Hughes, had a famous start in 1996. The first three albums were very, very good : The songs, the lyrics (with mostly historical in-depth themes), the guitars (by Vinny Burns of Dare-fame) and the open mix (by Mike Stone) gained rave reviews. Subsequent albums followed quickly, but the quality of the albums varied a lot. Reviewers had a firm verdict: Gary is writing songs with the same design and there are a lot of similarities in his writings. It had some effect on the career of Ten, too bad, Gary's musical life changed as well. Besides his life as a frontman, he became a producer for Bob Catley's (Magnum singer) solo albums, he started making solo-albums, he wrote music and songs for a prestigious all-star vocal project (the amazing The Once and Future King-project) and he made vocal guest appearances on a lot of albums. Leading a band and fulfilling a busy, musical schedule as well left their marks on both Gary's career as the career of his band Ten.
In 2006 the band took a break to reform, to search new musicians, new musical directories and to write good music. In February 2011 Ten's new opus “ Stormwarning” saw the light, quite a good album with a thick mix by Dennis Ward. Ten did a small tour to promote this album, but some of the musicians parted ways with Gary and his band. With a new line- up he started working on another album, the fifteenth album of Ten (including the EP's for Japanese labels) and the ninth album on Frontiers Records. And the new album “Heresy and Creed” is a good album that will please a lot of fans of Gary (and Ten). The production and the mix are strong, the structure of most of the songs is recognisable and a lot of songs will be live crowd pleasers as well! Too bad Gary has this one dimensional voice, with his typical mid-range reach (the vocals of Gary and the Dutch musical star Jim Bakkum have a lot in common). A vocalist with a rougher voice, a voice with more variety and character could have done more with these songs. I like the songs, that's for sure, although the exchange rate with the songs from Ten's absolute classic start is high again.
But the quality remains and I like the guts of Gary and his musical friends to bring life to Ten again! Ten will make an appearance at some melodic rock festivals to show the audiences what they've got! Maybe there's a chance Ten will visit countries across the Channel. Good one!
TEN are: Gary Hughes - Vocals, Guitars, Programming, Dan Mitchel - Guitars, John Halliwell - Guitars, Steve McKenna - Bass Guitar, Darrel Treece-Birch - Keyboards & Max Yates - Drums And Percussion.
Visit their website: http://www.ten-official.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspacec.com/tenbandofficial

82/100

TRANCEMISSION – Naked Flames (CD) Germany October 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 42:58 (Tracks: 10)
Well, in the eighties I saw German metal band TRANCE twice live. The first time at the AARDSCHOKDAG on June 25th, 1983 in De Brabanthallen, Den Bosch, Holland (with MERCYFUL FATE, VANDENBERG, RAVEN and ACCEPT), and the second time in De Leeuwerik in Galder, Holland on January 1st, 1984 (with Dutch Hard Rock band HIGHWAY as their support). That was the period when TRANCE had released their fantastic albums “Break Out” (1982) and “Power Infusion” (1983). I have to admit that I am not familiar with all other albums of TRANCE, simply because I didn't follow the band. Well, actually I didn't even know that the band still existed, only now under the name of TRANCEMISSION. It's that Mario told me once that TRANCE is now called TRANCEMISSION. Anyway, the only original member of the early TRANCE is Lothar Anthony (vocals, guitar), the other members of TRANCEMISSION are Andreas Meyer (guitar), Joe J. Hagl (bass) and Alexander Franken (drums). So, I was very curious about how TRANCEMISSION would sound today. But man, when I listened for the first time to “Naked Flames”, I was really disappointed. What a terrible album. There isn't any song on “Naked Flames”, which I really like. To me, all those songs are very weak. Only the voice of Lothar still sounds very recognizable to me.
Visit their website: http://www.trancemission-music.com
Recordlabel: http://www.purerock-records.com

48/100

TRAPPER SCHOEPP AND THE SHADES - Run, Engine, Run (CD) USA October 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Modern Rock with folky overtones Running time: 43:03 (Tracks: 12)
Trapper Schoepp and his friends made a record that is not exactly a piece of music for the archetype rocker visiting this website and reading the reviews. But that doesn't mean that the output by this young Milwaukee troubadour isn't interesting. Trapper Schoepp writes music from his heart. Open minded, modern rock with lots of winks to the rock 'n roll era of the late fifties early sixties and folky overtones from the American songbook. It has a special vibe and the lyrics are great, with strong observations, humour, with everyday triumphs and tragedies under the Midwestern sky. I hear lots of influences of this young artist: Pavement, early REM, Soul Asylum, The Gaslight Anthem, The Faces, The Stones, Graham Parsons, Townes Van Zant and even Johnny Cash. The album sounds fresh. The production is open, thick and the mix by Geoff Sanoff (he mixed and produced albums of Green Day, Fountains of Wayne, Nada Surf, amongst others) is very clear and crispy.
The band isn't debuting: They made two albums before this, the self-financed “The change in the weather” (2007) and the follow up “Lived and moved”(2009) strengthened their musical output and writing capabilities. Trapper Schoepp & The Shades is comprised of Trapper on lead vocals and guitar, brother Tanner on bass and vocals, drummer Jon Phillip (Tommy Stinson, Limbeck), and lead guitarist Graham Hunt. The album “Run , engine run” was released on “Side One Dummy “- Records in the USA and Suburban will release this interesting album in Europe. “Tracks” will be the first single of this album, a very nice tune! The band will tour to promote their third opus in October and November this year. Check this record out. It has many surprises!
Visit their website: http://www.trapperschoepp.com
Recordlabel: http://www.sideonedummy.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/trapperschoepp

80/100

TREMONTI – All I Was (CD) USA October 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Rock Running time: 49:25 (Tracks: 12)
TREMONTI is the solo-project (or can we speak of a real new band here?) of CREED and ALTER BRIDGE guitarist Mark Tremonti. Personally I am not so familiar with material of CREED and ALTER BRIDGE. I have seen ALTER BRIDGE once live (at the FIELDS OF ROCK festival in Nijmegen, Holland on June 18th, 2005). Anyway, “All I Was” is the first solo album of Mark Tremonti, who has sold over 40 million records worldwide with his bands CREED and ALTER BRIDGE. Well, when I listened for the very first time to “All I Was”, I liked it immediately. That's because all tracks on “All I Was” are very accessible. A lot of songs are very radio friendly as well. There isn't any weak song on “All I Was”. From the openings track “Leave It Alone” until the last track “Decay” it's a real pleasure to listen to this album. And I am sure “All I Was” will sell very good as well. But what I know of the songs from CREED and ALTER BRIDGE, then the material of TREMONTI sounds heavier. No doubt about it, Mark Tremonti is a great songwriter and an awesome guitarist. Man, what a great riffs and what a fantastic guitar solos Tremonti treats us on. And not to forget the vocals of Mark as well, because he really surprised me as a singer. This guy just has a fantastic voice. Besides Mark on vocals and lead guitar, it's Eric Friedman (guitar, bass) and Garrett Whitlock (drums) who are delivering a fine piece of musicianship as well on this album. Friedman and Whitlock are both formerly of SUBMERSED. The production was done by Michael “Elvis” Baskette (ALTER BRIDGE, PUDDLE OF MUDD, RATT) and sounds fantastic. Although I like every song on this album, my favourites are “Leave It Alone”, “So You're Afraid”, “Wish You Well”, the superb “You Waste Your Time”, “Giving Up”, the title track “All I Was” and “Doesn't Matter”. So, my end conclusion is that “All I Was” is an excellent debut album, and a real recommendation to all CREED and ALTER BRIDGE fans, but also to anyone who likes bands such as NICKELBACK, DAUGHTRY or 3 DOORS DOWN to name a few. This album will absolutely make a lot more spins in my CD-player, that's for sure.
Visit their website: http://www.tremontiproject.com
Recordlabel: http://www.fret12.com

87/100

VESPERIAN SORROW – Stormwinds of Ages (CD) USA October 2012 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Symphonic Black Metal Running time: 57:17 (Tracks: 11)
I always have a weak for bands who play symphonic black metal nowadays. I mean the scene is long dead and buried except for Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir. As always the strong survived and are still releasing material these days. Sometimes with big orchestras and sometimes more stripped to their original sound. These bands have the budget to release massive sounding albums and almost immediately make other bands sound cheap second- or third choice. But sometimes a band succeed to get connection with the top. From Holland we have Carach Angren who have set raised the bar high for the others. Vesperian Sorrow is a band from the United States that also has been working for years to get a bigger piece of the share and is somewhat one of the best kept secrets in the scene. Already existing since 1997 this band now releases its fouth album “Stormwinds of Ages” First thing I noticed on “Stormwinds of Ages” is that the music is played really fast. I think that it is played one time faster than most other symphonic black metal. The drumsound is almost mechanical sounding and although played by a human drummer I can't help to find myself sometimes thinking of a Dimmu Borgir on ADHD. Positive is that the songwriting is just as good. Vesperian Sorrow uses strong choruses and wrote songs with head and tail. In terms of the sound, there are some killer riffs which display some ultra fast picking melodies and leads. The guitars have a huge block of distortion to them. The bass on this release you can actually hear blended well with the music. The notes and melodies played on the album may not differ all that much from the last few albums but the difference, IMO, is the production and the atmosphere. The production, as mentioned, is heavier and more massive (but not as "raw" as the first albums) Some songs have a positive, progressive feel. For example listen to the song “Death She Cried” which has an almost endless solo that could have been on an Iron Maiden album. Vesperian Sorrow shows an array of ability for this particular genre of metal. Everything seemed to fit well together. There are a few songs which I think are too fast and would sound better played a level slower. But for the most part, “Stormwinds of Ages” is a fine piece of work.
Visit their website: http://www.vesperiansorrow.net
Recordlabel: http://www.thepathlesstraveledrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vesperian

80/100

AUGUST

23RD GRADE OF EVIL – Bad Man do What Good Man Dream (CD) Switzerland August 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 50:42 (Tracks: 13)
The members of 23rd Grade of Evil have been playing together since the mid-nineties. At the time, their band was called Morbus Wilson and released one studio album called 'Corematic.' In 2004, they decided to rename the band and focus in new direction. Five years later, their first full length album 'What Will Remain When We Are Gone' was released. The record received positive reviews, although it didn't gain much attention in the Netherlands. With the new album that is reviewed right here, the band seems determined to change that, based on the way they're promoting the album. After listing to 'Bad Man do What Good Man Dream' in my car for over a week, I can conclude that it is indeed an album worth listening to. 23rd Grave of Evil plays Thrash Metal with traditional influences, but also more modern bands like In Flames and the Haunted come to mind. The album contains songs that offer great vocal variety in terms of singing and screaming. Typical Thrash drum patterns are subtly exchanged with heavy breakdown, which reminisce about the aforementioned bands. A mix that is surprisingly catchy and works out very well. Just listen to 'Not Guilty?' and 'I am your God.' On top of that, the band has managed to write memorable songs. Not just 'thirteen in a dozen.' So as I concluded earlier: this is an album worth listening to if you dig (modern) Thrash Metal.
Visit their website: http://www.23evil.net
Recordlabel: http://www.artiststation-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/23rdgradeofevil

84/100

AFTER ALL – Dawn Of The Enforcer (CD) Belgium August 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 44:37 (Tracks: 11)
This is Belgium's number one metal band. They have been around from the beginning of the nineties. So far, this is their eighth full-length album. They have also released seven EP's. Besides releasing albums, After All has been performing a lot throughout the years. I think that this album is After All's cherry on the cake. Dan Swanö is the one responsible for the production, which is done in a great way. After the EP, “Becoming the Martyr”, released in 2011, this is the first full-length album featuring Sammy Peleman on vocals and Frederik Vanmassenhove on bass. It is also the first release on Roadrunner Records. There are some guest appearances on this album. The ones contributing are Juan Garcia and Bernie Versailles (Agent Steel), Joey Vera (Armored Saint) and Steve Smyth (Forbidden). It is nice to have these guests on board but to me After All could have done this album on their own. The album starts with “Parasite Within” which sets the standard right from the start. This is thrash metal the way it is supposed to be played. “Timeless Machine” continues on the same high level. Whilst Peleman varies regular singing with high screams, the rhythm-section pounds fast and furious. The two guitarists, Dries van Damme and Christophe Depree fill every space in between. On “Digital War”, it is Peleman with his high voice that draws the attention. Overall, this is a song with both slower and faster parts making it a very interesting piece of music. “Spread the Infamy” is a faster song with superb guitar riffing throughout the track. The speed continues on “Becoming the Martyr” which is also a fantastic piece of thrash metal. The first resting-point is there at the beginning of “To Breach and Grieve”. This a bit slower and heavier song is sung well by Peleman. The riffing is quite heavy on this one. Kevin Strubbe is the drummer that keeps the band together and puts the tempo up on “Demolition Course”. With almost five and a half minutes, “Betrayed by the Gods” is clearly the longest track on this album. There is more variation in this song with some fast and slower parts. To me this is the best track on the album as Peleman sings superb and the guitar playing is really great. Sometimes Peleman sounds like Rob Halford (Judas Priest) in his earlier days. “My Own Sacrifice” has a flying start and turns out to be yet another great thrash metal track. The same thing can be said about the last two tracks, “Devastation Done” and “End of Your World”. Most of the songs on this album have been released on an earlier album or EP, but never the less this album sounds as a unity. I hope that this is the new start for After All as they have been around for over twenty years. Get your copy of this album and be sure to check After All out when they are somewhere on the road. You will not be disappointed.
Visit their website: http://www.afterall.be
Recordlabel: http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/afterallmetal

89/100

AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR – Third (CD) France August 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Psychedelic Rock Running time: 40:15 (Tracks: 10)
Well, I never had heard of AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR before. This four piece band from France was formed in 2000 and have released some limited edition EP's and two albums ("Under The Moon Of…" and "Aqua Nebula Oscillator" both from 2008). The title of this CD "Third" speaks for itself, because it's the band's third full length album, and the first one which is released on Tee Pee Records. AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR plays occult Psychedelic Rock, and they remind me the most of HAWKWIND. The band, which had several line-up changes, is inspired by topics such as parallel dimensions, voodoo, ethnic trance, horror and cult movies, aliens and UFOs. Anyway, "Third" features 10 tracks, which any Psychedelic Rock freak will like very much. Personally I'm not that familiar with, no, I better can say, I'm not that into the Psychedelic Rock scene. Luckily I do have a broad taste of music in the Rock and Metal scene, so I can listen to this album anyway. Okay, I do not like all the songs that much. For example, the last track "Incandescence" sounds too boring to me.
Well, I wouldn't have bought "Third" easily myself, but now I got it to review for MMM, I have listened several times to this album. I already know that, after this review is posted on MMM, I am not going to listen to "Third" that much anymore. In that case, I do like the album "Primitive Blast" of THE SHRINE, which is also released on Tee Pee Records (see also this months update of MMM) much more. Anyway, although I don't like this album that much, I am sure die hard Psychedelic Rock fans will already be familiar with AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR, so for those people "Third" is a real trip and of course a real recommendation. The songs on "Third" which I like the most are the first track "Riot", "Final Solution", the instrumental "Apocalyptoads", "Black Sun" and "Saturne". Nevertheless, "Third" is a good album, and like I said above, it's a real recommendation for all Psychedelic Rock freaks. So, check it out. For myself, next album please.
Recordlabel: http://www.teepeerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/aquanebulaoscillator

68/100

ASIA - XXX (CD) United Kingdom August 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Progrock Running time: 51:39 (Tracks: 9)
Asia is one of the supergroups in the history of popmusic in general and progressive music in particular. After the break up of King Crimson in the mid seventies and the demise of Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer at the the beginning of the eighties of the former century, Asia became the flagship of progressive melodic rock. Their first album, distributed by Geffen and promoted by John Kalodner, wasn't exactly the 'major opus 'many symphonic rockers and progrockfans had dreams about, but it was a brilliant crossover between melodic progrock and adult orientated rock. “Asia”, released in March 1982, sold about ten million copies worldwide, spending nine weeks at number one in the US Album Charts. Asia's first four singles : “Only time will tell”, the huge MTV –hit “Heat of the moment”, “Wildest dreams”and “Sole survivor” sold very well.
But the albums after their debut 'bomber 'weren't that successfull. Bass player John Wetton left, came back several times and the band searched for an ideal guitaristic approach with Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy), Mandy Meyer (Krokus, Cobra, Gotthard) and Pat Thrall (Pat Travers) joining the original members. But the magic touch of the first album was far away. In the late nineties the original members came back together and there was even a 'second Asia '-line up featuring John Payne (bass player for Asia since 1991) and guitarist Guthrie Gowan. Both Asia- bands have record deals since 2006. But this “XXX”(distributed by the Italian Frontiers 'label) I'm listening to is the twelfth album of Asia, featuring the original members (John Wetton, Geoff Downes, Steve Howe and Carl Palmer). The artwork is done by Roger Dean, the famous English cover artitst, whose (mostly) watercolour and crayon work can been seen on album covers of Atomic Rooster, Uriah Heep, Yes, Gentle Giant, Budgie and most of the Asia-albums as well. The album starts off with a very soft keyboard intro, but when the guitars and the vocals come in, many listeners immediately recognize the structure of many Asia songs. The album is absolutely strong, it has many hints of their two first albums, it recaptures the style and the lyrics of the early Asia – years. The 'crossover ', the balance between melodic rock and the variety and the instrumental / musical depth of progrock is restored and you'll hear it back in “Bury me in willow”, the proggy AOR-archetype structures in “Face on the bridge ( the first single taken from this album)”and “Judas”, the up-tempo “No religion”, “I know how you feel”, “Al gatto nero”, “Tomorrow the world” and the strong ballads “Faithful” and ” Ghost of a chance”. This is a strong come – back album. Every song has a chorus, a backbone, a catchy and haunting structure and superb musicianship. I'm not an Asia fan and the many side projects of the Asia-members aren't that spectacular either, but I like listening to his suprising album! The album has also a special limited edition, featuring two extra songs and a lot of video footage on DVD as well.
Visit their website: http://www.originalasia.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/originalasia

84/100

ASSEMBLE HEAD IN SUNBURST SOUND - Manzanita (CD) USA August 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 40:31 (Tracks: 9)
Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound is that a name for shouting out loud, badly wanting an encore? It rather sounds like something post apocalytic. In that way the name respresents what they stand for. Don't expect some catchy stadionrock but psychedelic heavy rock with unexcepted influences that comes up in their rather twisted minds. It's fuzzy, melancholic, well whatever comes up but it rocks enough to review here. This band takes you back to the 70's, think of bands like Blue Cheer and Led Zeppelin. Most of the songs are formed during jams and that can be heard. Not that they make long tracks with eternal rhytms and outbursts which lead to nothing, no this band has the capability to keep this all between the speakwordingly lines. Compact, gritty, psychedelic rock is what you get on this fourth album. The band exists since 2000 and this Manzanita album is their fourth release after “Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound (2005), Ekranoplan (2007) and When Sweet Sleep Returned (2009). The album hasn't got any really highlights or minors, it's a pretty stable album with some interesting twist's like the country swing in “(Gone) 'Round the Corner”. I think for most of MMM readers this stuff isn't really their thing but for a welcome variation between your normal overload of Metal this one really can't hurt you. It's music that's best listened to while laying back in your couch after having some mushrooms. It will take you away to an outpost in space where nothing stands in your way to let yourself go. Lay back and enjoy this relaxed piece rock.
Recordlabel: http://www.teepeerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theassembleheadinsunburst

71/100

BLACK MAJESTY – Stargazer (CD) Australia August 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Power Metal Running time: 48:35 (Tracks: 10)
Black Majesty isn't a household name in the landscape of power metal music, but this band is relatively 'old '. Black Majesty was formed in 2001 by experienced musicians from the Melbourne metal scene. Under the name of Kymera the band gained a huge live status playing an aggressive (early)Queensryche-type of metal music. Kymera changed its name into Black Majesty because there was another band in Europe and in the USA with the same name (f.e. Khymera, formed in Italy in 2003) and the band wanted to express their 'black 'image of their songs and lyrics. With the help of their musical friends from the band Vanishing Point (definitely a band that's worth checking out!) Black majesty released an EP (Sands of time) and an album of the same name. The album gained very positive reviews and with the helping hands of the people of Limb music and their aforementioned friends Black Majesty shared the stage with Hammerfall, Nevermore, Edguy, Dragonforce and Iron Savior. The third and fourth album also reached the European continent through Limb-music and the band had the opportunity to be the opening act of various tours of Saxon, Helloween and Paul DiAnno in Europe, Asia and in their home country. Black Majesty made friends with Roland Grapow (Helloween, Masterplan) and Piet Sielck (Iron Savior), friends that helped the band with musical issues, producing and mixing a lot of tracks of their albums.
“Stargazer “is their fifth album on Limb Music and it's a real killer! Roland Grapow took care of the pre-production and the recording of the guitars and vocals in Australia and in his Slovakian studio. I think it has done this album very good: The guitars (of Steve Janeski en Hany Mohamed) are superb, the solo's splash of the disc and the voice of John Cavaliere is prominently mixed. The rhythm section (Evan Harris on bass, he'll be replaced by Richard Filak in Europe and Pavel Konvalinka on drums) is heavy and strong and there's enough room for their musical offspring in the vein of Jag Panzer, Armored Saint, Fifth Angel and the European acts like Helloween's (Keeper of the Seven Keyes-era), Judas Priest, Firewind, Dream Evil and Iron Maiden. The energy level is high, the speed tracks reign on this album, but it's done with a classy / classic, ballsy attitude and an interesting musical vibe. From the speedy opener “Falling” to the closing acoustic ballad of “Shine” ( too bad the vocals seems a bit out of pitch in here)this album fits like a glove. I think it's a great album that will please many, many fans of the genre. The Australian edition of this album has another bonus track, as “Shine “is replaced by “Ariel”. The Japanese version has another tenth track “Lycan”. Super album and a big thumbs up for these power metallists from down under. The band has plans for a short European tour after their concerts with Tim Ripper Owens (formerly of Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen, Judas Priest) in Australia. The artwork of the album is made by the German photographer Dirk Illing, he has made cover artwork and photo-artwork for acts like The Scorpions, Axel Rudi Pell, Saxon, Iced Earth and Running Wild.
Visit their website: http://www.blackmajesty.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/blackmajesty

85/100

CANCER BATS – Dead Set On Living (CD) Canada August 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Hardcore Running time: 40:18 (Tracks: 11)
This is Cancer Bats' fourth album. Last May I got the chance to see Cancer Bats live as they played together with Everytime I Die at the Dynamo-club in Eindhoven. This show was fantastic. It is unbelievable how much energy Cancer Bats has and how they are able to transmit that same energy to the audience. This energy is also to be found on “Dead Set On Living”. Right from the first track, “R.A.T.S.” the power is on. The beginning is really heavy and slow with some grunting. Then Liam Cormier starts screaming whilst Scott Middleton joins with his guitar. “Bricks and Mortar” is a slower but very heavy piece of metal. On “Road Sick” the tempo goes up. On this track, Cormier varies his screaming voice with regular singing. In the meantime, the band rages on. The rhythm-section, consisting of Mike Peters (drums) and Jaye R. Schwarzer (bass) is all over “Breathe Armageddon” that contains both slower and faster parts. The title-track, which with its four and a half minutes also the longest song on the album, starts with a furiously screaming Cormier. Towards the middle of the song, Middleton's repeating riffs draw the attention and stick to your mind. “The Void” starts in a doomy way, really slow and heavy. The heaviness remains although the speed goes up a bit. The mix of hardcore and metal continues on “Old Blood”, with Cormier screaming as if his life depends on it. “Drunken Physics” has a lot of spoken words and sounds more like stoner rock. Peters hits the drums heavily on “Bastards”, which is a more straightforward song. “Rally the Wicked” is a short but very intense heavy track with lots of loud screaming vocals and guitars. The last track, “New World Alliance” is yet another example of the enormous energy this band displays on this album. As these guys will be touring Europe again go and experience the sheer power and energy of Cancer Bats playing live in a club.
Visit their website: http://www.cancerbats.com
Recordlabel: http://www.teamdistort.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cancerbats

82/100

CANDLEMASS – Psalms for the Dead (CD) Sweden August 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 50:18 (Tracks: 9)
Will this be Candlemass's swansong then? I refuse to believe this will be the very last piece of silver they've produced. Why, well kicking out your vocalist, because “the quality of the live performances” aren't good enough normally ends up with bringing out a new record, because they guy/woman they recruit is “the best you've ever heard”, so that deserves a new record. For me it was a big surprise to break up with Lowe because the man delivered a very good job on the 3½ albums he supplied with his majestic vocals. Now I'm a big fan of Mats Levén and he is a much better performer, that's for sure, but it certainly drags my eyebrows. Well enough of that, back to this piece of music. Psalms for the Dead again offers enough doomjoy to stay tuned. Again Candlemass delivers high quality and that's a big compliment. Which band can say that overall delivered high class material? According to “Death Magic Doom” this one may sound a bit less metal but it offers more variety and some surprises. Opener “Prophet” comes in ultimately doomy and turns in to be fast and furious. Great way to open. Follower “The Sound of Dying Demons” opens like an imitation of “Iron Man” (for the young fans among us; not the movie but the legendary track of Black Sabbath) but turns into a slow banger in creepy atmosphere with majestic vocals by Rob Lowe. The quick, fresh sounding “Dancing in the Temple of the Mad Queen Bee” (brilliant title) follows and is even danceable.
A welcome alternation for the heavy doom presented in follower “Waterwitch”. “The Lights of Thebe” summons the best of Candlemass and takes us back to the times of “Nightfall”. “Psalms for the Dead” shows another face of Candlemass; it's a rare track, different and daring but it fits in well. “The Killing of the Sun” is catchy as hell and my favourite track of this album. It rocks, it dooms and it has superb guitar lines. Damn fine track, just like follower “Siren Song” which is driven by the most brilliant organ underlayment I've ever heard. Heavy and doomy it drowns you into the world of Candlemass. Last track “Black as Time” impresses less; the spoken word is original but should sound more evil and the track is a bit too average. As said above, Candlemass's swansong (?) isn't their best but easily confirms their status as one of the best Doom Metal Bands ever.
Visit their website: http://www.candlemass.se
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/candlemass

85/100

CASTLE – Blacklands (CD) USA August 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Doom Running time: 35:44 (Tracks: 8)
My first acquaintance with CASTLE was when I saw them live at the Little Devil in Tilburg, Holland on May 9th, 2012. When I arrived at the Little Devil, I just saw two songs of support act ATTIC, a band which reminds very much of MERCYFUL FATE. About CASTLE, well, I liked them very much, so after their show I bought their two albums "In Witch Order" (2011) and this second one "Blacklands" (2012). I don't know when CASTLE, which exists of Elizabeth Blackwell (vocals, bass), Mat Davis (guitar, vocals) and Al McCartney (drums), exactly was formed. "Blacklands" features eight excellent songs, was produced by guitarist Davis and Billy Anderson, and sounds very good. Instead of the debut album "In Witch Order", this album has a shorter running time of 35:44 ("In Witch Order" has a running time of 44:43 minutes). Anyway, since I bought the two albums of CASTLE that evening, both CD's already have made many spins in my CD-player. Although "In Witch Order" is a good album, I think I like "Blacklands" more. The band exists of good musicians, and besides being the bass player of the band, Elizabeth is also a good singer as well. There's one song on "Blacklands" which is sung by guitarist Davis, namely "Storm Below The Mountain" (3:18), and "Curses Of The Priests" (5:19) is sung by Blackwell and Davis. Some part of the vocal lines in "Curses Of The Priests", which is sung by Mat, sounds as CELTIC FROST. The music CASTLE plays is traditional heavy metal with an occult doom atmosphere. CASTLE reminds me a bit of THE DEVIL'S BLOOD. Of all the songs on "Blacklands", I think "Storm Below The Mountain" is the least track for me. It's not a bad song, but in my opinion all other tracks are much better. Anyway, my favorite tracks of "Blacklands" are "Ever Hunter" (4:23), the superb "Corpse Candles" (5:32), "Blacklands" (4:24), the aforementioned "Curses Of The Priests", "Venus Pentagram" (2:52), the faster "Alcatraz" (3:52) and the last track of the album "Dying Breed" (6:05). If you like THE DEVIL'S BLOOD very much, then you will like CASTLE as well. So, check it out yourself. Fantastic band and excellent album.
Visit their website: http://www.heavycastle.com
Recordlabel: http://www.van-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/heavycastle

80/100

CONFIDENCE – Prelude (MCD) Sweden August 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Metal / Progressive Metal Running time: 23:40 (Tracks: 4)
Well, the first line on the biography of this Swedish melodic Progressive Metal band CONFIDENCE says 'CONFIDENCE was born from the remnants of ideas, songs and bands which never really got spread their wings'. It took the band three years for these four songs, members came and members left, but now with this four track EP "Prelude" and line-up, CONFIDENCE are ready for the world. The band exists of Emil Kyrk (vocals), Per-Owe Solvelius (guitar), David Lecander (bass), Janne Jaloma (drums) and Clas Sjöstrand (keyboards). A consequence of the digitalisation of music on the internet is the reason that CONFIDENCE released "Prelude" all by themselves digitally (although I have this promo on CD). Well, I have to admit, "Prelude" is a nice acquaintance. The band does have in Kyrk a very good singer, and exists of fantastic musicians. The songs "Flesh And Skin" (5:42), "War Torn Skies" (6:23), the semi-ballad "Never Meant To Be" (5:59) and "Poison Lies" (5:35) are excellent compositions. I like those four songs, but of those four songs, "Never Meant To Be" is the least one on "Prelude". The production, which was done by keyboard player Sjöstrand, sounds very good as well. The band will not release full length albums, but they are trying to release at least two digital releases with four or five songs a year. "Prelude" was digitally released in May of 2012, so I'm really curious if we can expect the band's second digital release at the end of 2012. Well, CONFIDENCE is an interesting band, but it's not that you say 'this is the new sensation from Sweden'. Nevertheless, "Prelude" is absolutely worth checking out. So, if you are interested, and you want to have these four songs, you have to download them. For more info, just check their official website or www.facebook.com/confidenceofficial. Anyway, a good EP, which makes me curious about the next one.
Visit their website: http://www.confidenceofficicial.com

70/100

CRUCIFIED BARBARA – The Midnight Chase (CD) Sweden August 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 47:25 (Tracks: 10)
This is the third album released by Sweden's finest, CRUCIFIED BARBARA. The band was formed in 1998 by Ida (bass) and Klara (guitar) with singer Joey Nine, and after some time Nicki (drums) joined them. They recorded some demos and played clubs around Stockholm. In 2000 they recruited some new blood in the form of a second guitar player to lift their sound to a higher level, Mia became their lead guitarist. But as it turned out, she was also a great singer, and in 2003 Joey left the band, and Mia took over the microphone. Their debut album 'In Distortion We Trust' was released in 2005. A long period of intense touring was followed by the release, and got them a well deserved reputation for being a great live band. In 2009 their second album 'Til Death Do Us Party' came out. In 2010 the girls entered the Swedish heats of the Eurovision Song Contest with the hard rock ballad 'Heaven or Hell' and made it to the semi finals. And now here is their third effort 'The Midnight Chase', recorded in the Music-A-Matic studio in Gothenburg with sound engineer Henryk Lipp and producer Chips Kiesby. The album has a more mature sound then before, and the girls really rock their socks off. Heavy hard rock and metal songs like 'Shut Your Mouth', 'Rock Me Like The Devil' and 'Kid From The Upperclass' really do it well on every rock/metal party. The girls really have earned their place in the metal scene, and proved once again that they not only look nice, but also can play heavy as hell. Can't wait to see them perform live when they go on tour, which hopefully won't take them too long.
Visit their website: http://www.crucifiedbarbara.com
Recordlabel: http://www.gmrmusic.se
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crucifiedbarbara

86/100

DAWN OF DESTINY – Praying to the World (CD) Germany August 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Power Metal Running time: 75:29 (Tracks: 15)
Dawn of Destiny brings us 75 minutes of German Power Metal. That German is because most songs move the happy, sing along way and that makes it a long one for me. “My Life in Ruins” and “The Right Path” open fierce and powerful and make you long for more of this stuff. Power Metal with balls and fine, harsh axe work. Unfortunately tracks like for example “Miracles” are more like poppy songs dressed in a heavy coat. The raw male vocals can't hide the happy structure and are rather misplaced in some songs. Nevertheless with the bands musical qualities is really nothing wrong. It's all very descent from drums, guitars till the vocal capacities of newcomer Jeanette Scherff. But it doesn't make the spark lighten the fire. It's a bit brave. From the 15 (including 2 bonus tracks) there are too little highlights to lift this album above the cornfield. The mentioned openers, 'Promised Land” and the monster “Beast Human” are by far the best ones for me. To make a comparison with another band that delivers fine releases but just not good enough to make the breakthrough I think of Edenbridge; they just keep on hanging in the wide range of average, ready to drown in the overflooded offer in Power Metal. Very pity because “Beast Human” proves they have much more capabilities. If you live your live up to the more happy variant of Power Metal then you can easily count 10 points extra and you won't be disappointed. For me it's too brave and average but I cling onto the good ones and hope the next one will reboot my Metal Heart. Worth mentioning is the beautiful package of the album; very tasteful and representative to the textual concept.
Visit their website: http://www.dawnofdestiny.de
Recordlabel: http://www.phonotraxx.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dawnofdestiny

72/100

DEMON LUNG – Pareidolia (MCD) USA August 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 21:56 (Tracks: 4)
The American based doom metal band Demon Lung provides their first studio effort with 'Pareidolia', the E.P. that just saw the light of day. Although the combination of doom metal with female vocals is common nowadays, the band claims to be living in their own world. Based on the quality of 'Pareidolia', their world seems like a pretty good place to be. The E.P. contains four tracks with a total of twenty-two minutes. The slow, extremely heavy riffs gain the most attention. It's not the typical doom riffing. At times, even a band like Pantera comes to mind. No surprise that Demon Lung credit this band as one of their influences. The American quartet created a doomy atmosphere which allows vocalist Shanda to excel with her dark, satanic lyrics. 'Pareidolia' is an interesting E.P. for any doom enthusiast. Go check them out!
Visit their website: http://www.demonlungband.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/demonlungband

80/100

DETHONATOR – Dethonator (CD) United Kingdom August 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 46:34 (Tracks: 9)
Well, I received this self-titled debut album of English Heavy Metal band DETHONATOR to review for MMM. The name of the band sounded very familiar to me. I knew I had seen a band DETHONATOR once. First I thought I had seen them somewhere in the eighties or nineties. But I was wrong, together with Mario I saw DETHONATOR on August 6th, 2010 at The Rambler in Eindhoven, Holland as the support act of GUNSLINGER. Only, I can't remember if I liked them that night or not. And of course we both went there to see GUNSLINGER. Anyway, in 2009 the band changed their name from KALEB into DETHONATOR. KALEB was formed in 2002, and under that name they had released two albums ("The Great British Invention" in 2005 and "Legion" in 2008) by themselves. This self-titled album "Dethonator" was also released by the band themselves in 2010, and is now since June 1st officially released on Ironstone Records. DETHONATOR, which exists of James Burton (vocals), Henry Brooks (guitar, backing vocals), Tristan Lineker (guitar), Adam Lineker (bass, backing vocals) and Tommy Castleman (drums), plays Heavy Metal with sometimes some Thrash influences. Musically there's nothing wrong, the songs on this album are good and interesting compositions. The band exists of good musicians and Burton is a good singer as well. Besides the clean vocals of Burton, there are also grunts used in almost every song. I don't know if these grunts are done by guitarist Brooks or bass player Lineker, but I do know I don't like these grunts that much. In my opinion these grunts don't really fit in these songs. Anyway, guitarists Henry Brooks and Tristan Lineker treats us on some excellent guitar solos on these nine tracks. Like I said, there's nothing wrong with this album. The production was done by James Burton and Tristan Lineker themselves and sounds okay. My favorite track of "Dethonator" is "I Am Thunder God". Other songs which I like are "Harbinger", "Many Have Fallen", "Shadows" and "Morbid Skies". To me, the least track on "Dethonator" is "Massive Demonic Killing Spree". Nevertheless, this is a good album. Check it out if you are interested.
Visit their website: http://www.dethonator.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dethonator

75/100

DRAGONY – Legends (CD) Austria August 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Symphonic Power Metal Running time: 52:21 (Tracks: 10)
DRAGONY is a Symphonic Power Metal band from Austria, and was formed in 2007. The band first was called DRAGONSLAYER PROJECT, but changed it into DRAGONY in 2011. Anyway, the band exists of Siegfried Samer (vocals), Andreas Poppernitsch (guitar), Daniel Stockinger (guitar), Herbert Glos (bass), Frederic Brünner (drums) and Georg Lorenz (keyboards). Well, "Legends" is the debut album of these guys, and was released on June 22nd on Limb Music. The album starts with the short intro "Of Legends…", followed by "Burning Skies", which features guest lead vocals of Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR, formerly of GAMMA RAY). It's a nice up-tempo song. Also next one, "Land Of Broken Dreams", is a great song and has some fast double bass drums. Well, there are two songs on this album, which I like a bit less. Those songs are "Dragonslayer" and "The Ride". Not that these tracks are bad songs, but in my opinion all other songs are better. The band exists of excellent musicians and Samer is a nice singer. Although, sometimes I have the idea that he's not always singing in tune. Besides Scheepers as guest vocalist, also Katie Joanne of SIREN'S CRY is doing guest vocals on several tracks. The best songs in my opinion on this debut album are "Burning Skies", the superb "Land Of Broken Dreams", "Wings Of The Night", "Vaults Of Heaven", the epic "The Longest Night" and "Hero's Return". All in all, "Legends" is a good debut album. Power Metal fans who like bands such as EDGUY, KAMELOT, STRATOVARIUS or SABATON should check this band out.
Visit their website: http://www.dragony.net
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialdragony

73/100

ECLIPSE – Bleed and Scream (CD) Sweden August 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock / Scandinavian Rock Running time: 49:24 (Tracks:11)
Erik Martensson is a shining new star in melodic rock land. The Swedish musician writes, composes melodic songs per linear meter for a lot of artists in the melodic and classic rock spectrum. But not only his compositions can be found on almost every European based rock album nowadays, Erik has a good voice as well and the man is also a skilled guitar and bass player. Many rockers don't know that Erik has made music with his own friends from the beginning of the new millennium as well. His band, Eclipse, is a typical Scandinavian rock band in the mass of numerous melodic rock bands from that region. But there is something special about Eclipse. You can hear that Erik and his musical friends share a musical depth and a nod to the classic heavy rock style of the eighties of the former century. Erik is not only the guy that writes the hooks, the chorusses, the song structures, the accessible lines, he's also the guy that likes heavy pop rock (Erik has a pop band as well, 'The Friday Nights), country rock and real, fast heavy metal. The third album of Eclipse, “Are you ready to rock “(their second album on Frontiers Records, Italy) from 2008 was a real killer with great songs and an aggressive musical approach. Many fans have been waiting for this new Eclipse-release, their new album 'Bleed and Scream'. And was it worth waiting for? Yes, absolutely! The albums starts furious, with four potent rockers, big hooks, great vocals and amazing guitars(by Magnus Henriksson). The fifth song, the ballad 'A bitter taste' ends with a speedy guitar part as well. The second half of the disc is hunted, agitated, ballsy, but melodic and open as well. The lead guitars are furious, combining eighties 'riffs, solos and aggressive rhythmic parts into the songs that fit like a glove. Some songs ( f.i. 'S.O.S') remind me of an aggressive WET, the project that Erik and his friends shared with members of Work of Art and Talisman. “About to break” is the power ballad of this album. I think this album is very good. The production is something to discuss about: The drums sound a little thin, spacey (like a lot of organic programmed drums) and the mix is a bit one dimensional. But it has no effect on the songs. Some of the songs are maybe a little exchangeable, they have the same structure, the same vibe. But what a vibe! Erik, Magnus, Johan (Johan Berlin, keyboard player) and Robban ( Robban Bäck, Sabaton drum player), thank you for this great new Eclipse!
Visit their website: http://www.eclipsemania.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.blowoutproductions.com

88/100

FESTER – A Celebration of Death (CD) Norway August 2012 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black/ Death Metal Running time: 54:25 (Tracks: 10)
Some ressurections are truly miraculous! After a hiatus of 18 years Fester returns with a brandnew album called “A Celebration of Death” In that 18 years a lot has happened. Founded in 1989 under the name Heroic Conduct, Fester launched two full lengths, all being atmospheric black/ death metal underground classics, before quitely dissapearing in the mid-nineties, for different reasons. The story of the group is indeed punctuated with events that have nothing to do with their immense talent: frequent changes of musicians, and even the suicide of bassplayer Jorgen Skjolden 2000 R.I.P.) After the release of the demo's on “The Commitments that Shattered” two years ago the news spread the undergound fast that Fester would come with new material in 2012. So finally after all these years it is here. Fester has always been a very atmospheric band. This has not changed on the new album. New are the industrial influences in some of the songs on for example “Metalized” and on the “Rites of Mortiis” which is a remix of “Rites of Ceres”, the opening track by the old Emperor bassplayer.
Other than that the riffs stand strong on their own more often than not. Just like on their other releases they are reduced and sometimes repetetive and therefore it lookes like they are only offering a basic fundament. One who listens more closely will hear that this is not always true and that is one of the strong points in het sound of Fester. The return of this Norwegian band will not fail to leave its mark on the true underground metal scene. The record offers a really thick atmosphere and is quite well rounded as well. It has real highlights like “Rites of Ceres” and “Last Day of Battle” on it that bring back the true nostalgic Fester sound that remarkleby has been hold in tact over all these years. And besides that it hasn't got any real failures either on it. I question the fact that there are a lot of newcomers who will truly understand the meaning of this monstrous and unique band. This is not fast or extremely technical like most of todays bands. As stated in earlier reviews I had to listen to this band a lot before really getting the atmosphere and overall sound. But once it graps you your lost, lost in the beautiful world of Fester...
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/festernorway

86/100

HARRY HESS - Lining in Yesterday (CD) Canada August 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock / Adult Orientated Rock (aor) Running time: 38:37 (Tracks: 10)
The Oshowa, Ontario, Canada born Harry Hess is famous for his career in Harem Scarem, one of these great Canadian rock bands that gained popularity in Europe, Japan and in their home country in the early nineties of the former century. Harry Hess was the Harem Scarem lead vocalist for seventeen years, twelve studio albums and numerous live and compilation albums. Harry is a famous producer and songwriter as well and in his own studio (The Vespa Music Group Studio) he has had the opportunity to work with a lot of acts (f.i. Muse, Billy Klippert,Billy Talent, Simple Plan). The musical career has brought him very much: Fourteen top- 40 hits ( as a musician, a songwriter or as a producer) and sales well over two million albums in 43 countries. In 2003 Harry made a solo album (Just the other day) in the style of his band, but it didn't get many good reviews. In 2007 Harry was linked to the Frontiers' team to make an album with melodic rock, the style of the first two Harem Scarem albums and many albums in the Frontiers' range of artists. That album 'First Signal' was quite good and this album 'Living in Yesterday' is the second album for Frontiers. From the first track, the great title track with its pleasant hooks, to the balladesque end ”Don't know where to run “, the album is a show off for what is melodic aor is all about these days (big choruses, big guitars, songs that don't hold many risks, superb musicianship, songs with a melodic, strong backbone that are good to listen to). It will please many fans of the genre. I like the guitars, they are crispy, fat and the lead guitars are really magnificent (Harry has brought in some musical friends for the guitar parts: Howie Simon, Pete Lesperance (his former Harem Scarem colleague), Magnus Karlsson, Tommy Denander and Chris Green). Darren Smith (as a co-vocalist, backing vocalist) and Creighton Doane (drums), former members of Harem Scarem, Pete Whitfield (strings for Mark Owen, The Christians, a.o.) and Marcie Free (topvocalist , former Mark Free of King Kobra, Signal, Unruly Child) helped Harry as well. I like the album, I like the musicians on this album, I like the style , the production, but I still think Harry Hess can make an even better album, taking mores risks in the song writing department, finding the right balance between the melodic aor and the modern rock style he is confronted with in his studio. I hope he will take these chances in the future.
Visit their website: http://www.harryhess.net
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it

84/100

HERMAN FRANK – Right In The Guts (CD) Germany August 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 53:57 (Tracks: 13)
HERMAN FRANK is of course best known as one of the guitarists of German Metal bands ACCEPT and VICTORY. Personally I never have been a big ACCEPT fan. I only have the albums "Breaker" (1981) and "Restless And Wild" (1982), and do have the song "Balls To The Wall" on the movie soundtrack album "The Wrestler" (2008). I also do know the album "Metal Heart" (1985), but that's all. Anyway, in 2009 Herman Frank released his first solo album "Loyal To None". Well, I have to admit that I am not familiar with "Loyal To None". But man, with this second solo album "Right In The Guts" he really surprised me. What a marvellous and varied album this is, with great songs, awesome riffs and brilliant guitar solos. It's a real pleasure to listen to the thirteen tracks on "Right In The Guts". In my opinion there isn't any weak song on it. The album was recorded in Frank's own 'Arena 20' studio in Hanover, Germany, and has an excellent production, which was done by Frank as well. The musicians on this second solo album of HERMAN FRANK are, besides Herman Frank himself of course, Rick Altzi (vocals; AT VANCE, THUNDERSTONE), Mamalitsidis Cristos (guitar), Peter Pichl (bass) and Michael Wolpers (drums). With Altzi, Herman Frank does have a great singer in his band, who has a very powerful voice. I already knew Altzi from THUNDERSTONE (I reviewed their album "Dirt Metal" in July of 2010). There's one song on the album that reminds me very much of WHITESNAKE, and that's "Falling To Pieces". That song could easily have been on one of WHITESNAKE's albums. Anyway, I like this album from the first track "Roaring Thunder" until the last one "So They Run" very much. My favorite tracks are without a doubt "Roaring Thunder", "Ivory Gate", "Vengeance", "Starlight", "Falling To Pieces", "Waiting", "Lights Are Out" and "So They Run". This album will make many more spins in my CD player, that's for sure. "Right In The Guts" is a strong and fantastic album, and highly recommended to anyone who's into classic Heavy- and Power Metal.
Visit their website: http://www.hermanfrank.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hermanfrank

85/100

HUNTRESS – Spell Eater (CD) USA August 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 43:00 (Tracks: 10)
Ready for a decent portion of old school Heavy Metal filled up with some fine ingrediënts of speed and trash, then this is something for you. Huntress is a new band under leadership by Jill Janus. This new metal beauty is, besides the eyecatcher of the band, also the one to terrorize the microphone with her variety in vocal capabilities. She grunts, screams and shouts nice but agressive and switches easily between these styles. Well, the music askes for it, because also musically it switches between pure metal with sudden breaks, blastbeats and evil spoken words. So as musically as vocally they must have Mercyful Fate/King Diamond as one of their heroes. Nothing wrong with that and most tracks ( “Spelleater”, “Senicide”, “Nightrape” and “Eight of Swords”) are strong metallers with whooping axe work and damn fine riffs to keep us more than satisfied. Some tracks however can't keep my attention; they sound a bit bored (“Aradia”) and lack the power of the ones mentioned before. Another point are the vocals. However our dear lady certainly has vocal capacities her constant screams are sometimes too much to handle because in the long run it begins to sound shrill and less accurate. That's a pity, it takes away the sinister feel of some tracks. Overall this debut on Napalm records, after their self produced EP “off With Her Head” a few years back, is certainly promising and offers enough good stuff. It's nice divers, played skillfully, kicks ass and with the bewitched vocals of Janus they sound pretty unique. Curious how they present themselves live. Enough potention to spread the metal word.
Visit their website: http://www.huntresskills.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/huntresskills

78/100

KLOGR – Till You Decay (CD) Italy / USA August 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Alternative Rock / Alternative Metal Running time: 46:21 (Tracks: 11)
First of all, I never had heard of KLOGR (strange name) before. Well, KLOGR (pronounced KAY - LOG - R) is a four-piece band/project from Italy/USA, which sits on a thin line between Alternative Rock and Alternative Metal. The band exists of Gabriele "Rusty" Rustichelli (vocals, guitar), Nicola Briganti (guitar; also from LENA'S BAEDREAM), Todd Allen (bass; also from BESIDE MYSELF) and Filippo De Pietri (drums). The idea to start KLOGR took shape in May of 2010, and in June of 2011, these guys started to record the songs for their debut album, which is titled "Till You Decay". After several times listening to "Till You Decay", I just have to admit that the songs on this debut album, which was released in January of this year, are all sounding very nice. Some are even very catchy, with fantastic vocal lines. There's one quieter song on this album, which is the last track "Young Graves". Also the production, which was done by Gabriele Rustichelli himself, sounds very good. The first single of "Till You Decay" is "Bleeding", and is indeed a good choice as a single. The songs are excellent performed, and Rustichelli is a good singer. His voice fits perfect for this type of music. The songs which in my opinion are the best are "Live Dying", "Silk And Thorns", "Bleeding", "Self Loathing", "You Gotta Know", "Value Of Sin" and "Silted Memories". Anyway, KLOGR is a very interesting band/project, with more than a very nice debut album. If you like Alternative Rock/Metal, then it's absolutely worth checking this album out. I think the younger generation who are into the more modern metal will like KLOGR as well. Well done guys.
Visit their website: http://www.klogr.net
Recordlabel: http://www.valeryrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/klogrmusic

78/100

KRAANIUM – Post Mortal Coital Fixation (CD) Norway August 2012 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Brutal Death Metal Running time: 35:15 (Tracks: 12)
This is Kraanium from Norway and they play brutal, slammin' death metal. Lyrics from “Stillborn Necrotic Fuckfeast” go like this: RUUUIIIIIIIIII? GRIIRURIRURIRURIURIUUUIIUIUIIIUIIIIUII BREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!RUUUIIIIIIIIII? GRIIRURIRURIRURIURIUUUIIUIUIIIUIIIIUII BREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!RUUUIIIIIIIIII? GRIIRURIRURIRURIURIUUUIIUIUIIIUIIIIUII BREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!RUUUIIIIIIIIII? GRIIRURIRURIRURIURIUUUIIUIUIIIUIIIIUII BREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And those from “Slurping the Vaginal Puss” like this STOYBOYUOKGRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII SKIPPITIIITIIIINFECTIIITOYUYU YUYIIILAAATE. DIIYBBBIIIOOOOIIIIIIIIEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those are just some snippets from this new full length by Norway's finest! I have seen them at Neurotic Deathfest in Tilburg a few years ago and they ruled.
The last couple of releases from this perverst are respected releases within brutal death metal scene but this one will easliy top all there past releases. With a perfect snare drum sound and a vocalist that sounds like sucking the last drop out of your milk skake (banana)!!! This is Kraanium and Chris Barnes sounds like a pussy! RUUUIIIIIIIIII? GRIIRURIRURIRURIURIUUUIIUIUIIIUIIIIUII BREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!RUUUIIIIIIIIII? GRIIRURIRURIRURIURIUUUIIUIUIIIUIIIIUII BREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!RUUUIIIIIIIIII? GRIIRURIRURIRURIURIUUUIIUIUIIIUIIIIUII BREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!RUUUIIIIIIIIII? GRIIRURIRURIRURIURIUUUIIUIUIIIUIIIIUII BREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! “She was still alive when the cut her head off”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Recordlabel: http://www.comatosemusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kraanium

84/100

LITA FORD – Living like a Runaway (CD) USA August 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard rock Running time: 42:47 (Tracks: 10)
Everybody knows the British born dangerously curved bombshell Lita Ford. The blond beauty has had an extensive career in music so far. Being a founding member of The Runaways, the all-female pop-rock group in the late seventies, she gained a reputation as a skilled and fast guitar player. In the eighties of the former century she had to do it on her own and her first record (on Polygram) saw the light in 1983. In her management team (Don Arden and Sharon Osbourne), she found people that encouraged her and brought her in contact with the great musicians and record companies of that era. Her most creative and most commercial breakthrough-phase came in 1988 and Lita had some successful single hits, like “Kiss me deadly (a cover of Billy Idol's Generation X' song), Shot of poison, Larger than life, What do you know about love and “Close my eyes forever (a famous duet with Ozzy Osbourne)”. After her 'Dangerous curves” album in 1991 people lost interest in her musical output and her career as a female rock-icon. In 1995 her active musical career stopped, but Lita came back in 2009 with a very bad album ( Wicked Wonderland, released on JLRG Records). She toured with Queensryche in the USA and she was a special guests on a few European Rock Festivals. And now she's back with a new album, to be released by SPV Germany. The album title refers to her teenage musical steps as a Runaway-member, but it has a second perspective: Her personal life hasn't been easy at all. Most of the lyrics reflect on this personal 'bumps '. Lyricist Michael Dan Ehmig (he wrote lots of lyrics for The Riverdogs, Rob Lamothe, Omar and the Howlers and he's Lita's writing partner since the beginning of the nineties of the former century) and Lita show us some in-depth reflections and characteristics. The production of the album is good, with a lot of focus on the guitars. Gary Hoey, a friend of Lita, taking care of the production isn't a new name: Hoey has made a dozen (mostly) instrumental albums so far and his guitar-antics are amazing! Together with Lita he's responsible for the guitar harmonics that shine on this album. The songs on “Living like a runaway” are good, enough said. From the fast and furious opener “Branded”, to the protrusive songs that fits like a glove to Lita's voice and guitar like “Hate”, “The Mask”, from the electric ballads with the acoustic preludes like “Mother” and “Asylum” to the pop rock bashers like the title track, “Relentless” and the Nikki Sixx' song “ The song to slit your wrist by”, the albums listens good way, it's nice to hear Lita rocking again! The new Lita Ford album will be released in different formats. The deluxe edition digipack version of this album has two bonus songs that are really interesting: The Elton John cover “The bitch is back” and the Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake guitarist) penned and played “ Bad neighbourhood”. Lita will tour with Poison and Def Leppard from June to September in the USA. A small European Tour is in the can as well. We'll see if this dream will come true. Nice comeback!
Visit their website: http://www.litafordonline.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/litaford

81/100

LOVERBOY – Rock 'n Roll Revival (CD) Canada August 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic rock Running time: 1:00:18 (Tracks: 12)
The guys of Loverboy should be as big and as rich as their USA-fellowmen of Bon Jovi. Loverboy was a huge Canadian (the band was formed in Calgary) melodic rock outfit with a gigantic live-status, many hits (thirteen top-50 US hit singles between 1981 and 1989) and big selling albums (their first four albums, recorded between 1981 and 1985, went multi-platinum). Where did it go wrong, why did Loverboy never reached the commercial and artistic top of Bon Jovi? I don't know, the Canadians stayed close to their pop rock and versatile brand of music and never made concessions to popular trends or styles. And the band stopped their active career in 1989, a period when a lot of melodic acts had successes. The boys reunited in 1997, but a boat accident took the life of the bass player Scott Smith (he was declared dead after being lost at sea). In 2005 there was life in Loverboy again, a fantastic album (Just getting started) was released by E1 Entertainment in Canada. Frontiers, the Italian melodic rock label, has signed the band and this new album 'Rock 'n roll revival' is their first opus for the European , Asian and American market. Is it new? Not exactly, the album has three new songs and nine rerecorded arena rock staples Loverboy is famous of. The three new songs are recorded by Bob Rock in Bryan Adams' Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, home of the band these days. Paul Dean, the veteran guitarist of the band, produced the rerecordings. This album sounds good with a lot of emphasis on the guitar. The three tracks sound promising, but I didn't like the title track. The chorus is too weak and old-fashioned. The nine classic Loverboy tracks stay close to their original versions, but you can hear more dosage, more evolution and the focus on a live environment. I think they sound good, the guys are instrumental and vocal skilled professionals. Loverboy will be a part of a gigantic live tour with Pat Benatar and Journey, starting at the end of July in San Bernadino and ending in December in Vancouver. It will be quite a party! Great album, great opportunity for the people that don't know anything about this beautiful band to listen to the music of the melodic rock heydays.
Visit their website: http://www.loverboyband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/loverboyband

82/100

MILLION DOLLAR RELOAD – A Sinner's Saint (CD) Northern Ireland August 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Sleaze Rock with classic rock hints Running time: 48:55 (Tracks: 11)
Million Dollar Reload started in 2006 and the Belfast' boys made a very good debut album in 2007 on Lime / Bulletproof Records. A friend of the band, Neal Calderwood, producer for the flagships of British heavy rockmusic The Almighty and The Answer, took care of the production. The album was filled with barnestorming, sleazy rock with elements of glamrock , classic rock and heavy bluesy stuff ( like the British band Thunder played at that time) and it gained good reviews. The band had a strong live status and Million Dollar Reload was the special guest on many hard rock festivals in the UK and in Northern Europe and the band played a British tour with Alice Cooper. Their second album “A Sinner's Saint” is the one I'm listening to.
The band sounds tighter than ever and the music has grown into a smoother version of Buckcherry, LA Guns with hints of classic Aerosmith and AC / DC. Fans of the genre will recognize the vocals of Phil Conalane and the similarity with the younger version of the late Bon Scott of Buckcherry : Josh Todd. Neal Calderwood produced the album again wit a lot of focus on the guitars ( Andy Mackle and Brian Mallon). The songs have that thick base, balls to the wall emphasis and the rhythm section ( Kie McMurray on bas guitars and Sean McKernan on drums) has that perfect chemistry. When you're searching for the 'rock 'n roll glory in the sleazy rock songs and lyrics, well, you've found it in this Frontiers'release. Million Dollar Reload have the balls, the attitude, the belief and the songs to make it happen. The first four songs on this album will nail you down, the fifth song (the ballad “Broken“( with Aerosmith and Tesla influences) will bring you some rest, some time to breathe fresh air again. But the second half of this album will blow your eyebrows off. What a power! I'm not a big fan of the sleazy genre, but this album surprised me a lot and I'm glad the team of Serafino (Frontiers'boss and a big fan of melodic rock and AOR) took the guts to plan the release of this album. Great stuff!
Visit their website: http://www.milliondollarreload.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/milliondollarreload

87/100

MOLLO / MARTIN – The Third Cage (CD) Italy / United Kingdom August 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 49:55 (Tracks: 10)
Well, it's a long time ago since I reviewed an album which is released by Frontiers Records, because I am not someone who's into downloading albums. Anyway, recently I bought this album "The Third Cage" of Dario MOLLO and Tony MARTIN. It's a long time ago since I've heard new material with TONY MARTIN, because the only albums I have with Tony Martin on vocals are the BLACK SABBATH albums "The Eternal Idol" (1987), "Headless Cross" (1989) and "TYR" (1990). And these three albums are all terrific. The only two albums of SABBATH with Martin on vocals that I don't have are "Cross Purposes" (1994) and "Forbidden" (1995). I don't know why, but I never checked those albums out when they were released. Anyway, Tony Martin is just a world-class singer with a fantastic rock voice. On November 1st, 1990 I even saw BLACK SABBATH with Tony Martin at the Jaap Edenhal in Amsterdam, Holland (with CIRCUS OF POWER as their support act). "The Third Cage" is the third chapter of the collaboration between Italian guitarist/producer Dario Mollo and singer Tony Martin. Personally I am not familiar with the predecessors "The Cage" (1999) and "The Cage 2" (2002). This album is my first acquaintance with DARIO MOLLO as a guitarist, and I have to admit he's an excellent guitarist. What you can expect on this album is of course traditional classic Hard Rock, with fantastic guitar solos of Mollo and great vocals of Martin. Sometimes you can hear influences of the legendary LED ZEPPELIN, but it also reminds of BLACK SABBATH's period with Martin. The album starts with the single "Wicked World", which is a nice song (a video clip of "Wicked World" is on the CD as well). To be honest, I do like the second track "Cirque Du Freak" more. Also all other tracks are in my opinion better than "Wicked World". The last track on "The Third Cage", titled "Violet Moon", is a nice ballad. The production was of course done by Dario Mollo himself, and sounds very good. Nevertheless, "The Third Cage" is a very enjoyable Hard Rock album with fantastic songs such as the aforementioned "Cirque De Freak", "Oh My Soul", the superb "Still In Love With You", "Wardance" and "Blind Fury". All I can say is that "The Third Cage" is a good classic Hard Rock album.
Visit their website: http://www.dariomollo.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dariomollo

78/100

MYRKVAR – As en Bloed (CD) The Netherlands August 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Folk Metal Running time: 46:09 (Tracks: 12)
Can't say I'm a big fan when it comes to music with Dutch lyrics, let alone metal with Dutch lyrics. On the other hand, I surely can dig some Folk Metal from time to time, so when I received the second Myrkvar album 'As en Bloed,' It could have gone either way. Luckily for Myrkvar (and myself) I found myself to be surprisingly positive about this album, and even listened to this while focussing on the lyrics. Honestly, to me it's a bit strange to hear people from Holland sing about Norwegian mythology. But I must say that they've managed to write a very interesting concept. This, combined with the diverse musical spectrum, 'As en Bloed' has become a qualitatively good album. The record starts with the intro 'Noodlot,' after which the band guides you through a story that described the end of times. The songs contain a lot of the traditional Folk Metal ingredients, but the band isn't trapped within the barriers of the genre. The album grows on you and will reveal more layers the more you listen to it. As you can read I was a little sceptic at first, but Myrkvar took this feeling away by offering a very good album that demands your attention. A true recommendation for any Folk Metal fan.
Visit their website: http://www.myrkvar.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.shiver-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/myrkvar

78/100

NEXHYMN – Black Horizon (MCD) USA August 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 27:25 (Tracks: 6)
Hailing from Colorado, NEXHYMN is a female fronted death metal band, born from the ashes of Throcult in 2010. The name of the band is derived from a combination of the Latin word Nex (defined as death, violent nature, and slaughter) and the word Hymn (a simple song of praise). This is their self released debut EP 'Black Horizon', recorded at Fire storm studios and mixed and mastered at Flatline Audio. The music on this release is totally merciless death and brutality, comparable to for instance Dreams of Damnation or Cannibal Corpse, in fact Holly Wedel is the female version of George 'Corpsegrinder' Fischer, not someone I wanna run into in a dark alley at night. Totally brutal, yet a technical and aggressive mix of old and new death metal. The titles speak for itself 'Decaying Monument', 'Undetermined Supplication', 'Repacious Temptest', 'Black Horizon', 'Exquisite Plague', 'Death Emotion', it doesn't get any more brutal than this. NEXHYMN delivers a fine debut EP with 'Black Horizon' and my guess is that it won't be long before they get offers from interested labels!
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nexhymn

84/100

SCYTHE OF ORION – Sun-Dial (CD) Finland August 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Symphonic Metal Running time: 38:31 (Tracks: 11)
Finally! If there's one band whose full length debut I was longing for to cherish my ears with, then it was this Finnish 2009 surprise Scythe of Orion. Very often I checked their site for information about tours, new stuff or any news at all; but it was so damn silent there that I thought that once again a fine band had quit. But suddenly there appeared the news of a full length in progress. And here it finally is. At first I would like to refer for more detailed information about this band and their wonderful X-Lives mini cd; just check my review by MMM September 2009. Being so enthusiastic about a former release and the desperate longing for more, make that the expectations are very high. So was it worth the wait then? I have to say it took me about 5 times listening before the quarter fell.. before I was sold … again, X-Lives got me by the balls immediately and this Sun-Dial, well it just didn't. That was in first a real disappointment to me. There are two facts about that. Anu's voice, which I still admire, but isn't really powerful, is a bit neglected in the mix, the guitars dominate too much, so she's often hardly heard in the more up tempo tracks. Second one was that the songs sounded a bit sweet. Well, those days are totally gone except for the mixing of Anu's voice in the harder, faster parts. That's a pity but a lesson for the next one. The album opens with the (too) short, beautiful, yet a bit creepy, piano and violin based “Sun-Dial” and shows already Scythe of Orion at their best. “Ice Soldiers” kicks in and rocks your balls out. What a surprise this one is. It's massive, catchy and the band's characteristic violin/piano combination delivers it's contribution in the middle of the song. A real pearl and a perfect live killer song. “Perfect Silence” follows and shows the more melodic and mid tempo side of the band. “Catch My Dreams” is also mid tempo and reminds immediately to the sound of X-Lives but characterizes itself by a poppy chorus. “From The Beyond” is a very strong power ballad which has a slight gothic feeling.
“Power Invested In Money” shows their faster power metal side again and really kicks ass. Follower “The Town” is even faster and asks a lot from your neck muscles. Next one “Listen My Friend”, well … it leaves me speechless, It slows down, but falls in heavy in the middle piece. Anu accelerates here and this song reminds highly to “Shadowland” from the X-Lives mini. She really knows how to move me with her distinctive voice. I know that there are people who think different but I really love this lady's voice. The music of Scythe of Orion is already distinctive and diacritical from itself, but Anu's voice makes it all complete for me.
“Now and Forever” is the balladdesque rest point of the album. “The Storm” follows and is again a very brilliant power ballad. Lyrically it's a damn tear jerking one. Spoken of the lyrics; they're all right from the heart, telling about the values of today's world like greed, the use of power and the state of nature. “The short “Day Of Scythe Of Orion” closes this piece of jewellery that impresses me again. This debut rocks, kicks ass, moves and offers variation played so damn well by these music giants that I really don't understand why they're still haven't been signed. They have surprised me with the power of “Ice Soldiers” and “Power Invested In Money” and again they have succeeded to move me with the drama in “Listen My Friend” and “The Storm”. Above all this band sounds unique and, I quote from my former 2009 review here “come with a mixture of melody, drama and suspense in combination with pure metal craftsmanship, colourful added with interesting interludes like violin, piano and even jazz, sung by a distinctive, characteristic voice makes this debut album longing for more, yet also hard to describe. “Scythe-metal” maybe …… Forgotten are my first hesitations, I should blame the band for that, delivering such a shameful great record like X-Lives.. well you ask for high expectations ehm…. but they got me by the balls again and that's a pretty good feeling, figural speaking of course. Worth to mention is also the beautiful artwork on the album which perfectly matches the music. Awesome band, I really can't say anything else but brilliant. Check this band out if you are into symphonic stuff that sounds just a bit different.
Visit their website: http://www.scytheoforion.com

90/100

STALWART – Manifest of Refusal (CD) Russia August 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death Metal Running time: 51:34 (Tracks: 9)
The Russian Death Metal band Stalwart was formed in the late nineties. Since then, they released no less than five full length studio albums of which the latest 'Manifest of Refusal' is reviewed right here. I've never heard of Stalwart before, so I will just focus on the album. Technical Death Metal is a tough genre to be in. There are thousands of bands who play this kind of music and it hard to make yourself noticed. Stalwart is a good example of this. 'Manifest of Refusal' is very well produced and that is adding a lot of depth to the songs. The riffs are technical and complex, the drums are aggressive and so are the vocals. All good stuff in which the band members show fine musicianship. But there is one thing lacking, and that is the presence of memorable songs. Maybe not a big problem for the Death Metal enthusiast, but to me, that's a reason that the album stays in the mediocre. But be sure to check it out for yourself.
Recordlabel: http://www.prcmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stalwartmetal

68/100

TERAMAZE – AnhedoniA (CD) Australia August 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 57:34 (Tracks: 11)
To me this is a big surprise. Often the stuff you hear from down under is raw and straightforward metal. Teramaze is a great exception as they play a kind of thrashy metal with lots of progressive influences. They hail from Melbourne and consist of Dean Wells (guitars/backing vocals), Brett Rerekura (vocals), Mathew Dawson (guitars), Dean Kennedy (drums) and Tijon Lolis (bass). Julian Percy recorded the drums on this album but sadly, he passed away. The first track on the album is the title-track. It starts with a great riff and some double-bass drums before Rerekura starts singing. It is a special mix between a traditional metal sound and more modern vocals, resulting in a very catchy track. The vocals tend to sound like late Layne Stayley (Alice in Chains). “Without Red Hands” is a great follow-up to the title-track. Rerekura sounds very divers throughout the song ranging from soft and emotional to rough and screaming. This track also features late Julian Percy as the drumming is very intense and heavy. It is the shortest track but it is also a very powerful piece of music. “Through The Madness” starts a bit as a slow and heavy song. It is completely filled with superb guitar riffing and soloing. The speed varies throughout the song making it a great composition. Towards the end, the riffing continues until the fade-out. On “Machine”, it is again the combination of the thrashy riffing, double-bass drums and the great voice of Rerekura that makes this song special. “Acts of Reparation” has a groovy start and turns into a song with a lot of different sentiments inside. The vocals on “Fear of the Unknown” are partly almost spoken and there are also some twisted noises and soaring voices to be heard. The music fits the song-title perfectly and Well's and Dawson's guitar playing is great on this track as is the drumming. The tempo is up on “Black Circles”, this combined with Rerekura's voice, and the overall superb musical performance makes it a real exciting song. The drumming is very prominently present on “Proverb Le Jame” and the vocals are a bit spooky and soaring. The guitar solo towards the end is fantastic. With over seven minutes, “Where the Dead Grow” is by far the longest track on the album. Again, the vocals vary much as they sometimes sound soft and friendly and the other moment they sound mean and aggressive. This is also a great composition. The guitar riffing on “Egostatic” is superb while the drums sound very powerful on yet another great track. The last track, “Ever Enhancing II” is a bonus track. This is a complete different track compared to the rest of the album, as it is an acoustic ballad. This album is something special as it it's not progressive metal the way you expect it but it's a combination of progressive and thrash metal mixed with some more modern metal influences. The vocals are superb; the guitar playing is excellent as is the rhythm-section and the songs are great. So there is only one conclusion: Teramaze rule!!! Get these guys over to Europe please.
Visit their website: http://www.teramaze.com.au
Recordlabel: http://www.nigtmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/teramaze

90/100

THE SHRINE – Primitive Blast (CD) USA August 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Punk / Stoner Running time: 31:50 (Tracks: 9)
THE SHRINE is a trio from Venice, CA, U.S.A. and exists of Josh Landau (vocals, guitar), Courtland Murphy (bass) and Jeff Murray (drums). The band was formed in 2008 and released a four track demo in 2009. Well, "Primitive Blast" is the band's second album. In 2010 the band released their self titled debut album, which was produced by BLACK FLAG's Chuck Dukowski. Anyway, "Primitive Blast", which by the way has an ugly album cover, features 9 songs which can best described as a mixture of Hard Rock, Stoner Rock and Punk. Sometimes there are also some Psychedelic influences. The vocals of Landau fits perfect for this type of music. The pace of the songs is in general pretty high. The average running time of the songs is 3 and a half minutes. The longest track on "Primitive Blast" is the last track, which is titled "Deep River (Livin' To Die)" (6:25). What these three guys do is not new or spectacular, but I have to admit that this album sounds very nice. The songs which I like the most are "Zipper Tripper" (3:07), "Whistlings Of Death" (2:17), the title track "Primitive Blast" (3:30), "Louise" (2:27) and "Drinking Man" (4:01). Anyway, "Primitive Blast" is a very nice sounding album to listen to, and it will visit my CD-player so now and then.
Visit their website: http://www.theshrineband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.teepeerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/aquanebulaoscillator

75/100

TRIUMPH – Live at Sweden Rock (CD) Canada August 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock Running time: 1:11:18 (Tracks: 10)
The Sweden Rock Festival is one of the best classic rock festivals in the world. The festival started in June 1992 with a line-up of nine bands (Nazareth and Wishbone Ash were the headliners of the festival). In this years' edition eighty four rock bands took the stage in the first weekend of June. The festival offers a wide range of rock music: Classic rock, metal, melodic rock, adult orientated rock, Southern rock and many bands use the gig in Sweden as a start of something new, as a return to form, as a reunion-gig. The Sweden Rock Festival offers also many bands you've never seen before in Europe or elsewhere (classic rock acts like Nightranger, Ratt, Shakin'Street, Axe, Santers, Coney Hatch, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, Point Blank shared the stage in Sweden and I've seldom seen this bands playing elsewhere). The edition of 2008 marked the return of a Canadian classic rock band: Triumph. The band had stopped in 1993 and the three original members hadn't played a gig since 1988, the year of the break with Rik Emmett, the guitar player and co-lead singer. Triumph, however, is one of the best Canadian rock bands ever. The band was often compared with Rush because of their musical and intellectual approach, because of their classical and progressive elements in their music, because of the fact that both bands were the ultimate power trio's in Canada and both bands had successes in North America, Asia, South America and Europe. Triumph released ten studio albums and five live recordings, eight of them were certified gold or higher and the band won the prestigious Canadian Juno Award for being the best band of the country in 1979, 1985, 1986 and 1987. The performance in Sweden was released as a bootleg DVD and CD before, but now it will be officially released by Frontiers, the Italian melodic rock label. The gig was a one / off gig, after that Triumph made many plans for a tour, a set of reunion gigs in the States and in Canada, but none of the plans came through. The band released a new 'best of compilation album with remastered tracks (accompanied by a DVD with extra features), but that was all so far. It's nice to hear the band rocking again in Sweden. The band is in good shape. Mike Levine, Gill Moore and Rik Emmett are assisted by Dave Dunlop a friend of Rik and guitar player for Canadian rock band Full Nine and The Strung Out Troubadours, a jazzy outfit with Rik Emmett). Most classic Triumph anthems pass the revue, it's a pity the band didn't choose songs from their more melodic side and back catalogue (Follow you heart, Spellbound, On and on, Never say never, Somebody's out there, Just one night). But I like the sound, the songs and it's great hearing three outstanding musicians playing again. This CD is a part of a CD / DVD package. I haven't seen the DVD before, it would be fantastic to see the concert in three-D, full Technicolor live. Great release of this classic rock giant!
Visit their website: http://www.triumphmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it

80/100

WIGELIUS – Reinventions (CD) Sweden Ausgust 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hardrock / Scandi-Rock Running time: 47:29 (Tracks: 12)
On the 25th of August 2011 a 23 year old Swedish boy drew the attention of many viewers during the True Talent broadcast on Swedish National TV. Anders Wigelius sang a Journey cover ( Don't stop believing) and he got rave reviews in the whole country. His countryman, the musician and producer Daniel Flores(of Issa, Mind's Eye, The Murder of my Sweet's fame), contacted him and together they started writing music, lyrics and songs. The result of this collaboration is the album 'Reinventions' by Wigelius. Wigelius isn't a on – off project, Anders and Daniel found musical companions in Anders' brother Erik (who plays drums), Jake Svensson (on guitars) and Chris Petterson (on bass guitars). The album is a typical Swedish melodic rock – album that has a lot of similarities with Swedish pop rock acts like the Tommy Denander – projects (Rainmaker, Heartbreak Radio), Angeline, Eclipse, Far North, Work of Art, T'Bell and the Westcoast-type band Spin Gallery. The ingredients of their melodic rock are evident: Crunchy guitars, nice mid – and high-pitched vocals, big chorusses in accessible songs. Wigelius has also hints of the American adult orientated rock-stars like Toto, Mr.Mister and Richard Marx. Nothing new for these Swedes, Anders used to sing in Gamblers, a cover band with a playlist filled with songs from these 'heroes. From the opener 'Angeline' to the closing “I reach out” the album grabs you by the balls. The songs are catchy, recognizable, they have (just) enough energy, depth and variation.
Anders' voice and vocal lines are the main factor in the production, but the mix is sufficient and the mastering (by Harem Scarem vocalist Harry Hess) is quite good. I realize that a lot of Scandinavian bands sound like Wigelius, but “Reinvntions 'is an album you can listen to at any moment of the day: It's fresh, it's cheerful and it's quite good. I'm sure we'll hear more from these guys in the near future. Frontiers will release this album at the end of June and you can hear the up-tempo “Angeline” on Frontiers Records' webradio. Reinventions” tracklisting includes: Angeline; Talking About Love; Do You Really Know; Next To Me; My Cassandra; Piece Of The Action; Too Young To Fall In Love; Right Here, Right Now; Love Can Be That Much; Hold On To Love; There Is No Me Without You; I Reach Out
Visit their website: http://www.wigelius.net
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anderswigelius

81/100

JUNE

AGRESIVA – Eternal Foe (CD) Spain June 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 41:48 (Tracks: 9)
"Eternal Foe" is the debut album of Spanish Thrash Metal band AGRESIVA. The band was formed in 2008, did have some line-up changes, but the current line-up exists of Samuel G. San José (vocals), Miguel Coello (guitar), Daniel Villaseñor (bass) and Chus Maestro (drums). Before this album, the band released a demo, titled "Sent To War", in the fall of 2010. These guys recorded 9 songs for "Eternal Foe", and produced the album by themselves. "Eternal Foe" starts with the short intro "Nocturnia", followed by "Pale Horse (Red D'eath)". If you listen to the songs on "Eternal Foe", you can hear these Spanish Thrashers are influenced by the mighty EXODUS. Well, songs like the aforementioned "Pale Horse (Red D'eath)", "Hell Town", "The Glorious Revolution", "Eternal Foe" and "Sent To War" are absolutely fantastic Thrash songs. Okay, many bands from the new generation of Thrash Metal do not sound very original as well, and they are all influenced by the Thrash- and Crossover Metal bands from the eighties. But, although this is a good album, AGRESIVA doesn't belong to the top of the new generation of Thrash bands. Don't get me wrong, it's absolutely not bad what these guys of AGRESIVA do, because musically these guys play their instruments well. Coello is an excellent guitarist with fantastic riffs and solos, and Villaseñor and Maestro are a good rhythm section. Only, personally I don't like the vocals of Samuel G. San José that much, especially the vibration in his voice, but he is not a very bad singer though. Anyway, if you are into Thrash Metal then you could give this album a try by checking it out yourself. I'm sure you will like it.
Visit their website: http://www.reverbnation.com/agresiva
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/agresivametal

70/100

ANCESTORS – In Dreams And Time (CD) USA June 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Psychedelic / Progressive Rock / Doom Metal / Avant Garde Running time: 66:09 (Tracks: 6)
Instead of WHIRR's album “Pipe Dreams” (see also this months update of MMM), which is also released on Tee Pee Records, “In Dreams And Time” of Los Angeles based Psychedelic Prog Rock band ANCESTORS is a way much interesting album. ANCESTORS began as a three-piece project in 2006, and became finally a five-piece band. So far they have released the following albums on Tee Pee Records, “Neptune With Fire” (2008) and “Of Sound Mind” (2009). Personally I am not familiar with these two former albums. The band did have a few line-up changes, but the line-up of ANCESTORS on “In Dreams And Time” exists of Justin Maranga (guitar, vocals), Nick Long (bass, vocals), Jason Watkins (organ, piano, vocals), Matt Barks (moog & modular synthesizer, vocals) and Daniel Pouliot (drums; also HORSE THE BAND). Anyway, “In Dreams And Time” is the third album of the band, and features, with a running time of 66 minutes, only 6 songs. It is a very varied album, with different genres, pretty long songs, and that all makes it very interesting. It's very psychedelic, has a lot of atmosphere in it, and there are also very heavy doom parts in the songs. The shortest track on "In Dreams And Time" is the second one “The Last Return” (6:16) and the longest is the last track “First Light” (19:19). And believe me, none of the 6 songs gets boring. It's a real pleasure to listen to the whole album. “Whispers” (9:02), “Corryvreckan” (12:08), “On The Wind” (9:32), “Running In Circles” (9:44) and the two aforementioned songs “The Last Return” and “First Light” are all fantastic. I think even PINK FLOYD fans will like this. Anyway, this is a superb album, which was more than a very nice acquaintance to me. It's a real discovery. Recently, April 12th 2012, ANCESTORS played at the Roadburn festival (which is always sold out very quickly) in my hometown Tilburg, Holland, and it seems they were absolutely one of the highlights. Now that I have heard this album many times, I understand why they were one of the highlights. A real recommendation.
Visit their website: http://www.ancestorsmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.teepeerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ancestorsband

88/100

ANGERTEA – Distrust (MCD) HUNGARY June 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Hardrock / Grunge Running time: 16:54 (Tracks: 3)
The Hungarian based grunge/hardrock band Angertea has been around since the mid-nineties, and since then released a total of three studio albums. Although having a loyal fanbase in their home country, the band didn't gain much attention abroad. With their latest E.P. 'Distrust', this is most likely to change. On this studio effort, the band provides us with three songs that reminisce of the grunge era, but with a somewhat more heavy approach. The songs are catchy, melodic and the melancholic vocals suits the music very well. Especially the title track and 'Streams' are songs that stick with you. Guest appearances by Scott Reeder (Kyuss, Goatsnake) and Attila Voros (Nevermore) makes it all the more special. Another feature that is worth mentioning is the production. It sounds full and very professional. No wonder, because producer Neil Kernon, who previously worked with the likes of Judas Priest and Queensryche, took care of the mixing duties. It seems that with 'Distrust', the band is determined to take things to the next level. Based on the musical quality of the songs, I see no reason why this can't be done. Very nice record!
Visit their website: http://www.angertea.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angertea

80/100

ARKADIA – Tailwind / Parenthesis of Life (MCD) Finland June 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 8:52 (Tracks: 2)
A two track piece of silver; what is there to say about. Arkadia brings this stuff out after seven (!) demo's and several line up changes so they say. Well, if feel comfortable bringing out a demo after every line up change than that explains the amount …. Arkadia plays melodic, melancholic metal, influenced by Iron Maiden, Paradise Lost and a slight touch of the old Fates Warning. Musically it's not bad at all, it's played very well, has it's variety moments, but overall it sounds a bit sweet. But hey, two numbers, what's to say here. The thing is that I'm quite sure there will become a following demo because I see a line up change in the near future … Annti-Jusso Valkama honours his first name in the vocals he does; pretty “anti” so to say. Unmistakable the weak point in the band. With this man behind the microphone they won't come any further, so were heading up for demo number eight.
Visit their website: http://www.arkadiaband.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/arkadia

50/100

ASTRAL– Mundo Perdido, Mundo Prohibido (MCD) Spain June 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 28:01 (Tracks: 5)
Because all information is in Spanish, it is difficult to get the total picture complete. Astral hail from Spain and consists of José Cebrián (vocals), Rafael Such and Rubén Albaladejo (guitars) , Javier Plazas (bass) , Fran Carrasco (drums) and Héctor Sierra (keyboards). This EP starts with the title-track, which is an instrumental that sounds like an opera with a big classical orchestra for the biggest part. After almost two minutes, it flows smoothly into the second track, “Tiempos de Esperanza”. There is an eruption of keyboards, guitars and drums. After this display of musical craftsmanship it is Cebrián that starts his singing on a very modest way. Not for long though, as the power blasts you away. I do not understand the lyrics but I love the sound of the Spanish language. The song is filled by great progressive music. “Eterna Luz” is the next one and the quality is also high on this one. Astral know how to play a song. There are some Dream Theater-elements present as there are tempo-changes and a lot of variation in the song. It varies from heavy riffing to great soloing combined with a pounding rhythm-section. The fourth track, “Pacto de Cristal” has a lot of double-bass drums and it also includes some oriental parts. Cebrián does a great job, as he has to remain upright against the high-class musicianship by the rest of the band. The last track, “El Momente de la Verdad” is the fourth song that clocks over six minutes. Like the other songs, this is also a great composition and a beautiful song. Astral has a lot of capacity in the band. Although I like the Spanish language, I do not think it is wise to release the next album in Spanish. Spanish is a bigger language than English, according to some sites, but the metal-language remains English. Therefore, if Astral wants to make a big step forward they know what to do. They have the talent. We will just have to wait and see but in the meantime, I really enjoyed this foretaste.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/metalastral

85/100

AXXIS – Rediscover (CD) Germany June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic rock / Cover album Running time: 54:48 (Tracks: 13)
A lot of rock bands have made cover albums so far. Why? To gain time to think about new musical concepts or musical directions, to write new songs and collect musical ideas and prepare them for production. And sometimes to plan an extensive tour, meeting the fans (again). Some rock bands put cover songs into their back catalogue on stage (I think Led Zeppelin was one of the first bands that switched to all kinds of medleys during songs) mostly for fun or to surprise the audiences. And there are bands that can really 'give blood' to an old hit song, that give a different approach to a known classic, like Gov't Mule (the famous jam band with Warren Haynes), Cheap Trick or Tesla. Many German bands have made cover albums as well ( Helloween, Blind Guardian, Axel Rudi Pell) and there are German bands that have released an EP with (mostly) cover songs (Gammy Ray, Pink Cream '69, The Scorpions). Phonotraxx / Soulfood-Music has just released a cover-album of Axxis. Axxis isn't a new band. Their debut album, the fantastic “Kingdom of the night” was an amazing album, selling very good in 1988 and 1989 and their “Big Thrill”- album was a real killer as well. Two years ago I saw this band as a warming-up for Gammy Ray and Helloween and their performance was tight, technical and they gained a lot of sympathy. Axxis has chosen to cover pop songs that did very well in Germany in the seventies and eighties of the former century. The playlist of these tracks is risky, but the band took the guts to perform these covers in their own way. The technical playing of these songs is good, the guitars of Marco Wriedt and the drums of Dirk Brand sound tight, heavy and flashy. The production is clear and the editing and mastering are open and fair. But I can't say the same about the music and the interpretation of the well-known songs on this album. The covers sound flat and as a listener (and a fan of Axxis' best albums) I get the feeling that the songs aren't carrying out their meaning, their message. Axxis miss the typical structure of the songs and that's too bad. I don't like “Ma Baker ( Boney M)”, “My heart will go on (Celine Dion)”, “Message in a bottle (The Police)” , “Staying alive ( the Bee Gees)”, “Another day in paradise (Phil Collins)”, “Life is Life ( Opus)” and “Roboter”( a song by the fantastic Kraftwerk). The interpretation isn't special or spectacular. The vocals tend to be one-dimensional and the pronunciation isn't that good. Too bad they play too safe and it's a pity the band stays too close to the original versions. The other coversongs of Kiss, Yes, ELO, Jethro Tull are a little better. This album stays faraway from their best work. Yesterday night I played “Into the Kingdom “ and “The ballads / The acoustics”, “Axxis II” and “The big thrill”, just to remember the fact that Axxis can make music. Better music than this cover album by far.
Visit their website: http://www.axxis.de
Recordlabel: http://www.soulfood-music.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/axxisworld

55/100

BLOODSIN – Of Masters and Slaves (CD) The Netherlands June 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 37:07 (Tracks: 10)
Bloodsin started spreading their rage since 2001. They released a demo in 2003 and a live EP in 2009 and their debut album “Tales From the Dissecting Table”. This is their second album and it sounds ravaging. It kicks off with an intro (sirens and bombings) and then the rage begins. The guitar riffs are very straight in your face and sometimes reminds me a bit of Morbid Angel. The drums are fast and furious and filled with groove and double bass. Then you got the vocals, death grunts in vain of Hate and Vader. This album contains 10 tracks of well executed death metal and the songs are filled with variety. The production of this album is also straight in your face. These guys are not afraid to experiment with their songs. The fifth song on this album (called Of Masters and Slaves) reminds me straight away of Malevolent Creation`s Memorial Arrangements (the first song on The Ten Commandments). This album is a very good example of how death metal is supposed to sound: brutal ,Intense and straight in your face!
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bloodsin

78/100

CIRCUS MAXIMUS – Nine (CD) Norway June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Progrock Running time: 59:39 (Tracks: 10)
Circus Maximus was founded in 2000 by the Haugen brothers, Mats and Truls. The brothers found some enthusaistic friends and musicians and 'The Circus' was completed. The five friends started playing covers of their favourite bands Spock's Beard and Dream Theater and many gigs in the Southern region of Norway made them popular. Their first two demos drew the attention of the Sensory label in the United States and in Europe the Italian label Frontiers Records signed the band for their debut album. “The 1st Chapter “ came out in 2005 and it was a succes. Circus Maximus shared the stage with Pagan's Mind, Kamelot, Glenn Hughes and many visitors of the American ProgPower Festival saw the band at full force. Circus Maximus is a band with a wide range of musical influences: Melodic vocals, various themes in the songs, thick guitars with metal overtones, brilliant keyboard lines and great musicianship.
Their second album “Isolate” from 2007 was even better, tighter, with nods of Marillion's peak period, Spock's Beard's themes and structures, riffola à la eighties and nineties' Kirk Hammet, ferocious fretwork and that thick, punchy production did the rest. What a concept- album. Circus Maximus toured with Symphony X in Europe and they were a surprise act at many progrock-festivals in many countries. Many fans of this band thought the band had died and gone forever. None of this was / is true. The bandmembers took the time to refine their sound, make it more anthemic and a few bandmembers became 'father '. In 2010 the band started to write and to compose new material, but several bumps in the pre-production – phase caused a delay. But “Nine”is their third album for Frontiers Records in Europe and what a monster it is! Mats Haugen has composed the songs with a more accesible approach combining the heavy stuff with open, calm themes but the progressive backbone and nerve are all around.
The production is open, clever, heavy and a bit dark with a lot of focus on Matts guitars and on the keys of Lasse Finbraten. From the dark ouverture “Forging” to the heavy structures of “Architects of Fortune” and “Damaste”, we fall into “ The game of life”, a very melodic song. The ballad “Reach within”is pure magic and the second half of this disc is even more impressive: “I am”, “The used” and “The one “are good songs with many themes and open melodies. The second powerprog-ballad “Burn after reading” is pure bliss and the album closes with the changing themes of the moody “Last goodbye”. I am impressed! What a great album this is!
Visit their website: http://www.circusmaximussite.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialcm

86/100

CORNERSTONE – Somewhere in America (CD) Austria June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Power Pop / Pop Rock Running time: 37:00 (Tracks: 10)
Cornerstone is a famous name in rock land. It's the name of a Danish rockband with singer Doogie White and Royal Hunt's bass player Steen Mogensen. It's also the name of a famous country an blues based band from Tucson, Arizona and it's the band from Mödling, in the Lower Austrian regions. Their second album is the album I'm writing about. This Austrian Cornerstone was founded in 1998 and the band started interpreting popular cover songs of that era. Around 1990 the founding members, the brothers Michael and Steve Wachelhofer started to write their own songs. The band has had many line –up changes and the boys especially took their time to pick their favourite drummer and their favourite front lady. Cornerstone was signed to ATOM Records in 2008, a label that had worked with blues artists as Jon Butcher, Barefoot Servants and John Sullivan. Cornerstone's debut album “Head over heels” draw the attention of many music fans. The steady voice of Anja Schirmer combined blues, rock and pop and it was the mainframe of the band's good reviews and successes. However Anja Schirmer left the band, but the boys found a replacement in Patricia Hillinger. Patricia was the reason for this four-piece to stay firm and to write songs for a new album “Somewhere in America. I'm glad the band released their second opus, again on ATOM Records. This album has a beautiful package, The lay-out, designed by Reinhard Müller and Jens Peter Troelsen, made me think of the last two Cold Chisel albums. And the music? Well, Patricia Hillinger has a typical voice. Very poppy, very steady and her high pitched vocals made me think of Sue Saad, Pat Benatar, Jamie Kyle, Jacueline Govaert (from the Dutch band Krezip) and the female Christian poprock acts from the eighties of the former century ( Margareth Becker, Rebecca St.James and Lisa Nemzo). The music seems somewhat strange to many rockfans on this board, but it's very original.
The first three songs of the band “Stay”, “Rise and shine” and “Breathing for you” have that new wave guitar driven approach with poppy overtones you'll know from Pat Benatar, the Police, The Pretenders and the latter Patti Smith albums. Very nice ! The guitars of Steve Wachelhofer keep that Andy Summers, Neil Geraldo-like sound and after the fourth track, the ballad “Right or wrong”, you'll get the best track of the album: The rocker “Like a stranger . The three tracks after this gem: “Follow you, follow me”, “Being unaware” and “Oblivious” light up the eighties' fire again and with the fast “High and low” we're ready for the closing track, the moody, balladesque “Strut”, nicely arranged by bass and keyboard player Michael Wachelhofer. Cornerstone has delivered an album full of surprises. Pretty arranged vocal parts, songs with many touches of a poppy, new wave style and nice guitar work.
The production of the album is fairly, open, but the mix by Kristian Ignatov could have needed more depth, a little more 'balls'. The rhythm section and especially the drums (by Michael Pawlowitsch) sound a bit flat, a bit thin, too bad. Cornerstone have toured already in Europe and in the USA and the band shared the stage with acts such as John Waite, Ted Poley, New Model Army, Jeff Gaines and the Dennis Stratton Band (of early Iron Maiden fame). It has done the band good, the band has made a second album that is good and very original, but a little too light for mainstream rock, almost too indie for mainstream radio and almost too 'poppy ' for college radio stations. But fans of the new wave rock of the eighties of the former century will embrace this album. That's for sure. Cornerstone is a hardworking band, with a record deal and a strong management. I hope they'll have success with this album in Europe and “Somewhere in America”.
Visit their website: http://www.cornerstone.co.at
Recordlabel: http://www.atomrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cornerstoneaustria

80/100

CRIMSON CULT – Tales Of Doom (CD) Austria June 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 57:23 (Tracks: 10)
Austrian metal band CRIMSON CULT is totally new to me. Although the band was formed in 2008, I never had heard of them before. So, I'm not familiar with the self titled debut album "Crimson Cult", which was released in 2009. Before CRIMSON CULT, the band has existed partly for several years under the names STYGMA IV, STIGMATA and BIG HEAT. Anyway, now CRIMSON CULT, which exists of Walter Stueffer (vocals), Günter Maier (guitar, keyboards), Alex Hilzensauer (bass) and Peter Bachmayer (drums), is back with their second album "Tales Of Doom". And I must say this second album was a very nice acquaintance to me. The band exists of excellent musicians and does have in Stueffer a perfect and fantastic singer. The keyboards in the songs give an extra atmosphere to it. Also compliments to Maier, who has written all the songs, because all ten tracks are fantastic compositions, which don't bore at all. In fact, there isn't any weak song on "Tales Of Doom". So, what else do you want?, because CRIMSON CULT treats us on fantastic songs, with great vocals and excellent musicianship. Of the ten songs, there's one ballad on "Tales Of Doom", which is "On The Edge" (4:12), and one instrumental track, which is the more prog "The Inquisition".
My favorite songs of "Tales Of Doom" are opening track "State Of Fear" (5:08), "Behind The Curtain" (5:27), "Institution Christ" (5:21), "Coshinja" (6:49), the longest track of the album "The Long Way Home" (9:07), which has some RUSH and PINK FLOYD influences, "Warrior Son" (6:26) which reminds a bit of DIO, "Second Life" (3:32) and the brilliant "The Inquisition" (6:29) with awesome guitar solos. Pure Legend Records can be very proud to have CRIMSON CULT on their label. This album is a real recommendation.
Visit their website: http://www.crimsoncult.com
Recordlabel: http://www.purelegend-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crimsoncult

82/100

DESERT SIN – Destination Paradise (CD) Austria June 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Metal / Power Metal / Prog Metal Running time: 46:18 (Tracks: 10)
Just like CRIMSON CULT (see also this months update of MMM), also DESERT SIN comes from Austria. And I also never had heard of DESERT SIN before. But these five Austrian metalheads really surprised me with "Destination Paradise". When I listened to "Destination Paradise" for the first time, I liked it immediately. "Destination Paradise" is the band's second album, and was released on January 20th 2012. Their debut album "The Edge Of Horizon" was released in the beginning of 2009 on Pure Steel Records as well. That debut album brought them a gig at the ninth edition of the Swordbrothers Festival, where they, according to the info sheet, convinced totally. DESERT SIN exists of Sandro Holzer (vocals), Stefan Entner (guitar), Rainer Fischer (bass), Harald Vogl (drums) and Roman Fischer (keyboards). These guys recorded nine excellent songs (I do not count the short intro "Awakening") for their second album. DESERT SIN does have a fantastic singer in the person of Holzer, and exists of very skilled musicians. In my opinion "Destination Paradise" doesn't have any weak songs, because the title track "Destination Paradise", "Kill The King" (not a RAINBOW cover version), "Would You Release Me", "Follow Me", "In Silence", "The Seed Of Destruction", "Creation", "Hero" and "Circle Of Twilight" are all great compositions. It's just a real pleasure to listen to these songs. The band plays delicious melodic Metal/Power Metal with also some Prog influences. On a few tracks the band even reminds me of DREAM THEATER. Although I like all tracks very much, my favorites are "Destination Paradise", "Kill The King", "Would You Release Me", "Follow Me", "The Seed Of Destruction" and "Circle Of Twilight". Fantastic band with an excellent second album. "Destination Paradise" is a real recommendation, so check it out. DESERT SIN is absolutely a band which really would fit on one of Mario's upcoming MMM gigs or editions of his own festival MARIO'S METAL MEETING.
Visit their website: http://www.desertsin.net
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/desertsinband

86/100

DRIVE LIKE MARIA – Drive Like Maria (CD) Belgium / The Netherlands June 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Stoner Rock Running time: 44:46 (Tracks: 11)
DRIVE LIKE MARIA is a Hard Rock / Stoner Rock band from Belgium and The Netherlands and was formed in 2005. In 2009 the band debuted with their album "Elmwood", and in June of that same year the band supported ZZ TOP in Belgium (Forest National, Brussels) and AC/DC in Holland (Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam). Personally I missed DRIVE BY MARIA's gig, when they supported AC/DC on June 23rd 2009, because of a traffic jam around Utrecht (see my concert review in the section "Live reviews" of MMM). Now, DRIVE LIKE MARIA is back with their self titled second album "Drive Like Maria". The current line-up of DRIVE LIKE MARIA exists of Bjorn Awouters (zang, drums), Nitzan Hoffmann (guitar), Robin van Saaze (bass) and Bram van den Berg (drums; ex-ONE IN A MILLION, formerly of KREZIP, also GUILD OF STAGS). So far, I am not familiar with the debut album "Elmwood", but I'm sure I will check that album out as well. Anyway, this second album "Drive Like Maria" is awesome, because it has eleven fantastic songs on it. And most of those songs are very catchy, which makes of "Drive Like Maria" a very accessible album. The band sounds very much like QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, and sometimes also like MONSTER MAGNET. The first half of the album features solid rock songs, such as "The Dog Died Rough", "Where The Brokenhearted Go", "Howl" (featuring Lara Chedraoui of INTERGALACTIC LOVERS), the superb "Black Horses" and "Boomerang", and the second half, except "Ghostrider", the more quieter songs like "On The Road", "Settling Down", "Hypnotized", "Woke Up Hard" and "Bury My Heart In The Dessert". Within two or three times listening to "Drive Like Maria" I was hooked on it. With a lot of airplay, there's one song on "Drive Like Maria", which really has potential to be a hit, namely "Boomerang". Awesome song, which sticks in your head if you have heard it. Anyway, this album was recorded in Italy, and the production was done by the band themselves and sounds marvellous. My favorite songs are without a doubt "The Dog Died Rough", "Where The Brokenhearted Go", "Black Horses", "Boomerang", "Settling Down" and "Ghostrider". Superb album, which will make many spins in my CD player. That's for sure.
Visit their website: http://www.drivelikemaria.com
Recordlabel: http://www.zoostudios.be
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/drivelikemaria

87/100

DRIVER – Countdown (CD) USA June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hardrock / Melodic Metal Running time: 49:02 (Tracks: 11)
Rob Rock has an immense 'vocal tracklist '. The voice of melodic metal '(his alter ego) can be heard on a lot of essential Christian rock albums ( f.i. the first Angelica album), on albums of Impelitterri, Axel Rudi Pell, Avantasia, Warrior and he made some impressive solo-albums as well. The name Driver isn't a new name in his back catalogue. Rob and guitar player Roy Z brought a demo album to life in 1990, containing five very good tracks. That mini-album was a very sought after release and a few tracks saw the light on releases by Bruce Dickinson(“Change of heart”) and Chris Impelitterri (“Fly away” and “I'm a warrior). In 2008 Rockzilla / AOR Metal Heaven re-released the five songs of the Driver-demo supplemented by seven tracks in the same vein of the aforementioned songs. The album was called “Sound of Thunder” and it provided anthemic melodic metal in every groove. The songs were traditional, but they were composed with a lot of dynamics, effectiveness and fabulous musicianship. Many rock fans loved this album, but most of them thought this was a one / off release.
But Rob and friends are full of surprises: At the end of May a new Driver epos will reach the fans. A new album? Well, close fans to the Rob Rock / Roy Z – collaboration will hear some 'rescued-from-the-vaults-demo-material ' ( The songs “Destiny”, “Thief in the night” and “Always on my mind” are a few years old), but most of the songs will definitely sound fresh to many ears. The new cd, “Countdown” combines metal and melody, killer vocals and creative musical passages from Roy Z (a fabulous player with brilliant riffs and majestic solos ), the rhythm section Butch Carlsson (Joey Tafolla, Tribe after Tribe) and Aaron Samson (former bass player for Odin, John 5 and George Lynch) and fantastic keyboards by mastermind Ed Roth. And the 'Magnificent 5 ' have friends: Ray Burke from Bruce Dickinson's solo band , Daniel Cordova from Christian thrashers Vengeance Rising and Mark Boals (of Royal Hunt and Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force) help their musical friends on a couple of songs.
The songs on “Countdown” doesn't differ much from the first Driver album, the production and mastering (by Roy Z and Maor Appelbaum) have that typical early `80 feeling: dry, fairly, open, it reminded me of the production of the first two Blizzard of Oz-albums. From the furious opener (“Return the sky”), the mid paced pumpers “Rising Son”, the title track, “Thief in the night” and “Babylon” (the European version's bonus track), to the speed freak tracks “Hollywood shooting star” , “Feel the fire” and the balladesque songs like “” Running from the darkness” and “Destiny”, this album has anything to offer for the melodic metal fan and it will be a feast of recognition for the Rob Rock-fanbase. Metal Heaven will release this album in Europe, King Records in Japan and Rockzilla will take care of the distribution for the USA. Check this out!
Visit their website: http://www.driverofficial.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalheaven.net

84/100

EMPOWERMENT – Gegen.kult (CD) Germany June 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Hardcore Punk / Metalcore Running time: 47:25 (Tracks: 12)
From the Stuttgart area EMPOWERMENT releases their debut album 'Gegen.Kult'. Empowerment gives a fuck about bandinfos, references, namedropping or how long your fucking dick is.... What a way to start an info sheet about your band, but it says it all, this band is doing things their own way. They give a big fuck you to the establishment and society. The band delivers a very strong debut album, full of aggressive hardcore punk, with everything done in their native language, German that is. It's a very well produced album, with a strong and heavy sound, stating clearly what they are all about. Hardcore punk always was against mainstream or any other commercial institutions! There is no Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or any other bullshit talking website, just the way it was done years ago, DIY as the info sheet tells us. Their music can be compared to that of bands like Agnostic Front, Pro-Pain, Cro-Mags and I think you get the picture by now. Straight from the heart hardcore, from a band who has got something to say. True hardcore from the streets of Stuttgart, showing you their view on society and life, and love and respect to the scene. They won me over, great band who needs to be heard.
Recordlabel: http://www.demonsrunamok.de

84/100

GASKIN – Edge Of Madness (CD) United Kingdom June 2012 Eddie van Vugt
Style: NWOBHM Running time: 42:46 (Tracks: 10)
At last, Gaskin released a new album after twelve years. The band formed in March 1980, released two albums in the two following years and then disbanded. In 2000, a new album and an appearance at the Wacken festival got the band back in the picture, but things then became very quiet until Gaskin started doing shows again in 2005, the first one being at the Headbangers Open Air, but it wasn't until now that an album was released. I must say I was surprised how much the band evolved and changed direction. After a short intro with wind blowing, whistling and some keyboards the album kicks off with “Damnation”, a solid rocker which would also do well without the intro. The title is often repeated as the chorus, so it really lingers in your head. The following track “Heart Like Thunder” has more body but still the same voice and guitar solos that we recognise Paul Gaskin by. There are some ballads on the album like Mans' World and the title track Edge Of Madness for the biggest part, which are interesting songs nevertheless. In between, the band has some powerful tracks that start with great riffs and end with fascinating solos, of which “Lost & Lonely” and “The Contract” stand out in particular. All over, this is an interesting album with some beautiful songs and accomplished guitar work, but for most of us headbangers it is a bit too slow and poppy. Despite the new direction of the band, I know from live shows that the band still knows how to rock.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gaskin2008

70/100

GASKIN – The Contract (MCD) United Kingdom June 2012 Eddie van Vugt
Style: NWOBHM Running time: 13:13 (Tracks: 3)
For those of you who remember Gaskin from their single “I'm No Fool” from 1981, a song that made it onto several compilation albums, here a some new songs you may have been waiting for. After all, the band released only one album (their third album from 2000) over the past 30 years. For fans of melodic rock music, this is a band worth checking out. Anyway, it was about time the band came up with a taster of what their sound is like nowadays. And a different sound it is. If the old songs are the only ones you know, you will be surprised how “soft” and sophisticated at times Gaskin have become. In the end, there is always the ripping guitar riffs and the vocals of Paul Gaskin that make it unmistakably Gaskin songs. He and drummer Dave Norman have been in the band from the start in 1980. The EP starts off with the solid almost bombastic intro of “The Contract“, a song about an assassin. This is more modern stuff than anything I've heard from Gaskin. There are great guitar riffs throughout the song, with more melody after the intro. Wonderful guitar solo that builds up slowly and gives the song its depth. The second song “”Mans' World” is a beautiful ballad with warmer vocals than I expected and interesting lyrics. But again, this is just quite different to what Gaskin used to sound like. The third song “Bedlam” starts off very well with another solid guitar riff, but cannot hold the attention throughout the song. For me, that has to do with the lyrics that are just not as original as the rest. The song is about how confusing love can be and well, that is a road too many bands have walked before. So Gaskin clearly chose the best track for the A-side. The difference in pace with the second song is huge, but that shows just how versatile the band can be. The band could probably have picked a better song to close this EP, but it is a good effort altogether. This looks promising for further material to come, though the direct rock sound of the early songs are often missed. That goes for those who know the old material in the first place, fans of softer melodic rock music should have a listen!
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gaskin2008

75/100

GOATFUKK – Procession of Forked Tongues (MCD) Portugal June 2012 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black / Thrash Metal Running time: 21:58 (Tracks: 7)
This is a record where black and thrash metal go hand in hand perfectly. The music from these Portugese guys is hardly original if you're familiar with bands like Darkthrone (mid-era) and Carpathian Forest but it's done very well and manages to keep their essential elements while having an unifying sound of their own, making everything very cohesive. From beginning to end this EP pleases me and the places where “Procession of Forked Tongues” really starts to work is where the bands throws some punk elements in that seem to complete the sound of Goatfukk. The production is better than most underground Black Metal releases, without being polished at all. The main thing one might notice is the peculiar sound that this record possesses. The bass is very prominent in the mix, and the guitars are as raw and threatening as they should be. A cover of crustcore heroes Wolfpack completes this inspiring EP which combines the best of both worlds!
Recordlabel: http://www.war-arts-productions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/goatfukkyou

81/100

GREAT WHITE - Elation (CD) USA June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Bluesy Hardrock Running time: 60:58 (Tracks: 12)
Thirty-five years ago Great White was formed in Los Angeles and after the release of two EP's in 1982 and 1983 the band was ready to take a bite out of the rock scene. After their first full album in 1984, the band was very successful and the soulful, bluesy sound that changed many songs into worldwide hits lasted 11 albums, 6 live albums, 14 singles, 3 Ep's, 3 tribute albums and 13 compilation albums so far. Every rocker should know the band's greatest hits and Great White has an immense live status as well. Great White's worldwide sales are approaching ten million! Great White stopped touring and recording in 2001, but in 2003 the shark was ready for a new attack again. In 2010 the famous Great White line-up knew a dramatic change. Original singer Jack Russel was hospitalized due to a performed bowel and many days he fought for his life. The hiatus of Jack Russell from Great White didn't do the band any good. Many tensions and quarrels induced a split between the founding member Jack Russell and his Great White 'partners in crime '. Guitarist Mark Kendall, producer and multi-instrumentalist Michael Lardie and drummer Audie Desbrow had to find another singer and another bass player. Scott Snyder (from Accomplice and many project with his friends Josh Ramos and Johnny Gioeli) became the new bass player and the (recent) choice for the new singer is striking: Terry Ilous, former singer of XYZ, The Monsters of Classic Rock –tour and a famous voice-over and jingle specialist. “Elation” is the new result of their collaboration and the albums is the logical follow –up to their former work ”Back to the rhythm”. The themes, the songs, the variation don't differ that much from the musical stuff Great White used to deliver. I like the songs, the production is very open, with lots of room for the guitar work of mastermind Mark Kendall. The bluesy interpretation of the songs is a bit standard, but most of the songs stick like glue. The vocals of Terry Ilous shine through the album, I think that Terry even has more power than the shows off here, his blues-soaked vocals are a bit tied up in the compact, bluesy package. Original frontman Jack Russell has a new version of Great White as well: Jack Russel's Great White. I'm very curious about his 'new version of the old scene '. We''l see and hear! So far, I 'll stick to this Great White with their new, great singer and their traditional blues based, enthusiastic album! Frontiers will released “Elation” in May, it will be the third record of Great White distributed by Serafino and his Italian team. A nice one to look forward to, absolutely. On March 22 the band held their 30th Anniversary Show at the famous Key Club in Hollywood and that concert will be released on DVD as well very soon!
Visit their website: http://www.greatwhiterocks.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it

79/100

HARDLINE – Danger Zone (CD) USA June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock / AOR Running time: 59:55 (Tracks: 12)
Ah, the new Hardline, what a surprise! I didn't know 'the band' had plans for a new release, as the only original member, singer Johnny Gioeli, has a very busy touring and recording schedule with Axel Rudi Pell. But Hardline is a name, a band to be recognized. In 1991 two members of the popular Hollywood- club band Brunette, Johnny and Joey Gioeli teamed up with the famous Neal Schon and Deen Castronovo from Bad English and with Todd Jensen, a famous bass player for acts like Alice Cooper, Sequel, Harlow and in a later career phase for David Lee Roth. The band's first album 'Double Eclipse' became a melodic rockers' favourite many years later. The commercial success of “Double Eclipse” wasn't huge, the band toured briefly and melodic rock music, glam music and metal made room for grunge rock that times. Neal Schon left the band in 1993 and shortly after that he rejoined forces with Journey and Deen Castronovo. Ten years later a second album, II, came out, this time with musicians like Josh Ramos (guitarist of Le Mans, The Storm (a band with Journey members)) and Michael T. Ross, a former Angel keyboard player, but the album didn't do that much for me. A live album / DVD, when Hardline headlined The Godz Festival in 2002, was released as well. It lasted seven years until Hardline's third studio opus came out. “ Leaving the end open” was received well and the reviews were very positive. But after that album many listeners and fans were afraid the band was gone in hibernation. But here it is, a review promo in my cd-player, the fourth album of Hardline and I'm glad Frontiers took the opportunity and showed the guts to release this album.
Alessandro del Vecchio produced the album dry and clearly and his keyboard lines shine on this album. The guitar sound reminds me of The Storm, but Thorsten Koehne (of Code of Perfection and Eden's Curse) is a very competent player. The rhythm parts sound a little thin, I wish the album had a little more 'balls', but the star of the Hardline albums is Johnny Gioeli. On the debut album he made a great impression, combining power with pitch, on this fourth album his vocals lines don't have that variety , his power has lost a little bit of tension, but he is still in top form and he's the main reason the songs of Alessandro stay high above the waterline. Because the songs, well, they sound very familiar, recognizable, a bit one-dimensional. The cover of 'Danger Zone 'shows a little eclipse in the back ground, a slight reference to their famous debut album, that album held very tasty songs, but in a different era. This albums stays far away from the 'major opus' , but Hardline has delivered a solid album for sure. Nice to listen to, full of great performances and one of the melodic rock highlights of this year so far.
Visit their website: http://www.myspace.com/hardlinerocks.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/johnnygioeli

80/100

HARD RIOT – Living On A Fast Lane (CD) Germany June 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 44:04 (Tracks: 11)
HARD RIOT comes from Heilbronn, Germany and was formed in 2006. The band, which exists of Michael Gildner (vocals), Andreas Rockrohr (guitar), Mario Kleindienst (bass) and Carmine Jaucci (drums), released their self-financed EP “The Hidden Truth” in 2009. Now these four young rockers are back with their full length debut album “Living On A Fast Lane”, which is released on Pitch Black Records. HARD RIOT plays traditional Hard Rock, and with this debut album they remind me of bands such as AC/DC, AIRBOURNE, SCORPIONS and BOOZED. Okay, it's all not sounding very original, but nevertheless it sounds very nice and accessible anyway. To me there are a few songs which I like less, but most of the songs I do like very much. I think “Hellfire Rock” is my favorite track of “Living On A Fast Lane”. That song could have been one of Australian rockers AIRBOURNE). Anyway, besides some fine solid rock songs, there are also some ballads on this album, which are “Tears In The Rain” and “Nothing But You”. On the back of the cover of this promo disc, there's made a sloppy error, because the mentioned track 8 ("Take Me Down") is actually track 9, and track 9 ("Hard Way Down") is track 8. Nevertheless, "Living On A Fast Lane" is a nice album to listen to every now and then. If you like the above mentioned bands, then you could check this album out yourself. The best songs on “Living On A Fast Lane” for me are “Get Ready”, “Hellfire Rock”, “No Surrender”, “Take Me Down”, "Black Widow" and "Rock 'N Roll Outlaw" (not a ROSE TATTOO cover version).
Visit their website: http://www.hard-riot.com
Recordlabel: http://www.pitchblackrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hardriot

70/100

JOHN TAGLIERI – Lucky #9 (MCD) USA June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Midwest Rock / Modern Country Rock Running time: 23:56 (Tracks: 6)
The name of New Jersey born artist John Taglieri doesn't sound too familiar to most rockers, but fanatic collectors of melodic rock (with Midwest influences) may recognize his name. In 1999 the English music label A2 Records re-released his first (“Leap of faith “) US- independent album for the European market. Taglieri's debut album was filled with melodic rock with a great variety of influences. The album gained good reviews and about 10.000 units were shipped to a lot of countries in the world. The A2 label however stopped after 11 releases (and a five year period) and John Taglieri had to concentrate himself on his own home country. His next albums were different. John gave his style, his musical approach a more 'singer songwriter character'. But “Half & Half”, “Now” and especially “Wide awake and dreaming” contained creative songs with an acoustic, laid back feel. He toured a lot on his own , but John has shared stages with Edwin McCain, Sister Hazel, Blessed Union of Souls, Gavin DeGraw, Dennis DeYoung (Styx), Rik Emmett ( guitarist of Triumph-fame) and many others as well. In 2010 he changed his style again into a more up tempo, Nashville based, country influenced, acoustic rock and the albums “Everything we are” and “Foreward”(released with his own band TAG) were welcomed by many enthusiastic crowds and listeners. Tagliery performed at US Military bases in Europe and South America. He released an Ep, combined with a book as well (called “Lives”) and this new mini album is his ninth opus in twelve years. John recorded his album in his own Dawg Pound Studios in Hanson, Massachusetts. Lee. J. Turner (former producer and mixer of Leann Rimes, Bo Bice and Jewel) took care of the keyboards and he helped John with the production.. And the mini album? Well, I like it! The modern country flavour and the Midwest- influences are obvious, but not overdone. The album starts furious with “Losing me”, a song that John Bon Jovi would be proud of these days. The next songs, the modern rocker “I never knew” and the acoustic driven “ Without you” and “Dying alive”, have enough balls and character, well done! “Make me believe” has that Midwest-feel with good vocal harmonies and a great chorus and the album finishes off with the acoustic balladesque “Not gonna be my life”. Fans of the new era of Bon Jovi, the acoustic Richie Sambora' rockers, fans of Bo Bice, Brothers of the Southland, Edwin McCain, John Brannen and Sister Hazel will be pleased and surprised by this John Taglieri 'mini! Great stuff. Leap Dog Music will release this album by the end of April in digital format so far and it will be found on ITunes, eMusic, etcetera.
Visit their website: http://www.johntaglieri.com
Recordlabel: http://www.leapdogmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/johntaglierimusic

82/100

JORN – Bring Heavy Rock to the Land (CD) Norway June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Heavy Rock / Hardrock Running time: 55:14 (Tracks: 10)
Jorn Lande should be a household name amongst melodic rockers all over the world. He started to work on his solid career in 1994 as the singer of Vagabond ( with Ronni LeTekro fromTNT). Later on he met former Whitesnake-members Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody and they formed The Snakes (a brilliant version of vintage Whitesnake, by the way). In 2000 he started lending his vocals to two great acts: Ark and Millenium ánd he released his first solo album on Frontiers Records in Europe and Avalon Records in Japan. Quite a busy guy this vocalist, the tonsil troubadour shines on albums by Allen – Lande, Masterplan, Ayreon, Avantasia and many tribute-albums as well. His deep tone, his power and his immense feeling for themes, spheres and melody in heavy music make Jorn Lande an absolute topvocalist that is a pleasure to listen to. “Bring heavy rock to the land”is his thirteenth soloalbum and it is a good one! The recordings took place in Monnow Valley in Rockfield in Wales. A thick production with a lot of emphasis on the guitar sound (thanks to Tommy Hansen, who mixed and mastered this album at the Jailhouse Studios in Denmark) gives this album a firm boost. The album marks the return of guitarist Jimmy Iversen, guitarist for Jorn on a lot of albums, like the solid “Spirit black”. Together with friend and guitarist Tore Moren, Jimmy provides strong riffs and nice solo-parts. The rhythm section ( Nick Angileri on bass and Willy Bendiksen on drums) is tight and strong and the vocals, well Jorn knows how to fire his guns! The songs sound familiar and Jorn stays more close to heavy rock than to power metal as in an earlier phase of his career. There are a lot of nods to the Dio and Black Sabbath-era, nicely packed in solid songs. The albums has two cover songs: “Ride like the wind” is a Christoffer Cross' song. Saxon covered this song in the eighties as well, but I like this powered version better. The second cover song is a Masterplan – song! “Time to be king”is a song from Masterplan's 2010 album and it has been given a more rock arrangement. The other songs from the album are the vehicle for the vocals of Jorn Lande. Classy songs with a vintage rock apporach and a heavy, pounding delivery. The title track "Bring Heavy Rock To The Land" will be released as a single worldwide on May14. A videoclip for the song is in the works and will be directed by Thomas Tjäder (Pretty Maids, In Flames) who was also the director of Jorn previous videoclip for the track “Dio, song for Ronnie James”. The video was filmed at Kongsten Fort ( a fort that was built in the 16th century) in Fredrikstad Jorn stays close to his solid ground. I had hopes he would give this album a little more expression and variety, but after many spins I'm satified with the result : Jorn knows what to do and his hard labour and his merits are all in this good and firm album. Jorn start his tour at the end of June in the countries of Northern Europe, I hope this tour will bring him to a lot of countries in our region. Check him out!
Visit their website: http://www.jornlande.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/realjorn

83/100

KING – Forged By Satan's Doctrine (CD) Colombia June 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Black / Death Metal Running time: 47:25 (Tracks: 11)
KING is a black/death metal band from Colombia, they have been around since 2005, and have already released two EP's 'Nonlaughter-Zero fucking Happiness' in 2006, and 'Emperor of Darkness' in 2011. This album is their first full length called 'Forged by Satan's Doctrine' and is full of old school black/death metal done in the true (old) Morbid Angel and Deicide tradition. The album starts with a kind of a horror intro, what sounds like it is done by the master himself, which wouldn't surprise me. The music itself is blasting away full speed ahead, with dark growling vocals to complete it. Lyric wise it could have been written by an eleven year old, but that makes it all the more old school (or High school). It really is an enjoyable album, with a fairly good production, if you are into this kind of metal, I know I am! Also some bonus tracks included, the first two songs from their first EP, which are the title track and a song called 'What's Satan Domain', an over eight minutes dark epos. Two live video tracks from songs on the album are also included, 'The Ruthless Attitude Of Evil Sobervia' and 'When The Walls Of Heaven Turn In Black'. The cover is also a work of art, a nicely done package from the continent of underground metal!
Recordlabel: http://www.deathgasm.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kingbathroz

78/100

KROSSFIRE – Learning to Fly (CD) Bulgaria June 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 47:47 (Tracks: 10)
Bulgarian ensemble Krossfire has already 10 years of service but it just managed to debut with “Learning to Fly” through the reliable Pure Steel Records. Krossfire is mainly a keyboard driven European power metal band blended with some progressive metal elements. The interesting thing about this album is that the band has incorporated several oriental elements delivering something similar to Cyprus' Arrayan Path (formerly Arryan Path. Check them out, great band!). It is the style that I like to call “oriental Conception”. You could also replace Conception with Kamelot in cases. Of course Conception, Kamelot and Arrayan Path cannot be easily touched but this is an interesting release nevertheless.
Visit their website: http://www.krossfirebg.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/krossfirebg

76/100

LANFEAR – This Harmonic Consonance (CD) Germany June 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Progressive Metal Running time: 49:37 (Tracks: 10)
German band Lanfear was formed in 1993. It has been constantly releasing albums every 3-4 years. This is its sixth effort. Although Lanfear is from Germany, the band is far from the generic teutonic metal style. It delivers very interesting contemporary power metal with some progressive metal touches. Great vocals, fine riffs and melodies and well crafted songs are the main characteristics of the group. I was positively surprised by the quality of this release and I have to say that it might be Lanfear's best one to date. If you are into modern prog metal in the vein of Seventh Wonder and Cloudscape then you should invest immediately.
Visit their website: http://www.lanfear.eu
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thelanfear

80/100

LUNAR EXPLOSION – Beyond The Demo...2011 (CDemo) Italy June 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 19:25 (Tracks: 4)
From Vicenza, Italy Lunar Explosion project was born in August 2010. This band music is a Neoclassical, Progressive Power Metal, highly technical full of virtuosities, breaks and solos. The band's influences range from Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force, Queensryche to even Manowar. Lunar Explosion have been support act of bands like Extrema, Domine, Myrath and White Skull, and got some good feedback in the Italian press. This 4 track demo shows us what these highly skilled musicians can accomplish, music of a high technical standard, uptempo progressive power metal with high pitch vocals and furious guitar shredding. This band aims for a place between the big ones in this genre of metal, in my opinion they will succeed, cause the've got it in them for sure. These 4 tracks 'Vasa Warship', 'Karnak', 'From Beyond' and 'The King Of Judea' makes me wanna hear more of them, hopefully a full length will follow soon!
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lunarexplosion

78/100

MARTELO NEGRO – Sortilegio Dos Mortos (CD) Portugal June 2012 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black / Thrash Metal Running time: 35:07 (Tracks: 13)
Formely Known as Blackhammer these Portugese guys continue their way as Martelo Negro with lyrics that are fully written in Portugese. While looking at the coverart I was hoping for new war metal act like neighbours Proclamation. But boy, I came away with a flea in one's ear! This has only little to do with war metal. It's some kind of a crossover of various styles influenced by Sarcofago, Destruction and Impaled Nazarene but it doesn't sound that well to me. The music is actually very second rate. Now second rate isn't a bad thing per se, I actually love a lot of second rate old school bands but Martelo Negro are extremely generic and get pretty tedious after two or three songs. Just take the influences I mentioned above, try to imagine very cliché filled imitation riffs, rather flat vocals (almost a parody of Lee Dorian at times and thus completely out of line) and last but not least: a total lack of real aggression and angriness. And what's with the annoying intro's with backward spoken messages. Yes, I am going to bash this band and no I can't do anything about it. This Martelo Negro album is simply ridiculous!
Recordlabel: http://www.necrosymphonic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/martelonegro.oficial

40/100

NAAM – The Ballad of the Starchild (MCD) USA June 2012 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Psychedelic Rock Running time: 26:38 (Tracks: 5)
Psychedelic rock band NAAM has released a new album called `The Ballad of the Starchild`, released at TeePee records. It is the successor of the group`s 2009 full length `Naam`. I don't know why the new album has become an EP and not a full length album. Two and a half years should be enough time to produce a complete album. The album has been recorded in Brooklyn, New York, in the Galuminum Foil Studios. It has been mastered at New York`s Famous Masterdisk. (Miles Davis, Nirvana). At this moment, the line-up is as follows: Ryan Lee Lugar (Guitar, Tambura, Vocals), John Preston Bundy (Bass, Vocals, Piano, Synthesizer), Eli Pizzuto (Percussion) and Johnny Weingarten (Lead Organ, Electric Piano, Mellotron, Lap steel). The music has a psychedelic character with touches of stoner rock.
The album contains four relatively short songs and a long epic (The Starchild; almost 11 minutes). The level between these four songs and the epic varies a lot. The epic is in my opinion the highlight of the album and it shows the potential of this band. I hear touches of the old Pink Floyd (from the 60´s and the very early 70´s, the Syd Barrett period), The Stooges (also early period) and Hawkwind. The composition of this song is adventurous and diverse and the musicians show their potential too. On the other hand, the other four songs sound quite tedious and demure and that´s a pity. The sound of the singer sounds quite whiningly and this has sometimes the upper hand. In my opinion the level of the epic and the four other songs differs too much to give this album a really high score but I am sure that they have potential!
Visit their website: http://www.kingdomofnaam.blogspot.com
Recordlabel: http://www.teepeerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/naamdestroysfaces

69/100

NEW EDEN – Solving for X (CD) USA June 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Power Metal Running time: 47:34 (Tracks: 11)
New Eden has been around for almost twenty years. So far, they have released three albums. It took New Eden nine years to release their fourth effort. Responsible for it are Rod Arias (vocals), Luis Sandoval (bass), Jimmy Schultz (drums) and of course founding-member Horacio Colmenares (guitars). The speed is up right from the first tones, as “Anthem of Hate” starts off on high speed. This is a very fast power metal song with great vocals. After a short interlude, the speed is back at “Flames for Hades”. This song alike the opener is filled with fast music, leaving you with hardly any time to gasp for breath. The rhythm-section is very present on “Brainless” but this time the tempo is not high throughout the entire song. Colmenares plays one solo after another while the rest of the band pushes ahead. “The Not Self” kicks off with a loud screaming guitar-solo. The rest of the song is less speedy but still has the double-bass pounding throughout the song. The song has a catchy vibe because of the repeating lyrics and has a lot more of Colmenares' great guitar playing throughout the song. “Unsolved Aggressions” is more thrash metal as Arias takes a rougher approach. Colmenares starts the song with fast guitar riffing. This song is filled with double-bass blasts combined with superfast guitar playing and Arias sounding quite different. This song really lets you go wild and to me is one of the highlights of the album. “Life Not Death” is yet another solid power metal song played on full speed with great vocals and guitar riffing all over the place. The next one, “Searching the Loss” is a little bit less speedy but the rhythm-section still pounds heavily and Colmenares delivers as always. “Grawling Erect” is with its three minutes and sixteen seconds the shortest song but even this song is packed with fast power metal. “Infecting the Lie” and “Watcher” are two songs in the same style like on the rest of the album. The big surprise comes when the last song, “Three Words”, starts. It is totally different than the other ten songs. It is a slow song and it sounds more like a song you would play around a campfire after a hard day of labour out in the fields. To me it is a strange choice to end this power metal album in this way. This album will be liked by both the older as the younger metal heads, as it is an old-fashioned power trip with a touch of a modern sound.
Visit their website: http://www.neweden.net
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/newedengroup

83/100

NOCTURNAL TORMENT – They Come at Night (CD) USA June 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 50:38 (Tracks: 9)
Nocturnal Torment is a relatively new band but the members already are familiar in the scene. The kicked off in 2008 and released a demo in 2009. This album contains 9 tracks of straight in your face death metal with a great old school death metal feeling. Sawing guitar riffs combined with fast solos and a bit of melody. The drums are fast and furious. Then you have the vocals....Hell Yeah. Remember The Mystical Gates of Reincarnation of Kataklysm? Well throw in a bit of Benediction and you have what they bring. There music brings me right back to the 90`s and I love it. The variety on the songs is great and the production is raw and brutal. If you like bands as I just mentioned then you going te enjoy this album!
Recordlabel: http://www.deathgasm.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/eternalnocturnaltorment

78/100

PARADISE LOST – Tragic Idol (CD) United Kingdom June 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Doom Metal / Gothic Metal Running time: 46:05 (Tracks: 10)
"Tragic Idol" is the thirteenth studio album of PARADISE LOST and was released on April 23rd on Century Media. But man, what a great album this is. Well, in the period 1990 – 1996 I've seen the band 7 times live, and the only albums I have of PARADISE LOST are "Lost Paradise" (1990) on vinyl, and "Gothic" (1991) and "Icon" (1993) on CD. But since, let's say around 1997 I didn't follow PARADISE LOST for quite a long time. Since then they moved away from their Doom/Gothic sound and began to experiment with more electronic styles. Anyway, I heard some positive sounds about "Tragic Idol", so I thought by myself 'let's check the new PARADISE LOST album out'. And indeed, "Tragic Idol" goes way back to the early years of PARADISE LOST, and brings back great memories of the nineties. "Tragic Idol" is a perfect combination of the PARADISE LOST albums which I already got (see above). In that case, "Tragic Idol" sounds very trusted. Really, every song on this album is a pleasure to listen to. The production of "Tragic Idol" was done by Jens Bogren and sound fantastic. "Tragic Idol", which features 10 excellent songs, does also have a very beautiful album cover. About the line-up, well, during the years, PARADISE LOST only changed drummers. It's still Nick Holmes on vocals, Greg Mackintosh on lead guitar and keyboards, Aaron Aedy on rhythm guitar, Steve Edmondson on bass and since 2009 with Adrian Erlandsson (formerly of THE HAUNTED, CRADLE OF FILTH, also of AT THE GATES), on drums. Well, I just don't have any negative to mention about this brilliant album, because it all sounds awesome. Holmes still sings great. I do like songs such as "Fear Of Impending Hell", "Theories From Another World", "Tragic Idol" and "Worth Fighting For" very much, but my favorites of "Tragic Idol" are opening track "Solitary One", "Crucify", "Honesty In Death", "In This We Dwell", "To The Darkness" and "The Glorious End". Well, with "Tragic Idol" PARADISE LOST is back to their roots. I think many PARADISE LOST fans will be very happy with "Tragic Idol". It's a superb album and a real recommendation if you like the Doom/Gothic sound of PARADISE LOST. For me, "Tragic Idol" is my album of the month.
Visit their website: http://www.paradiselost.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.centurymedia.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/paradiselostuk

90/100

PLAYER - Addiction (MCD) USA June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Westcoast / AOR Running time: 12:50 (Tracks: 3)
The face of the Californian actor Ron Moss has filled many living rooms and fulfilled many housewife's (wet) dreams for the past 25 years. As the main character Ridge Forrester from the daytime soap opera “The bold and the beautiful” he became very popular, but many fans didn't know that the man with the 'looks, the smile and the body ' had a musical background and a musical past. Ron took care of the bass guitar parts in Player, a Southern Californian rock band that started in the late seventies of the former century. Player were signed by RSO-director Robert Stigwood and the band shared the roster with The Bee Gees, Eric Clapton, Frankie Valli and many typical soundtrack-artists. Player made three albums in their active career (a fourth album ”Spies of life” was released after the band broke up) and they all sound very edgy, energetic and fresh (and also a bit dated by now). The vocals on these albums are very good and the lead singer of the band Peter Beckett became a famous name in melodic rock land. His contributions for many soundtracks, many artists, his career in the Little River Band and his solo album at the beginning of the nineties of the former century had a lot of quality. Player's trademark, the song 'Baby, come back ' topped the single charts in 1978 and the hit became an all-time classic song as well. Player stopped in 1982 after a hectic six years of recording and intensive touring with Eric Clapton, Boz Scaggs, Kenny Loggings, Gino Vanelli and Chicago. Ron Moss and Peter Becket renewed their recording sessions in 1995 and an album for the Japanese market (Electric Shadow) got a worldwide release as “Lost in reality” (the small River North-label in the USA took care of the distribution). Player even started touring again in 1998 with musicians as Steve Farris ( Mr.Mister) and Dave Amato (classy guitar player for REO Speedwagon and many Christian rockers). Ron Moss also made two solo albums (filled with housewife- pop and soft AOR) in the new Millennium. In 2010 Player started working on new songs and Peter and Ron planned a new line up for a promotional tour. The Italian melodic rock label signed the band and this “Addiction”EP is a 'digestive geste' for their upcoming album. The EP sounds nice and the new recording of their classic 'Baby, come back ' is even very tasteful and very good. The other two songs are a bit let down, they disappoint me, although the musicians are very competent. These songs don't have that typical spark of their former songs and albums. The vocal lines are lower, the musical approach is a bit laid back and the songs remind me of Smokie's (weaker) songs. The pitch and power are gone and that's too bad. I hope that new album (planned for the second half of 2012) will surprise many Westcoast-fans.. Frontiers will release this album at the end of April. We'll see. In the meantime, I'll listen to “The Best of Player” (a compilation album from 1998)
Visit their website: http://www.player-theband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it

70/100

PRONG – Carved into Stone (CD) USA June 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Groove Metal Running time: 43:36 (Tracks: 11)
Prong's back! I'm glad I can say that this time, it's for sure, the real thing man. Okay, Prong dated their return in 2003 with “Scorpio Rising”, but to be honest; what a bummer that was. 2007's “Power of the Damager” was way better but still not quite the real stuff. I saw them twice live during that tour and there was still a spark of hope; live they still kicked ass, but the last two albums just missed the energy. Until now…. Yeah, this is Prong all the way; the masters, the founders of Groove Metal reinvent themselves during this 11 tracks counting hyper bowl and honour their complete oeuvre. With a brilliant rhythm section containing drummer Alexei Rodriguez and bassist Tony Campos the album opens with the monstrous trasher “Eternal Heat”. Wow, this is what I call opening an album; furious, fast, energetic, heavy pounding drums, yeah more than enough reasons to start rebuilding your room. “Keep on Living in Pain” and “Ammunition” follow hard and mean leaving your room totally demolished just after three new Prong classics. Just three, oh no, follower “Revenge Served Called” is my favourite. It's slower but grooves like hell; styled like the “Cleansing' period. And man, I love those sarcastic lyrics …. “For the lack of Respect ….” Yeah mr. Victor indeed deserves a lot more respect for his oeuvre, there's no doubt about that. The man on his own is responsible for the “Groove Metal Style”. As said Prong honours his complete catalogue with pure thrashers and the more grooving, even danceable tracks, but there's a real surprise by the title track. “Carved into Stone” opens so damn doomy that it could easily appear on an Ozzy record. The guitar riffs sound just like Zakk Wylde and even Tommy's vocals come near the Prince of Darkness himself. A pleasant variety between all the other thrashy and grooving violence on this excellent album. More to become ? Hell yeah; the ultra speed trasher “List of Grievances”, the sinister sledge hammer “Reinvestigate” and the “let's tear down the house” groover “State of Rebellion” settles the score for a 100% Prong worthy album. Indeed; they've done it again, Prong serves another classic; they're revenge it best served cold …. and put me in a state of rebellion … and that's exactly what metal is meant to do!
Visit their website: http://www.prongmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/prong

90/100

RICHARD MARX – Inside my Head (CD) USA June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: AOR with a modern twist Running time: 52:20 (Tracks: 13)
Chicago-born and Illinois based pop icon Richard Marx has sold more than 30 million records worldwide. His first seven singles all reached the Billboard Hot 100 top 5 in the USA. Marx had a string of hit singles in the late eighties and nineties of the former century and his career as a singer, a songwriter and a producer is very successful. EMI / Manhattan and their boss and the person who 'discovered 'Richard Marx, Bruce Lundvall, formed the team behind Marx 'successes. But in the first decennium of the new century Richard Marx started to plan his new releases himself. His acoustic based release with Matt Scannell form Vertical Horizon called “Duo” and his two modern rock releases “Sundown” and “Emotional Remains” were published through his own website and the albums could be purchased through digital downloads. His 2010 acoustic compilation album “Stories to tell “ was a Wal-Mart-release that saw the light in different formats. Richard Marx has made a new album for Frontiers Records and I'm surprised that this small label has contracted the American star singer. The new release is called “Inside my head “and the special edition will hold an extra disc featuring acoustic based interpretations of the best known Marx' hits. A lot of Richard Marx' fans will love the new album, the songs are well penned, with a little modern twist. But the fanatic Richard Marx-followers will be somewhat disappointed with this release. Most of the tracks have appeared on various Richard Marx' releases before. Richard Marx has chosen the best songs from his digital download albums of the new century and he has rerecorded new versions of the songs.
The opener “Had Enough” is a song Richard has written for the “Smoke & Mirrors '-album of Lifehouse. “On the inside” was written by Marx and appeared on an EP by Daughtry and “All over me” was a Richard Marx' song of the Default “Comes and goes”-album. Richard Marx has added these songs in many live sets as well. From the “Emotional Remains”- album you'll hear “Through my veins”, “Come running”, “Done to me “, “Over my head” and “Part of me” ( this songs was also sung by Harry Hess on his first solo album). “Loved” and “Always on your mind” can be found on the “Sundown” – album and “Wouldn't let me love you “ ( with that typical Marx ' balladesque chorus), “Like heaven” and “Scars” are new songs to me. That's three songs on a total of thirteen tracks. But hey, most of the tracks didn't appear on a regular Richard Marx' album and “Inside my head” features Marx' latest songs that reflect vital parts of his life, his feelings, his 'inner sanctum '. The song “Through my veins” reflects these lyrics as best. It is a tribute to his father, the late jazz musician and famous jingle composer Dick Marx, who died in 1997. I think this record is for fans of AOR and modern rock fans who want to know what the 'modern Richard Marx 'is all about. Die-hard fans of Richard Marx will neglect this album. They will buy this album maybe for the extra disc with the Richard Marx 'classics'.
Visit their website: http://www.richardmarx.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/richardmarx

81/100

RIZON - Masquerade (CD) Switzerland June 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Melodic / Power Metal Running time: 72:02 (Tracks: 13)
Rizon comes from Switzerland and plays melodic power metal in it's truest form. Nothing more, nothing less. This third sign of life shows progression in order of the predecessors “Evolution” and “Sudden Life”. Seraina is the new female vocalist in this 7 piece power band. The band also has a male vocalist by Mathias so in every song they take the opportunity to let both vocalist's fight out their duels. That should give the band something really extra and I must admit I'm pretty fond of it, but the mix sounds a bit too full so it doesn't come out. The vocals drown into the full sound and that's a damn shame. Overall it's a pretty nice piece of metal this “Masquarade”. It rocks (“Sigh from Eternity”), it has power (“Time by Time”), it varies and it's all played well. But never it really excites enough to lift them beyond the average level. With male and female vocals in the band, that should deliver and deserve more. So I think these Swiss Metalers can do better than this. As said above; nothing more, nothing less. Nice work, but just too average.
Visit their website: http://www.rizon.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.karthago-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rizonrock

68/100

SAXON – Heavy Metal Thunder - Live - Eagles Over Wacken (DVD/2CD) United Kingdom June 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: DVD 2:40:11 (Tracks: 30)
CD1: 58:07 (Tracks: 12)
CD2: 51:57 (Tracks: 10)
Well, about "Heavy Metal Thunder - Live - Eagles Over Wacken", there are several formats available. A 2CD + DVD digi-pack version (DVD "Best Of W.O.A. (2004/2007/2009)"; CD "Glasgow Live, April 14th, 2011"), a DVD version ("Best Of W.O.A. (2004/2007/2009)"), 2CD jewel case and 3LP vinyl ("W.O.A. 2009 - Fan's Choice Setlist") and a limited edition box fan package (including the digi-pack version, 3 DVD's with the full shows of W.O.A. 2004, 2007 and 2009, golden tickets, flag and more). Anyway, the promo discs I received to review are the ones of the digi-pack version, only instead of the "Glasgow Live, April 14th, 2011" show (from “The Call To Arms World Tour”) on CD, it's the "W.O.A. 2009 - Fan's Choice Setlist" which is on the two CD's. Well, for this “Fan's Choice Setlist” show, 10.000 people voted for the setlist of it. And of course with such a long career of the NWOBHM legends of SAXON, there are plenty of songs to choose from. And I don't have to tell you, that the band does have a lot of heavy metal classics in their repertoire. That's jus a fact. I've seen SAXON several times live, and a SAXON show always guarantees a fantastic metal concert. Anyway, this “Fan's Choice Setlist” show features 22 songs, and starts with the awesome “Battalions Of Steel” (from the “Into The Labyrinth” (2009) album). Although songs such as “Let Me Feel Your Power”, “Killing Ground”, “Unleash The Beast”, “Dogs Of War”, “Forever Free”, “Solid Ball Of Rock” and “Live To Rock” are all fantastic songs, the real SAXON classics to me on these two discs are “Strong Arm Of The Law”, “Wheels Of Steel”, “Motorcycle Man”, “Crusader”, “The Power And The Glory”, “Princess Of The Night”, “Heavy Metal Thunder”, “747 (Strangers In The Night)”, “Stallions Of The Highway” and “Denim And Leather”. But nevertheless, “W.O.A. 2009 – Fan's Choice Setlist” is absolutely an excellent live album, with a nice overview of the band's career.
The DVD is a compilation with highlights of the shows SAXON did on W.O.A. in 2004, 2007 and 2009. All is nicely filmed, and with every song, the title of the song is shown and also from which W.O.A. edition it was filmed. So, on this DVD are 4 songs which are filmed at W.O.A. 2004, 16 songs from W.O.A. 2007 and 10 songs filmed at the W.O.A. 2009 edition. The SAXON album with the most songs on this DVD is “The Inner Sanctum” (2007), with the songs “Let Me Feel Your Power”, “If I Was You”, “Red Star Falling”, “I've Got To Rock”, “Attila The Hun” and “Ashes To Ashes”. Other songs on this nice DVD are songs such as “Battalions Of Steel”, “Metalhead”, “To Hell And Back”, “Travellers In Time”, “The Eagle Has Landed”, “Dallas 1 P.M.”, “20.000 Feet”, “And The Bands Played On”. Before the band start to play "To Hell And Back Again", Biff said 'this is the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world'. Well, personally I never been to a W.O.A. festival so far, but yeah, looking at this DVD, it must be a fantastic Metal festival. Who knows, maybe I'm going to it someday as well. The bonus section features behind the scenes (10:36) and a slideshow of lots of live and backstage pictures (6:22). Well, this year, on August 2nd, SAXON will again play at the Wacken Open Air festival. Anyway, "Heavy Metal Thunder - Live - Eagles Over Wacken" is absolutely worth to buy. I wonder which of the formats the die-hard SAXON fans will choose.
Visit their website: http://www.saxon747.com
Recordlabel: http://www.udr-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/planetsaxon

85/100

SCARLETH – Break the Silence (CD) Ukraine June 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Melodic Power / Gothic Metal Running time: 57:48 (Tracks: 9)
Recorded during November - December 2009, mixed and mastered January - February 2010, released November 2011 and finally in my cd player in May 2012 …. Well, some releases take their time to be judged. It reminds me of that France band Jadallys whose terrific album Labyrinthes also took two years to find it's way to my address. That album was certainly worth the wait (unfortunately it's extremely quit around that band), so what does this Ukraine surprise has to offer. Musically they offer a lot; expect Melodic Power Metal with Dark, Doomy and Gothic influences all mixed into fine tracks which are overfilled with lots of breaks, speed ups, slow downs, additional keys etc. anyway, enough tempo changes to keep your attention.
It sounds exciting, refreshing by times and musically it varies between power and gothic. A bit of Fairyland meets Therion. The album opens with two up tempo songs “Broken World” and “Child of the Forest” in the galloping style but with damn fierce guitar work. “Crazy Fever” and “Shadows Fade Away” show the other, more sinister, doomy side of the band and they also please me with that. What a fantastic, long instrumental opening by “Crazy Fever”, that leads us into a thrilling, sinister and exciting story which is told and song by vocalist Julia Elyashova who does a splendid job here. My highlight of this debut album. What a tempo changes in this song, this one really knocks you out. In “Black Tears” we have the bands ballad in which Julia doesn't really convince. Overall her voice is good but a bit monotonous and it lacks some power. Remarkable how good she fits in “Crazy Fever”, but nevertheless not bad for a debut, being the only slight minor on this album. In most tracks there is room for long instrumental pieces which are so damn good and varied that they are even without vocals a real pleasure for the ears. Hard to imagine that this is the band's debut, but they exist since 2005 so well, hey, they took their time. I'm very curious if they can keep up this high, intense level of variation and what new vocalist Olga Marenich, who replaced Julia after the recordings, has to offer on their second attempt. A very pleasant and more then welcome surprise from the Ukraine this Scarleth. A name to abstract; certainly when you're heading to the EK Football. If you get the chance to catch up with this band it would make your stay even better. Last but not least I would like to mention the beautiful artwork by Nurgeslag. Coming back to the question if this album was worth the long period it took to be reviewed I can only answer with a big Yes. Hopefully it's not going to be quit around this band either, so thumbs up. Recommended for those who like their metal varied and exciting with lots of unexpected tempo breaks.
Visit their website: http://www.scarleth.com.ua
Recordlabel: http://www.coprorecords.co.uk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/scarlethband

84/100

SINS7SINS – Carnival Of No Tomorrow (CD) The Netherlands June 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic / Industrial Metal Running time: 43:36 (Tracks: 11)
Sins7Sins started in 2007 as a project but emerged quickly into a real band which resulted in a demo followed by 2010's debut album “Perversion Ltd” that got pretty good review results. I saw the band last year as they opened for Leaves' Eyes at the Baroeg in Rotterdam. They certainly caught my attention, because live they sound really great; driven passionate and musically impressive. Also their music style I liked a lot so I found it a good idea to buy their debut album … unfortunately it is was already sold out when I came back after my interview with Liv so that was a bit of a bummer. Promising myself I would pay more attention to this band in the future I followed them on the internet where they had planned their second attempt; So when Mike de Coene (Hardlife Promotion) asked me to review this new release I didn't hesitate one single second. And no, not a single moment I have regretted this decision. To be honest, this is one of the finest products from Dutch bottom ever. This album is ready to conquer dudes. Sins7Sins categorising is hard but let's say they bring a perfect, varied mixture of gothic/industrial with a dark, creepy atmosphere which overall is so damn catchy that it's hammered in your head just after a few times listening. Enjoy the brilliance of the hard hitters “Brimstone Ignition” (what a way to open), “Carnivores at Carnival” or “Revolt Tonight”, the catchy, ready for air play rockers “Pornstar Love” and “Sick of You”, the ultimate beauty of “Shadows and Dust”, the goth buster “Cyanide Symphony” (with whispering voice of Dan Swanö in the best Peter Steele tradition, and also responsible for giving this album a great production), the quick and dark “As Romance Dies” (with Mark Jansen on guest vocals) or the heavy bombastic monster “Jenkins Nightmare”. Speaking of that last track; that's absolutely the best track I've heard this year ! The band sounds tight; the male vocals contrast fantastic with lead singer Lotus and the interludes and electronic “beeps” are well chosen in giving the tracks just that bit of extra. Lotus breathtaking, varied vocals are the cream on this cake; she really knows how to give the songs the right feeling. What a talent we've got here. Sins7Sins has the talent of presenting you compact rockers in a mixed style that will leave you speechless. What, no label …. Yes indeed …. What a waste …… I'm sure some labels are scratching their butts. Carnival Of No Tomorrow is an energetic, intense, challenging, refreshing and exciting album that will leave no doubt that Sins7Sins is the next “big thing”. Buy it, steal it, borrow it, download it, catch them live; but make sure you become aware of Sins7Sins awesome statement in rock. You won't regret it !
Visit their website: http://www.sins7sins.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sins7sins

92/100

SLEEPY HOLLOW – Skull 13 (CD) USA June 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: U.S. Metal Running time: 57:30 (Tracks: 11)
This band released a demo called “A Legend Retold” in 1989 and a self-titled album back in 1991. Now after more than twenty years Sleepy Hollow is back with original singer, Bobby Mitchell (ex-Attacker) and a new bass-player by the name of Mike LePond (Symphony-X), although Alan D'Angelo has replaced him to become a full-time member. Still around after so many years are also guitarist Steve Stegg and drummer Tommy Wassman. Sleepy Hollow play classical, powerful U.S. metal. The first thing that hits you in the face is the voice of Bobby Mitchell. It is a mix of David Wayne (Metal Church) and Udo Dirkschneider (Accept/U.D.O.). His power is overwhelming. “Death of a Horseman” is the first display of this as he screams his way through the song accompanied by the guitar riffing and soloing of Stegg. This is a great way to start this album. The second song, “Facemelter”, starts where the first one ended, namely with a powerful screaming Mitchell, a solid rhythm-section and Stegg riffing heavily. There are even some comparisons to be made to the chorus of “Painkiller” by Judas Priest. “Black Passage” has some Black Sabbath-licks. It is a slower but quite heavy song with the some strong musical ingredients inside. This is a great team-effort by Sleepy Hollow. “Bleed Steel” has LePond and Wassman pounding very hard. They need to do so to compensate the wall of vocals and guitars. The fifth track, “Rear Window” is one of the faster tracks and tends more to speed metal than to U.S.-metal. “Inquisition” has some catchy parts resulting in the fact that the song sticks to your head right away. With almost ten minutes, “Epic (The Legend Retold)”, is the longest track on the album. The title refers to their demo. This is a very different song with lots of variation inside. Mitchell sings modestly and I must say it sounds great. To me this is the highlight of the album because Sleepy Hollow shows a huge variety of metal on this track and performs it in a great way. The next one, “Eternal Bridge”, starts with Stegg's riffs followed by Mitchell singing passionately. This is also a fantastic track with a beautiful contrast between the quiet modest vocals/guitars and the heavy riffing/powerful vocals. “Misery Waltz” is an instrumental that lasts just over two minutes and consists of some modestly played guitars. “Spiral Effect” has a hypnotizing vibe throughout the song because of the repeating riffs, the way Mitchell sings and the rhythm. The last track starts with piano and builds up to Mitchell's screaming loud voice and Stegg taking over with his guitar solos. If you do not, like Mitchell's voice, you will not like the album but if you do, you will love the album. I for sure liked the album because it did contain enough variety to stay focused throughout the eleven tracks. I hope that Sleepy Hollow will be releasing new material on a more regular base in the future. In the meantime, there are a few festivals in Germany (K.I.T. /H.O.A.) where they would fit perfectly. Until then I will have to stick to Skull 13.
Visit their website: http://www.originalsleepyhollowmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theoriginalhollowmetal

86/100

STRYCTNYNE – Promo (CDemo) USA June 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 16:49 (Tracks: 5)
Getting a promo cd from Stryctnyne was a huge surprise! I didn't even know these guys still existed. I thought they remained inactive from the middle 90s, the time their tracks were lost. For those who don't have a clue, Stryctnyne is a cult American heavy metal act that released two demos in 1990 and 1991 which were very popular in the tape trading cycles. This cd is actually a compilation of the two demos (one song is missing though) but I don't have any other information whatsoever. It's like this promo fell from the sky! On the musical department, Stryctnyne delivers smoking U.S. metal the 80s way. Heavy yet melodic. Their style is close to that of the cult heroes Hammeron or even old Savatage. Great vocals, steaming guitars and that healthy dosage of obscure U.S. metal sound. The sound of the promo is quite poor though. But who gives a damn? This is one hell of a release!!! It was a great opportunity to spin these songs after all these years and bang my head!
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/metalwarriorx9

90/100

SVYATOGOR – Doctor Veritas (CD) Ukraine June 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Experimental Black Metal Running time: 51:00 (Tracks: 10)
Svyatogor started back in 1999 and this is already their third album. When a band says that they play experimental black metal then I am always curious what they mean with that. Well in my opinion this is a great album that indeed has a lot of elements in their music that are not typical black metal. 10 tracks of Pagan metal combined with melody and evil and dark atmospheres. The guitar riffs are progressive and groovy and they are not afraid to freak on the guitar. The drums are very technical and filled with double bass and blast beats. The vocals are screams that reminds me a bit of Finntroll and Moonsorrow but a bit more raw. The songs are filled with variety so all the songs are differently and sound great. The production is very good and well balanced so you can hear everything very well. If you like bands that are not standard but that makes good metal with a lot of influences in it the you are going to like this album, because it goes from black to pagan and even some rock in it.
Recordlabel: http://www.svarga.eu
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/svyatogorband

78/100

THE MURDER OF MY SWEET – Bye Bye, Lullaby (CD) Sweden June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Bombastic Rock / Epic Hardrock Running time: 58:34 (Tracks: 13)
The Murder of my Sweet was founded in 2007 by musical mastermind Daniel Flores and the band was named after a 1994 film noir “Murder my sweet”, that was based on a novel by Raymond Chandler (Detective Philip Marlowe is the main character of this novel) . Daniel Flores met singer Angelica Rylin in Stockholm and after the conceptual phase about a musical collaboration they wrote a lot of songs based on strong themes in books, movies and personal life. Daniel and Angelica shared a passion for epic, bombastic structures and songs with multi layered instrumental themes. After recruiting some musical friends ( Daniel Palmquist on guitars, John Niemann on bass guitars and keyboard – wizard Andreas Lindahl), their first album””Divanity” was recorded, mixed and mastered in The Cutting Room Studios by famous producer Mats Lindfors, with Daniel on the production helm as well. The Italian label Frontiers picked up the release in January 2010 and the result of the bands' writing and recording process was impressive. “Divanity” had a massive sound, very diverse, with lots of space for the instrumental themes. The music had a bombastic, skilled factor , but it was not overdone. The Murder of my Sweet's debut album received good reviews and it appealed lovers of modern epic rock bands( with female vocals) as well. After a short tour the band changed its line-up. Christopher Vetter was the new guitar player and Teddy Westlund took over the bass guitar duties. In the last months of 2011 The Murder of my Sweet was signed to AFM Records, the famous German label, and Daniel started to produce the songs for the second album that I'm listening to now. This album “Bye, bye, Lullaby” contains mainly updated songs and themes from their starting period and the band sound more commercial (some vocal structures and layers made me think of Issa (Issabel Oversveen, a Norwegian melodic (pop)rock singer, Daniel can be heard on her two albums). But the commercial step doesn't have a negative effect on the attitude of the songs and the musical skills on this album. The production is open, multi-dimensional and thick, but I think the sound of the guitars is less defined than the guitars by Daniel Palmquist on the first album. The songs are strong, full of adventure, but the choice for a more commercial approach implies a one-dimensional “I think I heard this before”- feeling sometimes. Too bad, because the music is good and Angelica is a strong front lady. The Murder of my Sweet still has a strong following and their musical guests on this album (Opeth and former Talisman guitar player Fredrik Akesson, Jesper Strömblad (In Flames, Dimension Zero, The Resistance) and Soilwork mastermind Peter Wichers) show us their instrumental skills and capabilities. I'm glad this new album shines, check them out!
Visit their website: http://www.themurderofmysweet.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.come/themurderofmysweet

80/100

THE SUNPILOTS – King of the Sugarcoated Tongues (CD) Australia June 2012 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Alternative Rock Running time: 48:25 (Tracks: 8)
King of the Sugarcoated Tongues is the new album of the Australian band The Sunpilots (Raj Siva-Rajah – Vocals, Bob Spencer – Guitar, Tom McGirr – Drums / Percussion, Justin Kool – Bass). Although Australia is their home country, they live now in Berlin (Germany). The reason is that they want to become successful in Europe. They are very active, since September 2010 they played more than 160 shows across our continent. If you read their way of living, you will get a lot of respect for this band. I can appreciate their perseverance. King of the Sugarcoated Tongues is The Sunpilots 2nd full length album. In 2006, The Sunpilots released their EP (5 songs) 'The Sunpilots'. In 2008, they “gave birth” to their first full length album 'Living Receiver'. The sound of the band has been described as a mix of Led Zeppelin, Muse, A perfect Circle and Rush.
The story of this new album is “set in a dystopian future where society has collapsed. King of the Sugarcoated Tongues is an 8 chapter story about the human need for security and the freedoms we are willing to trade in return.” Musically this is a good album. Siva-Rajah is a good singer (listen to God Science); he adds a lot of emotion to the songs without becoming irritating. Also on the musical side, the album is well put together. The songs never become tedious, it all sounds adventurous and it is never boring. I really like the guitar work, especially the guitar solo in “sex and TV” is really good, but the rhythm section delivers also a good job. The Piper`s Mirror is the heaviest song on the album with harder guitar - and drum work. The album ends with the funky (nice bass work) Exodus. All in all, the band has delivered a nice album. Furthermore, the album features a good story and also the production is fine. Real metalheads can better ignore this album, but if you are interested in good alternative music with progressive influence, check The Sunpilots` website. Here, you can listen and download several songs of their new album.
Visit their website: http://www.thesunpilots.com
Recordlabel: http://www.honeytraprecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thesunpilots

79/100

THE WAY OF PURITY – A Passage through the Purity of Pain (DVD) Norway June 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Black Metal / Deathcore Running time: 30:31 (Tracks: 1)
The Way of Purity is a self-proclaimed controversial black metal/deathcore band from Norway, which is currently focussing on their latest full length album 'Equation.' This record hasn't reached the MMM mailbox yet, but the band has send us two items that were released previously. The E.P. 'Biteback', that is also reviewed in this month's issue, and the short film that the band has shot with Susi Medvsa Gottardi, in which the band members display their beliefs during a 'higher religious mission.' When ordered a task from their manager, the band gets lost in the woods and stumble upon a dark house in which a mysterious women is present. During their stay in the house, the bandmembers get visions of what happened in that house. I won't give away too much of the plot, but the movie is full of religious symbolism in which the band shows they are serious about their beliefs and music. Therefore it's too bad that the acting is not very good. That's a shame, because the story really has some potential. The positive part is the music of The Way of Purity, which suits the dark atmosphere very well. Therefore this movie is interesting for anyone who likes to learn more of what this band is about. But if we just look at the quality of the movie, it may be better to watch a regular dark cult film.
Visit their website: http://www.thewayofpurity.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thewayofpurity

55/100

THE WAY OF PURITY – Biteback (MCD) Norway June 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Black Metal/Deathcore Running time: 09:12 (Tracks: 3)
My first acquaintance with The Way of Purity was their thirty minute movie that is also reviewed here on MMM in this month's issue (see above). As you can read, I wasn't so fond of this clip and especially the acting capabilities. Luckily, the music is a lot better, which the band proves on their E.P. 'Biteback.' This release is a warm up for the band's next full length album 'Equate' that is available as we speak. Although 'Biteback' only contains three songs and a length of under the ten minutes, it gives you a good idea what this band is about. The music can be described as Black Metal, Deathcore and other influences of extreme metal. The Way of Purity is capable of writing compact, aggressive songs with a dark atmosphere. This mainly because of the use of synthesisers. Also worth mentioning are the female vocals, which are pretty sick. Of course, that is a compliment in the world of metal. 'Biteback' is an interesting release of an interesting band. I sometimes get the feeling that they really, really try to be and look controversial, but maybe that's still the influence of the movie. Other than that: The Way of Purity is a band that are serious about what they are doing, and this shows in their music. Enthusiasts of their debut album 'Crosscore' may give this E.P. a try.
Visit their website: http://www.thewayofpurity.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thewayofpurity

75/100

THUNDERKRAFT - Totentanz (CD) Ukraine June 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Industrial Pagan Death Metal Running time: 51:15 (Tracks: 9)
Thunderkraft from the Ukraine has been active since 2001. They released their first album in 2005 and this is their second album. What can i say...very melodic death metal with pagan influences and very groovy. The guitar riffs are technical but also very heavy. The drums are also straight in your face and progressive, but also very groovy. The vocals are screams combined with grunts and clean vocals. They also use violins and a flute combined with keyboards. Now back to the music. There are very brutal and heavy parts in the music that I really like but they also use techno intros and the keyboards are very hard in the mix and that is something that I personally do not like. But they also play solos and they are very well performed. The variety in the music is very high but doesn`t get to me. The pagan part is the atmosphere that some songs have and that sounds great. I guess you have to check yourself but for me this too much of putting a lot of styles in the music.
Recordlabel: http://www.svarga.eu
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thunderkraft

60/100

TOMMY VITALY – Hanging Rock (CD) Italy June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Power Metal / Shred Metal Running time: 39:57 (Tracks: 9)
Tommy Vitaly is the Firenze (Florence), Tuscany (Italy) based guitar player from the Italian power metal band Seven Gates. Seven Gates started in 1999 and their two albums (Unreality (2002) and The Good and the Evil (2008) became very popular in Italy, Germany and Japan. The small Italian label Rock it Up took care of the (poor) distribution. But guitar fanatics were attracted by this band and Tommy draw the attention of many guitar magazines, endorsers (Tommy endorses Splawn Amplification) and many colleagues in the metal music business. Tommy released a solo record in 2010, called “Just me”. It was good, but his plans for a second album with musical contributions of a lot of his musical friends was his ultimate dream.
Well, his dream came true, as the guest list on his second album “Hanging rock “is something to be jealous about. Kenny Earl “Rhino “Edwards ( from Manowar and Holy Hell) took care of the drums and what a master he is. Bass guitars were played by Andrea Torricini ( from Vision Divine , a. o. ), keyboards were played by Ferdy Doernberg ( From Axel Rudi Pell) and guitar buddies David Shankle (Manowar) and Norifumi Shima (from Concerto Moon) play some fast solos and great riffs. But the list of vocalists is even more impressive: Carsten Schultz ( Evidence One), David DeFeis (Virgin Steele), Mats Leven (Malmsteen, Adagio, Treat), Zak Stevens (Circle II Circle, Savatage), Todd de la Torre (Crimson Glory) and Tommy's friend Michele Luppi (Vision Divine) leave their marks on this record. The typical Euro-power metal on this album starts furious with Mats Leven testing his tonsils on “Betrayer”. Carsten Schultz and Tommy shine in the next track, the fast Rob Rock -like “Run with the devil”. Todd de la Torre is guested in the following track “Hands of time”. The ballad “ Forever lost” (with David DeFeis on vocals) is the soft spot in the first chapter of the album. It's a bit sloppy ballad, not very powerful, the guitar solo however is very nice. Next song is the commercial sounding “Idol” , sung by Michele Luppi. The moody, sensitive instrumental “Misanthropy” tells us what Tommy Vitaly is all about: great melodic feel, fast picking and that typcial neo classical vibe that he shares with his idols ( Yngwie Malmsteen, Chris Impellitterri and George Bellas), “Heavy metal god” is the next track, a fast, ballsy Krautrocker, sung and shouted by the great Carsten Schultz. The next instrumental focusses on Tommy's guitar exchanging licks with Ferdy Doernberg on keyboards, very good. The album ends with the great “Icewarrior”, Tommy puts great themes in the Zak Stevens' lyrics and chorusses Tommy has surprised us with this album (and most of all with his 'list of friends'). The production is fair, I have the feeling that the mixing job could have needed more depth, more approach and a little more variety. The cover was designed by Felipe Macho Franco (he made covers for the Iced Earth, Blind Guardian and Rhapsody albums as well). The album will be released by IceWarrior in the beginning of May. For fans of European based power metal with good vocals and shredding guitars, this is a good addition to your collection!
Visit their website: http://www.tommyvitaly.com
Recordlabel: http://www.rockitup.org
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tommyvitalyofficial

80/100

WHIRR – Pipe Dreams (CD) USA June 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Shoegaze / Ambient / Alternative Rock Running time: 36:12 (Tracks: 10)
First of all, I never had heard of the music term “Shoegaze” before. It seems that it's named this style shoegazing because the musicians in these bands stood relatively still during live performances in a detached, introspective, non-confrontational state, hence the idea that they were gazing at their shoes. Well, now I know it's not my favorite type of music. After listening the first time to “Pipe Dreams”, the debut album of sextet WHIRR (formerly known as WHIRL), I already knew enough. Most of the songs are so fucking boring and the female vocals are sounding pretty much the same. Well, I can't tell you the names of the members of this band, because it's not mentioned on the attached info-sheet, and also can't find any names on their MySpace page. But what the fuck, I don't care who's playing in this band, because it really sucks. This band and album isn't interesting for any metalhead. It's more for alternative people. Well, all I can say is, this is an incredibly boring album. Next one please.
Visit their website: http://www.whirrband.tumblr.com
Recordlabel: http://www.teepeerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/whirr

52/100

WIG WAM – Wall Street (CD) Norway June 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Glam Rock Running time: 42:02 (Tracks:11)
When you come from Ostfold, a small county in the Southeast of Norway, and your motto is ”Rock is the new Schläger “you can't be taken too seriously. Many people in general and many rock fanatics in particular laughed at this Norwegian version / combination of Kiss, Mud, The Sweet and Slade in 2001. Only a few (mostly national and Scandinavian rock fans) knew that these musicians already had played in a lot of Scandi-rock bands (like Sha-Boom, Artch, Ole Evenrude Band) and that the band had a clear vision of their way to make it the top. With a killer riff and a very commercial song ( In my dreams) Wig Wam entered the world stage, starting with the Eurovision Song Contest. The debut album came out in various versions, but it was a huge hit in Northeast regions of Europe and Japan. Global Music took care of the distribution and the poor promotion.
“Wigwamania” was the second album gaining rave reviews as well and the distribution by King Records in Japan and Voices of Wonder in Europe was a lot better. The first album became popular again in the Far East ( it was re-released just after the second album) and the band gained a special and rough live status. The glam band bought their own studio in Fredrikstad, Norway and it was the place to record their third album: Non-stop Rock 'n Roll. Various labels were interested in Wig Wam's third release and the rock nation had to face facts again: These Norwegian rockers can write and play glammy songs that blow your eyebrows off.
A live cd and a few DVD's followed and the new Wig Wam will be out soon, distributed by Frontiers, the famous Italian melodic rock label, in Europe and in the USA. The new opus “Wall Street “ will not disappoint the fans of this band. The glammy rock stays and stands firm. The themes and the lyrics are as funny, as humorous as always. The band has a more commercial approach than ever, the typical fast and furious songs and the attitude however have diminished and Wig Wam has chosen a few ballad – type songs ( Victory is sweet, Things money can't buy, Tides will turn). It's a pity that the band didn't pick a few speedball-tracks or a few songs with a 'balls to the wall '-attitude, it would have made the album longer, tougher………. and better. I think it's a small step back for this fantastic, sympathetic, willful Norwegian band, but the true fans of glam rock with a commercial vibe will give this fourth Wig Wam album a warm welcome. They deserve it!
Visit their website: http://www.wigwam.no
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wigwamania

75/100

WOLFEN – Chapter IV (CD) Germany June 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Power Metal / Thrash Metal Running time: 67:16 (Tracks: 12)
WOLFEN is a four piece Metal band from Germany, and exists already fifteen years. During their career, the band released some demos and three albums, which are “Don't Trust The White” (2001), “Humanity…Sold Out!” (2004) and “The Truth Behind” (2006). Well, the title of this album, “Chapter IV”, speaks for itself, because it's the fourth album of these guys. Personally, I never had heard of WOLFEN before, so this album is my first acquaintance with the band. Anyway, WOLFEN exists of Andreas von Lipinski (vocals, bass), Frank J. Noras (guitar), Björn Grüne (guitar) and Holger Bloempott (drums). The band recorded twelve songs for this album, which has a total running time of 67:16 minutes. Well, the first time I listened to “Chapter IV”, I wasn't that impressed, but with the second time I began to like some songs a bit more. Now I have listened several times to “Chapter IV”, and I am still of opinion that not all the songs are that strong. To me, songs such as “Hole In The Sky” (5:30) and especially the semi-ballad “Dolor Mundis” (6:18) are pretty boring. Okay, musically, the band exists of good musicians. Although the vocals of Von Lipinski reminds me sometimes of Graham Bonnet (RAINBOW, ALCATRAZZ), he is not really a great singer. Anyway, “Chapter IV” is a varied album, because it features power metal songs as well as some Thrash metal songs. Anyway, the songs which I like the most of “Chapter IV” are “Revolution / Evolution” (5:14), “D.F.A.I.T.” (4:44), “The One” (6:00), “Nefilim” (5:43), “Unbroken” (4:14) and “Demons” (6:51). To me, some of the songs on this album do have a much too long running time. So, my end conclusion is that WOLFEN is nothing more than a moderate Metal band. I wouldn't buy this album easily myself, but if you are curious about “Chapter IV” or you are already familiar with the previous albums of WOLFEN, then check this album out.
Visit their website: http://www.wolfen-metal.de
Recordlabel: http://www.purelegend-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wolfenmetal

68/100

ZARPA – Las Puertas Del Tiempo (CD) Spain June 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 64:27 (Tracks: 14)
Zarpa from Spain has been around (on and off) since 1977, with their classic heavy metal in their native language. Until now the guys from Valencia have released seven studio albums, the last one being 'Iberia' in 2009 also on Karthago records. Only original member from the beginning is Vicente Feijoo (vocals, guitar), although the rest of the band is in there for almost 10 years or more. Zarpa plays powerful traditional heavy metal, if to be compared names like Accept, Judas Priest or Helloween come to mind. The album has a good and powerful production, and mostly uptempo heavy metal songs, with also a kind of ballad on it 'Trovador/ Trovador electrico', with a bit of Spanish folklore music in there. All in all it's a very good album from one of Spain's longest existing metal acts. With this album you get a good traditional heavy metal album, with a lot of melodic powerful and dynamic songs, if you can handle the Spanish lyrics, they can keep up with the big ones. Lots of influences from the 70ies and early eighties in their music, a very experienced band, who have achieved legendary cult status in their own country.
Visit their website: http://www.zarparock.com
Recordlabel: http://www.karthago-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/zarparock

75/100

APRIL

4 ARM – Submission For Liberty (CD) Australia April 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 49:30 (Tracks: 10)
Over the past couple of years, I've reviewed quite some albums that were released through Rising Records. Some were good, some were average and some were just flat-out boring. For 4 Arm's debut album on the label, I'd like to add a new category: F*cking awesome! This Australian based metal band was formed in 2004 and has released several album, of which 'Submission For Liberty' is the first one through Rising Records. With this deal, they will probably gain more attention for the band, which I surely hope. Why? Because 4 Arm profile themselves as a modern Thrash metal band in without losing the spirit and feel of how it was played in the eighties. While listening to the album, bands like Exodus and Testament come to mind, but also the feel of a relatively new band like Warbringer is present. The up tempo, speedy music contains traditional thrash riffs, pounding drums and a vocalist that suits the music really well. Despite all the classic influences that you clearly can discover, the music doesn't sound dated. This due to the mixing collaboration with Matt Hyde, who also worked with Trivium, Slipknot and Machine Head in the past. 'Submission For Liberty' has turned out to be a recommendation for the all-round thrash metal enthusiast. I hope they will come to Europe in order to promote this album. There is always interest in energetic music like this!
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/4armofficial
Recordlabel: http://www.risingrecords.org
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/4armofficialscars

82/100

ANOTHER DESTINY PROJECT - Tell Me What You See … (CD) Italy April 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 38:09 (Tracks: 10)
The main man in this project is producer, composer and guitarist Peter Pahor, who founded this project together with vocalist Federico Ahrens. The rest of the members are all musicians that were hired to play their part. These guys are Emanuele Petrucci (drums), Davor Pavelic (bass-guitar) and Gabriele Giorgi (guitars). “Tell Me What You See …” is the debut-album of Another Destiny Project. It is a concept album about dream and madness. After a short intro, named “R.E.M.”, dominated by synth/keyboards and sound tracks, played by Pahor, it is time for the second track, “Insomnia”. This track is also an instrumental and filled by loads of synth/keyboards and all kind of sounds supported by some heavy guitars. The third track, “Sleepwalker”, has Ahrens singing for the first time on this album. This fast song is full of fantastic guitar playing. There is plenty of musical diversity on this one. The fourth track, “Doomsday”, starts of with some double bass. All the different sounds ranging from pounding drums and bass, screaming guitars and strange sounds will intimidate you. Like most of the songs, they are loaded with musical craftsmanship. Ahrens' voice circles above the music, as it doesn't really blend in. Heavy pounding combined with heavy riffing and completed by a layer of keyboards are the base for “Once Again”. This one is with it's almost six minutes the longest track on the album. Parts of the lyrics are spoken word. Halfway the song it gets a bit more straightforward with repeating lyrics. After a heavy part, the lyrics almost get “Rammstein-like”. “Sand” is played on acoustic guitars. Ahrens should have made more impact on this beautiful modest song. To me this is a missed opportunity. “Rorschach” sounds quite German and has some great guitar playing to start. It turns really heavy with Ahrens who starts screaming and growling. A sturdy rhythm section combined with keyboards and screaming guitars are the base for Ahrens vocals. “Life Of Lies” is a power metal track, but unfortunately Ahrens' voice doesn't suit the song very well. “Assembly” is a fast song with great riffing and with a rhythm-section that lays down a sturdy foundation. The last track, “In My Name” is a softer track that has same great melodies. There are some beautiful parts on this album but the overall conclusion is that the potential is there but it needs to be perfected.
Visit their website: http://www.anotherdestinyproject.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anotherdestinyproject

75/100

ARMAGEDDON – Necromantic Celebration (CD) France April 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Black / Thrash Metal Running time: 42:25 (Tracks: 10)
Armageddon is a solo project which started 10 years ago by Silvere Catteau. At first Armageddon was his stage name when he entered Lord, a black metal band, in 1999. Besides his work in Lord as a drummer, he also started practising guitar and bass. His studio experiences with Lord also gave him the taste for sound engineering and he started to equip himself with studio gear. This was how it all started with Armageddon the solo project, in 2002 a demo was recorded entitled 'Through The Endless Torments Of Hell' with a blend of his metal influences, mostly black, death and thrash from the likes of Bathory, Possessed, Kreator and Slayer to name a few. After releasing the demo, he engineered Lord's second album 'Hell's Fucking Metal' which was released in 2003. Armageddon carried on, but in a very slow motion as he was busy with bands like Lord, Unholy War and Excruciate 666. In 2011 Armageddon's debut album was finished with 10 songs and a cover art by Joe Petagno (Motorhead). The result of his hard work is an album full of black thrash metal in an old school way, superbly well done, fast paced, dark and morbid, maybe not the most original, but definitely true, from a man who has passion for metal. A very enjoyable album for liker's of this genre of metal, ripping songs like 'The Shadow Of The Beast' or 'I Am Your Torment'. There is also a cover on the album from Running Wild, 'Branded & Exiled'. While the vocals on this album are done in a black metal style, the music is very thrash orientated which is a perfect combination on this album. I really love this album, and you will too if you're into this kind of metal, respect for this man, who did all this on his own, which raises the question if we will ever see Armageddon perform live, as it is a solo project.
Visit their website: http://armageddon.online.fr
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dieatarmageddon

87/100

AT VANCE – Facing your Enemy (CD) Germany April 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Hardrock / Melodic Metal Running time: 49:49 (Tracks: 12)
At Vance is a real 'metal hammer' from Mainz in the Rhineland of Germany. The band started in the late nineties of the former century. Their first albums had that powerful neo-classical vibe: Strong power metal riffs, progressive touches, good vocals (of Oliver Hartmann back then) and big, crunchy guitar solos of mastermind Olaf Lenk. In 2002 AFM Records in Germany signed this metal quartet and the band started touring with Angel Dust, Rhapsody and Kamelot. After their 'Only Human – album ' Oliver Hartmann suddenly left the band and with the former Yngwie Malmsteen, ex -Abstrakt Algebra and former Treat-singer Mats Leven the Germans started their second musical life. Their albums “The evil in you”, “Chained”, “VII”, “Ride the sky” and the 2010'compilation “Decade” were successful in many European countries. Mats Leven was replaced by power shouter Rick Altzi . And with Altzi, Lenk, Alex Landenburg (former Annihilator drummer) and Wolfmann Black (from the German band Justice) this power quartet starts firing on all six. Their new opus is called “Facing your enemy”. It starts very furious with the speed metal track “Heaven is calling“ . But there's a lot more to enjoy. The vocal versatility of Rick Altzi is fantastic, the guitar solos of Olaf Lenk are very tasteful, speedy and they breath that Yngwie Malmsteen / Chris Impellitteri-vibe. The rhythm section sound thick as a brick (Just listen to the instrumental “March of the dwarf “, you'll hear what I'm talking about). All ingredients for a solid, tough album with a lot of surprises in the songs are there. You'll hear the Alcatrazz, Rainbow, Dio, Rising Force and even Whitesnake / Coverdale- touches in a lot of musical themes, but At Vance are no copy-cats. The German band sets his more commercial power metal course, and to be honest , the performance is very classy. The acoustic ballad “The things I never needed” closes the album in a moody atmosphere. This album is strong, powerful, but is has a commercial feel, without losing the 'power attitude '. I'm glad the guys are back! The band will start touring after this release, on some of the gigs At Vance will be accompanied by their fellow-furious-neo-classical rockers of Iron Mask. Check them out!
MySpace: http://www.myspace.come/atvance
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
FaceBook: http://www. facebook.com/pages/At-Vance

84/100

AXEL RUDI PELL – Circle of the Oath (CD) Germany April 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hardrock Running time: 1:00:59 (Tracks: 10)
Axel Rudi Pell doesn't need an introduction: He's one of the hardest working musicians of Germany and since he left the band Steeler in 1988, Axel Rudi has sold 1,5 million albums worldwide so far. His secret? Just hard work, stick to your favourite genre, give the fans what they want and be close with your musical friends. From his first 3 track-demo in 1989 to his latest release, “Circle of the oath” , Axel has a good feeling for melodic metal with hints of Deep Purple, Rainbow and hard rock from the seventies of the former century. Old fashioned? Yes, you can say that, but when it's played with this big balls' sound, with fierce guitar solos from the master himself, surrounded by this thick keyboard melodies by Ferdy Doernberg, accompanied by one of the best rhythm teams of Europe (Mike Terrana on drums and his former Steeler companion Volker Krawczak on bass) and when it is sung by power vocalist Johnny Gioeli (former Hardline vocalist) you simply can't go wrong. Axel Rudi Pell has also a nose for composing powerful ballads and his Ballads-compilation albums (he penned four of them) gained good reviews and commercial successes. “Circle of the oath” is Axel Rudi's fourteenth album (all on SPV !) and it's a feast of recognition: An atmospheric intro, a speed up track, hard rocking mashers, a moody ballad, some fierce rockers and a 'mini-opus ', it's all (again) on this album. Aren't there any changes? Yes, Axel Rudi Pell has changed his lyrical themes: The dragon forces, the castles, the myths and magics are gone and they made room for more in-depth lyrics and actual themes. Axel Rudi Pell has released a very good, very solid and stable record again. Pure, heavy and very recognisable! The digipack-version of this release will contain one extra track form the 2011 Bang Your Head festival: the mighty “Temple of the king”. The Circle of the Oath- tour starts on the 20th of April and the Germans of Mad Max will be Axel's special guest in a lot of European countries. Go check them out!
Visit their website: http://www.axel-rudi-pell.de
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/axelrudipellofficial

84/100

BADFARE STATE – Socially Dead (CDemo) Spain April 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal / Crossover Running time: 18:00 (Tracks: 6)
BADFARE STATE is a Crossover Thrash Metal band from Spain, and exists of Sordeath (vocals), Chiky (guitar), Mon (bass) and Rojas (drums). The band was formed at the end of 2010, and this 6-track EP "Socially Dead" is the first recording of these guys. Actually, there are only four real songs on this EP, because "Incoherent World" and "St. Matthew 18" are short intros. Those four songs are titled "Rich Men's War", "Genocide Maniac", "Jail For Politicians" and "Pedopriest". I must say that these songs are sounding nice. But to be honest, to me it's all not that notable. Don't get me wrong, it's absolutely not bad, because these guys play their instruments well. So, Thrash and Crossover fanatics, if you are interested in this EP of BADFARE STATE, check them out on their MySpace page, where you can listen to their songs.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/badfarestate

68/100

BLEEDING UTOPIA – Demons to Some, Gods to Others (CD) Sweden April 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 47:08 (Tracks: 10)
Bleeding Utopia brings you very technical and progressive death metal with a great atmosphere in it. This band brings you a great mix of melodic death metal in vein of Amon Amarth but also the rawness of thrash bands like Dew Scented. All the songs are filled with variety. The guitar riffs are straight in your face and filled with groove and melody, but then they also bring you great thrash riffs and solos. The drums are straight in your face and filled with double bass parts and a lot up tempos. The vocals light grunts but they sound very strong and evil. I`ve never heard of this band but this album sounds brutally good and makes you listen to every song!
Visit their website: http://www.bleedingutopia.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bleedingutopia

75/100

CRAZY LIXX – Riot Avenue (CD) Sweden April 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Sleaze Metal (New Wave of Swedish Sleaze) Running time: 47:09 (Tracks: 11)
Crazy Lixx is the name of a plastic Japanese toy guitar. But it's also the name of one of the top bands of the 'New Wave of Swedish Sleaze'. Crazy Lixx was one of the first bands from Malmö playing the European variant of the American sleazy, glam metal music And Crazy Lixx is a popular band, following the footsteps of their Swedish colleagues of Crashdiet, Hardcore Superstar, Babylon Bombs and Vains of Jenna. Crazy Lixx differs somewhat from the other names, the music is more '80 influenced, more classic based. Crazy Lixx started in 2002 and the founding members all played in Blindead, a popular heavy metal band in the Malmö area. The band made some demos and Crazy Lixx won a local music competition in Helsingborg. After that victory things went fast. Crazy Lixx opened for Hardcore Superstar and Gilby Clarke (former guitarist of Guns 'n Roses). Gilby was impressed by their live status and offered them a record deal. Producer Chris Laney took care of their debut album “Loud Minority “, recorded in the Polar Studios in Stockholm. The album came out in 2007 (on Swedmetal Records) and it was a smash hit in Sweden. The band toured worldwide as a support act for their friends from Hardcore Superstar. In 2009 Frontiers signed the band and the label released their second album “A new religion” in January 2010. Again Chris Laney produced the songs of this great album. There was again a lot of good feedback towards this record and Crazy Lixx became a household name in 'sleazy Europe and Asia'. In 2011 the band worked on their newest record: Riot Avenue, and what a great record this is. Powerful sleazy rock with big guitars, power chords, great lead and gang vocals and many hints of the American sleaze acts like Buckcherry, Faster Pussycat, Guns 'n Roses, the Euro sleaze acts like Hardcore Superstar and the US major rock league of Kiss and (early) Aerosmith. From the first track ”Whiskey tango foxtrot” to the tenth track “Be gone” , Crazy Lixx is on fire and they deliver hell! The great ballad “Only the dead know “closes the album in style. The musicians are skilled players and the production is crispy, crunchy and mean with an accent on the vocals and the guitars. Nice job! Crazy Lixx stays close to their former albums, this album has more mid – paced songs than the other albums, but any fan of sleazy rock will give this album a very warm welcome. Crazy Lixx will start their tour in May, the band will have a new bass player as Loke Rivano (bass player for the past seven years) has left the band. The band had lost a few friends and musicians before (f. i. guitarist Vic Zino left the band in the past to join his buddies from Hardcore Superstar, he was replaced by Sharp –guitarist Andy Dawson). I'm sure this line-up change won't diminish the incredible live status of this Swedish sleaze act! Well done guys!
Tracklisting: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; Young Blood; Riot Avenue; Fire It Up; Downtown; In The Night; ChurchOf Rock; Heatseeker; Sweet, Bad & Beautiful; Be Gone; Only The Dead Know.
Visit their website: http://www.crazylixx.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crazylixxmusic

83/100

CRYSTAL VIPER – Crimen Excepta (CD) Poland April 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 51:35 (Tracks: 10)
Looking for some true pure Heavy Metal with screaming female vocals? Don't look any further then this Polish Crystal Viper with Marta Gabriel after the microphone. Founded in 2003 by Marta herself (who also plays the guitar damn well) they released several cd's and ep's since then; all filled with classic Heavy Metal. Their 2010 “Legends” already proved what they were capable off and showed further progress, but with this example they take another step forwards. Crimen Excepta - a concept effort about holy inquisition, black magic and witches, where fiction is mixed with historical facts – is yet more aggressive, darker and heavier then their previous releases. The influences of Iron Maiden (the old style from the first two classics) are unmistakable and are mixed with furious, razor sharp guitar hooks and fine solo's. Some songs even have those unexpected breaks like Mercyful Fate used to have.
The darker side is, for example, represented in a very good cover of Vader's “Tyrani PiekieL”(!) with guest vocals by Peter himself. Another guest appearance is that of Hell's David Bower on the more epic title track “Crimen Excepta”. All songs are damn good without any exception and represent the good old days of NWOBHM. Just listen to the furiousity of “Witch's Mark” and “It's Your Omen”, the melody in “Child of the Flame”, the pounding “Medicus Animarum” (hello Priest) and the pure headbanger “Hope is Gone, Here's New Law”.. Worth mentioning is the ballad “Ghosts of Sherwood”, a theme song they lately recorded for the forthcoming 3D cinema horror movie "Robin Hood: Ghosts Of Sherwood". Marta here shows here quality in a more slower song and proves that she's very versatile and a brilliant vocalist for this pure Heavy Metal. Make sure you get the limited edition of the cd, because this one contains the extra tracks “Tyrani Piekiel” and “Ghosts of Sherwood”. As every real Heavy Metal band this album will be released on lp containing “Ghosts of Sherwood” and the Demon cover “Night of the Demon”. Well, let that be my favourite Demon track and damn I miss just that one on this download. Well, can' have everything, so up to the lp. It will be worth it, just like this whole album. Great album, great band. Anyone who is into classic Heavy Metal should check this one out. Satisfaction guaranteed!
Visit their website: http://www.crystalviper.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crystalviperofficial

84/100

DIABULUS IN MUSICA - The Wanderer (CD) Spain April 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 54:49 (Tracks: 12)
Diabulus in Musica is a Spanish Gothic Metal band whose star is rising quickly. Their 2010 debut “Secrets” on which they worked together with Sasha Paeth and Ad Sluyter (Epica) was received well and almost immediately opened doors to prestigious concerts like Metal Female Voices Fest and as support of Manowar, Theatre of Tragedy, Doro, Therion to name a few. Indeed “Secrets” was a fine album that mostly reminded of Epica but the songs and melody listened away easily. Anyway, a damn fine start so to say. Napalm took their chances and signed the band, providing them Jacob Hansen for mix and mastering and Mr. Epica Mark Jansen himself does his well known job in “Blazing a Trail”. If that wasn't enough to make their ambitions also John Kelly and Maite Itoiz come along to. Seems Leaves' Eyes has set a standard on Meredead with that respectable duo.
Now back to what all the above has resulted in. To be short, Diabulus in Musica delivers a fantastic album here that has everything in it to become a success. After “Secrets” many called hem the Spanish Epica, but with this product that make very clear that they deserve better. More rock, more bombast, more metal more choirs, more power results simply in a fine, versatile album that is a must for those who love their music dark, symphonic and gothic. Listen to the super catchy single “Sceneries of Hope” the brutal “Shadow of the Throne” and the adventurous monster track “No Time For Repentance (Lamentatio)” and you know this is an album more than worth checking out. Big plus for the band is that I now they are capable performing this stuff life after seeing them in 2011 at the MFVF. This year they perform there again and I think they are going to collect several souls there. With good performances and good albums that's the least they deserve of course. Mighty good album filled with passionate, sweeping and powerful songs. What do you want more?
Visit their website: http://www.diabulusinmusica.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/diabulusinmusicaband

86/100

ELVENSTORM – Of Rage and War (CD) France April 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 38:51 (Tracks: 9)
Elvenstorm is a female fronted band that just debuted through Inferno Records. Just by looking at the awesome epic cover I could guess the musical direction of the band. Pure f**king heavy-power metal! The band is primarily influenced by early Helloween and Running Wild and is definitely on the same side as Lonewolf, Stormwarrior and of course Poland's Crystal Viper. 9 blistering fast paced songs, 38 minutes of banging Teutonic metal. As I usually say in situations like this, originality is not the case. It is about having fun and banging your head to true metal anthems. Well done guys and girl. This is a fine, entertaining album!
Visit their website: http://www.reverbnation.com/elvenstorm
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/elvenstorm73

79/100

FAIR WARNING – Best of and More (2CD) Germany April 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hardrock Running time: 2:27:56 (Tracks: 32)
The forces of the German bands V2 and Zeno collaborated in 1991 in a new Hannover based melodic rock band Fair Warning. Their first album (on the WEA-label) was filled with bombastic, very good melodic rock, filled with strong songs, diverse melodic structures, good vocals and fine guitar work. The band became very popular in Japan, Fair Warning had a small headline tour in 1992 and 1993 out there and the second and third album made their break in the land of the rising sun. Fair Warning released some Ep's and an acoustic mini album in Japan ( “Live at home”) as well, all very successful. But the European continent didn't seem to hear the quality of the albums “Rainmaker”, “Go” and “Four”. After the release of another live album ( “Live and More”, recorded in Japan in 1999 ) the band decided to split. Tommy Heart, the singer, became involved in the pounding hard rock quartet Soul Doctor, Andy Malecek (guitars) joined forces with some Swedish friends in Last Autumn's Dream, Helge Engelke (guitars), Torsten Luderwald (keyboards) and CC.Behrens (drums) started the band Dreamtide and Ule Ritgen (bass guitars, the main composer) even started to make paintings.
But six years later Fair Warning was alive again(in 2006). Their newest albums didn't gain success in Europe, but the far East re-welcomed the band again. The albums “Brother's Keeper” and “Aura” were very good albums and in 2009 the band filmed and recorded a few shows in Japan for their latest album so far: “Talking ain't enough – Fair Warning Live in Tokyo “. Once again, this album showed what Fair Warning's music is all about: melody, adventure, very strong musicianship and songs with a story and a solid backbone. This year SPV is going to release a compilation album with 32 (!) tracks on 2 cd's. Absolutely amazing stuff! You'll get the best tracks of almost any Fair Warning album, even the Japanese releases aren't overlooked. Fair Warning 's version of the Led Zeppelin-classic “Rock 'n Roll ' is also added, a nice surprise! The real fans of German melodic rock in general or Fair Warning-fans in particular will have or know most of the tracks, but this “Best of and More” is the perfect acquaintance with this Hannover- super band as well! Nice compilation.
Visit their website: http://www.fair-warning.de
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fair_warning

90/100

FROZEN RAIN Rain – Ahead of Time (CD) Belgium April 2012 Jordy Brouwers
Style: AOR / Melodic Rock Running time: 52:19 (Tracks: 11)
“Ahead of Time” is the new album of the Belgian AOR rock band Frozen Rain. It is released four years after the release of their self-titled debut album. In 2008, the dream of song writer Kurt Vereecke became reality when this debut was released. The music on this album was heavily influenced by the classic AOR sound of the `80s. The positive feed back paved the way for a second release: “Ahead of Time”. The line-up on this album contains six musicians. Besides Kurt Vereecke (Keyboards, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals), Jurgen Vitrier (keyboards) and Vincent de Laat (bass) were also present on the debut album. These musicians are now accompanied by Kurt`s brother Hans Vereecke (Drums) and Rik Priem (Rhythm, Solo and Acoustic Guitar). The position of lead singer is occupied by Carsten “Lizard” Schulz.
Kurt Vereecke and guitarist Rik Priem worked intensively on the arrangements and the production of the new songs. Their aim was to give them an up-to-date guitar oriented AOR / Melodic rock sound but with enough space for the keyboards. In my opinion, Frozen Rain has delivered a real good album. What I really like is the epic guitar work of Priem. Listen for example to the opener of the album: Believe it or Not. This is how good AOR has to be made! This bombastic song is the highlight of the album. I can also appreciate the more up-tempo “The Last Dance Ain`t Over”, but I do not want to deprive the other songs. There is enough space for all the musicians to show their skills. “Ahead of Time” is an album which never bored me. If you like good, well-played melodic rock, listen to this album!
Visit their website: http://www.frozenrain.be
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/frozenrain

82/100

FURYU – Cio' Che L'Anima Non Dice (CD) Italy April 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 31:39 (Tracks: 5)
Furyu has been around since 2000 but this is their debut-album. This is not your regular progressive metal band. If you look at the album-cover and the booklet or if you see the album-title, it is obvious that his band is something far away from the ordinary. After a real heavy and fast start, it is time for a little piece of rest followed by some spoken word. As I don't speak any Italian, I don't have a clue what is being said. Halfway this first track by the name “Illusione Dei Miei Giorni” there is some heavy guitar riffing. Throughout the song, there are all kind of different sounds and rhythms. It ranges from the heavy parts to some funky stuff. Towards the end of the song, there is even some more spoken word to be heard. “..E Poi La Luce” is the second track, which has a quite fast start. The vocals are limited to some spoken words or softly sung lyrics and are being performed by Giovanni Notarangelo. There is also some galloping and a kind of freaky jazzy stuff to be heard on this track. After this part, it is time for Michele Zappoli, the bass-player, to pluck his strings and for the guitarists Giulio Capitelli and Federico Melandri to show their musical qualities. On this track, again it is a variety of all kind of different tempos brought together in one strong arrangement. Furyu know how to write and perform great songs! There are some strange effects, produced by Damiano Storelli, at the start of “Un Momento: Vado A Fuoco” and again it's Notarangelo who sounds very desperate as he speaks out. On this track, there is plenty of space for Riccardo Grechi to hit the skins. Furyu's songs are packed with great music that takes you by the throat without letting you go. The complete band is competing against each other and by doing so they deliver an exciting song by the name of “Finalmente Io Sono”. A great composition that stays interesting throughout the almost six minutes. The last track with the unbelievable title, “La Vastita' Del Mio Tempo/ Cio' Che L'Anima Non Dice”, is also a good display of what these guys are capable of. Towards the end of the song, the acoustic guitars take over as the music slowly fades away. This is a special bunch of musicians but to me it is a pity that after so many years they only produced just over thirty minutes of music. I must admit that they have packed these minutes with loads of superb music. I am curious what they have in store for us in the future. Furyu, please don't wait so long for the next release.
Visit their website: http://www.furyu.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/projectfuryu

86/100

HELP! FOR JAPAN – Help! (MCD) Different Countries April 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 20:24 (Tracks: 4)
On March 11th 2011 Japan was hit by a disastrous earthquake. Well, the aftermath of that earthquake is still apparent, and to the present day the Japanese people are still facing the impact of it. Now one year later, some of Europe's leading Rock artists have united to join a campaign initiated by singer Tommy Heart (SOUL DOCTOR, FAIR WARNING), and recorded a new version of THE BEATLES classic "Help!". This "Help! For Japan" EP features four versions of "Help!, namely "Help!", "Help! (Tommy Heart version)", "Help! (guitar version)" and "Help! (extended version)". Some names of musicians and singers who contributed to this project are the singers Tobias Sammet (EDGUY, AVANTASIA), Bob Catley (MAGNUM), Andi Deris (HELLOWEEN), Marc Storace (KROKUS), Michael Kiske (ex-HELLOWEEN, UNISONIC), Ralf Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR) and Tommy Heart, and musicians Leo Leoni (guitar, GOTTHARD), Neil Murray (bass, ex-WHITESNAKE), Hena Habegger (drums, GOTTHARD) and Don Airey (keyboards, DEEP PURPLE). All versions on this EP are produced by Tommy Heart, Tommy Remm and Rene Schostak, and are all ballad versions in the style of TINA TURNER's cover version of "Help!" (which is on her 1984 album "Private Dancer"). And the "Help! (guitar version)" is a fantastic instrumental version. Anyway, this is a very good EP and of course a fantastic initiative. Important is, that all the income from the sales of this EP of this project will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross.
Visit their website: http://www.helpforjapan1.wordpress.com
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com

78/100

LELAHELL – Al Intihar (MCD) Algeria April 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 27:00 (Tracks: 6)
Lehahell from Algeria brings you smashing death metal with a lot of strange influences in it. This band is new but the members are well known in the scene because of their previous and other bands (check the metal encyclopaedia). This band brings a combination between brutal death with black and extreme music that is not standard. It is strange to explain but I will give it a try. The guitar riffs are brutal death that turns into heavy metal with melody but it has also elements of blackmetal in it (still got it?). And then you got the drums that first start as a train that cannot be stopped and then turns into a progressive masterpiece with rhythms that are not standard. The vocals are deep and dark growls combined with a very dark and evil scream that sounds like it has been resurrected from the grave. The variety of the songs are highly placed with these guys because every song sounds different. But they have a treat for us because the last track is a cover of Mayhem (Freezing Moon). I prefer the original but it is definitely not bad because they give it their own sound and twist! This is their first EP released by their self, and they are hoping to find a label who will release it for them.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lelahellband

72/100

MARCHE FUNEBRE – To Drown (CD) Belgium April 2012 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Doom/ Death Metal. Running time: 1:04:23 (Tracks: 7)
Damn! What were the guys from Marche Funebre thinking when they were writing the music for their debut album? “Lets put some ingredients from all kind of doom periods in a blender and see what comes out? ” Maybe we could mix some Candlemass vocal parts (that sound like Danny Cavanagh's, Anathema vocals on “Eternity” but more false) together with some early Paradise Lost stuff? After the first two tracks it's as stale as that box of cornflakes that's been sitting in the cupboard for the past three years. Only at some points does this album really have any sort of interesting arrangements. Most of the songs follow the same formula which is my biggest complaint about albums like these. What ever happened to developing your own writing style? This is the tragic flaw of atmosphere-based genres (black metal and doom, for example) they're bloated, and very few bands tend to add to the formula. And while Marche Funebre tries to get away with it by as stated above the formula still stays the boring same!
“To Drown” is a hindered recording; it's hindered by the lack of creativity in most of the song writing and the cliches in the lyrics. But some slightly interesting moments are heightened into sounding like gold when compared to the rest of the album. There's definite talent in this band, but they're writing too close to the formula. If they wanted to get any better, they'd have to start expanding their formula a bit. Sadly this debut album is nothing more than a second division subtopper at best.
Visit their website: http://www.marchefunebre.be
Recordlabel: http://www.metalzone.be
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/marchefunebretheband

50/100

MEKONG DELTA – Intersections (CD) Germany April 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Thrash Metal Running time: 53:22 (Tracks: 10)
This fantastic band has been around since 1985. The main man and founding member is Ralf Hubert (bass). The present line-up has been updated in 2008 when Martin LeMar (vocals), Benedikt Zimniak (guitars), Erik Adam H. (guitars) and Alexander Landenburg (drums) joined Hubert. This album is a re-release of the classic songs from the eighties and nineties but this time recorded with the new line-up. From their self-titled debut-album, dating back to 1987, the first track, “The Cure” and the seventh track, “Heroes Grief” are present on this album. Two songs, “Prophecy” and “Memories of Tomorrow”, represent the second album, “The Music of Erich Zann”. The album that is represented the most is “Kaleidoscope”. The three tracks on this album, “Sphere Eclipse”, “Heartbeat” and “Innocent?” were originally released in 1992. The three remaining tracks on this release were taken from “The Principle of Doubt” (Shades of Doom) , “Visions Fugitives” (The Healer) and “Dances of Death(and Other Walking Shadows) (Transgressor). As all tracks were released between 1987 and 1994 it is clear that the re-released tracks have a more modern and better sound. I must say that Mekong Delta's songs have survived the test of time. The songs remain timeless and this means that Mekong Delta was ahead of their time. Back in the old days, everything around Mekong Delta was kept secret but it is obvious that Hubert was and still is the creative mastermind behind Mekong Delta. I love this band as they play a special kind of thrashy progressive metal. If you are familiar with Mekong Delta's music this is a great collection of some of the best tracks provided with a modern sound. If you do not know Mekong Delta this is a great opportunity to get to know their superb quality and perhaps buy one of the earlier albums although they are not easily available. I have been lucky to see Mekong Delta live three times the last couple of years. I must say that the current line-up puts down a fantastic show while performing both old and new material in a great way. The songs on this album were already great songs but by recording them with the current line-up they were given an extra boost and turn out to be even better. It is difficult to describe Mekong Delta's music. It is progressive metal with thrashy influences. If you want to hear something different, buy this album and remember that these songs were written in the late eighties and early nineties. Former band members include Jörg Michael (Stratovarius, Running Wild), Uli Kusch (Helloween, Masterplan) and Peavy Wagner (Rage). As they have released albums in 2007 (Lurking Fear) and 2010 (Wanderer on the Edge of Time) it is obvious that Mekong Delta is here to stay. I hope that we do not have to wait very long for the next studio-album. In the meantime, I will sit back and relax while listening to “Intersections”.
Visit their website: http://www.mekongdelta.eu
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mekongdeltaband

89/100

MY HIDDEN PHOBIA – My Hidden Phobia (CD) Italy April 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Emocore / Metalcore Running time: 44:11 (Tracks: 12)
MY HIDDEN PHOBIA is a band from Italy, and exists of Mark (vocals), Ale (guitar, vocals), Ricky (guitar), Dario (bass) and Andrea (drums). On their MySpage page isn't any information to find, so I can't tell you when this band is formed. Well, these guys have released their self titled debut album "My Hidden Phobia", and features twelve songs. The album was recorded at the Westlink Studios and produced by Alessandro Paolucci, and sounds very good. The CD starts with the spoken "The Sun Won't Rise Again", followed by the fantastic "The Endless Void". The band exists of good musicians. On this album you get clean vocals as well as brutal grunts. I am not sure if Mark is only doing the clean vocals and guitarist Ale the brutal grunts or if the brutal grunts are also done by Mark. Anyway, after several times listening to "My Hidden Phobia", I can't deny that it's a bad album, in fact it is a nice album. Okay, personally I do prefer the clean vocals above the brutal grunts, but about the songs, well these are very good compositions. The songs which, in my opinion, are the best, are "The Endless Void", "Behind The Mask", "What Lies Beyond", "Darkness In Daylight", "Choose Your Weapon" and "Last Horizon". For emo- and metalcore freaks absolutely worth checking out.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/myhiddenphobia

78/100

NYA – Nya (MCD) United Kingdom April 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Alternative Metal Running time: 15:33 (Tracks: 4)
Nya from London UK was formed in 2008 and play a mixture of melodic hardrock/metal with an alternative/nu-metal touch. Heavy grooves alternate with more mainstream rock and it all sounds pretty good. Anezka Piska's vocals could use a bit more variety but that's only a matter of time. The four tracks are quite good and listen away easily. They all have that rocking feeling supported by crunchy, heavy grooves and sometimes male vocals like in the faster “The Beckoning”. This 4 track makes curious to catch this band live; the tracks scream for playing loud and live. I think they kick ass because it all grooves and hooks like hell. “Fall of Man” is the last track and invites to push the repeat button. Promising newcomer from the UK. Should make a fine line up when they would team up with the awesome Die So Fluid for a tour.
Visit their website: http://www.nyaofficial.com
Recordlabel: http://www.skratchthesurface.co.uk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nyametal

73/100

ON TOP – Top Heavy (CD) USA April 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 46:54 (Tracks: 11)
ON TOP is a 3 piece Metal band, and exists of Jaron Gulino (vocals, bass), Alex Kulick (guitar, backing vocals) and Danny Piselli (drums). I didn't get any biography of the band with this CD, so I can't tell you when ON TOP was formed. Well, I looked at the band's MySpace page, and couldn't find much info about them as well, I only saw they are from Downington, Philadelphia, U.S.A.. Anyway, this album, which is released by Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, is the debut album of ON TOP and features eleven tracks. I have listened to "Top Heavy" several times, but could not get impressed each time. These guys can absolutely play their instruments well, no doubt about it, only the level of the songs is very moderate. Really, there is not one song on this album that I find entirely good. And lyrically, some parts are repeated too much. Although "Top Heavy" features very moderate songs, I have to admit that the CD is very well provided. The booklet has a picture of each member and the lyrics in it, but the album cover is, by the way, most striking of all. The album cover shows us a young lady, all dressed in black, sitting on a red couch, and showing a bit of her boobs. But that's not enough of course, because it's all about the music, and not about a pretty lady on a cover. Anyway, one of the songs on "Top Heavy" is titled "Sick And Tired", and to be honest, I'm getting sick and tired of this weak album. The production of this CD, which was done by Carson Slovak, is okay. Well, with such moderate album, ON TOP never will be on top of the metal scene, that's for sure.
Recordlabel: http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.tk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bandontop

67/100

PANCHRYSIA – Massa Damnata (CD) Belgium April 2012 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black Metal Running time: 47:38 (Tracks: 7)
In about twelve years of recording and releasing music I'd have to say that “Massa Damnata” is the finest hour of the Belgian conjurer Panchrysia. Surpassing not only their former album “Deathcult Salvation” in quality but everything else. It's also an album that again sounds a little bit different from their other ones. On the other hand its not an album that exactly deviates in the pure black metal parts from bands like Watain and Ofermod it just handles everything that much better than on their past releases, from the blazing tangle of melodies to the occult atmosphere being wrought from the lyrics, orchestral segues, and the practiced implementation of variation between tracks to that this doesn't come off as another ribald blast-fest to nowhere. This is also not some overproduced mass, but a pretty thinly sliced selection of ingredients which work wonders in tandem. The drumming is dead accurate whether the band is blasting or reducing itself to an atmospheric crawl, and there are so many melodies present that the album becomes a matrix of near-complexity. The bass is clearly audible and so has an own identity. The lyrics are largely self-centered examinations of both the spiritual interior and the cosmos. Handling the basic Nietschzian lessons and crushing the Christian morality. From the opener “The Praise of Folly” to last song “The Curtain of Darkness and Death” this some really good melodic black metal quallity that deserves to be heard.
Visit their website: http://www.panchrysia.be
Recordlabel: http://www.metalzone.be
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/panchrysia

79/100

SEITA – Asymmetric Warfare (CD) Brazil April 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Thrash / Death Metal Running time: 44:48 (Tracks: 10)
When you live in Holland, it's possible that you've seen this band on one or more occasions at a concert or festival. The band members are originating from Brazil, but live in Amsterdam for a couple of years now. My first acquaintance with Seita was, off course, at a live show and soon thereafter I purchased their demo 'Imprint Forever.' I remember to be very fond of this record because of the energy and aggression. They've managed to capture the live intensity on the record. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to receive their first full length 'Asymmetric Warfare' that has just been released through SAOL (check their website, it's an interesting concept).
The album is a logical follow up to the 'Imprint Forever' demo, however the band grew a lot in terms of variety and song structures. The songs still contain the aggression and energy, but are much more balanced now, resulting in an interesting album that can hold you attention the entire time. The mixture of thrash/death metal works well within this four piece metal band. Good examples of this are 'The Awakening' and 'Know your Enemies.' Based on the approximately twelve times I've listened to 'Asymmetric Warfare', I didn't discover any instant classics yet, but overall the band has a very nice album to tour on. The music will do great during a live show, which is still their strongest aspect. Make sure to check them out!
Visit their website: http://www.seitaofficial.com
Recordlabel: http://www.saol-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/seitaofficial

75/100

SERPENT SAINTS – All Things Metal (CD) Denmark April 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Power Metal Running time: 44:23 (Tracks: 9)
Danish ensemble Serpent Saints debuted in 2008 with the mini cd “Leather Lucifer”. It was a very energetic debut, dedicated to the vintage metal sound of the early 80s. It took the band almost 4 years to come up with a full length debut and the main problem was that the guys had to overcome the institutionalization of the vocalist who was facing some major mental issues. They started recording the album and had the idea of inviting several vocalists to do guest appearances but in the end they decided that Soren Adamsen, current vocalist of the legendary cult thrash act Artillery, was the right guy for the entire album. “All Things Metal” is a vintage heavy metal album with a N.W.O.B.H.M. touch, influenced primarily by non other than the mighty Mercyful Fate. There are also some speed metal references and the album manages to sound rather fresh without being a copy like so many other bands during the last few years…
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/officialserpentsaints
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialserpentsaints

75/100

SIMONE TERIGI – Rock Meditations (CD) Italy April 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock Running time: 45:18 (Tracks: 7)
In October 2011 I reviewed the album "Visions From Cosmos 11" of Italian band LUCID DREAM, and I was really surprised by that album. Guitarist of LUCID DREAM, Simone Terigi, has released his first solo album, titled "Rock Meditations", all by himself in December of 2011. Well, it's a complete instrumental album, and it sounds totally different than what he does with LUCID DREAM. Because on LUCID DREAM's "Visions From Cosmos 11" album, Terigi sounds more like JOE SATRIANI. Anyway, for this solo album, Terigi got help from Nicola Paoli (cello) and Davide Zalaffi (percussions). "Rock Meditations" is not a very heavy album, in fact, the seven songs which are on it are all very quiet with beautiful guitar passages and solos. The songs on "Rock Meditations" are titled "Sea Notes" (10:03), "The Bells Of Awakening" (5:09), "Lardee" (6:09), "Astral Memories" (2:31), "The Heart's Home" (10:31), "Into The Future" (4:48) and "Destiny" (6:04), and all these songs give a pretty soothing feeling. You also could say that this music comes very close to ambient-like music, and is also perfect to listen to during a romantic diner. One thing is for sure, Terigi is a very talented and excellent guitarist. The first part of "The Heart's Home" we hear Simone play the mandolin, and half way the song it turns into electric guitar again. Sometimes it also reminds me of PINK FLOYD a bit. What can I say more about this album, although it's not heavy, it is a very beautiful instrumental easy listening album. Guitar freaks should check this fantastic album out. My favorite tracks are "Sea Notes" and "Lardee".
Visit their website: http://www.simoneterigi.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/simoneterigi

79/100

SONIQ THEATER - Overnight Sensation (CD) Germany April 2012 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Symphonic / Electronic Progressive Music Running time: 52:39 (Tracks: 11)
Last year, the album Force Majeur was my first acquaintance with Soniq Theater, the one-man project of Alfred Mueller from Stuttgart (Germany). With the release of Overnight Sensation, Mueller`s has released his twelfth album. Or, according to his own words: the dozen is full! Last year, I assigned 68 points to Force Majeur but at the same time, I had some criticism. This new album shows in my opinion nothing new and this is a disappointment for me. I miss inspiration; the music is all quite the same. Unfortunately I have not so much inspiration to write an inspiring review of this album too. However, if you are still interested in heavy keyboard orientated music, check Soniq Theater`s website.
Visit their website: http://www.soniqtheater.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/soniqtheater

58/100

SPIRES – Spiral of Ascension (CD) United Kingdom April 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Prog Metal Running time: 65:15 (Tracks: 8)
Spires is a progressive metal band from England and their debut album 'Spiral of Ascension' was originally released in 2010. It took a while before the album reached the office of MMM, but I'm glad it did eventually. This album deserves international attention. It consists of eight songs, which last between three and fifteen minutes, which is often the case in this genre. Album opener 'Euilibrium' starts with a riff that immediately illustrates the potential of this band. Not just technically, because there is no doubt that the members are skilled musicians. No, they manage to create song structures that grow on you, like the epic 'Broken Hourglass', 'Symmetry' or the title track. The songs are well balanced and especially the accessible vocals, doomy atmosphere and guitar melodies give the songs a lot of depth. The lyrics, accompanied by the music, creates a dark and beautiful atmosphere. The artwork is therefore very suitable. With 'Spiral of Ascension' the band has delivered a very professional album with an excellent production. I therefore was very surprised that this band is not signed yet. And based on the other reviews I've read on this album, I'm not alone in this. If you dig qualitatively good progmetal, make sure you check out Spires. They deserve it!
Visit their website: http://www.spiresband.co.uk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/spiresmetal

85/100

TEMPLE – Structures in Chaos (CD) The Netherlands April 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 37:53 (Tracks: 9)
Temple is a brutal death metal band started once by A.J. van Drenth (Beyond Belief) and Rachel Heyzer (ex-Sinister) from the Netherlands. This is the debut album of Temple, filled with the most extreme and brutal death metal, comparable to bands like Hate Eternal and Morbid Angel, but with their own unique ingredients. Rachel is no longer a part of Temple due to family life circumstances, and the recording line up consists of; A.J. van Drenth on guitar and vocals, Michiel Dekker ( The Monolith Deathcult) on bass and Eric de Windt (ex-Destroyer 666) on drums. Also a lot of vocal guest contributions from Marloes (Izegrim), Stephan Gebedi (Thanatos, Hail of Bullets), Masae (Debt of Nature), Sonja and Sven (Dictated) and Michiel Dekker. This is absolutely a very fast and brutal death metal album, very well done and extremely tight played. Temple really done an excellent job in creating their own sound of extremity. This is Brutal with a capital B, without losing eye for technicalities, and some great vocal duties with a load of guest vocals as before mentioned. Get blown away by 'Rituals of Marduk' and 'The Algol Planet' or 'Cover Her in Blood' all quality death metal songs, makes me wonder how they will do live on stage and Temple will enter the stage this year with a special live line up consisting of A.J. van Drenth, Eric de Windt and Erwin Harreman (Supreme Pain). No weak points on this debut album, if you like it Brutal and Extreme you might not wanna miss this band, Temple is the name!
Recordlabel: http://www.non-serviam-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/templeprojectofficial

86/100

THE LOVING TONGUE – Shadows of Innocence (CD) Australia April 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 76:03 (Tracks: 14)
This band with the rather strange name originates from Adelaide, Australia. This is my first contact with them although they exist since the early nineties and have released 3 full length cds and a mini cd. “Shadows of Innocence” is not that fresh since it was released in 2009 but wouldn't reach MMM till now. I don't think I can qualify the band's music as heavy metal. It is somewhat heavy (the “Marching On” tune for example) but the hard rock element dominates the album. I guess it could fall under the Hard 'n' Heavy label. It is quite reminiscent of Uriah Heep though. Don't get me wrong but this could easily qualify as a Heep album. The vocals, the keyboards, the songs, everything yells Heep to my ears. And since I am a Heep fan I enjoyed this record. Nothing fancy but quite enjoyable. The only negative thing is that it lasts a staggering 76 minutes! With the omission of 2-3 songs the album would function in a much better way.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thelovingtongue

71/100

THE MARY MAJOR – Grinding Teeth, Guard Down (CD) Sweden April 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Rock Running time: 41:24 (Tracks: 11)
In March of 2010 I reviewed the debut album "04:13" of Swedish band THE MARY MAJOR, which got 80 out of 100 points. Now the band is back with their second album "Grinding Teeth, Guard Down", and was released in January 2012 on the band's own label TMM Productions. THE MARY MAJOR still exists of Lotta Höglin (vocals), Erik Molarin (vocals), Daniel Elofsson (guitar), Jörgen Ström (bass) and Jonas Strömberg (drums). The band, which originated of BESEECH in 2006, recorded eleven tracks for this second album in their own studio. Just like on the debut album, also on "Grinding Teeth, Guard Down" the band reminds me very much of THE SISTERS OF MERCY, but this time you can also hear some METALLICA influences. Like I also wrote in my review of "04:13", the combination of male and female vocals works perfect. If you are already familiar with the band's debut album, then you know that every song is sung together by Höglin and Molarin. To me, the dark voice of Molarin reminds me of Andrew Eldritch (THE SISTERS OF MERCY). To be honest, I like most of the songs, but there are also some less songs on this second album. The last track of this album, "Anxious", is even pretty boring. The songs which I like the most of "Grinding Teeth, Guard Down" are "Letter To Myself", "Ahead Of You", "Without Sequel", "High On Demand", "Visitors", "Basement" and "Backfire". Well, "Grinding Teeth, Guard Down" is not a spectacular album, just a nice one to listen to now and then. If you are interested, check it out yourself.
Visit their website: http://www.themarymajor.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/themarymajor

76/100

TORMENTOR – Violent World (CD) Germany April 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Speed / Thrash Metal Running time: 42:36 (Tracks: 10)
This Speed-, Thrash Metal band TORMENTOR comes from Guben, Germany and was formed in 2006 by Max Seipke. When he formed TORMENTOR, Max was only 12 years old. Wow, respect for that. In 2008 TORMENTOR had released their first and only demo "Lesson In Aggression". Now, TORMENTOR is back with their first full length album "Violent World". The line-up on this album exists of Max Seipke (vocals, lead guitar), and newcomers Kevin Hauch (rhythm guitar), Christian Heiko Schomber (bass) and Thomas Wedemeyer (drums). Well, this debut album "Violent World" is my first acquaintance with TORMENTOR, and I must say it was a nice acquaintance. These guys play old school Speed-, Thrash Metal like in the eighties, and to me, the band reminds me very much of early KREATOR. They even recorded the KREATOR cover "Tormentor" (from the "Endless Pain" (1985) album), which is the last track on "Violent World" and is a nice version. Okay, it all sounds not that original, and not all the songs on this album are even strong, but this band really has potential. The band exists of good musicians, and Max's voice fits perfect for this type of music. The album starts with an intro, simply titled "Intro", but takes in my opinion a bit too long. Also I don't like the intro of "Speaks Your Testament" very much, the rest of that song is okay. Anyway, the best songs on "Violent World" for me are "Black Area", "The Hidden Beholder", "Annihilation Of Life" and "Suicide Commander". Well, "Violent World" is a nice debut album. Not very original and spectacular, but any old school Thrash fanatic should check this album out. So, if you are interested in this album, check Iron Shield's web-store.
Recordlabel: http://www.ironshield-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tormentorthrash

77/100

TRIXTER – New Audio Machine (CD) USA April 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Hardrock / Hair Metal Running time: 43:38 (Tracks: 11)
Trixter was founded in 1983 and as a New Jersey club circuit band Trixter shared the stage with state fellow musicians Skid Row, Glen Burtnik and Bon Jovi. In 1990 the band was signed by Mechanix / MCA and their debut album, released in May 1990, was a real killer and a big sell out. It became a 1990 top 30 album and the singles “” Give it to me good”, “Once in a million” and “Surrender” became very popular on MTV and Rock Radio stations. Trixter delivered some tracks for the movie soundtracks “If looks could kill” and “The white knuckle scorin'- Nintendo-movie” in the last months of 1991. Their follow-up album “Hear “was released in 1992, but the musical climate began to change. Grunge music became very popular and the hair-metal bands didn't gain that much success and sales anymore. “Hear” became very popular in Japan and Germany, but on a worldwide scale it didn't reach the sale-level of the debut album. Trixter toured with Kiss, Poison and Warrant to promote their second album but in 1993 it was all over. MCA dropped the band and a cover - EP ( named “Undercovers”) on the “Backstreet –label” didn't help the band. After the headline –America- tour Trixter decided to quit the business. Thirteen years later the band was brought to life again by the original members. A reunion tour in Japan was successful and the band has released a “Live in Japan” album and a “best of” compilation since then.
In 2009 Trixter toured with Dokken, Boston and Poison and many rockfans could see that the band was alive and kicking again. Frontiers, the Italian melodic rock label , signed the band and Trixter's new opus: “New audio machine” is in my cd player. And I'm very happy with it. The songs have that hair-metal-accent from the '80 of the former century, the vocals (by Pete Loran) are amazing and the guitars of Steve Brown are very prominent in the mix of the record. The rhythm section( P.J.Farley and Gus Scott) is tight and the production is thick, sleazy and with a lot of attitude. Rachel Bolan (of Skid Row fame) and Glen Burtnik (former Styx band member and a fantastic singer – songwriter) helped the band with some songs. For the fans of eighties' rock “New audio machine “will be a feast of recognition. Fans of Skid Row will recognise “Walk with a stranger “ a former demo of this band, written by Dave Sabo and Rachel Bolan. “New audio machine” starts with an acoustic prelude and a vocal warming up, but when the big guitars make their appearance Trixter is firing their guns! The ballad “Live for the day” marks the easy-listening breather of the album. Some songs soun da little similar, one-dimensional, but that's the only critical remark towards this comeback album! Trixter will start their US Comeback Tour with Warrant and special guests Firehouse and Dokken in May this year. It will be a great party seeing all these guys on stage. There's one thing for sure: Trixter is back, back with a vengeance!
Visit their website: http://www.trixterrocks.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/trixterrocks

88/100

TYKETTO – Dig in Deep (CD) USA April 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hardrock Running time: 46:44 (Tracks: 11)
Every melodic rocker should know the debut album of Tyketto: “Don't come easy “is an instant classic, every song is a winner, Danny Vaughn (former Waysted singer) and Brooke St. James (guitars) are the absolute protagonists on this gem and the Richie Zito production rules the game! After their monster album Tyketto toured with Whitesnake and Bon Jovi. The second album of Tyketto had some delay: Their label ( Geffen) dropped the band and CMC International / Music for Nations picked up the release almost four years after their debut. “Strength in numbers” was a solid album as well, but when grunge music changed the musical climate the hopes of a big breakthrough for Tyketto began to recede. Super vocalist Danny Vaughn left the band to take care after his wife who had developed cancer. His follow up Steve Augieri (of Tall Stories, he became a Journey vocalist later) brought in a more late '70, balladesque atmosphere that didn't suit the band very well. An album with live takes and demos was released ( “Take out and served up Live “) , but it was the swan song for Tyketto. Danny Vaughn, Jamie Scott (bass player for Tyketto from 1992) and Michael Clayton (drums) would reunite in the band Vaughn. Vaughn released a couple of albums that were good, but the shadow and the greatness of the first two albums of Tyketto was never touched. In 2007 the Tyketto- members rejoined and (again) an album with demos, outtakes and alternate versions of the Tyketto classics was released. More concerts followed and Tyketto began to record some demos for a new album at the end of 2009. That wasn't easy: Brooke St. James is a Las Vegas inhabitant, Danny Vaughn lives in Spain, and Michael Clayton, original bass player Jimi Kennedy and Bobby Lynch (keyboards) are New Jersey-musicians. The exchange of demos took a while and finally the demos had become songs for the new Tyketto record : Dig in Deep. And the result? Well, melodic rock fans could be relieved. “Dig in deep” is a solid album with sentiments of the magical debut album (“Sound off”, “Monday”, “The fight left in me”, “Faithless”), melodic acoustic based stuff (“Battle lines”, “Love to love”) and ballads with a rich atmosphere (“This is how we say goodbye”). Danny Vaugn is the absolute star of the album, his typical vocal approach hasn't got that super high pitch and power anymore, but what a classy, strong vocalist he is. The guitars sound good and tasteful, the production is fair, but a little more heavy approach could have given the album more “balls”. “Dig in deep' is the third chapter of Danny Vaughn in Tyketto, I'm glad melodic rockers can hear some good quality of music from this band. “Dig in deep” isn't the new legend album “Don't come easy” , but the album marks a fair comeback of a great melodic band. Frontiers will release this album at the end of April.
Visit their website: http://www.tyketto.de
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tykettomusic

85/100

WARBEAST REMAINS – Stronghold (CD) Belgium April 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Old School Death Metal Running time: 45:08 (Tracks: 10)
Warbeast Remains is a young and new death metal band from Belgium that brings you total devastation. They released a demo in 2009 and this is their debut album “ Stronghold” released by Shiver records. 10 tracks of pure old school death metal. The guitar riffs are heavy and in vein of the 90`s. The drums are straight in your face and groovy. The vocals are deep grunts with a raw twist. The songs are filled with variety and got a lot of banging parts in it. The production of this album is also exactly what you want to hear. Is this original? No, but this album grooves and listens very easy away (well done). If you like bands like old Benediction, Entrails or the first Six Feet Under then you should give it a try!
Recordlabel: http://www.metalzone.be/shiver.php
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/warbeastdeathmetal

70/100

WOLFCRUSHER – Virgin Tapestry (CD) United Kingdom April 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 35:40 (Tracks: 7)
Wolfcrusher from the UK brings you melodic death metal with a very easy listening feeling. This is their debut album and sounds really good! 7 songs of well executed melodic death metal. The gitar riffs are heavy and they are filled with melody and solos. The drums are technical and progressive abut also have a very stewing groove in it. The vocals are light screams that sometimes reminds me a bit of Carcass and the grunts are deep and evil. The variety of the songs are also straight in your face but and makes you listen to all the songs because this is really groovy and heavy. You got death metal with a lot of melody and you can also hear some stoner in it! Well not everything can be positive, I do not like the clean vocals, but that is a question of taste.
Visit their website: http://www.wolfcrusher.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wolfcrusher

78/100

WORMHOLE – The String Theory (CD) Italy April 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Alternative Metal Running time: 43:21 (Tracks: 9)
This Wormhole comes from Italy and was formed in 2003. After a promo cd in 2004 and the 2006 4 track ep “Longing for Darkness” this full length “The String Theory” is their third attempt to get attention in the over flooded genre of rock/alternative with female vocals.
“The String Theory” is a concept album in which the subjects of all nine tracks can be referred to two main themes: the inner trip and the trip through the cosmos. For this reason they decided to divide the album into two parts corresponding to two sides of old vinyl albums: “Inner side” and “Cosmic side”. Musically there's no really a difference between this dividing parts. Wormhole rocks pretty well. Musically it's all in good order; the band plays tight; the songs listen away very easily and sometimes they are pretty dark qua atmosphere. Nothing really wrong with this record; descent, rocking, good production, musically skilled, pretty good vocals etc. The songs should show a bit more versatility to lift this band and album up to the next level. Sometimes they sound a bit flat. Nevertheless promising enough to make their way up and lift their heads above the average level.
Visit their website: http://www.wormhole.it
Recordlabel: http://www.ladymusicrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wormholepostdark

72/100

XANDRIA – Neverworld's End (CD) Germany April 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Symphonic Gothic Metal Running time: 63:48 (Tracks: 12)
Beng !!! What, the hell ! Now that's what I call a more then pleasant surprise. Xandria is back with a bang and leaves me completely speechless. I have always been a fan of Xandria because they had an own sound and they were capable of combining power, strong vocals and heavy interludes into catchy songs. “Ravenheart” and especially “India” with powerful tracks like “Fight Me” and the superb creepy “Black and Silver” are undervalued albums. “Salomé; The Seventh Veil” was, despite the strong “Vampire” a bit sweet but live they always convinced; also because singer Lisa Middelhauve sung some tracks much creepier and heavier than on the albums, giving them a surprising touch. But Lisa left the band and the only thing I thought was, damn, another good band flushes away down the drain ….
Until I got the chance to review this new example of, shall I say Xandria 2.0 ? “ A Prophecy of Worlds to Fall” immediately blows me away, leaving me rather confused. Is this really the same band ? What an overwhelming power ! This combines the best of the Nightwish Tarja era. The whole album breathes that orchestral, symphonic bombast with operatic vocals. Speaking of those, new vocalist Manuela Kraller sets the tone here and does a splendid job. No comparisons with Lisa can be made, because they're totally different. Manuela however is the right person for this newborn Xandria that demolishes everything they have made before. What a bunch of symphonic power metal this album gives you. Hard, heavy pounding, dark, yet melodic and catchy, indeed like the first Nightwish albums, that's unmistakable, but wow, what a splendid job they do here. “Euphoria”, “Valentine”, “Forevermore” are the catchy, dreamy tracks, “A Thousand Letters” and “The Dream is Still Alive” the beautiful, tearjerkers; in “The Call of the Wind” and “The Nomads Crown” we have the folky epics and the rest …. Well, the superb monstrous good ones are yet to mention. “Blood on my Hands” rocks like hell and that leaves us to the all superlative “Soulcrusher” and “Cursed”. Please, please wake me up for this kind of stuff. Heavy, dark, pounding they pulverise everything I've heard in symphonic metal until now. Xandria has set a new standard here. I don't know who has been responsible for kicking Xandria's asses, but he or she deserves a statue, Hopefully they are capable of performing this live. If they do, then Xandria has everything to become the next big thing in symphonic metal. Stunning album and a must have for everyone ! Press that repeat button again and enjoy!
Visit their website: http://www.xandria.de
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/xandria

94/100

MARCH

AFTER ALL – Becoming the Martyr (MCD) Belgium March 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash / Power Metal Running time: 19:09 (Tracks: 5)
Again an After All release; after 7 full length albums the band also release their 7th EP so far! Im not going to tell you anything about the bands biography because I reviewed nearly every album/EP they released during the last years. Especially since singer Sammy Peleman and bassplayer Frederik Vanmassenhove (ex-Aborted) joined the After All ranks the band attracts my attention a lot. This band can compete with EVERY US thrashmetal band these days! I was always complaining about Sammy's predecessor Piet Focroul because he was a very moderate singer. Well with Sammy taking the helm this band has a bright future if you ask me! Again a marvellous EP with excellent songs and superb musicianship! Im a FAN!! Check them out; you wont regret it!!
This EP was produced by Dan Swano and contains 3 new songs and 2 re-recordeD songs from their latest full length CD “Cult of Sin”. Hope they release a new full length soon! I cant hardly wait!
Visit their website: http://www.afterall.be
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/afterallmetal

95/100

ANGELINE – Disconnected (CD) Sweden March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: AOR / Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 52:58 (Tracks: 12)
In September of 2010 I reviewed ANGELINE's debut album "Confessions" (2010). Although the band exists since 1987, that album was my first acquaintance with ANGELINE, and it was a very nice acquaintance, because I liked that album very much, and still do. Anyway for more information about these Swedish melodic rockers, see my review of "Confessions". Now, the band is back with their second album, "Disconnected", which again has been released by Avenue Of Allies records. And just like "Confessions" also this new album "Disconnected" is a fantastic melodic Rock album. The line-up of ANGELINE still exists of Jocke Nilsson (vocals, guitar), Janne Arkegren (guitar), Uffe Nilsson (bass) and Tobbe Jonsson (drums). Also "Disconnected" is, just like "Confessions", produced by Jocke Nilsson and sounds excellent. There is just nothing negative to mention about "Disconnected", because the level of the songs is very high. And like I said in my review of "Confessions", besides being a producer, guitarist and songwriter, Jocke is a fantastic singer. He sounds very much like Jon Bon Jovi. And that's why the band reminds me very much of BON JOVI. In the title track, there's even the line 'It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not' (of BON JOVI's "Livin' On A Prayer"). This album, which is very accessible, features a few ballads ("Found" and "In Times Like These"), and the rest of the tracks are fantastic solid melodic rock songs. I like all songs very much, but some favorites are "When The Lights Go Down", "Falling Into You", the catchy "Take A Little Time", the superb "I Had Enough", "Run Run Run", "Disconnected" and "First Time Around". My conclusion is, that this second album of ANGELINE is again a real recommendation for all lovers of fantastic melodic Hard Rock. Great band.
Visit their website: http://www.angelinetheband.se
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angelinetheband

85/100

ANGELWITCH – As Above, So Below (CD) United Kingdom March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: NWOBHM Running time: 35:40 (Tracks: 8)
Angelwitch was one of the great bands that started the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in 1978. The South London based band drew the attention of EMI Records, delivered one song on the legendary Metal for Muthas album and their first single (Sweet danger) was a small hit. But the EMI- record-deal didn't took place. The small Bronze label released their first offspring on vinyl and this first Angelwitch-album is an instant classic. Kevin Heybourne's unique guitarsound, his typical lyrics, his sharp voice and most of all the songs shined on this album. After the release of an EP Angelwitch stopped in 1981 and the reincarnations in the mid-eighties of the former century were not successful. Heybourne left the UK and he tried to start a band in the US. At the beginning of this century Kevin Heybourne returned to Beckenham (Kent) and he picked up his job again (i.e. taking care of injured trees). A serious accident made him lose his job and that was the epiphany moment. Kevin knew what he had to do: Revitalize his love and passion for rock music. Kevin tried to revamp Angelwitch again and now on the Suburban / Rise Above-label their opus 'As above, so below' will be released in March.
And the music? Well, Kevin knows how to fire his classic guns! This record has a retro-feeling and most of the songs are very reminiscent to the NWOBHM-sound. They're compact, fast, heavy and the guitars / vocals are very recognizable. Kevin and his fellow musician's didn't look at trends, the fashion songs and the modern rock music. The songs mark the early start of Angelwitch. The production by Jamie Gomez Arellano is very thick, dry and speedy. The drum sound is even fantastic (not a surprise, just before taking care of productional matters in his Orgone Studios, Colombian Jamie Gomez Orellano was a very creative drummer). As a surprise Kevin brought back four songs from the heydays of Angelwitch (for example “Guillotine” and “Into the dark” were part of their live sets in the mid-eighties of the former century). This new Angelwitch' album doesn't overshadow their iconic debut album, but it's a mighty fine comeback for sure! Angelwitch has plans to play at some festivals and a smaller venue-tour is in the can as well. Welcome back, boys!
Visit their website: http://www.en-gb.facebook.com/angelwitchofficial
Recordlabel: http://www.riseaboverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/youranangelwitch

83/100

A SOUND OF THUNDER - Out of the Darkness (CD) USA March 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 61:41 (Tracks: 10)
Guitarist Josh Schwartz and drummer Chris Haren founded this Washington DC based band in 2008. In the years following the start vocalist, Nina Osegueda and bass- and keyboards player Jesse Keen completed the band. So far, they released an EP, a charity single and a full-length self-produced album. Kevin “131” Gutierrrez produced this second full-length album. A Sound Of Thunder's music is based on the 70' and 80' metal, but then of course, updated to modern standards. At the beginning of the album, there are some scary sounds. Very soon after that, the doomy guitar sound takes over followed by the powerful but clear fantastic voice of front woman Osegueda. This first track, “The Day I Die”, lasts eight minutes and thirty-one seconds and so throughout this song A Sound Of Thunder has plenty of time to show their musical qualities. According to the label this release is for fans of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, Dio, Accept, Rainbow, Ozzy, Hammerfall, Primal Fear and Sabaton. As one can see, most of these bands have their roots in the 70's and 80's. Some are a bit older and some are a bit younger but they are all linked to decent traditional heavy metal. A big difference compared to the other bands is the presence of a lead female singer. The second song, “The Nightwitch” is a scary song with all kind of spooky noises that gives you a horror feeling. The next track, “Kill That Bitch”, which is a nice song-title by the way, is with it's almost four minutes the shortest track on this album and is just plain heavy metal. “Murderous Horde” is a very heavy track with a lot of power. The next song is similar to the band's name and is a song filled with lots of great music. To me this is one of my favourite tracks on this album. Following this fifth track, it is time for the title-track on which Osegueda screams like an air-horn. There are also some deformed vocals on this track. This is a typical fast heavy metal song. The structure is great with of course some beautiful guitar soloing while the rest of the band pushes on. By the way, this woman is a real powerhouse. One of the longer tracks is “Calat Alhambra”. Osegueda sounds more like an opera or gothic singer at the beginning and in the middle of the song. The tempo goes up and down on the song that again includes magnificent guitar playing by Schwartz and superb singing by Osegueda. “Calat Alhambra” also has some Spanish vocals and guitars to it. On “Fight Until The End” there is a driving rhythm section completed by the overwhelming vocals of Osegueda. Schwartz also delivers big time on this song. “This Too Shall Pass” starts very quietly with Osegueda singing very passionately accompanied by some very modest guitar playing and keyboards. This is a real down-to-earth-song. The last track, “Discovery” also starts with some acoustic guitars but very fast, the tempo goes up and this song turns into another heavy metal song with all its great ingredients. Towards the end of the song again there is a very quiet part combined with some great guitar playing. This release is a great example how exciting traditional heavy metal can be. The songs are great; the band is superb but what about to say about Nina Osegueda. The only thing I can think about is: SHE RULES!!!!
Visit their website: http://www.asoundofthunderband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/asoundofthunderband

88/100

BEEHLER – Messages to the Dead (CD) Canada March 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash / Speed Metal Running time: 38:40 (Tracks: 11)
BEEHLER? Does it sound familiar? Yes, indeed! Drummer/Vocalist Dan Beehler was the figurehead of one of my all-time favorite bands; EXCITER! Especially during the time that he was in Exciter the band released several classic albums and for me “Heavy Metal Maniac” is still the best metal album ever! Not that it was all that technical; it simply was extreme heavy stuff for 1983!!! Dan Beehler also used to be one of my heroes; it's quite unique when a drummer is also the lead vocalist of the band.
Well after his departure from Exciter it was years very quiet around his person. Several years ago he played for a while in a deathmetal band and he also released some demos with his own band called….BEEHLER. One of these demos was already reviewed on MMM in 2004 (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews)!! I was very positive about that demo in which also his old Exciter partner Allan Johnson was playing bass again. After some very good shows at the Headbangers Open Air festival in 2008 & 2011 I was so curious about the first full length of the band. Well, the more I was disappointed; an album that can't fulfil my expectations at all. Most of the songs are weak compositions; Dan is singing out of tune sometimes and production wise it's also very weak. And I don't even speak about the death grunts that uses to appear every now and then on the album. Sorry Dan; you're still one of my all-time heroes and live BEEHLER really kicks ass but this album has slipped up badly….
I listened the album about 15 times and still it cant convince me at all…hope next album will be much better or otherwise the band has to keep his focus on their live appearances (MMMeeting???)
Visit their website: http://www.beehlermetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.hrrecords.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/beehlerheavymetal

60/100

BLOWSIGHT – Shed Evil (MCD) Sweden March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Alternative Rock / Metal / Punk / Emo / Pop Running time: 20:15 (Tracks: 5)
Well, this 5 track EP "Shed Evil" (2011) is my first acquaintance with Swedish band BLOWSIGHT. This band, which, if I am right, was formed in 2003, released the following products so far: the demos "Reality" (2003) and "Only Time Will Tell" (2004) and the albums "Destination Terrorville" (2009) and "Dystopia Lane" (2010). Through the years, BLOWSIGHT did have several line-up changes, but the current line-up on this EP exists of Niklas "Nick Red" Fagerström (vocals, guitar), Serban "Seb" Carapancea (guitar, backing vocals), Mao Stridsman (bass, backing vocals) and Fabien "Fabz" Perreau (drums, backing vocals). Anyway, the band really surprised me with this EP. The catchy songs which are on this EP are "Magic Eight Ball", "The Girl & The Rifle", "The Sun Behind The Rain", "As Wicked As They Come" and "Live Die Surrender". These 5 songs are all very good compositions, and I'm sure this band will do very well among the young teenage generation metal freaks, punks (especially among teenage girls). The songs do sound very heavy but poppy as well. You can expect screaming vocals, grunts as well as clean melodic vocals. The band reminds me of a mixture of NICKELBACK, DESTINE, FALL OUT BOY and SIMPLE PLAN. For example, songs such as "The Sun Behind The Rain" and "As Wicked As They Come" do sound very much like NICKELBACK. Anyway, this is an interesting band and an excellent EP, which makes me very curious about the previous albums.
Visit their website: http://www.blowsight.com
Recordlabel: http://www.fastball-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/blowsight

79/100

COASTLAND RIDE – On Top of the World (CD) Sweden March 2012 Jordy Brouwers
Style: AOR Running time: 47:05 (Tracks: 11)
In the summer of 1997, three friends (who are musicians too) Mikael Bohlin (Keyboards and Guitars), Anders Rybank (Keyboards, Guitars and Bass) and Markus Nordenberg (Lead and Background Vocals) got together. They developed the idea to record and produce some songs they had written but not recorded yet. They did not want to focus on a specific style but their aim was to record songs with the best possible sound. Since they had all a different background, the music style became a mixture of AOR, “Westcoast Style” and Pop music. Their first album was released in 2003 at the German AOR Heaven label and was called “Coastland Ride”. Due to different circumstances, it took 9 years before the songs for the next alum (“On Top of the World”) was finished. In the fall of 2011, the band and the German record company Avenue of Allies started a partnership resulting in the release of “On Top Of The World”. Together with this release, their self-titled Coastland Ride album was re-released. “On Top of the World” was recorded at various studios in Sweden, produced by Coastland Ride and mixed by the band and Patrik Norman. The band was supported by several guest musicians. Jonas Ekström was in charge for mastering the CD as well as for re-mastering the debut cd.
In my opinion the best songs are at the beginning of the album (Act of Faith) and at the end (Nail Me to the Cross). The songs in the middle are (a little bit) to poppy and superficial for me. These songs miss some spirit. During the song Strange Confusion, Coastland Ride uses a drum computer, this makes it quite clinical. This is a pity because the band shows that they are able to compose heavier and interesting AOR music too. The contribution of the guest musicians is good with sometimes nice surprises like the saxophone solo during “Second Chance”. With two albums released, Coastland Ride will now focus on releasing more new material. They have promised that it will take not another nine years before a new album is released. This is good news for the fans. I hope that they will make a more adventurous album and that they will not use a drum computer again!
Visit their website: http://www.coastlandride.net
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coastlandride

70/100

COMBAT – Age of Discord (CD) USA March 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 37:25 (Tracks: 10)
Second album from COMBAT is out now, called 'Age of Discord', the follow up to 'Ruination' which I reviewed here in January 2008. And again only one problem with this album, and it's the same one as with their earlier one, it's too short! This is the true stuff, hardcore/crossover thrash metal like it was made in the old days, but without sounding old. The band plays fast and furious, while the vocals of Bob Eubank strongly remind of John Connely of Nuclear Assault in their early days, as their music does too by the way, but in a good sense. Where bands like Municipal Waste are new bands reviving the oldschool days of thrash, Combat does the same, but with a difference, they are from the oldschool days and prove it still works! Songs like 'Under the guise of terror', 'The cannibal cabal' or 'blessings from the dead saint' are all jewels of thrash if you know what I mean. Jeff and Rex Rossbach (Napalm) play as if their asses are on fire, while Bob complete's this perfectly, highly recommended and enjoyable for every thrash fan who also digs forementioned bands, support this band!
Visit their website: http://www.deadfoot.com
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/thatsheavyrecords

88/100

CRIMES OF PASSION – To Die For (CD) United Kingdom March 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 62:18 (Tracks: 13)
After a debut-album that was released in 2008 this is Crimes of Passion's second effort. On this album the two new guitarists, Charles Staton and Harry Griffths can be heard as they replaced original guitarist Andy Lindsay. Still around are singer Dale Radcliffe and drummer Kev Tonge while Simon Fearn is playing the bass. The album is opened by “Be Still My Beating Heart”, which is a short but great instrumental track. “Body and Soul” is more a heavy rock song than a metal song. It is a catchy song with a good structure and it has a lot of variation in the song. The guitar playing is very controlled and the overall sound is great. This song sticks to your mind right away. The third track, “Blown Away” is available twice on this album. The first time as a single version and the second time as an album version. This is a mid-tempo song and the choice to release this song as a single is obvious as it has great vocals and some beautiful guitar playing on it. The fourth track, “Hell and Back” starts really heavy and has a great feel to it as the vocals stick to your mind right away. There is a heavy pounding vibe throughout the song combined with plenty of choruses. “I Dare You To Try” is a faster song but never without losing a great arrangement out of sight. Radcliffe excels on this track, that to me, is one of the highlights of the album. “Love Is To Die For” has part of the album-title included and is beautiful power ballad. Radcliffe sings the song in a very passionate and soulful way. Let us not forget the rest of the band as they put down a great piece of music. After a short acoustic intro, it is time for “Blackened Heart” that includes a guest appearance by Biff Byford (Saxon). Halfway the song there is some heavy riffing followed by great guitar soloing. What to say about “I Think I Can Save You” and “Dream Again”. These songs are yet another example of great and well- produced compositions. “Let The Punishment Fit The Crime”, which is a great song-title by the way, contains some deformed vocals. It is a fast heavy song with lots of power to it. “Sacrifice, No Question Why” has plenty of diversity in which the members of Crime of Passion can show what they are capable of. On “Accidents Happen, Even Here” it is Andy Deris (Helloween) who contributes to the song. Personally, I think the material is strong enough and there is no need to have other singers contribute except for the promotional value of it. The album's version of “Blown Away” ends the album. This is real mature, well-arranged and produced album. If you get a chance to see Crimes of Passion live, be sure to do so. They did a tour supporting Saxon in 2011 and they will be playing Wacken en Metalcamp, Slovenia in August 2012.
Visit their website: http://www.copmusic.net
Recordlabel: http://www.theglobalmusicgroup.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crimesofpassionrock

85/100

CROM – Of Love and Death (CD) Germany March 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Epic / Melancholic Metal Running time: 45:22 (Tracks: 8)
Crom is a grim and gloomy god, ever watching from atop his mountain in dark clouds and obscuring mists, ready to pass a disapproving judgment on any and all, but he is said to approve of courage and tenacity, even if the human is too frail to succeed. That is the Crom we now from Robert E. Howard's tales of Conan the Barbarian who's frase “By Crom' is even legendary as Conan himself. Walter “Crom” Grosse (ex-Dark Fortress) is the one man army behind this Crom who delivers his third album after bringing out the 2003 EP “The Fallen Beauty” and the full length “Vengeance” in 2008. So the man takes his time to deliver, but hey he does it all alone. Eight epic melancholic songs with strong, clear vocals are presented and that makes this a damn fine spherical, peace giving album. All the songs have that bleak, gloomy sphere that makes it epic and keeps the attention. Over all you can say it's a bit too much overall because sometimes it needs some more power. “My Destiny” is by far the best track but also “Reason to Live”, “Lifetime” and “Just One Blink” are worth taking your time listening. So if you expected music that would sound like the ultimate savage soundtrack for a Conan the Barbarian movie then this is going to disappoint you. But this Crom approves of courage and tenacity and that is enough to be worthy, by Crom! For those who appreciate depht and darkness in metal a fine album to lay back and enjoy.
Visit their website: http://www.croms-revenge.com
Recordlabel: http://www.purelegend-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cromsrevenge

80/100

DARK EMPIRE – From Refuge to Ruin (CD) USA March 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 60:35 (Tracks: 9)
This is New Jersey's Dark Empire's third release. The band consists of lead guitarist/ main songwriter Matt Moliti, who also uses his death vocals, new vocalist Brian Larkin, bass-player Randy Knecht and session-drummer Matt Graf. This is their follow-up to 2008's “Humanity Dethroned”. Right from the first tones, it is progressive metal at its best. “A Plague In The Throne Room” is a very fast song with a lot of grunting vocals succeeded by clear vocals, that sound a little bit like Russell Allen (Symphony-X). The total package makes this track very interesting. Towards the end of the song, Moliti lets his guitar do the talking. “Dreaming In Vengeance” has some Oriental sounds at the beginning of the song. Shortly after that, Moliti starts grunting and shredding his guitar big time. On to “The Crimson Portrait” that starts very quietly for a few seconds. It turns into a heavy pounding song with plenty of double bass accompanied by Larkin's powerful vocals. Moliti sings the second voice “death-style”. Overall this a bit slower track. The tempo goes up at “Dark Seeds Of Depravity”. The guitar riffing is a bit odd but the combination of both vocal-styles is great especially as Larkin himself also sings in different ways. This is a very heavy song with lots of screaming vocals and guitars while the rhythm-section is adrift. Now it is time for the title-track. The song builds up in a great way. The heaviness differs throughout the song, as are Larkin's vocals that sound from very emotional to very heavy. There is even some flute to be heard on this track. Halfway the song Moliti plays a fantastic guitar solo. This is not all, because Larkin shows his vocal qualities as he competes with Moliti for the number one spot. Track number six, “Lest Ye Be Judged” is played at high speed with all musicians going for it. All songs on this album clock above four minutes so there is plenty of time in the songs for a great arrangement. “What Men Call Hatred” and “Black Hearts Demise” are two of the shorter songs but even these songs are filled with lots of great musical ideas. The last track of the album is also the longest by far. These almost fourteen minutes, called “The Cleansing Fires”, result in a true epic song. The intro is very quiet with some acoustic guitars and Larkin singing very passionately. There is church-bell chiming just before the double-bass bombardment by Graf hits you in the face. Both singers fight a vocal-battle as they take turns at each other. Towards the middle, there are some organ-samples to be heard. All through the song, there are heavy parts but also beautiful controlled guitar solos. This is the best song on the album. The album ends when the church-bell chimes. According to Nightmare Records, fans of Nevermore, Symphony-X and Opeth will like this album. I like all of the above band and I agree but in the case of Opeth I would add, fans of the earlier Opeth albums, and for the fans of the other bands, keep in mind that there are quite some death vocals on this album. Anyway, just come over to Europe, for instance Progpower Europe in Baarlo and show us your live skills.
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/darkempireband

90/100

DEAD LABEL – Sense of Slaughter (CD) Ireland March 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Metal Core / Death Metal Running time: 45:34 (Tracks: 11)
Dead Label started spreading their rage since 2008 and released an EP (self-release) in 2010. This is their full length debut. The first song is an instrumental intro and then the chaos begins. Heavy guitar riffs with a lot of progressive moves. The drums are also straight in your face. But then you get the vocals which are not so good performed. Bad grunts combined with a emo like scream that is definitely not my cup of tea. The composing of the songs are really in the style of bands like Lamb of God so that is a good thing. But the production of this album is not the best I ever heard. If you like bands like the one I mentioned you should give it a try!
Recordlabel: http://www.risingrecords.org
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deadlabelireland

70/100

DIE HARD – Evil Always Return (CD) Sweden March 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Death / Thrash Metal Running time: 39:06 (Tracks: 12)
Late 2005 Harry (bass) formed a band with the intention of bringing the spirits of the past back to life. The goal was to play old-school thrash metal in the vein of Venom, Celtic Frost, Slayer, Exodus, Possessed, Sodom and At War. One year later, after many line-up changes, a band consisting of Harry, Hasse (guitar/vocals), Micke (guitar) and Nicke (drums) started rehearsing.
In February 2007 Die Hard entered studio Hell for the recording of their debut-demo "Emissaries of the Reaper", which later on was released as a 7" EP by Germany's Anger of Metal records. IN 2008 the band had some line up changes. After a few months of intense rehearsing the trio entered Studio Blueflame to record the MCD "Evil Always Return.
In august 2008 Die Hard signed to the Polish label AGONIA Records and released several releases on this label; "Nihilistic Vision" (2009), “Thrash Them All" (2010 and “Hatred's Black Flame" (2011).
This release is not a new one; it's a compilation of the “Emissaries of the Reaper” demo, the “Evil Always Return” EP and as a bonus some rehearsal recordings. But nevertheless a very nice album for fans of the above mentioned bands. Check this album, and all their later releases, out!!! Oldschool to the bone!!
Visit their website: http://www.diehard.se
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/diehardthrash

75/100

DRAVEN – Mirror (CD) Switzerland March 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Hardrock Running time: 38:36 (Tracks: 11)
Draven has been part of the metalscene for over fourteen years and has released several albums. Their new album 'Mirror' is my first acquaintance with this duo from Switzerland. It the past, the band has frequently been labelled as 'Gothic Metal.' Based on the new record it's fair to say that in some parts these influences are still there, but overall the music is more straight forward (hard)rock with some metallic hooks. The band masters the craft of writing a compact, catchy and qualitative good song. Good examples of this are 'Perfect system,' 'Never be divided' and 'Clear my mind.' The verses are heavy while the choruses are subtle and mellow. Almost like a heavier version of 3 doors down of Creed, but definitely not as cheesy. In the heavier parts the band sometimes reminds me of Linkin Park. This mainly because of the vocal style. 'Mirror' has become an album the might be of interest to the (hard)rock enthusiast who digs easy to consume songs. The new material is not available on their MySpace yet, but their website should give you a good impression.
Visit their website: http://www.draven.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.fastball-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dravenscave

68/100

ENDLESS PAIN – Chronicles of Death (CD) Italy March 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash / Death Metal Running time: 46:10 (Tracks:11)
Endless Pain is active since 2001. After releasing 2 demos and 2 self-released albums; this is their 3rd album and it sounds a bit like a demo (in my opinion). Eleven tracks of death thrash metal that sound ravaging (if you listen through the production). The guitar riffs are thrash and progressive. The drums are technical and progressive but way to hard in the mix compared with the guitars. The vocals are screaming grunts. The composing of the songs are straight in your face and filled with variety. The only problem that I have is that the production is definitely not the best. But if you can listen through that then you can hear that this is a band that clearly knows how to play.
Visit their website: http://www.endlesspain.it
Recordlabel: http://www.nadirmusic.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/endlesspainband

70/100

ENTRAILS – The Tomb Awaits (CD) Sweden March 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Death Metal Running time: 43:51 (Tracks: 12)
Entrails are a Swedish Deathmetal band that was originally already founded in 1991! After several years of playing and band member change overs the band quit in 1998.
Eleven years later a resurrection was a fact! This is the bands second release so far and it's a damn good one; oldschool Swedish Deathmetal in the vein of bands like Entombed and Dismember. The band describes it as:
- Entrails doesn't come with something new in style.
- Entrails doesn't follow the death metal scene of today
- Entrails does what the Swedish death metal did best 20 years ago; Simply playing pure old school Swedish death metal

What more do I need to say?? Check them out if you're into oldschool Scandinavian Death Metal!!
Recordlabel: http://www.fda-rekotz.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/entrailsreborn

80/100

ENTRENCH – Inevitable Decay (CD) Sweden March 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 40:25 (Tracks: 8)
Entrench was formed in 2005 by Fredrik (Guitar, Vocals), Hannes (Guitar) and Victor (Drums). They recorded 2 unreleased demos in this line up, and in January 2007 Joel (Bass) joined in. The first demo they did release was called 'Into Oblivion' and was recorded in May 2007. During the summer of 2008 the 'Trails of Death' demo was recorded in Studio S116 in their home town Vasteras. Then Victor left the band in autumn 2008 and new drummer Gustafsson joined the band that winter. A fifth demo was recorded in 2009 and after that they got signed by Abyss records in 2010. They started recording their debut album of which this is the result! In the meantime Hannes left the band, and also Gustafsson left. Entrench plays oldschool thrash metal at it's best, with some early Death Metal influences executed at a neckbreaking speed according to their bio. Actually that says it all, great oldschool stuff with songs like 'As Dawn Breaks' or 'Into Oblivion' they can't go wrong, except for one thing! The only bad thing about this album is the production, it also sounds as if it is produced in the early eighties. This album has a really thin sound, and with a heavier, fatter production they would have scored at least ten points higher! Certainly nothing wrong with this band or their music, I just hope their next album will have a much better (read heavier) production, so they get the sound this music deserves.
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/entrench

78/100

ERASE – May I Sin? (CD) Italy March 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Metalcore Running time: 42:37 (Tracks: 10)
The Italian based metalband Erase was founded in 2008. Their first E.P. entitled the 'Erase E.P.' was recorded no later than the summer of 2009. After many live shows, the band decided it was time for their first full-length record. 'May I Sin' was released in the end of 2011 by Buil2Kill records. The musical style of Erase can be described as Metalcore, but the band has proven to be a nice addition to the genre because of their melodic approach. The songs, which off course include the typical Metalcore breakdowns and grunting/clean vocals, are very easy do digest. Accessible is perhaps a good word to use. The music is very melodic and combined with the catchy choruses it almost has a 'poppy' feel to it. And by that I mean that that it sounds very recognizable and you can listen to the album front to back. Because of this, Erase has proven not to be your average Metalcore band. If they continue to develop their songwriting, they are definitely a force to be reckoned with. Very nice debut album.
Visit their website: http://www.eraseband.net
Recordlabel: http://www.buil2kill.com

75/100

EVIL-LYN – The Night of Delusions (CDemo) Sweden March 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Melodic Power / Heavy Metal Running time: 22:47 (Tracks: 5)
EVIL-LYN was originally formed by the guitar duo Salonen & Heikkilä and drummer A. Haveneth with the intent to play more hard rock oriented material. Unfortunately, Haveneth left the band because of musical differences when the band changed its direction towards darker and eerier King Diamond -like Heavy Metal. The next incarnation of Evil-Lÿn came to life in the spring of 2007 when the remainders of the former line-up hooked up with the drummer Juha Arola. In the autumn 2007 bass player O. Niemimäki (the longest serving member after Salonen & Heikkilä at that time) decided to give up bass playing for good and left the band.
This was too bad, for his contribution to the band had been crucial. Luckily, in August 2008 bass player Marko Niemi stepped in to complete the band's rhythm section. With the addition of singer Heikki Haapaniemi in the early 2009, the full line-up was finally established. Arola left the band during summer 2009 but was quickly replaced by Antti Lumijärvi. New drummer Jani Niemelä was found in January 2011. Immediately after Jani joined the band, Evil-Lÿn found a new female singer with a better vocal range and more dynamics in her tone and the new chapter was started. So far the biography according the bands website.
. Evil Lyn plays melodic heavy metal is a way I like it very much; full speed songs but also some midtempo compositions. Productionwise this demo is also very good and according their website this demo will even be released by an official recordlabel; Iron on Iron Records. Well done guys & girl! The band reminds me to some other Scandinavian bands like Torch & Oz but because of the female singer I also hear some Mystery Blue and even Doro influences back in their songs. Technically its all even much better than the above mentioned bands; they have several tempo changes which indeed do remind me to the earlier Mercyful Fate and King Diamond songs. And that's a compliment! Need to get this band over to Mario's Metal Meeting festival some day! Very good release!!
Visit their website: http://www.evillynband.com

83/100

FURYON - Gravitas (CD) United Kingdom March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / Modern Rock Running time: 57:29 (Tracks: 10)
Remember the Brighton based band Pride? This band released two melodic rock albums with touches of AOR at the beginning of this century. Pride was founded by Ivan Gunn, the keyboard player in Balance of Power. After the release of the second album “Signs of purity” he left the band. Pride did a small tour and melodic rockers could see the band in the last Gods of AOR-festival and in the first Firefest-line up in Bradford (UK). The band went on, without their founder, but the musical climate had an influence on the recording process of the third record. Musical differences had their effect. The band decided to change its name into Furyon. The band recorded an ep in 2006 ( “32 hours “) and in 2010 an album was finished. This “Gravitas “album was picked up by the Italian Frontiers label. I'm surprised as Furyon's music is somewhat different from the catalogue that Frontiers brought us so far: The music is darker, moodier, more modern and heavier with some progressive and metal touches. Producer Rick Beato ( Fozzy, Shinedown, Bullet for my Valentine, Vince Neil, a.o.) and a friend of the band, Kip Winger, asked the band to come to Atlanta to record the album. I'm glad they did, because the sound of this band is mega-huge! The music is still melodic, the catchy choruses, the sing along ideas shine on this, but the fat and rich production and the structure of the songs made me think of Nickelbag, Alterbridge, a little bit of Creed and Soundgarden. I like this stuff, it's a pleasant surprise! From the rousing opener “Disappear again” to the bombastic closing track “Desert suicide” the music haunts you and never let you down! Great stuff!. Nice comeback!
Visit their website: http://www.furyon.net
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/furyon

89/100

HARPOON – Deception Among Birds (CD) USA March 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Modern Hardcore Running time: 37:01 (Tracks: 8)
From Chicago we have here the new Harpoon album 'Deception Among Birds', their second full lenght release. Harpoon is a 3 piece band consisting of D.J. Barraca (Bass, Guitar, B.V.), Dean Costello (Guitar, Drum Programming, Keyboards), Toney Vast-Binder (Vocals) and have been around since 2007. Harpoon released their first album in 2009 called 'Double Gnarly/Triple Suicide', they also released a couple of splits with The Muzzler and Locrian. I never heard of this band before, so I wasn't sure what to expect judging by the cover which didn't tell me that much, I even had questions when I read they used drum programming and keyboards on the album. But luckily for me, they really surprised me very positively, Harpoon plays a kind of hardcore, punk and modern grindcore mix with a lot of energy and melody in there. Vocals range from more hardcore screaming up to clean, which I like a little less, but hey it can't be all perfect right. I like their musical ideas, not that it's something completely new, far from that, but they really sound refreshingly well. Songs like 'To The Tall Trees', 'Dreadnought' or 'Shit Wizard' are all songs with a lot of variety in them, sometimes full speed, and then turning to more sludge sounding, with a variety of vocal styles. This album is absolutely worth listening to, some songs did even remind me of Voi Vod at times, maybe because of the more experimenting side of their music. There's a lot of potency in Harpoon, they prove that for sure with this album, if you wanna be surprised give this a listen and make your own opinion!
Visit their website: http://www.freewebs.com/harpoonrockin4u
Recordlabel: http://www.seventhrule.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/harpoonrockin4u

75/100

HEMINA – Synthetic (CD) Australia March 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 79:44 (Tracks: 11)
Hemina is a Sydney-based five-piece that got started in 2008 and have released an EP in 2010 so far. “Synthetic” is their debut concept-album about an angel born onto the world, forced to live through our modern world. Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Circus Maximus, Redemption, Seventh Wonder, Jorn) has provided this album with a fantastic mix. The band itself consists of Douglas Skene and Mitch Coull on guitars, keyboardist Phill Eltakchi, whilst the drums are being played by Mathew Irsak, who replaced Andrew Craig in January 2012, and the bass by Jessica Martin. Besides guitarist, Shene is also the vocalist. “This Hour Of Ours” is the opening-track that starts with the sound of heavy rain in a spooky environment as Skene joins the quietly played guitar. After this short opening-track that flows into “To Conceive A Plan”, it is still raining. Hemina plays beautifully together. There is some piano to be heard as the guitarists put down superb solo's on a solid foundation of great progressive metal. The keyboards take over and all musicians melt together on this track that has a big variety of styles. All tracks on this album flow into to next one. “The Boy Is Dead” is with over nine minutes another long track on which Hemina is able to display their musical ideas. The vocals range from very quiet to death-like. The same goes for the music as it changes from church-sounds to heavy riffing to some great guitar playing while the rhythm-section lays down a sturdy base. It all ends with some strange sounds and computer-like shooting. The next three songs, “For All Wrong Reasons”, And Now To Find A Friend” and “With What I See” have been released on the “As We Know It”-EP in 2010. The first one starts with great vocals accompanied by acoustic guitars. The song builds up to get a bit heavier but it remains a very controlled beautifully sung track. Another eleven plus minutes track is “And Now To Find A Friend”. This is a great song with lots of space for all kind of different moods. The last song of these three tracks is another beautiful song with plenty of displays of great progressive metal. Just sit back and relax is my advice. The last minute of this track is filled with some computer-like sounds combined with spooky noises. “Hunting Is For Women” is more progressive rock than progressive metal at the beginning until the guitars start screaming. The sound of burning wood turns into some keyboards that get turned to the highest speed. “Even In Heaven” starts very heavy with a heavy riffing guitar, and drums and bass pounding. There are multiple tempo-changes on this track. It is great to conclude that Hermina perform superb both on the slower parts as on high speed. “Conduit To The Sky” is filled with choir-like vocals and keyboards followed by acoustic guitars. It is a very quiet song. “Haunting Me!” is a bit more straightforward song that has some great guitar solo's and vocals aboard. The closing track is “Divine” and this one lasts for thirteen minutes and twenty-eight seconds. What to say about a song like this? All what has been mentioned before comes back in this song one way or the other. To love this album you need to be able to listen to some long tracks, but they are worth it! This is a fantastic band and to me the biggest surprise in years from Down Under.
Visit their website: http://www.hemina.com.au
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/heminaaus

88/100

IAIN ASHLEY HERSEY – Vintage Love - The Best (CD) USA March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 78:01 (Tracks: 15)
IAIN ASHLEY HERSEY is a very talented guitarist, bassist and keyboard player, who was born in New England, and released the following albums so far: "Fallen Angel" (1999 Japan release, 2001 on Frontiers), "Holy Grail" (2005) and "Nomad" (2008). Now Avenue Of Allies Records released a compilation album of IAIN ASHLEY HERSEY, titled "Vintage Love - The Best". This compilation features 4 tracks ("Goin' Down And Dirty", "Distant Memories", "Hold On" and "The Outcaste") of the "Fallen Angel" album, five songs of "Holy Grail" ("Blood Of Kings", "Walking The Talk", "Calling For The Moon", "Blink Of An Eye" and "The Holy Grail") and also five tracks ("Voodoo Spirits", "Sacrifice The Sun", the RAINBOW cover "L.A. Connection", "Vintage Love" and "When Will My Love Fade") of "Nomad". The last track "Red Head Rampage" is a previously unreleased song. All songs are re-mastered by Allessandro Del Vechhio. Personally I am not familiar with any of his above mentioned albums, so to me this is my first acquaintance with IAIN ASHLEY HERSEY. Hey, this man is playing old school Classic Hard Rock, so I like it anyway. And IAIN ASHLEY HERSEY is a fantastic guitarist, who is influenced by classic Hard Rock bands such as LED ZEPPELIN, DEEP PURPLE and BAD COMPANY, and guitarists like Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Ritchie Blackmore (DEEP PURPLE, RAINBOW). Anyway, IAIN ASHLEY HERSEY got collaboration of different singers, namely Graham Bonnet (RAINBOW, ALCATRAZ, M.S.G.), Paul Shortino (ROUGH CUTT, QUIET RIOT, KING KOBRA), Doogie White (RAINBOW, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN), guitarist Mike Stone (CRISS, QUEENSRYCHE), Carsten "Lizard" Schulz (ex-DOMAIN, ex-IRON MASK), David "Swan" Montgomery (LED ZEPAGAIN), Randy Williams and Dante Marchi. All songs on this compilation do have an average playtime of 5 minutes. Fans of RAINBOW, WHITESNAKE, DEEP PURPLE will absolutely like fantastic songs as "Goin' Down And Dirty", "Distant Memories" (both sung by Dante Marchi), "Hold On" (sung by Paul Shortino), the superb "Blood Of Kings" (7:24 - sung by David "Swan" Montgomery), the quieter "Blink Of An Eye" (sung by Randy Williams), "Sacrifice The Sun", "Vintage Love", "Red Head Rampage" (all sung by Carsten Schulz) and RAINBOW's "L.A. Connection" (sung by Doogie White). Anyway, this compilation album is a very nice acquaintance for anyone who's into classic Hard Rock and is not familiar with IAIN ASHLEY HERSEY previous albums.
Recordlabel: http://www.avenue-of-allies.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/iainashleyhersey

78/100

INTENSE – The Shape of Rage (CD) United Kingdom March 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Power Metal Running time: 51:36 (Tracks: 9)
This U.K.-based band has been around for over twenty years and this is their third full-length album and their debut on Pure Legend Records. Right from the start the power is on. The first track, “Anubis” combines twin-guitars and a galloping rhythm-section. Sean Hetherington's voice suites the song very well. By the way, this song sticks to your mind right away. “The Elemental” starts where “Anubis” ended, as this is also a great power metal song with beautiful guitar parts. The overwhelming power attack is not over yet as “One Man's Word” also does not give you any chance to escape the power metal stranglehold. On the album there are clearly some Iced Earth and Iron Maiden-influences but to me never in a disturbing way. On the fourth track, “For the Fallen” the pace goes down, as this is a beautiful ballad. Although being a ballad there are some real heavy parts with lots of power. Combined with acoustic guitar, some beautiful guitar playing and an excelling singer the result is a great song. On “Save Me From Myself” it's back to business as the band gallops away accompanied by some fierce and fast guitar riffing. The song is filled by both great twin guitar-attacks and beautiful guitar soloing. This is a real high-speed power metal attack. “Lie” is yet another song is played on high speed without forgetting the structure of the composition. One of the compliments that must be made is that the songs are arranged in a great way. “Haunted” is made with the same recipe although the speed is a bit less and there is more space for regular heavy metal and ditto vocals. The longest track on the album, clocking eight minutes and thirty-nine seconds is “Skull of Sidon II (The Final Stand). This song starts with some howling winds, followed by some real steady heavy metal until halfway when the tempo goes up. This song develops into a real epic song. To me this is one of the highlights of the album. The last track is also the title-track. This song starts rather quietly until the guitarists take off. There is plenty of space for them to show their qualities and they deliver. There is even a tiny piece of keyboards to be heard. This is not a high-speed song but just a piece of great power metal that includes all ingredients. The people responsible for this great piece of work are Sean Hetherington (vocals), Nick Palmer and Dave Peak (guitars), Stephen Brine (bass) and Neil Ablard (drums). It is a shame that these guys have been around for so long and only have released three full-length albums so far. Continue the good work guys and hopefully we keep on hearing from Intense in the future.
Visit their website: http://www.intense-uk.com
Recordlabel: http://www.purelegend-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/intense

85/100

JACK BLADES – Rock 'n Roll Ride (CD) USA March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock / Melodic hard rock Running time: 47:50 (Tracks: 11)
Jack Blades is best known as the bass player / singer of Rubicon, Stereo, Nightranger, Damn Yankees, Tak Matsumoto and Shaw / Blades, but many artists like Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Cher, Vince Neil, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne and Roger Daltrey perform songs of this great musician daily. Jack has had an extensive career as a musician and in his home country he hosts a popular weekly radio show in Denver / Phoenix as well (Backstage Pass with Jack Blades). In 2004 he released his first solo-album, a bit of a mixed bag. The album contained very melodic songs that reminded you of his Nightranger – heydays, but it held also some modern rock songs with that laid back-feel from his collaboration with his long- time - friend Tommy Shaw (guitarist and vocalist of Styx / Damn Yankees). In 2007 Nightranger signed to Frontiers Records in Italy and their latest offspring (Somewhere in California) was a huge killer-album! Jack's plans for a second solo record came through and after hearing this Rock 'n Roll Ride I'm glad he showed us the fruits of his hard labour. The first part of the disc has a lot of Nightranger-similarities (catchy songs, Beatlesque harmony vocals, nice, crunchy guitars), after the seventh track (the moderate “West Hollywood”) the album gets a more laid back, unilateral course ( the guitars of the eight track “Say you will” by Brad Gilles shine, though). It's a pity that the strong level of the beginning of this record doesn't last until the end. The nice ballad “Hey now” closes the album. I like this album, the vocals (and the guest vocals by Robin Zander of Cheap Trick), the exuberant guitars (mostly by his Nightranger –friends), the production stand firm, some of the songs just don't do it for me, too bad. The last Nightranger-opus so far felt much better, it had a more constant level and a stronger attitude.
Visit their website: http://www.jackblades.net
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jackblades

76/100

JEFF SCOTT SOTO – Damage Control (CD) USA March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hardrock Running time: 49:26 (Tracks: 13)
Jeff Scott Soto needs no introduction. The Brooklyn born singer is in his late forties and he still sounds great. Jeff started his international career in 1984 as a singer of Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force. After that experience he joined forces with Kuni (Takeuchi), the great Talisman (still showing the most impressive work of Jeff's vocal career, according to many fans), Eyes, Axel Rudi Pell, Takara, Human Clay, Humanimal, The Boogie Knights, Soul Sirkus, Journey, WET, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra and many, many tribute albums, soundtracks and (guest)vocal escapades. Jeff's vocals thrive in a melodic rock sound with big guitars and many hook lines. In 1995 he released his first solo-album (Love Parade) and on this album we could hear strong, affectionate nods to the other music that had an impact on Jeff's youth: Funk, Motown, Queen and Prince. His second (Prism) and third solo album (Lost in the Translation) marked the return to the fellow musicians and the music of his past: Melodic rock with strong melodies, a solid backbone, fantastic fretwork and a lot of fun. After his short-lived Journey adventure Jeff released his “Beautiful Mess-album” filled with a wider diversity of songs, composed and played with new musicians (from the Spanish group Tempest, a.o.). The album had divergent reviews, but the response to the album in England garnered a lot of airplay. After his Beautiful Mess Tour and a live album of one these concerts, Jeff toured with the TSO all over the world.
And now he's back! Back with a vengeance! Back to the 2003 – 2004 period with small hints of his recent (solo) stuff ( WET, Talisman's 7 -record, Beautiful Mess). His new band members rock their socks off, the production is dry and loud, the guitars shine and shred and Jeff's vocals sound rough, melodic, but also a bit harsh and hoarse. His pitch seems a little lower than before. But Damage Control is a mighty fine record with a lot of surprises: Dave Meniketti of Y & T, Joel Hoekstra of Nightranger, Casey Grillo of Kamelot and his long-time friend, Jamie Borger form Talisman and Treat back up the vocalist who's still in control. Great stuff and a triumphant return of the phlegmatic vocalist with the extensive back-catalogue!
Visit their website: http://jeffscottsoto.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sewtoe

85/100

KADAVRIK – N.O.A.H (CD) Germany March 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 48:20 (Tracks: 11)
Kadavrik was born in 2003. They released 2 demos in 2005 and the debut album “Until the Die is Cast” in 2007. Their second album “Wine will Turn to Blood” saw the leight in 2009. This is their 3rd album and it sounds great. All the songs are filled with variety and good composing. The guitar riffs are technical thrash/death riffs filled with groove. The drums are also straight in your face and filled with double bass. The vocals are grunts combined with screams and they listen very well away. The keyboards in the songs give it a great atmosphere and melody. This band brings you great death metal but also a great combination through doom with black metal (especially the last 4 songs).
Visit their website: http://www.kadavrik.com
Recordlabel: http://www.sonicattackrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/160623909

75/100

KISSIN' DYNAMITE – Money, Sex and Power (CD) Germany March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Glam Metal with sleazy influences Running time: 39:40 (Tracks: 10)
Hannes Braun was a young teenage-singer and after winning a nationwide Idols-vocal-competition he made a tough decision that would change his life. Instead of making an album with the mighty German pop-songwriters, he formed a band with his brother Ande and some friends. This band, Kissin'Dynamite, released a demo in 2007 and this demo was picked up by EMI Germany. Kissin'Dynamite made two albums full of flashy rock with a lot of sleazy and glammy influences. The vocals, the guitars (by Jim Müller), the thick sounding rhythm section and most of the songs stand out on these albums. On the second album 'Addicted to Metal ' the former Accept-vocalist Udo Dirkschneider helped the band with his drilling voice. Last year they did a short European Tour that was very successful. The third album of these young Germans shows us some changes. The songs are faster and the sleazy influences are more obvious. The songs have a lot of power and most of the songs sound speedy. Hannes still has that powerful voice to make the simple lyrics sounding mean and vicious.
The rhythm-section (Steffen Haile on bass and Andi Schnitzer on drums) sounds fierce and the guitars rule on this album. The former album had a bit more quality and some surprises (They did a great cover of “High enough 'by Damn Yankees), but the fans of catchy glamrock with sleazy overtones won't be disappointed with this release, the first release on the AFM label. Keep on rockin'guys!
Visit their website: http://www.kissin-dynamite.de
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kissindynamiterocks

77/100

LAMB OF GOD – Resolution (CD) USA March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal / Groove Metal / Metalcore Running time: 56:25 (Tracks: 14)
After three years LAMB OF GOD is back with their sixth studio album "Resolution". I reviewed LAMB OF GOD's previous album "Wrath" (2009) for MMM in March of 2009. And just like the very successful "Wrath", also this new album "Resolution" has been produced by Josh Wilbur. Anyway, "Resolution" is the band's second album on Roadrunner Records, and it features fourteen fantastic tracks. Well, what can I say about "Resolution", because these guys again delivered a brilliant album. If you are familiar with LAMB OF GOD's previous albums, then you'll know what to expect. Killing guitar riffs, awesome grooves, fantastic drum work and of course the brutal and aggressive vocals of Randy Blythe. Musically LAMB OF GOD is in fact a perfect mixture of PANTERA and SLAYER. LAMB OF GOD belongs to the top of the "new generation" American Metal bands for years now, and with delivering such awesome albums, they will be on that top for many years. I'm sure of that. It's unnecessary to say that "Resolution" is a highly recommended album. Notable songs on this album are "The Number Six" and "King Me", but although these two songs are notable, they don't belong to my favorite ones of "Resolution". "Barbarosa" is a short instrumental track, which in fact is the intro for "Invictus". Openings track "Straight For The Sun" reminds of early BLACK SABBATH. It is more a sludge metal song with its ultra heavy and slow guitar riff and is the intro for the fantastic "Desolation". Anyway, compliments for these guys from Richmond, Viginia, because with "Resolution" they have already released one of the best Metal albums of 2012. Great work guys. My favorite songs of "Resolution" are without a doubt, "Desolation", "Ghost Walking", "The Undertow", "Cheated", "Insurrection", "Terminally Unique", "To The End" and "Visitation".
Visit their website: http://www.lamb-of-god.com
Recordlabel: http://www.roadrunnerrecords.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lambofgod

93/100

MAAX – Unholy Rock & Roll (CD) USA March 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 45:16 (Tracks: 11)
MAAX started out in the summer of 2006 by founding members Kyle Kreider (guitar) and Jeff Brown (drums). MAAX have already released a debut album 'Dawnbringer' in 2009, after which original vocalist/bassplayer Sky Kingrey left the band. The band found an interested independant label in Abyss Records who released their album. Soon after that the 'Six Pack Witchcraft'EP was released in 2010. Newest addition to the band followed in the person of Jeremy Starkey (Necrophagous) on bass, while Brett switched to second guitar. In this line up the band recorded their latest, third opus and second full lenght work of art, called 'Unholy Rock & Roll'. MAAX plays a mix of old school black thrash n roll metal, A lot of Motorhead and Venom influences can be heard throughout their music, just listen to the song 'Maax' and you know what I mean, nothing wrong with that, certainly not since I am a long time fan of both mentioned bands. So originallity is not their main goal, that's for sure, but what they do, they do best, they will get every party going, they are the US equivalent of european thrashers Tankard, though with a slightly different kind of music. The devil of rock n roll has arrived, his name; MAAX, songs like 'Rot n Roll', 'Do What Thou Wilt', or 'Black Thrash Em All' tell it all. This is a very enjoyable album, not the most technical or original, but efficiently well done. To my personal favorite tracks belong 'Overthrone' (really black) , 'Black Thrash Em All' with black raspy vocals and thrashing guitars. The production could have been done a little heavier or fatter, especially where the drums are concerned, but overall it's a great, enjoyable album!
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/maaxmetal

78/100

MAD MAX – Another Night of Passion (CD) Germany March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 47:36 (Tracks: 11)
Mad Max was founded in Münster in 1981 and Michael Voss came in after their debut album. Mad Max signed with Roadrunner, the famous '80 Dutch label and various tours with Uriah Heep, Yngwie Malmsteen and Pretty Maids in the mid-eighties of the former century were quite successful. In 1986 the band started working at their best album: “Night of Passion”. This album, produced by Dirk Steffens (former Accept-producer) and mixed in Florida by Dan Johnson ( he engineered Crimson Glory and Savatage –albums in their initial phase) was a real killer, filled with Dokken-shaped songs, nice guitarwork and good vocals. An American release and a planned tour in the US were almost in the can, but Michael Voss left the band suddenly. Keith Ellis was his successor, but the band fell apart in 1989. Michael Voss started a reformed Mad Max in 1999. He was involved in many musical projects at that time, it was very easy to pick the musicians he wanted. Mad Max made a few albums, but these albums didn't have the magic, the formula and the songs of the band's” Night of Passion”-album. In 2011 Michael contacted his former bandmembers of that magic album to write and record new material. The result of this collaboration is named after the ultimate Mad Max album and it's a good one: Fresh guitar driven, melodic songs, that remind you of Dokken, Cinderella and the typical German rock style. Michael Voss has lost some of his vocal depth and his pitch is a bit lower and rougher, but he's still a vocalist to be recognized. The production is dry, a little thin and one-dimensional, but fair enough to enhance the songs of this “Another night of passion”. I think this Mad Max album is better than the former albums Michael Voss has been working on. There is also a limited special edition of this album, that includes an 11-track live album, recorded in Berlin. Mad Max will be the special guest on the Axel Rudi Pell-tour starting in April in Germany. Nice comeback!
Visit their website: http://www.kidroom-music.de
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/madmaxmusic

79/100

MAGNETRON – A Measured Timeframe (CD) The Netherlands March 2012 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 25:38 (Tracks: 10)
Magnetron (what's in a name!!) already exist for about 15 years; released six demo's and contributions to several compilations. Now the band self-released their debut full-length 'A Measured Timeframe'. The CD is packed in a nice digi-pack, contains ten tracks and was produced by Robin Cornelissen of Milkman fame. Well personally im not impressed by the production of this album. It all sounds to tame and especially the rhytm section is sounding like a cookie can! Pitty because the band is maybe not playing very original thrash but it has potential. And with a moderate production its not doing any good at all. The band plays slight disorderly oldschool thrash with some hardcore elements. Last year the band played at my own Mario's Metal Meeting 5 festival and live they where really good! If you check them out live; you can buy their album for only 8 Euro or otherwise you can order it at the bands website/webstore. Food for oldschool thrashers that don't complain about the moderate production.
Visit their website: http://www.magnetronthrash.nl

70/100

MARK SPIRO – It's a Beautiful Life (CD) USA March 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: A.O.R. Running time: 41:21 (Tracks: 10)
Famous American songwriter Mark Spiro is responsible for some of the greatest A.O.R and Westcoast anthems. He has penned songs for T.V. series and movies as well as for famous acts like Heart, Winger, Kansas, Giant, Bad English, Reo Speedwagon and countless others. This is his 8th solo effort after almost 7 years and the “Mighty Blue Ocean” album. Although I adore all the aforementioned bands involved with Spiro, I never had the chance to ear one of his solo works so unfortunately I cannot make any comparisons with his past efforts. Mark Spiro handles pretty much everything on this album and his voice bears resemblance to John Waite's own. “It's a Beautiful Life” is a Pop - Westcoast album with a laid back, carefree feeling, dominated by acoustic guitars and keyboards. Although I am an A.O.R. - Westcoast fan, I didn't find the album interesting enough. It lacks the hooks that Mark Spiro usually delivers when writing for others and the songs are too Pop oriented for my ears. I lost interest after the first half of the album and not even the energetic tune “Dream Big, Pray Hard” could turn things over. Sorry Mark. Writing this review though gave me an appetite for spinning some Bad English…
Visit their website: http://www.markspiro.com
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/markspiro

50/100

MARTYR LUCIFER – Farewell To Graveland (CD) Italy March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Progressive Dark / Gothic / Doom Metal Running time: 56:17 (Tracks: 11)
Well, "Farewell To Graveland" is the first solo album of MARTYR LUCIFER, for whom Martyr gathered different session musicians, which are members/ex-members of bands such as HORTUS ANIMAE, PARADISE LOST, NOKTURNAL MORTUM, OPPOSITE SIDES. The line-up on this debut album "Farewell To Graveland" exists of Martyr Lucifer (vocals, synthesizer, programming, formerly HORTUS ANIMAE, OPPOSITE SIDES, SPACE MIRRORS), Arke (guitar, formerly of HORTUS ANIMAE, OPPOSITE SIDES), Evgeniy "Vrolok" Antonenko (5-string bass, formerly of NOKTURNAL MORTUM), Bless (piano, keyboards, formerly of HORTUS ANIMAE), Adrian Erlandsson (drums on tracks 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8, ex-AT THE GATES, ex-THE HAUNTED, ex-CRADLE OF FILTH, PARADISE LOST), Grom (drums on tracks 1, 2, 9, 10 and 11, formerly of HORTUS ANIMAE, DOOMSWORD) and female singer Leit, who does additional vocals on tracks 2, 7 and 11. Well, listening to this album, the band musically reminds me very much of a mixture of THE SISTERS OF MERCY, TYPE O NEGATIVE and PINK FLOYD. And especially the low dark vocals of Lucifer reminds me very much of Andrew Eldritch (THE SISTERS OF MERCY) and the late Peter Steele (TYPE O NEGATIVE). The whole album has a very dark atmosphere. Not strange, because as mentioned on MARTYR LUCIFER's biography, this debut album follows a musical direction that goes rather far from what previously traced by Martyr before, being mostly inspired by the darkwave/goth movement, alternative rock, as well as 70's progressive and psychedelic rock, and featuring electronic synthesizer arrangements but still maintaining a certain metal touch. Anyway, "Farewell To Graveland" starts with a short intro, titled "Janus" (0:52), followed by the title track. The longest track on "Farewell To Graveland" is "The Horseride" (10:10) and is absolutely the best song of the album. Other fantastic songs are "Farewell To Graveland", "From Under The Ground", "Onironauta (The Demon Of The Earth)" and "They Said With Time All Wounds Heal". The most quiet song is "L'albero Ed Io", which is more a medieval acoustic song, and is the least song of the album. Anyway, this is a very atmospheric dark album, which would do well among Gothics, Darkwavers and Doom freaks. Very interesting band and a perfect album.
Visit their website: http://www.martyrlucifer.net
Recordlabel: http://www.buil2kill.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/martyrlucifer

80/100

MAXXWELL – All In (CD) Switzerland March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Sleaze Rock / Hard Rock Running time: 42:51 (Tracks: 11)
MAXXWELL is a band of which I never had heard of before. This five piece band, which was formed in December of 2008, comes from Lucerne, Switzerland and exists of Nobi Suppiger (vocals), Hef Häfliger (lead guitar), Cyril Montavon (rhythm guitar), Kusi Durrer (bass) and Oli Häller (drums). The band's debut album “Dogz On Dope” was released in 2009, and according to their website, that debut album got a lot of great reviews. Anyway, now these guys are back with their second album, titled “All In”, and I must say that I was really surprised. “All In” features eleven tracks, of which I like most of the songs very much. These guys really can write some fantastic songs. Besides that the band exists of skilled musicians, they also have a very good singer in Suppiger. These Swiss guys really know how to kick some ass. The first four songs on “All In” are very strong compositions. After these great songs, we get one of the two ballads, namely “Still Alive”. The other ballad is “Anything”. And to be honest, in my opinion “Anything” is the best of those two ballads. But nevertheless I do prefer the songs which really kick some ass. The album was produced by Häfliger and Häller, and sounds very good. To me, the best songs on this album are “Dead End Street”, “Heads Or Tails”, “Trouble”, “Outlaw”, “No Pain No Gain” and “Hellride”. Anyway, “All In” is a very nice acquaintance to me, so my conclusion is: great band and excellent album. Check it out.
Visit their website: http://www.maxxwell.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.fastball-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hefhaefliger

79/100

M.I.C. – On All 4's (CD) China March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock Running time: 41:06 (Tracks: 11)
Exactly one year ago, in March 2011, I reviewed M.I.C.'s third album “3rd Degree”. So far I reviewed every album of M.I.C. (MADE IN CHINA). The band's self titled album “Made In China” (2008) was reviewed by me in February 2010, and the second album “Out 2 Rock” (2010) in April of 2010. So far, with every new album the improvement slightly continues. But now on this fourth album, the level stays the same as on “3rd Degree”. I am still of opinion that M.I.C. is not a great band. In that case the songs are sounding way too simple to me. In my review of “3rd Degree” I wrote 'what notices me also is, that with every new album the band has a new line-up'. And band leader Yvon Serre (vocals, guitar) did it again this time. He has gathered a complete new band around himself. The new members of M.I.C. are Janice Atem (vocals), Sam Lafleurs (bass), Brad Williams (drums) and Rick O'Donald (keyboards). For this fourth album M.I.C. recorded eleven songs, and as usual, the album was produced by Serre himself. It's just like with the previous M.I.C. albums, I listen a few times to the new album so I can write my review, and then I never listen to it again. Then I'd rather listen to an album which I really like. If I should listen to a M.I.C. album, after the review is published on MMM, it would be a waste of time, because there are way much better albums to listen to. And another thing is, I can't imagine that M.I.C. is selling so much albums with each new release. Also on this fourth album there are just a few songs which I like a bit. Well, I hope that someday Yvon Serre will understand that his band M.I.C. is actually nothing for MMM, because I'm sure of it that no one of the readers of MMM are interested in M.I.C.'s albums. So, I'm curious if he still will continue by sending new releases of M.I.C. to Mario's Metal Meeting? If so, I'm sure I have to review the fifth album as well.
Visit their website: http://www.yvonserre.com/mic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/madeinchine

64/100

MICHAEL THOMPSON BAND – Future Past (CD) USA March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: AOR / Westcoast Running time: 53:05 minutes (Tracks: 11)
Michael Thompson is the elite session guitar player in the world. His string-skills shine on hundreds of albums from the start of his career in New York in 1978 until now. Michael is a Berklee University of Music alumni and a many times rewarded musician. In 1988 he made his first solo-album 'How Long 'and this album is the absolute classic AOR album of all times. During and in-between his musical sessions for other artists Michael made two guitarminded albums after his groundbreaking debut ( “MT.Speaks” and “The World according to MT”). In 2007 he made a record for the Italian label Frontiers with John Robinson and vocalist Mark Williamson ( TRW ”Rivers of Paradise”) and he started working on a new project that saw the light in 2012. On “Future Past” Michael's guitar work shines every second. His solowork is brilliant and the rhythm guitarparts of the mainly Westcoast-archetype songs are also unique. But Michael Thompson is not the only star on this album. The vocalist of MTB ( Michael Thompson Band) is Larry King from the band Soleil Moon. This Larry has a great voice and a more rockier approach than the former MTB-vocalists (Moon Calhoun, Mark Williamson). Larry and Michael produced the album together and the sound is clear, a bit dry with a lot of focus on the guitar and the tonsil troubadour. “How Long” stays Michael Thompson's major opus, but this “Future Past” is a pleasant meeting with the beautiful songs of MTB. One of the songs of “How Long” , the beautiful “Can't miss”' is even re-recorded for this album. Great come-back!
Visit his website: http://www.michaelthompson.cc
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it

84/100

MISTHERIA – Keys of Eternity (CD) Italy March 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Classic Music Running time: 51:41 (Tracks: 11)
After reviewing keyboard virtuoso Mistheria's second neo classical progressive attack “Dragon Fire” in 2010, he's back with an album that represents his most intimate and personal moments. That turns out to be an album filled with laid back piano and keyboard numbers which aren't made for metal maniacs. So let's hope this one was just for himself, his own satisfaction and maybe some classical music lovers and that he returns later with the more bombastical heavy stuff. This is nothing for me, but it's not even near rock or metal so no points given here. Why this review then ? Well, just to let you now that getting it blindly because you liked “Dragon Fire” you must be aware that this is something completely different. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Visit their website: http://www.mistheria.com
Recordlabel: http://www.sifare.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mistheria

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MOETAR – From these small Seeds (CD) USA March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Artistic Prog Poprock Running time: 48:34 (Tracks: 11)
Moetar is a very unique band. Their opus 'From these small seeds ' has a great variety, the songs are well-penned, the bandmembers show off their capability and their skills. Moetar's music is diverse: Jazzy basslines of Tarik Ragab (Tar), versatile keyboard lines (Matt Lebofsky), thick drums (David Flores), flashy guitars ( Matt Heulitt) and the Laurie Anderson / Kate Bush' stylistic vocals of Moorea (Moe) Dickason all compiled in songs that remind us of Gentle Giant, The Sparks, ELP, Zappa, Yes, The Beatles (harmonics!) and Kevin Gilbert.
Just sit back and relax and spend some time with Moetar's music. You will discover a lot of depth and surprises in the songs and the lyrics are very intelligent and they make the songs even more poetic. Let the small seeds grow, take care of them and you'll listen to a beautiful album. Originally released by the band in 2010, it's picked up by the Magna Carta label and the album will be released in March 2012. One of the artistic surprises of the year so far!
Visit their website: http://www.moetar.com
Recordlabel: http://www.magnacarta.net
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/moetar

87/100

MORTICIAN – Mortician (CD) Austria March 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 56:12 (Tracks: 11)
Approximately two years ago I've had the pleasure of reviewing Mortician's previous compilation release 'No war and more,' which contained all the material that the band had recorded up until that point. It captured the band's activity between 1983 and 1989. After that, the band split to be resurrected in 2009, which was followed by the 'No war and more' release through Pure Underground Records. Because of the renewed interest in the band and some successful live shows, the members decided that it was time to release the very first full-length of Mortician. It only took about twenty-five years… In the announcement towards the new record, Mortician claimed to maintain their much appreciated style. They indeed did this, but with a production that is fitting for today's standards, making sure that the music doesn't sound dated. The songs itself however are unmistakably classic Heavy Metal songs. Opening track 'Change your behaviour' shows that the band has not slowed down since the eighties. The same goes for 'Prepare for death' and 'Reflection of your soul' in which the band excels in recognizable riffs, sing along choruses and melodic soloing. All very traditional in the vein of the classic acts in the genre. The beginning of the title track 'Mortician' is an obvious tribute to AC/DC, but later on it becomes the bands anthem, which will most likely be on the set list. This song pretty much sums up what this band, and Heavy Metal in general, is all about. The same can be said of 'Worship' in which the lyrics handle about the love for metal music. The remaining three songs don't have the same intensity and catchy hooks as the mentioned songs, but overall I've grown very fond of this record. As a bonus, three live versions of classics 'Street Warrior,' 'No War' and 'Sacrifice of Sin' are added to the album. These songs were recorded during the Keep It True gig in 2010. It's quite an accomplishment to come back like this after more than twenty years. Mortician knows how to get the job done.
Recordlabel: http://www.pureunderground-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/morticianaustria

80/100

MR. BIG – Live from the living room (CD) USA March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock (acoustic) Running time: 49:47 (Tracks: 10)
Formed in the late eighties of the former century, Mr.Big gained a lot of success and the American quartet released fantastic melodic rock albums. Their popularity in Japan was even bigger than expected and lasted until their farewell-live album in 2002. In 2009 the famous quartet celebrated the tenth anniversary of their debut album and a short reunion-tour in Japan was extremely successful. A live CD / DVD was recorded at The Budokan and after this release Pat Torpey, Billy Sheehan, Paul Gilbert and Eric Martin went into the studio to record a new album “What if”, that saw the light in December 2010.
Frontiers, the Italian melodic rock label distributed the album in Europe. In January 2011 Mr.Big was invited in the WOWWOW-TV-studio to perform some of their hits from their back catalogue. When the rumours of a special TV-recording and a nationwide broadcast spread around, Mr.Big decided to do something special with this performance. They played ten acoustic songs, seven songs from their latest studio album, and three 'classics ' in an acoustic presentation. On the last four songs the guys are even backed up by a string quintet conducted by Takashi Miyazaki. The result is a very laid back, intimate and warm sounding acoustic live-album featuring famous fretwork of Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan (sometimes they even play electric parts as well!), tight percussion and drums by Pat Torpey, big choruses ( by the Big-four) and great lead vocals by Eric Martin. This albums brings back memories of their former acoustic live-album “Live at Channel V- Live at the Hard Rock Café”, released in 1996. Back then the quartet had to perform more hits and this time the band made a choice to perform and to represent their newest songs. Mr.Big have released maybe a dozen official live albums in Japan (and in the rest of the world) and while the “Back to the Budokan”- reunion-live-album being my favourite, I like this new intimate release as well. It was released in Japan by Victor Entertainment and it will be released by Frontiers in Europe.
Visit their website: http://www.mrbigsite.com
Recordlabel: hhttp://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mrbigmusic

80/100

NEMESEA – The Quiet Resistance (CD) The Netherlands March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 55:57 (Tracks: 14)
"The Quiet Resistance" is the third studio album of Dutch metal/gothic band NEMESEA. The band, which was formed in 2002, comes from Groningen and the current line-up of NEMESEA exists of Manda Ophuis (vocals), Hendrik Jan de Jong (guitar), Sonny Onderwater (bass), Frank van der Star (drums) and Lasse Dellbrugge (keyboards). The band's debut album "Mana" was released in 2004, and the second album "In Control" in 2007. Personally, "The Quiet Resistance" is my first acquaintance with NEMESEA. So, I can't compare "The Quiet Resistance" with the former two albums. Anyway, what I can say is that "The Quiet Resistance" is a very good and accessible album, which will do very well under a wide audience. Musically, NEMESEA sounds like a mixture of EVANESCENCE, LACUNA COIL, WITHIN TEMPTATION and a bit LINKIN PARK. And it is not strange that the bonus track "Allein", sounds like RAMMSTEIN, because it features guest vocals of Heli Reissenweber from RAMMSTEIN tribute band STAHLZEIT. The album is produced by Joost van den Broek (former keyboard player of AFTER FOREVER) and sounds terrific. Manda Ophuis is a fantastic singer, and she sounds like Amy Lee (EVANESCENCE). The album starts with the short intro "The Quiet Resistance", followed by the fantastic "Caught In The Middle". Of the 14 tracks on "The Quiet Resistance", which are all fantastic compositions, two songs are ballads, namely "If You Could" and the semi-ballad "I Live". As I said, this is just a very accessible album. Okay, it all doesn't sound very original, but it sounds just damn good. The best songs for me are without a doubt "Caught In The Middle", "Afterlife", "High Enough" (featuring Charlotte Wessels from DELAIN), "Say", "It's Over" (featuring Matt Litwin & Marcus Klavan from BULLETPROOF MESSENGER), "Stay With Me", "Release Me" and "Allein". Well, if you like the above mentioned bands, then you will like this album as well. Great work.
Visit their website: http://www.nemesea.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nemeseaband

84/100

PHARAOH – Bury the Light (CD) USA March 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Power Metal Running time: 49:49 (Tracks: 10)
Since their 2003 debut “After the Fire” this American 4 piece delivers high quality pure U.S. Powermetal filled with progressive influences and neck breaking, complex riffs. This is the real stuff my dearest readers. “Bury the Light” again proves evolution since the former 2008 “Be Gone” and last summer's EP “Ten Years”. This is metal with adventure. Opener “Leave Me Here To Dream” shows immediately what this band stands for and collects the finest ingredients that makes metal interesting and enjoyable. Think of US Powermetal with prog influences filled with speed, mid tempo and dreamy passages and high class vocals. Because of the complexity of the songs it takes time to value quickly but they are catchy enough to keep on hanging in your head. No simple structures here, but a fine mixture of Powermetal meets the old Rush. Just listen to the power of “The Wolves” and “Castles in the Sky” and the beauty of “The Year of the Blizzard” and you know this band is special and really creates music. I must admit that it seems that in some songs the complexity sounds a bit overdone but maybe even for me after listening to it about five times, this album has to grow a bit further. Nevertheless I'm sure that when you let this album reveal itself to you, you'll be sold. Powermetal with a strong adventurous bite!
Visit their website: http://www.solarflight.net
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pharaohmetal

86/100

PICTURE - Warhorse (CD) The Netherlands March 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Hardrock / Heavy Metal Running time: 57:03 (Tracks: 13)
Good old Dutch Metalers Picture are back on track since they released their “Live 2008” album. Picture paved the way for Hardrock/Heavy Metal in the early eighties with classic album like “Heavy Metal Ears”, “Eternal Dark” and the suburb “Diamond Dreamer”. Like the old fart I am, I have to say those were the days man! Seeing Picture in some old small establishment like “Het Veerke” surrounded by bikers and other “outcasts” wearing only denim, leather and spikes is a happening that unfortunately doesn't come back anymore. What does come back is the music. After the pretty good “Old Dogs, New Tricks” in 2009 this “Warhorse” can easily level with Picture's best efforts. No, it's not as good as “Diamond Dreamer” which is filled with pearls like “Lady Lightning”, “Diamond Dreamer”, Night Hunter”, “Lousy Lady” and “Message from Hell” but their close man, their close. The strong point of this album is that it has no dips this time. All strong, pure metal tracks with a brilliant hard hitting production by Oscar Holleman. From opener “Battle Plan” till the rerecorded classic “Eternal Dark” it's one big headbanging party. Whooping guitar work, hard hitting drums and screaming vocals by Pete Lovell who delivers his best performance until now. They really sound reborn, they definitely kick ass man. “Killer in my Sight”, “Shadow of the Damned”, “The King is Losing His Crown”, “Warhorse”, “Were Not Alone”, oh man they really blow you away! Even the ballad “Think I lost My Way” fits in and certainly doesn't stand for what they present right now. It really pleases my metal heart this Dutch Metal Diamond. Old days are reborn and Picture sets the tone again, just like 30 years ago. An achievement that deserves deep respect. So pick up you're denim, leather and spikes and blow your speakers. This album is worth it! Picture rules again!
Visit their website: http://www.pictureofficial.com
Recordlabel: http://www.artiststation.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pictureholland

88/100

POINTS NORTH – The road less Traveled (CD) USA March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Instrumental Guitar / Shred Metal Running time: 52:24 (Tracks: 11)
Eric Barnett is a very skilled guitar player. He was a studio musician for many artists, a composer for the guitarmusic of a lot of famous video games, a Guitar Player Superstar Competition's finalist and he has shared the stages with mostly many modern rock bands. In 2010 he became friends with two musicians that shared a lot of enthusiasm towards his musical ideas and expression: the bluesy drummer Kevin Aiello (former drummer of Paul Butterfield and Mark Ford) and the former Whitesnake and Alicia Keyes' bass player Uriah Duffy. The trio formed Points North and their debut was released by the Magna Carta label. When you'll hear the first ten seconds of the beginning of this musical adventure, I'll bet you will mention one musical guitaricon: Steve Morse. His influence, his fantastic sound, his lyrical interpretation are all over the songs on this album (one song is even called “Steve's Morsels”). Eric Barnett's style is very unique and his phrasing is fantastic. I like the songs, variation is everywhere and Eric shows us the tricks of his heroes: Eric Johnson (in the song “The Source”), Alex Lifeson (in the song “Grace under pressure”) Scott Bradoka, Michael Landau and the rhythm section is tight and creative. This release is a warm welcome to Eric's guitar music, his fellow musicians and the fans of the guitarists of the major league mentioned above.
Visit their website: http://pointsnorthband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.magnacarta.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pointsnorthband

83/100

PORTRAIT – Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae (CD) Sweden March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 53:42 (Tracks: 8)
On January 26th, 2012 I saw Swedish Heavy Metal band PORTRAIT as one of the two support-acts of English Thrashers EVILE in the small hall of 013, Tilburg, Holland. I didn't know the band so far, so this was the first time I saw the band live. And man, they really surprised me that evening, because PORTRAIT really sounds like the legendary MERCYFUL FATE during their self titled 4-track EP “Mercyful Fate” (1982), and the albums “Melissa” (1983) and “Don't Break The Oath” (1984). So, after their show I bought their second album "Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae". Anyway, PORTRAIT was formed in 2006, and in 2007 they released the limited edition 7" EP "Into The Nothingness" (which is completely sold out). The self titled debut album "Portrait" was released in April of 2008. In March of 2010, the band released again a 7" EP, titled "The Murder Of All Things Righteous". This second album "Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae" was released on Metal Blade Records in May of 2011. The line-up of PORTRAIT on this second album exists of Per Karlsson (vocals), Richard Lagergren (guitar), Christian Lindell (guitar), Joel Pälvärinne (bass) and Anders Persson (drums). In October 2011 bass player Pälvärinne was replaced by David Olofsson. But what a great album this is. Unbelievable. “Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae” features eight songs, of which one track (“The Wilderness Beyond”) is an instrumental one. The album opens very strong with “Beast Of Fire”, which is a superb song. Actually, except the aforementioned instrumental “The Wilderness Beyond” (2:24), which sounds nice and is in fact the intro for “Bloodbath”, all other songs are really great. Per Karlsson, who's in the band since the “The Murder Of All Things Righteous” EP, is a fantastic singer who sounds like King Diamond (MERCYFUL FATE, KING DIAMOND). But believe me, “Beast Of Fire” (7:51), “Infinite Descension” (6:47), “Bloodbath” (6:34), “Darkness Forever” (8:11), “The Nightcomers” (5:37), “The Passion” (6:46) and “Der Todesking” (9:34) are all awesome songs, that makes of “Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divine” a superb album. This CD is a real recommendation.
Visit their website: http://www.portraitband.se
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/portraitmetal

90/100

PRETTY MAIDS - It comes Alive (Maid in Switzerland) (2CD & DVD) Denmark March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock, Euro Rock Running time: 1:56:36 (Tracks: 21)
Pretty Maids debuted on the English Bullet-label in 1983, but the band is still going strong and steady. Their singer, the famous Ronnie Atkins and their guitarist Ken Hammer, are members from the early start in Denmark thirty years ago until now. The band has released eighteen albums and a lot of ep's so far and they're still alive and kicking. The former album “Pandemonium” was very successful in Europe and this album, a 2-cd and a DVD set, shows the band at the top of their game. The songs, the spirit, the 'best of'- setlist and the enthusiastic, highly explosive crowd, all ingredients are available for this stunning live-album, recorded in Pratteln in Switzerland, during the Pandemonium Tour on the first day of October 2011. Ronnie takes his time to present the songs to the audience, he lets the rhythm section (Rene Shades on bass guitar and Allan Tchicaja on drums) do their tight musical companionship, the keyboards by Morten Sandager give that extra touch to the back catalogue and the exuberant guitars of Ken Hammer sound thick and heavy! I was very fond of Pretty Maids' former live albums (“Screaming Live”, released in 1995 on the Massacre-label, and “Alive at Least”, released in 2003 on the XIII Biss label), but this one is also an absolute winner! The special edition contains a live DVD as well. Great to see the band 3D-technicolour-live! “It Comes Alive (Maid in Switzerland)” will be exclusively released in a lavish 2cd/dvd digipack release and will include the following tracks:

CD1:
Pandemonium; I.N.V.U; Hell on high heels; Wake up to the real world; Destination paradise; Another shot of your love; Scream; Walk away; It comes at night; Queen of dreams; Savage heart; Clay.

CD2:
Yellow rain; Rock the house; Back to back; Rodeo; Lovegames; Future world; Little drops of heaven; Please don't leave me; Red hot and heavy; Lethal Heroes* * bonus track

DVD Contents:
Pandemonium; I.N.V.U.; Hell On High Heels; Wake Up To The Real World; Destination Paradise; Another Shot of your love; Scream; Walk Away; It Comes At Night; Queen Of Dreams; Savage Heart; Yellow Rain; Rock The House; Back To Back; Rodeo; Love Games; Future World; Little Drops Of Heaven; Please Don't Leave Me; Red Hot & Heavy. Rockumentary (incl. backstage footage and interviews with the band)
Visit their website: http://www.prettymaids.dk
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pmaids

87/100

RADICAL NERVE DISTORTION – Nailgunning Your Dome (CDemo) The Netherlands March 2012 Kees Schijven
Style: Hardcore / Thrash Metal Running time: 12:25 (Tracks: 5)
Radical Nerve Distortion originally started out as Rager in 2002, but after recording their first promo original members Hans B. (guitar) And Hans K. (drums/vocals) decided to change their name to R.N.D. In 2003 Tommy J. Joined them on bass, and a second promo was recorded, with a.o. 'Meatman', 'Divebomber'and 'Slowmotion Menace' on it. Januari 2005 their next recordings were made, including one of their best songs 'Every Knee Shall Bow'. At the end of 2006 R.N.D. decided to go look for a frontman/singer, who was found in Stefan (ex-Buttscratcher 2000, Binford), who's hardcore screams perfectly combined with the singing style of Hans K. At the Excess studio in Rotterdam their debut album 'Old Style Scare Tactics' was recorded. After a while Stefan decided to quit the band. Springtime 2010 a new 5 track promo is released with a.o. 'Swimming with Sharks', 'Kneecapping' and 'Execution of the Parricide' on it. To get a heavier guitar sound, and with the intention to perform, a second guitar player is added to the band in the person of Lars A. Early 2011. Right after the recordings of 'Nailgunning Your Dome', Hans B. decided to leave the band in November 2011, and the band decides to go on as a powertrio. Radical Nerve Distortion plays a mix of hardcore thrash oldschool style, without too much technicalities. First track is 'Broken Beyond Repair', a nice mid tempo song with a great riff in it, but with 'Six Dead, Seven Missing' the pace goes up, more hardcore style the oldschool way. Next up title track 'Nailgunning your dome' a heavy, up tempo song with a real nice mid part and brutal vocals, as said before no flashing guitar solo's on here, just some brutal heavy riffing, short, mostly fast tracks, which bring back some eighties memories of D.R.I. , Suicidal Tendencies, M.D.C., well you get the picture by now I guess. 'Scumbags' is up next, one of my favorite tracks, does remind me a bit of the british punk style of the Exploited and G.B.H. not too complicated but effective! Last song is 'Glasgow Smile' an aggressive song with brutal vocalities, makes me wanna hear more, luckily new recordings are expected around summer 2012, so that's not such a long wait, also the band wants to do some performances (which will be their first as far as I know) in the near future!
Visit their website: http://www.radical-nerve-distortion.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/radicalnervedistortion

80/100

REBEL YELL – Rebels On The Loose (CD) Belgium March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Sleaze Rock / Hard Rock Running time: 42:04 (Tracks: 11)
In September 2011 I reviewed the 5 track EP “Welcome To The Show” (2010) of Belgian Sleaze Rock, Hard Rock band REBEL YELL. Now these Belgian Sleaze Rockers have released their debut album titled “Rebels On The Loose”. The line-up of REBEL YELL still exists of Diether (vocals, guitar), Dag (guitar, backing vocals), Herman (bass) and Marc (drums, backing vocals). The band recorded 11 songs for this debut album, and I must say that I like most of the songs very much. There are just a few songs on “Rebels On The Loose” which are in my opinion a bit less. And the album features one instrumental song, which is the last track of the album, titled “Godspeed”. In REBEL YELL's songs you can hear influences of bands such as AC/DC, IRON MAIDEN, THIN LIZZY, MOTÖRHEAD and GUNS N' ROSES. So far, I never have seen REBEL YELL live, but I'm sure they are a very nice live band as well. The best songs on this album are in my opinion “Rebels On The Loose”, “Kill Girl Kill”, “Parasite”, “Home Sweet Beer” and “Wanted Dead”. Anyway, REBEL YELL delivered a nice debut album with “Rebels On The Loose”.
Visit their website: http://www.rebelyell.be
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/rebelyellmusic

76/100

SACRIFICIAL SLAUGHTER vs. ENFUNERATION – American Death Thrash (Split CD) USA March 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash Death Metal Running time: 42:34 (Tracks:10)
Fuck yeah a split album of two very good death thrash bands is always a good thing. This album begins with 5 songs of Sacrificial Slaughter. They started with their rage in 2002 and already have 2 full-lengths and a single on their name. These five songs bring total devastation and sound ravaging. The guitar riffs are a bit thrash metal orientated with a lot of aggression in it. The drums are furious and straight in your face. Then you got the vocals very aggressive light grunts that sound filthy combined with backing grunts. This band clearly knows how to bring a good and brutal sound and music (I love it!). Fast and furious songs with a good and heavy production.
The next band on this album is Enfuneration that started in 2006 with their plague. This band plays more technical death metal with some old school elements in it. 5 songs in vain of bands like Malevolent Creation and Krisiun. They released a demo and this Split album. The songs are very fast but also have great old school groove in it. The first song starts with a blast but also have elements in it that reminds me of Morbid Angel (especially the solo). The second song starts with an easy listening intro that goes into total rage. The variety of these songs are great and the production is also straight in your face and brutal. The good thing about split albums is that you get 2 bands for the price of one, and these 2 bands are good example of great US death metal.
Recordlabel: http://hpgd.comoj.com/index.html
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/enfuneration
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/championsofmetal

78/100

SAVAGE MESSIAH – Plague Of Conscience (CD) United Kingdom March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Thrash Metal / Progressive Metal Running time: 53:19 (Tracks: 10)
By accident I saw this CD “Plague Of Conscience” of SAVAGE MESSIAH in my local record store. I didn't know the band so far, so I didn't know what to expect. I decided to take a listen. Wow, what a real surprise this album was to me, because SAVAGE MESSIAH plays a mixture of Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal and Progressive Metal. So, I bought the album. When I arrived at home, I put the CD in my CD-player and in the meantime I was listening to this album I searched on my PC for some more information of the band. Well, SAVAGE MESSIAH comes from London, England and was formed in May of 2007. But when you hear this band, you wouldn't believe they are from London, England, because they do sound so American. The band exists of Dave Silver (vocals, guitar), Joff Bailey (guitar), Stefano Selvatico (bass) and Mauricio Chamucero (drums), and have already released the following two albums: “Spitting Venom” (2007) and “Insurrection Rising” (2009). “Plague Of Conscience”, was produced by Scott Atkins and features ten songs, which are all real masterpieces. Believe me, from the first track “Plague Of Conscience” until the last track “The Mask Of Anarchy” it is absolutely high quality what these guys present on this album. The band exists of very technical and skilled musicians. Just listen to the killer riffs and fantastic guitar solos of Silver and Bailey. Not to forget the awesome drum work of Chamucero. Man, what a super drummer he is. Besides a guitarist, Silver is also a very good singer, who's voice reminds of Dave Mustaine (MEGADETH) sometimes, but he can sing pretty high as well. Since I bought this album, it already made many spins in my CD-player. Well, SAVAGE MESSIAH is a real discovery to me, and they are a very promising band. “Beyond A Shadow Of A Doubt” has a kind of SAVATAGE riff in it. Songs such as “Plague Of Conscience”, “Carnival Of Souls”, “All Seeing I”, “The Accuser” and “Shadowbound” are fantastic Thrash Metal songs, and songs like “Architects Of Fear”, and “In Thought Alone” and “The Mask Of Anarchy” are brilliant Prog Metal pieces. Although all songs are excellent, my favorite tracks are “Plague Of Conscience”, “All Seeing I”, “Architects Of Fear”, “The Accuser” and “Shadowbound”. This third album “Plague Of Conscience” is a superb album which any Thrash Metal fan, Prog fan, and fans of MEGADETH will like very much.
Visit their website: http://www.savage-messiah.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.earache.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/savagemessiahmetal

90/100

SONIC STATION – Sonic Station (CD) Sweden March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Westcoast / Smooth AOR Running time: 48:03 (Tracks: 11)
Westcoast-music, a crossover between adult orientated rock and smooth, jazzy, classy- vocal pop is a popular subgenre in Sweden. Some record labels even specialise / specialised in recording, launching and distributing Swedish Westcoast-artists ( Zink Music, Avenue of Allies, Atenzia, a.o.) and artists like State Cows, Sven Larsson, Daniel Andersson, Peter Friestedt, Crossfade, George Grunwald, Rolf Jardemark, Josef Melin and Spin Gallery have quite a lot of followers and fans. Sonic Station is the brainchild of the former Music College of Stockholm' guitar student Alexander Kronbrink. The eleven songs on Sonic Station have a typical brand of Westcoast-music with a lot of hints of Steely Dan, Lee Ritenour, Pages, Airplay, Jason Scheff and Jay Graydon. The songs are smooth, warm, blessed with a nice pop-structure and a strong musical background. Alexander worked on the album with four singers and Marika Willstedt, who also co-wrote a lot of the lyrics and some music, and the high-pitched-vocalist Kristoffer Fogelmark are the most striking vocalists on this opus. I like the guitar work (obviously influenced by Jay Graydon),the keyboards of Jonathan Fritzen, the strong rhythm-section and the poppy-interpretation of the songs. A pleasant surprise for Westcoast fans!
Visit his website: http://www.sonic-station.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sonicstationband

80/100

SUNSTORM – The Visitation (CD) USA / Germany March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock / Hard Rock Running time: 45:00 (Tracks: 11)
Joe Lynn Turner needs no further introduction. He was the singer in Fandango, Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force and he made a lot of successful solo albums in the nineties of the past century. In 2006 he joined forces with the Italian Frontiers label and they asked him to re-record some of his old demos. The Sunstorm-album was the result of this and it gained wide recognition. The second Sunstorm album in 2009 (House of Dreams) contained also famous song from the 'Joe Lynn Turner penned catalogue'. The third Sunstorm release, 'Emotional Fire', is again mainly filled with songs from the heydays of the melodic rock genre and Joe has chosen for some vocal sessions he did in the 80's as background vocalist for other artists (Michael Bolton, Cher). The European songwriters Tom and James Martin, Soren Kronkvist and Daniel Pamlquist provided the other half of the album. Ëmotional Fire has a thick production by Dennis Ward, the German back-up band for the melodic offspring sounds very tight and the songs are 'instant classics' with a revitalised touch. Joe's vocal pitch has lost some power and some height but Joe is still the distinct vocalist for this eighties' rock-flashback! Well done.
Visit their website: http://www.joelynnturner.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/joelynnturner

80/100

SUPERBUTT – Music For Animals (CD) Hungary March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal Running time: 40:56 (Tracks: 10)
SUPERBUTT is a five piece Metal band from Hungary. Personally I never had heard of the band before. SUPERBUTT was formed in February of 2000. So far, the band released the following albums: “2 Minutes For Roughing” (2001), “The Unbeatable Eleven” (2003), “Black Soup” (2006) and “You And Your Revolution” (2008). And besides those albums they also released one EP titled “Szájon át” (2007), which is sung fully in Hungarian. Anyway, the line-up on this fifth studio album exists of Andras Voros (vocals), Attila Kovacs (guitar), Tamas Praznek (guitar) György Neddluhr (bass) and Adam Fellegi (drums). But according to the attached biography, the current line-up of SUPERBUTT exists of Andras Voros (vocals), Szabolcs Szucs (guitar), Zsolt Szentpeteri (guitar), Salim Mahboubi (bass) and Bela Gabor (drums). So, with this I assume that SUPERBUTT did have many line-up changes in the past, and that only Andras Voros is steady member of the band. Well, about “Music For Animals”, it features ten songs. And to be honest, there isn't any song, which really impresses me. Okay, the members play their instruments well, but it's mainly the vocals of Andras Voros which really annoys me. It really hurts my ears, hearing him sing. Maybe there are metalheads who will like this band, well I don't. After two times listening I had enough of it. Luckily I got better albums from Mario to review. So, next album, because to me “Music For Animals” is just a waste of time.
Visit their website: http://www.superbutt.net
Recordlabel: http://www.sonicattackrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/superbutt

58/100

T.C.F. – Where Madness Reigns (CD) The Netherlands March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal / Hardcore / Crossover Running time: 28:55 (Tracks: 13)
T.C.F., which stands for THRASH CORE FANATICS, have released their first full length album, titled “Where Madness Reigns”, on Malevolence Records. In 2008, the band, which exists of Hans (vocals, bass, ex-ENFORCER), Nick (guitar) and Rob (drums, ex-INCREMENTAL), recorded their “Core '88” demo, and their 5 track EP “Speed Or Bleed” (2009), was reviewed by colleague Kees Schijven (see MMM update of March, 2010). So far, I've seen the band twice live (in 2009 and in 2010), and they are a fantastic live band. Well, these guys actually started the band as a joke, but soon it became clear T.C.F. was more then a joke, so it all became very serious. And indeed, because what T.C.F. presents on “Where Madness Reigns” is serious old school Crossover. Anyway, “Where Madness Reigns” features thirteen great songs, and believe me, the level of those songs is constantly high. I can't find any weak song on this album, which by the way has a beautiful cover. The band exists of excellent and talented musicians. Just listen to the fantastic guitar solos of “Noise Gate” Nick. This guy is really awesome. And the vocals of bassist Hans fits perfectly for this type of music. And to tell the truth, with this debut album, T.C.F. easily can compete with the new generation Thrash/Crossover bands such as MUNICPAL WASTE, GAMA BOMB, WARBRINGER, BONDED BY BLOOD, S.S.S., HAVOK etcetera. Every song on "Where Madness Reigns" can create a circle pit during a T.C.F. show. Well, what else can I say about "Where Madness Reigns", it is just a marvellous Crossover album. Although I like every song very much, my favorite ones of this CD are “Face The Truth”, “Slave Of The Suit”, “Where Madness Reigns”, “An Eye For An Eye”, “Justified Violence”, “Punch In The Face” and "Duck And Cover". What a fantastic debut album this is. Great work guys, looking forward to see you on the road again real soon. Thrash fanatics, hardcore freaks check this album out, you won't regret it.
Recordlabel: http://www.malevolence-records.us
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thrashcorefanatics

88/100

THE EMBODIED – The Embodied (CD) Sweden March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Melodic Death Metal Running time: 37:49 (Tracks: 10)
This self titled debut album of Swedish Metal band THE EMBODIED was released in October of 2011 on Pure Legend Records, a division of Pure Steel Records. The band had already released the demo-EP “Relatively Fade” (2006) and the single “Chapter One” (2008) by themselves so far. THE EMBODIED exists of Marcus Thorell (vocals), Chris Melin (guitars), Jonathan Mortensen (guitar), Agust Ahlberg (bass) and Axel Janossy (drums). On the attached biography the band's music is described as melodic classic Heavy Metal and Death Metal. Well, actually melodic Death Metal with clean vocals (screams are used sporadically), because while listening to this fine debut album, the band reminds me of bands such as IN FLAMES, AT THE GATES and DARK TRANQUILITY. This album was produced by ex-KING DIAMOND guitarist Andy La Rocque, and sounds very good. La Rocque even does a solo on “Heaven Burns Tonight”. The band exists of excellent musicians, and they do have in Marcus Thorell a fantastic singer. About the songs, well, I must say they do sound damn good and are equally strong. Okay, this album won't get the status of a classic metal album, therefor it isn't sounding very original, but you can't deny this is a damn good debut album. So, anyone who likes the above mentioned Swedish metal bands, should check this debut album out. I'm sure you will hear the resemblance with these bands. Well, it doesn't matter, because “As I Speak”, “Dead Man Walkin'”, “Born From Shadows”, “Flawless”, “Northern Lights”, “Heaven Burns Tonight” and “Deception” are all great songs. Anyway, I like this album very much, and I'm sure it will make more spins in my CD-player so now and then. Like I said, check this album out, because it's really a good one.
Visit their website: http://www.theembodied.com
Recordlabel: http://www.purelegend-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theembodied

83/100

TRI STATE CORNER - Historia (CD) Germany March 2012 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Rock Running time: 40:40 (Tracks: 12)
When I have a first look on the album cover, I am really surprised of the nice artwork! The cover is really attracting me so I have to complement Art Director Martin Kolejak! But, of course, I have to focus myself on the music on the album. Tri State Corner (TSC) started in 2004 and it is an international group with members from Germany, Poland and Greece. Guitarist Janni introduces the Greek culture in the music by using a typical Greek instrument: the Bouzouki. This makes the music on Historia quite special/exotic. The other musicians are Lucky (Vocals), Christoph (guitar), Markuz (bass) and Chris on drums. Historia is TSC`s third album. In 2007, they released Changes, followed in 2008 by Ela Na This. Historia is nevertheless my first acquaintance with TSC. The album is a concept album which tells the story of an immigrant who leaves his comfort home ground and moves to a brand new world. All his experiences like for example love, aggression, sorrow and fear are expressed on Historia. The band has a desire to create inspiring hard rock with its own sound that is finding its roots in nations all around the world.
As regards to the music, it is basically not really special, but the Bouzouki, combined with heavy guitar riffs, gives the whole a special touch. But the band takes also a risk by using this instrument, it sometimes makes me a little bit nervous. Fortunately this happens not so much. The albums has a lot of variety. It starts and ends with an up-tempo rock / metal song but it contains also ballad-like songs like I Swear. Something what I like is that the music sounds quite pure without electronics or something else. I can appreciate this. Historia is a well-produced album for people who have a progressive mind (because of the Bouzouki) and who can appreciate the use of unique instruments.
Visit their website: http://www.tristatecorner.de
Recordlabel: http://www.fastball-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tristatecorner

70/100

UFO – Seven Deadly (CD) United Kingdom / USA March 2012 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock, Bluesy Rock Running time: 53:40 (Tracks: 12)
The band UFO needs no introduction to 'the rockland landscape'. UFO is / was responsible for releasing the best live-album ever (“Strangers in the Night” is their ultimate major opus). After their artistic heydays with Michael Schenker (1974 – 1978) came the commercial breakthrough with guitarist Paul Chapman. It lasted until 1983. UFO had some rebirths after that period (with guitarists Tommy McClendon, Laurence Archer and Michael Schenker (again)) but the flight of the' new UFO' didn't last that long. In 2005 UFO reformed again, this time with neo-classical guitar virtuoso Vinnie Moore. The musical direction changed into a more bluesy approached style of rock music. The albums with Vinnie were quite successful and the 2009' album The Visitor was even very good. UFO released 'Seven Deadly ' a few days ago and I like the album very much. Seven Deadly starts with the two best songs on the album (Fight night and Wonderland, two ferocious rockers), after that the bluesy, midpaced / midtempo songs set the course. But songs are quite good, they have a strong backbone that clears the path for vocalist Phil Mogg. His vocals and his evocative lyrics sound better than before, but the star on the album is Vinnie Moore. His shredding style of his first solo-albums in his Shrapnel days has gone, but the rhythm guitars, the absolute stunning solos on Seven Deadly are amazing. What a guitar player! It's too bad the band has picked up slower songs predominantly. A few rockers on full speed would have created an absolute killer album of these veterans. The album closes with the with one of the two bonustracks of the album, the old fashioned, moody “Bag of Blues”. UFO has done it again and the survivors start their European Tour on March 15th. Opening act for a few UK'shows will be the vintage rockers Heavy Metal Kids. It will be quite a party! Great record! Keep on rockin'guys!
Visit their website: http://www.ufo-music.info
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.ufo.davewood.org

85/100

VAN HALEN – A Different Kind Of Truth (CD) USA March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 50:12 (Tracks: 13)
Wow, after fourteen years there's finally a new album of VAN HALEN, and what an album "A Different Kind Of Truth" it is. Yes folks, "A Different Kind Of Truth", which is the band's 12th studio album, is almost in the classic VAN HALEN line-up. Only bass player Michael Anthony (ex-VAN HALEN, CHICKENFOOT) has been replaced since 2006 by Wolfgang van Halen, who's the son of guitar hero Eddie van Halen. So, the line-up of VAN HALEN on "A Different Kind Of Truth" exists of David Lee Roth (vocals), Eddie van Halen (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Wolfgang van Halen (bass, backing vocals) and Alex van Halen (drums). Well, I'm a fan of VAN HALEN since their debut album "Van Halen" (1978). The only two studio albums which I don't have of VAN HALEN are "OU812" (1988) with Sammy Hagar (MONTROSE, ex-VAN HALEN, CHICKENFOOT) on vocals, and "Van Halen III" (1998) with Gary Cherone (EXTREME). Anyway, "A Different Kind Of Truth" features thirteen songs, and it really sounds like old times. And it seems that a number of songs are based upon demos and unused lyrics written by the band in the 70's, and are rewritten for "A Different Kind Of Truth". The album opens with the first single "Tattoo". It's a nice song, but to me it's just not that great as a single. In my opinion there are way much better songs on the album. Second track is the heavy "She's The Woman", which has an awesome guitar riff. It's absolutely one my favorite songs on the album. "Honeybabysweetiedoll" is a nice song, only it has a bit of a weird opening, what is less of that song. As usual, it's a real pleasure to listen to Eddie's awesome guitar solo's. And it's great to hear Diamond Dave sing again. The album was produced by VAN HALEN and John Shanks and sounds excellent. Songs such as the aforementioned "Tattoo", "You And Your Blues", "Honeybabysweetiedoll" and "Big River" are nice sounding VAN HALEN songs, but in my opinion the best songs on "A Different Kind Of Truth" are "She's The Woman", "China Town", "Blood & Fire", "Bullethead", "As Is", "Outta Space", "Stay Frosty" and "Beats Workin'". Anyway, all VAN HALEN fans in the world will be very happy with this excellent album.
Visit their website: http://www.van-halen.com
Recordlabel: http://www.interscope.com

88/100

VENGEANCE – Crystal Eye (CD) The Netherlands March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 44:29 (Tracks: 11)
At the end of January 2011, the Dutch Rock scene was shocked by the death of VENGEANCE guitarist Jan Somers, who died from a heart attack on January 28th, at the age of 46. Now, VENGEANCE released their 9th studio album "Crystal Eye", which is, of course, dedicated to the late and talented Jan Somers, on SPV. Notable on the album cover is, that the old VENGEANCE logo is back. "Crystal Eye", features eleven tracks, of which the last one ("Jan's End Piece") is one of the last guitar solos of Jan Somers (R.I.P.). When you are listening to "Jan's End Piece", it just reminds you of what a fantastic and talented guitar player Jan Somers was. Well, he will always be remembered. Anyway, almost three years after "Soul Collector" (2009), VENGEANCE is back, but this time in an all-star line-up. In fact, Leon Goewie, who's the only original member of VENGEANCE, used the band members of AC/DC tribute band CHRIS SLADE STEEL CIRCLE (CS/SC), where he is singing in as well, as the new line-up for VENGEANCE. The makers of this fantastic album "Crystal Eye" are Leon Goewie (vocals), Timo Somers (guest guitar on two songs), Jan Somers (guitar, R.I.P.), Michael Voss (guitar, backing vocals; MAD MAX), Chris Glen (bass; formerly of M.S.G., CHRIS SLADE STEEL CIRCLE) and Chris Slade (drums; ex-MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND, ex-AC/DC, CHRIS SLADE STEEL CIRCLE). "Crystal Eye" was produced by Michael Voss, and sounds fantastic. Most of the songs are written by Goewie and Voss, but also Tony Martin (ex-BLACK SABBATH wrote a song ("Whole Lof Of Metal"), and the title track "Crystal Eye" was written by Arjen Lucassen (ex-BODINE, ex-VENGEANCE, AYREON, STAR ONE). In my opinion the song "Crystal Eye" sounds more like an AYREON song, than as a VENGEANCE song, but it is a great song anyway. The most commercial sounding song to me is the third track "Barbeque". It's a nice song, but not one of the best if you ask me. "Crystal Eye" also features two ballads, which are "Promise Me" and "Missing". Well, Leon Goewie sounds just as great as ever, and he still belongs to my all time favorite Dutch Rock singers. To me, the best VENGEANCE album ever is (and always will be) the self titled debut album "Vengeance" (1984). My other favorite VENGEANCE albums are "We Have Ways To Make You Rock" (1986), "Arabia" (1989) and "Back In The Ring" (2006). "Soul Collector" was a good album, but I think "Crystal Eye" is a better one. To me, the best songs on "Crystal Eye" are "Me And You", "Bad To The Bone", "Desperate Women", "Whole Lot Of Metal" and "Crystal Eye". Well, VENGEANCE delivered with "Crystal Eye" a fantastic album. Can't wait to see the band on the road again.
Visit their website: http://www.vengeanceonline.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vengeancebackinthering

84/100

WIDOW – Life's Blood (CD) USA March 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 48:12 (Tracks: 12)
Widow is no stranger to the fans of traditional heavy metal. The band was formed 12 years ago and has already 3 albums under its belt with “Life's Blood” being the fourth. It is pity though that the band never got the attention it deserved although other similar sounding ones went under the spotlight instantly. Let's hope that Widow will make it with strike four cause “Life's Blood” is an album which deserves everybody's attention. It is an album filled with energy and melody, clearly influenced by the N.W.O.B.H.M. sound but with an approach that sounds fresh and not dated. I was captivated from the first moment and was compelled to press the play button several times. There are some heavy metal anthems in this record such as “Another Fallen Angel”, “The One I Know” and the kick-ass opener “Lady Twilight” although each and every cut has quality. The band doesn't try to dazzle the listener with ultra fast songs and dual guitars but emphasizes on mid tempo anthems with strong choruses. This is definitely one of the highlights for 2011.
Visit their website: http://www.reverbnation.com/widow
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/widow

82/100

WYVERN – Lords Of Winter (CD) Italy March 2012 Ronny Elst
Style: Symphonic Power Metal Running time: 64:01 (Tracks: 10)
This Italian band already exist since 1985! After releasing 2 demo's, their first album "The Red Flame Of Pain" came out in 1990. In October 2010 they finally released their second album "Lords Of Winter". It's not a real "new" album, because there are re-recorded songs from their '94 and '96 demo's, and songs from their 2002 compilation album. In comparison of their old speed/heavy metal style, there are now also elements from prog and thrash metal. Wyvern is a typical Italian symphonic power metal band there were many in the 90's, but...only the strong like Vision Divine, Labÿrinth and Rhapsody survided. Wyvern is certainly not as good as the mentioned bands, but it's okay that they continue to play the music that they like!!
Visit their website: http://www.wyvern.it
Recordlabel: http://www.jollyrogerstore.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wyvernpowerspeed

71/100

XCLAYM – Premium Asskicking Speedrock (CD) Germany March 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Speedrock Running time: 30:41 (Tracks: 12)
XCLAYM exists of Billy Cocaine (vocals, guitar), Sverige van der Storm (guitar, backing vocals), Fallout George (bass) and Jim "The Weasel" Wodz (drums). I didn't get any biography of the band with this CD, so I had to search on the internet for some more information. Well, on the band's MySpace page, there isn't a biography written, so I can't tell you when this band actually was formed. I assume that "Premium Asskicking Speedrock" is the debut album of these guys. Anyway, when I listened to "Premium Asskicking Speedrock" for the first time, I wasn't that impressed. I thought to myself 'well, this is again one of those many moderate albums'. After listening a few times more to this CD, it didn't change my opinion. Okay, it is not that bad, only it all sounds very cliché. So, "Premium Asskicking Speedrock" is not a very spectacular album. Of course there will be others who will find this a good album, but to me it still is a moderate one. On "Save Me", June Dia is doing additional vocals. Billy Cocaine as a singer, isn't that fantastic as well. To me, he has a bit of a hoarse voice, and it sounds as if he is screaming his lungs out of his body. Musically, these guys play their instruments well, and the production, which was done by Patrick Fleischer and Daniel Beutner, sounds okay. But this all makes not great album. Anyway, in thirty minutes we get 12 songs, and the few songs which I like are "What I Want", "Rock 'N' Roll Radio", "Spring" and "Ride The Bullet". Still interested in this album of XCLAYM, check it out yourself.
Recordlabel: http://www.fastball-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/xclaym-music

67/100

JANUARY

ABNORMAL THOUGHT PATTERNS – Abnormal Thought Patterns (MCD) USA January 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 20:52 (Tracks: 7)
This is another project with a Zero Hour background. This time around, Jasun (guitars) and Troy (bass) Tipton together with Mike Guy (drums) have released an instrumental EP. I must admit that I really love these guys but that is no surprise as the quality of their releases has been superb so far. It does not matter if you listen to one of the six Zero Hour-albums, the Death Machine stuff or the Cynthesis cd that came out last year. They rule!!!! The opening-track, “The Machine Within”, starts with some strange sounds but then changes into the characteristic “Tipton-sound”. When Jasun's fingers start moving the magic happens. The rhythm-section knows each other so well that it completes the sound in a great way. With only 2 minutes and thirty-eight seconds, this is only a short display of their craftsmanship. The next four songs are called “Velocity and Acceleration Movement” and are divided in part 1, 2, 3, and 4. This four-part track was one of the two songs that started this project. The first part of “Velocity and Acceleration Movement” kicks off with a short intro. Then it is Jasun on the first part of the song and Troy on the second part of the song and Mike throughout the complete song that excel big time. If you are familiar with the Zero Hour-material, you know what I'm talking about. If you are new to their music, just sit back and be overwhelmed by extreme technical progressive metal. The song ends rather abrupt, as is the beginning of the second part that is a lot heavier and faster but still with the same technical control that this trio possesses. The third part has some heavy riffing before Jasun takes off on his shredding solo-trip. The last part of this four-part track is just another display of what these guys are capable of. They play all kind of odd rhythms and fantastic shredding-solo's. To some other musicians it might even sound intimidating. They know how to play their instruments. The shortest track, clocking just less than one minute is “Ulnar Nerve Damage” and shows Troy doing a bass-solo that he wouldn't have been able to play some time ago because of problems he had with his “Ulnar Nerve”. The closing-track is also the longest one on the album. “Electric Sun” lasts just over five minutes. The beginning shows Jasun playing in a different way. It is more like a long relaxed guitar-solo with all kind of different themes inside the solo. Towards the end the sounds gets softer and the tracks fades out quietly. I'm not a big fan of instrumental records, but the quality of this album is very high. I hope that the Tipton-brothers will be able to come over, play, and let us enjoy the music of one of their bands/projects. This album is the first release on CynNormal Lab Recordings the record label that Jasun started. I guess this won't be the last great release on this label.
Visit their website: http://www.abnormalthoughtpatterns.com

90/100

ALFONZETTI – Here Comes The Night (CD) Sweden January 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / AOR Running time: 39:13 (Tracks: 10)
"Here Comes The Night" is the third solo album of ALFONZETTI. The first two solo albums of Matti Alfonzetti, who was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, are "Ready" (2000) and "Machine" (2002). Personally, I never had heard of Matti Alfonzetti before, but this guy has played in BAM BAM BOYS and sung in bands like WESTERN FRONT (with THIN LIZZY guitarist Scott Gorham), JAGGED EDGE, TALISMAN and SKINTRADE to name a few. So, "Here Comes The Night" is my first acquaintance with Matti Alfonzetti, and I have to admit that he's a fantastic singer and songwriter. Actually, his voice sounds very much like David Coverdale (DEEP PURPLE, WHITESNAKE). In fact, "Here Comes The Night" is a very accessible album, with very good melodic Rock songs and ballads, like "Losing You", "Here Comes The Night", "Heartbreaker" (ballad), "Don't Listen To Your Heart", "Why Can't You Love Me", "Rock 'N Roll Heart" and "Set Me Free" (ballad). This album was recorded by Matti Alfonzetti (vocals, bass, guitar) and Daniel Flores (drums, keyboards), with special guests Marcus Jidell (lead guitar) and Emil Fredholm (lead guitar). All songs were written and produced by Matti Alfonzetti, so he's a very talented guy. It's very odd that, especially in these times, Matti Alfonzetti doesn't have his own website or MySpace page. Anyway, "Here Comes The Night" is a good melodic Rock album, which is a real recommendation for all melodic Rock fans.
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com

80/100

ANCIENT BARDS – Soulless Child (CD) Italy January 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Symphonic Epic / Power Metal Running time: 66:35 (Tracks: 10)
Bands from Italy seem to like their metal powerful and epic. Ancient Bards is such a band. “Soulless Child” is their second full (and I mean full, clocking 66 minutes!) length after their 2009 debut “The Alliance of the Kings”. To be short “Soulless Child” is filled with atmospheric keyboards, catchy riffs, sensitive piano pieces, delightful guitar solo's and trigger drums all combining a dark dreamy atmosphere. Epic Powermetal at his best; musically performed very well and you can say it could be the soundtrack for a good fantasy movie. So musically there is really nothing wrong with it, it's all high class, certainly for fans of Rhapsody Of Fire, Darkmoor to name a few. The critical points for me are the sometimes a bit too happy sounding tracks like “Broken Illusion” and the fast “Valiant Ride”; the trigger drums which are too much present and begin to irritate and the vocals of Sara Squadrani which aren't always powerful enough. Gladly these critics are blown away easily in the suburb classics.
“Through My Veins”, “Soulless Child” and “All That Is True”. Brilliant tracks that make me forget my criticism and where the band gives everything they got. Also Sara shows here qualities here, proving she is capable enough for this stuff. Who likes his music bombastic and orchestral filled with power and lots of variation this Ancient Bards is highly recommended. The beautiful artwork by Felipe Machado Franco is also worth mentioning. Certainly a band to check out.
Visit their website: http://www.ancientbards.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ancietnbards

80/100

ARRAYAN PATH – Ira Imperium (CD) Cyprus January 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 63:33 (Tracks: 13)
Arrayan Path (formerly Arryan Path) is probably the leading force of Cyprus power metal. Every album of this very talented band is an amazing feat of epic yet melodic power metal and Ira Imperium couldn't be different. Only one year after its previous effort Terra Incognita, the band shows no signs of slowing down. Nicholas Leptos' soaring vocals send shivers down my spine once again while the rest of the band delivers excellent power metal full of melodies and emotion. The oriental elements are always present giving that Eastern Mediterranean twist to the band's music. Vocal titan Tony Martin and Sanvoicen's frontman Vangelis Maranis participate as guests and contribute some jaw dropping performances. I really hope this album reaches a wider audience because it deserves to be heard by every power metal fan out there.
Recordlabel: http://www.pitchblackrecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/arryanpath

90/100

CRUSADER – Rise Of The Templars (MCD) USA January 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 14:37 (Tracks: 4)
The attached info sheet with this EP only tells that CRUSADER was formed out of the ashes of Horror Punk band GRAVEDIRT, and that the band exists of Hoagy (vocals), Brad (guitar), Joe (guitar), Ian (bass) and Colin (drums, programming). So, I tried to find some more information about CRUSADER on the internet. Through their Facebook page, I know CRUSADER comes from Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., but can't tell when CRUSADER exactly was formed. Anyway, these guys recorded four very nice sounding songs in October of 2010 for this debut EP "Rise Of The Templars", which has been released by the band themselves in 2011. The songs, which are "Rise Of The Templars", "Engineface", "Asgard's Fire" and "Iron Forge", are all in the NWOBHM tradition. Not strange, because these guys are influenced by bands like IRON MAIDEN, MOTÖRHEAD, JUDAS PRIEST, VENOM, ANVIL et cetera. The production of this EP, which was done by Dan Precision, sounds very good. I like all four songs of this EP, which makes me very curious for a full length album. Check this band out, because this is a very nice EP.
Visit their website: http://www.crusadermetal.wordpress.com

76/100

DEAD – Hardnaked...but Dead (CD) Germany January 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Death / Grind Metal Running time: 41:07 (Tracks: 10)
DEAD from Germany is a band that definitely needs no introduction. These guys have an arsenal of albums, splits and EP`s. Founded in 1990, so you can say their one of the survivors of those days. But the last album is good but doesn`t get me the way as I hoped. The guitar riffs are old school and heavy. The drums are straight in your face but very bad in the mix. The vocals combined with lower grunts sound good but also too loud in the mix. The composing of the songs is good, but the production is a bit too crap for me. But even though the production isn`t too good, the songs are great and filled with variety.
Visit their website: http://www.dead-slaves.com/home
Recordlabel: http://www.fda-rekotz.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deadofficial

65/100

DEADLY CARNAGE – Centiero II – Ceneri (CD) Italy January 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Black Metal / Doom Metal Running time: 41:43 (Tracks: 6)
Deadly Carnage from Italy started spreading their rage in 2006. They released their first demo in 2006 and an EP in 2007. Their debut album saw the light in 2008. This is their second full-length. Well what can I say, there are six songs on this album and I already have a love and hate relation with this album. The guitar riffs are heavy acoustic and filled with leads. The drums are furious and groovy. The vocals are evil and filthy black screams. The composing of the songs are very epic and very chaotic but also very relaxed, can you dig it? Hahaha, I will try to explain it better. The songs are long and epic. It has a very raw production and it sounds like this is made with extreme hate and pain. If you like bands that are underground and very pure and raw but with a very epic twist then you shoul give it a try.
Visit their website: http://www.deadlycarnage.altervista.org
Recordlabel: http://www.atmf.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deadlycarnage

70/100

DISQUIET – Scars of Undying Grief (CD) The Netherlands January 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 55:05 (Tracks: 12)
Disquiet is active since the beginning of this millennium, but has just recently released their debut album 'Scars of Undying Grief.' The constant line-up changes were part of the reason that this didn't happen sooner. It was worth the wait though, because 'Scars of Undying Grief' is probably one of the best Dutch based Thrashmetal albums I've heard in a very long time. The style reminisces strongly of the Bay Area style Thrash, but also a name like early Sepultura comes to mind. The latter is also represented in the vocal style, because the singer sounds a lot like Max Cavalera. But enough with the comparisons. The album contains twelve tracks full of powerful riffing, complex drum patterns and in your face vocals. Good examples of the potential of the band are opener 'La Camorra,' 'Trenches of Blood,' '' No Mery Left' and 'Craved Soul.' Overall the quality of the music and production is very high and stays interesting until the last note. A true recommendation for the Thrash Metal enthusiast.
Visit their website: http://www.disquiet.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/disquiet

85/100

ENDLESS VOID – Apparitions (MCD) USA January 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Heavy Metal / Doom Metal Running time: 20:27 (Tracks: 4)
All right what we have here is 4 track promo from James L. Owen (founder of Endless Void from the USA formed in 1986). This album is a kind of a preview and it sounds great. The music sometimes reminds me a bit of a combination between Place of Skulls and Saxon. The guitar riffs are heavy Rock riffs combined with some stoner influences. The vocals are very epic and clean. The drums are groovy and gives it a very groovy relax feeling. The production is very raw but that gives it a very old school feeling so I like it. This is just the preview of their forth coming album but I can tell you that you are going to get some interesting music that keeps you listen to it. If you like 70`s rock combined with stoner and doom then you are going to enjoy it. There isn`t much more to tell because I cannot find anything about them; but the new album is coming soon! Because this is a preview I am not going to give it a rate.
E-mail band; crazeartjames@yahoo.com

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ESKIMADA – Eskimada (CD) Italy January 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Crossover / Alternative Rock / Metal Running time: 32:39 (Tracks: 9)
In July of 2007 Italian crossover band ESKIMADA was formed under another name, NAKED WEAPONS, but after several line-up changes, they decided to change the name into ESKIMADA. The band picture in the booklet of this self titled debut album "Eskimada", shows us the line-up of Raffaele Pibiri (vocals), Ivano Pischedda (guitar), Enzo Di Ciaccio (bass) and Giovanni Ambrosino (drums), but on the attached info sheet there's a line-up mentioned of five members. The band has added a second guitar player named Alessandro Derosas. Anyway, this album, which was released by the band themselves in 2009 (and now promoted by Red Cat Promotion), features 9 nice sounding songs, to which I can listen to now and then. It's not a spectacular album, just a nice one. Personally I wouldn't buy it myself easily. The musicians play their instruments very well, and Pibiri is a nice singer with a varied voice, mostly clean but sometimes also brutal and aggressive. The production is good as well. So if you are into alternative Rock/Metal, then you could check this band out. The bands says they are influenced by bands like TOOL, INCUBUS and FAITH NO MORE. Anyway, ESKIMADA is a nice Italian band, with at least a good singer.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/eskimada

70/100

EVADNE – The Shortest Way (CD) Spain January 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death / Doom Metal Running time: 65:18 (Tracks: 8)
Evadne from Spain plays melodic death doom since 2000. They released there first demo in 2004 and their debut “The 13th Condition” in 2007. This is their second full-length and it sounds great. There are only 8 songs on this album but they are long and interesting. The guitar riffs are typical heavy doom combined with melody and acoustics in it. The drums are groovy and very steady. The vocals are deep grunts but very well executed and the balance of the vocals in the music sounds furious. They also use clean backing vocals (which are not too loud in the mix). The composing of the songs are very well done every song is filled with atmosphere and makes you listen to the entire album. Even though this band is unsigned you can definitely not hear that in the music. This band has the entire package: good music and a killer production. If you like bands like Doom:vs , Helevorn or other doom metal bands with grunts then you are going to enjoy this album
Visit their website: http://www.evadne.es
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/evadneband

80/100

EXXPLORER – Vengeance Rides On Angry Horse (CD) USA January 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 54:49 (Tracks: 12)
U.S. Metal legends Exxplorer return after 15 years of silence. Their last effort was unfortunately below average and that somehow disappointed the fans. But the band was determined to make a great comeback. Their appearance at the Keep It True and Headbangers Open Air festivals in Germany was just the beginning. Vengeance Rides on Angry Horse is a genuine return to the roots. With a sound between the first two albums and a great 80's feeling, it will satisfy every fan of true U.S. metal. Legendary vocalist Lennie Rizzo fronts the band with his epic voice while the trademark guitar melodies of Kevin Kennedy fill the air. This is one of the best surprise comebacks of the last years and I hope that it will not pass unnoticed.
Visit their website: http://www.reverbnation.com/exxplorer
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/exxplorerband

87/100

FATE – Ghosts From The Past (CD) Denmark January 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: AOR / Melodic Rock Running time: 59:04 (Tracks: 13)
Danish Metal band FATE was formed in late 1984 by guitarist Hank Shermann, who had left MERCYFUL FATE, together with Jeff Limbo (vocals), Pete Steiner (bass) and Bob Lance (drums). Well, about MERCYFUL FATE, the self titled four track EP "Mercyful Fate" (1982), and the albums "Melissa" (1983) and "Don't Break The Oath" (1984), still belong to my all time favorites, and are all classics. And after MERCYFUL FATE broke up, I did follow KING DIAMOND for several years. I did have the albums "Fatal Portrait" (1986), "Abigail" (1987) and "Them" (1988) on vinyl. But when Shermann formed FATE, I have to admit that I never checked the band's albums. The albums which have been released by FATE so far are “Fate” (1985), “A Matter Of Attitude” (1986), “Cruisin' For A Bruisin'” (1988), “Scratch 'N' Sniff” (1990) and “V” (2006). And in 2010 there was a compilation album released, titled “25 Years – The Best Of 1985-2010”. Shermann, who's now playing in superb Thrash band DEMONICA, only played on the first two albums, and left FATE in 1988. Several other line-up changes followed, and in 1993 the band called it quits. Years went by and in 2004 FATE did a reunion show at a festival in Germany. The albums “A Matter Of Attitude” and “Scratch 'N' Sniff” were re-mastered and re-released by MTM Music. And because of the overwhelming success of those two re-releases, which both featured some bonus tracks, FATE decided to give it another shot. This resulted into the album “V”, which was released in April of 2006. Anyway, "Ghosts From The Past" is the sixth studio album of FATE, and is my first musical acquaintance with FATE. It features thirteen fantastic and catchy melodic Rock songs. The line-up of FATE on this album exists of Dagfinn Joensen (vocals), Torben Enevoldsen (guitar), only remaining original member Pete Steiner (bass), Jens Berglid (drums) and Mikkel Henderson (keyboards). All songs are excellent compositions, which makes "Ghosts From The Past" a delicious album to listen to. Joenssen is a fantastic singer, and Enevoldsen, who's also in SECTION A and FATAL FORCE, is a great guitar player. It's a pleasure to listen to his guitar solos, which do not dominate the songs. Also the production of the album, which was done by the band themselves together with Thomas Pedersen, sounds fantastic. “Ghosts From The Past” is a fine melodic Rock album, with fantastic songs such as “Children Of The Night”, “Miracle”, “Seeds Of Terror”, “At The End Of The Day”, “All That I Want”, “Daddy's Girl”, “Murder” and “The Last Time”. All Melodic Rock fans should check this album out, because I'm sure you will like this album very much. It's a real recommendation.
Visit their website: http://www.fatetheband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fatedk

82/100

GRAND DESIGN - Idolizer (CD) Sweden January 2012 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 49:07 (Tracks: 10)
Grand Design was formed in 2006 by vocalist / producer Pelle Saether, Peter Ledin (Guitars) and Richard Holmgren (Drums). In the following years, the guys worked hard on “capturing the big 80`s melodic rock sound” and writing songs. Grand Design`s 1st album “Time Elevation” was completed early 2009. During the production of this album, Anders Modd (Bass) and Dennis Vestman (Guitars) completed the line-up. This release was quite a success and was awarded “best album” and “best song” by BeRockRadio and received numerous top 10 positions for “best album 2009”.
Now, two years later, it`s time for Grand Design`s second album: Idolizer. The recording process was handled similar to the first album with the same line-up. The sound and the songs are in the same style. Saether says: “We knew we had found a formula to make an 80`s rock record work in the 21st century – so why change it?” The record contains ten songs en contains everything from up tempo melodic rock to slow love ballads.
Before I received the album, I was not familiar with Grand Design, but after listening some songs of the debut album (“Time Elevation”) on the internet, it became clear that the band proceeded musically with Idolizer where the debut ends. The first thing that occurred to me was the observation that the music on Idolizer (and also on the debut album) sounds very much like Def Leppard and Queensryche. In this respect, they succeeded very well in “copying” the 80's sound. But this is also my biggest point of criticism, it sounds not all very original! However, if you forget the “copying”, Idolizer is just quite a good album to have. Musically, it`s all ok an the production is fine too. This album is an advice for those who like the genre of bands mentioned above and for people who like nice melodic rock.
Visit their website: http://www.listn.to/GrandDesign
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/granddesigner

71/100

GRAND ILLUSION - Prince of Paupers (CD) Sweden January 2012 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 56:03 (Tracks: 12)
A year after the release of “Brand New World”, it is time for the 6th Grand Illusion studio album. This new album is entitled Prince of Paupers. On this release, the Grand illusion trio consists of Anders Rydholm, Peter Sundell and Per Svensson. These three musicians are accompanied by some very good (studio) musicians: Steve Lukather (Toto), Jay Graydon (Airplay), Tim Pierce (Rick Springfield), Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth), Paul Buckmaster (Elton John and David Bowie), Muris Varajic, Kjell Klaesson and Staffan Stavert. The songs for the new album were written and produced by Anders Rydholm and most of the lyrics were penned by Arlene Matza-Jackson. De band started 25 years ago in 1986 under the name Promotion and released 2 albums in 1997 and 1998. In 2001, the band changed their name into Grand Illusion and started a more active record carrier. During a period of 3 years, they released 4 albums. In 2005, the band took a time out and reunited 5 years later with the release of “Brand New World”. And in 2011, Prince of Paupers is released. This album is an album which can be bought blindly by melodic / AOR rock fans. The album opens strongly with Gates of Fire and the band is able to keep this high level constantly. Of course, ballads like So Faraway (with a guitar solo of Steve Lukather!) are also present, I personally prefer the more up tempo and also harder songs. In my opinion, Prince Of Paupers contains no mistake. "St. Teresa's Love”, “Eyes Of Ice”, “Gone”, “On And On” and “Under The Wire” have all strong melodic compositions. It becomes clear that the 25 year of experience of the core trio has led to a nice melodic rock album!
Visit their website: http://www.grand-illusion.se
Recordlabel: http://www.aorheaven.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gisweden

77/100

HIGH SPIRITS – Another Night (CD) USA January 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 34:55 (Tracks: 9)
From Chicago, Illinois , U.S.A. comes, just like CRUSADER (see also this months update), Heavy Metal band HIGH SPIRITS. The band, which was formed in 2009, exists of Chris (vocals), Mike (lead guitar, backing vocals), Scott (lead guitar), Bob (bass) and Ian (drums). This album, “Another Night” really surprised me. The band plays NWOBHM. Think of early IRON MAIDEN, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, but also THIN LIZZY. And the vocals of Chris reminds me very much of Jon Anderson (YES). Songs like “Another Night In The City”, “Do You Remember”, “I'll Be Back”, “Where Did I Go Wrong” and “Nights In Black” are very good, but the best songs for me on this album are absolutely “Full Power”, “Demons At The Door”, “You Make Love Impossible” and “Going Up”. Those four songs are AWESOME and very addictive, and have great riffs and fantastic twin guitar solos. Really, I can't get enough of this fantastic album, and especially those four songs “Full Power”, “Demons At The Door”, “You Make Love Impossible” and “Going Up”. Fans of the NWOBHM era should absolutely check this album out. I also have listened to the demo songs on their MySpace page, and these songs are sounding very nice as well. These demo songs are also compiled on CD. Anyway, “Another Night” is a great album. Well done guys.
Recordlabel: http://www.hrrecords.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/highspiritsrock

89/100

ILLNATH – Third Act in the Theatre of Madness (CD) Denmark January 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Black Metal Running time: 53:30 (Tracks: 10)
Illnath from Denmark play melodic black metal with symphony in it. They started in 1997 under the name Flagellation (not to be confused with the Polish or Swedish Flagellation) and changed name in 2000. That year they also released a demo and in 2001 an EP. In 2003 they released their debut “Cast into Fields of Evil Pleasure” and their second album “Second Skin of Harlequin” in 2006. After that they released another EP and Demo. This is their third album and sounds very surprising. This album contains 10 tracks of very melodic metal. The only part that is black metal is the effort of the vocalist who is trying to sound evil. The music is very good. The guitar riffs are very heavy riffs in vain of Children of Bodom. The drums are also very straight in face with steady kick and progressive parts in it. They also use keyboards that are sometimes a bit too hard in the mix but not annoying. As I already mentioned about the vocals I will try to explain it a bit more. When I read that it is supposed to be melodic black metal then I personally expect a sharp and evil scream. This scream is more in the neighbourhood of Children of Bodom but not so good... But the rest of the music is filled with solos and melody and the composing and production of this album is also great. If you like bands like I mentioned then you should give it a try.
Visit their website: http://www.illnath.dk
Recordlabel: http://www.pitchblackrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/illnathofficial

70/100

JACK STARR'S BURNING STARR – Land of the Dead (CD) USA January 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 60:29 (Tracks: 11)
Jack Starr is a living legend of American heavy metal music. Skilled guitar player and composer, he has been serving the metal sound through his solo works, Virgin Steele and numerous projects for almost 4 decades. On 2009 and after several years of silence, he returned with a new band and the album Defiance which was a great sample of American power metal with epic attitude. 2 years later he delivers the natural continuance which is Land of the Dead. This album rises over its predecessor! It is full of epic metal anthems with powerful vocals by Todd Hall, thundering drums by Rhino, galloping bass by Ned Meloni (a long time musical partner of Starr) and of course Starr's excellent melodies and riffs. Ross the Boss, David Shankle and Marta Gabriel also appear as guests, adding their metal genius to this magnificent album. If you like Manowar and Virgin Steele then this record is for you! One of the best releases for 2011 without a single doubt!
Visit their website: http://www.jackstarr.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.info
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jackstarrmetal

90/100

MORGANA – Rose Of Jericho (CD) Italy January 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 39:30 (Tracks: 10)
According to her bio Morgana seems to been out of business for a while.This “Rose of Jericho” marks her return after 20 years. Well, listening to it that may be right. The production and music is definitely late 80's Hard Rock. Was it released in that period it wouldn't be great, nowadays it's even worse. To be honest, it has something, it's so 80's, so pure for that period but hey, it's another decade now. Musically it's not a punishment, it's done well but overall it doesn't really excite. Problem is that Morgana de Laude's voice lacks power and variation and sounds very monotonous. The first four tracks are real toe crunching and the vocals are responsible for that. A pity but in a few further tracks she sounds better. “ Bang, Bang” (cover !) and “I Will not Return” are simply good tracks. The, most instrumental, …..”And Kickin'” is even a very good one. But this certainly ain' t enough to save this album. Respect for people who hold on to their dreams but unfortunately it doesn't guarantee a good record. Pity of her voice; some songs deserve more.
Visit their website: http://www.morganadelaude.com
Recordlabel: http://www.nadirmusic.net

55/100

MOSFET – Deathlike Thrash 'N' Roll (CD) Austria January 2012 William Nijhof
Style: Death Thrash 'n' roll Running time: 42:04 (Tracks: 13)
Mosfet from Austria is going to kick your ass!!! Why? Because their new album kicks ass! But first a bit of their history. They started in 2003 and released their demo in 2005 and their debut album “Sickness of Memory” in 2009. This is their new album and it rocks. Thirteen tracks death/thrash 'n' roll. Groovy tracks with a filthy thrash grunt on it. The guitar riffs are thrash combined with rock and roll. The drums are also straight in your face and filled with double bass and groove. The composing of the songs are great and the production is also good. This entire album grooves and sounds terrific. If you like thrash with a big rock factor in it then you are going to enjoy this album!
Visit their website: http://www.mosfet.at
Recordlabel: http://www.refusedrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mosfetaustria

75/100

NORDIC NOMADIC - Worldwide Skyline (CD) Canada January 2012 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Psychedelic Folk Rock Running time: 39:52 (Tracks: 9)
You can call it quite vague, the album “Worldwide Skyline” from Nordic Nomadic. This is a solo project of Chad Ross which is normally active in the Canadian band Quest for Fire. Here, he plays the guitar and he sings too. I am not familiar with this band. “Worldwide Skyline” is the second full length album of Nordic Nomadic. His first solo album was released in 2007, at Toronto`s Blue Fog Recordings. This record company is specialized in psychedelic / folk / metal music. I do not know the title of Nordic Nomadic`s first album, there is not much information available about Nordic Nomadic. This second album is released at TeePee records.
The songs on this album have all a psychedelical character. In my opinion, it is not meant for metal minded people. The best way to listen to this music is in a “dark room” with a huge joint and liquid projections just as in the 60`s. The music is all sounding quite minimalistic (most of the time only finger picked guitar and synthesizers) so most of the songs sound quite the same. Also the relatively monotonous voice of Ross contributes to this. However, it is never getting really boring and this is a compliment. “Worldwide Skyline” is produced for progressive minds who like for example the early work of Porcupine Tree. I also want to warn you: this is not music for depressive people!
Visit their website: http://www.nordicnomadic.blogspot.com
Recordlabel: http://www.teepeerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nordicnomadic

70/100

RAIN – XXX: 30 Years On The Road 1980/2010 (CD) Italy January 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Metal Running time: 52:45 (Tracks: 13)
My first acquaintance with Italian band RAIN was when they played at the fifth edition of MARIO'S METAL MEETING on October 15th 2011. And to me, RAIN were one of the bands I liked the most that day. I still remember they played a fantastic cover version of THE CULT's classic “Rain” on MMM5. Now a few months later I got the compilation album “XXX: 30 Years On The Road 1980/2010” to review. This album features thirteen tracks from the band's eight previous albums, and are a bit re-arranged. So, I assume all songs on this album are re-recorded. But to be honest, while I listened to this CD several times, I wasn't that impressed anymore. There are just a few good songs on this album, which was released in October 2011, like “Whiskey On The Route 666”, “Rain Revolution”, the fast “Born To Kill”, “In The Night” and “Fight For The Power”. But the rest of the songs do sound very moderate to me. Okay, these guys play their instruments very well, and they have in Francesco Grandi a good singer as well, but that's all. The band recorded one exclusive track for this album, which is titled “End Of Time”. And the last track on this CD is an acoustic version of “Rain Are Us”, a song which originally is on the band's last album “Dad Is Dead” (2008). Like I said, I have listened several times to this album, but every time I only do like the above mentioned songs. So, live RAIN is a nice band, but on this album they can't really convince me, because in my opinion it has just too many fillers.
Visit their website: http://www.raincrew.com
Recordlabel: http://www.auralmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/raincrew1980

70/100

RIOTGOD – Invisible Empire (CD) USA January 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Stoner Rock Running time: 59:37 (Tracks: 12)
I already knew the band RIOTGOD by name, but never heard any music of them so far. Well, now I received the band's second album "Invisible Empire" to review. And I must say that I was really surprised, because "Invisible Empire" is a fantastic album. Anyway, RIOTGOD is a Stoner Rock band formed by the rhythm section of MONSTER MAGNET, namely James Baglino (bass) and Bob Pantella (drums). In 2009 the band released their self titled debut album "Riotgod". Besides Baglino and Pantella the band also exists of Mark Sunshine (vocals) and Garret Sweeney (guitar; also in cover band PSYCHO DAISY). This second album features fourteen songs, and opens very strongly with "Breed", which has an awesome guitar riff and grooves as hell. Second song on "Invisible Empire", titled "Fool", reminds very much of PEARL JAM, SOUNDGARDEN and ALICE IN CHAINS. RIOTGOD does have in the person of Sunshine a real great singer, who's voice sounds very much like singers such as Robert Plant (LED ZEPPELIN), Layne Staley (ALICE IN CHAINS) and Andrew Stockdale (WOLFMOTHER). And Sweeney is an excellent guitar player, who treats us on marvellous guitar solo's. And of course Baglino and Pantella are a very tight rhythm section. The third track on this silver disc, "Crossfade", has an ultra heavy guitar riff. Well, I could go on and on, but there's just no weak song on "Invisible Empire", because all songs are fantastic compositions and are sounding really great. Anyway, songs which remind of LED ZEPPELIN are the acoustic "Gas Station Roses", "Loosely Bound" and the acoustic "Rebirth". This album is fantastically produced by drummer Pantella, and sounds excellent. In fact I don't have anything negative to mention about this album. It's a real masterpiece, which already has made many spins in my CD player. With such fantastic songs, makes it extra hard to tell which songs are my favorite ones. Just listen to songs such as "Breed", "Fool", "Crossfade", "Slow Death", "Firebrand", "Loosely Bound" and "Lost" and discover yourself these are all great. "Invisible Empire" is a superb album, and a real recommendation for all Stoner Rock fans. Great work guys.
Visit their website: http://www.riotgod.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalville.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/riotgod

85/100

SANDSTONE – Cultural Dissonance (CD) Ireland January 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Melodic Metal Running time: 47:10 (Tracks: 10)
Roaming from Ireland this is Sandstone's third release. There aren't many well-known progressive bands from Ireland but Sandstone has the quality to become one. The band consists of the McLaughlin-brothers, Stevie (guitars) and Dave (bass), Sean McBay (vocals, guitars) and Dan Lafford (drums). Right at the beginning of the first song, “Reckless Thought” you hear the twin guitars duelling until McBay steps in. He has a very pleasant clear voice that suites the song, which keeps on changing, very well. This is a great song with all kind of moods put together in one track but still it remains a real song. “Little Forgeries” is a beautiful song with McBay singing great and Stevie McLaughlin letting his guitar doing the talking. This is a beautiful composition. The third track, “Fading”, starts with some great guitar playing. This is also a song where everything seems to fit in just fine. The song is very catchy as are the vocals. The fourth track, “Leaning on an Arrow” is a fast power-/progressive metal piece. It includes fantastic fast guitar solos, great singing and some piano/keyboards. The song is played by a rhythm-section that knows how a song is meant to be played. Piano starts “Carefree Moment”, but it quickly turns into a melodic metal song. McBay performs a mini-rap in the middle of the song, followed by a screaming guitar solo. At the beginning of the next song, “Silent Suicide”, a little child says: “Mom is that how you spell suicide?” What follows is yet another song with catchy vocals and a great vibe to it. “Black Skies” is a bit heavier but like on most of the songs there is something to the vocals, which sticks to you. “No More” is with it's three minutes and forty-three seconds the shortest song on the album. It's is a mainstream melodic rock track, thus very pleasant to listen to. Some acoustic guitars and a very modestly singing McBay are the trademarks for the start of “Sleep”. The song remains a very quiet and slow song with a beautifully played guitar solo from the middle towards the end of the song. On the last track, “Trick of Mind” the tempo is back again. This again is a good progressive melodic metal song, with a lot of focus for detail and for the song structure. One of the things that keep on coming back on this album is the fact that most of the songs are very catchy and stick to your mind quite easily. I must say that Sandstone is a big surprise to me and I'm looking forward to their European tour supporting Ripper Owens in September. First, I'm going to listen to the two other albums they released earlier.
Visit their website: http://www.sandstonerocks.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sandstonerocks

85/100

SCARLATYNA– Till the End (CD) Germany January 2012 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 36:01 (Tracks: 7)
I don't think many people remember this band as they released three demo's in 1989, 1991 and 1992 followed by a self-released live album in 1993. On this compilation all of the seven tracks of the last two demo's, “Scarlet Ball” (1991, three tracks) and “Till the End” (1992, four tracks) are present. As these are demo-tracks dating from the nineties the sound and the production of this release aren't superb. As Scarlatyna have reformed, it was time to release the old demo's. The band, responsible for the music on this album, consists of Chris Jamie Marino (vocals), Jörg Weilinger (guitars), Mike Stanzel bass) and Klaus Hardt (drums).
The opening-track, “The Truth” is a mix of heavy pounding and quiet parts with some calm vocals. Towards the end, the guitar playing gets a lot of variety and Marino starts singing in a King Diamond way but by far not as good. His vocals balance on the edge. “We” starts very slow and quietly, but not for long as the tempo and the power go up. This is power metal nineties-style with a lot of variation within the song both musically and vocally. On the third song, “Wings of the Night”, Marino sings very high on some parts. The guitar playing is very controlled. Scarlatyna's style can best be described as a mix of prog-, power- and a slice of U.S. metal. Marino's start of “Self-Made Destruction” isn't great but luckily he rehabilitates a bit throughout the song. The guitar playing is beautiful towards the end of the song. After a short intro with some organ sounds, all hell breaks loose on “The Tower”. Marino sings with a very rough and powerful voice. This is a real fast heavy power metal song. Towards the end of the song it's Weilinger that takes the solo-spot in style. The title-track is filled by great guitar soloing and Marino singing yet in another way. The variety in his singing on this album is extremely big but I don't like all styles he uses. The last track on this album is “Temple of Despite” that begins with a big laugh by some monster-like person. On this song, Marino uses his powerful rough voice once again. The conclusion is that this is a great way to get to known some rarities from the nineties, but keep in mind that this are demo-recordings dating from that era. Apparently, Scarlatyna are working on new material so let's wait and see what they can achieve using modern technology and a proper release. If you want to see them perform live, visit the Swordbrothers festival next September.
Recordlabel: http://www.pureunderground-records.com

71/100

SINCERA – Cursed and Proud (CD) Norway January 2012 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black / Death Metal Running time: 36:55 (Tracks: 9)
Sincera is a sideproject with members from Norwegian Death/ Black metal bands: Fester, Algol, Decipher and Psychotic Pain. Cursed and Proud is oddly divided into two parts. The first four songs are studio recordings the the following four are live recordings and the last one is a enterance song for the infamous Norwegian wrestler Byron Lawless. The Norwegians are quite technical, rich in harmony and texture. There are quite a lot of rhythm-changes but it's mainly well-composed and purposeful. The melodies are folky in places, thrashy in others, occasionally on the Dissection side of things, but generally very good. Uff, I have to say that "Cursed and proud" material is very uneven - it's an album, which I have to divide into two parts – first one gathers great songs and riffing, with some truly memorable anthems such as (the opening riff on) “A Griever's Soul” (though the guitars are sounding a bit false throughout the song, while on the other half it has lower quality riffs and unnecessary weak ideas like in the song “Cursed” and simply looses the feeling and aggression. The live recordings are all a all more straightforward and in your face. And although the soundquality isn't as good as on the studiotracks I like them more. Hopefully they will follow the more agressive path in the future. For now this debut is a irregular but that doens't say it's bad.
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sinceranorway

75/100

STEEL PANTHER – Balls Out (CD) USA January 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Glam Rock / Metal Running time: 47:36 (Tracks: 14)
The Glam boys of STEEL PANTHER are back with their second album "Balls Out". Okay in 2003 these guys released the album "Hole Patrol" under the name METAL SHOP, but they changed their name into STEEL PANTHER in 2008. And in 2009 the first STEEL PANTHER album "Feel The Steel" was released, which I reviewed for MMM in June of 2010 and got 90 out of 100 points. Well, "Feel The Steel" was a smash hit worldwide and is already a real classic album if you ask me. Now, Michael Starr (vocals), Satchel (guitar), Lexxi Foxxx (bass) and Stix Zadinia (drums) have released their second album "Balls Out" in October of 2011. "Balls Out" is a logical continuation of "Feel The Steel". Lyrically it's again an album full of jokes, and musically Michael, Satchel, Lexxi and Stix treats us on excellent 80's Hair Metal. Just like “Feel The Steel” also “Balls Out” is fantastically produced by Jay Ruston. Some guest appearances on this album are this time from Nuno Bettencourt (EXTREME), who is doing the guitar solo on “It Won't Suck Itself”, Chad Kroeger (NICKELBACK), who is doing lead- and backing vocals on “It Won't Suck Itself” and Brett Anderson (THE DONNAS) who's doing backing vocals on “I Like Drugs”. Songs which I like bit less are “If You Really Really Love Me” and the last track of the album “Weenie Ride”. But the rest of the songs are again fantastic. I'm sure “Balls Out” will be a success album as well. My conclusion is that "Balls Out" is, just like "Feel The Steel", again an awesome album. My favorite songs on "Balls Out" are "Supersonic Sex Machine", “Just Like Tiger Woods”, "17 Girls In A Row" (superb), "It Won't Suck Itself", “Tomorrow Night”, “That's What Girls Are For”, “Gold Digging Whore”, “I Like Drugs”, “Critter” and “Let Me Cum In”.
Visit their website: http://www.steelpantherrocks.com
Recordlabel: http://www.universalrepublic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/steelpantherkicksass

89/100

THE BRAINS – Drunk Not Dead (CD) Canada January 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Psychobilly Running time: 28:55 (Tracks: 13)
From Montréal, Canada comes Psychobilly band THE BRAINS. The band, which was formed in 2002, released the following albums so far: “No Pain, No Brain” (2005), “Hell N' Back” (2007), “The Brains” (2009) and “Zombie Nation” (2010). “Drunk Not Dead” (2011) is the fifth album of THE BRAINS. The line-up on this album exists of Rene De La Muerte (vocals, guitar), Colin The Dead (upright bass) and Pat Kadaver (drums). These three guys have recorded 13 fantastic and very catchy songs for their fifth album. The album, which was produced by De La Muerte, starts with the short intro “Horsemen”, followed by “Four Beasts Ride”. Next song is the catchy “Take What I Want (Souvenir Of Monte Christo)”, of which the band has shot a very nice video clip. While listening to THE BRAINS, the band reminds me very much of Psychobilly bands such as KOFFIN KATS, THE CREEPSHOW, MAD SIN and NEKROMANTIX to name a few. There are two songs on the album, which aren't sung in English. The first one is “Gato Calavera” which is sung in Spanish, and the second one “Pourquoi Me Laisser” is sung in French (one of the two Canadian languages). Anyway, like I said, this album features very catchy songs. If you have heard songs like “Take What I Want (Souvenir Of Monte Christo)”, “We Are The Brains”, “Six Rounds” and “Drunk Not Dead” you can't get them out of your head. To me, this is an album to which I can listen anytime. So far, this CD already has made many spins in my CD-player, and it will make many more. Well, if you like the above mentioned Psychobilly bands, then you will like THE BRAINS as well. Although I like all songs very much, my favorites of this album are “Take What I Want (Souvenir Of Monte Christo)”, “We Are The Brains”, “Six Rounds”, “Premonitions”, “High On Speed”, “Drunk Not Dead” and “I'm Your Nightmare”. Superb album.
Recordlabel: http://www.peoplelikeyourecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thebrains

87/100

THE GARDNERZ– The System of Nature (CD) Sweden January 2012 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Death/Doom Metal Running time: 50:46 (Tracks: 10)
The Gardnerz are a relativealy new band to the scene. “The System of Nature” is their debut album on the American label Abyss records. As time goes by, the quest for the unique in music exponentially grows in futility, and one question is asked: "maybe instead of looking for originality in music we should just appreciate those all they do is the same-old, yet do it awesomely? Or is it me, blabbering again, having absolutely no idea how to open this darn review?"
Anyway, The Gardnerz is just that kind of a band – just as the homophone suggests, "routine" would be the name of the game and an immediate association that rises in all things concerning the album in question – tempo and feel-wise, the premise "The System of Nature" mostly dwells in is a moderate, quasi-gracious and self-important stride (the almost-exclusive use of major scales significantly contributes to that "majestic" feel), with a cue emphasis on basic, melodic musical approach and rather rudimentary thematic resolutions with catchy hooks and harmonies to please your ear, but without grabbing your attention all too much really.
As far as the music goes, though, the most suitable way to describe is that it that the doomy death metal delivers. I'd like to deviate from the common procedure by addressing the sound and production of the album first, since it would be the first thing to captivate your attention upon hearing this album as well – not only it's highly crisp and clear, you'd be overwhelmed by the ferocity it comes at you from the very get go. Imagine having an enormous frying pan swung at your face, hitting it in several different places simultaneously as it lands – same goes with this album. That it says mastered at the legendary Unisound studio by Dan Swano will clearify this. So in the end The Garnerz aren't inventing the wheel again but do present an interesting various doom/death metal album.
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thegardnerz

79/100

THOUSAND YEAR WAR – Tyrants and Men (CD) USA January 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death Metal Running time: 39:20 (Tracks: 10)
'Tyrants and Men' was officially released in 2009, but now enjoys a re-release through Abyss Records, the new found label of the band from Alaska. Swedish Death Metal fans beware: you're probably going to like this. Thousand Year War combines all the best elements from this scene and created an album that you can purchase without a doubt. I've already read it in several other review but I think the same thing: this sounds very much like Amon Amarth. The band also gives their own twist to the music, but overall it sounds very familiar. Fans of Amon Amarth or Swedish Death Metal in general have another great band to listen to! At this moment, the band is working on a new E.P. so we will probably will hear from them soon.
Visit their website: http://www.thousandyearwar.com
Recordlabel: http://www.officialabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thousandyearwar

70/100

VANDERBUYST – In Dutch (CD) The Netherlands January 2012 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Heavy Metal Running time: 36:02 (Tracks: 8)
For more information about Dutch Hard Rock trio VANDERBUYST, see my reviews of their self titled EP "Vanderbuyst" (2008) (MMM update March of 2009) and self titled debut album "Vanderbuyst" (2010) (MMM update November of 2010). You also can read the interview I did with guitarist Willem Verbuyst for MMM in December of 2010. Anyway, since the EP I am very impressed by VANDERBUYST. So far I've seen VANDERBUYST eight times live, and I really enjoy every show I see of them. Now Jochem Jonkman (vocals, bass), Willem Verbuyst (guitar, backing vocals) and Barry van Esbroek (drums) are back with their second album, titled "In Dutch". It's again released on German label Ván Records. On their debut album they also recorded a brilliant cover version of UFO's "Rock Bottom". This time there isn't a cover version on the album, only fantastic songs written by Verbuyst (6 songs) and Verbuyst & Jonkman (2 songs). If you already are familiar with the EP and debut album, and you have seen VANDERBUYST live, then you know these three guys have a real passion for classic 70's Hard Rock and 80's Heavy Metal. Just like the aforementioned EP and debut album, also "In Dutch" is produced by Pieter Kloos at the Void studio in Eindhoven, Holland. Guitarist Selim Lemouchi (THE DEVILS BLOOD), who played together with Willem in POWERVICE, is, just like on the EP and debut album, also doing a guest appearance on this album. Lemouchi is doing the third part of the first guitar solo on "Leaving The Living". The only song, which I like a bit less, is the last track "Where's That Devil". It's a bit a depressive ballad, with darker vocals of Jochem. Although that song is a bit less to me, it still features great guitar solo's of Willem Verbuyst. Like I said in my review of the debut album, Verbuyst is just a SUPERB guitarist. It's really a great pleasure to listen to his awesome guitar solo's. So, you understand that I also enjoy all of his guitar solo's on "In Dutch". The album opens very strong with "Black And Blue", and I must say that VANDERBUYST is working hard by creating their own recognizable sound. Songs like "Anarchistic Storm" and "Leaving The Living" are very good, but my favorites of "In Dutch" are "Black And Blue", "Into The Fire", "String Of Beads" (superb), "Reap The Fields" and "KGB". "In Dutch" is again an excellent Hard Rock album. If you already liked the EP and the debut album, then you will like "In Dutch" as well. Great work guys, and see you on the road.
Visit their website: http://www.vanderbuyst.com
Recordlabel: http://www.van-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vanderbuyst

85/100

WHEN ALL LIGHT DIES – Transitions (CD) The Netherlands January 2012 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Metalcore Running time: 34:47 (Tracks: 9)
My first encounter with 'When All Light Dies' was when they played the Borstrock festival in 2010. I remember to be quite impressed with the aggressive metalcore and the energetic, professional stage presence. After that I lost sight of them, but to receive a copy of their debut album 'Transitions' was a pleasant surprise. And it still is…...
Because with 'Transitons,' the Dutch formation is showing that they're a force to be reckoned with in the metalcore scene. The album offers nine songs that are well written and nicely balanced. The in your face riffs and aggressive breakdowns are from a very good quality and that is a compliment. Especially since the metalcore genre is quite busy already and it is therefore hard to stand out. 'When All Light Dies' does, and with the professional artwork of 'Transitions' and touring experience, they have all the right ingredients to become more known to the public.
Visit their website: http://www.whenalllightdies.nl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/whenalllightdiesnl

80/100

ZANDELLE – Shadows of the Past (2CD) USA January 2012 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 66:54 (Tracks: 13)
Zandelle is one of those few American bands that hold the banner of true heavy metal up high. In a country were classic metal is almost obsolete, bands like Zandelle keep the flame of the underground burning. With numerous releases under their belts, George Tsalikis and co. release this kind of a compilation. Shadows of the Past is a link between the band's past and present sound. The 10 first songs are re-recorded versions of tracks featured in the bands first two releases (now impossible to find). There are also 2 unreleased tracks and a Whitesnake cover (Bad Boys!). A bonus disc features these 10 tracks in their original raw form so that the listener can get a picture of how the band evolved in terms of musicianship and production values. Zandelle has not altered the core of the songs. These are just re-recorded versions with a better sound and Shadows of the Past will appeal to both old and new fans.
Visit their website: http://www.zandelle.net
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/zandelle

87/100

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