CD & DVD REVIEWS 2013

CD & DVD REVIEWS 2013

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UPCOMING CD REVIEWS: DARKSIDE, COLOSSUS, LADY BEAST, RAVEN BLACK NIGHT, BLINDED BY FAITH, BATTLE RAM, HERETIC, ABSOLON, ANGER AS ART, SACRED OATH, NICK HELLFORT, WOLFS MOON, DYSCORDIA, HORACLE, ULYSSES SIREN, BROKEN FATE, AGHARTI, NORHOD, DISBELIEVER, LIGHTLESS MOOR, NACOM, AGE OF TORMENT, IMPLOSION CIRCLE, BEYOND MORTALITY, EYE OF SOLITUDE, BLACK MESSIAH, LUCID DREAM, PORTALL, TUNGSTEN, ARMORY, LUCIDDREAMING, ASCENSION, DANGEREGO, ASHES OF CHAOS, SUPERHORRORFUCK, SETA, SATURDAY OVERDOSE, JAVELIN, HOLY CROSS, BLACK HAWK, SKINFLINT, JACKAL, WE ARE LEGEND, MAYFAIR, WARRION, TOJA, ETC, ETC.....

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DECEMBER

2 BLACK – Mind Infect (CD) Switzerland December 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 42:46 (Tracks: 11)
Thrash Metal band 2BLACK from Switzerland is also a totally unknown band to me. 2BLACK was formed in 2007 by drummer Robo Indrist, bass player Denise Gutzwiller and guitarist Thomas M. In 2010 they released their first 7-track demo CD “Promo 2010: No Time To Die”. After a long search for a singer, Andre Ellenberger joined the band in March of 2011 as their vocalist. Well, before this album guitarist Thomas M. left the band, and he was replaced by Georg “Skullshredder” H. (also from DUST AND BONES) and the second guitar player of 2BLACK became Jose Venegas (ex-EXCRUCIATION). The band signed a record deal with Wormholedeath Records, who released the band's debut album “Mind Reflect”. Well, about this album, I've listened several times to it, but I must say that I couldn't get impressed that much about it. Okay, I can listen to it, but to be honest, it all sounds to average to me. Actually, most of the songs on this album are in my opinion not that great. And the instrumental “Shadow” is a superfluous track to me. Sometimes I hear some SLAYER influences (“Desolation – Desperation” (4:14), which is a slow one). The only songs which I like of “Mind Infect” are the title track “Mind Infect” (3:31), “The Inner Beast” (3:02), “Empty Promises” (4:17) and “Collision Damage” (3:59). So, my conclusion is that “Mind Infect” is nothing more that just an average Thrash Metal album. Sorry guys, but if I have to choose between your debut album or a classic Thrash Metal album, then it's an easy choice for me.
Visit their website: http://www.2black.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/2Blackthrasher
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/2blackthrasher

62/100

ANGELICA - Thrive (CD) Sweden December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: European Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 50:08 (Tracks: 12)
The news that Angelica Rylin would release a solo album didn't come as a surprise to me. The band that she fronted, the great Stockholm based 'The Murder of My Sweet', sounded fabulous on disc, but the lead vocals drew the lines of the songs and Angelica gained rave reviews for her tonsil-input and her absolute stunning presence on the records of the Swedes. Daniel Flores, producer, arranger, composer and drummer persuaded her to do some solo stuff and his musical friends, like Harry Hess (Harem Scarem), Robert Sall ( Work of Art), Magnus Karlsson and Alessandro DelVecchio (both songwriters and musicians appaear on a zillion albums of the Italian Frontiers label) brought in a lot a song material to choose from. Angelica and her fellow musicians (Producer Daniel has some great musical friends as well!) have selected songs with a melodic 'adult orientated rock – vibe'. Angelica has a strong voice, that brings back memories of Fiona Flanagan, Sandi Saraya, Leigh Matty (Romeo's Daughter) and Robin Beck, but on this disc she's sounding a little predictable, a little shy and awkward. I like the record very much, it can be compared to the Issa ( Issabel Oversveen)'records, but the song material is a bit one-dimensional and flat, there are even a few fillers on this disc.
Too bad and a bit of a waste of musical talent on this first solo album. I had hopes the album would be heavier, haunting, aggressive and heavy, but the musical direction is far too safe. It's still an enjoyable record, but far from the classic and melodic 'fist in your face 'I had expected.
Visit their website: http://www.themurderofmysweet.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/angelica.rylin
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/themurderofmysweet

81/100

ARGUS – Beyond the Martyrs (CD) USA December 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 42:39 (Tracks: 8)
Argus third full length album, again offers a very pleasant 8 track metal ride. Their former album “Boldly Strike the Doomed” already showed the band's musical and vocally skills and was highly acclaimed by most criticasters. In comparison to the more doomy “Boldly Strike the Brave” this album offers more nwobhm influences. The twin axe attack and galloping style of Iron Maiden can be heard in several tracks and also influences of 70's work from bands like UFO, Thin Lizzy and Scorpions are present. Nevertheless the album has a modern sound so it doesn't sound rigid. Opener “By Endurance We Conquer” sets the tone with it's phantastic guitar work and breaths pure Heavy Metal. You can clearly hear these guys love what they play, they believe in it. There's no need to describe all the tracks because it's all high leveled with damn fine vocals of Brian Blutch. Although this album is less doomy then it's successor, for me the best track is “The Coward's Path”. Indeed just that one song that harks back the most to the more doomy side of the band. This classic track could easily be found on Candlemass's “Nightfall”. Maybe it's even a bit too comparable, but hey, it sounds great so I won't nag about that to much. For fans of pure Heavy Metal with a doomy touch like for example Grand Magus, this one is highly recommend. Also others will definitely enjoy this fine piece of plastic while drinking a beer and raising their fist in the air without even noticing it themselves. These things just go automatically listening to good stuff and that's just what this is.
Visit their website: http://www.argusmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/argusmetal

82/100

BACKSPIN – Face The Fear (MCD) The Netherlands December 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Metal Running time: 24:54 (Tracks: 6)
Backspin used to play progressive rock/metal pur sang, but have had to adjust due to line-up changes. This sometimes sounds more like a really heavy version of an Alanis Morrissette record. The guitar sound is quite open, the base solid and the drums rock like a train on full steam. Just listen to Words Unspoken. It could have been a Thin Lizzy/John Sykes song. The songs are quite good, divers and make you wonder why you haven't heard of Backspin before. These guys are quite good on record and should even be more fearsome live, as they have recently added a second guitarist to the band. I have had the pleasure of seeing them live and therefore know that it will work. The star of Face The Fear must be Jacomijne. Forget all those you see at the talent shows, just listen to this woman and dare to admit that she is amazing. Without her voice the songs would have already been more than okay, now Face The Fear is sensational.
Visit their website: http://www.backspinband.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.backspinband.nl
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/backspin.rock
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/backspinrocks

89/100

BENEDICTUM - Obey (CD) USA December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic US Metal Running time: 51:27 (Tracks: 12)
I saw San Diego's pride Benedictum opening for Girlschool in the South-East of Holland a few years ago thanks to my review- partners- rock music- fanatics Kees and Frans. The band had a good live feel and with a front lady (Veronica Freeman, former frontlady of Evilution, a DIO-tribute band) that was easy on the ear and on the eye Benedictum stole my heart. I bought the albums ( both released on the Spanish Locomotive label) of the band in a short time and I was very fond of the sound and the nods to the legends of metal such as early RAINBOW, SAVATAGE, WARRIOR, ROUGH CUTT, and PSYCHOTIC WALTZ. The third album was a killer once again and “Obey”, the new opus I'm listening to, will bring the band a little further on the road, that's for sure. “Obey” is filled with twelve furious songs with screaming vocals, hefty, powerful riffing and a pounding rhythm section (Jag Panzer drummer Rikard Stjernquist and Tynator bassist Aric Avina join with veteran guitarist Pete Wells and the aforementioned Veronica). Producer Jeff Pilson (Foreigner bass player, former member of Dokken, War & Peace and Dio ánd a friend of the band) compiled the aggression, the themes, the skills and the musicianship into an open and fair sounding record.
From the glass breaking sound of the intro you'll know what to expect: Veronica is giving all she can (with her Leather Leone – like vocals she could be the Rob Halford or the Ronnie James Dio of the female metal world). Sometimes she's exaggerating, too bad, it makes some songs too one dimensional, some songs lose their appetite and interest, but on the other side, her vocals fit like a glove to the riffing and the song structures. The album contains great metal hymns like "Fractured", “Thornz” "Obey" , “Evil that we do” and "Apex nation". These anthemic cuts will enrich the live catalogue of the band, that's for sure. The ballad "Cry", which the band performs together with powerhouse vocalist Tony Martin, sounds great as well. The other songs are good, but not that great. Frontiers will release this fourth record of Benedictum at the end of November. The Benedictum Obey Tour will start at Joe's Grotto in Phoenix, Arizona. I hope the band will visit The Nertherlands in the upcoming summer. Great stuff for the US Metal fans!
Visit their website: http://www.benedictum.net
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/benedictum.official
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/benedictum

83/100

CADAVERIA – Horror Metal (Undead Edition) (CD) Italy December 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Horror Metal Running time: 64:02 (Tracks: 13)
20th October 2013, 10.30 hour; together with my fellow comrades in MFVF crime edition XI Kees and Nicole I'm preparing myself for the final day of this 3 days Metal tournament. Preparing in this means watching and listening some vids of bands we don't really know. So we also get Cadaveria's “Flowers in Fire” on screen and my first reaction was plain and simple: during this band I have my 45 minutes free. This isn't my cup of tea. How wrong a man can be proved this band a few hours later. During the awesome performance of the brilliant “The Days of the After and Behind” I was completely sold. Also further on the band kept my attention during the show and I was certain to score some music of this band. To my surprise the merchandise was already arranged right after the show. Coming home I searched in my mailbox for some stuff and there it was; the Undead Edition of their 2012 album Horror Metal. Well, better late than never here's my opinion. The band Cadaveria was formed in 2001 by former Opera IX members lady Cadaveria (vocals) and Marçelo Santos (drums). The band brings a mixture of black/death/doom/gothic with a spooky blend. They have released three CDs so far: The Shadows' Madame (2002), Far Away from Conformity (2004), and In Your Blood (2007). Lady Cadaveria's vocals are most remarkable because she's capable of great range, from severe raspy, guttural, growl, to a more traditional, classically-inspired, style which brings a nice contrast in most of the songs. These songs are pretty inventive and yet pretty simple. That's a contradiction in terminus but in all their pounding simplicity some songs have very innovative twists. Just listen to “The Oracle (Of The Fog)”. “Apocalypse” and “Death Vision”. Just hear Cadaveria's change in vocals and you can hardly believe this is the same tiny little lady; quite impressive. Also the rhythms of the songs are pure power, trashy as hell, yet pretty catchy. Although not every track convinces me (“Flowers in Fire”, “Requiem”) this album offers more than enough enjoyable moments. “Whispers of Sin” and ´ Hypnotic Psychosis” are damn good, even like the tracks I named before. The real surprise however are the two remixes “Whispers of Sin” (Ancestral Remix) and “Hypnotic Psychosis” (Chaotic Remix). They really blew me away. A better, clearer production with a slight different arrangement makes me still want to hear them over and over again. Suburb indeed. Overall I'm very fond with this “I hack up my victims like pieces of meat” approach and for me this is one of the finest surprises/discoveries of this year. Can't wait to catch them live again ! Never thought that I would like stuff like this. I'll see my comrade Kees smile and, finally you'll get it!
Visit their website: http://www.cadaveria.com
Recordlabel: http://www.bakerteamrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cadaveria

83/100

CLAYMORDS – Scum Of The Earth (CD) Norway December 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 42:29 (Tracks: 11)
Claymords from Norway has been active since 1993. In 1998 they released and EP and from 2002 till 2009 they had a break. In 2010 they released their debut “Theories Written In Black” and this year there second album “Scum Of The Earth”. This album contains 11 tracks of well performed technical death metal. The guitar riffs are progressive and filled with melody and old school metal riffs. The drums are straight in your face but also very progressive and filled with groove. The bass also sound technical. The vocals are grunts combined with screams. For me the grunts could have been a bit heavier and less scream. They also have some parts in the songs that they are using a cleaner vocal but that doesn`t sound so good. The production and the variety on this album are really good. It is not every day that you get a death metal band from Norway that are really good (think of bands like Obliteration). This band is for me a bit of a blur, technical and very tight playing I really like about this album. The production also is really full and massive, so that also works for me. But the combination of their vocals really annoy me. If you like technical death metal you should check there album!
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claymords
MySpace: https://myspace.com/claymordskill

70/100

CONEY HATCH - Four (CD) Canada December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 48:15 (Tracks: 11)
The musical career of Toronto-based Coney Hatch (named after a lunatic asylum Colney Hatch, just outside London, England) didn't last a long time. But from 1982 until 1986 there weren't many bands in Canada that sounded and played better than this quartet. From their fabulous debut album to their third album, the more mature sounding " Friction"(an album that sold well in England, Germany, Sweden and the Asian market), the band gained rave reviews, got ten (minor)hit singles, lots of airplay on MTV, stage shows with Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Ted Nugent, a.o., a lot of shows as a headliner and a certified golden status for their first album. In 1986 the band stopped their musical activities after being dropped by their label (Anthem Records Canada). Bass player Andy Curran made two solo albums, produced a lot of albums for Canadian artists and Soho 69 was a Canadian band with Andy at the steering wheel. Carl Dixon also made solo-stuff (two very good albums " One" and" Lucky Dog" , both worth searching for) and after his Coney Hatch-days he joined April Wine and The Guess Who until 2008. Guitar player Steve Shelski filled his days writing instrumental songs for TSN, he was a producer of many soundtracks and joined the band Goddo for a couple of years.
In April 2008 Carl Dixon was seriously hurt in a dramatic car accident in Melbourne, Australia, during a film session for a Donnie Bryant's books-series(The Saddle Club). But after fighting for his life( and still waiting for surgery at times), he recovered and returned to small stages performing his songs and being a motivator/speaker at many local festivals and meetings. In the beginning of August 2010 Coney Hatch reunited on stage (a benefit-gig for Carl and his family, organized by Andy) and it was the first stage show of the four original members after a promotion show in the nineties of the former century (to promote their ' best of three ' album, released in 1992, back then). The four guys started to stick together again and many melodic rock fans were pleased with the news Frontiers Records Italy had signed the band for a fourth album, spinning around again and again in my media player now.
And I am glad the band's got this second chance. The music of the quartet still has that Coney Hatch' trademark: heavy rock, not too complicated riffs, poppy overtones (compared with Night Ranger, Kim Mitchell (producer of their debut album), Max Webster, Cheap Trick), great vocals and good guitar work. But the music on" Four" has one extra factor: the band members are enjoying the game of their life! There is a real ' good feeling' reflecting the lyrics, the songs, the playing, the choruses and the open production by Vic Florencia. From the opener " Blown away" (also their first single and video-hit) to the closing (only) ballad " Holding on" this album rocks your socks off. The band has also a great rendition of "Marseille", a song originally played by Aussie's pride The Angels /Angel City. What a glorious comeback! Track listing: Blown Away; Boys Club; Down & Dirty; Do It Again; Connected; Revive; We Want More; Devil U Know; Marseille; Keep Drivin'; Holdin On.
Visit their website: http://www.coneyhatch.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/coney-hatch
MySpace: https://myspace.com/coneyhatch1963

87/100

CRIMSON FALLS – Downpours Of Disapproval (CD) The Netherlands December 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Progressive Death Metal Running time: 47:39 (Tracks: 11)
When you see that a record is produced by Jochem Jacobs (ex-Textures) you can at least be sure of one thing: the sound will be killer. And it is. In the case of Crimson Falls that is at least half the battle won. The music these Dutch guys produce is hard, heavy, complex and sometimes insanely fast. Death Metal, Metalcore and Progressive Metal are mixed into a mix of Extreme Metal that makes my heart jump. This is mindboggling. This is how extreme metal should sound nowadays. Beware though! Make sure your brain is ready to take this in, because if you're not, it will overload. Mine did the first time. Now I have adjusted to it, I am cherishing it. All the aggression that I feel is leaving my body and joining the power that radiates from Downpours Of Disapproval. The fainthearted should steer well away from this onslaught, as it will take you apart at the seams. And if you're looking for simple entertainment, pass this one. There's nothing simple here. Crimson Falls is trying to trap you in their maze of different states of mind, using all kinds of piercing sounds to do so. This is more dazzling than a roller coaster ride at maximum speed. This review can be filled with as many accolades as possible, that's how good this is. But that's just my opinion.
Visit their website: http://www.crimsonfalls.com
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/regenesisagency
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/crimson.falls.9

88/100

CRYSTAL VIPER – Possession (CD) Poland December 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 45:07 (Tracks: 10)
Well, The Vipers are already back with a new metal attempt. Hardly 18 months after their well acclaimed “Crimen Excepta” they deliver us a concept album about a young girl named Julia. For the story you'll have to listen to the album and this piece of pure old style Heavy Metal. Crystal Viper is band that strictly holds on to traditions. So we have an album which brings us a conceptual lyrical idea given form by music in the most traditional NWOBHM, a production which sounds pretty Spartan (like in the old days), we have vocaly guest appearances (Harry Conklin of Jap Panzer/Stan's Host /Titan Force on “Fight Evil With Evil” and Sataniac of disaster in “Julia is Possessed”) and a cover (Riot's “Thundersteel”). So nothing really new, just pretty high quality. New souls won't be won but old souls won't be disappointed. In comparison to “Crimen Excepta” this record has a less darker feeling but a more “this sounds damn familiar” approach. Who doesn't hear fragments of MSG's awesome Lost Horizons back in “Fight Evil With Evil” certainly has to work on his Metal History. I can go on with this kind of remarks but the fact is that Crystal Vipers has the capability to melt al this influences into some damn good songs. Furious, razor sharp guitar hooks, fine solo's and good vocals are overall present, so no worries about that. Notable is that the band gave their fans the opportunity to take part in the recording sessions. This resulted in having more than 50 persons sending in their screams which were used in the final mix of the album. Awesome gesture. Crystal Viper is just a very good Heavy Metal which stands for a fine evening of pure Metal. So all back in galloping style to the record store to get this one. Nothing really new, but damn tasty. Note that on the lp release will be a hidden bonus track, still curious which one that will be because their covers are usually from a very high level.
Visit their website: http://www.crystalviper.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crystalviperofficial

80/100

CURSED 13 – Triumf (CD) Sweden December 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Black Metal Running time: 36:34 (Tracks: 11)
Cursed 13 from Sweden started as a one man project and during the years became a full membered band.Off course all members have been/are in a shit load of bands as you can expect from a Swedish metal band hahaha. With 2 demos and an EP and split on their name they released their debut “Triumf” this year and it sounds massive. 11 songs that are well executed and sound great. The guitar riffs are as you can expect, Black metal riffs in vain of Darkthrone.The songs are also filled with solos and grooving riffs (really well done). The drums are straight in your face andfilled with groove and double bass parts. The vocals are screams but not the high pitching screams but more grunting like. This album sounds evil and dark but also very relaxing. Every song has a great drive that keeps you listening and doesn`t get boring. They make black metal for the older ones hahaha and that is a good thing in my opinion. Not trying to be evil and typical black! The production of this album is also very well balanced. Everything is well mixed and well to hear. If you like black metal then yopu should give this a try!!!
Visit their website: http://www.cursed13.com
Recordlabel: https://www.facebook.com/carnalrecords.sweden
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/cursed-13-official
MySpace: https://myspace.com/thecursed13

80/100

CURSE OF THE FORGOTTEN – Building The Palace (CD) The Netherlands December 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Metalcore / Thrash Metal Running time: 50:42 (Tracks: 11)
Although CURSE OF THE FORGOTTEN comes from Holland, I never had heard of them before. Well, the band, which exists of Marijn Fuhler (vocals, bass), Richard Vrijhof (lead guitar), Roelof Klop (rhythm guitar) and Gerjo Fuhler (drums), released their demo CD “Sacrifice” in 2010. And after they reached the finals of the Dutch competition Metalbattle 2011, the band got signed by Italian record label Wormholedeath Records. “Building The Palace” is the band's full length debut album, and features eleven tracks. This album was recorded in Italy at the Realsound Studio and sounds fantastic. Well, to me CURSE OF THE FORGOTTEN reminds me very much of LAMB OF GOD. Even the vocals (read screams and grunts) of Marijn Fuhler are sounding like LAMB OF GOD's Randy Blythe. The band exists of excellent musicians, who are playing very tightly, and most of all the songs on “Building The Palace” are in my opinion real good compositions. With the first listen to “Building The Palace” I liked the album immediately. Okay, it doesn't sound very original, but great stuff guys, well done. CURSE OF THE FORGOTTEN are in my opinion a band with potential. If you like LAMB OF GOD very much, you should check this fine debut album, with fantastic songs such as “Snake”, “Building The Palace”, “Erasing Piece By Piece”, “The Prisoner” and “Who's Betraying”, out yourself. I'm sure you will like CURSE OF THE FORGOTTEN as well.
Visit their website: http://www.cotf.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/curse-of-the-forgotten
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/curseoftheforgotten

80/100

DEFINITION Of MADMEN – Definition Of Madmen (MCD) The Netherlands December 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Bluesrock Running time: 17:40 (Tracks: 4)
These newcomers feel that they belong in the bluesrock genre. That is cutting it a bit short, as the hard rock influences are in abundance as well. Not only that, this feels like a warm blanket, thanks to a great sound. Two of the four songs on offer have sprung from their own minds. Your Time Is Coming and Don't Fake It bode well for the future, as they are both strong songs. There are also two covers. Third Man On The Moon is originally by Masters Of reality, and Definition Of Madmen has made a gallant and successful effort to do the song justice. She's A Good Man's Brother is a Grand Funk Railroad song and that also has been covered properly. As always covers do provide an inkling as to where a band is coming from. These are no exception. Definition Of Madmen have delivered their first positive contribution and here's hoping that we'll hear a lot more of them.
Visit their website: http://www.definitionofmadmen.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/definitionofmadmen
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/definitionofmadmen

81/100

DEF LEPPARD - Viva Hysteria (CD/DVD) USA December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 2:23:13 (Tracks: 29)
Yes, it's time to take you back to the mid and late eighties of the former century when the US Charts were attacked by a rock band from Sheffield, England. Their album 'Hysteria' was an absolute million seller and many band tried to copy the ideas of this five-piece British blockbusters! But no one captured the great layered vocal lines, gang vocals, guitaristic approaches and song structures of Def Leppard at that time. The band carries a history of up and down-moments and many rock fans that visited their concerts over the last few years weren't that enthusiastic. But this CD / DVD package (I had the opportunity to receive the complete audio collection for this review) is responsible for my big eighties revival mode of the last few weeks. Def Leppard played 23 shows at The Joint in Las Vegas at the beginning of this year (March) and every time their heyday-album was the main event. The band was their own opening act, playing news songs, the most well-known songs from their back catalogue, some cover songs ánd songs from the days the band was building their great live-reputation in their home-country (Stagefright, Rock Brigade, Wasted, Undefeated). The last category of songs attracted me, as I haven't heard these live tracks for ages. And the band sounded good at these Vegas-shows: Joe Elliot 's high pitch screams and falsetto aren't that hard to listen to, his natural voice sounds fantastic though, the guitars are thick and especially Vivian Campbell's introvert phrasing and rhythms are amazing, and the electronic drums of Rick Allen combined with this thick sounding bass guitar of Ricky Savage. Essential release for the fans and the people that are looking for a best of – thing, well this releae captured the band firing o all six!
Visit their website: http://www.defleppard.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/defleppard
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/defleppard

82/100

GALLOWS POLE – And Time Stood Still (CD) Austria December 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 42:17 (Tracks: 9)
Melodic Progressive Rock from Austria. Not something you hear too often. And although they have been around since the early eighties, I have to confess that And Time Stood Still, their eighth album, is the first I have heard. Shame on me! What you get here is classic hard rock mixed with progressive features. Thankfully the sound is heavy enough to rock to properly, whilst remaining transparent enough to let the keyboards shine through in such a delicate way it complements the music. The songs are well balanced and move along at the right pace, making you ride the rock waves easily. There is only one if: the voice of singer Alois Martin Binder. It is quite monotonous, so you will either like it or hate it. In some songs he could have used some more variation, but on the whole he gets away with it. And ending on a high note; Gallows Pole has made a real classic and put it on And Time Stood Still. The title is Older. Can't get that tune out of my head. Bloody marvellous!

Recordlabel: http://www.purerock-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gallowspole.rockmusic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gallowspolerockband

75/100

GWYDION – Veteran (CD) Portugal December 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Folk Metal Running time: 49:38 (Tracks: 11)
Portuguese musicians playing Celtic Folk Metal. That is one hell of an example of thinking outside the box. But the most important question must be if Gwydion has what it takes to make it work. In one word; YES! Their third attempt at world domination is called Veteran and it has everything you want on a Folk Metal album. The right atmosphere, which makes you feel as if you're on a pirate's ship in the middle of the open sea, ready to enter an unsuspecting victim. The rum is nigh, but nobody's being merry. On the contrary, they're on edge and ready to fight if and when necessary. The epic attitude of the music makes those feelings even more impressive. The faster songs like Math Of War make you want to dance around and smash into everything that might be in your way. The slower ones make you want to have a good cup of rum and sing along. On the sing-along songs it never gets too cheerful or cheesy. On the other hand, the atmosphere never gets too serious or downhearted either, making Veteran a real pleasure to listen to. Gwydion has the elements they need to become household names in the folk metal scene.
Visit their website: http://www.gwydion.org
Recordlabel: http://www.metalrevelation.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gwydionpt
MySpace: http://www.reverbnation.com/gwydion

79/100

HAREM SCAREM – Mood Swings II (CD/DVD) Canada December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic rock Running time: 59:36 (Tracks: 14)
In 1993 Canadian rockers Harem Scarem released their second album " Mood swings" on WEA Records in Canada. The band had a successful debut album behind them, with three minor hit singles and eight tracks played in the TV series Degrassi's Junior High. " Mood swings" brought a harder melodic sound than the more adult orientated rock of the debut album, but in the homeland of the band the album didn't break the barrier. With one hit single (" No Justice" , no.85 on the Canadian charts) and only a few performances in the Ontario-region the band began to develop a new, hard edged sound. But two months after the release of " Mood swings" , the album got rave reviews and became a mid-seller-success in Japan, a country that didn't got to know the first album and their " Acoustic Sessions" EP. The sale successes in Japan and the European continent continued and Harem Scarem got the chance to tour a lot outside the North-American region on the base of their new material until 1998.
After their short lived success the band released some really great material, but Harem Scarem didn't play that much alive. The band stopped their musical activities in 2008 and each member had new musical solo-material available already. The campaign for the rereleases in September 2010 and the Japanese rereleases in 2011 brought the original members back together again and a plan for rerecording the Mood Swings-album was born. Stefano Perugiano, the boss of Frontiers Records, signed the band immediately, and a promotion campaign was brought to life. The 'new' album sounds fresh, intense, with big guitars, brilliant choruses and innovative themes, better than every melodic rocker 's daily bread. The production is good, open and fair and the three extra bonus-songs stay close to the nineties' sound of the band. The first newbie is" World gone to pieces", a thick, Leppard- anthemic song, orchestrated with a nod to the modern rock Harem Scarem used to play as "Rubber" or on "The weight of the world". " Anarchy", the second new track, reflects the crossover between "Mood swings" and " Voice of reason", great stuff, a bit Scandi-like. Closing new track is" A brighter day" , a song with pop influences, big guitars and a structure you could find on the Harry Hess solo stuff. A special " Making of....." DVD is included in the package, what a surprise!
Although the band hasn't officially reformed, Harem Scarem has a short promotion tour in the can, bringing them to Europe again. The will play at the Firefest rock festival and the HEAT- festival also. Go see them live! If you own the original version of Mood Swings or if you are familiar with this gem, you'll recognize the new arrangements, other intros, vocal changes immediately, I'm sure fans will purchase this restructured version at once. New to this music? Well, you're welcome: "Mood swings" is a twenty years old, timeless, essential, classic piece of melodic rock showing what the genre is all about. It's the soundtrack of many rock fans' life!
Track listing: CD: Saviors Never Cry; No Justice; Stranger Than Love; Change Comes Around; Jealousy; Sentimental Blvd.; Mandy; Empty Promises; If There Was A Time; Just Like I Planned; Had Enough; World Gone To Pieces; Anarchy; Brighter Day.
DVD: “Re-Making Of Mood Swings” documentary; Audio Files: Change Comes Around, Saviours Never Cry, No Justice
Visit their website: http://www.haremscarem.net
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harem.scarem.band
MySpace: https://myspace.com/haremscarem

90/100

HUMAN FORTRESS – Raided Land (CD) Germany December 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 54:53 (Tracks: 13)
Expensive times for die hard melodic metal fans nowadays. After Eden's Curse's new attack just on the market and Rhapsody of Fire coming out soon, AFM delivers comes up with another fine product in this genre. Human Fortress comes a bit out of the blue because after their latest release “Eternal Empire” in 2008, the band split. Original members Rod Wolf, Volker Trost and Apostolos Zaios called in new troops by Dirk Liehm, Andre Hort and new vocalist Gus Monsanto who has regained some fame by his band Adagio. The band wanted to continue in the style of music of their first two album “Lord of Earth and Heavens Heir” and “Defenders of the Crown”. They have easily succeeded in that. Especially the last one clearly comes in mind. Powerful, epic songs which varies between pure powermetal and melodic sing along rockers. Gus Monsanto has the perfect throat for this stuff and he delivers a fine job. Also the rest is all in perfect shape. Productional, musical, lyrical etc. no complains at all. For me the band accelerates in the more powerful, drum bass driven monsters like “The Chosen One” (catchy as hell), “Evil Curse” and the awesome “Child of War”. Although it isn't normally my cup of tee, the melodic, more commercial rocker “Wasted Years” has such a damn catchy chorus that even I scream along with it. In for example “Dark Knight” the band flirts successfully with folky/medieval aspects and that gives the album a more epic sound. Between the highlights there are a few tracks which convince less like “Shelter” and “Gladiator of Rome (part 2)”. That's a matter of opinion because the more melodic adepts could easily find the opposite. With 55 minutes and 13 tracks it's almost impossible to come up with only stuff you truly admire, so I take these for granted. Overall this is a great album, almost ignorable for those who are into bands like Eden's Curse, Freedom Call, Helloween (Keepers era), Rhapsody of Fire, Ordan Ogen, Kamelot, Avantasia etc. Yes, all German and Italian bands, but they have almost seemed to have claimed this genre. A warm welcome back guys.
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/humanfortressofficial
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/humanfortressband

80/100

INVASION – …And So It Begins (CD) Sweden December 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 41:36 (Tracks: 13)
INVASION is a Swedish Thrash Metal band, and was formed in May of 2006. The band exists of Andreas Tömte (vocals, bass), Kalle Sundin (guitar; also bassist in GEHENNA) and Martin Svensson (drums). In 2006 these three Thrashers released their first 3-track demo, simply titled "Invasion", and two years later, in 2008, the band released their second demo "Dystopia Arise", which featured 4 songs. Eventually the band got signed by Pure Steel Records, who released the band's debut album "…And So It Begins" in June of 2013. Personally I am not familiar with these two aforementioned demos, so, "…And So It Begins" is my first acquaintance with INVASION. As any Thrash band of the new generation Thrash Metal bands, also INVASION plays old school Thrash Metal. INVASION also has some slight Death Metal influences in their music. Actually "…And So It Begins" is, as you will understand, not a very original album, but the songs on it are sounding very okay to me. Bands who come in mind, while listening to this album, are DESTRUCTION, SLAYER, KREATOR and SODOM. Even the vocals of Tömte reminds a bit of Schmier (DESTRUCTION) and Tom Angelripper (SODOM). The album features 13 tracks, and starts with an intro, which is simply titled "Intro". "Let The 1st Bomb Fall" is the only track on this album which originally is on the band's first demo "Invasion", and all four tracks of the "Dystopia Arise" demo ("Invasion", "A World Gone Dead", "After The Disaster" and "Dystopia Arise") are also on this CD. Well, I don't have specific favorites, but songs such as "…And So It Begins", "Prophecy", "Dystopia Arise", "50 Megatons Later", "After The Disaster" and "Invasion" will absolutely please any Thrash fan. So, although it's not very original, I would say that "…And So It Begins" is a nice and decent Thrash album. Check it out yourself if you are a Thrash fanatic.
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/invasion.swe
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/invasionthrash

73/100

JACK STARR - Out of the Darkness (CD) USA December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic / Vintage US Metal Running time: 58:38 (Tracks: 16)
Jack Starr's " Out of the darkness", released in 1984, was one of the surprises of the beginning of the eighties for me. The fantastic guitar antics of Jack, the master musician, who had left Virgin Steele very suddenly (after their amazing Guardians of the flame-album in 1983), the absolute powerhouse vocalist he had on this record (Former Riot-frontman Rhett Forrester handled the mic, he was killed in a carjack attempt in 1994), the pounding and pumping rhythm section of The Rods and most of all the vintage US metal sound on this record had everything a metal fanatic could wish for. The 35 minute-musical feast was completed with songs like " False Messiah", " Let's get crazy again", " Eyes of force" , " Wild in the streets", " Concrete Warrior" , "Scorcher" and " Chains of love" . Many rock magazines like Metal Forces, Kerrang and the Japanese Burn- magazine gave rave reviews and the album ended up in many top-list of that year's releases. The record sold well in Japan and it stayed in the Japanese chart-top ten for many weeks. But my vinyl issue (I bought an American release of this record, released by Passport Records, in Europe Roadrunner took care of the distribution and Music For Nations delivered the goodies in the United Kingdom)of this gem was worn out and I've been searching for the album on cd for many, many years. I was glad reading the news that Limb Records wanted to release this record again with a new, fresh sounding focus and.......many extra tracks from a record of Jack that never saw the light of day.
And indeed, the 'new' version of "Out of the darkness" is a real killer! Pimped in a radically remastered version by Roberto Dimitri Liapakis (Mystic Prophecy, Devil's Train, Valley's Eve), with new artwork, a twenty pages booklet with many stories, liner notes, photos and with the bonus tracks, taken from some unreleased solo projects Jack started in the nineties of the former century, fitting well to the original songs and the shred-stuff and musical ideas Jack had in his mind / hands, the album is one of the legend re-releases of this year! Thanks Limb- Records!
Visit their website: http://www.jackstarr.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jackstarrsburningstarr
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/jackstarrsburningstarr

85/100

LEAVES' EYES – Symphonies of the Night (CD) Germany December 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Symphonic Metal Running time: 53:02 (Tracks: 11)
Let's make one thing clear right from the start of this review; Leaves' Eyes fifth album “Symphonies of the Night” belongs to the best releases in Symphonic Metal. Now that point is made I can say that doesn't only count for that specific genre. Leaves' Eyes perfectionism and driven way of creating songs, or should I say storytelling, has resulted in another versatile highlight that should enjoy every metal music lover. Metal I say, because on earlier albums there sometimes was more room for some softer songs resulting in a balance between both sides. On this one the heavy side predominates easily I'm glad to mention. This album is their most dark, brutal and aggressive attempt and it shows their beloved Beauty and the Beast approach in optima forma. This approach suits them like a glove. With a splendid, clear sound they've managed to combine the best of their former editions without forsaken their own, unique sound. On predecessor “Meredead” there was less room for Alex massive growls but on this album he's heard on 8 of the 11 tracks. I think this more heavy approach has it's root in the live success of “Melusine” which was as ep included by a 2011 edition of the Sonic Seducer magazine. Nevertheless, this album is filled with upcoming live favourites like the mighty fist raiser “Hell to the Heaven's”, “Fading Earth”, “Made of Lorraine”, “Galswintha” and title track “Symphonies of the Night”. The album has it's resting points in the classic opera sounding “Saint Cecelia” and “Nightshade” and the epic ones in pearls like “Angel and the Ghost” and “Hymn to the Lone Sands”. Musically there hasn't changed that much. Stayed is the adding of Uilean pipes, Irish whistle, fiddle and dulcimer, extra is the use of a real orchestra choir and, as said above, the more bombastic, heavy approach. Liv's voice is incredible in all its facets, what a tremendous reach she has, and live she never sounded better and more confident. The band consists of outstanding musicians and songwriters and that can be heard very clearly. Lyrically different from its predecessors, Symphonies of the Night pulls its inspiration from a number of strong female historical and fictional characters rather than the Scandinavian mythology used in the past. Leaves' Eyes is a true pioneer in this genre and every new album still shows progress and more variation. It's almost impossible to get this going but they still succeed. So you can plunge yourself into majestic, atmospheric hymns which are bloody catchy and metal as Hell. Scream along (when bitten by a female vampire in “Symphonies recalling of the Night, on the stake like Joan of Arc in “Made of Lorraine”) or dream away (but not too deep recalling the strangulation in “Galswintha”) and find yourself back in the medieval ages or on a long ship sailing the seas, it's all there. Deep respect for this must have album filled with mini stories ! The limited edition offers two more excellent tracks by “Eileen's Ardency” (with Liv's sister Carmen) and the Depeche Mode cover “One Caress”. These tracks can also be found on the limited coloured vinyl edition. Hesitation is not an option, get this one!
Visit their website: http://www.leaveseyes.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/leaveseyesofficial
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/leaveseyespage

93/100

LITA FORD - The Bitch is Back Live (CD) USA December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 58:49 (Tracks: 12)
The latest studio album of Lita Ford was a pretty good comeback-affair. She joined forces with guitar wizard Gary Hoey to gather some ideas and skills for guitar structured songs and riffs and a lot of those ideas were captured on her " Living like a runaway" album. The album has . got good reviews and a lot of concerts supporting the albums were recorded for the evaluation on growing and better performances. One of those concerts, the gig at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, California from the early days of October 2012, was captured live and kicking and the release of this concert under the moniker" The Bitch is Back - Live" is spinning around in my media player. It's a good and cracking concert, building the bridge between her past days, her heydays (the album contains four tracks from her most commercial album " Lita " album from 1988) and her resurrection( five strong songs from her newest SPV/Steamhammer album) are played with style and grandeur.
Lita plays like a goddess and her voice is in good shape. I like the musicianship of the men around her: Mitch Perry is a fantastic guitar player (guitar fanatics will know this guy from MSG, Badd Boys(Paul Shortino), Cher, Heaven, War&Peace, Edgar Winter Group and many fusion sessions), Bob Rock is a steady drummer ( former drummer of Vinnie Vincent Invasion, Nitro, Neal Zaza, Nelson and currently touring with a reformed Dana Strum's Slaughter) and Marty O'Brien handles the bass guitars. Fans of Lita will welcome this live album, the second live-album of her discography. People that want to hear something on disc of Lita for the first time will get a broad spectrum of the songs she made, her guitar sounds and the fantastic solos coming out from her 80's Marshall JCM 800 stacks, backed by a superb backing band! Lita is writing a book about her troubled life as a person and as an artist. She's also becoming an advocate for the PAA, the Parental Alienation Awareness. 2014 could become a special year for this lady!
Visit their website: http://www.litafordonline.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/litaofficial
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/litaford

81/100

MAD HATTER'S DEN – Welcome to the Den (CD) Finland December 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Melodic Heavy Metal Running time: 49:37 (Tracks: 10)
Mad Hatter's Den is a new band from Finland. Overall Fins stand for quality and also this Mad Hatter's Den is a fine example of that statement. After a pretty hilarious intro, “Welcome to the Den” takes of furiously and after a few seconds, when the Hammond is added, there is that familiar sound which I heard some time ago. It didn't took long before the match was made, certainly not when the mighty vocals of Taage Laiho passes my ears. This sounds like Ghostmachinery where Laiho also handels the mic. Despite this comparison Mad Hatter's Den further on melts good old solid hard rock/heavy metal stuff of the 70/ s/80's from giants like Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and Accept into fine rockers which stand with two feet in the present world. Laiho and consorts certainly listened to Bruce Dickinson's “Accident of Birth” and “Chemical Wedding” witnessing tracks like “Sinister Monologue” and “Sharks of Power” as they deliver a great job with these two. Also “Blind Leading the Blind”, Stone Cold Flame” and “The Dark Wheel” are top quality. The album has it's resting point in the ballad “Journey” and it's surprise in the very original instrumental “Legacy of the Kings”. A very good debut from these new kids around the block and I think everyone who's into Hard Rock/Heavy Metal will have an enjoyable time listening to this stuff. More than promising and I hope to catch this band live sometime. So I am ready to step into the den, I guess after hearing this stuff you will too.
Visit their website: http://www.madhattersden.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/madhattersden

85/100

MAD MAX – Interceptor (CD) Germany December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: European Hardrock Running time: 43:11 (Tracks: 10)
Michael Voss-Schön (a.k.a. Michael Voss) is a very busy man, handling vocal and guitar duties in a lot of German rock bands (Demon Drive, Silver, Casanova, The Michael Schenker Group, Herman Rarebell and Friends, Bonfire, Wolfpakk), but most fans of the genre will know him as a member anf founder of Mad Max, a Münster based rock band, that has released ten albums so far. I like the side projects of Michael, but I kind of lost interest in Mad Max after their great " Night of passion" album from 1987. Mad Max took a break from 1990 until 2000, but their comeback albums weren't that spectacular. It looked like the band had problems to find the right vibe, the right approach, the special, effective and contagious songs that glorified their heydays. Some criticism about the quantity of Michael's side projects and producing obligations (Voss is also a fine producer for many acts as well) taking away the possibilities and the time-aspects to write and to compose ' firecracker-tracks', might be the case as well. I was surprised by the new release of a Mad Max' album, named after the vehicle, the famous police cruiser of the great movies that shared the band's name, Interceptor.
After listening to the songs on numerous occasions I can say that I' m glad SPV/Steamhammer will release this album. No, I'm still convinced by their earlier material and no, it's still a record that isn't consistently good, but yes, Vossy still sings quite good, he writes fine choruses, nice songs and his fretwork ain't that bad either. The album is a bit up and down, too bad. Two songs sound familiar, a reworked version of " Show no mercy" ( a good and solid track from their "Night of Passion-opus) and a good rendition of the 1974- tune " Turn it down" by The Sweet. Michael has taken care of a big fat production with a ballsy attitude and a good fun factor, it gives the album a strong and solid feel. The new Mad Max will please the fans of the band, the fans of the genre, it's definitely a good and solid record to listen to and Michael proves he's still a capable vocalist and guitar player, but it's not the killer Michael Voss' album I was hoping for. Best tracks: Save me, Show no mercy, Streets of Tokyo(co-penned with Herman Rarebell), Godzilla (not the Blue Oyster Cult cover), Turn it down and Rock all your life.
Visit their website: http://www.kidroom-music.de
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.voss.1420
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/madmaxmusic

75/100

MARCHE FUNEBRE – Roots of Grief (CD) Belgium December 2013 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Doom / Death Metal Running time: 64:32 (Tracks: 7)
The band Marche Funebre was formed in the last days of 2007. The band members felt the urge to write and play doom/death metal inspired by bands who were leading this scene in the early `90, like My Dying Bride and Anathema. This is a nice but challenging starting point of course! In March 2009, the debut EP “Norizon” was released and lead to many live appearances with other bands. In 2010 the band started to write and record new songs which lead to the album “To Drown”. The band itself described it as “doom / death metal with hints to classic doom and black metal”. It was released by Shiver Records in 2011. After the release of this first full-length album, the band toured a lot with other bands like Saturnus and Pantheist to build up a solid reputation.
In the Spring of 2013, the band entered the Motormusic Studios in their hometown Mechelen (Belgium) to record their second full length album. Now there is a new album with the title “Roots of Grief” which contains seven new doom / death metal tracks. The black metal influences, which were present on their first album, are almost gone, these are only present in the title track.
It has to be said that I got a good feeling (yes, I agree that this sounds conflicting) when I listened to this quite depressive album. The opener of the album (These Fevered Days) immediately took my attention. The band does not only play slow doom metal with heavy grunts, but their music is alternated by nice up-tempo death metal parts. This is something which I can appreciate because there is always a risk that doom metal becomes tedious. Marche Funebre has listened very well to the leading bands in the genre, but it`s clear that they are working on their own identity. One point of criticism is the clean voice of the vocalist. His grunts and heart rending emotional parts are ok, but his clean parts are sometimes “subject for improvement”, especially during the second song. One nice fact is that the last five songs have become a concept which they have given their own band name. I hope that they will continue to reach a higher level, this band deserves a chance!
Visit their website: http://www.marchefunebre.be
Recordlabel: http://www.shiver-records.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchefunebredoom
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/marchefunebretheband

74/100

MYSTERY – 2013 (CD) Australia December 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / AOR / Glam Rock Running time: 32:26 (Tracks: 10)
MYSTERY is a pretty young Hard Rock band from Australia, which was formed in the beginning of 2010. At that time the four members of the band had the age of twelve and thirteen years old. MYSTERY exists of Rocky Ravic (vocals, guitar), Kris Ianccino (guitar), Josh Scarpaci (bass) and Tony Mlikota (drums), and these guys recently released their debut album "2013" on Metalapolis Records. The album "2013" counts ten tracks of which the first one is the intro "2013: A New Dawn", and the last two tracks are a cover version of DIO's classic "Stand Up And Shout" and MEN AT WORK's "Land Down Under". These guys are influenced by Hard Rock / Metal / Glam bands from the eighties like MÖTLEY CRÜE, W.A.S.P., TWISTED SISTER, QUIET RIOT et cetera. Well, about "2013", to me it nothing more than a very, very average album. The two aforementioned cover versions are nicely done, but they can't compete of course with the original versions. And from their own written songs, I only like "Raise Your Fist". I've listened several times to "2013", and every time I only liked "Raise Your Fist" the most. So, to write real good songs is something they still have to learn, because overall the songs are average compositions. Musically speaking, these guys play their instruments well, only to me, Rocky Ravic is a moderate singer. Maybe he will grow as a singer in the future. If you are into melodic Hard Rock, AOR and Glam Rock, then my advise is to check this album out yourself. I'm curious if you have the same opinion as I do.
Visit their website: http://www.mysteryrocks.net
Recordlabel: http://www.metalapolis-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mysteryrocks

59/100

PAUL EERHART – Under a Full Moon (CD) The Netherlands December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Instrumental guitar / New age / Jazz rock / Light fusion Running time: 60:00 (Tracks: 15)
During the weekends Dutch guitar teacher Paul Eerhart is firing on all six, playing his ass off in a rocking South-Holland based cover band So Far So Good. His Scott Henderson- like tone, his Michael Landau- and Steve Lukather-like approach has made him popular and many guitarists of cover bands and rock bands in the South of Holland became students at Paul Eerhart's guitar school. Paul has surprised me with his new album “Under a full moon”, produced by himself and keyboard wizard Co Vergouwen. I think many heavy rock fans won't be enthusiastic about this release, but the songs on this record reflect the moods, minds and meanings of the Higher Octave-records of Craig Chaquico (Starship guitar wizard), Jeff Golub's latest work, the instrumental fusion records of Neal Schon (of Journey), the rustique themes of Swedish jazzy stars Ulf Wakenius and Rolf Jardemark, the acoustic 'Angelfire' trip of Steve Morse and Sarah Spencer, Pat Metheny and the smooth jazz works of trumpeter Chris Botti and the easy listening' stuff of saxophone player Eric Marienthal. With his jazzy, modern Mixolydian, Lyrical and Phrygian themes Paul gives away his passion for gypsy jazz and fusion. This album contains fifteen tracks featuring Paul, his soul mate Co Vergouwen (who also took care for the bright and open mix of this record) and drummer Mark Eshuis (drum-teacher at the Haarlem Music Academy). The trio is backed up by Johannes Adema (bass player of Dutch rocker Syb van der Ploeg, on this album bass player on four songs) and Joost Verbraak ( trumpeter on “The Big Apple”). The album holds three cover songs, a great modal rendition of “Little Sunflower” (a song of the Blacklash album of Freddie Hubbard in 1967) is the most remarkable one. I like the album very much, the atmosphere, the emphasize on the guitar, the chosen structures are very appealing. I only wish Paul had focussed more on the input of the rhythm section, the environment of the guitar. With a few more surprises in the rhythm approach, a thicker backbone of the songs, a little more variety in percussion-aspects (just listen to Neal Schon's “Beyond the thunder” for comparison reasons), this album could have done even more. It had made the album more dimensional. It was however Paul's choice to emphasize on the jazzy virtuoso guitar and the easy listening and exciting themes. But in all it's a great record for a romantic and atmospheric mood and many rockers will calm down in their car on their way back home after a wild concert by Paul's fantastic tunes! Meanwhile, Paul has signed a contract with a German label to expose his work and make another lounge – light-fusion album as well. Good stuff!
Visit their website: http://www.cbmuziekschool_biopaul
Recordlabel: http://www.sofarsogood.nl
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paul.eerhart
iTunes: https:// itunes.apple.com/us/album/under-a-full-moon/id692691953

80/100

PLACENTA – Missgunst Und Neid (CD) Germany December 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: US Trendcore Running time: 42:16 (Tracks: 10)
I didn't have a clue as what to expect when I entered this cd into my player. But this is better than I expected. Take nu-metal as a base, layer on the metalcore, add a little industrial and shout out the lyrics in German. All together that makes Placenta, at least the band version. The best feature of Missgunst Und Neid is the sound. It is so low and distorted that it makes your floor tremble, and your stomach with it. Good cure against constipation! And whether they are rocking slow or thrashing fast, the music goes right through your body into your brain. And it sticks there, which is a sign of a potentially good album. What's more, Placenta sounds like a mix between Pro-Pain, Pantera and Fear Factory. That should make anyone happy, and after a few listens I'm sure that Placenta produces quality. It is good, it does have everything you want, and slowly it is doing it for me. Hopefully it will for you as well.
Recordlabel: http://www.noizgate.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/placentametal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/placentametal

77/100

PLACE VENDOME – Thunder in the Distance (CD) Germany December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: European Melodic Rock Running time: 56:00 (Tracks: 13)
Place Vendome (named after a famous square and a famous street in Paris, where many cultural head figures of the French and European history had their homes and stays) was founded by Sarfino Perugiano, the boss of the Frontiers Records rock label. He connected singer Michael Kiske with German musicians from Pink Cream 69 and Vandenplas. The debut album of these Germans was a fantastic affair, combining strong and melodic themes, fabulous songs and big instrumentation with the strong vocals of the former Hellloween- singer. The debut album is the one I still play very often, with songs like " I'll be waiting", " Cross the line", " Sign of the times" and " I will be gone", it had a sort of European Journey- sound and many songs had hints of Foreigner and comparable acts.
The second Place Vendome album " Streets of fire" contained songs from various songwriters. The album had a stronger diversity but the classy input remained and the group got rave reviews again. To fill the gap of time between another Place Vendome output and the busy schedules of the other Place Vendome- members, Michael joined forces with Kai Hansen, some Place Vendome- brothers and members of his former band Helloween for a new group: Unisonic. Place Vendome shared the stage with many German groups playing songs from their albums and the Unisonic rock album, but the group never remained the 'full band status' . I was pleased to hear that Place Vendome was ready to release a third album, to be released on the Frontiers Records label again. It's in my media player now for the fifteenth round, still holding my concentration and the tension to discover new aspects , new things, surprises and themes.
And yes, "Thunder in the distance" is a great record, clearly produced by Dennis Ward, filled with good songs, fantastic playing and the high pitched, vibrant and clear vocals of Kiske sound fabulous on this disc. Place Vendome has chosen for a more European sounding melodic rock , reminding me of the Swedish melodic rock acts of these days. The songs, written by Timo Tolkki, Magnus Karlsson, Alessandro del Vecchio have balls enough, but there's also room enough for atmospheric details, great orchestration and beautiful themes. The minor point is the fact that this third epos, despite its classy input and outcome, hasn't got that many new surprises and new musical perspectives for those who are familiar with the former discs of Place Vendome or the career of Kiske after his Helloween heydays (Avantasia, Kiske/Sommerville, Unisonic, his four solo albums, his contributions on the Gamma Ray- records , the metal operas he was involved in, the Revolution Renaissance record f.i.). A little remark about this record is the one-dimensionality factor of some songs, some themes, some songs are really exchangeable, too bad, after a furious set of strong tracks at the beginning, the record loses some grip, some attention, although the end of the record is great and exciting again! The former records of Place Vendome had less repetitive song writing, that's for sure. All in all a fantastic record again, a few minor points , but a great addition to the collection of the fans of melodic rock! Favotracks: Talk to me, Thunder in the distance, Power of music, Broken wings, Never too late, It can't rain forever, Hold you love.
Visit their website: http://www.michael-kiske.de
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/place-vendome
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/placevendme

84/100

REO SPEEDWAGON - Live at Moondance Jam (CD) USA December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Hard Rock Running time: 1:18:30 (Tracks: 13)
The Moondance Jam is an annual rock and classic rock festival held in mid-July in the Leech Lake/Chippewa National Forest Area near Walker, Minnesota. It is recognized as Minnesota's largest rock festival and the premier classic rock festival in the United States. The Jam has gone from being a party for a few hundred family and friends back in 1992 to a rock 'n' roll and camping celebration that entertains tens of thousands today mainly because it has maintained a clean, safe and friendly atmosphere along with open festival seating for general admission ticket holders. The 2010 edition of this festival is said to be one of the best issues of this 'rock fest'. And indeed, with bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sammy Hagar and the Wabos, Buckcherry, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Jonny Lang, Collective Soul, Don Felder, The Smithereens, Hoobastank, Cinderella, Black Stone Cherry, Pat Travers, Blackberry Smoke and Tonic the rock 'n roll was there to stay. REO Speedwagon, the classic million seller act from way back (with thirteen top singles and 40 million records sold, you can say that the band is quite successful) used the recordings of this Moondance Jam-show for their upcoming live CD / DVD, now spinning in my media player. The live CD I'm reviewing sounds very good, the band always has had a strong and popular live-reputation. The enthusiastic frontman Kevin Cronin doesn't have that high pitched strong vocals anymore, but his performance is heartfelt fantastic. Big star of the band is the guitar player Dave Amato, with his great solos and perfect sound, giving the old and new stuff just that extra punch in the face!
The rhythm section (provided by Bruce Hall and Brian Hitt) is tight and the keyboards and piano parts of Neal Doughty are an unmistakable parts of the classic REO Speedwagon sound. Almost every anthemic REO-classic was played at this festival and the band picked the thirteen hit singles from the seventies and eighties of the former century for this live-document. A great album that will please many fans of the band!
CD / DVD content: 1."Don't Let Him Go" 2."Keep on Loving You"3."In Your Letter" 4."Take It on the Run"5."Keep Pushin'"6."Golden Country"7."Can't Fight This Feeling"8."Like You Do"9."Time for Me to Fly"10."Back on the Road Again"11. "Roll with the Changes"12."Ridin' the Storm Out" 13. "157 Riverside Avenue"
Visit their website: http://www.speedwagon.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reospeedwagon
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/reospeedwagon

83/100

RIGHT TO THE VOID – Kingdom Of Vanity (CD) France December 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 38:08 (Tracks: 11)
Right To The Void has only released an EP in 2010, called It Has To Be Done. So this full-length Kingdom Of Vanity is the debut album. They have many styles they list as their influences, and that is reflected in their music. Thrash, death, black and even metalcore do pas by on a regular basis. It makes for an eventful and not entirely predictable album. The songs all make sense, as do the vocals, which are more black than death metal to my ears. Also the quality of playing is more than acceptable. These guys actually know how to use their instruments. And still Kingdom Of Vanity leaves me with an unsatisfactory feeling. The reason is that the songs don't stick. They don't have the impact that is leaving me grasping for air or even asking for more. And that, my friends, is something very important when listening to an album. Right To The Void has not made a bad album, just not a memorable one. Maybe Kingdom Of Vanity does stick inside your head. As you know, there's only one way to find out.
Visit their website: http://www.righttothevoid.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormoholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/righttothevoid
MySpace: https://myspace.com/righttothevoid

68/100

ROYAL HUNT – A life to Die For (CD) Denmark December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: European Hardrock Running time: 48:08 (Tracks: 7)
Royal Hunt should be a household name in rock land. After eleven albums, four live albums, five mini-albums/EP's and seven compilation albums, selling one million records up to date, the Danish band made fame and fortune in Japan and in Northern Europe. In 2011 the original singer of their heydays, DC Cooper, returned and their latest compilation album, released last year, marked a great nod to the music of their mid-nineties successes. This new 7 track album takes you back to the heydays of the Danish dynamite: the Moving Target and Paradox-cd reflect their musical goodies and spirit on this new opus: great vocals, big choruses, fantastic instrumental craftsmanship, symphonic and proggy intros and interludes and a great variation of themes in the 7 firecrackers that are brought to you. Andre Andersen – Keyboards, DC Cooper – Lead Vocals, Allan Sorensen –Drums, Andreas Passmark– Bass Guitar and Jonas Larsen – Lead Guitars don't offer you any new stuff but this new album is a feast of recognition and wonderful music. The album comes with a bonus DVD shot during the band's last tour. Plenty of interviews and live music are included !
Visit their website: http://www.royalhunt.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.voss.1420
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/royalhuntmusic.

84/100

ROZZ – Tranches De Vie (CD) France December 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Melodic Hard Rock Running time: 47:39 (Tracks: 16)
Sometimes you get to hear an album that could have been quite good, but unfortunately isn't. Tranches De Vie is one of them. The worst thing of it all is that the songs are mostly nice to the touch and full of good ideas. But that's just not enough. The production is everything but coherent. It is like the guitars and keyboards worked together, making them sound good most of the time. The drums and especially the vocals seem to have just been added in at random. Not only does their sound not match the rest, their timing regularly seems off. On top of that vocalist/guitarist Marcel Ximenes doesn't have the strongest of voices. In fact, he's the weak point of Roxx. Low point: the cover of Crazy Horses by The Osmonds. What a disaster. With a proper production and good singer, I would be more than happy to listen to Rozz again. Now I'm not.
Visit their website: http://www.rozz.fr
Recordlabel: http://www.metalrevelation.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rozzofficial

55/100

RUNNING WILD – Resilient (CD) Germany December 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 51:03 (Tracks: 11)
German Heavy Metal band RUNNING WILD exists already since 1976. The only album which featured RUNNING WILD that I had on vinyl back in the 80's, was the split album "Death Metal" (1984), which also featured the bands HELLHAMMER, DARK AVENGER and HELLOWEEN. Each band had two tracks on that split album. I had bought that album especially for HELLHAMMER and HELLOWEEN. Anyway, I never had checked out any of RUNNING WILD's albums ever since. So, this fifteenth studio album, titled "Resilient", is the first full length album of the band that I hear in my life. After searching on the internet for some more info about RUNNING WILD, I saw that, during the band's career, there have been a lot of line-up changes. The only original member of the band is Rock 'n' Rolf Kasparek, who, by the way, also produced this album fantastically. "Resilient" was released in October 2013, and features 10 tracks. The digi-pack version of "Resilient" also features the two bonus tracks "Payola & Shenanigans" and "Premonition". The current line-up of RUNNING WILD exists of Rock 'n' Rolf Kasparek (vocals, guitar), Peter "PJ" Jordan (guitar), Peter Pilch (bass) and Matthias Liebetruth (drums). Only I am not sure if this line-up recorded this new album, or that it's recorded by only Kasparek and Jordan. Anyway, the third track "Adventure Highway" reminded me immediately of JUDAS PRIEST, and the fifth track "Desert Rose" reminded me of the later material of W.A.S.P.. Songs such as the title track "Resilient" (4:41), "The Drift" (4:46), "Desert Rose" (5:13) and "Crystal Gold" (4:28) are just nice sounding Metal songs. "Down To The Wire" (4:04) isn't a bad song, but to me it's the least track on "Resilient". My favorite tracks of "Resilient" are the great openings track "Soldiers Of Fortune" (4:23), the awesome "Adventure Highway" (4:19), "Fireheart" (4:41), "Run Riot" (4:34), and the longest track of the album, "Bloody Island" (9:54), which has a kind of Irish traditional part in the middle of the song that reminds me a bit of THIN LIZZY. So, "Resilient" is a fine Heavy Metal album to me, which I think any RUNNING WILD fan and Heavy Metal fan would like.
Visit their website: http://www.running-wild.de
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/runningwildmusic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/runningwildmusic

80/100

SEVENTH KEY - I will survive (CD) USA December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Melodic Rock Running time: 53:30 (Tracks: 11)
Mike Slamer is one of my personal guitar heroes. The British guitar wizard started his career in the senties of the former century. With the Birmingham based band City Boy he released some great albums on the Vertigo label. The music of City Boy drew the attention of the members of Kansas and Mike became involved in prerecording and session stages with a few members of this super group. He relocated in the USA and formed the legendary Adult Orientated Rockband Streets with Steve Walsh, Billy Greer and Tim Gehrt. The two studio albums of this quartet are two classics every fan of melodic rock should own or know. The band never had the commercial breakthrough they deserved, but Mike's status as a guitarist and composer had strengthened and he was asked to compose music for documentaries. And many rock bands became aware of his fabulous, thick and rich guitar sounds, Mike was sought after by bands like Kix, Hardline, House of Lords, Fiona, James Christian, Wall of Silence, Tower City, Warrant and Chris Thompson to arrange or rearrange the guitaristic input on many songs. Mike reappeared in Steelhouse Lane, a band with two überfantastic albums in the late nineties of the former century. In 2001 Mike was asked to join a band formed by Billy Greer, bass guitar player of Kansas and former Streets' band member, Pat MacDonald, Terry Brock, Chet Wynd and Igor Lem, all musicians from the Kansas' environment. The musicians called themselves " Seventh Key" and the band has released two fine albums ánd a magical live opus so far. In 2009 rumours about a third album came above surface but it lasted nine (counting from 2004, the year of the second album) years before a new Seventh Key offspring would see the light of day, " I will survive" . Was it worth the wait? Absolutely, this third Seventh Key is a perfect follow up to the two studio releases by this fantastic quartet. Again Billy Greer is Mike's partner in crime, handling vocal duties and playing the bass guitars. Chet Wynd is the drummer again, as he played on the debut album. Some friends of the band, former co-musicians appear again (Billy Trudell, David Manion (keyboards), the amazing Terry Brock, Bob Capps) as guest background vocalist and Kansas violin player David Ragsdale can be heard on " Sea of dreams". The album holds eleven strong songs with melodic rock that has a lot of nods to progressive and almost symphonic sounds. The guitars of Mike Slamer shine throughout this album, they are sparkling, groovy, fat and chunky at the same time. But the record is also full of vocal arrangements and surprises. Another aspect is the instrumentation, well thought-over, well-composed and bringing the music back to life. The songs are strong, I had hopes they would even be stronger than their back catalogue, just listen to the gems " What love's supposed to be", " Just a state of mind", " Time and time again" , the title track, " Down" and "Sea of dreams" . Mike has also produced the record very well: vocal layers, huge Hammond B3's, stunning guitar sounds, steady drums and rangy bass works pump up the songs very well. I'm very happy and surprised with the new Seventh Key, an album I will revisit a lot of times, that's for sure!
Visit their website: http://www.billygreer.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.mikesalmer.ke0.eu
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/mikeslamer

86/100

SKINFLINT – Dipoko (CD) Botswana December 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 38:41 (Tracks: 9)
How often do we get to listen to music from Botswana? As far as I'm concerned this is a first to me. Right away it is very noticeable that Skinflint have listened to the first two Iron Maiden albums a lot. The guitar and bass sounds are direct copies. Even the drums have that distinctive sound, although they seem to have been layered on top of the rest. But that's where the comparison ends, as the quality of the songs on offer doesn't even come near that of their peers. And the voice of Giuseppe “Juice” Sbrana is not as memorable as that of Paul Di'Anno, let alone Bruce Dickinson. This will definitely appeal to those who still crave the metal music and sound of the early eighties. And still this is not bad. It is rickety, almost prehistoric at times, but after a few listens Dipoko starts to grow on me. And then the realisation hits home that all the songs are very much the same. The lack of variation is remarkable, as it must be very tempting for to use some of their native influences to enrich their sound. Pity they haven't.
Visit their website: http://www.skinflintmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/skinflintmetal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/skinflint123

63/100

SPLIT HEAVEN – The Devil's Bandit (CD) Mexico December 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 41:24 (Tracks: 10)
"The Devil's Bandit" is the third studio album of Mexican metallers of SPLIT HEAVEN. The band's debut album "Psycho Samurai" was released in 2008, and their second album "Street Law" was released in 2011. Before the debut album "Psycho Samurai", SPLIT HEAVEN also released three demos, which are "Lightstorm" (2003), "R.I.P." (2005) and "Split Heaven" (2007). On September 22nd, 2012 I saw SPLIT HEAVEN at Mario's Metal Meeting VI, at that time still with singer Eligio Valenzuela in the band. With this third album SPLIT HEAVEN presents their new singer Giancarlo Farjat. The rest of the band still exists of Pedro Zelbohr (guitar), Armand Ramos (guitar), Carlo Hernández (bass) and Tommy Roitman (drums). Well, although I saw the band live for the first time on MMM VI, "The Devil's Bandit" is in fact my first acquaintance with SPLIT HEAVEN on record. Just like the predecessor "Street Level", also "The Devil's Bandit" has been released on Pure Steel Records (Pure Legend Records is a division of Pure Steel Records). With "The Devil's Bandit", SPLIT HEAVEN also celebrates their 10th anniversary. Newcomer Giancarlo Farjat proves to be a great singer on this album, and he's definitely an asset to the band. The album, which features 10 tracks, starts with the intro "The Arrival Of The Gunslinger". It's just a nice intro, nothing more. Overall, "The Devil's Bandit" is a good old school metal album, with influences of IRON MAIDEN, ICED EARTH, JUDAS PRIEST et cetera. I would say, the best songs of this third SPLIT HEAVEN album are without a doubt "Danger Zone" (4:11), "False Martyr" (4:04), the title track "The Devil's Bandit" (5:42), "Runaway" (3:33) and the fast "Sinner" (3:36). Fans of SPLIT HEAVEN can purchase this album blindly.
Visit their website: http://www.splitheaven.net
Recordlabel: http://www.purelegend-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/splitheaven
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/splitheaven

77/100

STAINLESS STEEL – Metal Machine (CD) Germany December 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 57:43 (Tracks: 13)
Stainless Steel is from Bielefeld in Nordrhein Westfalen, Germany and this is their fourth full length album. Metal Machine does what is says on the tin. This is German metal as we know it. Solid, hard rocking and dependable. The songs all have that eighties vibe that made us love metal, even to the point of singer Ralf Scholz having the slight German accent. I can explain about how each song that has been recorded for Metal Machine fits the bill, but if you are a fan of old fashioned German Metal/Hard Rock, you're safe with the quality you will hear of Stainless Steel. These guys are so eighties they don't even have their own website or social media page(s). Snail mail is the way to contact them, or through their record company. This is perfect fodder for all purists.
Recordlabel: http://www.pureunderground-records.com

74/100

STRYPER – No more Hell to Pay (CD) USA December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Christian Hardrock Running time: 53:23 (Tracks: 12)
The comeback of the famous white rock band Stryper has been quite successful so far. The band made a triumphant return to the stage and the latest discs of Oz Fox, Tim Gaines, Robert and Michael Sweet are fabulous. Even when the Christian quartet switches into cover mode the barriers are broken and the evil spirits are won. I was pleased to hear Stryper would release a new record for the European and the Asian market, and believe me" No more hell to pay" is one of the best they' ve ever made! This 8th Stryper opus has a darker feel and a stronger attitude than the Stryper material of the eighties, but the sound, the hooks, the virtuoso musicianship has everything to do with the heydays of the band. Michael Sweet produced this open, direct, straight in the face sounding white monster containing twelve great songs.
There are some songs that intrigue me a lot and one these songs is known by many rock fans: " Jesus is just all right" , the timeless Doobie Brothers' classic and brilliantly covered by DC Talk two decades later on. The Stryper rendition sounds great, very skilful and well executed. Also the songs" Marching into battle (one of the best Stryper songs I've heard in recent years), " Revelation (the opener)", the title track, " Saved by love" and "Water into wine (both of 80's hints), the closing track "Renewed" and the powerful, darker and modern vibish "Sympathy" grabbed me and a lot of themes and ideas are still growing, evolving. Grab this new The Yellow and The Black Attack, because they're back!
Visit their website: http://www.stryper.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stryper
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/stryper

83/100

TED NUGENT - Ultralive Ballisticrock (CD/DVD) USA December 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 1:56:37 (Tracks: 16)
Wow, this is great! Ted Nugent live again! I saw the man a few years ago at Bospop in the South of Holland opening for Europe, Thin Lizy and ZZTOP. Ted played so rough and tough that even Billy Gibbons was afraid of playing an encore with his band……. What an impact! His new live opus (the eight' live album in his career) is a killer again! His first live-album ( the legendary Double Live Gonzo from 1978) is the real Ted Nugent classic-gunshot, but this new live-opus comes close! Backed by the best musicians that can cope with his furious guitars sound, the heavy soloing, his screaming voice, his redneck talkin' and the fast paced boogie and hard rock songs (Greg Smith on bass, Wild Mick Brown on drums and former companion of Ted Derek St. Holmes on guitars) Uncle Ted brings the house down again. The DVD / CD (It's the audio-stuff I'm listening to) was recorded at Penn's Peak, a beautiful mountaintop entertainment venue located in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania on the 14th of August 2011. The two thousand visitors of this concert (Some people say it was Ted's 6375th concert !) are getting pretty wild and Ted's burning their eyebrows off, what a power, what an amazing band! Get this new Frontiers'release!

CD1: Free For All; Stormtroopin; Wango Tango; Just What The Doctor Ordered; Wang Dang Sweet Poontang; Need You Bad; Turn It Up; Raw Dogs & War Hogs; Dog Eat Dog.
CD2: Hey Baby; Fred Bear; I Still Believe; Motorcity Madhouse; Cat Scratch Fever; Stranglehold; Great White Buffalo.
DVD (Blu-Ray): Free For All; Stormtroopin; Wango Tango; Just What The Doctor Ordered; Wang Dang Sweet Poontang; Need You Bad; Turn It Up; Raw Dogs & War Hogs; Dog Eat Dog; Hey Baby; Fred Bear; I Still Believe; Motorcity Madhouse; Cat Scratch Fever; Stranglehold; Great White Buffalo.
DVD/Blu-Ray Bonus Footage: “Spirit of the Wild” & "The Making of ULTRALIVE BALLISTICROCK"
Visit their website: http://www.tednugent.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tednugent
MySpace: https://www.myspace.com/tednugent

87/100

THE BLACK EXPLOSION – Elements of Doom (CD) Sweden December 2013 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Rock Running time: 47:57 (Tracks: 9)
Last year, The Black Explosion released their first album “Servitors of the Outer Gods” and now their successor has been released. The new album, called “Elements of Doom” is my first acquaintance with this band. They consist of Chris Winter (Vocals, Guitars, Percussions), Andreas Lindquist (Drums) and Simon Haraldson (Bass). The band names bands like The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Hawkwind, as well as the record collection of the father of band leader Chris Winter, as their sources of inspiration. However, they do not simply want to copy them.
The title “Elements of Doom” suggests that this album contains some doom metal. Please do not expect new music in the style of My Dying Bride. The album contains mostly rock, influenced by the previously called bands with touches of stoner rock. It has to be said to that I sometimes hear some influences of Black Sabbath. Most of the songs are of a quite high quality, but besides this, I it difficult for me to keep my attention to the music. As the album progresses, it becomes in my opinion a little bit monotonous. In addition, the singer has a rather distinctive voice. This works sometimes on my nerves. So it is not an album to relax, at least that's my experience. However, you are interested in rock music of the bands mentioned above and if you like stoner rock, then this might be something for you.
Visit their website: http://theblackexplosion.org
Recordlabel: http://www.metalville.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theblackexplosion
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theblackexplosion

68/100

THE FIRST – Take Courage (CD) United Kingdom December 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Rock / Alternative Rock Running time: 41:34 (Tracks: 11)
I never had heard of THE FIRST before. This band comes from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, UK. The line-up of the band exists of Benny Salter (vocals), Tim Crane (guitar, screams), Ben Knowles (lead guitar), Adam Masters (bass) and Rob Knight (drums). Their debut album "Swimming With Sharks" was released in November of 2010, and their 5-track acoustic EP "Sink Or Swim" was released in May of 2011. Now these five guys are back with their second album, titled "Take Courage". I didn't really know what to expect, but with the first listen, it was already clear to me that "Take Courage" is a very accessible album. All the songs on "Take Courage" are fantastic compositions and most of them are very catchy as well. The songs have punchy sing along choruses, fantastic riffs, and the vocals are varied (clean vocals by Salter, and screams by Crane). When I listened to this album for the first time, the band reminded me a bit of Dutch band DESTINE. But people who like modern- / alternative Rock bands such as DEAF HAVANA, MALLORY KNOX, WE ARE FICTION and LOWER THAN ATLANTIS, will like THE FIRST as well. I like this album very much, and it will absolutely make some more spins in my CD-player. The last track on "Take Courage" is a bonus track, which is an acoustic version of "Enough Is Never Enough" (4:31). And "Tonight Tonight" (3:55) is more a beautiful piano-led power ballad. But the songs which I like the most are "There's No Place Like Home" (3:32), "Take It Back" (3:55), "Dare I Say I Ruined Everything" (3:20), "Start Again" (4:10), "Monster" (3:19), "Shark Attack" (3:11) and "William" (3:53). Well, this second album "Take Courage" was a very nice acquaintance for me with THE FIRST.
Visit their website: http://www.wearethefirst.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.dstryevrything.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thefirstuk

83/100

TRITONUS – Prison Of Light (CD) Norway December 2013 Ronny Elst
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 51:15 (Tracks: 8)
The story of these Norwegian prog pioneers (founded by guitarist Carl August Tidemann, later known for his work with bands like Winds and Arcturus) started in 1990 following in the wave of progressive bands such as Queensrÿche, Dream Theater and Fates Warning. After several lineup and name changes, Tritonus released their very well received demotape "Shadowland" in 1994. A year later they appeared on the sampler "A Gathering of 8 Norwegian Prog Metal Bands". This sampler also featured bands such as Manitou and Spiral Architect, which both released albums some time later. Tritonus also started writing songs in the late 90's for their debut album. The recordings started in 2000 and were finalized in 2006. Due to different circumstances a proper release has never been done, until now! Instead of updating it for a 2013 sound, they chose to leave it "as-is".For me, not only the production of the album sounds very good, also the songs are very impressive. Tritonus plays a technical, yet not too complex kind of prog metal, with strong melodies. "Prison Of Light" is a musical journey, with elements from prog, rock, fusion and jazz, with lyrical themes as mind, space and time. Tritonus managed to write and record an interesting 90's sounding prog metal album, with diverse songs, great musicianship and perfect vocals. It was worth waiting so long for their debut album!
Visit their website: http://www.tritonus.no
Recordlabel: http://www.tritechmusic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tritonusnorway

88/100

VENGEANCE – Piece Of Cake (CD) The Netherlands December 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 44:45 (Tracks: 11)
This year it's VENGEANCE's 30th anniversary. Well, I am a fan of VENGEANCE since 1983. I already had seen VENGEANCE five times live before the band's self titled debut album was released in September of 1984 (since 1983 until now I've seen VENGEANCE twenty-four times live). Most Hard Rockers / Metalheads of my generation are absolutely familiar with Dutch Hard Rock band VENGEANCE. But for everyone who doesn't know VENGEANCE yet, well, so far the band released the following studio albums: "Vengeance" (1984), "We Have Ways To Make You Rock" (1986), "Take It Or Leave It" (1987), "Arabia" (1989), "The Last Of The Fallen Heroes" (1994), "Back From Flight 19" (1997), "Back In The Ring" (2006), "Soul Collector" (2009) and "Crystal Eye" (2012). And during the career of the band, there have also been released several compilation albums. Anyway, in March of 2012 I reviewed the "Crystal Eye" album of VENGEANCE for MMM. Well, since I got this new VENGEANCE album "Piece Of Cake" to review, I also listened several times to it's predecessor "Crystal Eye" (2012) again, which I gave 84 out of 100 points. But to be honest, this new one "Piece Of Cake" is a much better album than "Crystal Eye". Afterwards I think I gave "Crystal Eye" a score which was a bit too high. Anyway, now VENGEANCE are back with their tenth studio album, which opens very strong with "World Arena". Actually, the entire album is very strong. The sixth track, “Back To Square One”, is a song which was written years ago by Jan Somers (who died in January 2012), and sounds very much like a song of the late GARY MOORE. Also the guitar work by Timo Somers (who's also since 2011 the guitarist of DELAIN) sounds like GARY MOORE on this song. Well, it's a real pleasure to listen to the fantastic guitar work and solo's of Jan Somers' son Timo on this album, what a fantastic and talented guitarist. On "Piece Of Cake" the line-up of VENGEANCE exists of familiar members again. Besides Leon Goewie (vocals), it's the aforementioned Timo Somers on guitar, Barend Courbois is back on the bass, and John Emmen on drums. To me, Leon Goewie is still one of the best Hard Rock singers from Europe, and of course a fantastic front man. Like I already said, “Piece Of Cake” is a very strong album. Michael Voss produced the album, and he did a great job again. "Tears From The Moon" (3:41), "Sandman" (5:11), "Mirrors" (3:17) and "Goodbye Mother Sky" (6:30) are all good songs, but my favorite tracks are absolutely “World Arena” (4:39), “Raintime” (3:32), the beautiful “Back To Square One” (4:56), “Headquake” (3:45), “Train” (5:09) and “Piece Of Cake” (3:29). VENGEANCE can be very proud to celebrate their 30th anniversary with "Piece Of Cake". My all time favorite VENGEANCE album, will always be "Vengeance", and other VENGEANCE albums which belong to my favorites are "We Have Ways To Make You Rock", "Arabia" and "Back In The Ring". Now this one "Piece Of Cake" will be add to them as well.
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vengeance.leongoewie
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vengeancebackinthering

85/100

WAN – Enjoy the Filth (CD) Sweden December 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Black Metal Running time: 31:20 (Tracks: 13)
Wan from Sweden is active since 2009. The released their debut album “Wolves Of The North” in 2010. This year gave birth to their second album “Enjoy The Filth”. 13 tracks of dark and evil black metal. The guitar riffs ate typical black, fast and groovy. The drums are pounding through every song like a train that cannot be stopped and then you have the vocals! Aggressive screams that go through the bone. This album is not original with riffs or composing but the songs are aggressive and have a very dark drive in it. The songs are filled with variety and the production is also very good. If you like bands like Marduk etc. Then you are going to enjoy this album.
Visit their website: http://www.last.fm/music/wan
Recordlabel: https://www.facebook.com/carnalrecords.sweden
MySpace: https://myspace.com/theunholywan

75/100

WITCH TRAIL – The Witch's Trail (Demo-tape) Belgium December 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Black / Thrash Metal Running time: 21:45 (Tracks: 7)
WITCH TRAIL is a pretty young band from Antwerp, Belgium that started as a Death Metal band named ANIMUS in late 2012. When guitarist Bert Verschuren joined ANIMUS, they decided to change the name of the band into WITCH TRAIL. Anyway, on this Demo-tape "The Witch's Trail", the band exists of Acid (bass; real name Roel Nooyens), Putlucht (guitar; real name Jeffrey Andreka) and Athor (vocals, drums; real name Lauren Jan Oostrom, who's playing bass in Thrash metal band HAMMERHEAD). These guys are influenced by bands such as VENOM, EXCITER, ACID, MOTÖRHEAD, BATHORY, SODOM, CELTIC FROST, ENTOMBED, AUTOPSY, POSSESSED and newer bands like MIDNIGHT, CAULDRON and TOXIC HOLOCAUST. Before this Demo-tape "The Witch's Trail" they already released a 5 track rehearsal demo titled "Rotten Rehearsal Demo", which featured the songs "The Witch's Trail", "Sum Of The Eyes", "The Last Of The Giants" and the covers "Bloodlust" (VENOM) and "Rising Of The Dead" (EXCITER). On that "Rotten Rehearsal Demo" also the above mentioned guitarist Bert played, but he left the band after that first demo. So, "The Witch's Trail" is the second release of WITCH TRAIL. Side A of the cassette features the songs "The Witch's Trail", "Sum Of The Eyes" and "Atomik Attak" and on side B are the songs "The Last Of The Giants" (an instrumental), "Coffin Critter", "The Revenant" and "Filth And Smut". If I have to be honest, the production of this demo isn't that great. To me, it still sounds like it's recorded during one of the band's rehearsals. And about the songs, well, in my opinion they do sound a bit messy, so I couldn't get that impressed about it. These guys just wanted to be underground, sound like an underground band. And indeed, they sound very much like a mixture of VENOM and MIDNIGHT. And I'm sure that WITCH TRAIL will be loved by the young generation of metalheads, who are all digging in the past.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/witchtrail

62/100

ZOMBIE LAKE – Plague Of The Undead (CD) Sweden / USA December 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 47:29 (Tracks: 10)
Zombie Lake is a band that features members from bands that are well known and respected in the metal scene.They have been active since 2002 but never released anything till now. The guitar riffs are very thrashy and old school. Filled with solos and grooving riffs that sometimes even remind me of Six Feet Under and Slayer. The guitarist are Rion (Serpentine Path, The Howling Wind, ex-Thralldom, ex-Unearthly Trance, ex-Drifting Collision, ex-Arkham 13, ex-Villains, ex-Pollution) and Derek (Arkham 13, Psychomanthium, ex-Decimation, ex-Cleanser).The drums are also straight in your face. Antham does the drums on this album and it is filled with double bass and groove. The vocals are done by Martin Missy (Obrero, Protector, ex-Phidion, ex-Talion, ex-Inzest, ex-Ruins of Time, ex-Energyant, ex-Martin Missy and the Protectors) light grunts and a bit aggressive. As you can read this is a bit like Hail Of Bullets from the Netherlands. Members that been around in a lot of bands. But this album is not what I expected. Well executed songs but no variety in it. I am really missing feeling in the songs and the production is terrible. Thrash should be aggressive and that is something that I am missing on this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.ironshieldrecords.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zombielake
MySpace: https://myspace.com/zombielake_thrash

65/100

OCTOBER

AGHARTI - Change (CD) Croatia October 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 43:20 (Tracks: 13)
From the overload of downloads which streams into my mailbox every week it's impossible to check out every release. So wading through, the mostly unknown, bands this female fronted band from Croatia caught my eye. Was it the (very fine) picture of the band, the particular name of the band (referring to a legendary city in the middle of the earth, “Hollow Earth Theory”) or the fact that I haven't heard of any metal coming out of Croatia. I don't remember. More important is that I praise the moment I gave it change and got the download started. Wow, this whole album still gives me shivers even after hearing it over more than 50 times since then. What an astonishing good album this is ! It's very hard to believe that this is a debut and that I've never heard from them until now. What a joy it is listening to this stuff. From opener “The Voice Of Freedom” till the closing “The Voice of Change” this album is one breathless highlight. It sounds fresh, modern, captivating, emotional and catchy. Yes my dear readers, no fillers present on this record, only beauties. So who is this band that comes out of nowhere and presents an album which still leaves me speechless. Agharti was formed in 2009 by Tina (vocals), Alan (guitars, backing vocals), Philip (guitars), Ivana (keys, backing vocals), Hrvoje (bass) and Marko (drums). This line up is still stable and that can be heard. Every little detail in their music fits, the songs have head and tail and the musical craftsmanship is more than present. After bringing out the demo “Thoughts of a Sleepless Night” in 2010 the caught the attention of Wormholedeath/Aural records who certainly made a good choice with this band. Musically it's a bit hard to describe. With influences vary from almost every kind of metal and powerful rock they have succeeded in creating their own distinctive sound. Because of the melody and the inter action between male and female vocals, bands like Lacuna Coil or Elis come in mind but that would only be a pointer for the musical direction. This album listens away like a soundtrack for “The Hunger Games”. This is due to the three spoken “The Voice of …” songs which have a futuristic feel and are placed at the beginning, middle and end of the album in combination with songs which deal with political and ethical choices. This is partly true because about half the tracks are about their own experiences through life, but when I listen to for example a song like “Awaken” (freedom is not written in blood …) I still see fragments of “The Hunger Games” passing by. Agharti perfectly understands what good songs need; a match between melody, great guitar hooks, sing-a-long lyrics and the adding of keys only when they really contribute. “The Sky is Falling” and “Lost” are the two perfect openers to show that. The vocal duels between the awesome Tina and growling and biting Alan are great and the songs are catchy as hell. “Away From Here” speeds up a bit and gives way to Ivana's background vocals which perfectly melt with Tina's. I can go along telling you what great guitar riffs, hooks, bass lines, ruffling and pounding drums, catchy choruses and awesome vocals this album counts but the fact is that you have to experience it yourself. This band offers nothing really new but what they offer is still quite unique. That sounds contrary but Agharti simply sounds great. The wonderful voice of Tina is the finishing touch, the icing on the cake. Hearing her sing touches me. She provides the songs of the right emotional or aggressive touch and you can hear she means what she sings, it really comes from the heart. Dream away by songs like the brilliant "Mendacity” or “Words Unspoken” and bang your head on the phenomenal “Rise Again” or the aggressive “End Of Your Dominion”. An album which leaves such an impressive impression, can be heard time after time and still enchants me can only be rewarded by the right amount. So for the first time in my review history I come to the maximum result. Well deserved by a very high potential band. Words really can't describe my feelings about this record so let the music do the talking. Buy it (on their website), steal it, download it, borrow it, grab it, but get it!
Visit their website: http://www.agharti.eu
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/aghartiband
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/aghartiband

100/100

ALTERED STATE – Winter Warlock (CD) USA October 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Speed / Power Metal Running time: 48:57 (Tracks: 10)
A piece of history:
After the success of DEADLY BLESSING's debut “Ascend Of The Cauldron”, Ski(Richard Kiersznowski)was asked to leave the band due to a still unknown reason. Deadly Blessing continued and recruited a new singer. Later they released the EP called “Psycho Drama”.
It took Ski a while to recover from the split with Deadly Blessing, he said: “It was very hard for me. It took a two year break from music, it was very though to be asked to leave. We weren't only a band, we were a family at least I thought we were”.
Later on he was determined to form a new band in the vein of Priest, Metallica and Queensryche - a while later on, Altered State was born and all seemed to go very well.
Well this is a re-release of the bands 1991 demo “Winter Warlock” (6 songs) and it also contains some extra rehearsal tracks (4 songs). Production wise its of course not that great but most of the demos from that era had the same problem. Nevertheless it's an unique chance to get this stuff finally on CD after all these years! Great US Metal with awesome vocals by one of the best US metal singers ever; SKI!!! Thanks for the CD Ski, love it!!
For fans of Deadly Blessing, Faith Factor and also (early) Hades!! Order this CD!!! Awesome stuff!!
Recordlabel: https://www.facebook.com/deathriderrecords

88/100

ANGELLORE – Errances (CD) France October 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Atmospheric Doom Metal Running time: 46:13 (Tracks: 7)
Angellore from France has been active since 2007 and already have an arsenal of EP`s and demos. This is their debut album that was released in 2012. This album is a musical journey in every sense of the word. Slow and heavy guitar riffs combined with acoustic parts and atmosphere. The drums are also slow and heavy. The vocals are deep grunts combined with a clean and vocals but also epic. The songs are filled with elements like the violin and keyboards. The fast parts (in doom terms of course) are heavy and combined with the dark vocals. For me this kind of doom is a bit too boring in the sense that I think there are a bit too much clean in it for me. But after listening to this album for the second time I must confess that it takes you away on that journey. If you like atmospheric doom with gothic influences then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/angelloredoom
MySpace: https://myspace.com/angelloredoom

72/100

ARC ANGEL - Harlequins of Light (CD) USA October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock with progressive and high tech touches / Pomp-Rock Running time: 53:12 (Tracks: 12)
The Connecticut born and raised multi-instrumentalist Jeff Cannata was a member of Jasper Wrath from 1971 to 1976 (he played drums at that time).The progressive band had little success (the band had another melodic firecracker in their ranks: James Christian, who later on contacted Gregg Giuffria from Angel to form House of Lords). After the demise of Jasper Wrath Jeff worked on his song writing development and in 1982 some demos of him were recorded under the Arc Angel moniker. Portrait ( a CBS-sub record label that also distributed the legendary Orion-The Hunter album ( featuring Boston' members)) took care of the distribution, Lance Quinn, Tonny Bongiovi, the highlight-producers of CBS at that time, combined their forces on the sound spectrum of the record, the ARC Angel record had to be good. And indeed, Jeff Cannata's Arc Angel album has a sort of legendary status amongst the pomp-rockers and AOR-collectors, the music is something special, that's for sure (although the vocals aren't that good). Jeff wanted to set his own course however and a few years later a new Cannata album gained rave reviews, the high tech pop-aor filled " Images of forever". Jeff took his time to prepare his music for publishing and recorded four more albums from 1988 until now, but all his albums have that musical depth of progressive, little symphonic and technical approaches. In between Jeff produced a lot of local bands, he became the owner of Oxford Circus Music, a small independent record label for a lot of bands in the Connecticut area and he wrote and played with Saga.
I was surprised the Italian Frontiers Records presented the new Arc Angel record, to be released at the end of August. The music on this album is simply great: symphonic intros, songs with a backbone and various themes, great technical musicianship, nice guitars and a lot of backing vocals to thicken Jeff's thin solo voice, packed in a great production by Jeff himself. Of course you can hear comparisons with Jeff's earlier projects ( there's also a new version of “Fortune Teller ( from” Images of forever”), but this record has hints of Peter Gabriel, Styx' heydays, Kansas and Kip Winger's solo stuff as well. What a combination of skills and talent! It took a while, but it was worth waiting for new Jeff Cannata material and to hear his songs and voice again. Great comeback! I'll hope this epos get him wider recognition. A must hear for prog- and pomp-fans.
Visit their website: http://www.cannatmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cannatamusic
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/cannatamusic

88/100

ARTIZAN – Ancestral Energy (CD) USA October 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 41:00 (Tracks: 7)
Artizan surprised the underground metal world with their appearance back in the late 00s and their well crafted mix of melodic power with progressive metal. This is the band's second full length album and although it sounds a bit more accessible that the debut, it still maintains a high level of musicianship and composition. Tom Braden's voice is definitely a cornerstone of the band's structure and on one track he is assisted by no other than Iced Earth's iconic mainman Matt Barlow. And it's not only about the voice but about the catchy vocal melodies too. Another key element is the performance of band founder Ty Tammeus (ex Leviathan) who lays some very interesting drum tracks. Overall this is a highly recommended, well produced release from an upcoming metal act.
Visit their website: http://www.artizanmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/artizanmetal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/artizanmetal

80/100

ASKA – Nine Tongues (CD) USA October 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 52:00 (Tracks: 10)
People say that American metal died in the 90s. I say that it went underground and its fire kept burning due to the love and passion of bands like Aska. And if it still burns to this day, it is because of such bands and the musicians/fans behind them. Aska emerged in 1991 and 22 years later they are still around, recording and touring. Nine Tongues is actually the band's 4th studio release that originally came out in 1997. Pure Steel Records reissued this hard to find release and offers a second chance for it to shine since it was overlooked in its time. Nine Tongues is a pure heavy metal album with some great catchy songs but also a couple of weak moments too (such as Little Sister and Liquid Courage). George Call's voice (briefly a member of American metal legends Omen) is distinctive and powerful, driving each song to the top. I really hope Pure Steel will reissue the entire Aska catalogue and give the older and really hard to find albums a place under the sun.
Visit their website: http://www.askaband.net
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/askadfw
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/askaband

76/100

ATROCITY - Okkult (CD) Germany October 2013 Kees Schijven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 54:27 (Tracks: 12)
From Germany ATROCITY brings us their new “Okkult” album, their 12th. If I'm correct. ATROCITY is a band that is not consistent to one genre, and over the years they have experimented a lot with different genre's of metal, ranging from grindcore/death to gothic and even pop covers (Works 80). Now with this new album they went a little more back to their old school style of death metal, but with some epic and bombastic elements in there. The new album has a perfect sound and production, but it doesn't have the impact of their Hallucinations album at the time. Although it's a very enjoyable album, with a lot of variation in songs, made by talented musicians/songwriters as they are. Also some nice horror sound effects we're added to contribute to the demonic atmosphere on this record, which well succeeded I might say, it's like a horror movie on vinyl. Some brutally kick ass death metal songs like Pandemonium, Death by metal or Murder, blood, assassination are my favourite tracks of this album. They also did some songs in German, like Satan's Braut, which instantly makes you think of Rammstein. The band brought in Katie Halliday for some horror sound effects, she is also sound designer for a couple of Saw movies, and the orchestral parts on the album are performed by The Lingua Orchestra led by Viktor Smolski from Rage. Also nice to know, as we are a dutch site, half of the band ATROCITY are dutch, as the band consists of Alexander Krull on vocals, Thorsten Bauer on guitar and bass, Sander van der Meer on guitar and Joris Nijenhuis on drums. With the addition of Krulls wife Liv Kristine, and Felix Born as drummer, these guys also go under the name of Leave's Eyes. Conclusion is that they made a great symphonic death metal album, and went back to their roots, which worked out fine for me as I liked their first two albums, Hallucinations and Todessehnsucht, best!
Visit their website: http://www.atrocity.de
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/atrocityofficial

75/100

AZYLYA – Sweet Cerebral Destruction (CD) Belgium October 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Gothic Metal Running time: 46:54 (Tracks: 10)
Azylya is a pretty new Belgium Female fronted band formed in 2009 by lead vocalist Jamie-Lee (Ex- Sad Siberia/Skeptical Minds/Aedden). According to their biography at age 14 Jamie-Lee wrote the basic story of a young girl abandoned to the Azylya Mental Asylum after being abused by her father. There, the mental and physical torture doesn't stop with as result the destroying of her soul. With this in mind it's clear that Azylya won't present some kind of happy metal. Driven, epic, dark Gothic Metal with contrasting angelic (Jamie-Lee) and growling (Yohann) vocals is what they present and that fits perfectly by the story.
The first 5 tracks have already been presented on the 2010 demo “Thanatos Insanity” and got them their well-deserved record deal with Wormholedeath. Now this Sweet Cerebral Destruction presents the whole story. Technically and musically pretty good and sometimes pretty original (“Electroconvulsive”, “Azylya”) so that's not the point. The point is that vocally it doesn't impress me. Both vocals miss variety and immersion and that gets the tension out of some songs. I can understand that within the concept of the storytelling the lack of variety can be justified, but I have my doubts about that. I'm certain that especially Jamie-Lee has more to offer, so I think this is kind of a missed opportunity. Nevertheless, overall it's a good record but I'm afraid not good enough to get the appreciation it deserves, because the horrifying story is great and they clearly have put a lot of effort in it. It's certainly worth checking out and for a debut it's promising enough. But still there's a gnawing feeling that it could have been great. Next time some progress and the spotlights can be pointed to Azylya.
Visit their website: http://www.azylyaband.wix.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/azylya
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/azylyaband

74/100

BADMOTORFINGER – It's Not The End (CD) Italy October 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Heavy Rock Running time: 61:40 (Tracks: 13)
When I see a band name itself after one of the most surprising albums I ever heard, my heart starts racing. In this case, prematurely so. This is Rock 'n' Roll that is a mix between Rose Tattoo, Motörhead and Saxon. That sounds promising, doesn't it? Is it good? Well, sometimes. Is it bad then? Hell no! It's just okay, and that is my reservation about this album. It never jumps at you and grabs you where it counts. On the other hand, it isn't exactly a punishment to have to listen to Badmotorfinger. For people who love their rock/metal in the old fashioned style; definitely listen to this. You'll love it. For the rest of the metalheads; check it out. For me the jury still hasn't decided which way I go.
Visit their website: http://www.badmotorfinger.it
Recordlabel: http://www.logicillogic.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/badmotofinger.band

65/100

BLACKMORE'S NIGHT – The Dancer and the Moon (CD) USA October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Folk /Celtic Music / Neo-Medieval Music Running time: 53:36 (Tracks: 13)
After his Deep Purple and Rainbow- days Ritchie Blackmore concentrated on collecting, studying and playing renaissance music. In 1991 he met a photo model, Candice Night, sharing the same passion for this folky, new age (what's in a name, labelling this music that is approximately 600 years old) type of musical themes. The couple made eleven albums thus far folding Celtic, classical and medieval themes into neo-medieval compositions, quite interesting. " The dancer and the moon" , released by Frontiers Records in Europe, Caroline Records in the USA and Universal Music in Canada, is filled with thirteen compositions, containing three instrumentals ( the closing instrumental track " Carry on, Jon" is a nice tribute to Jon Lord, the keyboard magician of Deep Purple and early Whitesnake- days) and ten songs where the couple (supported by producer Pat Regan on keyboards) show their instrumental (Blackmore is a real genius on a great diversity of Renaissance musical instruments and guitars) and vocal skills (Candice Night has a good voice for this genre). The album has three covers, very interesting covers: opening track " I think it's going to rain today" is a Randy Newman cover of the song of his first album and his "Songbook"-compilation, " Lady in Black" is a Uriah Heep cover from their 1971 Salibury-album and " Temple of the King" , real rockers will know this song from the Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow debut album from 1975. All the covers were done with class and respect, good renditions, but in a folky perspective.
As a melodic rock fan and as a guitarfanatic I like the guitaristic approach of Blackmore, still being a mastercraftman on the string-instruments. The music however is a bit far from my likings, and the musical surprises of the couple don't have the same impact as on the first two, three albums by Blackmore's Night. I think Ritchie Blackmore will never return to a rock environment anymore. The star guitar player from the former century is in his end sixties now, he has created a passion for a historical style of music, he has married the wife of his dreams ( his fourth marriage) raising two little kids and he makes and releases the music he wants, so be it. This record is not bad, it has a commercial feel as well, but only the fans of Ritchie, Candice and this style of music will grab this album.
Visit their website: http://www.blackmoresnight.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blackmoresnightofficial
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/blackmoresnight1

70 /100

BLISS OF FLESH – Beati Pauperes Spiritu (CD) France October 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Black Death Metal Running time: 48:45 (Tracks: 9)
Bliss of Flesh started spreading their rage since 2000 and released their first demo in 2001. In 2004 they released a second demo that was well received. After that demo they released an EP and some Split albums. Their debut album “Emacia Deity” saw the light in 2009. It took the band 4 years to release this album and it sounds ravaging. Nine tracks of well thought and balanced black death. The riffs are very technical (like bands like Atheist) but also very groovy. The drums are very progressive and filled with double bass and blast beats. The vocals are grunts combined with epic clean vocals (in vain of Bathory) and a griming black voice. The songs are straight in your face and do not get boring because of the variety of the songs. There are fast and brutal parts in the music but also some atmospeheric parts in it that really keep it interesting. The production of this album is also very good and well balanced. This band is very technical but well listenable. There are a lot black death bands that sound really the same, these guys definitely are not like that!
Visit their website: http://blissofflesh.free.fr
Recordlabel: http://www.non-serviam-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blissofflesh
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/blissofflesh

80/100

BLOODLIGHTS – Stand Or Die (CD) Norway October 2013 Kees Schijven
Style: Punk Rock Running time: 31:25 (Tracks: 10)
Out of the ashes of Gluecifer came BLOODLIGHTS, formed in 2006 by Captain Poon (guitar), with Howie B. (guitar), Ron Elly (Bass) and formerly drummer of Amulet, Jonas Thiere. In 2008 their debut album 'Bloodlights' came out, and the band toured with among others Monster Magnet, Millencolin, The Hellacopters and Toten Hosen. Only a year later their second album 'Simple Pleasures' appeared and the band played Japan for the first time. It took a bit longer for their third album to come out, but here it is “Stand Or Die”. Captain Poon wanted a more raw sound for this album , and totally re-arranged the already completed album. The result is a magnificent punk rock record, with 10 songs, all well under 4 minutes! Straight in your face, up speed tempo rockers, no bullshit, this is what you get from BLOODLIGHTS. With some Motorhead, Ramones, Sex Pistols and AC/DC ingredients, you know what you're gonna get!
Or, closer to home, comparable to our own Peter Pan Speedrock, songs like 'Roll With Me', 'Sure Shot', 'Shit For Gold' say it all, fast and melodic songs fired off by these kings of rock. There have been some line up changes in the band, as Ron is replaced by Chris Banjo, and Jonas replacement is Woodie Lee. If you liked what they did before, you love this one for sure!
Visit their website: http://www.bloodlights.com
Recordlabel: http://www.peoplelikeyourecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bloodlights

77/100

BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA - Beyond (MCD) Australia October 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Metalcore Running time: 19:18 (Tracks: 4)
Some bands release an E.P. To make you eager for the follow-up full length album. I don't know if that is the case with Blunt Force Trauma, but I sure as hell are looking forward to more material from these guys hailing from Perth, Australia. Blunt Force Trauma started out in 2009 and quickly gained a reputation as a live band. Since the release of their debut E.P. "Beyond", the band has even gone overseas to play in Asia and North-America. So it looks like Blunt Force Trauma is going places. Litteraly. And with an E.P. like "Beyond" under their belt, they should indeed be able to open some doors.
The root of Blunt Force Trauma's music is metalcore, of which they use the ingredients to the fullest without falling into the predictive song patterns that sometimes haunts the genre. On this 4-track E.P., the band displays their ability to write agressive but yet catchy songs that are extremely varied. The agression goes well with the melody and also the vocals are absolutely superb! Tracks such as "The Whore of Eden" and "Defiance" will make the crowd go crazy during a live show. I'm not a fanboy or anything, far from it, but this E.P. is simply from a very high level and although the band put it out themselves, the production sound good to. I can strongly recommend this record to any enthousiast of the metalcore genre. If the band can maintain this level on future records, they just might enter the premier league of this genre.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bluntforcetrauma.au

90/100

BOOK OF JOB - Hamartia (CD) United Kingdom October 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Metalcore / Hardcore Running time: 39:19 (Tracks: 10)
The from the UK haling band Book of Job has recently signed with Wormholedeath Records, with which they have released their debut album "Hamartia." I must say I expected a death metal record, since that is the kind of music I am used to receiving from this label. However, Book of Job presents a mixture of metalcore and hardcore. Genres I can appreciate, so the surprise was nevertheless pleasent. As I previously mentioned in my other reviews on the metalcore genre, it's hard to stand out from the hundreds of bands that are releasing their albums every year. It has a high 'O, I heard this many times before' factor. This is also the case with "Hamartia." Now don't get me wrong: this young band has a lot of potential. You can hear that the members are skilled musicians and the songs themselves are interesting and contain a lot of cool breaks and vocal changes. Also the agression comes out very nice. It's just that their are so much other band in the genre that are equally good, or even better. But that's allright. Book of Job is just starting out and when you keep this in mind, they did a very nice 'job.' The enthousiast of the metalcore/hardcore genre should check this out. You might just like it! Maybe I'm just spoiled after listening to so many metalcore albums...
Website: http://www.facebook.com/bookofjobuk
Recordlabel: http://www.facebook.com/bookofjobuk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bookofjobmetal

65/100

COLDSTEEL – America Idle (MCD) USA October 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Thrash Metal Running time: 21:23 (Tracks: 5)
Coldsteel is an oldschool metalband from New York and was formed already in 1986. After several line up changes the band released a demo “Dead by Dawn” in 1988. Tragically, days after receiving the first shipment of DBD cassettes, founding member Dom Mincieli died in a car accident on June 30, 1989.After a lot of other troubles within the band AND the labels they worked for, the band disbanded in 1993. During all these years they only released one album “Freakboy” on Relativity Records.
In 2012, Coldsteel reformed to complete and record "America Idle". COLDSTEEL plans on future performances for 2013/2014 in direct support of this recording project. Headbangers Open Air is one the few shows that are already confirmed for 2014.
Coldsteel plays thrashmetal in the style of (early) Metallica, Anthrax, Testament, Megadeth and Overkill. I also hear some influences from (early) Flotsam & Jetsam and even some crossover elements. This is a nice MCD, very good production and good musicianship. Not that original but well executed!!
Website: http://www.coldsteelny.com
Recordlabel: http://www.stormspell.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coldsteelny

78/100

DAVE MARTONE / GLEN DROVER - Live from Metalworks 2011 (CD/DVD) USA October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Instrumental Guitar / Shred Running time: 1:19:12 (Tracks: 14)
Toronto born and Berklee skilled guitar player Dave Martone surprised me with his fabulous " Clean" -album released on the great Magna Carta label in 2008. His great fretwork, his phrasing and techniques were flashy, but Martone never lost sight on the songs, that had lots of nods to the top-firecrackers on the six strings. Dave got help from Greg Howe, Joe Satriani and Jennifer Batten on that album, great friends that made this album one of my favourite instrumental guitar albums of the last years. I was pleased to hear Dave had recorded another instrumental album with a six string friend from Ontario, the magnificent Glen Drover, former guitarist of King Diamond, Megadeth, Eidolon (his own band) and stand-in guitarist for bands like Queensryche and Testament. Glen has released a solo album through Magna Carta as well, the heavy and strong " Metalusion" in 2011.
Magna Carta will release " Live from Metalworks" in September 2013 and it will be a very special release on CD / DVD capturing a duo concert of this fellow axemen backed by their own backing bands. This concert " Live at Metalwoks" was streamed for television in September 2011 and over 25000 guitar fans from more than sixty countries saw ' the future of modern rock guitar playing' . After hearing the review-download I am flabbergasted: this disc offers a lot of fantastic music ( and I haven't seen the images yet!) and both guitar players shine on this album. Backed by David Spidel on bass guitar and Gary Grace on drums, Dave Martone sounds unchained and flashy with his diverse tones and great, heavy tunes. Dave even ' robs' ' The devil went down to Georgia' and makes a jawbreaking version of this Charlie Daniel's classic. Dave and Glen even battle together on the Joe Satriani classic “Crush of love" , great stuff. Glenn Drover is backed by Paul Yee on bass guitars and Chris Sutherland on drums. Jim Gillmore, of Saga fame, is providing keyboards during his performance, very good and it makes his performance more diverse. The material of Metalusion shines here and Glen also surprised the listeners with a great version of a Zappa-song: ' Filthy habits'. At the end Glen invites Dave to join the stage with him and the Megadeth opus " Symphony of destruction" ( the single from their 1992 album Countdown to extinction) is played with rage and class! I like this surprising package very much, two outstanding musicians and their skilled bands playing their asses off in a fair, open and thick production! Good release from Magna Carta.
Visit their website: http://www.glendroverband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.magnacarta.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dave.martone
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/magnacartarecords

85/100

DEAD SAMARITAN – The Only Good Samaritan (CD) Finland October 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash / Death Metal Running time: 36:09 (Tracks: 12)
DEAD SAMARITAN is a Finnish Thrash/Death Metal band and started in early January of 2001 under the name THE BEAUTY OF DYING. Since 2003 they changed the name of the band into DEAD SAMARITAN. The band did have several line-up changes and so far they released the following 3 demos: "Dark Matter" (2002), "Bone Hill Revelation" (2004) and "Counting The Body Toll" (2010). Well, "The Only Good Samaritan" is the band's full length debut album, and was released on December 10th of 2012 through Casket Music (a subdivision of Copro Records). Anyway, the line-up of DEAD SAMARITAN on this debut album exists of Valendis Suomalainen (vocals), Matti Viholainen (guitar), Marko Saarinen (guitar), Eero Virtanen (bass) and Janne Honkanen (drums). The band plays a mixture of Thrash and Death Metal, with brutal vocals of female singer Valendis. This debut album starts with a short intro (“Prelude To Perdition”) and it also ends with a short outro (“Into The Stellar Night”), and the volume of both seems to sound harder than the ten songs themselves. After several spins I began to like this album more and more. Okay, it's still not sounding very original and spectacular. Don't get me wrong, it's absolutely not a bad album, but I can't say DEAD SAMARITAN are the next big sensation in this genre. The production was done by the band themselves together with Henri Virsell, and sounds okay. To me, the best songs on “The Only Good Samaritan” are “Laid To Waste” (3:23), “Bleeding Ground” (3:22), “Thunderbolt” (2:16), “River Runs Red” (3:46), “In The Shadows Of The Mind” (4:21) and “Welcome To The Death Zone” (4:09). My conclusion is that this is just a well done debut album. Check them out if you are interested.
Visit their website: http://www.deadsamaritan.com
Recordlabel: http://www.coprorecords.co.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/deadsamaritan
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deadsamaritanband

75/100

DEATH DEALER – War Master (CD) USA October 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Speed / Power Metal Running time: 50:35 (Tracks: 10)
This is not the 80's Quebec, Canada band that also worked under the name Deaf Dealer but this is a completely new band from the United States of America:
Death Dealer features members that previously worked with the likes of Manowar, the Dictators, Rob Halford, Lizzy Borden, Udo Dirkschneider, and Cage, the newly formed Death Dealer are a true heavy metal force to be reckoned with. And their over-the-top debut, 'Warmaster,' certainly proves this. Comprised of vocalist Sean Peck, guitarists Ross the Boss and Stu Marshall, bassist Mike Davis, and drummer Rhino, Death Dealer is setting out to convert the metal masses to their brand of manly metal. "The Death Dealer sound is a mighty combination of five very talented, seasoned musicians," explains Ross. "It's classic power metal with the brutal edge of thrash, speed, and precision."
This all according the band. Well what can I say more about this album/band? Everybody knows I'm a huge fan of Sean Peck's vocals with his own band CAGE and the EMPIRE OF EDEN project. Typical US metal vocalist with high pitch vocals. And what do I need to tell about the other musicians? Both Ross (the Boss) Friedman and Rhino are well known from their work with Manowar and Mike Davis played in Halford for a while. This is typical US Power metal with all the necessary ingredients; high pitch vocals, double bass drums, great guitar work! Great album!! Only weak song is the last song “Wraiths on the Winds” which sounds like stolen from Warrior's “Fighting for the Earth”. For fans of Cage, Judas Priest and so on…..Check this album out!!
Website: http://www.deathdealer.co
Recordlabel: http://www.steelcartel.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deathdealerband

92/100

DELAIN - Interlude (CD) The Netherlands October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 51:03 (Tracks: 13)
Dutch symphonic metal band Delain started in 2002. Keyboard wizard Martijn Westerholt had left the successful Within Temptation, he was struck by Pfeiffer's disease, and needed the time to recover and get back in shape again. A demo album (Amenity, containing four songs) drew the attention of Roadrunner Records and in 2005 Martijn's band launched their debut album shortly after the pre-recordings. "Lucidity", the debut album, had a more project feel. A lot of musical friends, female singers played and sung their asses off in the songs. Liv Kristine, Sharon den Adel, Marco Hietala, George Oosthoek and Charlotte Wessels fronted the band's songs, it was a pleasure to listen to this great variety. But to perform the songs on stage Martijn had to bring a band to life. Charlotte Wessels, a Zwolle born talent, became the singer. With a beautiful, characteristic voice, powerful but also blessed with a pop-based timbre, she delivered and still delivers her diverse vocal lines. The other musicians of the band were new as well, they weren't involved in the first project. The second Delain album" April Rain" was a solid step forward. Good songs, great performances and the album spent ten weeks in the Dutch album top 100. The band started to tour on a regular base, but it took Delain a while to find a right guitar player and a rhythm section. There were changes in the band that had effect on the live performances. Timo Somers, son of the late and great Jan Somers, one of the best Dutch guitar players in a rock and fusion environment, became the six string hot shot, Sander Zoer handled the sticks, Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije played basses and the band was completed to record a third epos, this time for CNR Records.
" We are the others" was that third record of Delain, once again a strong record with epic songs, various structures, great playing and beautiful singing. But the album had no commercial success, too bad. Napalm Records signed the band and to fill the gap between the back catalogue and the new songs, to thank the fans for their support and to enrich new fans with the broad musical perspectives " Interlude" was presented a few months ago. It's this album spinning around in my media player. The album is filled with new songs, cover songs, remixes from known songs and a few live tracks. Quite a mixed bag, but despite of the fact the album has no sonic and concept unity, it is a perfect showcase for Delain. The two new songs (Breathe on me, Collars and suits) are beautiful, the remixes of " Are you done with me" and " We are the others ( a balladesque rendition) are nice and the cover songs of Bronski Beat (Smalltown boy) , Talk Talk (Such a shame) and The Cranberries (Cordell) are full of surprises ( although, some songs were covered better by Virus IV and Paradise Lost). But the live tracks, recorded at the Female Voices Festival in October 2012, are the firecrackers on this album. The live songs prove that Delain is a band that belongs to the stage. Great performances by all musicians. Too bad the whole concert isn't presented here. This " Interlude " is a good warming up for the new Delain album with this line up! Delain has plans for a USA-Tour in September this year and in January and February 2014 the band will support their friends of Within Temptation during their European Tour. Check them out.
Visit their website: http://www.delain.nl
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/delainmusic
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/delainmusic

83/100

DEVILDRIVER – WINTER KILLS (CD) USA October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Death Metal with a groovy injection Running time: 60:03 (Tracks: 11)
Devildriver was founded in 2002 by former Coal Chamber vocalist Dez Fafara, guitar player Jeff Kendrick and drummer John Boecklin. The band was called Deathride originally, but many European band held the same name and the label that was interested in the demo recordings couldn't secure the copyrights of their music. Devildriver is the name of the bells Italian Wiccans use to drive evil forces away, it says something about the lyrical and thematic approach of the music of this Santa Barbara based metal band.
Devildriver plays speedy melodic death metal with influences of Slayer, Machine Head, In Flames, Motorhead and Metallica. But their music has a very groovy approach you'll find in Primus, Pantera and Suicidal Tendencies. Devildriver has released five albums so far, all distributed by Roadrunner Records and the European continent welcomed this band in 2009, when their album " Pray for villains" entered the charts in many European countries. The 2011-album "Beast" (what a hell of a haunted album this is!) was even more successful and the band has toured a lot since their worldwide breakthrough sharing the stage with great bands like Iron Maiden, Arch Enemy, Danzig, Slipknot and All that Remains.
It was kind of a surprise Devildriver's new opus being released by Napalm Records, but now it's in my media player banging, butchering and slagging my amplification. What a fierce record this is! The band shows a little more variety on this new one (Beast was a ' fast train of rage and power' ), but the guys don't forget to lay down the groove, the speed and the effective riffing in the songs of " Winter kills". The almost fifty minutes lasting explosion, produced by Mark Lewis, sounds great and behind the speedy monsters like" Oath of the Abyss" , " Caring's overkill" , " Desperate times" , "Ruthless" and " The appetite" there's a lot of inventive fretwork, melodic choruses, great hooks and a diversity of intros. The last song on this record is " Sail" , a great rendition of the electric rock band AwolNation song, that appeared on their debut album " Megalithic Symphony" in 2011. The new album of Devildriver will have many formats, it's a great album in his genre, showing the band firing on all six!
Visit their website: http://www.devildriver.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/devildriverofficial1
MySpace: https://myspace.com/devildriver

83/100

EAR DANGER – Full Blast At Last (CD) The Netherlands October 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 37:44 (Tracks: 9)
In June of 2009 I reviewed the DVD "Raw & Deal" of Dutch traditional Heavy Metal band EAR DANGER for MMM, which featured the songs "Give 'Em Hell", "Beelzebub's Friend", "Burn At The Stake" and "Shock & Awe", and were all filmed live. In my opinion that DVD was only used by the band to promote themselves in clubs and magazines/webzines. Anyway, EAR DANGER was formed in 1981 and only existed for three years. I'm not sure if they released two or three demos during that period. In 2007 original members Matt Verschoor (bass, backing vocals) and Dick Vijgen (drums) re-formed EAR DANGER again and released the four track "Shock And Awe" demo. Well, after all those years EAR DANGER finally released its debut album "Full Blast At Last" in a limited edition in September of 2011, and was only available on vinyl. Now that debut album has been released on CD for the very first time by French label Emanes Metal Records. So far, I only saw EAR DANGER once live, which was on March 10th, 2012 when they played with ROSIE in De Kroeg in Rijen, Holland. That evening I was the DJ, and what I remember of their performance is that I liked it much more than what I saw in 2009 on the aforementioned DVD "Raw & Deal". Well, about "Full Blast At Last"…..with the nine tracks on this album, Matt, Dick, Leon Lohmann (vocals, guitar) and Ivo Metz (guitar) brings you back to the early eighties, with Dutch Hard Rock bands such as PICTURE, BODINE, VENGEANCE, HIGHWAY CHILE, VANDENBERG, HORIZON, HELLOISE etcetera. In fact the original versions of "Beelzebubs Friend" and "Thousand Days In Sodom" were on one of the demo's from the eighties period, and the original versions of "Assassin" and "Hellish Wings" were on the aforementioned "Shock And Awe" demo. All other songs were written for this album. To me, the best songs on "Full Blast At Last" are "Beelzebubs Friend" (3:51), "Assassin" (3:47), "The Battle" (3:54), "Hellish Wings" (3:14) and "Burn At The Stake" (4:04). So my conclusion is, "Full Blast At Last" gave me a much better impression than the 4-track DVD "Raw & Deal" did, and it's a nice traditional Heavy Metal album. The band is currently working on their second album. So, I'm very curious about how that second EAR DANGER album would be.
Visit their website: http://www.eardanger.com
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eardanger
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/eardangermetal

75/100

ECHOTIME – Genuine (CD) Italy October 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Rock Opera Running time: 49:40 (Tracks: 18)
Let me start by saying that I absolutely adore Ayreon, Avantasia & Star One. I never shy away from a good metal opera, if the workmanship is up to scratch. It usually is with these projects, and Echotime is no exception. If your love for the drama is extensive, go ahead and give this your seal of approval. Unfortunately it hasn't completely got mine. The reason are mainly the vocals. They stay in the higher regions just too much, making the diversity which is needed to guide you through a journey like Genuine just lacking. I'm not suggesting the vocals are bad, just not good enough. Where are the clear bass tone and of course the female angel? Those are what I sincerely miss. Positive exception are a.o. Breaking the Prayers, In Rebels Hand and Fragile Pantomime, where it almost sounds as if Warrel Dane has stepped in. Until the voice goes up again, and they lose me. On the other hand, the music goes from the fairytale feel of Avantasia and Within Temptation to the heaviness of Nevermore and even some industrial electronics. The latter parts sound really great! So in that respect I have no complaints at all. If only the voices matched it all.
Visit their website: http://www.echotime.org
Recordlabel: http://www.logicillogic.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/echotime-rock-band

67/100

EDEN'S CURSE – Symphony of Sin (CD) Germany October 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Hard Rock / Melodic Metal Running time: 67:18 (Tracks: 13)
Two years ago Eden's Curse surprised me with the awesome “Trinity” album. An album filled with catchy, melodic rockers and a few outstanding power metal tracks. I still enjoy this album a lot. Soon after the release vocalist Michael Eden left the band and that truly disappointed me. Finding a new vocalist with the right capabilities can be hard and so it turned out to be. After touring with Marco Sandron the band decided to look further for a vocalist that really fits in. Being a multinational band already, why not pick up somebody from Serbia? Well this Nikola Mijic definitely can sing and he sounds like a young Joe Lynn Turner. Besides the change in vocals the band also has Steve Williams on keys now replacing Alessandro Del Vecchio. Did that affect the sound then. Well, yes and no. Opener “Symphony of Sin” is an 8 minute bombastic tour de force and starts like a Nightwish song. When the guitars fall in you immediately hear it's Eden's Curse, very recognizable and that's a compliment. A strong, energetic song and in the line of “Trinity”. Follower “Break The Silence” is a fierce power metal track and my personal favorite. Heavy bass and phantastic riffs do the job here. Also “Evil or Devine” (first single) is powerful and melodic with outstanding vocals of Mijic.
After those first three songs the band shows it's other face. Keys are much more present and the songs are more 80's hard rock like Dokken, Jaded Heart and (projects of or with) Joe Lynn Turner. All very good and musically perfect but sometimes a bit too sweet for me. (“Unbreakable”). Beside the outstanding performance you could say that some tracks are exchangeable and that's a pity. Presenting 13 tracks in 67 minutes that's possible of course. On the other hand the album offers, besides the first three tracks, two more outstanding one's; the stunning “Falling From Grace” and the cool rocker “Sign Of The Cross”. So returning to the yes and no remark above; yes there's a change in direction (more keys, more melody) to the hard n' heavy rock side and no because with Paul Logue, Thorsten Koehne and Pete Newdeck still on board the typical Eden's Curse sound is guaranteed and still stands for high quality. Personal I'm more fond of the power that “Trinity” offered but that's a matter of opinion. “Symphony of Sin” is a high quality record and marks a new era for Eden's Curse. With this line up and album they are more than ready for the future.
Visit their website: http://www.edenscurse.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/edenscurseofficial
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/edenscurse

80/100

FAT BASTARD – Feel The Pain (CD) Belgium October 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Rawk and Roll Running time: 31:00 (Tracks: 10)
Right!! Fat Bastard brings you Rawk and Roll and they groove as hell. They started in 2005 and 2013 gave light to this album. 10 tracks of stomping rock and roll. Standard party riffs with grooving drums. The vocals are light grunts think of Metallica with a cold hahaha. The songs are party as I already mentioned but it is also filled with solos and serious riffs but nothing that I never heard before (that sound serious). The production of this album definitely not the best I ever heard but gives a good idea about what they want to bring. This not my thing but I think that this is a band that will rock your pants of live!
Visit their website: http://www.fatbastard.be

68/100

FERGIE FREDERIKSEN - Any Given Moment (CD) USA October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock / Adult Orientated Rock Running time: 58:22 (Tracks: 11)
Dennis (Fergie) Frederiksen is a name with a certain status amongst the fans of melodic rock and adult orientated rock. The singer has a great voice, but is mostly known as the vocal force behind a great set of top notch albums loved by the fans, ranked high in the all-time-classic AOR albums of the '80 era of the former century: the Trillion debut album, the über classic" So fired up" from LeRoux, " Isolation" by Toto and a few fantastic songs on the Frederiksen / Philips record. Frederiksen is also knew for his input in legendary vocal sessions of bands just before their breakthrough-phase (Eye of the tiger by Survivorwas also recorded with him, Giuffria and Angel lend his vocals in their demo-phases). After his Toto adventure Fergie Frederiksen temporarily quitted the music business, he took over his father's restaurant, but in 1999 he came back, lending his voice again for many projects (Frederic Slama's AOR, Tommy Denander's Radioactive-albums, Mecca, Voices of Rock) and releasing some great solo stuff as well ( his album of 2011 " Happiness is the road" is a very strong and solid album) . Fergie Freriksen has another drive to release all this great material: he was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer and his message is clear: if you're going through hell, just keep going.
" Any given moment" is his new epos and with the help of great musicians (Bruce Gaitsch, Peter Friestedt, David Coyle, Sven Larsson, Alessandro del Vecchio ( also taking care of the production) and many others), great songs and a fair and good production, this record is something he can be proud of. From the crunchy guitars of his new single " The last battle of my war" to the closing track, a great rendition with slightly new arranged instrumental parts of the Toto-hit that launched Fergie " Angel don't cry" , from the rhythmic rock shuffle of " Let it go" to the beautiful ballads on this album ( "I'll be the one", " How many roads"), from the mid-paced greatness of " Candles in the dark" to the poppy duet ("Not alone" ) with singer Issabel Oversveen (Issa), the album breathes fire and flames and the eighties' vibe is never far away. This autobiographical album marks the struggle of Fergie, but it's a great pleasure listening to his songs and voice again. Good album of the Frontiers Record label! Good album of one of my favourite singers!!
Visit their website: http://www.fergiefrederiksen.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fergie.frederiksen
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/fergiefrederiksen

83/100

FIND ME - Wings of love (CD) USA October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock / Adult Orientated Rock Running time: 56:13 (Tracks: 12)
The Naples, Italy, based record label Frontiers Records is the giant crossover for many artists in the melodic rock genre, combining the rock sound of that era with modern production and a market for this music in a lot of European and Asian countries. And Serafino Perugiano, Frontier's boss, always spreads his wings to fly to the stars from way back and create a classy musical project with passion and pride. Robbie LaBlanc, singer of Fury ( a band of him and his brother, releasing one fine album in 1985) and Blanc Faces (releasing two albums between 2005 and 2009 on Frontiers Records) was contacted by the Frontiers' team to sing some magic songs that were written by Tom and James Martin (Vega, Sunstorm and many pop-acts), Erik Martensson( WET, Eclipse, Jaded Heart, Jimi Jamison and many other artists) Soren Kronqvist (Crash the System), Issabel Oversveen (Issa), Mikey Wilson and Frontiers own song smith Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline and almost any Frontiers' act). Serafino contacted a team of musicians to prepare and play, to demo and to choose the songs that fitted like a glove to the warm and powerful Bian Howe-like voice of Robbie LaBlanc. Daniel Flores (he also played drums) took care for the process of recording, mixing and mastering and the album features great musical input from Daniel Palmquist (guitars) and Jonny Trobro (a great Swedish session bass player). The musical project is called " Find Me" , the title of the album is called " Wings of love" and the albm is going to be released at the end of August.
The songs on " Wings of love" hold any trick in the book of melodic rock and adult orientated rock: song structures with not too much risks, not yoo much depth, the typical melodic rock bridges and hooks, the songs you can hear any moment of the day, great, powerful musicianship and vocal lines every frontman would be dreaming about. I like the content of " Wings of love" , holding touches of the better bands nowadays (Hardline, Vega,The Swedish melodic rock bands, Unruly Child, NOW, FM, Honeymoon Suite, a.o.) and the solo artists on Frontiers Records (James Christian, Harry Hess, Joe Lynn Turner, Stan Bush, Philip Bardowell, Marcie Free, Steve Overland, ), but I can't hide the feeling that the Frontiers' team is willing to score a hit album too obvious. Robbie LaBlanc's voice is shaped for such an adventure and the musicians are top notch, but to break the barrier for melodic rock(a genre that keeps repeating itself since the eighties of the former century) and to come up with something absolutely special is almost a mission impossible. The good album " Wings of love" is just too monotonous, a little too predictable, too one-dimensional for that. But hey, songs like " Road to nowhere (the first single of this album)", " Another world (a bit Hardline –type of song with a symphonic intro)", "Fireflight" ,"Powerless", “On the outside ( FM-influenced)”, " Unbreakable" (what a chorus, Stan Bush-like song with a nice keyboard solo) , the moving title track and the closing " Your lips" are just classy stuff! Top release, but not the ' super-aor-release I had hoped for.
Visit their website: http:// www.allmusic.com/artist/robbie-lablanc
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blancfaces

84/100

FREEDOMS REIGN – Freedoms Reign (CD) USA October 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Rock Running time: 45:44 (Tracks: 9)
From Griswold, Connecticut, U.S.A. comes FREEDOMS REIGN, a four piece Heavy Metal/Rock band existing of Victor Arduini (vocals, lead guitar; ex-FATES WARNING), Tommy Vumback (guitar), Mike Jones (bass) and Chris Judge (drums). The band was formed in 2011 and have released their self titled debut album "Freedoms Reign" on April 30th of 2013 on Cruz Del Sur records. These four guys delivered a very nice debut album. Well, on the band's official website, you can also listen to all ten songs of the album, so it's really strange to me why that last track on their website, titled "All For You", isn't on the album itself. One thing is for sure, these guys really know how to write good songs. "Freedoms Reign" was produced by the band themselves and engineered by Nick Bellmore, and sounds very good. Victor Arduini, who was one of the original members of FATES WARING, and left the band after the "The Spectre Within" (1985) album, is, besides a fantastic guitarist, also a nice singer as well. He sometimes sounds even a bit like Ozzy Osbourne. Anyway, I like this album, so it will absolutely make some more spins so now and then in my CD player. To me, the best songs of "Freedoms Reign" are the fantastic opener "Ritual" (4:50), "Shadows Of Doubt" (4:36), "Brother" (3:51), "Believe" (3:47) and "No Excuses" (5:40). "Freedoms Reign" is a good and recommendable debut album. If you like OZZY OSBOURNE, CLUTCH, HELLFUELED etc., you can check this album out.
Visit their website: http://www.freedomsreignrocks.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/freedoms-reign/203708453004244

79/100

HAMMERHEAD – Faster Than Lightning (CDemo) Belgium October 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 22:14 (Tracks: 6)
HAMMERHEAD is a pretty young Thrash Metal band from Heist op den Berg, Belgium, and was formed in 2010. The line-up of the band on their first CDemo "Faster Than Lightning" exists of Zjesse van Hool (vocals, guitar), Lennert Theys (guitar) and Vincent Vertrepen (drums). I already did see these young T thrashers (now they have the age of 14, 15) of HAMMERHEAD twice (in July 2012 and January 2013) before I saw them also at their release party of this CDemo in Kaffee Lambiek, Tilburg, Holland on May 10th 2013, where they played with SPEEDBREAKER, ANTAGONIST and MILKMAN. During this release party, the band also presented their new bass player, which is Laurens Jan Oostrom. Anyway, "Faster Than Lightning" is released in a limited edition of 500 copies on Headbangers Records, and features the following songs: the instrumental "Sacrificial Revenge" (3:23), "Nuclear War" (3:38), "Eye Of An Exorcist" (4:02), "Faster Than Lightning" (4:30), "Feed The Guilty" (5:46) and "Timmy Punk" (0:46). Well, it's a nice CDemo, and HAMMERHEAD are, given the age of the members, a band with potential. The least song to me is the last track "Timmy Punk". All other songs are good Thrash Metal songs in the well known 80's tradition. If you like Thrash Metal, give these guys a try, by checking them out.
Visit their website: http://www.reverbnation.com/hammerheadbelgium
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/hämmerhead/179065585481881

70/100

HELLISH WAR – Keep It Hellish (CD) Brazil October 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 67:56 (Tracks: 10)
I was really surprised by this album of Brazilian Metal band HELLISH WAR, because I never had heard of the band before. HELLISH WAR was formed in 1995, and in 1996 they already released their first demo “The Sign”. In 2001 HELLISH WAR released their debut album “Defender Of Metal”, and their second album “Heroes Of Tomorrow” was released in 2008. Now five years later, these Brazilian metalheads are back with their third album, titled “Keep It Hellish”, which is released on June 28th, 2013 on Pure Steel Records. Between “Heroes Of Tomorrow” and this new album, they also released a live album in 2010, which is simply titled “Live In Germany”. Anyway, “Keep It Hellish” features 10 tracks, and all songs have an average play time over 5 minutes. And to tell the truth, there isn't any song on “Keep It Hellish” which is really bad. To me, the level of the songs is pretty high. Even the instrumental track “Battle At Sea” (5:11) is fantastic, and doesn't bore one moment. Actually, the band reminds very much of IRON MAIDEN. The line-up of the band on this album exists of Bil Martins (vocals), Vulcano (guitar), Daniel Job (guitar), JR (bass) and Daniel Person (drums). “Keep It Hellish” is the first album with new singer Martins, and believe me, this guy really can sing. Although I like the entire album very much, my favorite songs are the opening and title track “Keep It Hellish” (5:15), “Fire And Killing” (7:28), “Master Of Wreckage” (5:57) and “Scars (Underneath Your Skin)” (7:13). “Keep It Hellish” is an excellent metal album. If you are into true Heavy Metal, then you have to check this band and album out. MMM has booked HELLISH WAR for a show on October 17th, 2013, when they play in Café Extase in Tilburg, Holland. Be there!
Visit their website: http://www.hellishwar.com.br
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hellishwar
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hellishwar

82/100

HERETIC – A Time of Crisis (CD) USA October 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Thrash Metal Running time: 46:09 (Tracks: 12)
Heretic was born during the mid 80's in Southern California. They were one of the top acts in the LA area. This drew the attention of Metal Blade Records who went on to sign them. They were first featured on the “ Metal Massacre 7” compilation. Later they released the EP “Torture Knows No Boundary” and the full length LP “Breaking Point”. After the release of “Breaking Point” the band split up when their lead singer Mike Howe joined the band Metal Church. Instead of continuing on guitarist Brian Korban, and bassist Dennis Ohara went on to form the band Reverend with former Metal Church singer David Wayne. With the support of their underground following Heretic is back with their classic Power/Thrash sound.
This is the long awaited new album of Heretic; back with original members Brian Korban (guitars) and the singer of the first EP Julian Mendez. Well the last one; Julian Mendes, is to my opinion the only weak element in the band. His voice is boring and has lack variety. Live at the Headbangers Open Air in July he was nevertheless much better than on this record. On the songs “Tomorrow's Plague” and “For your Faith” his voice even reminds me to D.R.I.'s Kurt Brecht. Musically its all damn good; real US power/thrash metal like only US musicians can do it! Tight as hell!! They are already confirmed for next years Swordbrothers festival in Germany so grab the chance to see them live!! Live they wont disappoint you!!.
I lately also received the re-release 3 CD/DVD box of Metal Blade with the first 2 releases AND a DVD, all with a lot of bonus stuff!! This will be reviewed on the next MMMania update.
Website: http://www.hereticusa.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metal-on-metal.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hereticusa

75/100

HEX – Hex (CD) Sweden October 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Industrial Metal Running time: 50:09 (Tracks: 13)
Using the names of Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and Rob Zombie in your biography is pretentious and dangerous, to say the least. But Hex does get away with it. At least with the Rob Zombie bit. This sounds exactly as he does, without it being a rip-off. This is mainly due to the groove they possess in bucket loads, and the fabulous voice of Jonas Hygren, who must have a grater tucked in his throat. I must admit I have listened to Hex over and over again, and although there is nothing renewing or original about them, I love it! Hex do rock! They might not be as theatrical as RZ, as heavy as Ministry and without the depth of NIN, they do have something that grips you. And that's what counts.
Visit their website: http://www.hexweb.set
Recordlabel: http://www.logicillogic.net

81/100

HOUSTON - II (CD) Sweden October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: AOR / Melodic Rock Running time: 42:18 (Tracks: 10)
Houston is a Swedish trio (producer, songwriter, mixer Ricky B. Delin (former Prisoner-instrumentalist) became a permanent band member) that will release their second album very soon. The first album of the duo gained rave reviews and the slick and smooth, melodic, hook laden adult orientated rock sounded contagious and very 'easy to the ear'. Hampus Hank Erix and Freddie Allen's first album was backed by a great production and a superior musical interpretation as well (six string magicianTommy Denander, vocalist extraorinaire Geir Ronning, Soufian Ma'Aoui (basses) and Ricky Delin (keyboards and everything else). The album contained songs from the '80 melodic rock sketchbook with a lof of overtones from bands as White Heart, Dakota, Touch, Bystander, Toto and soft-eighties' Journey. On the new album, simply called " II" , the recipe for the debut album is used again. The production is outstanding again, the band sounds like a million buck's band again and the musical friends share their talents and skills in ten tasteful and infectious songs any AOR- fanatic will like very much. The vocal harmonies are prominently mixed and the lead vocalist Hank Erix is in the spotlights again.
I like the songs, the first three songs ("Glory, I'm coming home and Return my heart") are full of hook laden hit potential and tracks like " Losing" , "24 hours" and " Back to the summer of love" make you want more. Minnah Karlsson, great lady singer and Swedish runner-up Idol in 2010, joins Hank Erix, in " Just friends", one of the wimpy songs on the album. And that's maybe the main critical point about this second Houston album. Some of the songs are syruppy, too cheesy and a little wimpish, a bit of a pittfall for this great band. Houston II will be released by Livewire Music/Cargo Records. The music will attract a lot of melodic rock fans with nostalgic moods of the eighties of the former century, that's for sure! Good one!
Recordlabel: http://www.cargorecords.co.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/houstonsweden
MySpace: https://myspace.com/ricky.delin.7

87/100

HUNTRESS – Starbound Beast (CD) USA October 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 45:40 (Tracks: 10)
Nearly one year ago Huntress came up with their debut “Spelleater” which was certainly promising but had some ups-and-downs tracks. Also the screams of the beautiful vocalist Jill Janus weren't always accurate and sometimes misplaced. The band toured a lot last year and even found the time to write down a successor. That's pretty neat but not always a guarantee for success. Well, Huntress didn't change their musical approach so again expect pure old school Heavy Metal. Vocally Jill has certainly made progression, no unnecessary screams anymore but good clean, sometimes grunting vocals and that makes the tracks more enjoyable. Musically overall this album is more middle paced and melodic and moves more in the direction of Benedictum for example. (“Starbound Beast”) There's nothing wrong with that but the album lacks the more faster, evil tracks that made their debut vary. So no really outstanding tracks but also no minor ones or I should name “I want to fuck you to death” because of it's pretty childish lyrics, written by Lemmy. Of course I can see the humour of it, but the chorus …., well listen for yourself. Gladly the band proves they can do much better in the trashy “Zenith”. That's what I call Metal. Slightly disappointed Iam because I'm convinced that this band has the musical skills to come up with a real classic. This Starbound Beast hasn't become that classic so I hope their third approach is gonna present the best of both albums. Don't get me wrong, this is a fine metal album and really enjoyable but I expected more of them. Still enough potention, but take the time and the metal world will be on their feet.
Visit their website: http://www.huntresskills.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/huntresskills
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/huntresskills

77/100

JAMES CHRISTIAN - Lay it all on Me (CD) USA October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock / Adult Orientated Rock Running time: 46:55 (Tracks: 11)
James Christian, the Conneticut-born vocalist, is one of the tonsil troubadours, that never lets me down. From his early days, the cover bands, Hooka, Jasper Wrath, Eyes (not the Westcoast ' 80 band that featured Jeff Scott Soto, although James got connected with these guys in their aftermath) and LA Rocks, his absolute heydays with House of Lords (their debutalbum is an instant classic), his solo stuff and the contributions to the albums of his wife Robin Beck and a lot of artists from the Frontiers Records-roster, this guy still delivers the vocal goodies. " Lay it all on me" his third soloalbum will be released in July by Frontiers Records, the Italian melodic rock label, led by Serafino Perugiano. The first two solo albums of James had a great variety with a slight favour for mid-paced songs and passionate ballads.
This ' signature sound' is offered again on this third opus, the guitars by Jorge Salas, Shelby Stewart and Jimi Bell sound thicker than ever. The recording and production, done by James himself, are more compact, pulsating ( just listen to the drums of BJ Zampa) and tighter than on his previous works, but also a little flat, unisono and dry. It all has no effect on the compositions by Tommy Denander, Jeff Kent (providing keyboards as well on this record), Jimi Bell, Chris Pelzer and James himself, but the vocals tend to have that 'background-feeling' for me, too bad. The songs don't have the diversity of James' " Rude Awakening"- album of the musical depth of the songsmiths like Stan Bush, Lanny Cordola and Judithe Randall, who wrote some of the gems on his second solo release ( " Meet the man"), but it's instant melodic effectiveness mottoing this third effort. From the strong opener " Lay it all one me" to the moody and skilled closing track " The future is yours" , this record is strong, firm and filled with passionate melodic rock. Good album of one of my favourite singers!!
Visit their website: http://www.jameschristianmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/james.christian.9406
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/jameschristianhouseoflords

85/100

JORN – Traveller (CD) Norway October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 50:58 (Tracks: 10)
I had the pleasure reviewing many albums of Jorn Lande, powerhouse vocalist from the Northern territories. His last opus, a compilation album with orchestral renditions of many of his best known songs (Symphonic) was an adventurous journey through his back catalogue. On his new one, Traveller, his tenth solo album, Jorn has collaborated with Trond Holter and Brent Jansen from the glammy rock band Wig Wam, replacing Tore Moren and Nic Angileri. Traveller starts heavy with ' Overload' and throughout the album some new influences will come above the waterline: the melodic overtones of Trond Holter's songs creating more dynamics in Jorn's songs (just listen to "Rev on" ," Make your engines scream" the doomy, almost Candlemass-inspired structures of " Carry the black" and " Widow maker" surprised me even more, what a couple of firebombs!) The mainframe of Traveller is filled again with Jorn's powerful, Dio-esque,heavy songs revealing fantasies of the best Rainbow, eighties' Sabbath and Dio catalogues.
" Cancer demon" and " The man who was king (just listen to the intro)" have that special Dio-vibe that became Jorn's trademark. Traveller isn't as good as Spirit Black, in my opinion the most surprising Jorn album thus far, the production of Trond Holter lacks a bit of dynamics and sometimes the rhythm section makes its path far too musculous, but Jorn has done it again, creating the best fitting heavy music he can!
Visit their website: http://www.jornlande.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jornlande
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/realjorn

79/100

KING KOBRA - II (CD) USA October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Classic Rock Running time: 1:04:15 (Tracks: 12)
After his stint with the Ozzy Osbourne Band Carmine Appice formed King Kobra and his new formation quickly got a record deal with Capitol Records USA. The first two albums (Ready to Strike and Thrill of a Lifetime) are classics every melodic rocker should own, but in a commercial way the band didn 't make the break, they lost their record deal and their singer (the great Mark Free, now Marcy Free) and the recording for a third effort was a struggle itself. The third opus " King Kobra III " , with Johnny Edwards on vocals, had its moments, but a few fillers as well and the help of Kiss members Gene, Paul and Peter and songwriters as Lea Hart and Micky Free, the New Renaissance Records label, the poor sales' figures didn't help. King Kobra Mark I / II stopped at the end of 1988. A compilation album was released in 1999, bringing in good memories of the best songs of their past. In 2001 the band was brought to life again, this time with Kerri Keeling on vocals, but the albums didn't do anything for me and many listeners. In 2005 it was over again. King Kobra Mark III was dead. But.... A new King Kobra (Mark IV) emerged, this time featuring the instrumentalists' line-up teamed up with vocal legend Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, The Cutt, Quiet Riot, Shortino, Paul Shortino and the Rhythm Junkies). An album (simply named King Kobra) saw the light on Frontiers Records in 2010, gaining good reviews and keeping the right balance between the heydays of the band's past and the bluesy based pumping hard rock of the bands Paul used to front and Carmine used to back up.
" King Kobra II" is the new result of the collaboration, released on Frontiers Records again and I must say, I like the record a lot. The production of David Henzerling ( a.k.a guitarist David Michael Philips) is thick and heavy, the riffs are spot on, the rhythm section is pounding, most of the heavy, pulsating, strong songs stand their ground and Paul Shortino is the absolute star of this record, what a killer voice he still has! You can hear the eighties' influences on almost any song, but you 'll hear nods to the seventies' acts like Deep Purple (on fire),Cactus, Mountain, late Zep as well.
Fans of the genre will sherish the rockers like " Hell on wheels" , " Got it coming (with Eighties' Kiss influences in it), " When the hammer comes down", " Having a good time" , " Knock them dead", "The Crunch", " Running wild" and " The ballad of Johnny Rod (strange, a song dedicated to the bass player with his funniest ' wrong' haircuts you have seen in ages, big seventies' ZZ Top-trademark riffola all over here). The semi ballad " Take me back" tastes like vintage wine and after the nice closing track " We go round" you' ll restart the album again, again and ......again! Great album!
Visit their website: http://www.carmineappice.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/official-king-kobra
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/kingkobrarock

84/100

KING'S CALL - Lion's Den (CD) Germany October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 52:12 (Tracks: 12)
King's Call is an international band, based in Hanover, Germany, started as a trio led by Greek guitar player Alex Garoufaldis in 2010. Alex was joined by Asec Bergemann (from Azerbedjan) on drums and the well experienced British vocalist Rick Chase, who had fronted bands like Steel, Grafitti, Mama's Boys, Escape, Pat McManus Band, Alibi and Double Cross. Their first album' Destiny' was quite good, combining heavy riffing, great fretwork and good heavy melodic power rock with Paul Rodgers-like vocals. A bass guitar player, the German Andreas Kramer, was added to the band very quickly, a small tour was in the can and the band had to perform their songs alive and kicking. I saw King's Call opening for UFO live and their effective, classy hard rock stood their ground on stage as well. In July Alex and Asec had to find a new singer for the preproduction of their new album as Rick Chase got another singing job in the British melodic rock band Escape.
The duo found the perfect fit for their songs in Mike Freeland, former vocalist of More and Praying Mantis. With Mike behind the microphone and Andreas Kramer as a permanent band member the quartet took their songs of the new forthcoming album to the Ecology Room Studio in Kent of world famous producer Chris Tsangarides (Thin Lizzy, Magnum, Gary Moore, Judas Priest, Y&T, Black Sabbath, Depeche Mode, Tom Jones, Concrete Blonde and a zillion other artists). Dennis Ward of Pink Cream 69 took care of the mastering of 'Lion's Den' to be released at the end of September on Mausoleum Records. What can I write about this second King's Call release? It's a good release with an old-fashioned NWOBHM- approach! The songs reflect the European heavy music of the eighties of the former century with the perfect bluesy twist (just listen to the heavy and furious opener " Mother nature", " The dig" , with its heavy riffing and majestic guitar solo, " Avalon" and " Red Lights" )The vocals of Mike Freeland differ from the vocals of Rick Chase on the former album, but they have that classy, screamy bite for this music. The rhythm section is pounding hard, giving the songs that extra bottom and the guitars of Alex Geroufaldis are the icing on the cake. What a great player he is. The production and mixing are a bit ' old fashioned' , but they are the perfect vehicle for this second opus of King's Call. The band closes their album with two melodic bonus-rock-tracks: " Waiting for you" and "Love will find a way". King's Call with support Canadian legends Harem Scarem for their tour in autumn. Go check this band alive! Good album, this new one!
Visit their website: http://www.kings-call.com
Recordlabel: http://www.music-avenue.net/mausoleum
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kingscallrocks
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kingscallrock

80/100

KORODED - Dantalion (CD) Germany October 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Metalcore Running time: 61:40 (Tracks: 10)
The German metalcore-outfit Koroded is currently celebraiting fifteen years of activity. Quite the achievement for any band in this ever challenging genre. Over the past one and a half decade, the band has released eight studio albums of which the latest ‘Dantalion’ is reviewed right here. The career of Koroded has had its ups and downs. In the beginning of the new millennium, when metalcore/Nu-metal was at its prime, the band toured with the likes of Downset, Heaven Shall Burn and Ektomorf among many others. Despite the line-up changes and the ever changing musical landscape, the band carried on. Last year, the band teamed up with Noizgate Records and now ‘Dantalion’ has seen the light of day.
Opener ‘Danatalion’ and its successor ‘Kill Buddha’ show that the band consists of seasoned musicians. The songs are well crafted and contain nearly all the elements that makes the Metalcore genre. Somehow Koroded manages to keep it fresh and exciting with the use of spherical elements, subtle breaks and many detailed background noises. The typical metalcore is never far away, but songs like ‘Ira’ and ‘Walking Dead’ proof that this is a band that knows how to do this, as they did many times in the past. I’ve listened to the album numerous times now and it really got a hold of me. It’s good to see that Koroded is still around and still knows how to get the job done.
Visit their website: http://www.korodedofficial.com
Recordlabel: http://www.noizgate.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/koroded
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/koroded

75/100

LIBRIA – Immortal Daughter Of Aesthetics (CD) Italy October 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Death Metal Running time: 40:23 (Tracks: 9)
Pagan Metal with Gothic and Technical Death influences. It's what I feel this is. Libria classify it as Avantgarde/Death Metal. Both the descriptions have their merits when it comes to Immortal Daughter Of Aesthetics (IDA). What I like about it, is that is not exactly standard and strays from one spectrum to the other. What I don't like about it, is that is not exactly standard and strays from one spectrum to the other. Let me explain. Libria are trying too hard to be death metal, whilst in my humble opinion they could have been the perfect replacement for the Martin Walkyier era of Skyclad. When they use the Pagan influences together with the Gothic ones and their heavy music, it sounds exactly like the best sort of Folk Metal. Pleasant, good, rocking and interesting. One song that has got it completely right is Space Blue. At moments they really go for broke, with fast double bass and almost black metal-like guitar riffs, they only are able to hold on for a few seconds. It makes me forget all that I heard before, because it takes away from the pleasure instead of adding to it. Therefore IDA has become an album with two very different faces. Libria might want to choose which way they go.
Visit their website: http://www.libraofficial.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/libria.project

63/100

LITTLE RIVER BAND - Cuts like a Diamond (CD) Australia October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock / Adult Orientated Rock / Smooth and Softrock Running time: 48:09 (Tracks: 11)
The Australian Little River Band is alive again! After sixteen studio albums, four live albums, five compilation albums, thirty five singles, selling thirty million units and a very successful period between 1975 and 1986 in their home county and in the USA, the band will release their new album on the Italian Frontiers Records label in August, what a surprise! I received a download copy from our editor in chief Mario and I couldn't wait to play these songs through my media player. After their last studio album" Test of time" , released in 2004, the band concerted over a hundred times a year, but there wasn't any input on new material or fresh songs. But "Cuts like a diamond" is filled with vintage sounding new LRB, although the oldest member of the current LRB-line-up, Wayne Nelson (he owns the rights of the name) joined the band in 1980 and the band is touring the USA extensively from June until December.
You can discuss the fact that there's no John Farnham, Graham Goble, Glenn Shorrock, Stephen Housden( playing only additional guitars next to guitarist / vocalist Greg Hind) and Beeb Birtles ( well-known and some original members of the band) on " Cuts like a diamond", but you can't ignore the fact that this is a solid album either: compact songs, great vocal harmonies, solid playing, smooth and silk, easy in the ear- melodies and a fair and open production (although the sound is a bit ' auto cue-ish ' and flat sometimes). Good release for the fans of soft melodic rock!
Visit their website: http://www.littleriverband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/littleriverbandmusic
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/littleriverband

80/100

MAGISTER TEMPLI – Lucifer Leviathan Logos (CD) Norway October 2013 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 36:49 (Tracks: 7)
If you like old school heavy metal (with doom influences of the `70`s), than you will possibly like the “debut” album of the Norwegian band Magister Temple. The band was founded in 2008 by vocalist Abraxas and guitar player Baphomet. Quite soon, Patriark – guitars, Akoman – bass, and Grimmdun – drums joined the band and they released the EP Lao Sabao! The title of the new album is a combination of the titles of 3 different songs on the album.
The album starts convincing with the opener “Master of the Temple”. This a nice heavy metal track with an occult sauce. My personal favourite is the fourth song “Leviathan”. This song contains some nice 70`s based doom elements, but there is also room for nice up-tempo parts.
I do not exactly how to criticize this album. Sometimes, the heavy, quite threatening music catches me (like during the convincing opener) but sometimes I get distracted by other things. The production of the album is quite ok, I have only some doubts about the clean and “cold” recordings of the voice. I have listened the album several times and I am still struggling. It has definitely some real nice parts, but it does not attract me completely. Besides this, if you like old school heavy metal, you can give this album a chance!
Visit their website: htttp://magistertempli.bandcamp.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/magister-templi/102129379880020
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/magistertemplitheband

68/100

MAGNUS KARLSSON – Freefall (CD) Sweden October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 52:41 (Tracks: 12)
The Swedish 1973-born Magnus Karlsson played in the band of former Alien singer Pete Sandberg (Midnight Sun), before starting his own band, the Malmö based furious quartet Last Tribe, making three albums and gaining rave reviews worldwide. In 2004 Magnus was asked to write and play music for the artists of the Frontiers Records label, home for many melodic rockers. Magnus accepted the offer and was brought in as the guitar wizard behind Allen/Lande, Starbreaker (with TNT's Tony Harnell), solo records of Tony o' Hara, Bob Catley (Magnum' singer), Planet Alliance, Kiske/Sommerville and The Codex. All these aforementioned releases have that Karlsson' brand: songs with a very melodic approach, a heavy backbone and a virtouso lead guitar. With his Allan Holdsworth-like technique, his phrasing and his neo-classical references Magnus has played himself in the picture and was added to the Primal Fear- line up, being the mad axeman next to another six string giant, the Saarbrücken- born Alex Beyrodt. But Magnus wanted more, a solo album with his songs, each written for a vocalist he had in mind. Serafino Perugiano, head of the Frontiers' staff, helped to realize his ultimate wish.
And what a guest list this Magnus has: Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen, Royal Hunt,The Codex), Tony Harnell, Russel Allen, David Readman, Ralf Scheepers, Richard Bengtsson (his former Last Tribe friend), Herman Saming( from ACT), Mike Andersson (Full Force, Star One) and Rick Altzi (Masterplan, Hermann Frank, At Vance), all vocalists of the major league, lending their skills to this album. Most of the instruments were played by Magnus, who also took care for the dry, modern, warm and heavy production. Daniel Flores played drums, he also mixed and mastered the album of his friend. Now what about the songs on this album? It is easy, with nine vocalists (Magnus excluded, he sings on a couple of tracks: " Heading out, Ready or not, On fire") of the highest order you can't go wrong. The album has a lot of diversity, a lot of musical and textual themes, but most of the songs will grab you and hunt you! The song" Stronger" ,sung by Tony Harnell is too poppy for me and I'm not very fond of the David Readman sung " Us against the world" . As a vocalist Magnus stays firm, but his vocals are outclassed by a lot of his musical buddies. This is one of the surprises from the last months! Get this Frontiers' release a.s.a.p.!
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/magnuskarlssonsfreefall
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/magnuskarlsson

89/100

MASTERS OF METAL – Idem (MCD) USA October 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Speed Thrash Metal Running time: 16:48 (Tracks: 4)
MASTERS OF METAL is the band launched by seasoned metal veterans and current members of AGENT STEEL: Juan Garcia (guitars), Bernie Versailles (guitars/lead vocals), Robert Cardenas (bass/backing vocals), Rigo Amezcua (drums). After all the disasters Agent Steel had the last few years the Los Angeles based 4-piece band decided on moving forward and completing their new material with Bernie Versailles taking over lead vocal duties. Pity if you know that the band have already played under the Masters of Metal name at the Keep it True festival a few years ago with singer extraordinary Rick Mythiasin (Steel Prophet, Mystic Force, ex-Taraxacum, ex-Pantera)and James Rivera (but this one sings in nearly EVERY US band). Not the least names if you ask me! Okay, everybody wants Agent Steel back with John Cyriis but believe me; that will never ever happen again! I know both John Cyriis and the other Agent Steel members good and im sure they will never reunite again after the last failed reunions……. Well, this is a new start for the band and I think its a good decision not to start a struggle again over the AS name and focus on the future with this “new” name. What to expect? Well musically the band continues with composing awesome good metalsongs, full speed ahead like always. Typical later Agent Steel style (Bruce Hall era). If you didn't like the high pitch vocals of John Cyriis and/or Bruce Hall; you will love this EP! Food for fans of Testament, Overkill & Megdadeth; just to name a few. Recorded by Bill Metoyer (FATES WARNING, TROUBLE, GWAR), and mixed by Bernie Versailles. The 4th track anthem “Lunacy” features lead guest vocals by James Rivera (again) and Sean Peck (CAGE/DEATH DEALER). The group released a promotional video for the track “Chameleon” and just recently released a follow up video to the song "M K Ultra". No Remorse Records in Greece licensed the CD and will be distributing the material along with live in the studio bonus tracks. The legend continues from the Masters of Metal – Agents of Steel.
Website: http://www.mastersofmetal.tv
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mastersofmetal.tv

82/100

MECHANICAL GOD CREATION – Artifact Of Annihilation (CD) Italy October 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Technical Death Metal Running time: 42:57 (Tracks: 11)
Mechanical God Creation is everything I expect of a good band in this genre; fast, furious and very capable. This runs down my spine at a god-fearing pace, because the songs make sense. The instrumentation is good and the drummer can keep up; too easily if you ask me. Not to mention the female voice, it fits like a glove. Angela Gossow has found a worthy rival! This sounds like Italy's answer to Arch Enemy. When MGC plays, they do it with gusto, and they are not afraid to slow down and become melodic when it is needed. Especially the solo's are real gems that provide the necessary breaks, preventing the album becoming a speedfest without pause. In just under 43 minutes Artifact Of Annihilation gets your heart racing, your blood pumping furiously and your foot tapping. The only thing I hold back on is trying to headbang to MGC; I don't want my neck to snap!
Visit their website: http://www.mechanicalgodcreation.it
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/mechanical-god-creation MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mechanicalgodcreation

82/100

MINOTAURUS – The Call (CD) Germany October 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Celtic Folk Metal Running time: 47:46 (Tracks: 12)
This German band Minotaurus already exists over more than 15 years and I've never heard of them or caught any attention. Not a very promising start to throw this one in my cd player because, be honest, normally after so long there must be ringing some bells anyhow. Several EP's and full length cd 's are thrown on the metal market before and this one “The Call” is their fourth and according to the bio of this six-pack, heaviest attempt. Melodic Celtic Folk Metal is what they bring and this term justify exactly what they do. First track “Free Our Souls” sounds splendid and catchy so I'm really pleasantly impressedf. All fine, clean vocals, instead of the common used black metal screaming versus female soprano, we hear by Oliver Klump and Julia Hofmeister and they are melted splendidly together. Two of the songs are song in German, the rest in English but that doesn't disturb. Musically and vocally some tracks are really romantic like “Wanna Be Your Wife” and “”Love Song”. Normally after a few times listening I come in the temptation to delete such stuff, but this band comes away with it. It's brought so damn good that it keeps your attention. Just let yourself drift away back in time. Also the more heavier stuff like “The Call”, the epic “Varus Battle” and the killer song “Chains of Captivity” (Manowar wish they could write this nowadays) impress in sound and dynamic. The songs have a true Celtic feel without exaggerating it. Textual the songs are about the good old days when man stand up for their family and teaching their sons how to wield the sword ( “Father and Son”). This is the perfect band for festivals were people dress up and relive those days, like Phantasy Fair or Castle Fest. A real pleasant surprise this band and the reason I've never heard of them i regret. For some of you this band may sound too sweet and gentle but I say; give it a chance; it's surprisingly good.
Visit their website: http://www.minotaurus.com
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/minotaurusBand

78/100

NIGHTGLOW – We Rise (CD) Italy October 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Metal Running time: 39:51 (Tracks: 8)
Nightglow was formed to play English 80's metal. Not only that, they started a project in which they were a tribute band to Manowar. Both those feats give me cause for hope, as the combination could actually be very fascinating and exciting. We Rise would then be a well chosen title. And musically it doesn't disappoint. Simple heavy metal with a bite will never grow out of fashion. This is definitely stuck in a pleasant time warp, where even the more melodic pieces make We Rise stronger. The songs are heavy, diverse and make you want to bang your head furiously. Evil Dust even has a hint of the old Exodus in it's riff, great! Until singer Daniele “Abba” Abate opens his mouth. That's when my darkest fears come true, alas. He just doesn't fit the bill. Maybe it's just me, but he is too light for music, doesn't pack enough oomph. He sounds too gentle. As these guys used to be a Manowar tribute I was hoping for more Eric Adams-like quality. It was in vain. So if the voice is no obstacle for you, Nightglow is a great one to go for. I happily give it a miss.
Visit their website: http://www.nightglow.it
Recordlabel: http://www.logicillogic.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/nightglow-heavy-metal-band

59/100

NOTTI DEL TERRORE – Havoc (CD) Belgium October 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Industrial Running time: 61:40 (Tracks: 8)
Belgium industrial act Notti Del Terrore positively surprises many people with their debut release ‘MX D35TRX10N.’ The aggression was placed in well-crafted songs that were qualitatively good. I remember being quite enthusiastic at the time. Now, sometime later, the band is back with their second studio effort and first full length entitled ‘Havoc,’ which the band put out on their own. The first thing I noticed, is that the band has maintained their musical level. In fact, they’ve made quite a progression. With the songwriting, but also with the production and sound. When I first looked at the song titles and lyrics, I must admit the term ‘High School English’ came to mind. But when I read these words in combination with the songs themselves, it just fits!! The aggressive material askes for these short, powerfull and to the point approach. So my bad for judging too fast…The root of the music is still Industrial metal, but because of the use of clean vocals, breaks and unexpected turns the band manages to keep it fresh and interesting. Good examples of this are the album opener ‘Recharge’ as well as ‘Fixless’ and ‘My Name.’ production wise, the band also did a very good job. The sound is full and heavy and when you consider the fact that this sound was created in their own home studio, you got to give them credits for that. For those who liked Notti Del Terrore’s previous effort, you will most certainly enjoy this one. ‘Havoc’ is also interesting for those who enjoy bands like Fear Factory, Ministry and Killswith Engage.
Visit their website: http://www.nottidelterrore.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nottidelterrore
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nottidelterrore

82/100

ON A BRIDGE OF DUST – Facing the Opposite (CD) Italy October 2011 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Progressive Rock Running time: 35:12 (Tracks: 9)
On a Bridge of Dust (OABOD) was founded in 2008 and they released their first album in 2011, entitled Facing the Opposite. However, it took 2 years before this album was launched to a broader audience. OABOD comes from Verona (Italy) and exists of 4 young people: Timothy Bertolini-vocals/guitar, Daniele Pasetto-vocals/guitar, Gherardo Sabaini-bass guitar and Jacopo Frapporti-drums. The band calls itself “a project fueled by a common passion for alternative metal and post progressive.” This is almost all the information which is available on the internet about this band. In my opinion, this is quite strange. If you release an album by yourself, you have to take care for enough publicity on the internet. So this is a point of attention. The main reason that I am saying this is that I like the album! The music took immediately my interest when the first song started. It is hard to describe their style, it is a mixture of (hard) rock with progressive / alternative influences (think for example of Tool and Porcupine Tree). The band links a fresh and modern sound with heavy played progressive (metal) parts and alternative rock. The production of the album deserves also a compliment, the music sounds fresh! The accent is on heavy rock but there are also some moments that the band temporises (Outcast). Besides this, I have to compliment the singer for his English pronunciation. Normally you immediately hear the a band comes from Italy, here, this is different. Summarizing, this is a nice piece of music! If you want you can download some songs from the band`s myspace site!
Visit their website: http://onabridgeofdust.bandcamp.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/on-a-bridge-of-dust
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/onabridgeofdust

85/100

ONSLAUGHT – V I (CD) United Kingdom October 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 39:17 (Tracks: 9)
Uk trashers Onslaught come up with their 6th attack, simply called VI. I think everyone in metal knows their 1986 statement “The Force” which still is one of the purest and finest thrash albums in history. I know I'm talking blasphemy when I'm going to say that these days are gone …. VI is an album that comes in like a pulverizing bulldozer ! From now on you can easily say that Onslaught has at least two classics behind their name. Wow, what a killer album this is. Of course the Slayer/Exodus/Testament influences are as thick as the hagelslag (you know that tiny chocolate pieces we Dutch prefer) I used to put on my bread, but I don't give a f**k. One hell of a ride this is, which starts with the short melodic instrumental “A New World Order” followed by one of the most aggressive Onslaught tracks ever; the awesome “Chaos is King”. This track is like a devastating sledgehammer and live it's gone be an immediate knock out. If hope they know what they're doing if they plan opening their live shows with this one …. Follower “Fuel For My Fire” speeds down but grooves like hell with damn fine pounding drums by new kid Mic Mourihan. (what a beast on drums) Damn fine choice to get him in the line-up. “Children of the Sand” is my favorite track. A Middle East vibe, lyrically reflecting to the situation over there, pounding drums, shredding guitar solo's, awesome vocals by one of the best trash shouters Sy Keeler (what a giant !), yeah wake me up for this kind of stuff. “Slaughterize” is up next and well, ehm this track couldn't have been named better. And so it goes on and on with killer tracks like “Enemy of my Enemy”, “Cruci-Fiction” and “Dead Man Walking”. Onslaught offers you with VI a splendid blender of everything a fine portion of trash needs. Nigel Rockett delivers his best maniacal riffs, newcomer Mic Mourihan is an absolute accession and Sy's screaming, yet melodic vocals sound better than ever. Nothing really new they offer, but it sounds so damn great that there's only one button left on your cd player; the repeat mode. VI is a steamroller ready to trash you down. A big thumbs up gentleman!
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/onslaugthuk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/onslaughtuk

88/100

PAGAN ALTAR – Judgement of the Dead (CD) United Kingdom October 2013 Michel van Hassel
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 39:41 (Tracks: 7)
Pagan Altar is a NWOBHM-band playing Doom Metal formed in the late seventies. Just as obscure as this band seems to be is the unclearity about their first release. After having recorded a demo-cassette, called “Pagan Altar”, in 1982 it took until 1998 for the same songs to be released as a cd. That release was mistakenly named “Volume I” instead of “Judgement of the Dead”. On the album itself “The Dance of the Banshee” was wrongly named “Acoustics”. The sound of a choir marks the start of this cd as it hits off with the song “Pagan Altar”. The sound is very obscure as the singer starts singing in a lamenting manner. The overall sound brings you back to the eighties. The singer sounds a bit annoying on some parts but the guitar playing on the other hand is great. The second track, called “In the Wake of Armadeus” has a doomy start but the tempo goes up a bit later on. The core of this band still consists of father Terry (vocals) and son Alan Jones (guitars). On the title-track, a spooky sounding organ kicks off the song that has many resemblances with some of the Manilla Road-material. On the fourth track, “The Black Mass” drums, keyboards and spoken word mark the beginning. This track has a huge Black Sabbath-vibe to it. The vocals do not appeal to me but it belongs to the overall obscure sound. The guitar playing is superb again. There is more speed in “Night Rider” without letting go the doomy vibe produced by bass and drums. Next on is the instrumental “The Dance of the Banshee” which consists of just over one and a half minutes of moody acoustic guitars. The last track, “Reincarnation” is also the longest track with its eight minutes and forty-seven minutes. It is a typical slow, doomy and epic song, with plenty space for some excellent guitars-parts. This remastered album has a good sound although the typical eighties-sound is present throughout the seven songs. If you want to complete your collection this piece of history is a good choice. If you are used to modern-time recording techniques one should better stay away from “Judgement of the Dead”.
Visit their website: http://www.paganaltar.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/pagan-altar
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/paganaltar

76/100

PAT TRAVERS – Can Do (CD) Canada October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock with Blues influences Running time: 57:35 (Tracks: 12)
Pat Travers ' new album will be coming out soon on Frontiers Records, The Italian melodic rock label with its wide roster of heroes from then and now. The Toronto born and Florida based Canuck had his heydays in the late seventies: great sales, single chart successes (Boom Boom out go the lights, Snortin' Whiskey) big tours with Ted Nugent, Rush, Rainbow, Black Oak Arkansas and many others, great album reviews and Pat Travers became a six string hero; many axemen from these days count the man to their favourite guitar players ( Paul Gilbert, Alex Lifeson from Rush, Kirk Hammet, Richie Kotzen and Nuno Bettencourt ( from Extreme)). Pat's career crashed in the mid-eighties of the former century, but the man made his comeback with a more blues based style of cover songs and new material. And the man keeps on touring, I saw a concert of his band supporting a live album (Stick with what you know- Live in Europe 2007) in Zoetermeer and was flabbergasted by his vital songs, his band and his playing.
" Can do" is his new baby, containing twelve songs that remind me of the ' vintage Pat Travers Band' from way, way back! Backed by a solid band ( Pat is reunited with his longtime sticksman Sandy Genarro, second guitarist Kirk McKim and bass player Rodney O' Quinn, Doug Beare and Carl Cleaver play keyboards and synths on some tracks) Pat plays his socks off. His voice has gone a little raspy, avoiding high pitches and notes, but the hero's guitar works are delicious! He has that killer touch and tone again he's famous for. Just listen to the firecrackers on " Can do" : " Stand up, give it up", " Wanted", the pumping title track, the AOR -ish " Diamond Girl " , " Long time gone" , " Here comes the rain again (yes, a cool rendition of the Eurythmics- classic)", "Armed and dangerous with its great Southern boogie and the husky vocals, " Dust and bone", the great ballad and the beautiful instrumental " Keep calm and carry on". Pat Travers has started a North American Tour in June ( he was in Amersfoort at the end of May playing a warming up concert at the Highlands Festival) and a European Tour in the fall of 2013 is already in the can, just be there and get this album! Welcome back, Pat Travers Band !
Visit their website: http://www.pattravers.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pattraversband
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/pattraversmusic

84/100

PAYLOAD – Odyssey Dawn (CD) Finland October 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal / Hard Rock Running time: 47:56 (Tracks: 9)
Payload comes from Finland and was formed in 2008. This product by the fine name “Odyssey Dawn” is their debut. Unfortunately the name of this product is more exciting than what these Fins have produced. I'm still a bit confused because what the band brings isn't that bad but overall but it lacks a sort of enthusiasm, variety, etc. to be short, it doesn't light my fire. It's like a boat rippling on the ocean without catching wind. The instrumentalists aren't bad and the vocals aren't either but it's all monotonous, it doesn't sparkle. Maybe something went wrong in the mix or production or it is the band itself, I'm not certain of it, but this product isn't worth checking out.If you want to check them anyway, Payload plays pure eighties metal/rock like our own pride Picture (who's far better, let there be no misunderstanding !) for example. So this really is my first acquaintance with a product from Finland that doesn't impress. So also this land has it's failures, but hey we're all human. Next time some pepper in the ass guys.
Visit their website: http://www.payloadband.info
Recordlabel: http://www.shadowrecords.fi
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/payloadfinland
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/payloadfinland

50/100

POWERIZED – My Creed (MCD) The Netherlands October 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Symphonic Power Metal Running time: 22:21 (Tracks: 4)
It sounds a bit arrogantly to say that I discovered this band BUT I was the first booker that took attention to this group of youngsters from the Breda area in The Netherlands. The band was formerly known as YOUR SOUL PLEASE and during that period (half June 2012) they ended as second best band of the international Emergenza band contest! A young energetic band with influences from bands like Edguy, Iron Maiden, Avantasia. Later on in 2012 the band decided to change their name into Powerized and I was the first to book them under this name on my yearly Mario's Metal Meeting. That day they played as second band and the people that where witness of this all agreed; this band, and especially their singer Nick Holleman, is going to be big!!! I go to concerts for over 30 years now and never ever a dutch singer could give me goosebumps!!! Nick Holleman did and he did it the whole set! His biggest influence is Tobias Sammet from Avantasia but believe me; this guy is much, MUCH better!! On 23 June I went to the CD release party of this band (see Live Reviews) with my 7 year old son Jorn (also a big fan!). This MCD has 4 quality songs on it with a more than reasonable production & a nice booklet. Opener “My Creed” is already one of the best songs they have and again; goosebumps!! The more sing-a-long song “Beware the Shadows” is okay but after the title song a bit standard powermetal. Third song is an awesome ballad “Shelter from the Light” and gives me more than only goosebumps; even my eyes are getting wet; if music is emotion; POWERIZED is EMOTION!!! This song is so perfect and shows again Nick's vocal spectrum; unbelievable!!! Again; this is the best metalsinger The Netherlands ever had!! We have to take care of him.
Please all; check this band out!! The deserve it!!! PS: Nick is at the moment of writing this review doing a 24 gig tour in the US with my friends from Vicious Rumors…..you cant hide talent ;-).Curious where his career will end…
Website: http://www.powerized.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/powerizedofficial

95/100

RAVEN – Rock Until You Drop – A Long Day's Journey (2DVD) United Kingdom/USA October 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Athletic Rock Running time: over 4,5 hours!!!!!!
Once self-described as "athletic rock", Raven burst onto the NWOBHM scene as a bundle of energy, with a hyperactive metal style that was both representative of the period and yet undeniably original as well. Their first three albums are defining NWOHBM statements, truly essential purchases. With their stardom on the rise, they signed to Atlantic Records, and it all fell apart, the band apparently falling victims to various marketing/management decisions. Instead of cashing in on their energetic image, the new style wound up damaging the band almost irrepairably, the albums from that period lacking the spark and imagination that had made their first trio of albums so special. Eventually the Gallagher brothers righted the ship, with Pentagram drummer Joe Hasselvander replacing the popular Rob "Wacko" Hunter, and in the intervening years several quality albums have been recorded, albums that largely erase the Atlantic years but arguably still aren't quite up to those early classics. They're still together and still a popular act! This is their bio according the BNR pages.
In 2010 I also reviewed their latest studio album “Walk Through Fire” which was their first release after nearly 10 years. In the maintime I booked the band twice in The Netherlands and its unbelievable to see how popular these guys still are! Last February I booked the band at our local Little Devil club in Tilburg, The Netherlands and it was sold out within a few weeks (over 160 people)!!! Again they did a great show and I was proud to book this legendary band again after they headlined the first edition of my festival in 2007, Mario's Metal Meeting 1.
This double DVD is a very nice product in which we see the band backstage and on stage but also a lot of interviews with well known musician like; Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Chuck Billy (Testament), Dave Ellefson (Megadeth) and many more. The 2 disks together contain over 4,5 hours of concert footage from around the world, plus backstage footage. A lot of interviews with the band and the people mentioned above. This is a real story of over three decades of trailblazing metal mayhem!!!!!
Grab it at your local musicstore or order it online!!! Or even steal it!!! As long as you have it in your collection! Great documentary!!!
Website: http://www.ravenlunatics.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/raven/137886919586598

90/100

ROBIN BECK - Underneath (CD) USA October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 41:03 (Tracks: 11)
Robin Beck started as a background singer for Luther Vandross, Chaka Kahn, Leo Sayer, Cher, The Dukes, Irene Cara and Melissa Manchester. In 1979 her first album, the disco orientated " Sweet Talk" , came out, but the album wasn't successful. Robin started singing jingles and commercials and 1988 she was asked for the Coca Cola- jingle " First Time" , the watermark for her and her career so far. The single became an instant hit and it topped the charts in many countries. " First time" cleared the path for Robin, making two great and quite successful albums (especially in Germany, where Robin was awarded with the RSH Golden Award for her radio friendly hit and music). In 1994 her career was over and Robin left the stage and the public eye to start a family (she married singer James Christian) and she wanted to sing commercials and jingles again. In 2004 she came back with a voice that stood the test of time, with a lot of musical experience, with an environment of strong friends and musicians and a record company believing in her. She made great albums from 2005 until now with stunning, strong songs, great musicianship and vocals many female newbies would be proud of.
On her new album " Underneath" Robin has added a new song writing team to her Denander /Christian camp. Barry Jay, Glen Burtnik, Charlie Mason (Miley Cyrus), Mark Smith (Cinema Bizarre), the Swedish Deb-sisters (winners of the Eurovision 2013 song contest)and Fiona Flanagan are some new musical friends to reform her stylistic approach. And it worked out fine. "Underneath" has more variety, lots of poprock nods, more multiformity and more musical depth. Robin combines her own eighties' style (the stunning Fiona-cover song, " Ain't that just like love" ,"Burning down", the duet with her husband, the great Tommy Denander-penned "Ya can't fight love" , "I swear the nights" (very Whitesnake-like) and " Follow you, originally from Glen Burtnik, almost a vintage Robin Beck track) with new modernized musical and vocal elements and surprises (the funky " Check your attitude", the poppy overdosed "Catfight" , the title track and some elements of the opener, the great "Wrecking ball" ). All done in a great way, a broad crossover perspective, with a fine musical approach and a fair and open production (I think this album had even reached more impact with a better production). Good! LiveWire / Cargo Records will release this album at the end of August.
Visit their website: http://www.robinbeckrocks.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cargorecords.co.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/robin-beck
MySpace: https://myspace.com/robinbeck

86/100

RUTHLESS STEEL – Die in the Night (MCD) Greece October 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Speed / Power Metal Running time: 16:47 (Tracks: 4)
Ruthless Steel is a Greek female fronted heavy metal band, which was formed in May of 2012. The band consists of Kostopoulou Aliki on vocals, Giorgakis Nikos on bass, Papadimitriou Constantine on guitar and Andreas Kar on drums.
The band's influences are mostly associated with the decade of the 1980s, like Judas Priest, Warlock, Riot etc. Around September 2012 the band started recordings for their first EP “Die in the Night” and this CD was released on the Greek label Iron on Iron.
Despite the fact that this band is very young the quality of this nice produced MCD is very good! Nice musicianship and an awesome singing (and goodlooking) Aliki on vocals. Pure Oldschool Heavy Metal with female vocals that a lot of male singers will be jealous of. Aliki says she is mainly influenced by Doro Pesch but believe me; she's much better than Doro!! Listen for example to the titletrack “Die in the Night” with awesome high pitching vocals!!! During the last edition of the Keep it True festival in Germany she gave me this cd for a review on MMM. A few weeks later she asked my opinion about this release and I was so positive about it that I invited the band to play my yearly festival, Mario's Metal Meeting, on 2 November 2013. That says enough! Check this band out during MMM7; you wont regret it!
Website: http://ruthlesssteel.wix.com/ruthlesssteelweb
Recordlabel: http://www.irononiron.gr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ruthlesssteelofficial

80/100

SAMMY HAGAR AND FRIENDS - Sammy Hagar and friends (CD) USA October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock / Rock Running time: 37:38 (Tracks: 10)
After his Van Halen-days Sammy Hagar didn't had to worry about his future, his prospects and his career. He had made a fortune fronting the major league rock band of the world, he had built an empire in the tequila business(Cabo Wabo), partnering with a family in Guadalajara that had made tequila recipes for more than eighty years and concerning his musical in depth career he had gained the status of a great singer, a frontman par excellence, a more than capable guitarist / songwriter and a big geezer overall during his Montrose days, his solo escapades and his time next to the six string eruption Eddy Van Halen. Sammy took the time to choose a band around him, songwriters that shared musical interests (Marti Frederiksen, Damon Johnson, amongst others). Sammy formed Los Tres Gusanos (the three worms) with David Lauser and Michael Anthony (sometimes replaced by Robert Berry), formed Planet Us (with Neal Schon and Deen Castronovo from Journey), spent two years in a Van Halen-comeback, formed Sammy and The Warboritas and Chickenfoot (with Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Anthony and Joe Satriani) and now he's reforming a project with Neal Schon and Chad Smith again(called HSAS, named after a unique 1984 collaboration with Neal, releasing one fantastic album (Through the fire)). Frontiers Records from Italy wanted Sammy to record some stuff he had written and pre-recorded with friends and the result, simply called " Sammy Hagar and Friends" is in my media player.
Frontiers is planning this release for the end of September and for the Sammy-fans and the rock fans in general it will be a feast, that's for sure. Sammy had some great songwriters flown in for this gem: Jay Buchanan (from the great Rival Sons), Ronnie Dunn and Ray Wylie Hubbart (famous country artists), Don Nix (Stax-records), Dennis Hill and Kylie Homme. His list of musical friends is also something to be jealous about: Almost everyone that had ever belonged to the Sammy Hagar ' brand' is there: Neal Schon, Chad Smith and Michael Anthony (on the super track " Personal Jesus, a great rendition of the Depeche Mode-classic), David Lauser, Kid Rock and Joe Satriani (on "Knockdown dragout"), Heart's Nancy Wilson (duetting on "All we need is an island"), Toby Keith (duetting on the Jimmy Buffet song" Margarita Ville), his Warboritas' friends Mona Gnader (bass girl), Bill Church, Vic Johnson and Dave Zirbel (on guitars), Denny Carmassi, John Cuniberti (Joe Satriani drummer now taking care of the co-production, the mixing and engineering, the percussion and some drum tracks). The songs have a great variety but the compositions stand firmly next to the three cover songs (Sammy covers also "Ramblin' gamblin' man” of Bob Seger). The fun factor and the musical surprises are everywhere, I like this album quite a lot! The Deluxe Edition of this ten track album has a surprise: a fantastic rendition of Space Station # 5, the Montrose classic song, recorded live from the Montrose Tribute Concert at The Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco in April 2012 with Joe Satriani on guitar. What a great album, I don't think the creative heydays of the Red Rocker are over, maybe they've just begun!
Visit their website: http://www.redrocker.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sammyhagar
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/sammyhagar

82/100

SILENTLIE – Blood Under Snow (MCD) Italy October 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 24:21 (Tracks: 5)
I just don't know what to do with Blood Under Snow. Love it? Hate it? Ignore it? Why do I ask those questions? Because the album gives me mixed feeling during the full 24:21 minutes. It's sometimes great, annoying at times and forgettable at moments. This is a mix between heavy, gothic and melodic metal, jumping from one to another at will. The one good thing about that is that it does keep your ears and mind occupied, as you just can't shut off. Singer Giorgia Sacco Taz has a good voice that is in keeping with the music Silentlie plays, she gives the whole EP a despondent feel by sounding as if she's constantly in pain. The rest of the band is a good backdrop for her lyrics. Blood Under Snow hasn't come cheap, as recording in the Palo Alto Studio in Italy and mastering the EP in Finnvox Sudios in Finland does take some funding. Unfortunately they haven't spent money on a producer. That might have made Blood Under Snow sound more coherent. A valuable lesson learnt, I say.
Visit their website: http://www.reverbnation.com/silentlie
Recordlabel: http://www. logicillogic.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/silentlieband
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/silentlie

60/100

SINNER – Touch of Sin II (CD) Germany October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 49:32 (Tracks: 14)
The German band Sinner was formed in 1980 by Matt Sinner (real name: Matthias Lasch) in Stuttgart. The band jumped quickly on the ' European hard rock and metal-bandwagon' , many English and German bands had small successes with (like Accept, Raven, etc. ). The first album of their extensive back catalogue, " Wild 'n Evil", was released on the tiny Sri-Lanca Records in 1982. Sinner tried to sound like the big acts of that era (Thin Lizzy, Saxon, early Accept and AC/DC), a bit of a hit' n miss offspring, but many songs drew the attraction of other labels, trying to catch ' future big fishes' . Scratch Records took care of the second Sinner-release " Fast Decision", a big step forward and an album filled with great tracks and good music. Karl-Uwe Walterbach from the Noise Label (specialized in fierce metal and speedy releases, founded in 1983, later transformed in Sanctuary Records(until their bankruptcy in 2007), their releases are owned and distributed by Universal Music nowadays) was interested in the music of Matt and his friends. Noise Records released the Sinner' records from 1985 until 1994. These albums (' Danger Zone, Touch of Sin, Comin' out Fighting, Dangerous Charm') were quite successful (especially the first two I've mentioned) and quite good, but you could hear the band searching for a new style, an own Sinner-spectrum, a unique Sinner-brand of songs.
In 1994/1995 two Noise-compilations were released with songs from the early Sinner-period. After that many line-up changes took place, Mausoleum Records and AFM-Records were taking care of the records, but Sinner found their own traditional, heavy, melodic hard rock-style, playing a lot in Germany, with musicians that also participate in a lot of great German bands as well (Farmer Boys, Primal Fear, Rage, The New Black, Voodoo Circle, Edguy, etc.), selling more than a million records worldwide. The new Sinner record is in my media player now. It is called 'Touch of sin 2' , obviously referring to the days Sinner was part of the Noise-roster. And yes indeed, the album is filled with re-recorded, modern sounding, vintage Sinner, filled with eleven songs that weren't available for a long period, because of the fact that the early Sinner-albums aren't for sale anymore and filled with three songs to please the fans, waiting for new Sinner-material since 2011. I like the new versions of the old songs, thickly produced by Achim Köhler and Matt himself, guested by Swedish songwriter- musician- mastermind Erik Martensson (Eclipse, WET, The Friday Nights), David Readman (Pink Cream'69, Voodoo Circle), Tom Naumann (Primal Fear) and Helker's impressive frontman Diego Valdez. The eighties' vibe is here, the songs have that powerful, that young, unprejudiced, open-mind-character of heavy music from that era, great stuff. Matt has chosen five tracks from ' Touch of Sin' , one track from 'Danger Zone', three tracks from ' Comin' out Fighting' and two tracks from ' Dangerous Charm'. The new tracks connect well with the known material from Matt Sinner and his musical career! Nice concept, great idea and a real pleasure to listen to! Extra news: The Matt Sinner solo album from 1990 (Back to the bullet ) has got a rerelease as well, featuring a bonus track ( “She's got the look “( not the Roxette-song)). A nice album from back then again.
Visit their website: http://www.matsinner.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/matsinnerofficial
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/sinnerofficial

80/100

SISTER SIN – Dance of the Wicked (CD) Sweden October 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 43:59 (Tracks: 12)
What! Another new album from this brilliant Swedish rockers? Unfortunately not, but that would have been awkward because their latest awesome attack “Now and Forever” was released late 2012. This piece of silver contains a re-release of their first 2003 album “Dance of the Wicked” completed with demo tracks, covers and a DVD with all their music videos. Well, this release is a must have to complete your catalogue, if it was only for the awesome videos. Musically it shows how much the band evolved to the metal, wrecking machine which they are nowadays. During the original tracks the band almost sounds sweet and lovely comparing to the filth spitting furious rock' roll they represent now. Okay, you can hear this is Sister Sin, musically it's not bad, it rocks but it doesn't kick as much ass like their later albums. Liv has made the greatest progress, here she sounds almost gentle compared to the stage tiger she is now. But hey, this was 10 ! years ago, so I don't complain, it shows evolution here. The demo tracks “Minor You (Major Me)” and “Writings on the Wall” are far better and scream for a live performance. Yes, this is the Sister Sin I like. Brilliant tracks again. Very good quality for a demo, almost unbelievable and these two alone justify getting this disc. The Mötorhead cover “Rock'n Roll” (featuring Metal Queen Doro Pesch) which was also available as single in 2011 completes this digi pack which is a great chance to get you everything of this awesome band. Take this chance, complete your catalogue and enjoy!
Visit their website: http://www.sistersin.com
Recordlabel: http://www.victoryrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sistersin MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sistersin

80/100

SOULHEALER – Chasing The Dream (CD) Finland October 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Heavy Metal Running time: 46:48 (Tracks: 10)
"Chasing The Dream" is the second album of Finnish Melodic Metal band SOULHEALER, and the band's first one released on Pure Legend Records. Since the band was formed in late 2009, SOULHEALER has released the four track EP "Dreamcatcher" (2010) and their debut album "The Kings Of Bullet Alley" (2011) so far. Personally I am not familiar with these two previous releases. So, "Chasing The Dream" is my first acquaintance with SOULHEALER. Well, the band plays melodic Heavy Metal / Hard Rock like in the mid eighties. Not strange that by listening to "Chasing The Dream" bands such as SCORPIONS, OZZY OSBOURNE, PRETTY MAIDS, JUDAS PRIEST and VAN HALEN comes in mind. For example, the guitar riff of "Ties Of Time" sounds like a riff from Ozzy's "Blizzard Of Ozz" (1980) album, and "Never Turn My Back On You" (4:14) reminds of OZZY OSBOURNE during his "Bark At The Moon" (1983) and "The Ultimate Sin" (1986) period. SOULHEALER exists of Jori Kärki (vocals), Sami Mikkonen (guitar), Teemu Kuosmanen (guitar, backing vocals), Pasi Laakkonen (bass) and Jani Nyman (drums). Musically, the songs are really sounding nice, and most of them are catchy as well. Only, I do not like the vocals of Jori Kärki that much. He isn't really bad, but he's also not a really great singer. Nevertheless, "Chasing The Dream" is nothing more than a nice and average melodic Metal album. The songs which I like the most are "Don't Look Back" (4:09), the title track "Chasing The Dream" (3:56), "Done For Good" (3:54), "Ties Of Time" (4:41) and "Finally Free" (4:06). Well, if you like melodic Metal / Hard Rock like during the eighties, then maybe "Chasing The Dream" is an album for you to check out.
Visit their website: http://www.soulhealermusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.purelegend-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/soulhealermusic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/soulhealermusic

72/100

SPIRIT – Hommes Ou Diables (CD) France October 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal / Speed Metal Running time: 52:55 (Tracks: 11)
In 1988 the two brothers Thierry Tripenne (guitar) and Christophe Tripenne (bass) formed the French Heavy Metal band SPIRIT. But it lasted them quite a while before they finally released some material. The band released three demos, "Victimes" (1998), "Paradis Perdu" (2000) and "Nouvel Horizon" (2002). In 2006 SPIRIT released the 5 track EP "S'enfuit, Mourir…." and in 2008 their debut album "Effacer Qui Je Suis" was released. Now five years later, these French metalheads are back with their second album, titled "Hommes Ou Diables", which also features new singer Arnaud Ducrocq. Personally, this is my first acquaintance with SPIRIT, so I can't compare this second album with the band's previous releases. Well, with the first listen to "Hommes Ou Diables" SPIRIT immediately reminded me of other French Heavy Metal bands of the eighties, namely H-BOMB, SORTILEGE and TRUST. Also SPIRIT sings in their mother langue French. Anyway, with this album you'll get back in time into the eighties. Although I actually do not love the French language (I don't understand the French language at all), I must admit "Hommes Ou Diables" is a good true Heavy Metal album, with some Power- and Speed Metal influences as well. The production sounds good, and the songs which I like the most on "Hommes Ou Diables" are the awesome openings track "Vida Loca" (4:41), "Jerusalem" (4:39), "Fantomes" (4:29), "Johannesburg" (4:13), "Le Klan" (4:53) of which the guitar riff reminds of SAVATAGE and "Welcome To The USA" (4:08). The band exists of excellent musicians and Ducrocq is not a notable but just a nice singer. Any metalhead above 40, who liked the above mentioned bands already in the eighties, should check this band and album out.
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/spirit/191226907593379
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/spiritnew

74/100

SPIRITROW – The Signs (CD) Italy October 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Groove Metal Running time: 40:57 (Tracks: 10)
Listening to Spiritrow reminds me of Pro Pain, Entombed and most of all, Soulfly. The latter because of the distinctive voice of Joe Robazza. The music is a cross between the three bands mentioned. Close, but no cigar, as the quality that is on The Signs never comes near the originals. Does it make this a disappointing album? No, but the production does. If that had been done properly, and the mix between vocals and music would have tipped the other way, I would have gone past my reservations. Now the music is way back from the vocals, and that's wrong. Not only is Joe not a brilliant singer, my main complaint is that the current sound takes away the punch and aggressiveness that is there. The instruments just sound too lame. So, if they would have turned up the guitars, drums and bass and provided them with an extra edge, this would have sounded great. Now it's just like a glorified demo. Chance missed.

Recordlabel: http://www.fogfoundation.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/spiritrow
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/spiritrow

61/100

STEEL CITY – Now It's Time (CD) Italy October 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Alternative Metal Running time: 45:49 (Tracks: 10)
Steel City is an Italian band that claims to play alternative metal. Inspirations are mentioned, but whatever they come up with, it hasn't rubbed off. This is another example of a band that might do well in their own area, playing as a support act to the bigger bands coming to town. Or on small festivals, to start the show. With all due respect, these guys just aren't ready. If every song was like No One's Guilty, they would have reeled me in without any problem. But they aren't. There are good ideas on almost every title on Now It's Time, but they haven't been turned into great songs. It makes this into a painful listen, as you can sense that Steel City can do a lot better. If they master the art of turning ideas into proper songs, I'm their man. Now, I'm off.

Recordlabel: http://www. logicillogic.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/steel-city

55/100

STONE ORANGE – The Dreamcatcher (CD) Slovenia October 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 38:49 (Tracks: 11)
Slovenia rules ok! Stone Orange is one hell of an export item to have. When The Dreamcatcher starts with Broken Man it sounds like this is going to go the GNR way, but after the intro it turns into a very fine specimen of heavy melodic rock/metal. I Am is even more impressive, and I could go on and name the whole record song by song. That is unnecessary, as everything on The Dreamcatcher is of a very high standard and quality. The only slight issue you could have is that every now and then you can hear that singer/guitarist Marko Erjavec is not native in English. To me that is just a glitch on the Stone Orange experience. This is a great album, and Stone Orange is a band I definitely wish to see and hear more of.
Visit their website: http://www.stoneorange.com
Recordlabel: http://www.streetsymphonies.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stone-Orange
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stoneorange

85/100

SURPUISSANCE – Affame De Metal (CD) France October 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 41:59 (Tracks: 9)
Ha that is funny to have this cd in my hand. I have seen this band live in my local pub and thought it was really well live. Now when I listen to this album I must say that I still like them very much. This band is active since 2011 but they are not unknown in the scene. The singer has been active in the France heavy metal band Excalibur from the 80`s. What can you expect from them? Pure heavy metal with strong influences of bands like Anthrax. The guitar riffs are heavy and typical eighties. And then you got the drums that sound also like the eighties. Not filled with progressive parts but standard old school groove. The vocals are light screams that reminds me a bit of Kreator (but then a bit lighter). Everything is in France which I of course do not understand hahaha but is sounds aggressive! If you like bands like Trust, Anthrax or Sortilege then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/surpuissance

76/100

SWINGIN' UTTERS – Poorly Formed (CD) USA October 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Punk / Folk Punk Running time: 29:24 (Tracks: 14)
So far I never had checked any album of Californian Punk band SWINGIN' UTTERS. Don't ask me why I didn't, I just don't know. All I know is that I remember the album cover of the band's second album "The Streets Of San Francisco" (1995). Anyway, SWINGIN' UTTERS were formed in the late 80's, and released the albums "Scared" (1992), the aforementioned "The Streets Of San Francisco" (1995), "A Juvenile Product Of The Working Class" (1996), "Five Lessons Learned" (1998), the eponymous album "Swingin' Utters" (2000) and "Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass, And Bones" (2003) before they went on a seven year hiatus. In 2010 the band reformed again, and in 2011 they released the album "Here, Under Protest". Besides all the mentioned studio albums, SWINGIN UTTERS also has released a lot of singles and EP's, two compilation albums and one live album "Live In A Dive" (2004). So, the band's eight studio album "Poorly Formed" is eventually my first acquaintance with the SWINGIN' UTTERS. So, personally I can't compare "Poorly Formed" with the band's previous albums. Anyway, listening to this album, SWINGIN' UTTERS reminds me a bit of a mixture of SOCIAL DISTORTION and BAD RELIGION with DROPKICK MURPHYS, FLOGGING MOLLY, THE POGUES and a bit of early THE CLASH. So, I really like this album. Okay, SWINGIN' UTTERS isn't going to break any new ground on the Punk genre with this eight album, but nevertheless it's an album any Punk and Folk Punk fan will like. The line-up of the band on "Poorly Formed" exists of Johnny Bonnel (vocals), Darius Koski (guitar, vocals), Jack Dalrymple (guitar), new member Miles Peck (bass) and Greg McEntee (drums). In the meantime this album already has made several spins. The songs which I like the most are the opening track "Librarians Are Hiding Something" (1:59), "Stuck In A Circle" (2:14), "Pour Beans" (1:22), the folksy/country "I'm A Little Bit Country" (2:30), "In A Video" (1:41), the title track "Poorly Formed" (2:34), "Dreadlock Dread Reggae" (1:17) and "The Fake Rat Of Dave Navarro" (2:08). Well, now I need to check out some previous albums of the band myself. Anyway, very good album.
Visit their website: http://www.swinginutters.com
Recordlabel: http://www.peoplelikeyourecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/swinginutters
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/swinginutters

80/100

TAKUYA YADA – 7 Fragments Of The Unconscious (CD) Japan October 2013 Ronny Elst
Style: Instrumental Rock/Metal Running time: 39:38 (Tracks: 7)
Together with the first hardrock bands from Japan like Loudness and Bow Wow, also the first Japanese guitar heroes like Akira Takasaki and Kyoji Yamamoto came to attention. Since then came more and more good, technical skilled guitarists from Japan. Unfortunately most of them aren't that known in Europe, except guitarists from bands which had an European record deal like Concerto Moon (Norifumi Shima) and Ark Storm (Katsu Ohta). So many years after the first Japanese guitar heroes, I discovered a new talent, named Takuya Yada. This guy lived some time in the U.K. (where he played in some bands) but moved back to Japan. In Japan Takuya also played in several bands, but now he recently released also his first instrumental solo album. What we hear on his first solo album is very impressive to me. He mixes several styles like rock, metal, fusion, prog and Japanese themes into 7 very emotionally played songs. Especially Jason Becker, Uli Jon Roth, Andy Timmons, Marty Friedman and Michael Schenker come to mind when I listen to "7 Fragments Of The Unconscious". Takuya has plans to return to Europe and play live gigs here, and he also is producing his second solo album. Hope that he'll get the recognition which he deserves!
Visit their website: http://takuyayada.com.com

87/100

TEMPEST RISING - Calm before the Storm (MCD) Australia October 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Metalcore / Nu-metal Running time: 16:29 (Tracks: 4)
Tempest Rising is the second band from Perth, Australia that I get to review in this months issue of MMM. And again a 4-track debut E.P. In the other review I did on 'Blunt Force Trauma's Beyond E.P., I wrote that sometimes a band releases an E.P. to gain attention for the upcoming full length album. With Tempest Rising this is also the case, since they expect to release their debut album not long from now. The first word that comes to mind while seeing the artwork, CD and Facebook page is: professional. The band is also touring outside of Australia, most recently in Japan, so they have a good thing going for them. Now let's talk music shall we? Although the production is average at best, the songs are strong enough even without being polished. It is hard to put a stamp on the music of Tempest Rising, but in my opinion they play a mixture of metalcore, nu-metal and more traditional metal ingredients the way it was played in the eighties. Now I know that this may come across as somehwat chaotic, but the band manages to do the exact opposite. The songs are built up around the chorus, which is making it very catchy, especially in combination with the soloing. These aspects are making the band very interesting to see live. Songs like "My Ecstasy" and "Hollow Dreams" are good examples of this. Overall, "Calm Before the Storm" is a very nice introduction of this relatively new band. Let's hope that they maintain their work ethic and professional approach so that they can surprise us again next time. Very nice record and I hope to see them in Europe someday.
Visit their website: http://www.soundcloud.com/tempest-rising
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/tempestrisingofficial

82/100

THE ANSWER – New Horizon (CD) Northern Ireland October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Melodic Rock with a retro feel Running time: 46:11 (Tracks: 10)
When Paul Mahon became a grown-up he wanted to start a great band. Nobody in his family, nobody in his environment thought the fellow would choose anything else. Paul's father was a respected, well-member of The Freshmen, a world famous jazz outfit, playing all over the world with the big acts from the late sixties of the former century. Paul searched for musical friends to share his musical ideas, his favourite music (Paul had a passion for blues based edgy hard rock) and his rock star dreams. In James Heartley, Mick Waters and Comac Neeson he found his friends and co-musicians for his future plans. After almost two years of rehearsing, gigging at local pubs and bars and starting a set The Answer(as the guys called themeselves) were discoverd by MCD Productions, an Irish company that organised musical and promotional festivals and feasts. The Answer got great reviews after playing for larger crowds and in 2005 the band was ready for releasing their first album" Rise" , distributed on Albert Records. The album was a smash and many fans were hit by this new hammer. Classic Rock Magazine greatened the exposure of The Aanswer, calling them the best new band of 2005. Paul and his mates got the opportunity to open for Deep Purple and Paul Rodgers, a real dream came true. A reissue of the first album worldwide brought the band outside the UK and The Answer were on the bill with Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Whitesnake and AC/DC. A second album (Everyday demons) was recorded in 2009 in Los Angeles and heavy bluesy rock ruled again on this album, that sold very well in the European continent. AC/DC booked the band again for their tours in 2009 and 2010. The Answer-guys were constantly on the road to spread their musical freshness!
A third album " Revival" was released by Spinefarm Records and again it was a real smashing affair. The album was fresh, showing that the band was getting rid of their tag as a blues based renewed seventies affair. It brought them many fans, also in the music business. Jimmy Pages, Joe Elliot and former Free and Bad Company members became instant followers oft he first order. A fourth album will be coming out soon ( on Napalm Records) and the review-copy is in my media player now spinning around and filling the living the room with the musical goodies of this Northern Ireland pride! New Horizons, the new album, starts were " Revival" ended: the band has evoluated an own style: ten short, groovy, anthemic, effective and simple songs, with melodies and harmonies that stick like glue, keeping the heavy Les Paul-riffing, the thick rhythm section and the amazing vocals of Comac Neeson alive. The new album is full of this, captured heavy, alive and kicking by Toby Jepson at the production desk, Mike Fraser at the mixing console, packed in an albumcover of the late and great Storm Thorgerson. Nobody can't go wrong with songs like " Spectacular" ( first single with its top-refrain), " Concrete" ( with hints of RATM), " the great grooves of " Baby kill me", the sublime " Call yourself a friend", the ultimate chorus of "Burn you down" and the forceful " Leave without nothing" . Great record from a great band, that provides no new perspectives, but keeps digging confident quality! Check them out! There's also a vinyl-version available and the deluxe edition of this cd has some bonustracks.
Visit their website: http://www.theanswer.ie
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theanswerrock
MySpace: https://myspace.com/theanswerrock

85/100

THE BRAINS – The Monster Within (CD) Canada October 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Psychobilly / Horror Punk Running time: 34:15 (Tracks: 14)
My first acquaintance with Canadian Psychobilly band THE BRAINS was when I bought their fifth album "Drunk Not Dead" (2011) in November or December of 2011, which I reviewed for MMM (see update January of 2012) and scored 87 out of 100 points. Anyway, THE BRAINS have released the following albums so far: "No Pain, No Brain" (2005), "Hell N' Back" (2007), "The Brains" (2009), "Zombie Nation" (2010) and the aforementioned "Drunk Not Dead" (2011). Now these Psychobillies are back with their sixth studio album, titled "The Monster Within", which was released on April 16th 2013 on Sailor's Grave Records (and in Europe on People Like You Records). Well, with the first listen to "The Monster Within", I liked the album immediately. It just sounds like how good Psychobilly has to sound. The songs are again fantastic and most of them are very catchy as well. Within a few spins some of the songs absolutely will get stuck in your head. There's one instrumental track on "The Monster Within", which is titled "Cucaracha In Leather" (2:36). Notable is, that, with this new album, the band's line-up is extended from 3 to 4 members. Besides Rene D La Muerte (vocals, guitar), Colin the Dead (upright bass) and Pat Kadaver (drums), the band added Brad Graves as their second guitar player. Although I like this entire album very much, my favorite songs of "The Monster Within" are "Give It All" (2:10), "Misery" (2:32), "The Damned" (2:24), "Stay Back" (2:42), "Electrik Shock" (2:01), "Rest In Pieces" (2:26), "Suffering And Pain" (2:15) and "Devil In Disguise" (2:22). If you are into Psychobilly, Rockabilly, Horror Punk and like bands such as HORRORPOPS, MAD SIN, KOFFIN KATS, NEKROMANTIX, CREEPSHOW, MISFITS etc. then you'll have to check this album out, because it's again a great album. This is just 35 minutes of high quality Psychobilly.
Recordlabel: http://www.peoplelikeyourecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thebrainsmtl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thebrains

86/100

THUNDER TRIBE – War Chant (CD) USA October 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Hard Rock / Melodic Metal Running time: 44:50 (Tracks: 11)
Thunder Tribe originally is a cover band which brings pretty decent, varied material like Wasp's Wild Child, Queensryche's Jet City Woman and Skid Row's Monkey Business. Vocalist Michael Duncan (nowadays also active in Shatter Messiah) is clearly gifted with a damn good classic heavy metal voice and he is capable of singing almost everything. Also musically it´s all in order. Now this band has decided to say goodbye to their cover era and come up with their own stuff. Eleven tracks which represent some varied stuff from the last 40 years in rock and metal is what they offer here. That´s a lot because sometimes different influences are put into one track and it makes them sound confusing. “More Wicked Than Not” starts very promising, has great melodies and alternation with driven guitars from Ronnie Duncan and Rick Sargent. Follow up “Part of the Black” is also a damn fine song with fine variegated changes in tempo. The album overall offers pretty good stuff but also has some weaker points. “Believe” for example is a phantastic song with an accelerating Michael Duncan (who sounds like a crossbred of Rob Halford and King Diamond here) but ends suddenly, leaving you with a bit of unsatisfied feeling. “Above the Blue” is a fine bluesy swinger but sounds a bit misplaced between the other, more powerful stuff. The ballad “Say Goodbye” sounds like, no is, a copy of Queensryche, nicely done but again has a strange, sudden end, while the power ballad, “The Light” doesn't convince me. “War Chant” and “Watching it Burn” are good but not really special. I must say that the band tries to be innovative because a lot of songs have unexpected changes from metal to rock inside them. Mostly it works, sometimes it don't but that always will be a matter of opinion. The craftsmanship is certainly present but songwriting needs some improvement. Thunder Tribe certainly has the capability to grow and take a prominent place the scene. For a debut it's pretty good, next time up for songs that you can't get out of your head.
Visit their website: http://www.thundertribe.webs.com
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thundertribe

72/100

TOE TAG – Here She Comes Again (CD) USA October 2013 Kees Schijven
Style: Hardcore Running time: 26:42 (Tracks: 11)
TOE TAG began August 2005, Steve, Blaine and Alex put together a short set of originals playing as a three piece before calling on Steve McVey to join the fray in February 2006. Actually TOE TAG existed earlier, but was put on hold for the 2003 reunion of The Accused, which didn't work out. It won't be a surprise that TOE TAG sounds more like The Accused than The Accused itself, as 3 members came from The Accused. Especially vocalist Blaine, with his unique vocal sound, is very recognizable and one of my favourite singers around. The band plays a kind of hardcore/crossover in the vein of Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, M.D.C. well you'll get the idea by now I guess. Songs like CSMFD (cock sucking mutha fucking Diablo), Here She Comes Again, Sawtopsy, Mad Dentist, tell you enough I think, this isn't far off, of what they did with The Accused, maybe only even better! I know I love this stuff, as you might think this album is a bit short for a debut full length, there is some bonus material! About 13 songs recorded live in the basement by Chris hanzsek on January 20, 2007. A very nice enjoyable debut album it is, from these great guys, whom I still haven't seen play live, Mario, get them over here!
Visit their website: http://www.thetoetag.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/toetagofficial

89/100

TOE TAG / POTBELLY (7” Split Single, Picture Disc) USA October 2013 Kees Schijven
Style: Hardcore Running time: 14:27 (Tracks: 5)
TOE TAG delivers 2 songs from their debut album 'Here She Comes Again', namely 'Mad Dentist' and 'Sawtopsy', great songs from this album, which is also reviewed here. Shows what the band is up to, and makes you wanna hear more, at least in my case (so I put the album on again). On the other side of this nice picture disc 7” POTBELLY does their thing, which is punk rock supreme, 'Kings of drunk', 'Auto-erotic decapitation' and 'Your god' tells you they got humor and some whohoho singalong lyrics, will work out fine with a beer in your hand I guess. A nice piece of vinyl, that in case you might not like it, can always be hung on your wall or ceiling....
Visit their website: http://www.thetoetag.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/toetagofficial

75/100

TROUBLE – The Distortion Field (CD) USA October 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 58:00 (Tracks: 13)
The Distortion Field is the much anticipated comeback album by legendary American doomsters Trouble. 6 years passed since the 2007 Simple Mind Condition and people came and went. Vocalist Kory Clarke exited (he never quite fitted anyway) and Kyle Thomas (Exhorder, Floodgate) entered. Thomas was no stranger since he was a brief replacement for the band's original frontman Eric Wagner in the late 90s. The question that really lingered in the air was how a Trouble album would sound without Wagner behind the mic and that was the bet that the band had to win. The opener When the Sky Comes Down casts away the doubts. Thomas might not be the iconic Wagner (the shoes are too big to fill anyway) but the chemistry is definitely there. And so are the trademark songs that defined the band since the beginning of the 90s. The unmistakeable sound of the Wartell/Franklin guitar duo still sends shiver down the spine. Trouble is still here. Trouble is still alive. It is time for the pupils and the usurpers to stand down and return the throne to its rightful owner. Really looking forward to a successor soon because the band still possesses the ability to write great songs without casting away its trademark sound. 3 albums in 18 years is not a good score... We want more!
Visit their website: http://www.newtrouble.com
Recordlabel: http://www.fd-entertainment-group.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/troublechicago
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/troublechicago

80/100

TUNGSTEN AXE – Swedish Iron (CD) Sweden October 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 47:00 (Tracks: 9)
No doubt there has been a revival of the classic heavy metal sound of the early 80s during the last 5 years. Bands like Enforcer, White Wizzard, Katana, Steelwing have revived the musical spirit of their childhood heroes and have generated a lot of interest from metal fans worldwide. Tungsten Axe is a Swedish band aboard this revival train but can be also categorized as a cult act. The sound is not polished and the whole effort shows a retro feeling that could fool someone into believing that the band comes from 1983 and not 2013. Influenced by Swedish heroes such as Heavy Load, Gotham City, Jonah Quizz and more, Tungsten Axe proves to be a worthy pupil and will definitely satisfy the hardcore fans tired of polished sound and staged image.
Recordlabel: http://www.ironshieldrecords.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tungstenaxe

70/100

TUNGSTEN AXE – Swedish Iron (CD) Sweden October 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 47:27 (Tracks: 9)
TUNGSTEN AXE is a Swedish Heavy Metal band, which was formed in 2009 by the brothers Dick Mattsson (vocals, guitar) and Andreas Mattsson (drums). They found in Johan Sjögran their lead guitarist. With a session bass player they recorded a self titled 4 track cassette EP in January of 2011. The line-up to record their debut album “Swedish Iron” was completed by bass player Robbin Wännström. Well, “Swedish Iron” is released on Iron Shield Records, and it features 9 tracks. The album starts with the intro “Prelude” (2:43), followed by “Star Of Mount Paekdu” (4:47), “Heavy Metal” (2:55), “Divided” (6:30), “Devil's Children” (5:27), the title track “Swedish Iron” (5:28), “Elna K. Eriksson” (5:13), “The Steel Is Sacred” (7:36) and the last track “Times” (6:44). And to tell the truth, after five or six times listening to “Swedish Iron” I still could not really get impressed. On the entire album, there are just too little moments that really sound nice. So, I have to say that “Swedish Iron” is just nothing more than a very weak Heavy Metal album, which starts to be quite boring. And the reason why it starts to get boring is because that all songs on this debut album are not great compositions. The band falls into too much repetitions in their songs, and in my opinion most of the songs last way too long (like "The Steel Is Sacred", which already has a very slow pace, and sounds pretty boring). The production sounds reasonable, and Dick Mattsson isn't a fantastic singer as well. Hopefully these guys will make any progress in the future (especially in the songwriting), so maybe the second album will be a better one. For now, to me “Swedish Iron” is not a recommendation. Next album please, because I don't wanna waste more time on this one.
Recordlabel: http://www.ironshieldrecords.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/tungstenaxe

48/100

V.A. (Various Artist) Metal Over Oostrozebeke - Compilation (CD) USA October 2013 Kees Schijven
Style: Compilation Running time: 44:27 (Tracks: 11)
Another Metal Over Oostrozebeke compilation cd, which is a collaboration between M.O.O. organisation and Malevolence Records. This brings us some songs of the bands that played there at the festival in 2012. First up is Mad At Sam with their song 'D.C.'(Districts of Criminals), which is a cool crossover/thrash metal track in the M.O.D. style. Next up is Aegror with 2 songs, which is a more darker kind of metal, 'Behind Walls' and 'Prophecy' sound really heavy, bit more doomy almost, but really refreshing. Sanity's Rage is up next with also 2 ripping tracks of melodic thrash metal, really great stuff this is. 'Once You Cross' and 'Taste Of Decay' do taste good, and wanna make me hear more of this great band! T.C.F. or ThrashCoreFanatics are next with only 1 song, 'Mean Machine' which is fast and mean, but sound quality is a bit less on this song, which was originally done by Motorhead, although they did a somewhat slower version. Leave Scars brings us 'The Arrival' and 'Trapped', and is more traditional US metal, not bad at all, although production could have been a little better, but the quality of the band comes through, interesting band. Ulysses Siren delivers 'Justifiable Homicide' old school bay area thrash metal, really cool to hear this great band again. KAOS up next with 'Blood Red Eyes', great thrash metal attack from yet another great band. This song appears on their Validated in Blood EP, also reviewed on this site. Last band on here is our own X-tinXion with their song 'The Divine', really refreshing with the grunts and clean vocals of Monica, does almost sound like The Agonist, great metal band from the Netherlands to final this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.malevolence-records.us

75/100

VENOMOUS MAXIMUS – Beg Upon The Light (CD) USA October 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Dark Heavy Metal Running time: 47:33 (Tracks: 10)
Venomous Maximus, what a brilliant name anyway, comes from Texas and delivers us a damn fine debut album filled with heavy riffs, driven drums, melancholic vocals all presented in a mixture of Doom, Stoner and NWOBHM. Dark Heavy Metal they call it themselves and I certainly can live with that. This album was first brought out in late 2012 by Occulture but gladly Napalm Records picked them up to bring it to you worldwide. And man, this album has some real impressive tracks for you. Flirting with the occult and based on mighty riffs which make Black Sabbath jealous, they plunge you into a “swamp atmosphere” with that dirty, gritty 70's sound. Monstrous threatening and grooving tracks like “Path of Doom”, “Give up the Witch”, “Moonchild” and the pulverising “Battle for the Cross” immediately takes you by the balls and don't let them loose. The reverberant vocals of Gregg Higgins fit in perfectly and create a sinister, evil feel, exactly what these songs need. “Even Hell has Heroes” he sings in the closing track “”Hell's Heroes”; well, Venomous Maximus is one of those heroes. Very solid debut, filled with lively tracks which make hungry for more. Take your chance on this one and plunge yourself into the dark, misty swamps of dark metal.
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/venomousmaximus
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/venomousmaximus

85/100

VICOLO INFERNO – Hourglass (CD) Italy October 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 51:06 (Tracks: 10)
Hourglass is not certainly not one of the worst melodic rock albums I ever have heard. It rocks big time and is heavy where it counts. It could almost be called sleazy. My main reservation is the voice. Igor Piattesi has a powerful one, but it does have one great big ragged edge, and that makes it a matter of taste whether you like it. I don't mind, I just wish they hadn't put him so far up front in the mix. That would have made the balance between music and voice just that more pleasurable. He avoids becoming overpowering and annoying because what he does fits so well, and that is the saviour of Hourglass. Because musically there is nothing wrong here, what a band. Whether it is guitarist Marco Campoli, bassist Marco “Daz” Dazzani or drummer Luca Silecchia, they are all brilliant! The latter is not their regular drummer though, that is Alex “LR” La Sala. After many a listen I just can't not like Vicolo Inferno, let alone Hourglass. It makes me happy, lifts my spirit and makes me want to sing. I don't though, I don't wanna cause smashed eardrums…

Recordlabel: http://www.logicillogic.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vicoloinferno
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vicoloinferno

80/100

VIETCONG PORNSURFERS – We Spread Diseases (CD) Sweden October 2013 MetalWim van Grunsven
Style: Punk Rock Running time: 32:33 (Tracks: 12)
The band as well as the record company are from Falun in Sweden. Coincidence? I doubt it. Does it matter? Not one iota. This is hard rocking cutting edge Punk Rock. The Vietcong Pornsurfers don't even try to sound slick, graceful or clean. No, they're dirty, mean and dangerous. So is the sound on We Spread Diseases. It is honest, full and well-balanced, and it suits the fast pace of the band's music. The only question left to answer is whether the songs are any good. Well, yes! They are exactly that. We Spread Diseases is one of those records you just put on, and before you know it you start stomping around to the beat in your Dr Martens boots, thrashing your arms wildly and thinking of destroying the first yuppie you run into. Thankfully the record is just over a half hour long, and you get your senses back long enough, only to find out that you are about to play the record again. These Vietcong Pornsurfers are contagious!
Visit their website: http://www.vietcongpornsufers.com
Recordlabel: https://www.facebook.com/dangerousrockrecords
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vietcongpornsufers
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vietcongpornsufers

77/100

VISTA CHINO - Peace (CD) USA October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Stoner Rock Running time: 50:48 (Tracks: 10)
Kyuss was one of the legendary stoner rock bands in the years just before the beginning of this century. The great grooves, the bluesy and loosely influences, the effective and simple songs, the great lyrics, the image, everything felt on his place. And their albums " Blues from the red sun" and Welcome to the sky valley" are the great remnants of that musical era. In 1997 it was all over: Queens of the Stone Age were (co-founded by Kyuss-member Josh Homme) there and Kuyss was gone. It took a lot of time (and a lot of lawsuits) for the past band members to step outside of their shadows. Starting as a Kuyss-cover band, Vista Chino, named after a road that crosses desert city Palm Springs, was born in 2010 and "Peace" is their new album to be released in September on Napalm Records. Many fans will have the same question: Will this record live up to the past recordings of Kuyss? The answer is a full " Yes". Vista Chino has a lot of Kuyss influences, off course, but acts like Slo Burn, Fu Manchu, Unida, Hermano and the solo stuff of John Garcia and drummer Brant Bjork set their marks on this records as well. Vista Chino has more laidback, bluesy and jazzy tendencies than their 'Midwest desert past adventure' Drummer Brant Bjork is the real star on this album. His groovy approach, his fills, his backbeat with bass player Mike Dean (he replaces Nick Olivieri, who plays bass on the instrumental “Mas Vino”only), the way he synchronises with John Garcia and the Belgian guitar player Bruno Fevery are absolutely stunning.
And the songs? Well, they feel confident, well crafted, intense, very rootsy ( just listen to the great Black Sabbath-traces in “Planet 1 & 2”, “Dark and lovely” and “Sweet remains”) and old-school, mature and pure. Recorded at the Jalamanta Studios in Joshua Tree, mixed in The Thunder Underground Studios in Palm Springs close the home of the band and the mastering took place in Ventura almost a stone's throw from the area they're connected with. From the riffola of " Dargona, Dragona" to the closing track, the epic " The gambling Moose -acidize" the album fits like a glove, staying close to his glorious and graceful inheritance combined with new aspects sound wise and in the song writing department. The typical but fitting artwork was done by the Date Farmers, Carlos Ramirez and Armando Lerma. Good stuff! Great album!
Visit their website: http://www.vistachino.com
Recordlabel: http://www.napalmrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/VistaChinoMusic
MySpace: https//:soundcloud.com/vistachino

84/100

WHITESNAKE – Made in Britain (CD) United Kingdom October 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock Running time: 2:22:42 (Tracks: 25)
One month ago I reviewed a Whitesnake live album " Made in Japan" , a non-planned recording of a live gig from DC and the boys, headlining a concert at the Loud Park in Japan, Whitesnake hadn't been the headliner over there since 1984 and the recordings of the first three songs (for TV/Radio) were that good, David decided to record the whole concert and releasing it later on. From Mario, editor in chief, I got a review copy of yet another ' this time official ' Whitesnake double live album' , " Made in Britain" . This live record has a different sonic identity as the " Made in Japan" , the latter holding the tracks of one single concert and some acoustic outtakes and soundchecks of Japenese tour-recordings. The Made in Britain-tracklist contains songs from concerts in Britain and many other venues like Oslo, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, all from Whitesnake's big 2011 World Tour headlining 96 concerts in 35 countries.
What can I say about the tracklist, well, almost every Whitesnake-instant-anthem gets a big live treatment and even the newer tracks from the Forevermore-record stand out on this live album. The sound is good, there is more unity, the energy level is high and there is a steadyness in the songs. There's another big plus: Mr. Coverdale(not the most steady vocalist these days, although he sounds a lot better than on the Made in Japan-disc) is again backed by the best musicians on the planet: Reb Beach, Doug Aldrich, Michael Devin, Brian Tichy, Brian Rudey, all master craftsmen on their game, firing on all six! Okay, Whitesnake has released two studio albums featuring their latest line-up in the last decade (with many changes in the rhythm section- and keyboard personnel), the live albums on CD and DVD are almost countless. "Made in Britain" seems to be a bit too much of the same from this point of view, but that would be a bit too easy. It's again a very solid album, giving proof of the fact that a live concert of Whitesnake is an endless, great adventure! Frontiers Records will release this live opus in July. The Japanese edition will hold an acoustic extra track, " Ain't gonna cry no more" , the phenomenal classic Whitesnake track from the "Ready and Willing"-album from 1980.
Visit their website: http://www.whitesnake.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/whitesnake.official
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/whitesnake

81/100

WORSTENEMY – Revelation (CD) Italy October 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 36:39 (Tracks: 10)
Holy shit!!! Is Chris Barnes having a new band that finally makes good music? NO! This is Worstenemy from Italy and they bring you a stomping and old school stew of Death Metal. This band is active since 1997 and have released a demo in 2000 and a split album in 2005. 2009 gave birth to an EP and 2013 their debut “Revelations”. This albums sounds massive and brings you right back to the 90`s. Grooving guitar riffs in vain of bands like Banished and sometimes some Cannibal Corpse in it. The drums are also filled with groove and double bass. The you got the vocals that reminds me a lot of Chris Barnes during his Cannibal period. Deep grunts that sound brutal and massive. The variety of the songs are a bit less then I would have liked to hear but that is being wipped a way by the old school production that this album has. If you would have told me that this is a Morrisound Recording (Deicide, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Napalm Death) then I would have believed it! Every songs keeps my head banging. If you like old school death metal then this is a must have.
Visit their website: http://www.worstenemy.it
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worstenemyband
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/worstenemyband

80/100

XENOSIS – Of Chaos & Turmoil (CD) United Kingdom October 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Progressive Death Metal Running time: 49:38 (Tracks: 10)
Xenosis from the UK brings you progressive and technical death metal in every sense of these words. 10 tracks of furios chaos. The guitar riffs are very progressive and filled with technical riffs in vain of bands like Cryptopsy and Origin but also have a big dose of groove in it. Filled with fast solos and tapping. The drums are very straight in your face and filled with very fast double bass parts and unusual beats. Then you have the bass that is also very technical but also gives it a great groove to the drums. The vocals are grunts combined with epic vocals. This album is not easy to get through because there so much progressive things in it that sound complex. But everything comes great together because of the production of the album that is very well done so you hear every musician do his thing. Before the songs start you have some strange intro with a beat that ends in a song that is not mend for the weak listener. If you are searching for a easy listening album then you probably are not going to like this, but if you like complex music then you are going to enjoy this album.
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/xenosisuk

75/100

JUNE

AIRBOURNE – Black Dog Barking (CD) Australia June 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 34:55 (Tracks: 10)
It seems that Australian rockers of AIRBOURNE are releasing a new studio album every three years. The band's debut album "Runnin' Wild" (87/100) was released in 2007 in Australia (and in 2008 in the rest of the world), their second one, "No Guts, No Glory" (90/100) in 2010, and now three years later, the band's third album "Black Dog Barking" has been released by Roadrunner Records on May 21st. And since the debut album, I am a fan of this band. Anyone who's already familiar with AIRBOURNE knows that the band sounds like their compatriots of AC/DC. Personally I don't mind that at all, because every album that the band has released so far is just enjoying. In fact, just like with AC/DC also AIRBOURNE is not renewing. You just know what to expect. "Black Dog Barking" is produced by Brian Howes (SIMPLE PLAN, NICKELBACK, PUDDLE OF MUDD, HINDER) and sounds fantastic. With the first listen to "Black Dog Barking", I was a little disappointed, but the more I listened to it, the more I began to like the album. So, this album grows, the more you listen to it. There's just one song on "Black Dog Barking", which in my opinion is a bit less, and that's "Cradle To The Grave". The rest of the songs, such as opener "Ready To Rock", which is re-recorded for this album (the original version is on the band's 2004 8-track EP "Ready To Rock"), "Live It Up", which was the first single of the album, "Woman Like That" and "Hungry" are all excellent ones. Although it all sounds much like AC/DC, you also hear some DEF LEPPARD influences in a few songs. Anyway, my favourite tracks of "Black Dog Barking" are "Ready To Rock", "Animalize", the second single "No One Fits Me (Better Than You)", "Back In The Game", "Firepower" and the title track "Black Dog Barking". All in all, "Black Dog Barking" is again a fantastic album. If you already liked the two previous albums, then you will like this third one as well, because in fact it's a logical continuation. There's also a deluxe edition available of "Black Dog Barking", which contains three bonus tracks ("Jack Attack", "You Got The Skills (To Pay The Bills)" and "Party In The Penthouse") and a bonus disc with eight songs recorded at Wacken Open Air 2011. Well, are you ready to rock?, I know I am.
Visit their website: http://www.airbournerock.com
Recordlabel: http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/airbournerock
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/airbourne

85/100

ANVIL – Hope in Hell (CD) Canada June 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 53:30 (Tracks: 13)
Exactly two years ago I was pretty lyrical about Anvil's “Juggernaut of Justice”. Ending my article with “Anvil has “Forged their Metal in Fire” again with this damn fine piece of metal” says enough. Unfortunately I can't say the same about this “Hope in Hell”. Okay, it's typical Anvil but on this album there are a few really bad attempts ( “Eat Your Words” , “Shut the Fuck Up”, “Through With You” with it's dull chorus but fine stolen Smoke on the Water riff ), a few nice ones ( “Hope in Hell”, “Bad Ass Rock 'n' Roll”, “Flying”) and a lot of average stuff. Funny enough the two bonus tracks “Hard Wired” and “Fire at Will” belong to the ones that make me a little bit more enthusiastic. This album doesn't light my fire and that makes me sad. I like this sympathetic band and live they are always a guarantee for a fine metal party but this one doesn't have any memorable track on it. Sure, live they will play one or two but in a few years you won't read them back on their setlist. Anyway, hoped for a better one after the pretty good predecessor but the fire isn't there this time. If you adore everything Anvil's ever made, then this will certainly do it for you. If not, then this is just another average Anvil record which cannot match their classics.
Visit their website: http://www.anvilmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anvilmetal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/anvilmetal

65/100

ASGARD – Outworld (CD) Italy June 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Speed / Power Metal Running time: 41:00 (Tracks: 9)
Asgard was formed in the April 2004 by Mace (voice) and the brothers Ably (guitar) and Dave (guitar). The band was completed by Reno (bass) and Luca Marchini (drums). Asgard played a lot of concerts and recorded the demo "The return of the King" with producer Paolo Martorana. This demo contains two covers: Hail and Kill (Manowar) and The Trooper (Iron Maiden), and 2 own songs "The return of the King" and "Guardians of the Holy Gates". In september 2005 Luca was substituted by Giacomo Bazzani. In January 2006 the band recorded another demo with the producer Federico Viola. This demo contains four unedited songs "Fury of the Night", "Keep the flame Alive", "Disciples" and "Guardians of the Holy Gates". In december 2006 Giacomo left the band. With newcomer Rudy at the drums the band signed to My Graveyard Productions and released their debut album ”The Seal of Madness” in 2011. I was witness of the bands performance at the Metal Assault festival in Wurzburg in 2012 and they blew me away with their energy and enthusiasm!!! Their debut album is still spinning round in my cd player a few times a month because it was one of the best releases I heard the last few years!! I never reviewed that album because I only review albums I receive to review but otherwise it would have got maximum score!! Excellent power/speed metal with great musicianship and a singer who's voice remind me a lot to the “once legendary” John Cyriis (Agent Steel). Even Juan Garcia of Agent Steel had to admit this after I sended him some links to the bands music.
Well this is the bands second album and again it's a masterpiece!! This band/album contains everything I like in metal music; melody/musicianship/speed and superb vocals!! Last year the band also played at the 6th edition of my own Mario's Metal Meeting festival and everybody had to agree with me; this band is excellent!!! Need to get these guys back to The Netherlands asap!!! Please check them out; they deserve it!!
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/asgarditalia
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asgardband#!/asgardband

98/100

ATTACKER – Giants of Canaan (CD) USA June 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: US-Power Metal Running time: 51:35 (Tracks: 11)
Well finally, 7 years after their latest release “The Unknown” Attacker is back!! Im not gonna bore you all with a bio of the band, just check out my reviews of their earlier releases (f.e. Archive CD/DVD Reviews April 2006). The band delivers their 5th full length album and man what an album it is! I already follow this band since their awesome debut album “Battle At Helm's Deep” from 1985. A very underrated album which is to my opinion an US-metal classic!! Well whats the big difference between the earlier releases and this new album??
Well drummer (and longtime friend) Mike Sabatini and Pat Marinelli are still in the band and also longtime member Mike Benetatos (since 2001) is still aboard! The biggest difference is the addition of ex-Seven Witches/Overlorde frontman Bobby “Iron Lungs” Lucas!! Everybody knows how much I love the Overlorde album “Return of the Snow Giant” (see CD/DVD Archive January 2005) especially because of Bobby's vokills!! He is such an excellent singer and his more powerfull voice (Ex-singer Bob Mitchell has a more nasal voice) fits perfect to the music! Good choice guys!!
Its difficult to explain to people that are not familiar with the band (shame on them) how Attacker sounds these days; its just pure US-Power metal with an unique sound, fast guitars, double bass drums and high pitched vocals!! Maybe a bit of Forbidden,Helstar (listen to the song “Black Winds Calling”), Vicious Rumors (“Sands of Time” even sounds a bit like the song “Digital Dictator) but most of the time they sound as…..ATTACKER!! Check out these Giants and buy this album asap!!!
Lucky bastard as I am; I booked the band for a one-off show in The Netherlands on 27 September 2013@ Little Devil club, Tilburg, The Netherlands. Be there and check out if im wrong/right….awesome album guys!!!!!
Visit his website: http://www.attacker.tv
Recordlabel: http://www.metal-on-metal.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/attackerband

95/100

AUTOPSY – The Headless Ritual (CD) USA June 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 45:15 (Tracks: 10)
Hell Yeah!!!! A new Autopsy album. This band needs no introduction if you are a true death metal fan. Originated since 1987 with killer classics on their name like “Severed Survival” (1989) and “Mental Funeral” (1991) and “Acts of the Unspeakable” (1992) and “Shitfun” (1995) love the cover of album haha. Autopsy first called it quits in 1995. In September 2008, Autopsy reunited in the studio only to record two new tracks for the special edition of their 1989 classic debut "Severed Survival", which was re-released in 2009. In 2009, the band had reunited again and has been active again with a new EP called “The Tomb Within” (2010) and “Macabre Eternal” (2011) both great albums that gave the old school death metal a great boost. Their new release “The Headless Ritual” is a masterpiece in my opinion. Its Filthy sounding death metal with doom influences. Ten tracks that are well produced and filled with variety. The guitar riffs are technical with a raw twist and very threatening sounding (think a bit of Incantation). The drums are up tempo without bullshit. The vocals are grunts that are very sick sounding and aggressive. There is even an instrumental on this album and that sounds massively sick. This is a typical Autopsy album that sounds like…Autopsy. Old school death metal bands that are from those days (and active) still kick ass and this band is one of those ones that never disappoint.
Visit their website: http://www.autopsydeathmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.peaceville.com
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/autopsyofficial

90/100

AXECUTER – Metal Is Invincible (CD) Brazil June 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Speed Metal Running time: 48:10 (Tracks: 9)
First of all, I never had heard of Brazilian Heavy Metal band AXECUTER before. Well, in front of me I have the debut album "Metal Is Invincible", which was released on March 1st 2013 on Infernö Records. Before this debut album, AXECUTER, which exists of Danmented (vocals, guitar), T. Basstard (bass) and Chrys Baphometal (drums), released the 3-track cassette-EP / Demo "Bangers Prevail" in 2011, and the 2-track EP "Innocence Is Our Excuse" in 2012. Anyway, I've listened several times to "Metal Is Invincible", and it's an album full with all metal clichés you can find. The roots of these three metal guys go way back to the Heavy- and Speed Metal of the 80's. Of the 9 tracks on "Metal Is Invincible" there's one track which is an instrumental one ("Destructive Blitzkrieg"). The band also recorded one cover, which is MANILLA ROAD's "Heavy Metal To The World" (from the 1985 album "Open The Gates"), and is the last track on this debut album. Even singer and guitarist Mark Shelton of MANILLA ROAD is doing a guest solo on this cover version of "Heavy Metal To The World". In my opinion "The Fires Of Krakatoa" (10:21) takes a bit too long, of which the guitar parts of the first three and a half minutes (you could say the intro of the song) reminds me a bit of METALLICA's "Nothing Else Matters". All with all, although it all sounds not very original but very cliché, I can listen to this album so now and then. But personally, if I had to choose, then I really prefer to listen to some great classic Metal albums of the eighties. Nevertheless, I'm sure die-hard old school Metal maniacs will enjoy this album with songs such as "Metal Is Invincible" (4:24), "Feed The Beast" (5:09), "No God, No Devil (Worship Metal)" (7:01) and "Bangers Prevail" (3:25).
Visit their website: http://www.axecutermetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/axecuter
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/axecutermetal

62/100

BLACK CARGO – Hard Earned Cash (CD) Germany June 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Hard Rock Running time: 42:10 (Tracks: 10)
Can you believe, when I got my package from Mario with CD's to review, and saw I got the new album of BLACK CARGO, I was very happy…….NOT! Goddamn, fuck, shit, @$#!, why can't this band call it quits. "Hard Earned Cash" is the band's third album, and it's again a terrible one. In March of 2008 I reviewed the self titled debut album of these Germans, and in November of 2010 I reviewed their second album "My Price". And to tell the truth, I never listened to these two previous albums again, simply because they really suck. I still can't believe there are people who really like this band. Well, the line-up of BLACK CARGO on this album, which was released in 2012, exists of Rude Lean (vocals, guitar), Luis Wild (bass) and Snick Snyper (drums). Just like with the two previous albums, also this time it was a real hard job for me to listen the entire album long to the terrible vocals of Lean. This guy really can't sing. After just one listen, I already had enough of this album. First of all, the songs are so weak (and of course the awful vocals) that they can't impress me at all, and secondly, it's just a real waste of my time. Then I'd rather listen to a real classic Hard Rock or Metal album. There isn't any song on "Hard Earned Cash" which I really like. The music these guys make is just crap of the highest level. Well, this album ends in my garbage can. And guys, please don't send your next album to MMM, because in fact your crap don't deserve a review.
Visit their website: http://www.blackcargo
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/blackcargo

25/100

BURNING POINT – The Ignitor (CD) Finland June 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 43:43 (Tracks: 11)
Finnish band Burning Point has been a rising force in the power metal universe since 2001, the year it debuted with "Salvation by Fire". "The Ignitor" is the band's fifth album and also a proof that these guys are in top shape. Furious power metal stepping on both European and American grounds with top sound and performances. This is the kind of power metal I really like from contemporary bands. Not the boring europower stuff that's all about speed and plastic sound. This one is crushing but yet melodic, with big choruses. Very close to bands like Brainstorm. Another thing I really liked was the fact that each song doesn't pass the 4 and a half minute mark thus preventing the listener from the slightest boredom or loss of interest. Well done guys!
Visit their website: http://burningpointmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.scarletrecords.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/burningpointband

88/100

BURNING RAIN – Epic Obsession (CD) USA June 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hardrock Running time: 1:14:40 (Tracks: 14)
Guitar player extraordinaire Doug Aldrich (from Hurricane, Lion) and singer Keith St. John ( former Medicine Wheel vocalist) met each other at a music seminar through mutual friends in 1996. The decision to form a new band together wasn't that far away. Both musicians were looking for a new vehicle spreading their musical ideas and both musicians had connections with people in the business responsible for preproduction, recording, distribution and marketing. Burning Rain was the name of the Aldrich-St. John-alliance and with a tight rhythm section (featuring members of Bangalore Choir)in the back, the band went into some studios to record their songs.
The debut album' Burning Rain' came out in 1998 on a Japanese label ( Pony Canon) and it was a hit in the Far East regions. The furious axe work, the strong, high-pitched vocals, the compact songs and the thick production were spot on. Two years laterZ-Records took care for an American and a European release, getting good reviews as well. But the follow-up ' Pleasure to burn' was already in the Japanese stores, again a very good album, combining stronger songs in the best Whitesnake-tradition with commercial power rock of American rock acts like Firehouse, Canadian Saints and Sinners, Fifth Angel. Z-Rock was closer to this firecracker than they were to the band's debut album, but there were issues the label couldn't foresee: Doug Aldrich was asked to be the leading guitarist of Dio and after a two year period he was asked to play guitars in Whitesnake by singer David Coverdale. Keith St. John was asked by guitar legend Ronnie Montrose for his new band, again an offer a musician couldn't refuse. Doug is still Whitesnake's axe slinger nowadays and Keith stayed with Ronnie's band until his death in March 2012. Many fans of Burning Rain cherish their two opuses and the news of a third collaboration of Keith and Doug got a warm welcome in melodic rockland. It was the Italian Frontiers Records label of Serafino Perugiano signing the band and yes, this third opus is a killer again! Backed by Sean MacNabb of Great White and Dokken-fame on bass guitars and Matt Star, former Ace Frehley band- employee, on drums, Keith and Doug show their musical muscle in' Epic Obsession', to be released in May.
The guitar work is excellent again and the song are the perfect outlet for the high, modern Robert Plant-pitched vocals of Keith. The songs remind me of Whitesnake on steroids, but I hear influences of Doug's former band Lion, Heaven and Earth, Rainbow, American hard rock (late eighties) as well. Great album, great production and excellent musicianship! The album has two bonus tracks, an acoustic interpretation of 'Heaven gets me by' and the brilliant rendition of the Zep-classic 'Kashmir'. And there's more news on the Burning Rain-front: Frontiers Records will rerelease the first two Burning Rain albums as well in May, for a special price! Both albums will hold two bonus tracks! Get all three of them pronto!
Visit their website: http://www.burningrain.net
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/burningrain
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/burningrainofficialnet

85/100

CATHEDRAL – The Last Spire (CD) United Kingdom June 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Doom Stoner Metal Running time: 58:19 (Tracks: 8)
Cathedral from the UK is a well known and respected name in the Doom and Stoner scene. They started off in 1989 as a doom metal band and changed their style radically to a more stoner direction. Normally I wouldn`t like that, but in case of Cathedral I must say that every album sounds different and interesting. From slow and depressive songs like “Ebony Tears” from the “In Memorium” demo from 1990 to the happy songs like “Midnight Mountain” from the “The Ethereal Mirror” album from 1993. But throughout all these years Cathedral is one of the few bands in this genre that always kept a very steady fan base. They released a total of 7 EP's and 10 full length albums. This is their 10th album and also their last one, because they decided to quit. In my opinion that totally sucks, because this is a band that always had my interest on album and live. Their last masterpiece “The last Spire” (well thought of name) is typical Cathedral and really sounds massive. 7 tracks of well balanced stoner with doom metal in it. Slow and heavy riffs that sound really dark and heavy combined with rock and roll solo's. The drums are filled with groove and slow based tempos. The vocals are very light grunts that sound more epic on this album then they ever did. This is a goodbye album and it sounds massive, dark and atmospheric. Well thought of songs filled with variety and a killer production. The seventh track is an instrumental filled with sickening laughs and then the last song starts and after that you are left with emptiness.... It is the end of a memorable band. If you like doom metal or stoner then you must have this album, there is no other way!
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/cathedral
Recordlabel: http://www.riseaboverecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cathedral

90/100

CHASING VIOLETS – Jaded Hearts (CD) France June 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Adult orientated Rock / Melodic Rock Running time: 1:04:14 (Tracks: 12)
Escape Music will release the second album of Chasing Violets, the French' sister's act of Melissa and Sarah Fontaine. Their first record " Outside heaven" , released on Perris Records last year, drew the attention of many rock journalists. The French' sisters had made an album full of smooth adult orientated rock, angelic vocal duets and strong, melodic arrangements. The list of musicians was the icing on the cake. Producer and songwriter Frederic Slama, famous for the AOR projects, had invited his musical friends and I thought he had a friend list everybody would be jealous about: Michael Landau, Bruce Gaitsch, Tommy Denander, three guitar session cats pur sang, Alessandro del Vecchio (Frontiers Records' musical mastermind), Philip Bardowell (vocalist), Paul Sabu, Goran Edman (Swedish top vocalist), Robert Sall (vocalist for Work of Art, WET), Jerry Hludzik (Dakota vocal wonder), Rick Riso, Christian Tolle, Dane Donahue and many others helped the Fontaine sisters to make an album that was not far away from the AOR-projects of Frederic Slama, Work of Art and smooth Swedish rock acts like T'Bell, Alien and Spin Gallery. This first album held great songs like " you're my obsession", "I can't hold no more" , " Above suspicion" and "the price to pay". The second album " Jaded hearts" is instrumentally very good again. Clear and bright production, great mixing job (all done by Frederic Slama again), fresh songs, strong hooks, memorable choruses, great guitar solos, it all clears the path for the vocals of Melissa and Sarah to excel and shine. But the main problem is the power of the vocals. Melissa and Sarah Fontaine's vocals are very thin and extra gang vocals by Goran Edman, Bob Harris (Axe), Paul Sabu, Mikael Erlandsson in some songs don't help the girls. It's too bad, with a more powerful vocalist or a front lady with a more defined vocal character, this album could have made more impact. I have a critical remark about the songs as well, the motives, the themes are exchangeable sometimes. Frederic and his song writing team should have dig down deeper to create an original song setting. Nevertheless, this second Chasing Violets' record is a good album, that will get a warm welcome in melodic rock land. Well done, girls!
Visit their website: http://www.chasingviolets.fr
Recordlabel: http://www.escape-music.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/chasingviolets.official
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/chasingvioletsofficial

82/100

DARK SALVATION – Der Letzte Weg (CD) Liechtenstein June 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Death Metal Running time: 48:24 (Tracks: 11)
Fuck Yeah a new band from Liechtenstein, that's something that I do not get much. Dark Salvation started spreading their rage since 2008 and is relatively new and unknown. They released their first demo as an DVD in 2009 and their debut album in 2010 (unsigned/independent). This is their second release (also unsigned/independent) and I must say that it sounds really good. The album kicks of with an intro end then you get 10 tracks of ravaging melodic death metal that reminds me a bit of In Flames and Children of Bodom. The guitar riffs are melodic and technical but also filled with solos that are well performed. The drums are pounding through every song with a lot of double bass part in it. The vocals are deep grunts that sound really massive. The composing of the songs are also filled with variety and groove. The production is also really good. The only thing that I do not like is that the drums sound a bit to mechanic for me (it misses a bit of body). This band is new but it sounds like they are together for a long time. Everything in this music is well done and doesn`t get boring, well done! If you like bands like Inflames or Children of Bodom or even Amon Amarth then you should give it a try and order it from there site.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dsliechtenstein
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/dsliechtenstein

75/100

DEATH RIDES A HORSE – Tree Of Woe (CD) Denmark June 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Doom Metal Running time: 58:31 (Tracks: 8)
DEATH RIDES A HORSE is a four piece Heavy Metal band from Denmark, and exists of Ida Marcussen (vocals, bass), Jens Hollesen (guitar), Kenneth Engelsen (guitar) and Anders Madsen (drums). In 2009 the band released their self titled demo "Death Rides A Horse", in 2010 the 4-track "Pantokrator" EP (which includes a cover version of SCORPIONS' classic "Fly To The Rainbow"), which was released on CD as well as on cassette, and in 2012 they released the 3 track EP "Tree Of Woe" on cassette. Now that EP "Tree Of Woe" has been re-released on CD by Infernö Records (in a limited edition of 500 copies), and is added with the entire "Pantokrator" EP and an unreleased track ("Dominion Of Metal") which the band had recorded in 2011. When I listened to this "compilation" album for the first time, I immediately had to think about American band CASTLE, to whom DEATH RIDES A HORSE reminds me. Anyway, DEATH RIDES A HORSE plays Heavy Metal with a slight Doom influence. In fact, this is a very nice album, which I really like. This band can write some good and interesting compositions. As the band mentioned in the booklet, "Dominion Of Metal" (6:56) is inspired by and dedicated to ACCEPT. Well, it's a nice song, but to me it's the least one of the band's own compositions. And the version of the SCORPIONS song "Fly To The Rainbow" is perfectly done. The songs which I like the most of this CD are "For Those About To Die" (7:03), "(A Unified Vision Of A Transgalactic Empire) Open The Gates" (6:23), the title track "Tree Of Woe" (10:47), "Beyond The Granite Threshold" (5:12), "Pantokrator" (7:04) and "The Eye" (5:58). DEATH RIDES A HORSE is currently working on their full length debut album, which will be released on Infernö Records this year. Well, I'm looking forward to that album, because this interesting band really surprised me with this release.
Recordlabel: http://www.inferno-records.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/death-rides-a-horse
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deathridesdk

78/100

DENDERA – The Killing Floor (CD) United Kingdom June 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 45:40 (Tracks: 8)
"The Killing Floor" is the debut album of DENDERA, which is a 5 piece Heavy Metal band from Portsmouth, England, and is released on Metalbox Recordings. In October of 2011 these guys also released their EP called "We Must Fight". I am not sure what year DENDERA exactly was formed, but since their existence, the band did have some line-up changes. Anyway, the line-up of DENDERA on this album exists of Ashley Edison (vocals), Steve Main (guitar), Tony Fuller (guitar), Bradley Edison (bass) and Andy Finch (drums). Well, about this debut album, with the first listen, DENDERA immediately reminded me of IRON MAIDEN (with Bruce Dickinson). And I must say that, although it constantly reminds me of MAIDEN, it is a very pleasant album to listen to. In fact, I like this debut album much more than the debut album "New Sound Of War" (also released on Metalbox Recordings, for my review see MMM's update of April 2013) of IRON KNIGHT, who are also influenced by IRON MAIDEN as well. DENDERA exists of excellent musicians, and they have in Ashley Edison a very good singer, who sounds very much like Bruce Dickinson. "The Killing Floor" features 8 songs with an average time of 5 minutes. The album is produced by Geoff Swan and sounds very good. All in all, the "The Killing Floor" is, although it sounds much like MAIDEN, a good debut album of a band which really has potential. My favorite tracks are "For Vengeance" (6:06), "My Mercy" (5:07), "Hatechild" (5:01) and "The Predator" (4:57). Especially IRON MAIDEN fans should check this band out, I'm sure they can appreciate this album as well.
Visit their website: http://www.dendera.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.metalboxrecordings.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/denderauk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/denderauk

77/100

DENIED – Let them Burn (CD) Sweden June 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Melodic Heavy Metal Running time: 37:41 (Tracks: 10)
DENIED was formed in Upplands Väsby, Stockholm, Sweden in 2003 by Andreas Carlsson. Devoted to heavy yet melodic metal he wanted to expand his vision beyond a simple dream. The band recorded their first demo-album in 2005, titled ”Seven Times Your Sin” which was a local success and brought some airplay and gigs to follow. In September 2005 the band went trough their first line-up change when bassplayer Robert Stellmar and drummer Pete Dolls were recruited. The new songs showcase a much heavier and stronger sound than before. After two years of recording the band's second demo album ”New Army For The Old Revolution” saw the light of day in late 2008.
In 2009 DENIED proudly presented long time friend Johan Fahlberg (JADED HEART) as their new vocalist and in November Chris Vowden (ex OPETH), lead guitarist, also joined the band. May 2011 the band parted with bassplayer Robert Stellmar. Fredrik Isaksson (ex. THERION, GRAVE) joined the band as new bassplayerin June 2011. In November 2011, the band started the process of recording new songs for a release date in the beginning of 2012. The mixing process was handled by acclaimed musician Fredrik Folkare from Swedish Metalers UNLEASHED.

Till so far the bio according the bands website. This is my first acquaintance with Denied and I must admit that it's a damn good one!! Looking at the bands logo I was expecting a more thrashy band but the band is playing melodic metal with even some AOR elements. Good musicians and an album to be proud off guys!! Musically they remind me of bands like: MYSTIC PROPHECY, METAL CHURCH, NOCTURNAL RITES and PRIMAL FEAR. Overall, there is no trace of Euro ”Happy” Metal at all, no cheesy orchestration or happy melodies. Expect Heavy Metal in the vein of especially METAL CHURCH (Mike Howe era). Good job guys! Need to get you over to The Netherlands some day!!
Visit his website: http://www.deniedworld.com
Recordlabel: http://www.sliptrickrecords.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deniedworld

85/100

ELO – Electric Orchestra Live (CD) USA June 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock with symphonic overtones Running time: 1:04:36 (Tracks: 13)
In 2001 ELO released " Zoom" and frontman Jeff Lynne planned a television show to promote this album and the upcoming Zoom-tour. PBS Television recorded two on stage performances in the CBS Television Studios. Jeff Lynne had a great backing band that time featuring Richard Tandy (his ELO companion), guitarist Marc Mann, The Bissonette brothers as the ultimate rhythm section, Rosie Vela on backing vocals and Peggy Baldwin and Sara O'Brien on electric cellos.
And making a setlist bringing the best known ELO hits and the new stand out tracks from Zoom was no problem. But the ticket sells were slow and the extensive planned North American tour was cancelled. The footage of the two CBS-recordings was brought to life on VHS and on DVD by Image Entertainment.
Frontiers Records will release a live ELO-record based on these recordings in the last days of April. It's this record spinning in my media player and what can I say? The music sounds good, the band 's firing their guns and many gems of the ELO back catalogue pass the revue. Four tracks of this Frontiers release are not on the original DVD: " Twilight, Confusion, Sweet talking woman and Secret Messages" are recorded from the sound checks prior to this television show. Frontiers has also added two bonus tracks: " Out of luck" , a track recorded by Jeff Lynne in 2010 and " Cold feet" , a demo track recorded by Jeff from his post " Armchair Theatre”-days, both sounding very nice. This release is a kind of a surprise to me, but it is a good reflection of the last ELO period.
Visit their website: http://www.elo.biz
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officialjefflynne
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/jefflynnemusic

83/100

ELO - Zoom (CD) USA June 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock with symphonic overtones Running time: 52:36 (Tracks: 15)
ELO is celebrating their 40th anniversary. The frontman of the band, Jeff Lynne, signed a deal with Frontiers Records Italy to rerelease some records in the third quarter of last year and in the beginning of this year. Frontiers will rerelease the Jeff Lynne solo album from 1990 in April this year and two ELO records will see the light in the same month: " Zoom" and " Zoom Live" . In this review I'll focus on the Zoom-reissue. The album was originally released in June 2001 by Epic Records USA. It was merely a solo affair, with Jeff providing almost all the songs, the lyrics, all the instruments, the producing and mixing, backed up by Richard Tandy, George and Ringo from The Beatles, Suzy Katayama (on cello), Rosie Vela (vocals) and Marc Mann. Zoom was (and is) less overproduced, less symphonic and more organic than the records ELO released in the eighties of the former century. The Frontiers' remaster sounds fresh, better than the original record, and the addition of two tracks ( the 2004 penned "One day" and " Turn to stone", a live track from the PBS Television live-special promoting the Zoom-album in 2001) makes the album worth to get. The album has a good balance and a warm sound. The ballads are fantastic, the Beatlesque harmonies are everywhere and Zoom holds that firm, stomping rockers, influenced by the fifties and sixties. Great reissue of this consistent album! The Japanese reissue will hold another previously unreleased gem: " Lucky Motel" .
Visit their website: http://www.elo.biz
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officialjefflynne
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/jefflynnemusic

80/100

GHOST TOWER / DUNGEON BEAST – Head of Night / Demo 2012 (Split CDemo) USA June 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 50:12 (Tracks: 12)
Ghost Tower and Dungeon Beast are two of the bands that the busy mister Matt Preston (guitarist of essential newcomers Borrowed Time) participates in. Both are unsigned acts and hopefully the rise of Borrowed Time will generate some buzz for these bands too. Ghost Tower (tracks 1-9) is quite close to Borrowed Time. Heavy metal with N.W.O.B.H.M. influences, definitely riding the wave of the whole revival thing. For fans of bands in the White Wizzard and Widow vein. Dungeon Beast (tracks 10-12) is more into speed metal though. Very close to early Slayer. At least on the song with vocals (the other two are instrumental). The sound is kinda rough but I admit that I enjoyed the music of these two bands and had a good time listening to them.
Visit their website: http://ghosttower.bandcamp.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ghosttowermetal

70/100

GIUNTINI PROJECT – IV (CD) Italy June 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Heavy Rock Running time: 57:42 (Tracks: 13)
Aldo Giuntini is an Italian guitar wizard who started his career in Cryin' Earth at the beginning of the eighties of the former century. The Northern Italian band played a complex, progressive style of heavy music, the perfect vehicle for Aldo to show his skills. Cryin'Earth stopped their musical activities in 1984 and in the years after his band obligations Aldo worked hard on his techniques, his sound and his vibe in Savona, his place of birth. In 1988 met Dario Mollo, a former musician of the Ventimiglia based Crossbones and a producer / songwriter sharing the same kind of favourite musical passion. Aldo had some great ideas captured in good songs he wanted to release. Dario brought him in contact with Kit Woolven, producer for Thin Lizzy, UFO, Ultravox, Cathedral, Cradle of Filth, David Gilmour, Steelheart and many acts. Aldo found a singer for his vocal lines (Charles Boyer) and the Giuntini Project saw the light in 1993. The album gained rave reviews and backed by the Mollo/Woolven-production team and loads of songs, Aldo searched for a more powerful singer. In 1995 he contacted Tony Martin(M3, Black Sabbath, Forcefield, Mischa Calvin, Phenomena) and Tony, overwhelmed by the demos, started to work with Aldo. In 1999 Giuntini Project II saw the light and a third chapter was released in 2006. Tony Martin liked the concept and he started working with Dario Mollo as well, forming The Cage, releasing three good albums so far. Escape Music will release Giuntini Project IV at the end of May with the same production team, with (almost)the same band that featured the other project albums.
And I 'm glad Giuntini didn't stop his musical activities, as Project number four goes on where number three stopped. The production of the album is dry, dark and heavy. I like the atmosphere on the new Giuntini Project, it has that end '80, beginning' 90 Black Sabbath, the dark shades of Ronnie James Dio in his Rainbow and early DIO-years-vibe! Dario Mollo has pointed up the dark edges of the musicians Ezio Secomandi(drums), Fulvio Gaslini (bass guitars) and Dario Patti (all keyboards), but the heavy riffs and solos of Aldo and powerhouse vocalist Tony Martin are prominently in the mix. I like the songs, the lyrical approach and it may be the fourth Project album of Aldo, " Perfect Sorrow", "Cured", I don't believe in fortune" , " Bring on the night" ( with Swedish former Sahara front lady Liz Vandall on guest vocals), " Not the jealous kind", "Last station nightmare" and "Truth never lie" fit like a glove on this album. Again a great Aldo Giuntini Project!
Visit their website: http://www.aldogiuntini.com
Recordlabel: http://www.escape-music.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/giuntini-project
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/officialtonymartin

84/100

HULDRE – Intet-Menneskebarn (CD) Danmark June 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Folk Metal Running time: 50:35 (Tracks: 11)
Huldre's early beginnings took form in 2006 but really took shape in 2009/2010 completing their current line up. Having backgrounds in many different musical genres from classical to black metal it's still very folky what this young band presents. To be honest, a bit too folky for my metal ears. What they present, they present very well. Production, song structure, musical skills, it's all there in good shape. The vocals of Nanna Barslev however don't impress me; too monotonous, tedious, whiny. Some real work has to be done here. When they hit the gas like in the very good, varied “Vaageblus” my metal heart reactivates but overall I miss the speakwordingly “kicked in the but” attitude. For those who are really into folk a band to check and they certainly have a future. Vocally however it would surprise me if Nanna will be able to convince me more next time. Hope she does. If you like the vocals and are into folk with heavy guitars you can easily add 15 points.
Visit their website: http://www.huldre.dk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/huldre
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/huldremetal

60/100

HÜRLEMENT – Terreur Et Tourment (CD) France June 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 56:23 (Tracks: 10)
French Heavy- & Power Metal band HÜRLEMENT, which started ten years ago in 2003 as a five piece band, is totally new for me. I never had heard of them before, so this second album "Terreur Et Tourment" is my first acquaintance with these French metalheads. After second guitarist Richard Soulet left the band, HÜRLEMENT continued as a four piece band, existing of Alexis the Warnabot (vocals), François Porte (guitar), Le Gorg (bass) and Pierre Porte (drums). The debut album of the band, titled "De Sang Et d'Acier", was released in 2009. Anyway, this second album features 10 songs of which 5 are sung in French and 5 sung in English. I've listen several times to "Terreur Et Tourment", but I can't say that I really could get impressed by this album. The weakest link of the band is singer Alexis the Warnabot. Okay, this guy can sing/scream high, but he's not constantly singing in tune, and that begins to irritate. But to be honest, it's not very spectacular, in fact, it all sounds to moderate for me. The band is influenced by bands such as SORTILÈGE, H-BOMB, ADX, RUNNING WILD and GRAVE DIGGER. But I also hear influences of IRON MAIDEN and HELLOWEEN. For example, the song "The Song Of Steel" (6:28) sounds very much like HELLOWEEN. No, this album is not really a recommendation. Next album please. In that case I liked the albums of SIN STARLETT, INFINITE TRANSLATION and OMISSION, which I reviewed for the April update of MMM, much and much more.
Visit their website: http://www.hurlement.fr
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hurlement

55/100

JEFF LYNNE – Armchair Theatre (CD) USA June 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Pop Running time: 52:14 (Tracks: 13)
Last year the Italian Frontiers Records label signed Jeff Lynne, the famous frontman of ELO and the Traveling Wilburys. Frontiers released a re-recorded compilation of ELO and a cover album of Jeff Lynne, both reviewed on Mario's Metal Mania. In a lot of interviews Jeff stated that his liaison with Frontiers would create some more surprising reissues of his music and indeed, the man has kept his word. In the last days of April Frontiers will release a reissue of two ELO recordings and a reissue of Jeff's first solo album, Armchair Theatre, it's this last mentioned album that I'm listening to. Armchair Theatre was originally released in June 1990. It charted the hit lists of eight countries, doing very well in Norway and Sweden, and in The Netherlands, it reached the 44th position.
Jeff reunited with former ELO keyboard wizard Richard Tandy and with his good friend from the Traveling Wilburys, George Harrison, taking care of the guitaristic input and many backing vocals. The album had two singles at that time: the Beatles-influenced song " Every little thing" and the pretty " Lift me up" . The singles didn't do that much and the album, released on the Reprise label (a sub label of Warner Brothers) became a minor hit. The Frontiers' rerelease is very well done. The remastering provided a clearer, thicker sounding album with a major focus on Michael Kamen 's orchestral details and the musical interpretation. Frontiers has added two bonus tracks for the album: the B-side of the " Lift me up" -single, called " Borderline" and " Forecast", an unreleased track from the writing sessions of this album. The Japanese reissue will hold an extra live-track " Strange magic". I must say that the album is quite diverse, combining ballads(there is a nice Tom Petty-written ballad on it, Blown away"), syrupy cover songs and pretty, firm pop songs. The " Armchair Theatre" album was pretty hard to find, thanks to the collaboration between Jeff and Frontiers Records it is available for the real fans of ELO and Jeff Lynne.
Visit their website: http://www.elo.biz
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officialjefflynne
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/jefflynnemusic

78/100

JUNGLE ROT – Terror Regime (CD) USA June 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 35:35 (Tracks: 11)
Jungle Rot from the US has been active since 1994 and have an arsenal of albums on their name that I am really into. Their first album “Slaughter of the Weak” is a classic of good and well balanced death metal. After that there followed 5 albums that are also good albums (in my opinion). Even though they exist for so long this band has always been an underestimated band in the scene. With their new release “Terror Regime” they deliver a good and straight to the point album that is well produced and composed. The guitar riffs are technical but also brutal and filled with Morbid Angel/Slayer like solos. The drums are also straight in face but a little bit to mechanic sounding for me. But nevertheless its up tempo blasts with a great groove. The vocals are also brutal but well understandable (if you give it a try to listen haha). This album starts with rage and violence and ends that way. Straight in your face death metal that every death fan would appreciate, strong songs that keeps your head moving. If you bands like Bolt Thrower, Malevolent Creation or better said death metal then you are going to enjoy this album!
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/igotjunglerot
Recordlabel: http://www.victoryrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/junglerot

80/100

MASTERCASTLE – On Fire (CD) Italy June 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Melodic Power Metal Running time: 39:11 (Tracks: 9)
From Italy comes MASTERCASTLE, a melodic Power Metal band that was formed in 2008. So, far the band has released the following albums: "The Phoenix" (2009), "Last Desire" (2010) and "Dangerous Diamonds" (2011). On these three albums, the line-up of MASTERCASTLE existed of Giorgia Gueglio (vocals), Pier Gonella (guitar), Steve Vawamas (bass) and Alessandro Bissa Bix (drums). Personally I never had heard of MASTERCASTLE before, so this fourth album "On Fire", which was released on Lion Music on April 19th 2013), is my first acquaintance with this Italian metal band. And it was a nice acquaintance, because this is really a good band and fantastic album. On "On Fire" the band has a new drummer in the well known person of John Macaluso (ARK, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, SYMPHONY X). This album features eight tracks of which two are instrumentals ("The Final Battle" and "Almost A Fantasy"). When you listen to this album, you can easily hear by which guitarists guitarist Piel Gonella is influenced, namely YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and JOE SATRIANI. The instrumental "The Final Battle" (4:19) could have been a track on any JOE SATRIANI album, and the second instrumental "Almost A Fantasy" (3:59) sounds more like an YNWIE MALMSTEEN track. And about singer Giorgia Gueglio, well…she has a beautiful voice, which is a plus for making this album very accessible. In my opinion, there's no weak song on "On Fire", because "Silver Eyes" (4:12), "Chains" (4:57), "Platinum" (4:22), "Quicksilver" (3:32), the ballad " (4:48), "Leaden Roads" (4:44), "Titanium Wings" (4:15) and the two aforementioned instrumentals, are all great songs. There are plenty of Italian metal bands, who in my opinion really suck, but in this case, MASTERCASTLE is one of the good and interesting bands. So, if you like good quality melodic Metal, with some YNGWIE and SATRIANI influenced guitar work, and clean female vocals, then you should check this album out. All I can say more is that "On Fire" is a good album.
Visit their website: http://www.sacredsteel.de
Recordlabel: http://www.lionmusic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mastercastleband
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mastercastle

80/100

MOLLUST - Schuld (CD) Germany June 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Opera Metal Running time: 47:06 (Tracks: 11)
Ready for violins, cello's, klavier, leadguitar, rhythmguitar, bass and high (and i mean constantly high) vocals ? No, stop reading a go further on checking other reviews here. Mollust is a German band formed by soprano Janika Groß and presents us Opera Metal. Yes, real Opera Metal. Getting used to the contantly high regions in which Janika operates it wasn't that bad either. Sometimes it reminded a bit of Therion but they are much more metal.
This band prefers classic with a capitol C and even won the “BachSpiele 2012” competition in the hometown Leipzig, This is real opera stuff you get but with a firm background. “The heart is classic, the pulse is metal” is their slogan but honestly the heart beats harder and faster than the pulse. Nevertheless this was a welcome surprise and everything is worked out beautifully. The songs, the music, the awesome booklet, they all deserve a whide audience for those who like something different. The lyrics are in German and that gives the songs a more mystical feel which works. As a metalhead it's quite a long journey listening to the whole album in one time. On the band picture they are dressed in beautiful barrock clothing and performing in it live with an additional background i think that would be very interesting. This music must be shown and experienced theatrically. Normally nothing for the readers of MMM i guess, but surprisingly it is. When they ever will do a firm stage production i'll take my changes.
Visit their website: http://www.mollust.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mollust

70/100

MORTIFICY – Burn and Suffer (CD) Brazil June 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 31:28 (Tracks: 09)
Mortificy from Brazil is active since 2000. They haven't released much in those years except for a demo and 2 split albums. This is their debut album “Burn and Suffer” released in 2012. Nine tracks of furious death metal that is based on fast riffs and a constant blast beat. The riffs are very fast and technical with not much variety in it. The drums are straight in your face and also filled with blast beats. The vokills are grunts that remind me a bit of Krisiun/Vader. Everything on this album sounds massive and fast. Good production that allows you to hear everything very well. But the only thing that I am missing on this album is variety. Every song sounds that same and doesn`t keep me interested because it is only speed. It very clear that these guys can play very technical but it misses a very important element in music and that is called groove. If you like fast death metal then you should give it a try.
Visit their website: http://www.mortificy.com
Recordlabel: http://www.myspace.com/ibdcorplabel
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/mortificy

68/100

MXRCXL – A Laughing Matter (CDemo) The Netherlands June 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Grunge / Alternative Rock Running time: 17:33 (Tracks: 4)
In September of 2011 I reviewed the 2-track demo "Dump" of Dutch musician MXRCXL (the X's stands for the A and E in the name of Marcel) and got 72 out of 100 points from me. On that demo all instruments, except the drums, were played by Marcel, who's from Rotterdam, himself. After that demo "Dump", Marcel searched for musicians with whom he could perform his songs, and the musicians he had found are now also playing on this CDemo (or EP) of MXRCXL, titled "A Laughing Matter". So MXRCXL is not a one man's project anymore but a real band, existing of Marcel (vocals, bass), Mark (guitar), Lion (drums) and Jasper (keyboards). The songs on this "A Laughing Matter" demo are titled "I Will, You Won't", "Big Mistake", "I Forgot To Smile" and "Photographs". The song which I like the most of this demo is "I Forgot To Smile", which has a nice groove. The other three songs are just nice. MXCRCXL are still playing a mixture of Metal, Grunge and Alternative Rock. Well, it's just a nice CDemo, nothing more nothing less.
Visit their website: http://www.mxrcxl.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mxrcxl
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mxrcxl

70/100

MY DYING BRIDE – The manuscript (MCD) United Kingdom June 2013 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 27:28 (Tracks: 4)
I was a little bit surprised when I saw that My Dying Bride (MDB) had released a new album. Last year, the band released the excellent “A Map of all our Failures”, now there is a new album again: “The Manuscript”. I was concerned for some overkill and hasty work, but after listening it several times, I am sure: I was wrong. The new EP of MDB contains four very nice songs in the vein of their best work (well played doom with touches of death metal). Of course, there is a lot of drama, melancholy, pain, etc.., all the aspects which characterizes the music of MDB are present on this album. So you also do not have to expect that you will feel yourself happy after listening this album. It is a compliment that the music of MDB still fascinates me after 20 years.
The first three songs are written and recorded in the same time as the band recorded the tracks of “A Map…”. As you can imagine, they sound quite familiar as the songs on that album. Only the fourth song (“Only tears to replace her with”) is new, this is also a song which differs from the other ones. Here, you can feel best the grief of Aaron. The guitar work is not so heavy, no grunts, but the performance of Aaron is great. The first three songs are a lot heavier. My personal favourite is the second song with the Swedish title “Vår gud över er”. This is by far the heaviest song, with nice death metal riffs and grunts by Aaron. Again, I have to compliment MDB with a nice release, if you like their music, you can buy this album blindly.
Visit their website: http://www.mydyingbride.net
Recordlabel: http://www.peaceville.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/my-dying-bride-official-uk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialmydyingbride

85/100

NAILGUN – New World Chaos (CD) Germany June 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 61:40 (Tracks: 11)
Nailgun, a band hailing from one of the biggest metal-minded countries in Europe, is back with their latest album 'New World Chaos.' Enthusiasts of traditional, melodic Heavy Metal may want to read this review, therefore the music of Nailgun is very interesting. On this album, the band displays a guitar oriented sound in eleven well-crafted songs. On New World Chaos, melody is key. Opener 'A Fragment of Chaos' is a melodic introduction, after which the heavy 'Darkest Hour' begins. A powerful track with a great riff and catchy chorus. The band maintains this level with the following song 'Traitor', of which the twin-guitar sound reminisces of Iron Maiden. The songs have an epic structure because of the length of the songs combined with numerous breaks. Good examples of this are the aforementioned 'Darkest Hour', 'Abyss of Shadows' and 'When God Turned Away.' Overall, the album offers a variety of qualitatively good Heavy metal with Thrash influences. Never really aggressive, mainly because of the vocals, but always interesting. Not a ground-breaking album by any standards, but simply a very descent album in the genre. I can recommend 'New World Chaos' to enthusiasts of the styles that I've previously mentioned.
Visit their website: http://www.nail-gun.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nailgun.official
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nailgunmetal

75/100

OCEANS OF SLUMBER – Aetherial (CD) USA June 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 50:48 (Tracks: 9)
American progressive metal act Oceans of Slumber knows its way around the internet. Present at various social media platforms, the band is bringing their music to the people. When you take a look at their website and artwork for their debut album 'Aetherial', the word 'professionalism' comes to mind. When I listened to the album for the first time, that same word came back in my head, along with terms like 'heavy', 'technical' and 'varied.' You can tell that this band is dedicated and it shows on the album. A very nice album, I must say. As stated on their website, the musical style of Oceans of Slumber is hard to pin down. So I won't do that. What I will do is point out the band is able to compose technical songs that are well written, which sometimes reminisce of a band like Mastodon. After listening to the album numerous times, I didn't discover any real songs that stand out, let alone becoming a classic. What I did find out is the potential that this band has. The way that they've presented themselves with this album, raises expectations for the years to come. I think we will going to hear a lot more from this band.
Visit their website: http://www.oceansofslumber.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/oceansofslumber
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/600160634

72/100

OKULAR – Sexforce (CD) Norway June 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death Metal Running time: 58:56 (Tracks: 13)
This record that goes by the catchy name of 'Sexforce' is the second album of Norwegian Death Metal act Okular. Their debut album 'Probiotic', which was released in late 2011, received criticism that varied mostly from good to very good. The metal-press praised the band for their ability to create qualitatively good technical Death Metal songs, yet maintaining their brutality. So the stakes were high for this follow-up album. And I have to say: the band has once again did an incredible job. The progress is noticeable right away. Musically as well as production wise. Although Andreas Aubert is still the mastermind behind this project, Okular really sounds like a band and has even started to play live. The songs on the album, which by the way is accompanied by very nice artwork, are in your face, aggressive and still technical. Also, and this may sound like a contradiction, the brutal sound seems more accessible. It shows that the craftsmanship to write well balanced songs is ever present. Throughout its entire length, 'Sexforce' maintains an excellent level in which the band displays technical highlights like 'Ride the waves of emotion' and 'Feast upon the illusory.' If you liked the first album, you will most definitely like this full hour of brutality! A job well done!
Visit their website: http://www.okularmetal.com
Recordlabel: http://www.regenerativeproductions.no
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/okularmetal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/okularmetal

81/100

OLIVA – Raise the Curtain (CD) USA June 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Rock Running time: 56:49 (Tracks: 12)
For fans of Savatage, Jon Oliva's Pain and Trans Siberian Orchestra. That's what the bio says about this (almost) pure solo album of Jon Oliva. Well, the first two names can be scraped because this album turns much more direction TSO. All tracks are very key orientated and pretty progressive. Nothing wrong with that but if you expect a sound that reminds of the early, heavy Savatage days then you will be disappointed. No, only the man's voice reminds of those days. Well, okay, it's his album and besides a few drumparts he's responsible for the whole album. You'll have to get used to this catchy stuff but after a few times the coin falls. However opener “Raise the Curtain” even after ten times listening still doesn't convince me (dull and boring), follower “Soul Chaser” is definitely the best track on this album. With a heavier arrangement this could have been a damn good Savatage track but also here it's very enjoyable. The blazers in “Ten Years” give this track an almost danceable twist and yes it is catchy. “Father Time”, ” I Know”, “Armageddon” and “Big Brother” also enjoy but after these tracks the level decreases rapidly. I really can't do anything with tracks like “The Witch” and The Thruth” or the Beatles based “Can't get Away”. They are really too soft and to my opinion also not good enough for what the man is capable of. If you are a fan of Jon or a real progrocker you'll like it I guess but for me this album is a bit 50/50. It took time to get used to the stuff, it has it's moments in some really good ones but it also slows down to much at the end. Jon's craftsmanship is certainly present but not in the way you should expect. Musically it's done properly but I think overall the fan's expected more, or is it just a way to fulfil the obligations to the record company?
Visit their website: http://www.jonoliva.net
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jonolivaspain
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jonoliva

70/100

PAGAN ALTAR – Lords of Hypocrisy (CD) United Kingdom June 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 50:19 (Tracks: 9)
Pagan Altar is without a doubt the definition of cult. Formed around 1977, didn't release a debut album till 1998! 20 years of building a cult reputation among doomsters somehow paid off and during the 00s the band presented its vaulted material to the audience through two full length albums and one EP. What we have here is the reissue of the first one (originally released in 2004) since it was no longer available for purchase. All songs were conceived from 1977 to 1984. Some of them were recorded back in the day but most of them were recorded upon release with a different line-up of course. Vocalist Terry Jones remains the band's iconic leader and his Ozzy influenced vocals are a definite trademark. For those who have no clue about Pagan Altar (a bit difficult if you are a doom metal maniac though), the band presents Sabbath driven Doom music mixed with a N.W.O.B.H.M. character and tons of 70s feeling. The shadow of bands like Black Widow is totally present and adds some serious points to the whole atmosphere. If you are looking for epic, mystical, totally cult N.W.O.B.H.M.-ish doom, Pagan Altar is your stuff.
Visit their website: http://www.paganaltar.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/paganaltar

80/100

PAGAN ALTAR – Mythical and Magical (CD) United Kingdom June 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 65:11 (Tracks: 11)
Pagan Altar is without a doubt the definition of cult. Formed around 1977, didn't release a debut album till 1998! 20 years of building a cult reputation among doomsters somehow paid off and during the 00s the band presented its vaulted material to the audience through two full length albums and one EP. What we have here is the reissue of second one (originally released in 2006) since it was no longer available for purchase. All songs were conceived from 1977 to 1984. Some of them were recorded back in the day but most of them were recorded upon release with a different line-up of course. Vocalist Terry Jones remains the band's iconic leader and his Ozzy influenced vocals are a definite trademark. For those who have no clue about Pagan Altar (a bit difficult if you are a doom metal maniac though), the band presents Sabbath driven Doom music mixed with a N.W.O.B.H.M. character and tons of 70s feeling. The shadow of bands like Black Widow is totally present and adds some serious points to the whole atmosphere. If you are looking for epic, mystical, totally cult N.W.O.B.H.M.-ish doom, Pagan Altar is your stuff.
Visit their website: http://www.paganaltar.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/paganaltar

80/100

REIGN OF THE ARCHITECT - Rise (CD) Israel June 2013 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 65:44 (Tracks: 15)
“Rise” is the debut album of Reign of the Architect (RotA), which was founded in Israel a couple of years ago by Yuval Kramer. You maybe know him from the band Amaseffer. RotA started as a project but has gradually developed to a symphonic progressive metal band consisting of Yuval Kramer on guitars, Davidavi Dolev (vocals), Denise Scorofitz (vocals), Nina Vouraki (keyboards) and Yuval Tamir (drums). There are guest appearances on “Rise” from amongst others Jeff Scot Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen, Journey), Mike LePond (Symphony X) and Joost Van Den Broek (Ayreon, After Forever).
The album “Rise” is a concept album which consists of three parts / acts. According to Kramer, the story is an “allegory of the powers that rage inside the human soul”, dealing with the subjectivity of things such as “good and evil”, and “right and wrong”. Heavy stuff. This is really good expressed in the different songs, sometimes you hear heavy progressive metal alternated by nice ballads.
Musically, this is an interesting album. A couple of years ago, there were some bands who made very bombastic (not functional) over the top concept albums. Nowadays, there are more bands who make also nice bombastic albums but the bombastic elements are functional. That counts also for “Rise”. I am quite impressed about this album. One has tried to make album with refreshing parts and in my opinion, they have succeeded. There are three vocalists featured on the album: Davidavi Dolev, Tom Gefen, and Denise Scorofitz. This is one of its greatest strengths, as each one is given parts that perfectly suit their range and sound within the music. I have to be honest, the first 7 songs (Act I) are better than the rest of the album (Act II and III). However, I do not want to say that the rest is not OK of course. I can say a lot of things more, but if you want to listen to a well-played progressive metal, check this album!
Visit their website: http://www.reignofthearchitect.com
Recordlabel: http://www.pitchblackrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reignofthearchitect
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/architectproject

82/100

SACRED STEEL – The Bloodshed Summoning (CD) Germany June 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 60:27 (Tracks: 15)
SACRED STEEL is a German Power-, Thrash Metal band which exists already for seventeen years. But, although the band exists since 1996, I have to admit that I never had heard of them before. So, this album "The Bloodshed Summoning" is my first acquaintance with these Germans. And I must say, I was really surprised by it, because I liked it immediately. Well, to me SACRED STEEL sounds like a mixture of OVERKILL and SANCTUARY. So far, SACRED STEEL has released the following studio albums: "Reborn In Steel" (1997), "Wargods Of Metal" (1998), "Bloodlust" (2000), "Slaughter Prophecy" 2002), "Iron Blessings" (2004), "Hammer Of Destruction" (2006) and "Carnage Victory" (2009). And in 2006 they also released the live album "Live Blessings". After the "Iron Blessings" album, both original guitarists Jörg Michael Knittel and Oliver Großhans left the band to pursue their Death-Metal project MY DARKEST HATE. So, after Jörg and Oliver had left the band, bass player Jens Sonnenberg switched from bass to guitar, and the band recruited a new second guitarist and a new bass player. And since then the line-up of SACRED STEEL exists of Gerrit P. Mutz (vocals), Jens Sonnenberg (guitar), Jonas Khalil (guitar), Kai Schindelar (bass) and Mathias Straub (drums). And I must say, that the band exists of very skilled and technical musicians. And Mutz is a fantastic singer, who reminds me a bit of a mixture of Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth (OVERKILL) and Warrel Dane (SANCTUARY, NEVERMORE). Well, actually I can't find anything negative about this album. All songs on "The Bloodshed Summoning" are very good compositions and a pleasure to listen. The production was done by the band together with Bart Gabriel and sounds very good. "The Bloodshed Summoning" also features three bonus tracks, which are "Perversions Of The Scriptures", "Unbinding The Chains" and a nice cover version of THE MISFITS' "Dig Up Her Bones" (which was a single of the 1997 album "American Psycho"). All in all, my conclusion is that "The Bloodshed Summoning" is a strong and fantastic album with great songs such as "Storm Of Fire 1916" (3:05), "No God / No Religion" (4:52), "The Darkness Of Angels" (5:49), "Under The Banner Of Blasphemy" (2:28), "Black Towers" (4:14), "Crypts Of The Fallen" (5:40) and "Journey Into Purgatory" (7:30). Absolutely a recommendation.
Visit their website: http://www.sacredsteel.de
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com

86/100

SOULS OF STEEL – Journey to infinity (CD) Italy June 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Symphonic Power Metal Running time: 1:12:19 (Tracks: 12)
Soul of Steel will release their second album on Bakerteam Records, the Milan based label of many power metal acts like Carved, Red Rose, Rhyme, Mirrormaze, Hollow Haze and many others. The debut album of this band was released in 2011 on Underground Symphony Records (a small label from Novi Ligure owned by Maurizio Chiarello). Soul of Steel is a power metal pur sang, but the band has a lot of symphonic, prog rock hints and the songs on their new opus ' Journey to infinity' have enough variety and surprises for the stereotype melodic rockers among us. I think their new album is an improvement from various perspectives. I like the thick sound of the production (done by Olaf Thorsen/Carlo Magnani (his real name), famous for his guitar antics, arrangements and production credits on albums of Labyrinth, Vision Divine and Vision. The mix and mastering (done by Simone Mularoni, the guitarist/ soundwizard of Lalu, Empyrios and the fantastic DGM) are open, fair, and there's a good balance between the fast paced rhythms (like on "Through the gates of heaven” (with its Maiden influences), the fantastic " Shadows of the past", "Secret words" (with a down tuned guitar intro), the brilliant title track(filled with a diversity of complex themes) and the beautiful and atmospheric proludes en interludes on piano, keyboards and acoustic guitars( on tracks like the instrumental opener " Aeternum tormentum", "Last desire (this track has also an acoustic rendition with Labyrinth singer Roberto Tiranti on guest vocals)"," The fallen angel", " Like a memory" and " Eternal life" ( with beautiful keyboard/piano themes of Vision Divine's Alessio Lucati and thick guitars!). The musical input is not the only surprise of this album, I like the lyrics as well. All the songs have a common theme: Get rid of your demons, the bad aspects of life, the dangerous traps to get a life of infinity. The third surprise of this release is the cover, beautiful artwork done by Davide Nadaline(Nerve Design, also known for photo art and cover art of Threshold, Vision Divine, a.o.). Good album!
Visit their website: http://www.youtube.com/soulofsteelband
Recordlabel: http://www.bakerteamrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/soulofsteelband
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/soulofsteelband

85/100

SYSTEM OVERTHROW – System Overthrow (CDemo) The Netherlands June 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 10:45 (Tracks: 3)
System Overthrow is a 4-piece metalband from the South of The Netherlands with a passion for oldschool power/thrash metal in the vein of bands like (old) Iced Earth, Overkill and some Bay Area thrash. I really like the high pitched vocals by Willy van der Kaa (ex-Mytholic) which suit good to the music these guys show us! This is a new band and this demo proves that there are still good bands coming up from The Netherlands these days! Check them out if you like; go to their regular website where you can listen to all the songs of this Cdemo! Or check them out at my next MMM show with Swedish female fronted thrashers Tyranex @ Little Devil, Tilburg, The Netherlands. Date: 4th of July 2013! Good job guys!!!
Visit his website: http://www.systemoverthrow.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/systemoverthrow

75/100

THE POODLES - Tour de Force (CD) Sweden June 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hardrock Running time: 54:55 (Tracks: 13)
In 2006 Jakob Samuel(s) was asked to sing a song for the Swedish Melodifestivalen, the annual competition that determines the Swedish contestant for the European Songcontest. Jakob chose a Matti Alfonzetti song (Night of passion) and a few friends from the Swedish rock scene to form a band, called The Poodles. The Poodles finished at number four in the Melodifestvalen final. Carola Haggkvist won the Swedish final(although she didn't perform during the final, because of throat problems) and she would became fifth at the Europan Eurovision Songcontest. Two months later the German rock label AFM Records released the' Metal will stand tall' record by The Poodles, filled with great anthemic glamrock, good songs and very skilled musicianship! ' Sweet Trade' was their second album, it held less surprises, but the songs, the spirit, the fantastic playing were there again.
The Poodles became popular in their homecountry and in Germany. The band was asked to write a song for the Swedish Olympic Team (Raise the banner). But The Poodles had to face a problem on the other side. Guitarist Pontus Norgren (former Talisman and Humanimal axeslinger) was asked for the guitar job in Hammerfall, a job he wanted to choose because of the heavier musical approach. Pontus Norgren was followed up by Hendrik Bergqvist, who had played in Four Sticks, Southfork and Tiamat earlier. It had a little effect on the band's music. The melodic rock influences made room for a darker and heavier influence in many songs. " Clash of the elements" saw the light in 2009 on the Lionheart International label. The band released a live album (No Quarter) and their fourth album " Performocracy" (released on Frontiers Records) saw the band on top-form again: sleek engineering, flawless production, hard rock songs with accessible hooks, sizzling guitar work, a beefy rhythm section and vocals in the best Steve Lee(former Gotthard singer, died in an accident in 2012)-tradition, what a great record it was! The Poodles' fifth opus (Tour de Force) is a killer again, to be released on Frontiers Records in May. With Mats Valentin behind the producer's desk (for the third time in a row)the band made a choice for energetic songs that will flourish in a live setting. Songs like "Misery loves company, Shut up, Going down, Happily ever after, Kings of fools, 40 days and 40 nights( catchy, radio-friendly with a nod to the'80) and Now is the time" refer to their best days so far and many other tracks have that playful influences of modern rock with glammy touches. The bonus track is a special track composed by Anders Wikstrom of Treat, songwriter Fredrik Thomander (he composes songs for The Scorpions, a.o.) and The Poodles called" En for alla for En" . This song is the theme song for the Swedish ice hockey team going for gold at the Stockholm based World Championship of Ice Hockey in May 2013. Great record from The Poodles again, I hope to catch this band live this summer!
Visit their website: http://www.poodles.se
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thepoodles
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/thepoodles

85/100

TIMO TOLKKI'S AVALON – Land of new Hope (CD) Finland June 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Melodic Metal Running time: 52:57 (Tracks: 10)
For more than twenty years Timo Tolkki was the guitarist, the leader and the last standing man of Stratovarius, Finnish finest metal band, releasing twelve studio albums and a live album until Timo left the band in 2008 (the band had a restart after his departure). Stratovarius brought him the status as a guitar player, he was included in the top 50 of the best guitarists on the planet. And he has made a fortune as well, investing his money in the Goldenworks Studios and the Tolkkistudios he owns, releasing three solo albums and earning endorsement deals with ESP Guitars and Engl Amplification. After his Stratovarius heydays Timo played on some Avantasia albums and he guested on a lot projects like Beto Vasquez Infinity. But he had to deal with some personal problems as well: his recovery from a bipolar disorder lasted a few years. At the end of the first decennium Timo started two solo projects, Revolution Renaissance and Symfonia, releasing four albums with high quality metal music. He thought of quitting the music business, when he was called by Serafino Perugino from Frontiers Records Italy to start a new project: Avalon. Avalon is a prestigious, ambitious project with a story, a vision and a lot of vocal stars in this musical opus. Michael Kiske, Sharon den Adel, Russel Allen, Elize Ryd, Rob Rock and Tony Kakko shine on this beautiful album. The story behind this opus is quite apocalyptical. In 2055 planet Earth is almost gone and destroyed. A lot of young people try to find the Land of New Hope, the beautiful land known of legendary tales. But this land is hard to find and The Keeper guards the land, only the true hearted youngsters can pass him. The metal futuristic fairy-tale has a lot of power and bravado. I like the guitar work by Timo, the keyboards by Jens Johansson, Derek Sherinian and Mikko Harkin, the orchestration by Sami Boman and the vocal stars. Elize Ryd from Amaranthe is my favourite vocalist on this record. Her emotive and excellent diction is the focal point of the story ànd on this album. The music has a lot of reference points: Stratovarius, Symphony X, new millennium Avantasia, Jorn with orchestra, Rhapsody of Fire, Helloween and Unisonic. The great artwok is done by Stanis W. Decker, a French artist who has made artwork for albums of Stryper, Battle Cross, Freak Kitchen, Blackmore's Night and Gaia Epicus. I'm glad Timo didn't end his musical career, with this musical project and these musical guests and friends he will be back in the highlights again. Great record!
Visit their website: http://www.tolkki.org
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officialtolkki
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/tolkkimusic

83/100

TOTENGEFLUSTER – Vom Seelensterben (CD) Germany June 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Symphonic Black Metal Running time: 46:37 (Tracks: 10)
Totengefluster from Germany brings you symphonic black metal with a big dose of atmosphere in it.10 tracks of dark and ravenous black metal. This 2 men band started in 2007 and this is their debut album. The album kicks of with an dark intro that is very intense and then the slaughter begins. Ravenous guitar riffs that are typical black combined with a big dose of atmosphere that is done by keyboards that are the main sound of this album. The drums are straight in your face and pound through every song with aggression and a lot double bass action, but also a great groove. The vocals are screams that sound very evil and aggressive combined with whispers and grunts. All though this is a 2 men project it sounds like a real band. The composing of the songs are really interesting and filled with outro and intros that give every song a dark dimension that sounds really cool. The production of this album is also very raw and filthy sounding so that the album sounds even more evil (in my opinion). I am more into the old school black but this I can dig really well. If you like black metal then you should check there site and order a copy because they are unsigned.
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/totengefluester
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/totengefluester

78/100

U.D.O. – Steelhammer (CD) Germany June 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Metal Running time: 61:40 (Tracks: 14)
With the precision of a Swiss clockwork U.D.O. presents his two yearly new portion of Metal Vitamins. Surprisingly because he had to replace his two axe man by new kids Smirnov (what would be his fav drink?) and Heikinnen. Normally it takes some time to get things back in line and that can take a wile. After the hammering mechanical metal attack predecessors “Mastercutor”, “Dominator” and the phenomenal “Rev Raptor” of which I was very fond, it made curious if this would influence the band's sound. Well the answer has turned out into a yes and no. Of course this album is definitely U.D.O. as we know them, but in comparison to his named predecessors he has returned to a more warm Metal/Rock sound like in his early 'Animal House” era. The new kids fit in perfectly although personally I was very fond of the heavy, power grooving style of Kaufmann. The album sounds fresh and has very surprising moments like the piano ballad “Heavy Rain”, “Basta Ya” with it's Spanish lyrics and “Book of Faith” which is slow, theatrical and threatening. Nothing wrong with some experiments and some like “Book of Faith” work surprisingly well but what about the rest of the tracks. Be sure that all the rest you are longing for is there. You get your rockers like 'A Cry For A Nation”, “Never Cross My Way” and “When Love Becomes A Lie”, your killer anthems like “Steelhammer”, “King of Mean” and “Devil's Bite” and your full speed ahead markers like “Death Ride” and “Stay True”. Best tracks however are “Metal Machine”, “Timekeeper” and “Take My Medicine”, tracks that are the true über U.D.O. songs in which he accelerates as the unstoppable metal force. Awesome as always. Summarizing, the threading of two new bandmates has turned into a more warmer sound but doesn't effect the U.D.O, sound. They have enough room in the songs to provide their skills and with this line up they are more than capable to rock your balls out live. Get this U.D.O. medicine for your Metal Vitamins and as always you won't be disappointed.
Visit their website: http://www.-udo-online.de
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/udo-online
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/udoonline

83/100

UNIBROW – Total Eclipse of the Hardcore (MCD) The Netherlands June 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Grind Brutal Death Running time: 18:37 (Tracks: 6)
Sometimes you get an album that makes no sense when you try to listen to it. Well this is Unibrow and they bring you grind death. Six tracks of brutal devastation that is not so well done. The guitar riffs are really simple and a bit to typical for that genre. The drums are also straight in your face not well performed. The vocals are the best of this album because it is really brutal and it gives the music that taste that you want from grind death metal...total anarchy and some slamming grooves. The production of this album also really sucks. This band goes back to the late nineties when they were named Infected Entrails (never heard of them). After that they recorded some demos and did a lot of shows. So this is their new release and I must say that I am not impressed. For me this album misses everything, better sound, more variety etc.
Visit their website: http://www.unibrow.nl

50/100

VEKTOR – Outer Isolation (CD) USA June 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Sci-Fi / Technical Thrash Metal Running time: 51:47 (Tracks: 8)
I already reviewed Vektor's debut album “Black Future” in September 2010. This album was released by the Heavy Artillery label and this label did send me a copy. I really liked it very much and rated the album with 98 out of 100!! That says enough!! Well last year the band released the follow up album “Outer Isolation” also on the same Heavy Artillery label but this time I didn't receive a copy to review…..so I bought the album myself!
Well what happened at the end of 2012/beginning of 2013; Earache Records joined forces with Heavy Artillery Records and bought the complete label. And lately Earache did send me the re-release of this new album.
So again I have the luck to review a great album full of technical skills and great musicianship!! Okay, I was not blown away as much as I was with their debut album but still this album is incredible and a must have for every oldschool thrashmetal fan that has the guts to listen to more technical stuff as the regular thrashmetal of these days. The band continues with creating their own sound and I cant wait to see them alive in The Netherlands!! Again a great album but as said; not as original as their debut. For fans of Coroner, VoiVod, Sadist & Hellwitch!! I heard some rumors that the band will finally come over to Europe later this year with Toxik and Hatriot….hope these rumors are true!!!
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vektor
Recordlabel: http://www.earache.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vektorofficial

92/100

VERMITHRAX – Volume 1 (CDemo) USA June 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: US Metal / Thrash Metal Running time: 19:20 (Tracks: 3)
From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA comes VERMITHRAX, a band which was formed in early 2011 by drummer JR Jameson (NUNSLAUGHTER, MERCENARY US, ICARUS WITCH) and singer Chris Roy (READING ZERO, SATELLITE SESSIONS, EMANCIPATION SYNDICATE). The band was completed by guitarist Scott Haggerty and bass player Tom Donaldson. The name of the band comes from the dragon Vermithrax Pejorative of action/adventure/fantasy movie "Dragonslayer" (1981). Anyway, these guys of VERMITHRAX play a mixture US Metal and Thrash Metal, and they really surprised me with this demo. With a title "Volume 1", I assume this is the band's first demo-CD. "Volume 1" features three very interesting songs, which are titled "Architect Of Fear" (7:59), "Submersus" (6:32) and "The Summoning" (4:49). These are all three excellent songs, with great riffs. To me, the second track, "Submersus", sounds like a mixture of TESTAMENT and SANCTUARY. Even the vocals of Roy on this track sounds like a mixture of Chuck Billy (TESTAMENT) and Warrel Dane (SANCTUARY, NEVERMORE). So you understand, this guy really can sing. The production of this demo is okay, but in my opinion it could be slightly better. Nevertheless, these 3 songs make me very curious about a full length album of VERMITHRAX. "Volume 1" is a very good and recommendable demo for anyone who's into US Metal. What else can I say, VERMITHRAX is an interesting band. I hope it won't take too long before these guys start to record their debut album, because this really tastes for more. So far, this demo will visit my CD-player regularly. Thanks guys.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vermithraxthraxmetal

80/100

VICIOUS RUMORS – Electric Punishment (CD) USA June 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: US / Power Metal Running time: 49:17 (Tracks: 10)
No vocal change this time by Vicious Rumors. That's remarkable enough but why should they after the well deserved good critics they got for “Razorback Killers”. I'm glad the Rumors are back Vicious and well, because I really love this band. Live they are a guarantee for a splendid night of smashing power metal and also their latest records are very good. With the vocals of Brian this VR edition sometimes reminds me of Judas Priest during the Ripper years and that's a compliment in my opinion “Digital Dictator” will always be their best and classic but that doesn't mind. Every good band has to deal with that. So how near can this one get. “I am the Gun” opens heavy, fast and threatening and is one hell of a US Power Metal track. Damn, this is more than promising. Follower “Black X List” is (“A Minute to Kill”) ² and is punctuated with those fantastic riffs and solo's off which can be immediately be recognized as Thorpe's trademark. “Electric Punishment” slows down a bit and is again a fantastic statement. “D-Block” is the fastest track they've ever made and is a certainty for a fine pit during their live attacks. “Escape From Hell” is a fine power ballad which makes way for another brilliant power attack by “Dime Store Prophet”. Wow, what an album so far. Is it really going to happen, will it come near to their own über classic ? Unfortunately not. Damn, this band throws in it's own glasses pretty hard by putting “Together We Unite” on this (or any other) album. A sing a long especially for the fans ? It's certainly meant to honour their fans butt I really can't imagine that this is what any fan will appreciate. It an unworthy VR track, simple as that. Another experiment follows by the slow, a bit creepy, “Eternally”. Okay every record deserves their alternation(s) and this one can get along with it, but I'm glad “Thirst For A Kill” marks a return to the former tracks. Yes, this one gallops ahead again. Last track “Strange Ways” is a Kiss cover with a dark sounding Geoff Thorpe on vocals and again sounds a bit misplaced between 7 furious sounding tracks. So they come near but certainly not enough because they forsake in three tracks. Damn pity, but don't be afraid to check this album out. The mentioned tracks belong to the finest stuff of US Power Metal and the good ones really predominate. Strong album but it could have been very strong.
Visit their website: http://www.viciousrumors.com
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com//viciousrumors MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/viciousrumors

83/100

WHITESNAKE – Made in Japan (2 CD/DVD) USA June 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock Running time: 1:59:44 (Tracks: 20)
Whitesnake, founded in 1977, is one of the leading rock bands of the last thirty years, combining fierce rock, commercial appeal, superb musicianship and many concerts. The band has released thirty singles, two extended plays, ten compilation albums, eleven studio albums and five live albums, " Made in Japan", to be released soon by Frontiers Records Italy, is their last live album so far. The peak of their commercial breakthrough, the 1987 album, selling eight times platinum in the USA and five times platinum in Canada, is far behind us, but the band still has many fans, the band has the best rock musicians in the ranks and the new Whitesnake records gain rave reviews and chart successes in a lot of countries worldwide. Made in Japan is a CD/DVD release capturing Whitesnake's live concert at the fifth version of the Loud Park Music Festival on October 15th 2011. Whitesnake co-headlined this festival in Saitama City and other bands on the bill were Arch Enemy, Krokus, Stryper, Limp Bizkit, Trivium, Unisonic, Amaranthe, August Burns Red, a.o.
Frontiers will release this concert as a stand-alone DVD and as a double CD/DVD package. "Made in Japan" holds songs from the latest studio album "Forevermore", but the fan favourites are also on this album. I was surprised by the second CD filled with eight great acoustic tracks and sound checks recorded during their Japanese 2011 Tour. Whitesnake sounds furious, the band is on top form. The guitars of Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich are raw and heavy in the mix, the rhythm section ( Michael Devin on bass guitar and hard hitter Brian Tichy on drums) is pounding and the keyboards by Brian Rudey provide the finishing touches on the music. The vocals of David Coverdale are the point of discussion. His melodic approach made room for a harsh interpretation with raw vocal lines and screaming refrains many years ago, too bad, but with this great musical and instrumental backbone and musicians that can provide backing vocals as well, Coverdale remains himself, the boss, the leader of the pack and the absolute frontman alive and kicking! I haven't seen the images of the concert, but the audio-stuff is good! Whitesnake's live albums" Live in the heart of the city (1980)" ( full of classic Whitesnake with the late and great John Lord, Ian Paice, Neal Murray, Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden) and " Live in the still of the night (live DVD on EMI, 2006) are my live Whitesnake-diamonds, but this " Made in Japan" shines like the rising sun.
Visit their website: http://www.whitesnake.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/whitesnake.official
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/whitesnake

83/100

APRIL

ASTRONOMIKON – Dark Gorgon Rising (cd) Cyprus April 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 52:15 (Tracks: 12)
Ever laid your ears to metal from Cyprus ? Neither did I, so let's take this chance to hear what they're up to. Formed in 2008 and having released a demo tape in 2010 this Dark Gorgon Rising is their debut. Almost one hour of powerful metal in it's truest form is what they present and I must say it's a more then pleasant surprise. The sound, the music, the skills, the vocals, the artwork by Markus Vesper, the compositions that tell the tale of Perseus and Medusa, it's all pretty good. Earcatcher are the vocals of Nicholas Leptos who's a true accession to the power metal scene. Epic powermetal that gladly doesn't incline to the “happy” variant. Excellent stuff, not to technical but varied enough to follow the tale through the compositions. Highlights are the title track, the brilliant epic 'The Stone Abomination” and the 13th , hidden, bonus track “Rocka Rolla Sword” which is, surprisingly, a true rocker and live killer. In their bio they name Crimson Glory's famous debut but that doesn't make sense, not musical, neither skilled. But maybe next time. This is certainly a more then promising debut. Certainly a band to keep an eye on.
Visit their website: http://www.astronomikon.com
Recordlabel: http://www.purelegend-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/astronomikon
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/astronomikon

78/100

AXEL RUDI PELL – Live on Fire (CD) Germany April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Heavy Metal Running time: 1:50:56 (Tracks: 13)
Axel Rudi Pell's last studio opus was the subject of my review last year and my prediction came true, "Circle of the Oath", released in March 2012, sold very well, peaking in the German and Swedish charts in particular. Axel toured shortly after the release, the tour even got a second leg and the band staged the great festivals in Europe. 2012 was a very successful year for Axel and to please and say thanks to the fans of his music, Axel and SPV will release a live CD/ DVD called " Live on Fire". This opus has various packages: a 3LP set, a double CD format, Double DVD and a Limited Digipack containing two DVD's and two CD's. Axel Rudi Pell used recordings of the second leg of his last year's tour to capture the impact of his concerts, the Cologne Essigfabrik concert of October 18th and the concert at Seebronn, home of the Rock of Ages festival on July 28th. From Mario, our editor-in chief, I received a review download of the double cd set, capturing the Cologne concert.
What can I say? Axel Rudi Pell has released a lot of live albums and live DVD's, in a ten year's period fans were gladdened by two double CD's and four DVD's of the man and his band on stage. As a fan I have all his live stuff already, is it a possible overload? No, it is not the overstock on live registrations. And yes, " Live on Fire" is another killer performance, great songs, a superb backing band, fabulous guitar work and the best vocalist of the rest! From " The guillotine suite" to the closing chapter of this concert, a great rendition of "Rock the nation" this live set will please a lot of fans the melodic hard rock Axel Rudi Pell delivered last October. I think the DVD has more to offer: atmosphere, 3D, Technicolor, some beautiful extras to the concert of this giant artist!.
Visit their website: http://www.axel-rudi-pell.de
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/axel-rudi-pell-official-site
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/axelrudipellunofficial

85/100

BOIL – aXiom (CD) Denmark April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Progressive Metal / Rock / Alternative Running time: 49:07 (Tracks: 12)
From Denmark comes BOIL, a five piece Progressive Metal/Rock band which was formed in 2004. BOIL exists of Jacob Løbner (vocals), Stig Nielsen (guitar, vocals), Bjørn Bihlet (guitar), Brian Stilling (bass) and Mikkel Ib (drums). After releasing the albums "Vessel" (2007) and "A New Decay" (2010), "aXiom" is the band's third studio album. And what an album it is, fantastic. Personally I am not familiar with the first two albums, but with "aXiom" the band really surprised me. The band reminds me of a mixture of bands such as TOOL, PINK FLOYD, DISTURBED and VOIVOD to name a few. Even the vocals of Jacob Løbner, who sings very varied, sounds on a few songs like Maynard Keenan of TOOL/A PERFECT CIRCLE. There's just one instrumental track on "aXiom", which is the short "Ashes" (1:41). Really, songs such as "At The Centre Of Rage" (3:57), "Moth To The Flame" (3:36), "In A Blink Of An Eye" (3:28), "Equilibrium" (5:16), "Heretic Martyr" (3:54), the superb "Vindication" (7:51) and "Sunbound" (3:28) are all fantastic compositions, are catchy and most of all very addictive. This is absolutely an album that will often find its way to my CD player. The production of the album sounds marvelous, and the art work of this CD is fantastic as well. In fact, everything is just perfect about this album. I'm sure, not only the older generation will like this album very much, but also the younger generation. I would say, if you like the above mentioned bands, you absolutely should check this band out. Brilliant album of a very interesting and modern Metal/Rock band.
Visit their website: http://www.boilmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.vicisolum.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/boilmusic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/boilmusic

90/100

BUCKCHERRY – Confessions (CD) USA April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Sleaze Rock Running time: 50:49 (Tracks: 13)
BUCKCHERRY is a fantastic Sleaze/Hard Rock band from Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., which was formed in 1995. They dissolved in the summer of 2002, but reformed again in 2005. Since the reformation BUCKCHERRY has a steady line-up, which still exists of Josh Todd (vocals), Keith Nelson (lead-, rhythm guitar), Stevie D. (rhythm-, lead guitar), Jimmy Ashhurst (bass) and Xavier Muriel (drums). Well, I've seen the band once live, when BUCKCHERRY were opening for KISS on their European "Psycho Circus" tour, in the Prins van Oranjehal, Utrecht, Holland on March 13th 1999. Anyway, the albums which I have of BUCKCHERRY are the self titled debut album "Buckcherry" (1999), the third album "15" (2006) and their fourth album "Black Butterfly" (2009). Now BUCKCHERRY have released their sixth studio album, entitled "Confessions", and it's again a great album. The whole album goes about the 'seven deadly sins'. To me, BUCKCHERRY has a very recognizable sound. If you are familiar with albums of BUCKCHERRY, you'll now the band always treats us on fantastic sleazy rock songs and beautiful ballads. And their songs are always very catchy, which makes their albums very accessible. Since I bought this album on February 20th, it already has made many spins in my CD-player. "Confessions" starts with "Gluttony", which is the first single of the album, and it's a great song. But in my opinion, there are more fantastic songs on "Confessions" which could be great singles (especially in the US). The ballads on "Confessions" are "The Truth", "Sloth" and "Dreamin' Of You", and of those ballads, "The Truth" is my favorite one. The album was produced by guitarist Keith Nelson and Marti Frederiksen, and sounds great. Although I like all songs on "Confessions" very much, my favorites of this sixth BUCKCHERRY album are without a doubt "Gluttony", "Wrath", Nothing Left But Tears", the killer ballad "The Truth", "Water", "Seven Ways To Die", "Envy" and "Lust". "Confessions" is again an excellent album of BUCKCHERRY, and is a real recommendation for anyone who likes good and high quality rock music.
Visit their website: http://www.buckcherry.com
Recordlabel: http://www.elevensevenmusic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/buckcherry
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/buckcherry

90/100

BUCKCHERRY - Confessions (CD) USA April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Sleazy Hardrock Running time: 50:44 (Tracks: 13)
The LA rock band Buckcherry was formed in 1995. Buckcherry is the spoonerism for Chuck Berry, but the real person behind the bandname is Buck Cherry a.k.a. Jon Armstrong, the drag queen guitar player for The Modernettes and a good friend of the original members of this rock band. Their self-named debut album in 1999 was a real fire cracker, providing a solid cross over between Aerosmith on acid and AC/ DC. The album sold very well, provided a tour as a support act for Lenny Kravitz and a performance on the Woodstock 99 Festival. The future seemed right for these guys, but the follow up album, Timebomb (a reflection to the personal issues behind the curtain), released on Dreamworks in 2001, was a real disappointment. The band went on tour again (with AC/DC as a headliner), but internal changes put the band on hiatus in 2002. Singer Josh Todd brought the band back together in 2005 and the new albums gained commercial and critical successes.
Exhausting tours with Kiss and Motley Crue a.o. augmented their popularity and their sixth album ' Confessions', released in February is spinning in my cd player. The album, brought to you by Century Media and Eleven Seven Music, is a fifty minute musical journey through the ' seven deadly sins' . The band has more adult-like songs, but the big, hard-edged party anthems have their impact as well. I like the driven vocals, telling the very personal stories and issues of the lead singer, the energetic riffola and solos of lead guitarist Keith Nelson and rhythm guitar player Stevie D. . And what about a thick platform, drummer Xavier Muriel and bass player Jimmy Ashhurst, you won't find any better sleazy rhythm sections these days. Of course there are hints of Guns and Roses, Velvet Revolver, Motley Crue, fast Aerosmith, the punky attitude of many glam rock bands, but the themes and the lyrics make this band very special. Their comeback album ' 15' was my absolute Buckcherry favourite, but these' Confessions' are more heavy, haunting and the album has even more ' attitude'.Very good album!
Visit their website: http://www.buckcherry.com
Recordlabel: http://www.centurymedia.com
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/buckcherry

87/100

DEATH TYRANT – Opus De Tyranis (CD) Sweden April 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Black Death Metal Running time: 45:00 (Tracks: 9)
Death Tyrant from Sweden brings you black death metal since 2010. This band is new but the members are well known because of their previous and other bands (Lord Belial, The Cold Existence, Sacramentum, etc.). So the hope of a good album was big by me. But I have to be honest and must say that this is a bit disappointing for me. This album contains 9 tracks of death black that brings nothing new and sounds really standard for this genre. The guitar riffs are heavy technical and even melodic. The drums are furious and filled with progressive and old school beats. Then you have the vocals that are also well executed screams/grunts. After reading this you will probably think, hey everything well executed so what's the problem? The composing and variety in the songs is very standard and even a bit doll (in my opinion). Normally I always get happy from Swedish metal bands but this band misses power and raw energy in the songs.
Visit their website: http://www.death-tyrant.se
Recordlabel: http://www.non-serviam-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/deathtyrant
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/death-tyrant.se

60/100

DEHUMANIZED – Controlled Elite (CD) USA April 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Death Metal Running time: 24:57 (Tracks: 11 )
If it wasn't for the fact that Dying Fetus decided to record an EP full of covers, the new Dehumanized record 'Controlled Elite' might not even exist. However, this renewed attention was reason enough to inject Dehumanized one more time. The band was originally formed in 1997 and released and absolute death metal classic with the 'Prophecies Foretold' album. To this day, the album is an inspiration to death metal bands as well as their fans. No wonder that Dying Fetus chose 'Fade into Obscurity' as the opening track for their covers EP. So now, after more than fifteen years (!) another full length album has seen the light of day. How does it sound? Unmistakably like Dehumanizer, along with the likes of Cannibal Corps and Suffocation. The band has maintained their brutal sound and ability to write songs that are in your face with the use of all the traditional ingredients. The overall quality is good, but not special. Fifteen years ago this might have made a huge impact, but times have changed. In 2013, it is just a very decent death metal record. For fans of Dehumanized and the aforementioned bands, 'Controlled Elite' might be very interesting. The band has disbanded quite a few times over the years. Let's hope that this will not happen again very soon, so that the band can take their music to the next generation.
Recordlabel: http://www.comatosemusic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dehumanized.ny
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/dehumanized

70/100

DE LA CRUZ– Street Level (CD) Australia April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 45:45 (Tracks: 12)
In 2007 Casey Jones, a guitar player from Australia's Gold Coast and a Kramer Guitars' endorser decided to leave the YouTube- environment of the clips with his fretwork as the protagonist and he wanted to search for a real band playing his favourite style of music: Eighties rock. He travelled more than 2000 miles to find a singer in Auckland, New Zealand, Roxxi Catalano, sharing the same musical passion. During the process of song writing, demoing, the two Aussies landed in , Melbourne, Bendigo and Brisbane to find their drummer, bass player and a rhythm guitarist. In October 2011the band released an EP De LaCruz, filled with heavy party rock with anthemic hints of Def Leppard, early Dokken and Winger. The mini album drew the attention of many European music fans, labels and reviewers, clocking up over 50.000 downloads worldwide. AOR Classic Rock Magazine had a full page article on the guys, a song of the EP appeared on a heavy rock sampler and another song featured an episode of Dexter on national TV, the popularity of the band augmented. Frontiers Records from Italy signed the band and just a few months later, the first full album of the band is in my media player right now, spinning a few days.
During my listening sessions my wife said:" Huh, new Def Leppard? Are they on steroids now?" I couldn't have said it better, yes: this new De La Cruz record is just as Pyro as Pyromania, just as Hysteric as Hysteria. But I hear a lot more influences: Skid Row, Tesla, heyday White Lion, Lynch Mob, Trixter and new glam rock like Steel Panther and Hardcore Superstar. I like this record very, very much. It's kind a stereotype, archetype '80's big hair rock, but it's done with pleasure, musical devotion, class and attitude. The screaming vocals, the choruses, the big guitars, the tight rhythm section, this band grabs you by the balls and tits( as many lyrics have that female issues) and they never let go! You want an amazing mid- and end-eighties' rock flashback? This "Street Level" is the record providing it all. Good stuff!
Visit their website: http://www.delacruzofficial.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/delacruzaustralia

88/100

EMERGENCY GATE – You (CD) Germany April 2013 Michel van Hassel
Style: Metalcore / Modern Metal Running time: 46:00 (Tracks: 12)
I did not know this band before I received the promo for “You” which is Emergency Gate's fifth full-length album. Apparently, they have been active since 1996. The band consists of Matthias Kupka (vocals), Udo Simon and Vladi Doose (guitars), Mario Lochert (bass), Daniel Schmidle (keyboards), Chris Widmann (drums), and they play music that is a mix between metalcore and modern metal. “Mindfuck” has a beautiful quiet keyboards/piano-intro, but not for long as Emergency Gate's true colours are revealed right away. What follows is Kupka screaming and the band playing a true piece of metalcore. On the next track, “Force United” they take it a step higher as there is plenty of double bass drums and some real nasty growling. There is also space for clean vocals and, almost poppy, keyboards. The track ends with a big bang. The third track, “Moshpit” is introduced clearly, as the song starts with the words: “let's get them moshpit started”. According to the intensity of the track, this will be one of the highlights when Emergency Gate plays a gig. “Feeling Inside” combines very clean vocals, brutal screaming with heavy guitars and lots of keyboards giving it a modern touch. “Liar's Truth” starts like a Sabaton song. The singing on “Breathless” is mainly very modest with some screaming vocals and some double bass drumming but overall this is a less heavy song. “Revolution” has more screaming vocals but also a news-fragment inside the song accentuating the title. Next one is the title-track that has a flying start and is yet another example of the great mix between aggression and several other vocal styles. “Lean on Words” has a very quiet intro and all through the song there is plenty of space for slow and modest vocals. The speed and aggression are back on “Regret” as this is typical example of a metalcore-track although the keyboards give it an odd feeling. What to say about “Back From The Grave” as this is a combination of more traditional and power metal. It also has a catchy vibe to it. The last track with the appropriate title “Say Goodbye” starts with some thunder and lightning, the sound of a police car and someone searching for channels on his radio. Then Emergency Gate kicks off heavy for the last time although the first three tracks remain the heaviest. Especially the very clean soft vocals point this track more into modern metal. This promo was a nice surprise to me. I think I will have to watch the concert-guide carefully to see if there are chances to see Emergy Gate perform these songs live.
Visit their website: http://www.emergency-gate.de
Recordlabel: http://www.zyxmusic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/emergencygate
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/emergencygateonline

79/100

EXECRATION – The Acceptance of Zero Existence (CD) USA April 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Brutal Death Metal Running time: 37:30 (Tracks: 11)
Execration is a brutal death metal band from the US that started spreading their torment since 2007. They released a demo in that year and their debut album saw the light in 2008. This is their latest release “The Acceptance of Zero Existence” released in 2012. This album contains 10 tracks of pure and furious hatred and an intro (instrumental). The guitar riffs are very technical and heavy. The drums are also very progressive and filled with blast beats. The vocals are brutal growls that sound massive. The production and composing are also straight in your face. This band has influences of all kind of brutal bands (Cryptopsy etc.) and use that in a very good way. If you like brutal death metal then you will enjoy this album!
Recordlabel: http://www.comatosemusic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/execrationbrutality
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/execrationbrutality

75/100

GRIEF OF EMERALD – It All Turns to Ashes (CD) Sweden April 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Symphonic Black Death Metal Running time: 40:31 (Tracks: 9)
Grief of Emerald is a band that clearly does not need an introduction. They are active since 1990 and only released good and solid metal albums. This is their 5th full-length and it sounds ravaging. The guitar riffs are progressive and melodic but also have some heavy and fast black riffs. The drums are furious blast beats combined with up tempo grooves. They also use keyboards that gives the music an atmospheric dimension. And then you get the vocals, screams combined with grunts (both well executed). The variety of the songs is straight in your face and the composing is also very bang-able. This album starts with a great groove of melody and brutalness and that is also how they end. If you like black death metal then you are going to enjoy this masterpiece.
Visit their website: http://www.griefofemerald.se
Recordlabel: http://www.non-serviam-records.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/grief-of-emerald
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/griefofemerald

80/100

GUNS OF GLORY – On The Way To Sin City (CD) Finland April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Sleaze Rock Running time: 29:56 (Tracks: 9)
GUNS OF GLORY is a four piece Hard Rock/Sleaze Rock band from Finland that was formed in 2010 and exists of Petri Puheloinen (vocals, bass), Riku Lepistö (guitar), Oskari Hurskainen (guitar) and Jon Takalo (drums). In 2011 they released their first demo in a limited edition of only 300 copies. Now, GUNS OF GLORY present their full length debut album "On The Way To Sin City", which is released on Pure Rock Records, a division of Pure Steel Records. The CD has a very nice album cover, and it features 9 excellent kick ass Rock 'n Roll songs. In that case, this debut album is a very nice acquaintance with GUNS OF GLORY, because I like the entire album very much. The songs really kick some ass, are very catchy and are excellent to build a party with, playing air guitar with your friends and drink lots of beer. Okay, it's not sounding very new, but what these guys do, they do it very good. "On The Way To Sin City" has already made a lot of spins in my CD-player, and it will visit my CD-player many times more, because it's a really addictive album. I can't get enough of it. So, I really hope the band will go on tour through Europe, to promote this great album. Believe me, "El Savior", "I'm Glad You're Gone", "Drive-By Lover", "Whiskey Girls", "Sisters Of Sin", "Rock 'N Load", "Don't Fool With The Guns", "Load Your Guns" and "Never Stop (That's Rock 'N Roll)" are all sounding great. There isn't any weak song on this debut album. And the production is very good as well. If you like bands such as AC/DC, ROSE TATTOO, NASHVILLE PUSSY, AIRBOURNE, HELLACOPTERS, GLUECIFER, I'm sure you will like this album as well. Fans of Hard Rock/Sleaze Rock really have to check this debut album out, because it's a fantastic album. Great band. Well, let's 'Rock and Roll all nite and party every day'.
Recordlabel: http://www.purerock-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gunsofgloryofficial
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gunsofglory

83/100

HARDREAMS – Unbroken Promises (CD) Spain April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic European Hardrock Running time: 50:11 (Tracks: 11)
Hardreams is a band from Barcelona, Spain providing melodic rock with traditional rock hints. The band debuted on Vinny Records, the Santander based rock and distribution label, with " Calling everywhere" in 2004. It took four years to come up with a successor, this time on the Houston Perris Records label, a label specialized in releasing albums in the spectrum of sleazy and glammy rock. This second release " The road goes one" was quite good, with anthemic traks like " Rebel heart" and " My last desire". The instrumental musicianship was very stable and strong, but the vocal-lines of Manu Esteve and his European accent recieved some critcism. On the next two releases on Perris Records, "Calling everywhere( a reissue of their first album with a couple of bonus tracks)" and " Live on a dreamer's night ( a live album recorded in November2009 in Salamandra, when the band opened for Jimi Jamison) the sound and the pronounciation were improved and in 2012 the band went in the Grabaciones Silvestres Studios in San Quirze de Safaja and the Boo-Boo's Music Studios in San Joan Despi with Tomi Perez, the man behind all their past records, taking care of the recording, mixing and mastering. Their new collaboration is called " Unbroken promises" , I've received a review download from the editor-in-chief Mario a couple of days ago. The albums opens very strong with the harmonic" Count on me", the fast " A high mountain to climb", the light " It's only love" and the very strong and melodic " The war is over". " The woman in black" is a light melodic song again and the first ballad" Now you're mine" divides the album into two parts, this ballad has a short but very nice guitar solo of David Arguera.
" The land inside our souls" is a speedy track again. And " Going fast" is a fast track with a"Radar love"-stigma (yes, the Golden Earring classic opus has set his roots in this song) and a good guitar solo. The title track of this record is filled with melodies of the light Scandi-rock scene. " Cross the line" is powerful with great keyboards of Sergi Segarra. " All and now" is a closing ballad with a seventies frame, well done. I think the guys of Hardreams have evolved their music into light melodic rock, with influences of Scandinavian and German bands playing a ' lighter brand' of adult orientated rock ( like new era Stage Dolls, Chris Antblatt, light-Michael Bormann and early Jaded Heart, MadMax, Big Talk, Andy Baum, Ochsenknecht, Clark Kent, and many other acts). The music is quite good, with nice melodic ideas compiled in eleven songs, the rhythm section (Sergi Hormigo on drums and Victor Muinoj on bass guitar) is tight and fat, I like the guitars and the keyboard parts, and many chorusses have more layers to prevent ' thin vocal lines' . But the music is also too mediocre to stand out in the genre, to deliver something really special, too bad. Collectors of Aor and melodic rockers will welcome this fifth record from the sympathic Catalans, that's for sure.
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/hardreams
Recordlabel: http://www.perrisrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/hardreams

79/100

HEAVENWARD – Within These Dreams (CD) Germany April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 67:47 (Tracks: 13)
This album of German Heavy Metal band HEAVENWARD is a re-release on Pure Underground Records, because originally "Within These Dreams" was released in 1991 by Rough Trade. I have to admit I didn't know the band and this album from that time. Anyway, I'm glad Pure Underground Records has re-released this debut album of HEAVENWARD, because it's a fantastic melodic Power Metal album. Besides the original 8 tracks of the album, this version features also the four songs ("Remember – At First Nature", "Dreams In Disguise", "Hell On Earth" and "Holding The Key") of the band's second demo "At First Nature", which was released in 1989, and one brand new track "System Going Down" (recorded in September of 2012) where this re-release starts with. HEAVENWARD was formed in 1986, did have many line-up changes, and released their first demo "Into The Light" in 1988, and their second demo "At First Nature", as you can see above, in 1989. After the release of the band's debut album "Within These Dreams" (1991), the band broke up. But singer Stefan Kessel reformed the band again with a complete new line-up, so the band's second album "A Future Worth Talking About" was released in 1992. One year later, in 1993, each member of the band went its own way. After some short lived reunions, the band recorded in 2010 a new full length album again, but during the production of it they separated again. And since the end of 2011, after 4 original founding members played together again, HEAVENWARD is back to life. Well, about this album, it's a brilliant one with all excellent Heavy Metal/Power Metal songs of a high quality. The band exists of very talented and technical musicians, and man, what a great singer Stefan Kessel is. He sings as well as clean as with high-pitched vocals…..superb. Only, although this re-release is completely re-mastered, too bad the sound quality of the original 8 tracks of the album is a bit less. Nevertheless, the songs are really fantastic, of which "System Going Down" (6:56), "The Sky" (5:33), "Dreams In Disguise" (5:20), "Their Eyes" (6:18), "Remember – At First Nature" (5:56), "Within These Walls" (4:45) and "Holding The Key" (3:01) are my favourites of the album. And the demo versions are fantastic as well. So, if you like bands such as FATES WARNING, QUEENSRYCHE, CRIMSON GLORY, BLIND GUARDIAN or HELLOWEEN, then you will like HEAVENWARD as well. The band also reminds me of our own Dutch metallers of MARTYR. Anyway, this album is a real recommendation to anyone who likes fantastic and technical Power Metal with high pitched vocals.
Visit their website: http://www.heavenward.de
Recordlabel: http://www.pureunderground-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Heavenward.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/heavenward2006

86/100

HELKER – Somewhere in the Circle (CD) Argentinia April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Power Metal Running time: 52:46 (Tracks: 11)
The South American countries have flourishing metal scenes( with great bands like Coda, Hibria, Soulfly, Sepultura,Tercer Acto, V8, Rata Blanca, Hermetica, Malon, Almafuerte, a.m.), but just few bands reach the European, Asian and the North- American heavy music market. Quality aspects are the main reasons for this, but crossing the language barrier is certainly an important step these bands have to take to get a wider recognition. Argentinian band Helker has released a fourth album in their native tongue(i.e. Spanish) and also in the English language. The German rock label AFM, attracted by the first three albums, the Helker track on the Argentinian Iron Maiden tribute album ("Piece of Madness",2003) and the vocal exposure of singer Diego Valdez(Helker's vocalist since their " Resistir -album on Blackstar Records in 2008) on the Tarja Live-DVD, took care of the distribution in mid-February. The guys from Buenos Aires are lucky, Mat Sinner and Achim Kohler sat behind the production and mixing desk and power vocalists Ralf Scheepers and Ripper Owens lend their fabulous voices to the bulky " Begging for forgiveness", the fourth song of "Somewhere in the circle" . Helker mixes European (I could say German) power metal with traditional heavy metal hints. I hear comparisons with Primal Fear, fast Dio, Cage (the American metallists), Gamma Ray, classic Helloween, Hammerfall, Judas Priest, Accept, Maiden-harmonics and (nineties)Sinner. The musicians of Helker stand their ground, the guitar work of Mariano Rios (co-founder of the band in 1998) is even very good. The singer of the band is blessed with a timbre like Ronnie James Dio, Jorn Lande and Ripper Owens, quite remarkable and impressive. The songs are good, but not that spectacular and I miss a little bit of variety. The flow of the first three songs (Modern Roman circus, Just be yourself, No chance to be reborn) slips away a little bit and many structures repeat themselves, too bad, the album loses a bit of attention. From the second half of the cd I like " Wake up", "Ghosts from the past" and the melodic closing track" Dreams" with its great harmonics. Helker has delivered a fine record, good playing, great production and quite good songs, I hope this album will be the catalyst for a European adventure.!
Visit their website: http://www.helker.net
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HelkerMetal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/HelkerMetal

80/100

INFECTED FLESH – Concatenation of Severe Infections (CD) Spain April 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Brutal Death Metal Running time: 43:18 (Tracks: 11)
Infected Flesh is a brutal death metal band that started in 1997. They released their debut album in 2002 and that was well accepted. In 2006 the band was reformed as a one-man band (Roger Borrull also from Christ Denied). 2008 gave light to the second album and after that there came 2 split albums. In 2012 his latest release “Concatenation of Severe Infections” came to life. This album is so fucking straight in your face and brutal in every way that you can think of. This album is done by two instead of one-man. Our very own Seth Van de Loo (known from Severe Torture ,Nox ,Centurian (NL) and Voodoo Gods.) on drums and backing vocals. The album starts with an intro of torment and torture and then the chaos begins. Brutal riffs that are fast and furious ,combined with extreme aggression. The drums are straight in face blast beats and a constant wall of aggression. Then you got two kind of grunts on it, the first one is deep and sounds like it is pulled out of a gutter and the other they also found in the same gutter, man that's sick and brutal!. The variety and composing are straight in face and brings you almost no melody or variety...but that is definitely what you expect and get from this band. This album is a must have for brutal death metal fans because it is a costant train that stops for no one!
Recordlabel: http://www.comatosemusic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fleshinfected
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fleshinfected

77/100

INFINITE TRANSLATION – Masked Reality (CD) France April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 39:05 (Tracks: 9)
INFINITE TRANSLATION is a French Thrash metal band which was formed in 2004, and started as a Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal band. But the band became more and more a pure Thrash Metal band. INFINITE TRANSLATION exists of Max Maniac (vocals, guitar), Gui Haunting (guitar), Jon Whiplash (bass) and Fishkiller (drums). In 2008 the band released together with MASS GRAVE a split demo called "Scream From Underground", and in May of 2010 the band's debut album "Impulsive Attack" was released on Emanes Metal Records. Now, INFINITE TRANSLATION is back with their second album, "Masked Reality", which was released in September of 2012. Notable is that the album cover is done by the famous and legendary Edward J. Repka (DEATH, MEGADETH, TOXIK, ATHEIST, MUNICIPAL WASTE, TOXIC HOLOCAUST, LUDICHRIST, SANCTUARY, and lots more). Anyway, this second album is my first acquaintance with INFINITE TRANSLATION, and I have to say that, although I like this album, it sounds far from original. In fact, it all sounds very predictable, because the guitar riffs, the vocal lines etc., we've heard it all before many times. You can hear influences of EXODUS, SLAYER, early SEPULTURA to name a few. But besides that, the band also reminds me very much of GAMA BOMB and BONDED BY BLOOD, two bands of the new generation of Thrash Metal bands. It's absolutely not bad, what these guys do, only it sounds not that original. Nevertheless, I'm sure I will listen to "Masked Reality" so now and then, because it's, if you are into Thrash Metal, an enjoyable album to listen to. In that case, I have heard Thrash bands who are much worse. INFINITE TRANSLATION is a band which exists of good musicians, and the vocals of Max Maniac fits perfect. My favorite songs of "Masked Reality" are "Destined To Death", "Killing Solution", "Life Of Submission" and "Masked Death". All I can say is that "Masked Reality" is just a nice Thrash album, nothing more, nothing less.
Visit their website: http://www.infinitetranslation.com
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/infinite-translation/187598204626140
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/infinitetranslation1

73/100

INMORIA – A Farewell to Nothing (MCD) Sweden April 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Progressive Metal Running time: 15:37 (Tracks: 4)
Tad Morose is one of my favourite Swedish power metal bands. So everything related to them immediately catches my attention. Inmoria is a band featuring 4 Tad Morose members so it's not hard to imagine which genre they are serving. From the beginning of its career the band could not find a steady member to fill the vocalist shoes. The debut album was recorder with Charles Rytkonen (Morgana Lefay) and the second one with Soren Adamsen (Artillery). This promo is actually comprised of 4 songs of the second album, sung by the new vocalist Ronny Hemlin (Steel Attack) since the band is trying to give the world a flavour of the new line-up. The band delivers contemporary power metal pumped with some prog elements, a cross between Tad Morose and Firewind. Ronny is perfect for the job and I wish the band will stabilize its line-up and give more quality material to the fans.
Visit their website: http://www.inmoria.com

80/100

INTRACTABLE – Inner Decay (CD) Switzerland April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 55:52 (Tracks: 12)
This Swiss Thrash Metal band INTRACTABLE was formed in 2006. In the spring of 2010, these guys released their first self recorded Demo CD "First Eruption". Now, in front of me I have the band's full length debut album, entitled "Inner Decay", which was released in December of 2012 by the band themselves. INTRACTABLE exists of Benjamin Kottmann (vocals, drums), Markus Hospenthal (guitar), Dominik Meier (guitar) and Michael Schuler (bass). The album, which features twelve brilliant songs, was produced by guitarist Hospenthal and sounds fantastic. Believe me, this is GREAT stuff. Well, I am highly impressed. Songs such as "Captured" (4:20), "No Tomorrow" (3:40), "That's Me" (3:47), "The New Belief" (5:50), "Solve The Pain" (6:03) and "Scream For Me" (3:32) are all sounding awesome. Not only both guitarists and the bass player are very technically, but man, what a great drummer Kottmann is. And besides drumming, he's doing the lead vocals as well. All songs do have great guitar riffs, and of course brilliant drum work. Vocally Kottmann reminds me of a mixture of Randy Blythe of LAMB OF GOD and Gary Meskil of PRO-PAIN. And even on "That's Me", Benjamin sounds also a bit like Nick Holmes during the early days of PARADISE LOST. What else can I say, INTRACTABLE is a great band with a lot of potential, and "Inner Decay" is an excellent debut album. This is HIGH QUALITY Thrash Metal with brutal vocals. No need to say it's highly recommended. For fans of SLAYER, LAMB OF GOD, PRO-PAIN and EXODUS to name a few. Aaaarrggh, this is just a KILLER album. Thanks guys, GREAT WORK, and I hope to see INTRACTABLE real soon in Holland. A show in the Little Devil, in my hometown Tilburg would be very nice.
Visit their website: http://www.intractable.ch
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/intractableofficial
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/intractable

90/100

ION VEIN – IV v 2.0 (MCD) USA April 2013 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Power Metal Running time: 11:25 (Tracks: 3)
This is the second release in the DR (digital release) series. In 2011, Ion Vein digitally released three tracks under the title “IV v 1.0”. This is just another modern way of releasing songs. After the completion of all tracks, they will be available as a physical CD. The last full-length release that Ion Vein put out was “Reigning Memories”, back in 2003. After some line-up changes Ion Vein nowadays consists of Chris Lotesto (guitars, vocals), former Enertia vocalist Scott Featherstone , former Twelfth Gate bassist Rob Such and Chuck White (drums). The songs were produced, engineered and mixed by Neil Kernon. The first track, “Seemless” has some sturdy guitar riffing and Featherstone's powerful voice as the main features. It is a very powerful song with many great guitars-parts that rocks big-time. “Fools Parade” is a very fast track that suites Featherstone's voice perfectly. On this one, the band puts down a great piece of music, as there is plenty of space for all instrumentalists to take their moment to show their musical qualities. The last track, named “This Is me”, has a slower start with some groovy guitar riffing. It turns into a heavy pounding track. The idea of this way of releasing music is perhaps the way it is going to be in the near future, but I would like to be able to listen to more tracks at once. Listening to these three tracks made me want to play the first two Ion Vein's albums from my collection.
Visit their website: http://www.ionvein.com
Recordlabel: http://www.mortal-music.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ionvein
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ionvein

85/100

IRON KNIGHTS – New Sound Of War (CD) United Kingdom April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Power Metal Running time: 41:13 (Tracks: 10)
IRON KNIGHTS are a traditional Heavy Metal band from London, England and exists of Duke Fang Begley (vocals), Gravedigger Cox (guitar), Count Carlos Montoya el Foxico (guitar), Bomber Beam (bass) and Baron Von Hammerstein (drums). "New Sound Of War" is the debut album of the band and is released on Metalbox Recordings. Well, I have to say that while I was listening to this CD for the very first time, it was clear to me that IRON KNIGHTS are influenced by IRON MAIDEN. It all reminds very much of MAIDEN during their "Powerslave" era. Also Duke Fang Begley sounds a bit like Bruce Dickinson, only he absolutely can't compete with Bruce, because if you listen carefully you can hear that Duke is not always singing in tune. So, to me he is just a moderate singer. "New Sound Of War" opens very good with the more Power Metal song "Jericho" (4:36), and is in my opinion the best song of the album. The short instrumental "Immortals" (1:26) and "Afterwrath" (1:36), which is more an intro with spoken words, are in my opinion both superfluous. And although most of the songs remind of IRON MAIDEN, I can't say that the compositions are very strong. Altogether, the moderate songs, the not in tune vocals of Duke, makes of "New Sound Of War" a moderate album to me. Anyway, IRON KNIGHTS will be supporting US Metalheads of VICIOUS RUMORS on their upcoming European tour in May. They will be doing three shows in Holland. On May 26th, 2013 IRON KNIGHTS and VICIOUS RUMORS play in my hometown Tilburg in the Little Devil (presented by MMM). I'm looking forward to see VICIOUS RUMORS again in the Little Devil, because last year (on August 26th, 2012) they played an unforgettable great show. Well, and about IRON KNIGHTS, I am very curious about how Duke Fang Begley will sing live. I hope he is not that much singing out of tune then. We will see.
Visit their website: http://www.ironknightsband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.metalboxrecordings.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ironknightsband

65/100

KROSSBREED – The Art Of Suffering (CD) Belgium April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Thrash Running time: 63:06 (Tracks: 12)
KROSSBREED is a four piece metal band from Antwerp, Belgium, that was formed in 2003. The band, which exists of Michel (vocals, rhythm guitar), Stefan (lead guitar), Kornee (bass, backing vocals) and Tom (drums), recorded the demos "Down To The Core" and "Enjoy The Rage" in search of their own sound. In 2007 they won the competition "Belgian Wacken Open Air metal battle", so they could play on the German Wacken Open Air Festival in August of 2007. In 2008 KROSSBREED recorded their EP "Carved In Stone", and in August 2010 the band released their debut album "3 Cheers For The Misery" by themselves and was released world wide a year later on Casket Music. Well, "The Art Of Suffering" is the band's second full length album and features twelve songs. It's my first acquaintance with these Belgian guys. I have listened several times to this album, but I can't say that I really could get impressed. There are some songs and some parts on the album which I like. But if I have to be honest, to me, the weakest link within the band are the vocals of Michel. He isn't that great as a singer, especially in the clean parts. The album starts with the title track "The Art Of Suffering" (7:48), and takes, in my opinion, a bit too long. I don't like that song that much. The next two tracks, "Dying King" (4:53) and "Fall From Grace" (4:49), are songs which I like, just as "Defy Gravity" (5:38). "Disfigured" (5:11) is a song which sounds very boring to me. All with all, "The Art Of Suffering" is, especially because of the weak vocals, an album which I won't listen that much. Sorry guys, but maybe it's a solution to keep Michel as a rhythm guitarist and to go look for a good singer.
Visit their website: http://www.krossbreed.be
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/krossbreedmetal
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/krossbreed

60/100

LA VENTURA – White Crow (CD) The Netherlands April 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Rock / Metal Running time: 40:05 (Tracks: 10)
Three years and a lot of money the band put in this effort to make their dream of a real classic album come true. Their debut “A New Beginning” was a nice and good album with melodic and catchy songs. This one however certainly shows a lot of progress. “Falling Down” opens with a heavy, crunchy groove till the amazing pure vocals of Carla van Huizen take over. It sets the tone for the rest of the album; high class stuff in the best Evanescence style. The album grooves and chops in the best metal tradition with a high standard production. A very professional release which has to open doors for a contract. And that's certainly possible. Don't expect dreamy ballads or classic choirs, no this band shows the more threatening, dark, lingering kind of rock all the way. It bites, it grooves, it's got balls. One track really stands out and that's “Song For An Idiot” which also has a very high radio potential. The rest of the album is good, although overall they have the same structure. Here they can make some progress in variation but that's a bit nagging. Again a fine album from us Dutch, again one that makes us proud. Firm statement from a band with a lot of potential.
Visit their website: http://www.la-ventura.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com//pages/la-ventura

81/100

MAGGOTOR – Maggotor (CDemo) Germany April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Old School Metal Running time: 12:37 (Tracks: 3)
MAGGOTOR is a German four piece old school Metal band, existing of Deniz (vocals), Felix (guitar), Max (bass) and Franz (drums) and started in 2007. Well, more info about the band I can't tell, because as well as on their MySpace page as on their Facebook page, there isn't much info about the band to find. On their MySpace page I have listen once to the demo songs "Nightmare" (4:08), "Regiment Of Death" (2:36) and "Unholy War" (4:08), which were recorded in 2009. So, I assume that this 3-track demo is the second one of the band. The three songs on this demo are titled "Break The Chains" (4:18), "Death Row" (4:21) and "Mistress Of Hell" (3:57). Okay, the titles are very cliché, and it all sounds not very original. The best songs of this demo are in my opinion "Break The Chains" and "Death Row". In that case "Mistress Of Hell" is a bit more a less song. So, this demo sounds nice, but it's all not very spectacular. Metalheads who are only into old school Metal, should check this band out. Well, I think this demo would do it well especially among the Metalheads in the German underground scene.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maggotor
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/maggotor

68/100

M.I.C. – 5th Avenue (CD) China April 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Rock Running time: 36:30 (Tracks: 10)
Rock from China! First time for me, but this band M.I.C., which easily stand for Made in China, releases already it's 5th album filled with radio friendly rock. (see all other reviews on Archive CD/DVD reviews). It's all nice but not really convincing. It never makes my body shake. The voice of mastermind Yvon Serre isn't always acceptable and in several tracks (“What do you mean to me”, “Back in time”) even annoying. The production is flat, so it doesn't light the fire. With a special guest like Steve Skingley on bass (Rick Emmet Band, Triumph, Allanah Myles) you expect much more. I don't understand that this band has already has 5 albums behind their name. I think he is a fortunate man so he can finance these products himself because for me it's hard to imagine that the money comes from the profit of their former releases. This first time China rock is a real disappointment for me and any word written further on is a waste of letters. Sorry to say.
Visit their website: http://www.yvonserre.com/mic
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/madeinchine

42/100

MIKE TRAMP – Cobblestone Street (CD) Denmark April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Acoustic Rock Running time: 42:35 (Tracks: 10)
Mike Tramp is a living legend. The Danish born singer songwriter was a teeny popstar, lending his voice to Mabel, a vocal group that represented Danmark in the Eurovision Songcontest in 1978. In the United States ( Mabel moved to this country in 1979) Mike joined Studs(a spur of Mabel) and later on he formed his own band,White Lion. White Lion became very big in the US between 1985 and 1991, providing commercial heavy rock with big hair, big attitude, big rhythms and fabulous guitar work.
After White Lion's last roar, Mike found co-musicians of his home country to form " Freak of Nature" , a hard edged rock group with modern, darker commercial touches. Too bad their triple album discography didn 't reach more rock fans. Disappointed about the lack of successes and reflecting on the meaning of his life as a father and a husband, Mike moved to Australia, to take a rest from his busy musical activities. From this county his musical career got another direction. It took him five years to make three solo-albums, providing a midwest rock -brand of music with strong, personal lyrics. Mike became interested in the big songwriters of the sixties and seventies, their themes, their approaches, their lives and their music. A new White Lion line-up brought Mike into Europe and Japan and his solo offspring (as Mike Tramp's Rock and Roll Circus) gave proof of a rocking, vital and passionate singer again.
An acoustic solo tour in 2012 set the base for his new album, Cobblestone Street, to be released by Target Records in April 2013. The record was recorded in one week in the Medley Studios in Copenhagen. Mike took care of almost all the vocal and instrumental parts. His friend Soren Andersen co-produced and engineered the album, providing little instrumental parts as well. I like the songs and Mike's vocal style. The album is very laid back, it has that shady, dark, cafe-bar approach, Mike has wanted to share with us and the songs have that acoustic Springsteen, Mellencamp, Neil Young-attitude. Very well done. The acoustic Cobblestone Street doesn't have the impact of the non-electric Tesla or Firehouse album, legend acoustic approaches in my opinion, but the fair and honest setting, the songs and the voice are fabulous and intimate as well. Mike is planning an acoustic tour and he will be supporting Beth Hart during her French Tour in March. Who knows what the future will bring this singer with nine lives.
Visit their website: http://www.miketramp.dk
Recordlabel: http://www.targetrecords.dk
MySpace: http://www.facebook.com/pages/mike tramp-official

80/100

N.O.W – Bohemian Kingdom (CD) USA April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hardrock Running time: 49:59 (Tracks: 10)
N.O.W. Is the vehicle for bass player Alec Mendonca and his musical friends Juno Moraes (lead and rhythm guitars), Brazilian musical mastermind Jean Barros ( on keyboards and pianos) and Diogo Macedo (drums). Few people will know these guys, but I didn't mention the singer of this band thus far, Philip Bardowell, the Kingston, Jamaica born singer, who's a known singer (by many fans of the melodic rock and AOR genre) with a gigantic reputation. Philip was the vocal star of many Christian projects (just listen to the fantastic Magdallan), he was the sideman of The Beach Boys, the third singer of Unruly Child ( the successor of Mark Free and Kelly Hansen) and in the mid eighties of the former century Philip fronted a band with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, just after they had left Kiss. And Philip has plans for a solo album, the gospel album " To the ends of the world" , reflecting his life as a Christian artist in quite amzing vocal stuff. Quite a track record.
" Bohemian kingdom" is N.O.W.'s second opus. The first " Forces of nature" was a nice record, released by Escape Music in 2010. The music sounded good, melodic and tight. The voice of Philip was the icing on the cake, warm, powerful, melodic and very diverse. This new record is crystal clearly produced and mixed by Swedish mastermind Lars Chriss and the vocals were engineered by Mike Wallace. The songs are full of surprises again, providing a great variety of melodies with various hints of (new Millenium)Foreigner, Hardline,Steve Augieri, -period-Journey and Kansas. Very good songs, superbe musicianship (just listen to the musical prolude of “Tonight is the night”, “Cassie's dream” and “Leon's going soft”) and the stunning lead vocals, one of the absolute surprises of this year so far! Escape music will release this record in the third week of March.
Visit their website: http://www.philipbardowell.com
Recordlabel: http://www.escape-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nowrockband

88/100

OBSCURITY – Obscurity (CD) Germany April 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Black Metal Running time: 51:13 (Tracks: 5)
Obscurity in a rather productive metal act from Germany, delivering an album every two years for the last decade. The music can be described as Black/Pagan metal with German lyrics. As known in the genre, lyrically the band handles about the history of their country or area, accompanied by a suitable atmosphere. At times, listening to such an album can be dull. Luckily that is not the case on 'Obscurity', the fifth full-length of this band with the same name. As the members can be labelled as veterans by now, they should know how to create a well-balanced Pagan album that keeps the attention of the listener. In my opinion, they succeeded. A song like 'Blutmondzeit' is a rather fast one, combining perfectly with the slow and epic 'Ensamvarg' that comes before. The songs are melodic, diverse and even catchy at times, without losing the feel of darkness that surrounds the music. with 'Obscurity', the band delivered and album that will go well with the fans of their music. As always, you will have people that would call this mediocre, but I would say that this is an album of good quality, with songs that are well crafted. The material is also very suitable for live performances. We'll probably hear about them in a year or two…nice record!
Visit their website: http://www.obscurity-online.de
Recordlabel: http://www.smprecords.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/obscuritybergischland
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/obscuritybergischland

75/100

OMISSION – Pioneers Of The Storm (CD) Spain April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 45:33 (Tracks: 10)
Well, I never had heard of Spanish Thrash Metal band OMISSION before. When I got this album "Pioneers Of The Storm" from Mario to review for MMM, and looked at the pictures of the band in the booklet, they immediately reminded me of legendary bands such as CELTIC FROST, VENOM and DESTRUCTION. These four guys have the same looks (all dressed in leather and spikes, having their faces painted), and indeed, when I looked at the band's MySpace page for some more info about the band, I saw that they are influenced by VENOM, POSSESSED, DESTRUCTION, CELTIC FROST, BATHORY, KREATOR and SODOM. The line-up of OMISSION exists of Patillas (vocals, guitar), Marco (lead guitar), James Surt (bass) and Daviti (drums). So far, the band has released the following three demos "Day Of Your Death Arrives…." (2005), "Yells That Destroy" (2007) and "V.P.A." (2008), a compilation album "Satanicspeed Thrash Metal" (2008), a split album "An Unholy Thrash Metal Night" with OLD in 2009, and the albums "Thrash Metal Is Violence" (2009) and "Merciless Jaws From Hell" (2011). So, this album "Pioneers Of The Storm" is the band's third album, and the first one on French label Emanes Metal Records. "Pioneers Of The Storm" features 10 songs of which "Deathwish" is a cover version of Gothic/New Wave cult band CHRISTIAN DEATH. Anyway, the fast Thrash/Speed Metal songs (which have a slight Black/Death Metal touch), on "Pioneers Of The Storm" really do sound nice. But to tell the truth, it's not that spectacular. Nevertheless, I can't deny the band exists of good musicians, and also the vocals of Pattilas are just perfect for this satanic influenced Thrash Metal. The last track of the album, "Attack Of The Living Dead", has a running time of 8:28, but from 3:15 till 6:05 there's a silence and then you'll get some percussion work with a voice to create some satanic atmosphere. I still don't get it, why bands use a long silence in the last song on their album? I'm sure nobody likes those fucking silence parts, and besides that it's also so superfluous. Anyway, old school Thrash- and Speed Metal fans will absolutely enjoy this album. My favorite tracks are "The Slaughter Hour" (5:16), "I Am The Devil Scythe" (4:41), "In Mourning We Dwell" (3:29) and "Crushing Defeat" (4:25). Like I said, not very spectacular, but nice enough.
Visit their website: http://www.omission.es
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/omission.es
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/omissionthrashmetal

73/100

PAGANLAND – Wind of Freedom (CD) Ukraine April 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Black / Pagan Metal Running time: 37:49 (Tracks: 8)
You kind of know what to expect when a band is called Paganland. So no surprise there. What is surprising though, is the fact that this album has seen the light of day at all, since the band is already active for over fifteen years. Previously, Paganland released two demo's in the late nineties and a split-cd in 2008. Now, in 2013, the first full length is released through Svarga Music, who has a lot of faith in this band.
Lyrically, Paganland handles about the Ukrainian history, nature and long forgotten stories. Musically, the band makes good use of several Pagan ingredients such as flutes, sounds of nature and keyboards, providing an suitable atmosphere for the lyrical aspect. This makes the album interesting, offering a great deal of variation. The compositions are from a good quality, which makes it easy to listen to 'Wind of Freedom' in it's entirely. This album will not change the face of Pagan Metal. In fact, it won't stand out among most other acts in the genre, but you can feel the passion the band has put in creating this album. They are proud of the Ukraine history, and they can also be proud of this debut album. O yeah, and thanks for printing the lyrics in the English language as well!
Visit their website: http://www.svarga.eu/en/paganland
Recordlabel: http://www.svarga.eu
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/paganland.ua
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/paganland.ua

65/100

PERTNESS – Frozen Time (CD) Switzerland April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Power Metal Running time: 47:14 (Tracks: 11)
This Swiss Power Metal band PERTNESS was formed way back in 1993. According to the info sheet, PERTNESS had recorded two demos, which I assume were recorded in their early days. Although the band is active since 1993, their debut album "Seven Times Eternity" was released fifteen years later in 2008. On that album the line-up of PERTNESS existed of Tom Schluchter (vocals, guitar), Tom Zurbrügg (guitar), Pet Biedermann (bass) and Märs Hari (drums). In 2010 the band released their second album "From The Beginning To The End", and on that album drummer Hari was replaced by current drummer Chris Gutknecht. As well as "Seven Times Eternity" as "From The Beginning To The End" were both released on Karthago Records. Now, PERTNESS is back with their third studio album, entitled "Frozen Time", and is the band's first album on Pure Legend Records. On this third album, which was released in November of 2012, bass player Pet Biedermann has been replaced by Marcel Bühler. Personally I am not familiar with the two previous albums of PERTNESS, so "Frozen Time" is my first acquaintance with the band. PERTNESS plays Power Metal with some Thrashy influences, but also with some Folky influences ("No More Messiah", "I Sold My Remorse", "Lost In Time", "The Star Of The County Down"). So in that case, this is a varied metal album. The band reminds me a bit of BLIND GUARDIAN. Anyway, PERTNESS exists of very good musicians, only personally I do not like the vocals of Schluchter very much. The production was also done by Schluchter and sounds good. I don't like all of the tracks very much, because songs such as "No More Messiah" and "Lost In Time" are sounding boring to me. In my opinion, the best tracks on "Frozen Time" are the fast title track "Frozen Time" (great riffs and solos), "My Will Is Broken", "Cold Wind Of Death", "I Sold My Remorse", "The Last Survival" and "Shadow Knights". All with all, "Frozen Time" is not a real bad album, in that case I have heard many albums which are worse. If you are already familiar with the two previous albums of PERTNESS, well then I guess you will like this third one as well, and if you don't know the band, but are curious….then check this album out.
Visit their website: http://www.pertness.ch
Recordlabel: http://www.purelegend-records.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pertness
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pertness

72/100

PRETTY MAIDS – Motherland (CD) Denmark April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Heavy Metal Running time: 52:56 (Tracks: 13)
Last year I reviewed the Live in Switzerland-album of the Danish band Pretty Maids. A good live album celebrating that the band had a thirty year anniversary in 2012. Frontiers Records, the Italian rock label and the label for this band since 2006, will release a new Pretty Maids record" Motherland" at the end of March 2013, it this review download I'm listening to and writing about. The last record on Frontiers before this new opus was" Pandemonium" , a great record released in 2010, where the band showed they were on the top of their game, changing their sound into a melodic metal approach, leaving the more traditional hard rock structures behind.
Pandemonium held great songs( I.N.V.U., It comes at night, Little drops of heaven, One word one truth, Old enough to know! a.m.),a lot of variety and a very thick production by Jakob Hansen. Hansen produced "Motherland" again, giving it a warm sound, a bit moodier, darker approach than its predecessor. Overall this darker sounds characterize this record. Another remarkable thing is the addition of keyboard loops and synths in almost every song, sometimes as a background motive, but sometimes they're at the front of a song structure as well. It's new, the listener will have to get accustomed to this. The songs are catchy, strong and well performed, but a few songs lose their tension and their strength. Too bad, because rockers like" Hooligan", "Bullet for you" , "Why so serious" , Mother of lies( the first single of the album)", "The Iceman and the title track show the band on the a-level in musical, lyrical and sound wise aspects. The other songs are good, but they take more time to get into them, more spins to like or appreciate them. It's a feeling that reflects the music, that kept me busy in this review. Overall "Motherland" is a good and firm follow-up to "Pandemonium". Good songs, great atmosphere and production, good performances, but less surprises.
Visit their website: http://www.prettymaids.dk
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/prettymaids
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pmaids

84/100

ROGER DeCARLO – Lost Horizon (CD) USA April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Instrumental Rock Running time: 43:14 (Tracks: 9)
I didn't get any information about this album "Lost Horizon" of American guitarist ROGER DeCARLO, so I can't tell you much about him. All I know is that DeCarlo comes from Portland, Oregon, USA, and I guess he's in his early 50's. But I don't know if "Lost Horizon", which was released in 2012 by DeCarlo himself, is his first album or his second or third one! And I also don't know in which bands he has played before. Well, "Lost Horizon" is a complete instrumental album, and while listening to it, you can hear that Roger DeCarlo is influenced by master guitarist JOE SATRIANI. Only, after I had listened to "Lost Horizon", I wasn't that impressed. The only two songs which I like are "Spanish Fly", which sounds like a mixture of JOE SATRIANI and FRANK ZAPPA, and "Tripping On A Cloud". What noticed me is that on this album DeCarlo falls into many repetitions. Songs like "Deep Freeze", "Aftershock", "Lizz" and "Colleen" are sounding pretty boring to me. In that case I like the album "Rock Meditations" (which I reviewed in April of 2012 for MMM) of Italian guitarist SIMONE TERIGI (from LUCID DREAM), who is also influenced by SATRIANI, much more. The drums on this album are done by Charles Nelson. Anyway, fans of instrumental guitar albums should check "Lost Horizon" out. I'm sure there will be guitar freaks who will like this album more than I do.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/roger.decarlo.5

55/100

SAFFIRE - From Ashes to Fire (CD) Sweden April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic metal with seventies' rock overtones Running time: 1:07:43 (Tracks: 13)
Gothenburg is the second largest city by population in Sweden and the fifth in the Nordic countries. It is the largest seaport in the Nordic regions and the city is the home of many students visiting the many schools or the two universities of the city. Gothenburg is also the' event city' of the Scandinavian countries, the cultural festivals, music bands, films, sports, are countless. Needless to say that the Gothenburg music scene is very rich providing many bands and a broad variety of music. A lot of Gothenburg bands did reach ' Mario's Metal Mania' and other websites specialized in heavy rock music. Saffire is one of these new bands. Their new album, " From ashes to fire", is in my media player now, ready to be reviewed. And what an album this is! Saffire was founded in 2006. Founders Victor Olsson and Dino Zusic played funk covers at first, but the duo wanted a heavier course. During the years they found musical friends and Saffire gained a good live-reputation. A 2011 demo was picked up by Inner Wound Recordings, the label will release Saffire's debut album in May.
The album was produced and mixed by Fredrik Nordstrom and Henrik Udd at Studio Fredman (a studio relocated in Gothenburg in 2009, also home studio for Opeth, Arch Enemy, At the Gates, In Flames, a.o). Jens Bogren took care of the mastering in his Fascination Street Studio in Orebro. The artwork of the album was done by Anders Fastader at A Trailermade Production in Vastra Frolunda, a township in the Southwestern region of Gothenburg, this company has made artwork for releases of The Poodles, Hardcore Superstar, Kee Marchello, HEAT, many companies and artists as well. And what about the songs, the music? Well this is a very, very good album! Saffire stands out in this genre of the Gothenburg scene, providing melodic metal with a nod to the late seventies of the former century ( you can hear overtones of early Van Halen, Rainbow, Whitesnake and later Black Sabbath) and the music of Saffire has light progressive overtones, many songs have beautiful proludes (just listen to " Modus vivendi" or " She remains a mystery"), keyboard backgrounds and a rich variety of vocal and instrumental effects. I like the songs, metallic, heavy but melodic, full of surprises and performed by great musicians. From the furious opener" Magnolia" to the moody, complex closing track " Stormy waters" , this albums will grab you! One of the surprises of the year from the rich Gothenburg scene!
Visit their website: http://www.saffire.se
Recordlabel: http://www.innerwound.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/saffiresweden
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/saffire

88/100

SEBASTIAN BACH – Abachalypse Now (CD) USA April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 1:42:47 (Tracks: 19)
Everybody who likes rock music knows Sebastian Bach. The guy fronted Skid Row at the top of their game, but his after-big hair-adventures were great as well. Bach has had quite a peak in his solo career as a singer, as an actor on various stages ( Bach played roles in Jekyll and Hide, The Rocky Horror Show and Jesus Christ Superstar), as a TV- personality in episodic television and a radio-host. His looks, his presence and his voice gave him many opportunities to give his career more depth, to stay in the spotlights, to surprise many fans. And it brought him fame and fortune, selling over 22 million records worldwide.. After the heydays with Skid Row(1987-1996) he released a live album in 1999. Four studio albums later, that were quite successful, Sebastian Bach (his real surname is Bierk) returns with another live double CD/ DVD recorded on stage at The Hellfest 2012 in France, The Graspop Metal Meeting 2012 in Belgium and The Club Nokia 2012 in Los Angeles, a show that was broadcasted on AXS TV in the West coast region of the USA. I can say that the music on this album sounds great. Raw, straight in the face and backed up by great musicians (Bobby Jarzombek on drums, Jason Christopher on bass, two great guitar players: Berklee graduated Johnny Chromatic and mastermind Nick Sterling) Sebastian Bach sings his heart out in many live classics! The concerts recorded in June 2012 and August 2012 have similarities in the track list, but I don't mind. I like the atmosphere, the great anthemic musical setting and the power of his band. Sebastian sounds fabulous on disc and he has to scream more than he wants to stay high-pitched, but the classic rock environment is felt in every song, in every bar that's played at these concerts. Frontiers Records will release this live record in March 2013 .The package will be available in two different formats (CD ( featuring the concerts in France and Los Angeles) /DVD (with 160 minutes of live footage and three bonus videos) or a stand-alone DVD). Great stuff!
Visit their website: http://www.sebastianbach.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sebastianbach
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sebastianbach

83/100

SIN STARLETT – Throat Attack (CD) Switzerland April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 52:14 (Tracks: 11)
From Lucerne, Switzerland comes five piece band SIN STARLETT and was formed in 2005. The band, which exists of Elias Felber (vocals), Jan Horat (guitar), Reno Meier (guitar), Pascal "Bigger" Werth (bass) and Elias Burri (drums), plays traditional 80's Heavy Metal (N.W.O.B.H.M.). SIN STARLETT released their debut album "Call To The Punisher" in 2008, and now they are back with their second album "Throat Attack", which was released in December of 2012 by Emanes Metal Records. "Throat Attack" is my first acquaintance with SIN STARLETT, and I have to admit that, when I put this album in my CD-player for the first time, I had to get used to the vocals of Felber. And that's because they regularly reminded me of Mark Shelton of MANILLA ROAD. Musically I liked this album immediately. In the meantime I have listened several times to "Throat Attack", and now I am used to the vocals of Felber as well. In fact, he fits perfectly in the band. Nevertheless "Throat Attack" is really a delicious album, which brings you back into the 80's. Not all the songs are even strong, but that doesn't mean "Throat Attack" isn't an enjoyable Heavy Metal album. To me, the best songs on "Throat Attack" are the opener "Headed By The Hexx", "Relentless Assault", "Just When The Riot Begins", "Blood In The Streets" and "Knights Of The Past" (with some DIAMOND HEAD influences). The short instrumental "Crystal Elegy" (1:59) is superfluous to me, and "Rockin' Through The Night" sounds to simple. Anyone who's into traditional Heavy Metal and N.W.O.B.H.M. should check this album out, I'm sure you will like it. My conclusion is that "Throat Attack" is a pretty good album.
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sinstarlett
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sinstarlet

82/100

SNOWFALL – Cold Silence (CD) United Kingdom / Norway April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hardrock Running time: 52 : 29 (Tracks: 11)
British singer Lee Small started his vocal career in 1990 after a three years' period as a bass player in local coverbands. At the end of the former century his vocal style gained popularity and Lee lended his voice for the” Primitive Soul”-record of Native Cain. Shortly after that Tom Galley's Phenomena contacted Lee for the vocal parts of their “Psycho Fantasy”-record, released in 2006, it was this record that gained rave reviews and a real fanbase for Lee's vocals. Lee became the successor of Tony Mills in Shy making a fantastic record with these guys in 2011. Lee wanted to make a bluesrecord as well, a vocal tapestry for his bluesy roots, his bluesy vocal approach. This record" Jamaica Inn" was recorded with Swedish star Martin Kronlund and some musical friends from Gypsy Rose, Don Patrol and Saracen. It was a fine record, with bluesy Glenn Hughes-like style vocals, dynamic instrumental parts and great guitarwork of Martin Kronlund himself. But Lee's musical journey went further, he collaborated with former members of the Norwegian rockband Winter Parade,Tore Meli (on guitar) and bass player Peter Riise and Coldspell drummer Perra Johnson. A demo was the vehicle for a contract with Escape Music, the Durham (UK) based label for many melodic rock acts.
The new record of Snowfall, the name of this collaboration, called " Cold silence" , is spinning round in my mediaplayer and it is a fine record! The music is melodic, but very strong! It has that typical Scandi-rock approach, but the melodies and music stick like glue and the production, the mix ( by Martin Kronlund)and the vocals give these songs a commercial Whitesnake feel with touches of Voodoo Circle, John Norum (with singer Goran Edman), David Readman, DC Copper, Giant and Bad English. The album starts furious with" Don't drive me home tonight" and the riffs, hooks and musicianship grab you by the balls untill the last song, " The Vesper Bell, lasting more than six and a half minutes. Absolutely a record to look out for. Escape Music will release this gem in the third week of April. The artwork is done by Swedish artist Carl-Andre Beckston, who has made artwork for artists like Bloodbound, Mind's Eye, Lars Eric Mattson, Fatal Force, Decoy and Book of Reflections.
Visit their website: http://www.snowfallcoldsilence.com
Recordlabel: http://www.escape-music.com

87/100

SOLDIERFIELD – Bury the Ones We Love (MCD) United Kingdom April 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 24:57 (Tracks: 5)
The progress that UK based metal band Soldierfield has made in the past year is admirable. Formed in late 2011, the band already put out an EP, managed to get signed with Metalbox Recordings and is working on their debut album as we speak. On top of that, the band raised expectations when they announced the addition of drummer Jeff Singer, who you might know from this time with Paradise Lost and Blaze. Truthfully: it is actually the band itself that is trying to create the buzz, but based on what I've heard on their 'Bury the Ones We Love' EP, it is indeed a band to watch. On this EP, the band showcases their capability on five compact, catchy and very well written songs. The traditional feel of thrash metal is never far away, but combined with some modern hooks and varied vocals, making the band sound far from dated. Also a band like Alice in Chains comes to mind at times, underlining the gift of creating well-balanced songs that demand your attention. 'Bury the Ones We Love' could be interesting for pretty much any enthusiast of modern heavy music. It's brutal, but accessible at the same time. Listen to the title track and 'Leave you in dirt' for an impression of what this band has to offer. In fact, the entire EP is from a very high quality. Very much looking forward to their debut album. More of this please!
Visit their website: http://www.soldierfieldband.co.uk
Recordlabel: http://www.metalboxrecordings.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/soldierfieldband
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/soldierfieldband

85/100

SOME CALL THIS TRAGEDY – No Man Without A Ghost (MCD) Finland April 2013 Michel van Hassel
Style: Metalcore Running time: 15:00 (Tracks: 3)
This 5-piece from Tampere, Finland was founded in 2010. SCTT consists of Ville Ylimartimo (vocals), Ville “Väiski” Väisänen (guitars, vocals), Niklas Kurra (guitars), Jyry Reiman (bass) and Kristian “Feather” Vilpakka (drums). This debut-EP is filled with American metalcore. The opening track, “Burning Paris”, has some symphonic samples at the start of the song. The vocals change from clean vocals to aggressive screaming and there is quite some variation in the pace. The drumming and the bass playing are very prominently present. “Watershed” is the title of the second track. This track is packed with double-bass drums and really aggressive vocals whilst the guitarists built walls of sound with their superb riffing. There is so much action going on in this almost five minutes that I kept on listening to this song. The last track is “The Last Fantasy”, which has a very strong bass-piece at the beginning of the song. In the middle of the track there is also some spoken word, but the bigger part of the song speed and aggression rule. SCTT deliver a great piece of work with only one disadvantage and that is the length of this release. I am sure that SCTT will come up with a full-length album that will kick your ass. For the moment being let us just enjoy this EP.
Visit their website: http://www.somecallthistragedy.com
Recordlabel: http://www.inverse.fi
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/somecallthistragedy
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/somecallthistragedy

84/100

SPACE VACATION – Heart Attack (CD) USA April 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Heavy Metal Running time: 44:50 (Tracks: 10)
Space Vacation. What a strange name for a Metal band. Yet the name gathers the desired attention and curiosity for one to look further and explore the band's style and work. These guys were formed in California at the twilight of the past decade and debuted in 2009. This is their second album, featuring Kyoshi Morgan of Vicious Rumors fame. The band's style is classic heavy metal enriched with lots of NWOBHM elements. I can easily put them under the same roof with bands such as White Wizzard, High Spirits and Widow (the North Carolina ones). The timing is good for bands like Space Vacation. There seems to be a revival of the classic metal sound with tons of new bands. I believe they have the potential to make it and Pure Steel is an experienced label who can help them with their goals.
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/spacevacationmusic
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/spacevacation

75/100

STEELRAISER – Regenerator (CD) Italy April 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 43:08 (Tracks: 9)
This is the second album for Italian power metallers Steelraiser after a 5 year period. The band delivers power metal in the vein of Judas Priest and Halford. There are also some keyboards that give the songs a europower feeling. Vocalist Antonio Giordano is also known from the power metal band Noble Savage and is a high pitched siren. This is an enjoyable album but nothing more. The musicians are good but the song writing is typical. I had a good time listening to it but wasn't compelled to give it more spins.
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/steelraiserofficial
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/steelraiser

70/100

STRIKING DEATH – Live At The Italian Metal Invasion (CD) Belgium April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal / Crossover Running time: 21:34 (Tracks: 10)
In October of 2012 I reviewed the CDemo "Represent S.D." of Belgium Thrash/Crossover band STRIKING DEATH. On August 10th, 2012 STRIKING DEATH played at "The Italian Metal Invasion" (with the other bands EVIL INVADERS, LAST REBELS, OVERNATION and H.O.S.) at the Little Devil, Tilburg, Holland. I was there as well, because I was the DJ that evening. Anyway, the show of STRIKING DEATH was completely recorded, and is now released as an un-official bootleg in a limited edition on Headbangers Records. The band played, besides the songs "T.D.T.S.D.", "Riot O'Clock", "Team Shitfaced" and "Save A Skater Drain A Pool" from their demo, also a cover version of the EXCEL classic "The Joke's On You" and of S.O.D.'s "United Forces". In my opinion "A Song For A Special Girl" and "Where The Fuck Is Enzo?" can't be seen as really serious songs. Nevertheless, the sound quality of this live recording is good. This un-official bootleg is just nice, but to be honest I am more looking forward to the band's next studio release. Anyway, if you want to have a copy of this live recording, you can get it through headbangerszineandgigs.com.
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/strikingdeathband

70/100

STRYPER – Second coming (CD) USA April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Christian Hardrock Running time: 1:09:53 (Tracks: 16)
Stryper is one of the most successful Christian acts on the planet. The Orange County, California based band started as Roxx Regime with guitaristic input of C.C DeVille, Doug Aldrich amongst others. In 1983 the band changed their name into Stryper and the band choose a musical and lyrical concept to reflect their life as a Christian. The record label Enigma signed Stryper and an EP followed a year later. The mini album had quite an impact, providing small tours as an opening act for Ratt and Bon Jovi. In May 1985 the first full album" Soldiers under command" was released. The album went gold and Stryper's status was firm, despite their imago and evocative message. The mini album got a re-release and a new album" To hell with the devil" was the catalyst factor for a huge world tour, selling more than 2 million copies. The successes went on and a new album" In God we trust" went gold as well. In the nineties of the former century Stryper's musical and visual concept changed. They distanced from their biblical image and a new record on Hollywood Records (Against the law) had nothing to do with their Christian background. The album didn't 't get many support and it sold poorly. A compilation album was released to prevent a decline, but it was too late, singer and guitar player Michael Sweet left the band due to musical and conceptual differences. He made a solo album with the help of Gregg Fulkerson and members of the band Blue Tears, being vey successful in the Christian market. Stryper went on tour with Bride as a trio, but the other members realized it was over. The band stopped their musical activities in 1993.
A reunion however took place in 2003 and the band released a live album, two studio albums and a great cover songs album on Big3Records. In 2012 the Italian label Frontiers Records signed Stryper and their first album on this label is" Second Coming" a record with rerecorded songs of their favourite musical peak period, 1983-1986. The sixteen tracks' record ( fourteen songs from their first three albums, two new songs) has a modern production and a superior technical approach and most important it is a feast of recognition. I hear some added guitars, slight pitch changes, extra drums fills, the songs however didn't change dramatically. I like this record and yes, although being very fond of the original versions, sounding rawer, highly pitched, more diverse, this Stryper record is the best possibility to get acquainted with their music. The two new songs (Bleeding from the inside out and Blackened) are both heavy riffed rock monsters that fit perfectly into Stryper's back catalogue! .
Visit their website: http://www.stryper.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stryper
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stryper

86/100

SYN:DROM – Iconoclasm (CD) Sweden April 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 39:02 (Tracks: 10)
Syn:Drom from Sweden brings you death metal in all its sense. These guys started in 2002 under this name and released their first demo 2004, 2005 there second and 2004 an EP. Their debut album “With Flesh Unbound” (nice one!) was released in 2010 and their new one “Icocnoclasm” in 2013. This album contains 10 tracks of ravenous death metal. The guitar riffs are technical and progressive and not the standard Swedish metal sound. The riffs reminds me a lot of bands like Suffocation and Malevolent Creation. The drums are also brutally fast and filled with blast beats but also progressive grooves. The vocals are growls that are very deep and brutal, backed up by light screams (both in good balance). The production of this album is also massive. Everything is well listenable (which I can't say for all technical death metal bands). The only thing that I miss is a bit more variety in the songs. This album is a constant blast beat with no bullshit. If you expect old school death metal then this is way too fast but if you like technical death metal in vain of the bands that I mentioned then you are going to like this album.
Visit their website: http://www.syndromweb.net
Recordlabel: http://www.vicisolum.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/syndromweb
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/syndromweb

71/100

THE BEYOND – FrostBitePanzerFuck (CD) USA April 2013 Kees Schijven
Style: Black 'N Roll Metal Running time 28:25 (Tracks: 8)
This is the debut album of THE BEYOND, formed in 2010 from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. No doubt inspired from Lucio Fulci's movie they named themselves THE BEYOND. Unaware what to expect, the title of the album 'FrostBitePanzeFuck' gave a hint, this must be blacker than black metal...but not with THE BEYOND. A look at the song titles 'Roto-Cunt', 'Goat Sodomizer' , 'Attack of the Zombie Brigade' to name a few, tells you a bit more what this is about, concerning the lyrics, you must have a scence of humor and not a weak heart. Everthing is done in true G.G. Allin tradition, lyric wise that is, there is even a tribute to him in the form of 'Cunt Sucking Cannibal'. Musically this is more of a punk n roll with blackened attitude metal album, a crossing between Dirty Rotten Imbeciles and Darkthrone, or even Misfits mixed with Marduk, as I like all mentioned bands, I'm also surprised by this album from THE BEYOND and like it very much. These guys have written some catchy tunes on this album, which has a lot of variation, besides the catchy humerous punk N roll tunes, they also have some songs more on the blackened route by adding searing blackened screams and blistering black metal riffs, for instance 'The Splatterhouse Maniacs' which made me instantly thinking of Marduk, and even some black doom on 'Exterminate Humanity'. The band succeeded in making a perfect mix of punk, black, thrash n roll all in one. This album is guaranteed for a FrostBitePanzerFucking good time, although too short with a little half an hour, but enough to enrich your vocabulary here, no shortage of sleazy violation!
Visit their website: http://www.thebeyond666.bandcamp.com
Recordlabel: http://www.horrorpaingoredeath.tk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thebeyond999
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thebeyond666

83/100

THE NEW BLACK – III Cut Loose (CD) Germany April 2012 Frans Neelen
Style: Heavy Rock Running time: 43:37 (Tracks: 12)
The New Black doesn't offer anything really new on their third attempt. A cocktail of heavy rock, stoner, blues, southern, modern metal etc. But whatever they do, they do it right. So also on this one. “Innocence & Time” opens like a sordid Motörhead track and kicks ass like a descent rocker should be. “Count Me In” grooves like hell and hasn't been chosen for nothing to be the lead single/video. The band can be seen as a metal version of Nickelback for example and writes down damn fine tracks which easily can fill stadions. Normally I'm not to fond of this kind of stuff, but damn, there are some really good tracks on this one. The band hits hard with already classics like the formerly mentioned two openers and songs like “Superhuman Mission”, “Cut Loose” (with mondharmonica and the Metallica feel of the Load/Reload era), and the ûbercrackers “Sharkpool” (what do you mean cool …), “Burning D” and the awesome “Any Colour You Like (As Long As It's Black). Unfortunately not all the songs are from this high level (“Antidote”, One Thing I Know”) so it doesn't reach the ultimate score, but if you are ready for a band that is coming out of the shadow of, for example, Volbeat and represents themselves as the next big thing, then there's nothing that should hold you back not ordering this third piece of rock'n metal. It may be too “nice” for the true metal adepts, but it certainly rocks and grooves enough to get the party started and keep it going. Damn fine record gentleman !
Visit their website: http://www.thenewblackofficial.de
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thenewblackofficial
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thenewblackofficial

82/100

THRUSTOR – Abysmal Fear (CD) USA April 2013 Kees Schijven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time 49:52 (Tracks: 10)
This is the second release of extreme thrash metal by THRUSTOR, the band of brothers Phil (vocals/guitars) and Tony (bass/backing vocals) Sardo (Sceptre/Sardo), accompanied by Tomasz Pilasiewicz on drums. Their second album 'Abysmal Fear' goes on where their first one 'Night Of Fire' (2008) stopped, pure and aggressive thrash metal. 'Äbysmal Fear', as described by Phil Sardo, was written with the underlying theme of the human soul in a desolate place, being forced to submit to powers beyond its control, in fear of the abyss. The music of THRUSTOR can described as an insane, technical and aggressive thrash metal attack. Songs like 'Brutal Assault', 'Shroud of Blasphemy' or 'Tormented Contradiction' show the skills of these dedicated musicians. The production of the album sounds perfectly heavy, and is recorded by Neil Kernon and mixed and mastered by Mathew Prock for Area 44 Music. Most of the album is high speed riffing, with amazing fast drumming, yet technical and diverse, with two instrumentals on there, 'Tormented Contradiction' and 'Sçrews to the Skull'. 'Burnt Offerings' and 'Abysmal Fear' are both songs with a lot of variation in them, so its not all super fast all the way, but also epic, traditional metal. These guys have metal running through their veins, and are totally dedicated to it! This album is a totally refreshing surprise of how thrash metal sounds today, uncompromisingly heavy and undeniably brutal all the way, support these true pioneers!
Visit their website: http://www.thrustor.net
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thrustor
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thrustor

81/100

VANDERBUYST – Flying Dutchmen (CD) The Netherlands April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock / Heavy Metal Running time: 39:47 (Tracks: 11)
I was under the assumption that this third album "Flying Dutchmen" by VANDERBUYST would be reviewed as a download by a colleague reviewer. Only, with the February update of MMM, I saw that "Flying Dutchmen" wasn't reviewed. So, although I am not of the downloading stuff, I decided to write a review of the album, which I bought at the concert the band did in the Mezz, Breda, Holland on December 20th, 2012. And so far I have reviewed all releases of VANDERBUYST for MMM (the self titled 3-track EP (2008), the debut album "Vanderbuyst" (2010), and the in 2011 released second album "In Dutch"). Well, we are a couple of months further now, and this fantastic third album "Flying Dutchmen" already has made a lot of spins in my CD-player. Jochem Jonkman (vocals, bass), Willem Verbuyst (guitar, backing vocals) and Barry van Esbroek (drums, backing vocals) again delivered an excellent album full of classic 70's Hard Rock and 80's Heavy Metal. From the first track "Frivolous Franny" until the last one "Welcome To The Night" I enjoy this album very much. I even like the ballad "Give Me One More Shot", which is the third track of the album, very much. In addition to the by Willem Verbuyst written songs (only "Welcome To The Night" is written by Jonkman, AvO), the band also recorded a very nice cover version of HERMAN BROOD's classic "Never Be Clever". Just as the aforementioned EP and two previous albums, also "Flying Dutchmen" was produced by Pieter Kloos, and sounds once again fantastic. And in my opinion singer Jochem still makes progress with his singing. Although I like the entire album very much, my favourite tracks are "Frivolous Franny", "Waiting On The Wings", "The Butcher's Knife", "Tears Won't Rinse", "In Dutch", "Lecherous" and "Welcome To The Night". "Flying Dutchmen" is a real recommendation to anyone who's into traditional classic seventies Hard Rock and eighties Heavy Metal. Well done guys, thanks again for releasing an excellent album.
Visit their website: http://www.vanderbuyst.com
Recordlabel: http://www.van-records.de
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/vanderbuyst/100980883276480
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/vanderbuyst

88/100

VINDICTIV – Cage of Infinity (CD) Sweden April 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Metal Running time: 46:52 (Tracks: 11)
Vindictiv is one of the many bands coming from Gothenburg, Sweden. The band has completed a third album, called "Cage of Infinity" on Escape Music to be released in May. Eye catchers of the previous releases were the vocals of Goran Edman, former vocalist of Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum, Kharma, Glory, Edman and Corin, Xsavior and many other projects and the atmospheric hard rock with progressive overtones. On the second Vindictiv album, 'Ground Zero', singer Oliver Hartmann also provided his great voice to three songs, a great addition to the melodic vocal lines of Goran Edman. 'Ground Zero' had almost the same amount of songs as the debut album, it lasted almost thirty minutes longer because of the great instrumental parts, airier interludes and progressive solos, a truly great album. It all made the expectations for this third album very high and after many spins I can say that Vindictiv's third has surprised me in many ways, from many perspectives. Vindictiv has set another course: direct, open themes are the mainframe and the band has left the complexity of the structures. The ' in your face' approach sounds metallic, heavy, song-based. The songs remind me of a heavy Eclipse with a lot of power metal overtones of German and Scandinavian power metal bands.
Second change is the vocal approach. The vocal lines are rawer, more direct. Indeed, there's another star behind the microphone and the Portogruaro, Italy, based Eden's Curse' singer Marco Sandron is the man to listen to. He has a Russel Allen, Jorn Lande- like timbre and his power is immense. Great vocalist! Third change is the productional perspective. Producer Stefan Lindholm (guitar player extraordinaire for Vindictiv as well) and mixer Lars Chriss have emphasized on the power metal riffs and the thick rhythm section (Nalley Pahlsson on bass, many fans of the genre will know this guy from Treat, Last Autumn's Dream, Zan Clan and Therion, and newcomer Hendrik Hedman on drums, also drummer of Celestial Decay and Raven Lord). The production is fair and open, but less surprising than the productional output on the albums with Goran Edman. The keyboards of Pontus Larsson have more background accents, fitting well in the new Vindictiv forthrightness approach. " Cage of Infinity" is a new giant leap for Vindictiv, giving away their progressive hints, but bringing in their power metal challenge! Good stuff!
Visit their website: http://www.vindictiv.com
Recordlabel: http://www.escape-music.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vindictiv
MySpace: http//:www.myspace.com/vindictivmusic

81/100

WARCKON – The Madman`s Lullaby (CD) Belgium April 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 45:18 (Tracks: 10)
Warckon from Belgium brings you thrash metal in vain of the 90's. This band started spreading their rage since 2007 and are very young. This is their debut album and I must say that it sounds good. I waited with listening to this album because I new that they were going to play in our local rock/metal pub (called Little Devil) on Sunday the 31st of March. But I will get back on that issue haha. First the album! This album contains 10 tracks of furious thrash metal with sharp guitar riffs filled with solos and bang your head riffs that bring you right back to the old school times. The drums are also very furious and sound really typical thrash mode haha. The vocals are light grunts/screams that also reminds me of several old school bands. The composing and variety of this album is also straight in your face. But then you get the production of this album that sounds really way to nice for a thrash metal band. It misses power and aggression. That power and aggression they do have on stage! And live some of the songs sound a lot better and more convincing. This is a band that we will probably hear more of in the future. If you like thrash metal then give these guys a change!
Visit their website: http://www.warckon.com
Recordlabel: http://www.emanesmetalrecords.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/warckon
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/warckon

71/100

WILDHUNT – Scenting The Prey (CDemo) Austria April 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal / Speed Metal Running time: 24:08 (Tracks: 5)
WILDHUNT is a pretty young Metal band from Austria, which was formed in 2011. This 5-track demo "Scenting The Prey" was recorded in the summer of 2012 by Wulfgar (vocals, guitar, bass) and Luki (drums, backing vocals). After the recording of this demo, Benjyi Breeg joined the band as their bass player in September 2012. Now, these guys are still searching for a second guitar player. About this demo, well, the first time I listened to it, I heard a lot of early METALLICA influences. Altogether, musically there are some nice moments, but that's all. And to be honest, the vocals of Wulfgar are terrible. As you can read, they are searching for a second guitar player, maybe they can also search for a good singer, hahaha. I've listened several times to this demo, but every time I couldn't get impressed by it. In fact, I got a bit tired of it. Anyway, after the short intro "Intro" (0:47), you'll get the songs "Lifeless Birth" (5:33), "Death Spares (N)one" (6:15), "The Wild Hunt" (4:32) and the seven minutes lasting "History Deletes Itself". Next band please, because to me, this is just a waste of my time.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wildhuntaustria

52/100

FEBRUARY

3RD MACHINE – The Egotiator (MCD) The Netherlands February 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Sympho / Heavy Metal Running time: 18:32 (Tracks: 3)
In the mid-nineties, Dutch bands like The Gathering and Orphanage were pioneering with the so-called sympho-metal sound, which ultimately resulted in the success of following bands like Within Temptation, After Forever and Epica. 3rd Machine, also a band from the Netherlands, continues this tradition in the style of the first two bands I've mentioned. The band has just released their third studio effort. A three track EP that goes by the name of 'The Egotiator.' Based on the quality of this EP, the comparison with the aforementioned bands, who each have released one or more classics throughout their career, is not that far-fetched. Is 'The Egotiator' that good? Yes, I think it is. The EP starts with the title-track of which the quality easily matches the best in the genre. After the synthesiser and spoken word intro, the band comes in with a bang. And what a bang it is. The brutal riff, accompanied by subtle synths and a melodic guitar line really strikes you. The band creates a doomy atmosphere in which vocalist John Ruiter can outshine with both clean and brutal vocals. The more you listen to it, the more addictive it gets. It's hard to follow a song like this, but 'Ditch the Hollow' and 'Void of Fate' are both songs with a lot of variation, excellent musicianship and of a very high quality. Aside from that, the EP contains a clear production and the artwork looks great! I don't know if 3rd Machine is unsigned by choice, but if not, I surely hope they will gain some label attention. 'The Egotiator' is begging to be heard by a large audience. If the band takes the time to create an album of the same quality, a larger audience WILL follow! With the potential of this band, it's only a matter of time…
Visit their website: http://www.3rdmachine.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/3rdmachine

90/100

ABSENTIA – Our Bleeding Sun (CD) Spain February 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Black / Death Metal Running time: 42:33 (Tracks: 9)
Absentia from Spain is a well known band for me. I saw those guys playing in my local pub (Little Devil) together with Kaos (also on Malevolence Records). And I must say that I really liked those guys and their music. Absentia started spreading their rage since 2007 and released their debut “Heaven Still Burns” in 2009 (I also have that album, really nice). This review is about their second album “Our Bleeding Sun” released in 2011. This album contains 9 tracks of well executed death/black metal with a big dose of melody. The guitar riffs are straight in your face and melodic. The drums are progressive and filled with a stewing groove. The vocals are light screams and grunts. This album contains keyboards and they really give the music a great dimension. The production of this album is straight in your face and the composing of the songs are also very good and filled with variety. If you like bands like the new Samael or Moonspell then you are going to enjoy this album.
Visit their website: http://www.absentia.es/
Recordlabel: http://www.malevolence-records.us
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/absentiaasturias

78/100

AEON ZEN – Enigma (CD) United Kingdom February 2013 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 46:47 (Tracks: 9)
Aeon Zen is a productive progressive metal band from the U.K. After releases in 2009 and 2010, this is their third release. Aeon Zen consists of Rich Hinks (guitars, bass and vocals), Andi Kravljaca (vocals), Matt Shepherd (guitars), Shaz (keyboards) and Steve Burton (drums). There are also three guest vocalists, namely Nate Loosemore (Lost in Thought), Atle Pettersen (Above Symmetry) and Jonny Tatum (Eumeria). The first track, “Enter the Enigma”, is an instrumental lasting just over three minutes. The sound builds up and keeps the listener attracted as it has something addictive to it. The different vocalists sing beautifully on “Artificial Soul”, which is a great progressive rock song. Musically it is mainly a slow song with plenty of power pieces and the band showing their musical teeth. The lyrics are sung very passionately. “Divinity” has a plenty of growling vocals, as there is a lot of intensity in this song. The track is filled with fast progressive metal like double bass drums, screaming guitars but also some clear vocals. The contrast is big as “Seven Hills” is a very quiet but also very beautiful piano ballad. The vocals again are really stunning. “Warning” lasts just over seven minutes and is the longest track on the album. It begins very slow and quietly with some church bells chiming but then the music builds up and the song explodes with some fast keyboards towards the end. Along the track, there is space for heavy guitar riffing combined with great vocals on this beautiful composition. “Turned to Ash” has a mesmeric feeling as the rhythm section keeps the song moving on. The music varies from very modest to some really heavy parts with a monstrous guitar solo towards the end. “Still Human” has some fantastic keyboard playing and a heavy guitar groove combined with some pounding bass and drums. “Eternal Snow” has a piano intro whilst the lyrics are sung in a sensitive way. This remains so until halfway as the growling vocals set in and the tempo goes up, as is the volume. Aeon Zen really know how to switch from soft and sensitive to loud and brutal within a track, whilst they keep everything under control. The album closes with “Downfall” that includes some computer-like choruses. It is a great progressive metal track with many musical highlights by all band members included in the composition. Aeon Zen makes a very strong impression on this album. They have made a very mature album with plenty of diversity but still the tracks breathe unity. On the CD, there are also two bonus-tracks included called “Survival” and “Time Divine 2.0”. For me, I think I am going to check their other two releases.
Visit their website: http://www.aeonzen.com
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/aeonzen

87/100

AETHERIUM MORS – Drenched in Victorious Blood (CD) United Kingdom February 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Melodic Black / Death Metal Running time: 34:24 (Tracks: 7)
Aetherium Mors from the UK was formed in 2004 with the intention of making extreme metal in vain of Carcass, Death, At the Gates and Dissection. Well what can I say...the effort I dig. Seven tracks of well executed “Extreme” metal (for us it is simply told great music but they like to call it like that). The music is very technical and filled with solos. The drums are straight in your face and progressive. The grunts sound exactly as Carcass but way to pushed and forced. The composing of the songs is great and really melodic and grooves like hell. The production of this album is good but the vocals are really too loud in the mix. It is so loud that even I am getting a bit bored by it. But never the less this band likes old school and that is what they play!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aetherium-Mors/196329630411544
Visit their website: http://aetheriummors.bandcamp.com

70/100

ALLTHENIKO – Back in 2066 (CD) Italy February 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 49:23 (Tracks: 12)
Alltheniko is a relatively new band but has already four albums under its belt. European power metal is the game, primarily influenced by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept and Helloween. The album is enjoyable but nothing more beyond that. You will have a good time listening to the cd but I doubt you will remember anything after it's done. If I had to compare them to a contemporary band in the same style I would choose Hibria but the Brazilians are miles ahead. I bet you get the picture. Decent metal from solid metalheads. The intentions are great but the compositions cannot elevate the result past a certain point. The cd also contains the videoclip for the song “Dance of Mutant Knight”.
Visit their website: http://www.alltheniko.it
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/alltheniko

68/100

ANGER AS ART – Hubris Inc. (CD) USA February 2013 Kees Schijven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 47:25 (Tracks: 14)
This is the fourth album of Anger As Art, and follow up to predecessor 'Disfigure'. This album offers everything what Anger As Art do so well, and that is vicious thrash speed metal, and with their roots in the eighties, this band knows how to do this! Founded by Steve Gaines, who earned his stripes with bands like Abattoir, Bloodlust, Tactics, Bitch, Dreams of Damnation and Pagan War Machine, this is the real deal, honest, true thrash metal from the heart, more vicious than ever! On this album you will also find a range of special guest appearances, like Betsy Bitch on vocals on “Rage and Retribution”, Jim Durkin (Dark Angel, Dreams of Damnation) on lead guitar and Timothy Gaines (Stryper) on bass. Steve Nelson (Evil Dead) contributes backing vocals on “The Evil You Create”, and also Mark Caro (Abattoir) on lead guitar on “Speed Kills”, a song which was actually written for Abattoir back in 1984 and is performed by all Abattoir members. As they say, it's the last opportunity to ever hear a new Abattoir song! This album proves that thrash metal is still alive, with the same feel as in the eighties but with an up to date sound, production and still vicious as hell! Songs like “Time Devours Life”, which is also just released as a promotional video, “Gods of Hate”, “Head of the Snake” are all devastating thrash metal attacks on your ears! Speed Kills!
Visit their website: http://www.angerasart.com
Recordlabel: http://www.osmrecords.net
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/angerasart

86/100

ASSASSIN – Chaos and Live Shots (2DVD) Germany February 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: over 3 hours!! (Tracks: 13)
Assassin was formed around 1982/1983 and was influenced by bands like Metallica, Venom en Slayer. During all these years the band only released 4 albums and their latest was “Breaking The Silence” from 2010 (see Archive CD/DVD Reviews March 2011). During the following tour the band recorded a show on 27 March 2010 in Osaka, Japan with 8 cameras and this resulted in this nice DVD. Okay, not all the shots are that great but it fits perfect to the bands attitude!
Disc 2 contains the entire show WITHOUT the special features….Disc 1 is WITH all kind of features like backstage shots, singer Robert Gonnella playing soccer and the drummer crashing a car as a kind of superhero….
Assassin is a band with faithful fans and this DVD is especial for these guys (and girls) a MUST!! Other people that like German thrash will better watch some Kreator or Destruction DVD's…..
Visit their website: http://www.assassin-online.de
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/assassinthrashmetal

75/100

BLIKSEM – Face The Evil (CD) Belgium February 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 38:06 (Tracks: 8)
Lightning is one of the most spectacular displays in nature. Bolt temperatures hotter than the sun. Shockwaves radiating out in all directions. In Dutch, this deadly natural phenomenon is called “bliksem.” A fitting name for an electrifying five-piece thrash band from Antwerp, Belgium. Above their own and only good description of this terrific Belgium band. Formed in 2007 by Jeroen De Vriese (guitar), Toon Huet (guitar), Rob Martin (drums and backing vocals) and Jan Rammeloo (bass) they began to forge their dynamic thrash attack. In 2008 Peggy Meeussen completed the band on vocals and world domination can begin. This domination took off with their well-received self-titled 2010 ep “Bliksem”, which contained 5 razor sharp thrashers with surprising melodic and grunchy interventions. Next to the high musical skills, also the raw, energetic but clean and understandable voice of Peggy Meeussen, that reminds me most of Nicole Lee (Znöwhite, well, who still knows this awesome band) impressed a lot. This new 8 track attack (way to short, but real classics seem to need no more) improves even more. Filled with full force energy, cool drives, catchy riffs and surprising breaks this album is like a real tornado. Just listen to the new trash diamonds like the slightly re-arranged new version of “The Life On Which I Feed”, “These Tales Of Tragedy”, “Dead End Road” and the awesome, “Insanity's Curse” and you know this band has a great future in front of them. Thrash that is drilled easily into your brain, waiting to let it all out while catching them live. First chance to that is the releaseshow of this killer album which will take place on the 2nd of March @ Trix Club in Antwerp. As we way in Dutch: “Bliksem is gewoon Bliksem's goed”. For those who like their music fast, furious and energitic filled with catchy chorusses, double bass, fine solo's and powerfull vocals (well, all who like descent metal) a must have! Bliksem is the name, just catch them live or on cd, you won't regret it. Bliksem is as bold as lightning!
Visit their website: http://www.bliksemmusic.com
Recordlabel: http://www.the-stone-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bliksem666

90/100

CORPUS MORTALE – Flesh Craft (CD) Denmark February 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 41:23 (Tracks: 10)
Corpus Mortale from Denmark is a well known band for me. Their 2 previous albums (released by Neurotic Records) are a masterpiece. This is the fourth album of this band and it sounds massive! 10 tracks of ravenous and aggressive death metal in vain of bands like Morbid Angel / Morta Skuld. But first thing first. Corpus Mortale started spreading their rage since 1993. They released their debut album in “Spiritism” in 1998. In 2003 they signed with Neurotic Records and released their second album “With Lewd Demeanor” and 2007 they released their third album “A New Species of Deviant”. This is their third album and it kicks as! 10 tracks of pure and technical death metal. Sharp and brutal guitar riffs that reminds you of the bands that I mentioned. The drums are filled with progressive parts and up tempo groove. And then you got the vocals that are grunts that are heavy and sounds like they are pulled out of the gutter. There is one instrumental on it that sounds great but brings nothing special in my opinion but the rest of the album is masterpiece. If you like bands that I mentioned then this album is exactly what you need!
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/corpusmortale
Recordlabel: http://www.deepsend.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/corpusmortale

82/100

CORROSIVE CARCASS – Composition of Flesh (CD) Sweden February 2013 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Death Metal Running time: 41:28 (Tracks: 13)
Old school death metal from Sweden has always been my favourite death metal style. Even now when this type of Death Metal is played by numerous bands also from outside of Sweden. The trademark buzzsaw guitarsound is still something I really like. So I will give most of the bands a try when I get the chance to hear them and while most of them sound the same bringing nothing new to the table. Corrosive Carcass is a band which has something to say! This Swedes are much heavier mostly by playing their “jumping” drumparts which makes that this band often sounds as Autopsy in their slower parts but on the other hand sound as Nihilist in their hay days. It's sloppy and creepy most of the time. Just the way I like it.
To summarize, let's enumerate the album qualities : awesome guitar tone, crushing riffs mixed with creepy melodies. There's a few leads here and there but nothing too much. Sjobloms performance on the mic is absolutly great and different from most other Swedish vocalists. I also love the tempo of the album. It's fast, in your face death metal. But not fast like Nile or Cryptopsy, which tends to be too much for my taste. The songwriting is also good, considering the 2 to 4 minutes straight to the point format. So if you like Nihilist combined with Autopsy this is defintely something for you!
Visit their website: http://www.corrosivecarcass.com
Recordlabel: http://www.officalabyssrecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/recreation666

87/100

CRASHDIET – The Savage Playground Sweden February 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Sleaze / Glam Rock Running time: 59:00 (Tracks: 14)
Crashdïet is a Swedish Stockholm based band of the New Wave of Swedish Sleaze, releasing their fourth album through Frontiers Records in January 2013. " The savage playground" is the successor of the great album" Generation Wild" . That album sold well and support tours with Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, The 69 Eyes and Hardcore Superstar provided a great fanbase. “The savage playground”is the second album with singer Simon Cruze (Simon Sörderström) and he did a fine job, providing strong chorusses and great melody lines. The rhythm section, bass player Peter London (Peter Lunden) and drummer Eric Young (Erik Gjerdrum) is heavy, on steroïds, providing that thick sound like Motley Crue and their stylistic musical acts. And the guitars by Martin Sweet (Martin Hosselton) are thick as a brick!
Still the music is melodic, the band and their co-writers (Johan Renström and Patrick Magnusson, also known als Rampac) know how to write solid songs. From the opener " Change the world"' the first single " Cocaïne cowboys" , the fury of " Anarchy" , " California" , " Lickin' dog" , "Snakes in Paradise", "Damaged kid", " Excited" , " Circus" and " Sin City" the powerful songs, the glammy and sleazy flashes will keep you awake! The band has planned an extensive tour that will bring them to South America, Japan,The States and the European continent with guest acts like JetBlack, Sister and Sleekstain. If you' ll get the chance to see this great quartet, check them out! " The savage playground" is a good album!
Visit their website: http://www.crashdiet.org
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/realcrashdiet

82/100

CUSTARD – Infested by Anger (CD) Germany February 2013 Kees Schijven
Style: Power Metal Running time: 62:33 min (Tracks: 15)
CUSTARD are already active since 1987!! But have never really made it out of the underground. They have made four studio-albums between 1999 and 2008, 'Kingdoms of your Life' (1999), 'For my King' (2000), 'Wheels of Time' (2005), 'Forces Remain' (2008) and their fifth album is out now on Pure Steel Records. CUSTARD is influenced by european power metal like Helloween and Gamma Ray, but nowadays they shifted their sound more towards US metal, with high pitch vocals. Well this album is packed with lots of double bass, and harmonic twin guitars, of which one of them is handled by newest and first female band member Anna Olejniczak. Although the band claims to sound more like US metal, I still think it all sounds very German, nothing wrong with that, heavy power metal on a reasonable fast pace, with some nice guitar work. The album has a powerful production, which makes it all the more enjoyable. Fast and powerful songs like 'Gods of War', 'Death from Above' or even on a somewhat slower pace 'Black Friday', are all very true and heavy powermetal tracks, thundering bass and furious twin guitars make this album a very good and enjoyable listening experience. Also some mid paced, almost ballad like songs, like for instance 'Endless Pain' (No not the Kreator song), with some female vocalities added to it. I do really like their fast paced power metal songs, but the midpaced songs with added female vocals a little less, but that's personal I guess, lots of twin lead harmonies in the likes of old Maiden/Priest, with a singer who holds the middle between Rob Halford and Tobias Sammet, melodic power metal from the upper shelve. If you like your heavy (power) metal the classic way, and don't expect anything totally new, this could be your kinda band!
Visit their website: http://www.custard.de
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/custardmetal

82/100

DARKTHRONE - The Underground Resistance (CD) Norway February 2013 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 41:44 (Tracks: 6)
When I saw that a new album of Darkthrone was announced, I was immediately interested. I got familiar with their music in the mid 90`s when the band released the excellent black metal albums “A Blaze in the Northern Sky (1992)”, “Under A Funeral Moon (1993)” and “Transilvanian Hunger (1994)”. These albums are, in my opinion, still a must for every self-respecting black metal fan. The band is one of the founders of the true black metal scene in Norway and they deserve a lot of respect! The music on these albums can be characterised as pure, very raw and intense black metal. The band has undergone several line-up changes, but two members are the “red line” in the band: Fenriz (drums, voice, lyrics, composer) and Nocturno Culto (guitar, voice, lyrics and composer).
Now, there is a new album and I was very curious about what to expect. Darkthrone started in 1986 in Oslo as a death metal band. However, after the release of their first album (Soulside Journey), the band started to play black metal in the early nineties at record label Peaceville. In 1994, the band left Peaceville, they switched to Moonfog from Satyr (Satyricon). In 2004, the band released their last black metal album, Sardonic Wrath. In 2005, the band announced that they went back to Peaceville, but this meant also a change in their music style. Darkthrone released their eleventh album, The Cult Is Alive, during early 2006. While Darkthrone's black metal roots were still quite evident, their shift from the genre's typical sound was more noticeable. The albums that followed showed a mixture of heavy metal, speed metal and thrash metal with some punk influences. This counts also for Darkthrone`s new album, The Underground Resistance. When I am honest, I have to say that I first had to listen the album several times before I could form a quite good opinion. It has become clear that you cannot compare this album with their famous black metal trilogy. The style is mainly too different. But if you take this point of view, I have to acknowledge that The Underground Resistance is a nice album. I am nevertheless glad that the riffs of this album are still sometimes quite sinister and occult, that gives it some sort of unique character which belongs to Darkthrone. The new album contains six songs and it is a mixture of all the styles mentioned above. For example, the first song (Dead Early) has a quite sinister character with heavy riffs, while the second song (Valkyrie) is more punk orientated with clean (!) voices. This shows the variety. At this moment, I awarded 78 points to this album, but I am sure that this album will not disappear soon out my cd player, it still attracts me and I have the feeling that I have to discover more. Give this album some time, and you will like it!
Visit their website: http://www.darkthrone.no
Recordlabel: http://www.peaceville.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialdarkthrone

78/100

DEEP MACHINE - Whispers in the Black (MCD) United Kingdom February 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: NWOBHM Running time: 11:29 (Tracks: 3)
Deep Machine are a heavy metal group from the east end of London that first came into existence in 1979. Throughout the 1980s they were part of the NWOBHM. Founded by lead guitarist Bob Hooker, the band's music was influenced by other NWOBHM bands such as Iron Maiden and in particular, Judas Priest. Various early line-ups existed but eventually Hooker recruited John Wiggins on guitar, Dave Orton bass, Rick Bruce drums, and Roger Marsden vocals. [This line-up recorded some now much sought-after demo tapes including songs such as Demon Preacher, Asylum, Witchild and Deep Machine. Dave Orton then left and was replaced by Andy Wrighton on bass.
Despite developing somewhat of a cult following, and having an impressive reputation for their energetic live performances, Deep Machine were unable to secure a record deal.
Eventually Bob Hooker left the band in 1981 and was replaced by Angel Witch guitarist and vocalist Kevin Heybourne. This line-up proved unstable with Heybourne, Marsden and Bruce parting company with the others to form a new line-up of Angel Witch. Marsden later went on to join the EF Band. Wiggins and Wrighton quickly recruited former Minas Tirith vocalist Tony Smith and were looking for other band members when Wiggins was invited to join Paul Di'Anno's Lonewolf (later to become Di'Anno).
Wrighton was later to join Andy Boulton's Tokyo Blade. In 2009 Hooker, Wiggins, Marsden and Wrighton decided to jam together for the first time in almost 30 years, together with former Slam drummer Chas Towler. This eventually gave rise to a new line-up of Deep Machine, including Hooker and Towler with Lenny Baxter (vocals), John Riley (bass) and Nigel Martindale (guitar) which started to gig in 2010.[4] In February 2012 Martindale was officially replaced by guitarist Nick 'The Beast' East.
Well this is a small bio according Wikipedia; Deep Machine was almost as popular and well-known as Samson, Angel Witch, Praying Mantis and the early Iron Maiden. Numerous live tapes were circulating among fans, adding to their “mystique”. There was only one tiny detail missing to complete the puzzle: They never signed a record deal. Whereas Samson, Angel Witch, Praying Mantis and above all Iron Maiden went on to endure more or less healthy recording careers, Deep Machine remained probably the “most prominent unsigned Metal band in the universe”. Until now, that is! The band has just signed a deal with High Roller Records. This EP is still a self released “demo” and features 3 great songs in the real NWOBHM style. To be honest: I did know the band from name but never listened to their music till now….well this is real NWOBHM in a way I like it most; raw, up-tempo metal like only bands from that period can write and play! On this EP Tokyo Blade Axeman John Wiggins is participating (on all three songs)! The band will release a full album later this year on High Roller Records; look out for this one!
If you're to curious than you can better check out the band live on the 5th of April during one of Mario's Metal Mania parties together with Dutch cult-legends Red Dragon. Place of happening; Little Devil bar, Tilburg, The Netherlands. Check this website for more info and don't miss these guys!!!
Visit their website: http://deepmachine.co.uk
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/deepmachineofficial
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DeepMachine#!/deepmachineuk

80/100

DIAMOND DAWN - Overdrive (CD) Sweden February 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 51:30 (Tracks: 11)
The Swedish melodic rockscene is full of surprises. The past few months many Swedish acts surprised me and many listeners with their offspring: Edge, State of Shalazar, Impera, Lover under Cover, Eternal, Rose, Wigelius, all acts that prove that melodic (Scandi)rock isn't dead. The ingredients of the musical recipe are quite obvious: compact hookladen, infectious songs with a heavy and strong backbone, the Swedes do know how to write them and how to play them! Diamond Dawn, melodic sextet from Gothenburg is a new act on the Walhalla for melodic acts, the Napoli based Frontiers Records, and what a fine band this is! These guys can write and play melodic rock songs like the best. Diamond Dawn was founded in 2011 and a demo track " Standing as one" (the songs is on this new album as well) created a lot of buzz about the band and their capabilities. Serafino Perugino and his Frontiers staff signed the band and the new record, produced and mixed by two times Grammy Award winner Tobias Lindell at the Bohus Sound Recording Studios in Stockholm, is about to be released. I definitely like this record: the songs are rocking, anthemic, pompy, full of contagious hooks and surprises and the bandmembers show their skills. Comparisons with acts like Treat, Talk of the Town, T'Bell, commercial Europe Prisoners in Paradise-era, melodic acts from the nineties like Intruder and Shotgun Symphony, classic Prophet, Red Dawn, Rox Diamond, and new melodic rock acts like Wigelius and Edge are above surface, but Diamond Dawn bundles all these influences into a listenable and forceful package. From the opener " Into overdrive" with its thick keys by Niklas Arkbro, to the closing track " Powergames" with that strong backbeat and an approach Prophet came up with in the eighties, it's pure class these guys deliver.
I like the guitars of Jhonny Goransson and rhythm guitarist Olle Lindahl, the driving force of the rhythm section Efraim Larsson (drums) and Mikael Planefeldt (bass guitars) and the vocals of Alexander Strandell are also very good. The production is dry and fair. Superband! Great release from Frontiers Records.
Visit their website: http://www.diamonddawn.rocknytt.net
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/diamonddawnswe

88/100

EVIL INVADERS – Evil Invaders (MCD) Belgium February 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Thrash / Speed Metal Running time: 27:14 (Tracks: 6)
Evil Invaders is a relatively new upcoming band from Belgium which has done a bunch live shows during the start of their formation. The band is formed by a bunch of metal-lunatics that listened to a lot of 80's metal and got all their influences from this period. Funny because most of them where not even born in the 80's…
Ive seen the band a couple of times and they even played at my own Mario's Metal Meeting in 2012. This band is really a recommendation to see/hear and if you have the chance to be a part of their regular mosh-pit; grab it!! This 6 tracks MCD is very well produced and contains 1 instrumental song “Speed Invasion”. All the other songs are in the typical 80's thrash/speed style; full speed ahead and with high pitched screams from singer Joe Anus (whats in a name??). The amount of shows these guys already did are a plus to the sound they have these days and are also a sign of their good attitude! Check these guys out if they play near you! For fans of: Exciter, Raven, Razor, Anvil & early Metallica (Kill 'm All era). Great debut CD guys! Congratz !!!
Visit their website: http://www.evilinvaders.be
Recordlabel: http://www.empirerecords.be
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Evil-Invaders-OFFICIAL/154641011249376

92/100

EYEFEAR – The Inception of Darkness (CD) Australia February 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Dark Power Metal with progressive hints Running time: 58:32 (Tracks: 11)
Eyefear was founded in 1994. The Melbourne based quartet had a fierce and good live reputation and their prog-infused power metal was brought to the metalheads / metalears on their debutalbum " Edge of existence" in 1995. But just before the new millennium internal musical and personal problems escalated and the band had to find some new members and a new musical concept. It took some hard years to deliver new material. Andy LaRoque, the Gothenburg (Sweden) guitarist, songwriter and producer for King Diamond, EF Band, Death, At the Gates,and many other bands, helped the band producing their new albums in the 21st century. It was Andy who was the driving force behind contacts with the European, Asian and American market as well. Dockyard 1, the Hamburg (Germany) music label runned by Piet Sielck and former Sanctuary Record members, took care of their albums in that period. It did the band good. They shared the stage with Queensryche, Jon Oliva, Blind Guardian, DC Cooper (singer for Royal Hunt) and their music evolved into a dark and aggressive power metal with fierce and heavy, wide-ranged vocals, changes in speed and rhythm, great guitar solos and special, deeply structured songs.
But the bad luck haunted Eyefear in the second decennium. Dockyard 1 stopped their actvity and the band had no record deal. The Aussies didn't give up and started writing songs for a new album, pre-producing songs and trying to find a new record deal. In 2011 the Limb Music label added Eyefear to their roster and " The inception of darkness" is their newest, fifth full-length opus, their new offspring in my cd-player. And what a fierce record it is! Almost an hour of very powerful metal, eight very good tracks and three bonusses mixed, produced and mastered by Tommy Hansen in his Jailhouse Studio in Horsens (Denmark). I like the vocals of Danny Cerati (former Pegazus-singer, band member since 2000), but his fellow musicians (especially the guitarists) stand their ground as well! What a tight, ass-kicking band this is. The music has references of German metal bands, complex and heavy Savatage, early and ferocious Dream Theater, Queensryche and stylewise bands.
Are there any critical remarks? Yes, the keyboards by Seb Sébastien are pushed away in the background a little, the drum approach is a bit one-dimensional and I'm not very fond of the guest vocals of Sarah Parker and George Kosma. But it's still a fine record, that will please a lot of fans of the genre. Eyefear will be the tour-support-act for Nightwish in Australia. I hope the band will get a tour-support-deal for the European continent as well. These Aussies deserve it!
Visit their website: http://www.ozzyfrank.com/eyefear
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/eyefear

84/100

FASTER PUSSYCAT – The Power and The Glory Hole (CD) USA February 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Sleaze Rock with industrial rock hints Running time: 51:05 (Tracks: 12)
Westcoast Hair metal bands from the eighties of the former century, they 're still returning to the music business and the stage playing their songs from way back. Motley Crue, Ratt, Firehouse, Bang Tango,Trixter, Little Caesar, Tesla, Winger, Poison, Warrant, Cinderella and their stylewise colleagues keep making records, doing small tours and although the prosperity and the bright forecasts have gone, they're still going strong. From our chief editor Mario I received a promotional download copy of the new offspring of the City of Lights Record label ( the label for Eye, Sanchez, Toxic Rose, Osukaru and many new acts playing glam rock and sleaze rock):The Power and the Glory Hole by Faster Pussycat. I recognized this record and many readers on this board will have the same feeling. This album isn't new, it's a reissue of an album from July 2006. I have got the original release as well. Faster Pussycat was founded in Hollywood in 1986. The band, named after a big breasted Russ Meyer cult movie from 1965, gained popularity with their second album from 1989 (called "Wake me when it's over") . The second single from this album" House of pain" catapulted in the US Charts and it is still a hair band classic. The third album " Whipped" was a commercial success as well, but in 1993, after their musical and commercial peak, after touring with Alice Cooper, David Lee Roth, Kiss and Motley Crue, it was over. The musical climate had changed and lead vocalist Taime Downe started a new project with dark industrial music, The Newlydeads, featuring members of Faster Pussycat(Greg Steele and Brent Muscat, guitarists of this band joined forces with their former band mate), Bang Tango, LA Guns and Pigface.
After two albums(both quite good releases, check them out), a remix-album and a compilation album this collaboration stopped and Faster Pussycat reunited. The band had evolved, sounded more dark, experimental and lyric wise the band had more current awareness, with themes about sex, love, death, social inequality, street life, etc. An inner conflict about the name rights was the reason for the lack of new releases from this band, but in 2006 " The Power and the Glory Hole " saw the light on Full Effect Records. It's this release I'm listening to now and after many spins of this opus I was glad hearing this band again. The songs on " The Power and the Glory Hole" are short, heavy and intense. The mix of glam metal and industrial rock is very good. The guitars are raw and crunchy, paving the way for the harsh vocal lines of Taime Downe. The rhythm section ( Danny Nordahl and Chad Stewart, both former members of LA Guns and The Newlydeads) is very tight and haunting. And I like the songs, from the opener " Number one with a bullet" to the closing song " Bye bye Bianca" (a tribute and farewell song to singer and Taime Downe's friend Bianca Halstead, bass player and lead singer of Betty Blowtorch(an all-female glam rock band with a lot of street credibility) who was killed by a drunken driver in New Orleans in 2001), the album will grab you by the balls. It's a perfect crossover for the fans of evolved, mature glam or sleaze rock and metal. The 'new' album has an extra song on it, a blistering live version of the first track. The two cover songs on the original 2006 release: " These boots are made for walking (by Nancy Sinatra)" and " Shut up & Fuck ( a Betty Blowtorch cover)' are kept alive in this second-life-release. Check them out, the band has plans for a short European summer-tour. Great hearing this band again!
Visit their website: http://www.fasterpussycat.com
Recordlabel: http://www.facebook.com/cityoflightsrecords
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/fasterpussycat

83/100

GAME OVER – For Humanity (CD) Italy February 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Oldschool Thrash Metal Running time: 35:33 (Tracks: 10)
GAME OVER was born in the spring of 2008 thanks to the will of three musicians to put up a Thrash Metal band. So Renato "Reno" Chiccoli (also member of the awesome ASGARD), Luca "Ziro" Zironi and Alessandro "Sanso" Sansone with Marcello "Med" Medas on drums started their activity playing covers of their main influences. During the last months of 2008 the band began the live activity and started writing the first original material. The following year their first four-tracks Demo CD was released and few months later they released also an EP called "Heavy Damage" with six tracks of strong American-styled Thrash Metal that gathers positive acclaims by fans and critics. The live activity continues for the whole 2009 and 2010. During the 2011 the band signs for the label "My Graveyard Productions" and in the summer of the same year Game Over entered the studio to record their first debut Album with the supervision of Simone Mularoni. In January 2012 their first Full Length called "FOR HUMANITY" has been released and Anthony "Vender" Dantone enters the band as new drummer replacing "Med".
Well nearly a year later I received the album for a review on MMM; but I don't care; this is full speed ahead oldschool thrashmetal in a way I like it a lot; it is reminiscent to anything that came out in the 80's Bay Area style. But still with originality and an acquired sound!!! This is great thrashmetal and this album is nearly as good as the album of their labelmates Asgard!!
Need to get this band over to The Netherlands someday!!!! Check it our if you're into oldschool thrashmetal!! You wont regret it!
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gameoverthrashmetal
Recordlabel: http://www.mygraveyardproductions.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gameoverthrash

95/100

GIANT X – I (CD) Germany February 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Metal / Hard Rock Running time: 46:28 (Tracks: 13)
GIANT X is a new band (or is it a project?) of singer and guitarist "Rocking" Rolf Kasparek and guitarist Peter Jay Jordan. Kasparek is the founder of German metal band RUNNING WILD, and Jordan joined the band in 2005. Well, I have to admit that I never had much with RUNNING WILD. I don't have any album of RUNNING WILD, and I never have seen them live as well. Anyway, "I" (read "One") is the debut album of GIANT X, and features 13 tracks. Because of the fact that I am not familiar with any material of RUNNING WILD, I can't compare this album of GIANT X with albums of RUNNING WILD. All instruments on this album are done by Kasparek and Jordan, and the production was done by Jordan. Musically, this album is very varied, it features up-tempo power songs, some bluesy songs and melodic rock songs. For example, "Don't Quit Till Tomorrow" ….okay, in fact it's a catchy melodic rock song, but to me it sounds a bit too commercial. "Nameless Heroes" is just a cliché ballad. "Go 4 It" and "Let's Dance" are two real party rockers. Bluesy songs on "I" are "Badland Blues" and "Rough Ride". Conclusion is, I can listen to this album, but I think I would never buy it easily myself. In that case this is just a too moderate album to me. Well, I think this album will do it very well especially in Germany, and among the die-hard RUNNING WILD fans in and outside Germany. And as you will understand, I don't belong to the category RUNNING WILD fans. Anyway, the songs on this album which I like the most are "On A Blind Flight", "Badland Blues", "Now Or Never", "Go 4 It", "Rough Ride" and "Let's Dance". It's not really bad, but also not very spectacular. So, if you are interested in this debut album of GIANT X, check it out yourself.
Visit their website: http://www.running-wild.de
Recordlabel: http://www.spv.de

68/100

GREAT WHITE – Thirty Years – Live from the Sunset Strip (CD) USA February 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Bluesy Hard Rock Running time: 1:16:48 (Tracks: 11)
The LA-based rockcircus of Great White has separated into two factions since September 2012: Great White (holding the majority of the origina lmembers with former XYZ- powervocalist Terry Ilous) and Jack Russell's GreatWhite (a new band formed by Great White's original singer). A few months ago Great White, the faction with Terry on vocals, released Elation, an album with nice songs forming the vehicle for the good, tough vocal cords of the new singer. The album had a slow start, but the third single of this album "Hard to say goodbye" is doing very well on the Classic Rock Mediabase Charts. In the last week of February Frontiers Records will release a live-album of Great White " Thirty years- Live from the Sunset Strip" celebrating the three decades of Great White on stage at the Key Club in West-Hollywood, California. It's not the first Great White live-album capturing the band's strongest side and focus. " Recovery Live( 1988, an album with lots of covers), "Live at The Marquee" (1990), "Stage" (recorded at The House of Blues a.o. in 1994, their best live record in my opinion), "Thank you and goodnight" (2002, their farewell live album), " Extended versions" ( a partial reissue of the Stage-album in 2004) and " Once bitte, twice live" ( a reissue of their farewell live album by Sidewinder Records in 2006) gave away the band's livestatus. And again this new album holds the strongest and most classic Great White anthemic songs:" Face the day", the beautiful " House of Broken Love", the haunting " Rock me", "Can't shake it", the bluesy " Back to the rhythm" , "Mista Bone" (bonus track on the Sail away-album) with an excellent Mark Kendall, the closing "Once bitten twice shy" , great tracks and great performances. I was very keen on Jack Russell's vocals, but Terry Ilous has more power, more attitude fitting very well in this bluesy, ballsy environment. This new record is very interesting getting to know what Great White is all about these days! I hope the LA-rockers will tour in Europe someday! It will be quite a party! And I will be there!
Visit their website: http://www.greatwhiterocks.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.terryilous.com

82/100

HELDREIDH - Fragmenta (CD) Italy February 2013 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 45:24 (Tracks: 8)
With the release of Fragmenta, Helreidh is back in business in the progressive metal scene. This Italian band was active in the second half of the nineties, releasing a couple of albums. With the albums “Memories” (1997) and the EP “Fingerprints of the Gods”, Helreidh made a promising start in the progressive metal scene. However, some internal issues tore the band apart before the band had finished their second full length album. Now, approximately 13 years later, Helreidh is back with the new album Fragmenta. The release of this album is a new start for the band. There is a strongly renewed line-up: aside founding members Yorick (guitars) and Luca Roggi (drums), Helreidh feature as well as Max Bastasi (vocals), Aligi Pasqualetto (keyboards) and Franscesco de Paoli (bass, ex-Raising fear). Besides this new line-up, the band has slightly changed their musical spectrum. Their progressive roots still play an important role, but elements of the classic rock, hard rock, and progressive rock are implemented. The band write on their website that “Fragmenta is a collection of fragments, individual stories which have to be told.” The stories of the single tracks are pretty different: the album contains songs of the early days, musical ideas derived from other projects and brand new songs. I heard some old songs on the internet, and it has to be said that the band has renewed their style in a positive way. The music is sometimes heavier and more complex, but of course there is also space for a catchy ballad (Orfeo`s Lament for example). The album starts with an instrumental (mainly Keyboard) atmospheric song. The second song characterises the album best: it's a well composed song with heavy guitar parts and nice keyboard elements. Also Bastasi is in a good shape, his voice fits good to the music. I my opinion, Helreidh is a good band, fans of bands like Rhapsody, Kamelot and Symphony X will like this new album of Helreidh. I am quite enthusiastic!
Visit their website: http://www.heilreidhband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.pureprog-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/helreidh

75/100

IN AEVUM AGERE – The Shadow Tower (CD) Italy February 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 54:02 (Tracks: 11)
This is the first time I come across the Italian band In Aevum Agere. It is a relatively new band and this is its first full length release. The press kit describes the band as epic doom metal in the vein of Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus and there is a great deal of truth in this statement. Personally I would extend the similarities to bands like Krux and Abstract Algebra, both Leif Edling related, but I don't think that the word epic defines the entire album. I was pleasantly surprised by “The Shadow Tower” and the last time I was this excited with a doom metal album it was almost two years ago with the Dark Covenant debut. The vocals reminded me of the Thomas Vickstrom approach on the Candlemass – Chapter VI album. I definitely recommend this one to all the true doomsters.
Visit their website: http://www.reverbnation.com/inaevumagere
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/inaevumagere

80/100

INVADER – Invader (CD) USA February 2013 Kostas Kounadinis
Style: Power Metal Running time: 45:27 (Tracks: 10)
Invader is a cult metal act from Seattle. Formed in the early 80s, the band managed to release only two demos and a full length album. Pure Steel Records presents the remastered reissue of this album, 20 years after its original release date. Invader delivers classic U.S. power metal in the vein of other local heroes like Heir Apparent and Culprit and with a bit of early Queensryche and Sactuary. I am pretty sure the band interacted with these four U.S. metal heroes back in the day. I recommend this release to all the U.S. metal freaks and since the original pressing is very hard to come by, this re-release is the ideal opportunity for you to own an important piece of the Washington State metal history, the State which spawned such great metal acts.
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/invadermetalusa
Recordlabel: http://www.pureunderground-records.com

78/100

IZAH / FIRE WALK WITH US - (Split CD) The Netherlands February 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Doom / Instrumental / Sludge Running time: 23:52 (Tracks: 3)
Izah and Fire Walk With Us joined together and made a split album that takes your mind away of everything that matters in life. Izah only has one song on this album but it takes 11 minutes to get through it and it sounds ravaging. Think of progressive doom with a lot of groove and melody and even some post rock in it. And a vocal that does desperate screams and torture in his voice that gives it an empty feeling of despair. A fantastic song that keeps hanging in my head (well done). The next two songs on this album are for Fire Walk Amongst Us. And they make progressive and instrumental stoner/rock combined with all kinds of elements. It is really difficult to say what they look like but it sounds breath taking! They also did some release shows together and at one of the shows I went to check them and I got home with a big smile on my face because of the great music that these bands bring you! This album only has three songs but it is well worth your money!
Visit their website: https://www.facebook.com/FireWalkWithUs
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/IZAHband

82/100

JORN - Symphonic (CD) Norway February 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Bombastic symphonic metal Running time: 59:00 (Tracks: 14)
Huh? Another Jorn album again? My first thoughts when I saw this review copy in my mailbox were full of questions. I wasn't that keen on the latest Jorn releases to be honestly. It felt like he was copying himself, hiding and diminishing the greatness of his vocal range and superb qualities (and the qualities of his fellow bandmembers). Overseeing the tracklist I recognized no new tracks and indeed, this new album of Jorn is a compilation, but not an ordinary one, not a best of, compiling the well-known tracks of this Norwegian tonsil troubadour. No, "Symphonic" offers special chosen tracks by the singer. Jorn has asked the Danish piano and keyboard magician Lasse Jensen to compose classical arrangments to the songs. Lasse has done his job very well, but Jorn has kept the focus on his band to. Some songs were remixed and other songs were enriched with classical overtones. And the result: Wow!
This is symphonic and bombastic music of the premier league of metal! The classic arrangments stick like glue to the songs of Jorn and even the two covers on this album (Jorn's hommage to the late and great Ronnie James Dio is represented by “Rock 'n roll Children” and “The Mob Rules”, an unforgettable Dio- Black Sabbath classic) sound powerful and mighty. This album has stylistic nods to Purple with orchestra, Metallica's S&M, The Scorpions with orchestra, Savatage and Trans Siberian Orchestra and it has the bombastic point of view of Yngwie Malmsteen's instrumental classical album with the Japanese Philharmonic Orchestra, playing classical arrangments of David Rosenthal. I like this album, it is surprising, it is good, it remarks a bombastic era for Jorn, his music and his musical friends! Frontiers Records, the melodic rock label from Italy, will release this firecracker in the last week of January.
Visit their website: http://www.jornlande.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/realjorn

85/100

KAOS – Validated in Blood (MCD) USA February 2013 Kees Schijven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 24:11 (Tracks: 5)
New works from KAOS, they have been around since 1987, from whom I also reviewed their 'Kaos Among Us' album from 2003. This band only released 3 full lenght albums in their long time existence, debut album 'Vision Beyond'(2000), forementioned one, and third album 'The Pits of Existance' (2010), and now there's a new 5 song EP 'Validated in Blood'. KAOS plays old school Bay Area Thrash metal, without sounding out of date, real furious thrash metal with some modern influences, they can keep up with the big ones of thrash like Testament or Exodus! Why they are not as big or well known, don't ask me I don't know, I do know it's not due to their music, it just rages! All songs on this release are fabulous pearls of thrash, among them also a cover of 'Kill On Command' from Vio-lence which is very well done! Titles vary from 'United We Kill', 'Internal Bleeding', 'Alive To Die' to 'Blood Red Eyes' and each one makes my blood run faster, hopefully soon a new full lenght from these Bay Area thrashers, where once Kevin Albert (son of...) was a member of. This band must be heard by every thrash fan, cause these guys are the real stuff, true old school bay area thrash with a modern sound and production, hell, they even give Slayer a run for their money!
Visit their website: http://www.kaosamongus.com
Recordlabel: http://www.malevolence-records.us

94/100

KRYPTS – Unending Degradation (CD) Finland February 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 39:36 (Tracks: 8)
Krypts from Finland is a new band that started in 2008 and released their demo in 2009. Their first official release came in 2011. In the form of an EP called “Krypts” (very good EP). So finally and full length of these guys! This album is released by Dark Descent Records so that says almost enough if you are into old school death metal (almost all there releases are good). Eight tracks of pure old school death metal that kicks of with an instrumental and then takes you right back to the 90`s. Guitar riffs that up tempo and not to difficult to follow. And the drums are also very groovy and up tempo, think of bands like Grave or Undergang. The vokills are deep grunts that finishes it all and makes this album exactly what you want to hear in a old school death metal band, raw production, no bullshit riffs or high-speed blasts but chill out music in the death metal! If you are into old school death metal then this is a must have in your collection!
Visit their website: http://krypts.wordpress.com
Recordlabel: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com

86/100

LIFELESS – Godconstruct (CD) Germany February 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 48:25 (Tracks: 10)
Lifeless from Germany brings you death metal in old school style and they do that really well. I know this band from their first album and that is a killer record. This band started spreading their rage since 2004. Their debut “Beyond the Threshold of Death” war released in 2008 (really good album!). After that they did a split album with Chapel of Disease. This is their new masterpiece released this year. 12 tracks of pure and ravenous old school death metal in vain of bands like Entombed and Dismember. This is a relatively new band but they play a really typical old school style that we call Swedish death metal. Groovy guitar riffs filled with solos. Drums that keep pounding in a up tempo that will keep shaking you head. And a killer grunt. The composing of the songs are great and filled with variety so it doesn`t get boring. The production is also straight in your face. If you like bands like Entombed, Dismember, Entrapment then you must have this album in your collection.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lifelessofficial
Recordlabel: http://www.fda-rekotz.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lifelessdeathmetal

84/100

MASSACRE – Condemned to the Shadows (MCD) USA February 2013 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Death Metal Running time: 8:03 (Tracks: 2)
Aha! The legend is back and this time with new material but without primal grunter and founder Kam Lee. Massacre reunited for "The-Re-Animated" tour in fall 2007, the band split up and reformed multiple times between this period and late 2008. In early 2009 Kam Lee stated he would attempt to resurrect Massacre again and release an album in 2010, but once again claimed to shelve the band in May 2009 via a message on the band's Myspace page. Rick Rozz and Terry Butle are only surviving members of the classic line-up that recorder the alltime classic “From Beyond”.
So this little EP on Century Media is -after all the bullshit- the sign that Massacre is still alive. First question would be has this version of Massacre something to say in the overcrowded Death Metal scene of the moment. I would surely say: “Yes!” On the two new heavy songs the trademark guitarsound of Rick Rozz can be heard. For example listen to the solo of the song “Succumb to Rapture” which would not have been misplaced on the “From Beyond” album. The new vocalist does a good job with a deep but not too gutteral voice which fits this old school band. This little EP is a sign that Massacre still exists even without Kam Lee. You can all discuss this matter, fact is that I would love to hear more material composed by this four people!
Recordlabel: http://www.centurymedia.com

80/100

MICHAEL SCHENKER – Temple Of Rock: Live In Europe (2CD) Germany February 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Classic Hard Rock Running time: CD1: 64:38 (Tracks: 13) & CD2: 57:35 (Tracks: 11)
Well, MICHAEL SCHENKER belongs to one of my all time favorite guitarists since 1979, and that's because Michael Schenker has a very own and recognizable guitar sound. In 1979 I was a 14 year old kid, meanwhile already two years into Hard Rock music, still investigating and discovering Hard Rock bands. So, that year I also bought SCORPIONS' "Lovedrive" (1979) and UFO's "Strangers In The Night" (1979) on vinyl. These two albums were my first acquaintance with Michael Schenker as a guitarist. One year later, in 1980, I bought the debut album of Michael's new band MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP (a.k.a. M.S.G.) "The Michael Schenker Group" (1980), which in my opinion is still his best studio album of M.S.G. ever. Anyway, so far I've seen Michael Schenker three times live, and the last time was on May 13th, 2012 in my hometown Tilburg, Holland, when he did a great show in venue 013. That show in 013 was completely recorded and filmed, and is now eventually released on November 30th, 2012 as a double CD and DVD/Blueray on Inakustic Records, titled "Temple Of Rock: Live In Europe". The line-up in 013 existed, besides Michael Schenker on guitar, of Doogie White (vocals), Wayne Findlay (keyboards, guitar) and ex-SCORPIONS members Francis Bucholz (bass) and Herman Rarebell (drums). And Doogie White is a fantastic singer, who's voice reminds me very much of Biff Byford of SAXON. The set list that evening was just awesome. Although, this was the "Temple Of Rock" tour, Michael only played two songs of his latest solo album "Temple Of Rock" (2011), namely "Hanging On" (with guest vocals of Michael Voss) and "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead". All other songs during the show existed of classics of M.S.G. ("Into The Arena", "Armed And Ready", "Cry For The Nations", "Let Sleeping Dog Lies", "Assault Attack" and "On And On"), SCORPIONS ("Lovedrive", "Another Piece Of Meat", "Coast To Coast", "Rock You Like A Hurricane", "Holiday" and "Blackout") and of course of UFO ("Lights Out", "Let It Roll", "Shoot Shoot", "Rock Bottom" and "Doctor Doctor"). As a bonus concert on disc 2, you'll get 5 songs recorded live at the High Voltage Festival in London, England on July 24th, 2011 (Michael played 8 songs on that festival). The line-up of Michael's band at the High Voltage Festival existed of, besides Michael Schenker, Herman Rarebell and Wayne Findlay, of Michael Voss on vocals, and Elliot Rubinson on bass guitar. Special guest at the High Voltage Festival was Michael's brother Rudolf Schenker (SCORPIONS) who played guitar on "Rock You Like A Hurricane", "Hanging On" and "Doctor Doctor". Other special guests during "Doctor Doctor" are Doogie White and Jeff Scott Soto on vocals and UFO's Pete Way himself on bass. Only, to be honest, the sound of these 5 songs from the High Voltage Festival isn't as great as of the complete show from 013 in Tilburg. Don't get me wrong, the sound of these 5 songs isn't that bad, but it's just less instead of the sound of the show in 013. Anyway, "Temple Of Rock: Live In Europe" is a fantastic live album of Michael Schenker, with, as you can see, an awesome set list. And besides that, of course it is very nice to have an official live album release of a show where you have been yourself.
Visit their website: http://www.michaelschenkerhimself.com
Recordlabel: http://www.in-akustik.com

88/100

MUNRUTHEL – Epoch of Aquarius (CD) Ukraine February 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Pagan / Black Metal Running time: 60:01 (Tracks: 11)
A couple of months back, I reviewed the Munruthel re-release of their 'Epoch of Aquarius' album, which was originally released in 2006. The intro I then used was: “The history of Ukrainian based metal band Munruthel goes back to the mid-nineties. The line-up was unstable at times, as was the musical quality of the releases.” The re-release was used to gain attention to the forthcoming album, that has now seen the light of day. And I must say that the 'teaser' worked, because when I discovered 'CREEDamage' in the mail, a bell was ringing. And as impassioned I was of their previous album, I also am of the new one. The songs are again rather extensive, but the band manages to keep your attention with their accessible style of Black/Pagan metal. Unlike many other bands in the genre, 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. Although I must say that the quality of the songs differ from each other. 'CREEDamage' may not be their best work to date, but sufficient enough at this point in time. It's good to see that after nearly twenty years, Munruthel still can come up with an album like this. The heart is definitely in the right place. Respect for Mr. Munruthel Vladislav Redkin!
Visit their website: http://www.munruthel.com
Recordlabel: http://www.svarga.eu
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/slavamunruthel

70/100

NERVOCHAOS – To the Death (CD) Brasil February 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Death Metal Running time: 42:42 (Tracks: 13)
Nervochaos from brazil started spreading their rage in 1996. They released their first album in 1998 and their second in 2002. 2006 gave light to the “Quarrel in Hell” album and 2010 their fourth album “Battalions of Hate”. If there is one thing that you can say about this band is that there albums are always quality and the same goes for their latest release “To the Death” that is released in this year. 13 tracks of furious satanic death metal. Strong and heavy guitar riffs combined with pounding and tight drums. The vocals are light grunts in vain of Morgoth. The composing of the songs are great and very groovy. The production is also great and reminds me a lot of Pungent Stench because of the raw and filthy sound. If you are into Deicide or Pungent Stench then you are going to enjoy this album.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nervochaos
Recordlabel: http://www.cogumelo.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/nervochaos

78/100

OCEANS OF NIGHT – Domain (CD) USA February 2013 Michel van Hassel
Style: Progressive Metal Running time: 64:45 (Tracks: 10)
The main man behind Oceans of Night is Scott Mosher who has had a series of collaborations with Scott Oliva. This is the second album under the flag of Oceans of Night. Mosher is responsible for all the guitar-, bass-, and keyboards-parts on this album. Oliva is the vocalist and co-writer on this album whilst Alan Smithee is the drummer and percussionist. Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Fates Warning) mixed and engineered this album and did, not surprisingly, an excellent job. Mosher is a very creative mastermind. Perhaps this is the reason that the first track on the album, which is the title-track as well, lasts over seventeen minutes. Instead of ending with the epic-track of the album, Mosher starts with it. The song itself, “Domain”, is divided in seven parts. There are really quiet parts that sound very atmospheric. These parts are varied with beautiful guitar playing and also some real progressive metal with keyboards and serene vocals. It all sounds very controlled and well considered. Towards the end, the tempo goes up and Mosher plays a superb guitar solo. “Don't Look to Me” is a heavier more straightforward song, but with enough beautiful parts to enjoy it. On to track three, “So Near Yet So Far”, that has some weird sound effects at the beginning. Than the heavy pounding takes over and the song develops in a great track with again some beautifully played guitar-parts. “Dreams in Artificial Sunlight” is the first of two instrumentals on this album that starts and ends with the sound of a heartbeat. In between it is mainly Mosher who is competing with Mosher on this track that keeps on building up in intensity towards the end. This is an interesting instrumental. Next on is “Divisions of Time”, that has some solid drum rhythms to start of the song. Throughout the track, you will hear many excellent keyboards-parts. “Seven Days of Rain” opens with the sound of waves, seagulls and a boat blowing his horn. The guitar riffs and keyboards slowly get louder until it ends with the sound of a thunder strike. Oliva steps in and lays down some great vocals. Toward the end of the song, it turns into a great display of musical craftsmanship. This is a great progressive metal track and to me one of the best on this album. Besides the long opening track there is also another long track, called “The View to You”, that lasts over eight minutes. This song shows the sheer musical quality of Oceans of Night on this great composition. The second instrumental, “Instruments of Fear”, consists mainly of fast pounding drums accompanied by lots of guitar riffing and soloing. This is a great and heavy piece of music. “The Future Remembered” is filled with dreamy and spacey keyboards for the first part of the song. After some deformed vocals, Oliva starts and takes the lead for the second part of the track. The final track, “Ghosts of the Past”, is one of the simpler tracks on the album that has a repeating groove very present. This album needs some time to get into and enjoy it. I hope that Mosher remains creative and active so we can enjoy more of his material in the future.
Visit their website: http://www.oceansofnight.com
Recordlabel: http://www.theambientmind.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/scottmosher

83/100

OPHIDIAN FOREST/ HERESIARCHS OF DIS – Darkest Origins (Split CD) International/ USA February 2013 Dennis van Dommelen
Style: Black Metal Running time: 1:13:25: (Tracks: 12)
“Dark Origins” previously features unreleased demo's and early work from each artist. Showcasing each band at their most raw and most vicious. The label UW records talks about all tracks being newly re-worked, re-mixed and re-mastered for this collection. I don't believe anything of this since the tracks each sound very different from each other. For example compare the last track from Heresiarchs of Dis with their other ones. If possible the founding and only member of this band (Cernunnos) would love the other tracks sounding the same as “Circle of Sodomy”. All tracks also those from Ophidian Forest sound as they were recorded from creaking vinyl.
Ophidian Forest is an international circle with members coming from Holland, U.S.A. and Croatia. Their pagan/ black metal sounds very harsh but what really makes this band bad is the production. It's quite amazing how bad the mix is on this album. The guitars are really loud and sharp. Sometimes in raw black metal, such in-your-face guitars can create an extremely vicious tone (i.e. Mütiilation). Here it just sounds cheap and false at times. On the faster tracks there's so much feedback that its impossible to distinguish any tune whatsoever. The bass is extremely flat. It's like watching a fish out of water aimlessly flopping about on the inevitable path toward death. The drums are the only good thing sounding on this recordings. So the winner of the two is Heresiarchs of Dis only by delivering such a good last track. “Circle of Sodomy” has some old Emperor worship which I really like. Other tracks are mostly weak sounding Xasthur copies. So two scores for this spilt album but actually I would have liked to rate each song.
Visit their website: http://www.ophidianforest.com
Visit their website: http://www.myspace.com/ophidianforest

50/63/100

PARADOX – Tales of the Weird (CD) Germany February 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Power / Trash Metal Running time: 55:02 (Tracks: 10)
Mea maxima culpa; i am not worthy …. No, i ain't worthy writing a review for this album. Simply because i've never taken the trouble to listen to Paradox before. And that has turned out to be a big, very big mistake. Provided to me by Theo Samson for AFM records i took my changes because overall he delivers damn fine, high quality metal. So also this piece of melodic thrash. So i'm not familiair with Paradox earlier releases and their ups-and-downs history but this release is damn good. The album opens with rolling thundercracks paving the perfect way to the melodic trash epic “Tales of the Weird” that clocks over more than 9 minutes filled with brilliant hooks, breaks, melody and the supernatural drums by Daniel “Evil Ewald” Buld. What a drummer this guy is, a real phenonemon ! The speed, the deadly precision, the alternation between thrash and power metal, it all makes this a killer track makes every metal band turn green of jelaousy. The whole nine minutes fly by like an X-15 rocketplane. And this isn't all folks ! This album only can be described as a real monster. Mastermind Charley Steinhauer whose also responsible for the flaming guitarrifs and the perfect fitting vocals, realy exceeds himself and the band with this awesome trash/power attack. The album is filled with the finest power/thrash anthems like the awesome “Judgement Day” with that slow middle piece in which Metallica jused to excellarete, the killer “Brutalized” and the ultimate lumberjack “Slashdead”. If you are into melodic Trash/Powermetal then this is the must have for 2012 ! Worth to mention is the really good cover of Rainbow's “A Light in the Black”. Paradox has managed to give this song the same vibe and feel but also to provide it with a slight paradox gravy. Certainly one of the best metal releases of 2012; get this one and you won't be dissapointed. Stunning album!
Visit their website: http://www.paradox-bangers.com
Recordlabel: http://www.afm-records.de
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/paradoxbangers

90/100

PHANTOM-X – The Opera of the Phantom (CD) USA February 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: US Power Metal Running time: 67:27 (Tracks: 16)
In June 2010 I reviewed the bands “This is War” CD which I liked very much and rated it with 82 out of 100 points. For a bio I recommend to read this 2010 review; most important fact of Phantom X is that singer Kevin Goocher was a member of US cult act Omen. Well personally I like Phantom X more than Omen; simply because Phantom X plays metal in the typical US-metal tradition: up-tempo songs with great musicianship, good vocals and attitude! I also had the luck to book the band twice for MMM shows in The Netherlands and these guys are always politely and very thankfull.
Back to the album; this is again a very reliable record which is a good follow up to “This is War”. Only small comment I have is the fact that predecessor “This is War” sounded more varied than “The Opera of the Phantom”. But nevertheless this is again a fine piece of metal in way I like it most.
Check this band out if you're into metalbands like: (old) Iced Earth, Vicious Rumors, Iron Maiden & Dio.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PXMetal
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/phantomxmetal

80/100

PINK CREAM 69 - Ceremonial (CD) Germany February 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 58:00 (Tracks:13)
I like PC '69 very much. The Karlsruhe quintet has surprised many rock fans with great albums and good concerts. The start of ' the pinkies ' in 1987 was fabulous. Their first three albums with Andi Deris on vocals were strong, providing thick heavy metal with great vocals, tight songs and big guitars. The albums gained commercial successes and provided support tours with Europe and White Lion. When Andi left the band to join Helloween, the English singer David Readman took his place. The band recruited an extra guitar player (Alfred Koffler, the original guitar player suffered from neuropathy and Uwe Reitenauer was brought in to strengthen the guitarforce) and the albums with the new forces were very good as well. Pink Cream's tenth album "In10sity" saw the light in 2007 and it was a fine record.
In the five years period music of other bands, producing jobs, solo albums and songwriting kept the bandmembers busy and in the meantime drummer Kosta Zafiriou switched his drumseat for a manager's seat for Bottom Row Artists. Chris Schmidt is the new drummer of the band, he was drummer on the Sunstorm albums and the solo records of Harry Hess (Harem Scarem- and Rubber-vocalist). And the new album I am listening to is a fine record as well!
The Dennis Ward production (recorded at the Hofa Studios and at Dennis' own Trakshak Place) stands firm, the playing and singing are fantastic, the artwork of Kai Brockschmidt (his artwork can also be seen on albums of Pretty Maids, Royal Hunt, Biss, etc.) shines and the songs are good, very good. Pink Cream '69 has brought a more open approach to the songs. They sound more modern, more contemporary, vitalized, experimental and fresh. Although some of the themes are exchangeable, the tension of " Ceremonial" is kept alive during the tracklist. Frontiers Records will release this album in January, it 's the second album of the band distributed by this Italian melodic rock label. I hope it will be a killer in commercial ways as well!
Visit their website: http://www.pinkcream69.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pc69official

87/100

PINNICK GALES PRIDGEN – Pinnick Gales Pridgen (CD) USA February 2013 Manfred Werrger
Style: Organic Rock Running time: 1:12:00 (Tracks: 13)
Many musicfans smiled when rumours of a collaboration between Doug (Dug) Pinnick, Eric Gales and Thomas Pridgen came above surface. That would be quite a combination of styles! Doug Pinnick is the King's X frontman and bassplayer, gifted with a dark voice and musical skills that brought him a lot of fame and fortune. Eric Gales is the left- handed 'Stratocaster master '. Playing the blues rock guitaristic antics as he invented it himself (with a little help of his hero, the late and great Jimi Hendrix). Eric has made a lot of solo albums (for Elektra, Blues Bureau International, Shrapnel and MCA) and he has made an album with his brothers Eugene and Manuel as well
( “Left hand path”, great stuff!). What a firecracker on six strings he is! And the man's got a fine voice too! Thomas Pridgen isn't a new name as well. This Berklee graduated superdrummer played in The Mars Volta, but he provided genius drums on records of jazz trumpet aceplayer Christian Scott, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Eric Gales ( yeah, we've got a connection) and The Memorials, a band he formed three years ago with his former Berklee friends, as well. The Magna Carta label will be the vehicle for this record and what an album is this!
Thirteen tracks, more than one hour of magnificent playing, great songs and superb musical bits and bites! I was surprised that Mike Varney produced this record. He was and is the man behind the Shrapnel and the Blues Bureau International label, but his dry, tight, fair and fat production shines on this album and it creates an emphasis on the songs and the magic musicians. I was afraid the individual qualities of the players would outclass the songs, but they don't. I like the songs very much, they have that Cream, Hendrix, Robin Trower-approach with a lot of 'information ', a lot of 'surprises' in musical and compositional ways. The music has overtones of Living Colour, King's X, Aerosmith on bluesy and funky steroids, The Who, modern rock and superb jazz rock (like Jeff Beck, Spectrum Road, Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins, Stone Raiders). It's clear that everybody brought their A-game to this record: from the furious opener (Collateral Damage) to the fantastic closing track (Frightening), from the shortest track (For Jasmine, a variation on Beethoven's “Für Elise”) to the longest track on this gem (the British blues-based jam of “Been so high”), from the best known track ( yes, there is a brilliant cover of “Sunshine of your love”) to the new street credibility of “Hate crime”, this record floored me! What a brilliant start of 2013. It will be difficult to top this record, it will be released on the 12th of February. Get it!
Visit their website: http://www.magnacarta.net/pinnickgalespridgen
Recordlabel: http://www.magnacarta.net
FAcebook: http://www.facebook.com/EricGalesr

92/100

PLAYER – Too many Reasons (CD) USA February 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Westcoast / AOR Running time: 1:02:13 (Tracks: 14)
A few months ago I had the opportunity to review the comeback EP of Player, the collaboration between Ron Moss and Peter Beckett. I wasn't too keen on this mini-album. The songs had no balls and besides a nice rendition of their seventies classic hit "Baby come back" the album had not much to offer. I was afraid that Frontiers Records, the Italian label of Serafino Perugino, had signed a wrong band, trusting the famous names on their reputation, their fame and their musical heydays way back.
After hearing the new album of Player I can say that my fear and feelings about the new Player- opus are misplaced, because "Too many reasons" is a good album. The songs have a nice Westcoast- approach, poppy overtones and Peter Beckett's voice is a perfect fit for the songs he wrote with Mr. Bold and Beautiful and a few co-writers. The albums starts powerful with a very good song " Man on fire" and the poppy " Precious" is a nice follower. " I will " is a nice acoustic ballad, beautifully sung . " Tell me" is a powerhouse pop song with a beautiful chorus. " Sins of yesterday" has a slow pace, a Paul Carrack- like approach, again beautiful sung by Beckett. " You're my addiction" is a song of the mini-album, co-written by Steve Plunkett. Nice song, a bit Beatlesque chorus draws your attention.
The title track is a real cracker, starting acoustically and keeping the slowrock-status with a great chorus. " To the extreme" is a nice commercial sound mid-paced song. " The words you say" is again a soft song, not very good. " Life in color" speeds up the album, with a great chorus and a nice guitar solo. Too bad this album hasn't got more of this. " Part of me" and " Kites" are ballads again. " Nothing like you" is a good song, a more typical adult orientated rock song and the album closes with a remake of their megahit from January 1978. Player has made a fine album with lots of poppy, soft-rock overtones. It's the voice of Peter Beckett that shines throughout this album. It's an album for a romantic late night adventure, that's for sure. Great album for the softrockers among us.
Visit their website: http://www.player-theband.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
Visit his website: http://www.peterbeckett-player.com

79/100

RADICAL NERVE DISTORTION – Incubator Of Psychosis (CD) The Netherlands February 2013 Kees Schijven
Style: Hardcore Thrash Metal Running time: 37:25 (Tracks: 12)
Radical Nerve Distortion initially started out as Rager in 2002, but changed their name after they recorded their very first promo. R.N.D. originators are Hans B. (guitar) and Hans K. (drums/vocals), who were completed by Tommy J. On bass in 2003. At this time their second promo is recorded with songs like 'Meatman' and 'Divebomber'. In January 2005 their next promo recordings see the light of day, on it their all time classic cult song 'Every Knee Shall Bow'. By the end of 2006 R.N.D. decides to look out for a singer/frontman, which they find in Stefan. By this time the band records their first cd 'Old Style Scare Tactics' at the Excess studio in Rotterdam. After a while Stefan decided to quit the band, and in 2010 their next promo is released. At that time the bands decides to get a second guitar player, which they found in Lars A. early 2011. In this line up R.N.D. recorded the 'Nailgunning your Dome' ep, which review you can also find on this website, but right after Hans B. decided to leave the band. The band goes on as a powertrio, and in September 2012 their second full length album 'Incubator of Psychosis' is getting recorded. Now it's here 12 deadly and aggressive attacks at your eardrums, although there has been some progression in their music, since I reviewed their 'Nailgunning your dome' ep. The music is still raw and brutal, with aggressive, raw vocals, but there is a little more variation in their songs, which does their music good. Still mainly thrash/hardcore what is offered here, with a fairly good production, R.N.D. is hammering on forwards with this album. 'Choketool' blasts out of your speakers when you put this album on, a most likely to become classic track, very heavy that is! Among the high lights of this album are songs like 'Bleeding from both sides', 'E.K.I.A.' (Enemy Killed In Action), 'Awake the Bloodshed', with the vocal duties done by Lars, also the titletrack and 'Battered Yet Unbeaten' with a guest solo from Ola Englund (Who also mastered the album). The album finishes off with 'When Fingers Become Fists', a nice song to scream along with, will probably do nice during live performances, still waiting for that to happen though, anyway until then we have the album to enjoy! You can purchase your example directly from the band itself.
Visit their website: http://www.radical-nerve-distortion.nl
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RadicalNerveDistortion

83/100

RED ROSE – On the Cusp of Change (CD) Israel February 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Hard Rock / Metal with pop rock influences Running time: 43:59 (Tracks: 8)
The Israeli heavy rock and metal scene are small. Just like the home country, there is simply not enough space for a tour, not enough space to expand or get a wide recognition. Two of these Israeli rock – and cover bands joined forces in the end of the first decennium in the 21st century and Red Rose was born. The name of the band represents the band's vision: a romantic, beautiful dream with the bitter thorns of the real truth, of the reality. A clear vision of the historical and daily news of this country in the Middle East region. As many bands from this part in the world, Red Rose turned their heads to Europe and Angelo Mora, journalist and reviewer for the Italian Hard Rock magazine, got the promo package of Red Rose and he inspired the band to sign a record deal with Scarlet Records. In 2011 the debut album ' Live the life you've imagined' was released on Bakerteam Records from Milan and it gained good reviews. The record was full of melodic rock, with various hints of pop music and progressive pinches as well. I liked the record that time and was curious about a possible successor. And yes, that second album will be released on the Scarlet Record label at the end of February. Mario, editor in chief, has send me a review copy and I'm again very fond of the music of these Israeli musicians.
Red Rose's music is melodic rock with very good and solid guitarwork by Elnur Aliev and beautiful atmospheric keyboards by Deion Kristen. The vocals of Leve Laiter are very poppy, a bit thin and 'young', but fitting well in the diversity of themes, arrangements, harmonies and choruses. The music made me think of Avalon (the German band with this name), Jaded Heart, Corako, Lee Z, rustique Helloween, early TNT and early Mad Max. That diversity is one of the strong points of this band. Modern vibes (" King of the local crowd"), progressive paths ("Seize the day", "When roses faded" and "This bitter world"), melodic hard rock(" Chasing freedom" and " Don't believe these tales") and atmospheric metal ("Original sin"), it's all on this album. The lyrics contain that diversity as well: a lot of themes have "the fatalism, the catastrophe" opus, but there are many themes about relationships, positive and free speech and thinking also.
Mastermind Tommy Hansen recorded the album at his Jailhouse Studio and he produced this good sounding album. It sounds tighter, fresher and heavier than the debut album. There's a lot of focus on the melodic instruments, the songs ,the themes and structures within them. The heavy drum work is created by Orphaned Land wizard Mathan Shmuely. The artwork is beautiful, the Brazilian artist Jobert Mello of Sledgehammer Graphix, took care of this fine imagination. Give this Israeli band a fair chance! They deserve it!
Visit their website: http://www.redrose.co.il
Recordlabel: http://www.scarletrecords.it
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/redroseband

82/100

SAXON – Heavy Metal Thunder: The Movie (2DVD) United Kingdom February 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy Metal / Documentary Running time: DVD1: 2:02:32 & DVD2: 2:56:57
In June of 2012 I reviewed the 2CD & DVD of "Heavy Metal Thunder - Live - Eagles Over Wacken". Well, now SAXON are back with a new double DVD, titled "Heavy Metal Thunder: The Movie", and is released on December 8th, 2012. "Heavy Metal Thunder: The Movie" is a very interesting documentary about the career of this British icon of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene. DVD 1 tells about how it all started in the coalfields of Yorkshire, where Peter "Biff" Byford started to work as well in the pits. Biff said 'The coalmine is a most frightening place for a 17, 18 year old lad to be down there'. Biff also tells that he learned to play bass in the coalmines during his shifts (Biff played bass on the "Rock The Nations" (1986) album, after Steve Dawson had left the band). SAXON started their career under the name of SOB, which they changed into SON OF A BITCH and eventually became SAXON. On DVD 1 are of the original line-up of SAXON, with the exception of drummer Pete Gill, singer Biff Byford, guitarists Graham Oliver and Paul Quinn and bassist Steve "Dobby" Dawson talking about different topics, such as each studio album of the band, touring (in the early days they even slept on mattresses in their tour bus), their management, sex and drugs. Other people who are telling something about SAXON are British journalist Geoff Barton (founder of KERRANG magazine), one of the band's managers David Poxon, but also famous musicians of the Metal scene, such as Lemmy Kilmister (MOTÖRHEAD), Eddie Clarke (ex-MOTÖRHEAD, FASTWAY), Lars Ulrich (METALLICA) are telling something. SAXON has been a big influence for many bands, so also for METALLICA as Ulrich tells.
Well, DVD2 features seven chapters, which are:
– "Building The Labyrinth" (15:11): Biff, Paul and Doug in the studio recording songs for the "Into The Labyrinth" (2009) album;
– "The Eagle And The Bomber" (22:10); Biff and Lemmy talking, SAXON preparing themselves in their dressing room for a gig in Wales and in Bristol;
– "Strong Arm Of The Law: Saxon On The Beat Club 1981" (56:40): a fantastic concert filmed in the Beat Club in Bremen, Germany for German TV program Musik Laden (which ran from December 1972 to November 1984). The set list of this show exists of the following songs "Heavy Metal Thunder", "See The Light Shining", "Hungry Years", "Rainbow Theme/Frozen Rainbow", "And The Bands Played On", "Strong Arm Of The Law", "747 (Strangers In The Night)", "Freeway Mad", "Dallas 1PM", "Wheels Of Steel" and "Machine Gun";
– "On A Crusade" (19:31): shows us interviews with Biff, Steve, Paul, Graham, Nigel and producer Kevin Beamish done by Donna Carlisle during the recording of the "Crusader" (1984) album. You can see the guys have a lot of fun. Even when one of the members threw a pie in the face of drummer Nigel, Nigel just seriously continues with the interview;
– "No Excuses" (10:57) shows us some footage from the recording sessions of the "Innocence Is No Excuse" (1985) album;
– "St. George's Day 2008" (50:50): this is also a complete concert registration of SAXON. The set list of this show exists of "Intro", "Princess Of The Night", "Never Surrender", "Jack Tars", "English Man 'O' War", "Sixth Form Girls", "Warrior", "Battle Cry", "Man And Machine", "I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)", "And The Bands Played On", "Denim And Leather", "Ashes To Ashes" and "Crusader";
– "Big Nibbs, Little Nibbs" (2:18), which is just a very short interview with bass player Nibbs Carter done by a young kid at Wacken Open Air. Of this second DVD are especially the two concert registrations a pleasure to watch. Altogether, I enjoyed it very much watching "Heavy Metal Thunder: The Movie", it's a very interesting documentary about this legendary NWOBHM band, and like I said, the two shows on DVD2 are just fantastic. So, this DVD is absolutely a real recommendation to any metalhead and is of course a must have for any die-hard SAXON fan.
Visit their website: http://www.saxon747.com
Recordlabel: http://www.udr-music.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/planetsaxon

87/100

SEPTIC CHRIST – Guilty As We Were Born (CD) Germany February 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal / Crossover Running time: 41:27 (Tracks: 12)
For more info about German Thrash Metal/Crossover band SEPTIC CHRIST see also my review of the band's debut album "Infected Existence" (2009) of this months update. "Guilty As We Were Born" is the second album of SEPTIC CHRIST and was released in March of 2012 on Malevolence Records. Thrash fanatics who liked the band's fantastic debut album, will absolutely like this second album as well. Actually, there's not much changed, the line-up on this album is still the same and SEPTIC CHRIST still treats us on some good Bay Area influenced Thrash Metal with some Hardcore elements as well. The only difference is that this second album features twelve tracks instead of the debut album, which featured eight songs. Anyway, just like the "Infected Existence" album, also this one starts with an instrumental track (and is again also the title track of the album), followed by the fast "Starstruck" (3:23). I must say that, although "Guilty As We Were Born" has made a lot of spins as well in my CD-player, I think that the debut "Infected Existence" is the best one of those two albums. Don't get me wrong, "Guilty As We Were Born" is absolutely not a bad album, it is still a very nice album to listen to, but in my opinion the band's debut album is just better. Just like "Infected Existence" also "Guilty As We Were Born" was produced by Christoph Brandes and sounds good. Well, as I said above, if you already liked "Infected Existence" very much, then you will like "Guilty As We Were Born" too. Anyway, my favourite songs of this album are the above mentioned "Starstruck", "Be A Man" (2:41), "The Legacy" (2:55), "G.D.L.B." (3:01) and "Political Playground" (3:59).
Recordlabel: http://www.malevolence-records.us
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bowtothechrist

79/100

SEPTIC CHRIST – Infected Existence (CD) Germany February 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Thrash Metal / Crossover Running time: 27:03 (Tracks: 8)
On July 6th, 2012 I saw German Thrash Metal/Crossover band SEPTIC CHRIST live at the Little Devil, Tilburg, Holland, where they played together with the bands ABSENTIA, T.C.F. and KAOS (all also on Malevolence Records). What I remember is that of those four bands, I liked T.C.F. and SEPTIC CHRIST the most. I had seen T.C.F. already several times before, but it was the first time that I saw the other bands. And SEPTIC CHRIST made a good impression on me. Anyway, now I got the two albums of SEPTIC CHRIST from Mario to review for MMM, namely this one "Infected Existence", which is their debut album and was released in 2009, and their second album "Guilty As We Were Born" (2012). Well, the band started in October of 2005 under the name NOTHING TO NOTHING, but since December 2007 SEPTIC CHRIST was born. SEPTIC CHRIST exists of Bobby Shortleg (vocals), JxNothing (guitar), Chris Septic (bass) and Joey Collapse (drums). These four German guys play old school Bay Area Thrash Metal like in the eighties, and you can hear they are influenced by bands such as ANTHRAX, S.O.D./M.O.D., EXODUS, TESTAMENT etcetera. Anyway, this album starts with the instrumental "Infected Existence (Pre-Game)" (2:31) followed by "W.D.W.F. (Wake Up)" (2:58). If you listen to the riffs of these two tracks, you immediately hear the influences of S.O.D./M.O.D. and ANTHRAX. And for example, "Permitted By God" (5:22) sounds very much like EXODUS. The other songs on this album are "Walls" (3:04), "Three Letters Called Hell" (2:59), "Stand Up Straight" (3:37), "Thrashing With Style" (3:01) and "No Respect" (3:28). In fact, there isn't any weak song on "Infected Existence", because all songs are a real pleasure to listen to. As well as this album "Infected Existence" as the "Guilty As We Were Born" album (see also this months update) have both made a lot of spins so far, and especially this one, will visit my CD-player more often, that's for sure because I like this stuff very much. Although it all sounds not that original, SEPTIC CHRIST is an interesting band for any thrasher and hardcore freak, and is in my opinion absolutely a band worth checking out.
Recordlabel: http://www.malevolence-records.us
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bowtothechrist

83/100

SEVEN KINGDOMS – The Fire is Mine (CD) USA February 2013 Michel van Hassel
Style: Power Metal Running time: 53:06 (Tracks: 11)
This is Seven Kingdom's third effort. The world premiere of the single “After the Fall” was at the Progpower USA- festival in Atlanta on the sixteenth of September 2012. Seven Kingdoms consists of Sabrina Valentine (vocals), Camden Cruz and Kevin Byrd (guitars), Aaron Sluss (bass) and Keith Byrd (drums). The sounds of thunder and lightning combined with some screaming birds and galloping horses mark the start of this album. It's “Beyond the Wall” and it lasts just over one minute. The overall feeling is a spooky one. Then all hell breaks loose as “After the Fall” kicks off. It is fast and furious metal with female vocals. All through the song, there is a bombardment of guitar solos whilst the rhythm section lays down a pounding drive. It turns out to be a very powerful and catchy track that sticks to your mind right away. What a great way to start an album. The speed and power remain present on “Forever Brave” as this song is on the move constantly with the two guitarists duelling like crazy. The overall sound is fantastic. Valentine's voice is not your typical female voice. She has a lot of power and her vocals fit this power attack perfectly. Besides this, she also has a recognisable unique sound. Double guitar riffing and double bass drums mark the beginning of “Flame of Olympus”, which is a very catchy song. The complete track flows very easily into the listener's ears. “Symphony of Stars” is a bit slower and less powerful in the first part of the song and has Valentine excelling. A bit into the song, Sluss and Byrd get more prominent and the pounding sets in. This leads the way for Cruz and Byrd to play some screaming guitar solos. Next one is the title-track that contains some other elements like different vocals-parts and a bit less power metal squeezed into the track as the pace is a bit slower. “Kardia” is an acoustic ballad, which features Valentine. She sings this song brilliantly as this song is a real oases of rest between the impressive power metal on the other tracks. On “Fragile Minds Collapse”, it is back to business as the power trip continues. Luckily, there is plenty of space for great guitar parts. The next track, “In the Twisted Twilight”, is a mix of melodic and power metal. The composition consists of beautiful vocals and modest guitar playing varied with pounding double-bass drums and fast guitar parts. The next minute consist of a spoken-word interlude with the sound of horses, called “A Debt Paid in Steel”. The last track on the album is with its seven minutes and fifty seconds by far the longest track on this album. This track, “The King in the North” has a lot of variation in the song itself. There are choral backings to be heard and there are some resting points along the track. Valentine herself sings beautifully and the band shows their quality one last time on this great composition. If you are into power metal this album is a must have. If you just want to check them out, Seven Kingdoms will be touring Europe in March and April opening for Stratovarius and Amaranthe.
Visit their website: http://www.sevenkingdoms.net
Recordlabel: http://www.nightmarerecords.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sevenkingdoms

85/100

SICADIS – Blood Of A Thousand Hearts (CD) USA February 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Metalcore / Thrash Metal / Death Metal Running time: 33:44 (Tracks: 10)
SICADES (pronounced: Si-kay-diss), a 5 piece band from Kansas City, Missouri, USA, is totally new to me. So, when I put this album in my CD-player I didn't know what to expect. Anyway, the band exists of Brett Carter (vocals), Andy Nagorski (guitar), Mike MacDowell (guitar), Dustin Johnson (bass) and Cameron Fitzmaurice (drums). "Blood Of A Thousand Hearts" is the band's debut album, and was released in early 2012 by the band themselves. Well, what I can say about "Blood Of A Thousand Hearts" is, that it's a very varied and interesting modern Metal album. To me, the band, which exists of excellent musicians, plays a mixture of Metalcore, Deathcore, Thrash Metal and Death Metal. Also the vocals of Brett Carter are very varied. Carter sings both brutal as well as grunting, and especially on the second half of the album he sings also clean melodic parts. Anyway, the album starts with the short intro "Sail Hatin'" (0:50) followed by "Insult To Injury" (2:34). Another short intro on the album is "A Fading Light" (0:43), which is the intro for "My Redemption" (4:45). Guest vocals on "My Redemption" are done by Tyler Lyon. Other guest vocals on this album are done by Ivan Moody (FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH) and Derek Thompson on "Through These Eyes" (3:26). I think this band will absolutely do it very well among the younger generation metal heads. If you like bands such as HATEBREED, SLIPKNOT, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, CHIMAIRA, BLEEDING THROUGH, PARKWAY DRIVE, UNEARTH etcetera, you'll have to check this album out. I'm sure you will like songs such as "Voice Of A Martyr" (4:52), "Soldiers Of Damnation" (4:10), "No Sympathy (For The Weak)" (4:34), "Through These Eyes" and "Slay The Masses" (3:40) very much. With this debut album the band delivers an excellent business card. Well done guys.
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/sicadis
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sicadis

80/100

SNAKECHARMER - Snakecharmer (CD) United Kingdom February 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Classic Rock Running time: 52:00 (Tracks:12)
Micky Moody 's post Whitesnake career was drenched in the blues. His collaboration with his former fellow guitar player and friend Bernie Marsden was great. Micky made some solo albums as well. His companionship with his former Whitesnake-friends in Company of Snakes (with Swedish vocalist Stefan Berggren), The Snakes (with starvocalist Jorn Lande) and MIII (with Tony Martin) kept him in shape. The last two years Micky was the leader of " An evening of classic Whitesnake " touring Great Britain, the European continent and Japan. Micky had good company on this musical adventure: singer Chris Ousey, former Heartland and Virginia Wolf vocalist, guitar player Laurie Wisefield of Wishbone Ash, Joe Cocker, Roger Chapman , the musical backbone behind " We will rock you, the musical " and Tina Turner fame, Neil Murray, bass player for Whitesnake, Colosseum, Black Sabbath and Vow Wow and Harry James (drummer and madman of Thunder). I saw this quartet last year playing classic post-Purple-Coverdale alive in Zoetermeer. It felt good, although I was not very fond of the live vocals of Chris Ousey. The musical friends have made a studio album under the monicker of Snakecharmer. Keyboards and piano are played by Adam Wakeman, son of Rick, the virtuoso keyboard wizard of Yes and Strawbs. Adam isn't a newbie either. He has provided keyboards on Black Sabbath and Ozzy tours and many poprecords in the UK.
Snakecharmer has made a solid album, that's for sure. Classic Whitesnake- tones are everywhere on this disc, but the album has a lot of influences of Bad Company, Humble Pie and early eighties' Foreigner. Chris Ousey sounds very good on disc, the songs have a strong rhythmic backbone and there's enough room for Micky and Laurie playing leads and providing rough and tough riffs. The keyboards add magical backgrounds for this classic rock opus ( just listen to the intros for " Smoking gun" and " To the rescue"), they make the songs wider, broader and more interesting. From the fabulous opening track " My angel" to the acoustic driven closing track " Cover me in you" the album will grab you and the tension will hold on untill the last seconds of this disc. Great record, Frontiers Records will release this gem at the end of January. Get it pronto!
Visit their website: http://snakecharmer.org
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.mickymoody.com

84/100

STORMRIDER – The Path Of Salvation (CD) Germany February 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Heavy / Power Metal Running time: 55:50 (Tracks: 10)
"The Path Of Salvation" is the third album of German Power Metal band STORMRIDER, and the second one released by Pure Steel Records. The band, which exists since 2002, released their debut album "Shipwrecked" in 2005 and their second one "Fate Of The Hunter" in 2008. With this third album, which was released in October of 2012, STORMRIDER celebrates their tenth anniversary. The line-up of STORMRIDER exists of Stefan Hebes (vocals), Ingo Rieger (guitar), Jan Gerbracht (guitar), Daniel Woyke (bass) and Tim Nestler (drums). Personally I am not familiar with the previous two albums, so this third album is my first acquaintance with these Germans. And I must say that it was a very nice acquaintance, because this is a very good album, with ten excellent songs, great musicianship and good vocals of Hebes (he sounds like Bruce Dickinson with a lower voice). With the melodic Power Metal that the band plays, STORMRIDER reminds me of a mixture of IRON MAIDEN and ICED EARTH. So if you like these bands, I would advise to check this album out. I'm sure you will like songs such as "The Path Of Salvation" (4:50), "Across The Acheron" (6:01), "Long Way Down" (6:12), "Heretics" (6:03), "The Sentence Divine" (6:25) and "Into The Light" (5:40), because these are all excellent compositions, with fantastic riffs and guitar solos. So my end conclusion is that "The Path Of Salvation" is a good album and absolutely an album worth checking out if you like traditional heavy- and power metal. Well done guys.
Visit their website: http://www.stormrider-metal.de
Recordlabel: http://www.puresteel-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/stormridermetal

78/100

SUTUANA – Araba Fenice (CD) Italy February 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Hard Rock Running time: 43:33 (Tracks: 12)
First of all, I never had heard of Italian band SUTUANA before. Well, we have to deal here with four Italian guys, who started early 2006 as a cover band. In 2006 they recorded their first demo, titled "Live In Studio", which featured some covers. After several gigs, the band decided to start writing their own songs. So, in 2007 they presented their promo "Porco Giochi". In 2009 SUTUANA released their debut album "PerdutaMente…". According to the information on the band's MySpace page, that album got good reviews. Now I've got the band's second album "Araba Fenice" to review, which was released in July of 2011. The line-up of the band exists of Diego Boschini (vocals, guitar), Lorenzo Zagni (guitar), Marco Nicoli (bass) and Gianluca Montanari (drums). To be honest, I am not that impressed. First of all, I don't like it to listen to songs, which are all sung in Italian, and secondly, the songs the band wrote for this album are not that fantastic. In that case, you could say that SUTUANA is nothing more than one of those many moderate bands. I only have listened two times to "Araba Fenice", and then I had enough of it. There isn't just any song which I really liked. And it would be a waste of my time to listen more times to this album. Well, personally I also can't imagine that there are people outside Italy, who will like this album, because in my opinion you could compare SUTUANA with any other moderate local band in your own neighbourhood. So, this release is only interesting for Italians, and for those who are already familiar with SUTUANA. Next album please.
Recordlabel: http://www.sgrecords.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/sutuana

45/100

TALAMYUS – Raven's Call to Annihilation (CD) Canada February 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Thrash / Heavy Metal Running time: 48:31 (Tracks: 10)
For any band who plays Thrash / Viking metal, it is hard to stay away from the typical cliché's that are making this style so recognizable. While listening to the third album of Canadian metal combo TALAMYUS, I can conclude that they didn't even made the attempt. 'Raven's Call to Annihilation' is one big cliché with borrowed riffs and song structures that are very predictable. Luckily TALAMYUS is able to use these ingredients and turn them into qualitatively good songs. Not great, but certainly good. From the moment the title-track opens the album, you know exactly what you can expect for the next fifty minutes: traditional, brutal riffs accompanied by melodic soloing and solid drum patterns. It's easy to sit through each and every song, because it sounds so familiar and accessible. Fourth track 'The Berserkers' is the summit of this, since the mid-section is an obvious Iron Maiden rip off. But aside from the cliché's, songs like the instrumental 'Inner Turmoil' and 'Spawn of the Elements' are from an excellent quality. Lyrically, the band outlines the Viking era, with topics like war, death and other fun stuff. The artwork accompanies this theme. 'Raven's Call to Annihilation' is an recommendation for the enthusiast of traditional Thrash/Viking metal. If you are one of them, you may also enjoy their previous albums 'As long as it Flows' which was released in 2005 and 'In These Days of Violence' from 2007. At this moment, the band is writing material for their forthcoming album. It will be the first with female vocalist Krystal Koffin. Warning: if metal-cliché's give you skin eruption, it's better to let this album get passed you…
Visit their website: http://www.facebook.com/talamyus
Recordlabel: http://www.prcmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/talamyus

70/100

THABU - Reborn (CD) Argentina February 2013 Jordy Brouwers
Style: Prog Metal Running time: 44:18 (Tracks: 9)
I always thought that only nice princesses and delicious steaks came from Argentina, but Thabu shows that also good progressive metal comes from this country. I am not really familiar with the metal scene in South America, I only know Sepultura as a huge act. But I am quite surprised by the cd Reborn from Thabu. Thabu was formed in September of 2004 by Carlos Di Tirro (Vocals and Keyboard), Santiago Diaz Garces (Guitar) and Leandro Bulanikian (Drums). In 2005, the band (with Santiago Diaz Garces also on Bass), recorded their first EP. The band toured quite a lot during these days and in September 2008, the band released their first full length album called "La Opresion de lo Inevitable" (The oppression of the Inevitable). After the release of this album, the band replaced singer Carlos Di Tirro due to musical and personal differences. From this moment, the band decided to compose and to record the second CD. In the meanwhile, Thabu started with the search for a new singer. After several auditions, the band decided to incorporate the Chilean singer James Robledo (Ex Alternancia). He, according to the band, “fits good with the sound pretended by the band because of his vocal versatility, giving to the band the final touch to start this new phase.” In December 2012, the band released "Reborn", their new album.
This album brings us 9 songs in the style of Dream Theater and Symphony X: heavy guitars, (sometimes) technical drum parts, tempo changes and sometimes quite complex compositions. If you already have some cd `s of these bands in your possession, then this release will bring you not much news. However, I want to be clear that the music is not boring and that the musicians are well skilled, but it is not so original. I can appreciate the powerful riffs of Diaz Garces and the voice of Robledo during several songs (like A Game of Lies), although the last one has to take care that he exaggerates not too much. Everything has to be functional. The CD surprises me only during the last track, Violentango. This instrumental number indicates that the band has potential and I hope that the will grow further in the future.
Visit their website: http://www.thabu.com.ar
Recordlabel: http://www.pureprog-records.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thabuspace

71/100

THE STOMPCRASH - Directions (CD) Italy February 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Dark New Wave Running time: 49:00 (Tracks: 12)
Getting your inspiration from gothic story writers like Kafka, Poe and Lovecraft promises some dark gothic music. That was the beginning in 2002. Well as The Stompcrash mentions, this second attempt provides a new sound, more define and conscious. “Directions” it is called and it overall ain't really dark anymore. Mostly it provides strong new wave and poppy influences and the gothic feel comes from vocalist Christian Celsi who has the perfect deep melancholic voice for this stuff. He reminds me of End of Green singer Michelle Darkness to make some comparison. Opener “Awaken From Uneasy Dream” is a brilliant track in the old pre gothic style of bands like Fields of The Nephilim and Sisters Of Mercy to name the most famous ones, and even after thirty times listening it still is a real classic in it's genre for me. Also “The Leaves Begin To Fall” and “Black Dahlia” are in this style. Overall however it's all too “light”, melodic and poppy for me, too much use of keys. A welcome variation is the damn good catchy “Cat's Eyes”, the quick “Enemy at your Gate” and “Hazel” which is sung by keyboard player Daniela Palermo. So this album has it's moments for me. For the future it will depend on what direction they are really going to take. The style these Italians bring with old new wave influences like The Cure is certainly daring and I hope for them that there are more adepts who are going to like this. I'm not becoming a big fan right now because it's too sweet for my metal heart but the band has quality. If they sound live more fierce than on this record they would be very nice for the Summer Darkness festival.
Visit their website: http://www.thestompcrash.com
Recordlabel: http://www.auralmusic.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.thestompcrash

74/100

THE WAY OF PURITY – Equate (CD) Norway February 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Black Metal / Deathcore Running time: 37:54 (Tracks: 10)
I'm no stranger to Norwegian band The Way Of Purity, since I reviewed their 'Biteback' EP and the poorly produced short film 'A Passage to the Purity of Pain in May of 2012. In my review on 'Biteback', I mentioned that that full-length album 'Equate' was already available and I was looking forward to hearing it. It has took a while, but the album has finally reached the MMM office. For those who are not familiar with what this band is about: The Way of Purity surrounds itself with controversy. Sometimes I get the feeling that they really, really try to be and look controversial, with their vision of the human race must be destroyed so that animals can rule the world again (!). I can't shake the feeling that it's more image than belief, but who am I…well, I'm here to talk about the music of this Black Metal/Deathcore band and I must say: the band has lived up to the expectations of 'Biteback.' Two of the songs that were present on the EP, 'Eternal Damnation To Rene' and 'Keep Dreaming' have found their way to the album. Aside from that, 'Equate' offers eight more songs in which the band has made a noticeable progression compared to a couple of years ago. The songs, which can be described as Black and Death metal with deathcore influences, are well written. Almost accessible, for as far as this type of music can get accessible. The tracks are compact, melodious and varied. The band experimented a lot with clean female vocals and subtle breakdowns, altered with aggressive double-bass patterns. With 'Equate' The Way of Purity developed themselves as a band. They still operate in the love it or hate it section, but with that image, I'm guessing that's the idea. The band has yet again surprised me and if they keep up this work ethic, they will become a household name in the niche that is extreme metal. Although I still set a question mark when it comes to their image, I can't help to find The Way of Purity very interesting. Go see for yourself!
Visit their website: http://www.thewayofpurity.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thewayofpurity

72/100

UNDERWELL – Plan Your Rebirth (CD) Italy February 2013 Robin van Tilburg
Style: Melodic Heavy Metal Running time: 38:18 (Tracks: 10)
When reading the promotional package of the first Underwell record 'Plan Your Rebirth', the band strikes me as pretty serious. Terms such as Word crisis, riots and 'the system must fall' are thrown around in this somewhat philosophical message. Interesting topics for any metal-act. But then I read the vocalist calls himself Marshmallow…to me, that makes it a bit less believable. But let's step away from this foot-note and talk music shall we? Underwell plays a type of music that can be described as Post Hardcore. A tricky genre, because of the hundreds and hundreds of bands that play this type of music. Luckily, Underwell delivered an album that is very enjoyable to listen to. Although it is not very original, the music is aggressive and really sooths the aforementioned lyrical themes such as crisis, war and fighting for your rights. The metalcore is recognizable an varied, especially with the melodic breaks in which the vocals switch from screams to clean singing. The enthusiast of Post Hardcore / Metalcore may find this very interesting. 'Plan Your Rebirth' will not make Underwell one of the greatest acts in the genre, but has enough quality to stand out from the average band. Well done for a first album!
Visit their website: http://www.underwell.com
Recordlabel: http://www.wormholedeath.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/underwell

70/100

V.A. (Various Artist) - MALEVOLENCE RECORDS – 2012 European Tour Sampler (CD) USA February 2013 Kees Schijven
Style: Thrash Metal Running time: 32:33 min (Tracks: 8)
Although we're not usually reviewing much samplers, this one got an exception, it's a collaberation between Malevolance Records and Metal Over Oostrozebeke. Last one is organiser of a metal festival in Oostrozebeke, Belgium, which took place on the 7th. of July 2012 where the 4 bands on this sampler played. KAOS is on this release with 2 songs, 'Internal Bleeding' , from their latest release the 'Validated in Blood' ep and 'Let God Sort Em Out' from their last full lenght album 'The Pits of Existence'. Pure old school thrash metal is offered by this great band, see also the review of their latest ep. Furthermore we find Absentia with 2 songs on here too, tracks 2 and 6. This band from Spain plays a kind of dark metal with a lot of gothic influences, their music reminded me a bit of Moonspell. Absentia has released two albums so far, and delivers one track from each album, 'If Only I' from their latest album 'Our Bleeding Sun' (2011), and 'A kiss from Hellaven' from their 2009 release 'Heaven Still Burns'. Two songs with a lot of variation in them, very melodic with some brutal vocalities in them. Not really my cup of tea, but I know there is a big market for this kind of music. Third in row are Septic Christ from Germany, originally formed as Nothing to Nothing in October 2005, but split up a short time later. The band then reformed as Septic Christ in December 2007. This band also released two albums, and we get a song from each of them, first up is 'Yearning For Salvation' from their latest release 'Guilty as we were born' (2012) wich starts off with a nice intro before it blasts away full speed ahead. Thrash metal old school style is offered here, full of energy and aggression. Track 7 comes from their debut album 'Infected Existence' (2009) and is called 'Wake Up', and this is exactly what they make you do, very energetic thrash with screaming vocals and heavy riffing guitars, very enjoyable! Last one on this sampler is T.C.F., or ThrashCoreFanatics from the Netherlands, a band that plays a kind hardcore thrash crossover metal in the veins of D.R.I. and S.O.D., fast and short, angry and aggressive, 'Core 88' from their 2009 EP 'Speed or Bleed', and 'An Eye For An Eye' from their 2011 debut album 'Where Madness Reigns', of which the first one is the better one in my opinion. This sampler gives us a nice insight of what kind of bands played on the 'Metal Over Oostrozebeke' festival in 2012, which must have been a hell of a party you ask me! And also what Malevolence Records has to offer by these four bands, all four great bands, with Absentia being a bit of an outsider on this release, because of the kind of metal they play, but if you are into thrash metal this certainly could be a release of your interest.
Recordlabel: http://www.malevolence-records.us

80/100

VEXILLUM – The Bivouac (CD) Italy February 2013 Frans Neelen
Style: Folk Power Metal Running time: 67:43 (Tracks: 12)
Vexillum hails from Italy and was formed by Michele Gasparri in 2004 under the name of Shadow Vexillum. In 2006 their first EP “Neverending Quest” saw the light, followed in 2010 by their debut “The Wandering Notes”. “The Bivouac” is their second album on which they are trying to put their hometown Pisa on the metal landscape instead of just remembering Pisa of their leaning tower. Well to succeed in that; ehm, well that's almost impossible or they should reach the status of AC/DC. Dreams are made to fulfil so let's give it a try. Metal with folk influences is what they bring. If you are really fond of this stuff, then Vexillum really has something to offer. Musically it's all done very well; lot's of interludes are digested in the songs like the Celtic flute and the divers animal/forest sounds. Strong point of the band are the vocals of Dario Vallesi. He has a pleasant clean power metal voice that lifts up the numbers. Opener “The Wanderer's Note” is high class stuff. A really good solid metal track that promises a lot. Also “Dethrone the Tyrant” shows the more metal side and for me this are the best ones. After this the folk influences entrée and sometimes it's a bit too much of that for me. Less metal, more folk and sometimes I miss the balance between both. “The Marketsquare of Dooly” shows the more epic side and is also one of the highlights. Also the nice duet with some female vocals in “The Oak and Lady Flame” and the campfire sing a long “Valhalla” guarantee diversion. Nevertheless clocking sixty seven minutes it's a long seat for me. Next time I would suggest a bit more power and a few shorter pointier songs to keep the attention. Mentioning Pisa it's still the leaning tower for me but Vexillum has certainly made their point. Fine record.
Visit their website: http://www.vexillumband.eu
Recordlabel: http://www.limb-music.com
MySpace: http://www.facebook.vexillumofficial

74/100

VILLAINY – Demo 2011 (CDemo) The Netherlands February 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Black / Thrash Metal Running time: 14:21 (Tracks: 3)
Villainy was created late 2010 by good friends Reinier Vrancken, Jeroen Pleunis and Remco Verhees. Three music fans from the South of the Netherlands. “ The play any kind of metal they like” . In 2011 they recorded this first demo.
Production wise this demo sounds okay and musically it's a mix of thrash metal, black metal and some doom elements. I've seen the band live a couple of times and this band has the opportunities to become big; they do have an excellent eye (or is it an ear) for metal music in common! Up to the review of their 2012 Demo below…..
Visit his website: http://villainyofficial.bandcamp.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Villainy/289423447748177

78/100

VILLAINY – Demo 2012 (CDemo) The Netherlands February 2013 Mario van Dooren
Style: Black / Thrash Metal Running time: 11:53 (Tracks: 2)
Above I reviewed the bands first (2011) demo which where both handed to me by the band a couple of months ago. I already mentioned the good musicianship of these youngsters. The first track of the Demo “City of Secrets” starts as a Celtic Frost-a-like song with a great speeding-up part at the end. Second track “I wanna split the world in two” is a more divers song in which I recognize influences of bands like VoiVod, Death and Vio-Lence. Good stuff again! Cant wait to hear a full length album of this album! Good job guys!
Visit his website: http://villainyofficial.bandcamp.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Villainy/289423447748177

79/100

VOID MOON – On The Blackest Of Nights (CD) Sweden February 2013 Ad van Osch
Style: Doom Metal Running time: 39:40 (Tracks: 9)
VOID MOON is a Swedish Doom Metal band, which was formed in early 2009 by Peter Svensson (bass) and Jonas Gustavsson (vocals, guitar) along with notorious drummer Thomas Hedlund (CULT OF LUNA, THE PERISHERS and PHOENIX). They started working on their first demo at the end of 2009, and in October 2010, four of the songs from that demo were released as the 7" EP "Through The Gateway" on German label Metalbound Records. After the release of that EP Erika Wallberg completed the band as their lead guitarist. In April of 2011 the band released their second demo, entitled "The Mourning Son". Now I've got the band's debut album "On The Blackest Of Nights" to review, which was released in November of 2012 on Cruz Del Sur Music. Well, this album is my first acquaintance with VOID MOON, and I must admit it took me several spins before I really began to like it. I can imagine this is not everybody's cup of tea, and that it could sound boring to a lot of people. But if you like Doom Metal and give this album a try, you will discover that "On The Blackest Of Nights" is an album that gets better the more you listen to it. The members of VOID MOON are influenced by bands such as BLACK SABBATH, CANDLEMASS, SOLITUDE AETURNUS and GRAND MAGNUS. Anyway, "On The Blackest Of Nights" features 9 tracks, of which two tracks are short instrumentals, namely "Psychic Bleeding" (1:14) and "The Burning Court" (0:35). Personally, I wouldn't have put these two instrumentals on the album, because I believe that they have no added value, and are now superfluous. Maybe I see it wrong, and are these instrumentals intended as a kind of intro for the next song, if so, then I'm wrong. Anyway, all the other tracks, which are "Hammer Of Eden" (4:52), the title track "On The Blackest Of Nights" (5:05), "The Word And The Abyss" (5:51), "Cyclops" (5:32), "Among The Dying" (7:13), "Through The Gateway" (4:11) and "The Mourning Son" (5:02), are interesting and good songs. The band exists of good musicians, and the way of singing of Peter Sevensson, reminds me a bit of the way such as James Hetfield sings. The production was done by bass player Svensson and sounds okay. The booklet of this digi pack is equipped with all lyrics and a live picture of each band member, and looks good. Altogether, this is a nice debut album, so if you are into Doom Metal or you are just curious about it, you should check it out.
Visit their website: http://www.void-moon.com
Recordlabel: http://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/voidmoonmetal

73/100

W.E.T. – Rise Up (CD) Sweden February 2013 Manfred Werger
Style: Melodic Rock Running time: 48:49 (Tracks: 12)
Powervocalist Jeff Scott Soto joined forces with two Swedish songsmiths of the first order in 2009. The project was called W.E.T. and three Swedish rockbands were represented in this short acronymic bandname: Work of Art, represented by Robert Sall, Eclipse, represented by Erik Martensson and Talisman, represented by Jeff. Together with some Swedish musicians this collaboration made an album that was highly appreciated in melodic rockland, combining amazing archetype Scandi-rock with melodic edges of bands like Journey and Strangeways. I liked the record very much, but Eclipse and Work of Art surprised me a lot more with their recent albums (" Are you ready to rock" and "bleed and scream" of Eclipse and " In progress" of Work of Art are legend albums in my opinion). I was surprised Frontiers Records announced a new W.E.T. offspring at the beginning of this year and inside enthousiastic comments of Andrew McNeice (master of www. melodicrock.com) and many friends close to the W.E.T.camp made me even more exciting. Three melodic masterminds, with a musical past every musician would be dreaming about, with songwriting skills many bands would be jealous about and with gifted vocal and musical skills that stand out, this could be some mega- opus! And yes, the new W.E.T. "Rise up", is definately great, that's for sure. The first single, the beautiful " Learn to live again" is a real firecracker of a song! What a chorus, what a riff! And the new album contains more of these gems: The magnificent opener" Walk away" with its hints of Journey, the stunning title track, the furious rocker " The moment" with a great guitar solo, the haunting" Bad boy", the melodic hookladen " Shot" and the great closing track with its nods to the commercial Talisman and Eclipse riffola. The album has almost no weak spots, although the ballad " Love heals" isn't that spectacular. " Still believe in us", another balladesque song on " Rise up" is a better attempt.
And is it the all-time classic many fans rave about? Tough question, but I think it isn't the one. The production is a bit flat, diminishing the opportunity for a more dimensional record. A bigger, more multi- layered approach would have done the album good. The second remark is about the lead vocals. I' m a big Soto fan from his professional start in the early eighties of the former century, seeing him live on many occasions, hearing his fabulous vocals zillion times, but I think he'd better shared the high pitched vocals with Erik Martensson on this occasion.Martensson and Sall are fond of chorusses with high melodic lines, it's their trademark, almost their own brand, but Jeff seems to struggle with a few parts, losing a bit of his power, his steady pitch and his timbre. Sharing vocal duties ( songwise on more chorusses and some parts) could have made the album more dynamic, it would have given more depth, more variety, more class. And finally I do miss a brilliant guitar solo, one that never leaves you mind, your head and your memory. I like the guitars of Erik and Henrik Magnusson, they are heavy, cruncy and melodic, but an extra few memorable lead-solos( like on many Talisman and Eclipse songs) would have brought more. The new W.E.T. stuff is good, it 's fantastic, it probably will end up high in my top ten of 2013, but it isn 't the absolute classic I and many others had dreams about. The last absolute thriller Scandi- classic is still the Treat ' Coup de Grace' album for me, leaving the Eclipse stuff (third and fourth album) close behind. I hope we'll have the opportunity to see W.E.T. live! What a band!
Visit their website: http://www.jeffscottsoto.com
Recordlabel: http://www.frontiers.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wetrocks

89/100

WILDESTARR – A Tale Tell Heart (CD) USA February 2013 Michel van Hassel
Style: Melodic Power Metal Running time: 48:32 (Tracks: 10)
WildeStarr is the collaboration of ex-Vicious Rumors bassist David Starr and vocalist London Wilde. Besides the bass, Starr also plays the guitar and takes care of some vocal-parts. Wilde also plays the keyboards. The third person in the band is drummer Josh Foster, who is also responsible for some backing vocals. This is the second album released by WildeStarr and on this one, all tracks are inspired by the stories of Edgar Allen Poe. The start of the album, called “Immortal”, is very fast and intense as Wilde screams very high alike Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear) and the rhythm-section lays down a pounding base. Wilde almost convinces the listener that she is immortal. This is a very catchy track loaded with musical and vocal highlights as the complete band plays like their lives depend on it. The second one, “Transformis Ligeia” has a slower start but along the song, the speed and the heaviness increase. Bass and drums again are very prominently present. Towards the end, Starr lets his guitar do the talking. Next track, “A Perfect Storm”, has some deformed female vocals, some growling male vocals and of course the high crystal vocals all mixed throughout the song. However, let us not forget the great drumming by Foster as he hammers all through the track. “Valkyrie Cry” contains some quiet moments with keyboards and Wilde singing a bit less high, but not for long. “Last Holy King” starts with some acoustic guitars and a passionately singing Wilde. It turns into a beautiful power ballad with plenty of great guitars, vocals and a sturdy rhythm-section. The power is back on “In Staccata” and if you thought Wilde sang high, on this one she really hits the high notes. If you don't dig these really high vocals this album isn't your cup of tea. Wilde really goes for it as she takes the lead from beginning to the end accompanied by a great band. The sound of a cracking LP marks the start of “Not Sane”. This is a solid mid-tempo track followed by “Seven Shades of Winter” that starts very doomy. This track again features Starr (bass) and Foster. It is a melodic heavy metal song and on this, Wilde excels, as she does not go into the ultra high ranges and towards the edge all the time. “The Pit or the Pendulum” contains lots of pounding bass and double bass drums, giving Wilde and Starr the stage to excel in their speciality. The album ends with “Usher in the Twilight” which shows WildeStarr on a high level. It is a good composition, on which all musicians get their chance to show for the last time on this album what they are capable of. Musically this is a good album. However, the most important factor is if you like really high vocals or not.
Visit their website: http://www.wildestarr.com
Recordlabel: http://www.scarletrecords.it
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/wildestarr

82/100

YAYLA – Nihaihayat (CD) Turkey February 2013 William Nijhof
Style: Black Metal Running time: 51:06 (Tracks: 6)
Yayla from Turkey has been active since 2007. This band is a one man project and sounds ravaging. All instruments are played by him and he does that really well!. This is his fourth album and it sounds like pure depressive evil. Tight guitar riffs and drums that sound like a constant double bass. The vocals are very evil and filthy sounding screams. There are only 6 songs on this album that are good for 51 minutes. So the first thing that comes to mind id if this doesn`t get boring...no it doesn`t. His music will take you away and in a ecstasy that keeps you listening to the entire album. If i must give a band that sounds a bit lie this then i must say that it keeps near to bands like Nortt. If you like black metal that is obscure and breath taking then you are going to enjoy this album.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/yaylaband
Recordlabel: http://www.merdumgiriz.org
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/merdumgirizworks

78/100

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