CD REVIEWS


Ratings: 2=crap; 4=poor; 6=average; 8=great; 10=superb!!!


Spring/Summer 2010:

ACID-Live In Belgium ‘84 (Femetal Records)
This is the CD version of this wonderful LP release, that we already reviewed in our previous issue. Is it relevant enough to do it again, I can almost hear you ask…. Yes, it damn well is, because it contains two bonus tracks. The CD version runs for almost a full hour and it contains eleven tracks, which makes it even more interesting. The format is a bit smaller and I must say that I liked the album with the beautiful gatefold cover plus poster a lot better. It’s the music that counts though and so we’re gonna focus about that here. Goosebumps all over, when the bombs go off during “Acid”. It brings back some great memories of ACID live. Especially after meeting three members of the band at the Keep It True Festival earlier this year. They are such nice people to hang out with and the one song performed by Kate on stage, called “Max Overload” just cries for a reunion by this band. But let’s go back to the CD for a moment. “Maniac” is doubled with “Hooked On Metal” into a mini medley. In “Hooked On Metal”, there is a lot of space for the guitar players Dizzy Lizzy and Demon. They’ll rip you to shreds, that’s for sure. “Bottoms Up” is fast and contains some thunderous drum beats of Anvill, one of the fastest drummers on earth. After that “Lucifera”, the devil’s daughter, will light the stage for you. “No Time” is another speed killer. “Exterminator” is a newer song and you can tell the difference with the older material. Without being too rude to the band, they have added more melody and it also has a slower, more doomy character at times. Undoubtedly, that first ACID album was a true speed metal killer! The surprise even gets bigger, when the band explodes in a very short speedy part, which makes it even more exciting in the first place. Then we have almost arrived at the first of the two bonus tracks for the CD. But before we’ll get into that, we still have a tribute song for the four legged drummer “Anvill”. WOW, how on earth is it possible to play at that high speed without ending up in a knot with your feet? Listeners and colleague drummers: Please don’t try this at home, because you’ll end up in hospital with some serious problems. “America” is the first bonus track, that cannot be missed here, which is another true speed metal killer. “Max Overload” is the song, that Kate performed live at the Keep It True Festival 2010, backed up by members of LANFEAR and ETERNAL REIGN. A moment, we will never forget! And since that day, I’ve listened to this song on a regular base, because it’s indestructible and simply can’t be removed from my CD player! “Heaven’s Devils” was taken from the debut album and on the vinyl version, it’s the last song. The nice mood swings in the middle of the song already show a lot of potential and that they have more to offer than just a lot of speed and raw power. This song goes much deeper, until it finally explodes right back at your face. “Drop Dead” is the second bonus track on the CD and it’s introduced by some great guitarwork of the mighty Demon. When the bombs explode, I guess it must’ve pierced someone’s eardrums. What a loud bang! In my imagination, I can see the band full on stage doing their thing. For those of you, who still have their doubts about this release, please visit another website, because this CD breathes heavy metal in its purest form and it’s not for pussies!! ACID’s “Live In Belgium ‘84” will hopefully mark the return of this great Belgian cult band and that’s all I want to say about it. If you’re having trouble finding this particular CD, you can buy it from Rainer Krukenberg for 13 Euros by sending an email to krukenberg@freenet.de. Our thanks go out to Rainer for making this review possible. [10 points - FULL score] (Toine van Poorten)

ARAPACIS-Consequences Of Dreams (Femme Metal Records)
ARAPACIS is the Canadian rock/metal outfit, that already surprised us with their album “So Many Leapers”. This new album contains ten songs and is worthy of almost forty-five minutes of progressive/gothic metal. After hearing title track “Consequences Of Dreams”, I can draw the conclusion, that the band has gained a lot more power and they’ve definitely created a very strong opener here. You’ll hear many influences of the metal scene of today, besides the more traditional ones. Same applies to “Solitary Abode”, which contains the loud screaming of vocalist Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Fyre and the very cool riffs of guitarist Jerry Fielden. However, “The Green Fairy” starts off with a steady pace and shows the progressive side of the band. “Haunted Forests” is on next, which opens with the stunning bass sound of Dmitri Mak-Mak. You’ll hear the haunted voices and some deep dark grunts in this song. This is again the progressive side of ARAPACIS, only this time in its entirety. The guitars cry halfway the song, lifting it up to become the very first highlight on this album for me. “Death of Loneliness” is a point of rest; the obligatory ballad, so to speak. The harmony vocals are really worth mentioning here, but they are not very metal in my book. “Hesitate” however, sounds groovy and dark. It also shows, that Lizzie has an absolute killer voice. “Theocracy” opens moody, but develops into a raw rocker with more brutal grunts. The guitar solo sounds amazing again, making it one of the more brutal works on “Consequences Of Dreams”. “Roadways” is the absolute highlight for me. It sounds like FRANK MARINO with a female vocalist. Hard to imagine perhaps, but just listen to the magical bluesy guitar sound and the great vocals of Lizzie. While “From The Dark” gives me the serious urge to bang my head like old times! A great power explosion is happening and once again I’m positively surprised, especially when the band cranks it out loud. Now, the last song must be something really special. At least I hope so, because it plays for almost nine minutes. The song develops itself into a huge jam, including - oh, my god - a drum solo by Pedro Osorio. I bet, that ninety-nine percent of our listeners will not be pleased with a long drum solo on a studio album. However, I think it’s an amazing idea and it shows up very well in this song. The somewhat progressive instrumental part after the drum solo could also have been from the hand of FRANK MARINO. Although I may have had my doubts about the rating of this CD in the beginning, you will see that I’m giving it a very high score, mainly because of the very strong CD closer. It takes a lot of courage to play a drum solo on a studio album. Nowadays, it could be labeled as extremely dangerous, but I’d like to call it progressive. The band on the other hand doesn’t seem to care a bit, they’re ready to take the risk, which could be called controversial for that. Fact is, they don’t want to ride the paved path, although it almost looked like that in these first few songs. In the chemical industry it is a hype to think ‘out of the box’ nowadays. You are praised, when you come up with solutions that go way beyond ‘normal thinking’. Well, I come from the world of the chemical industry and I would like to translate this way of thinking to reviewing this album. It’s controversial and way ‘out of the box’ and ARAPACIS will be highly praised for their braveness doing this! Website: http://www.arapacis.com/ [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ART: IN EXILE-Æon Somnia (independent)
ART: IN EXILE hails from Australia and “Æon Somnia” is their debut full-length CD. The ten songs on this album display a wide variety of styles, so literary speaking there’s something for everybody here. In “The Will To Destroy” the band shows a lot of aggression, including a nice keyboard sound in the back. A band like DIMMU BORGIR pops up in my mind. “Signs Of Anty-Life” however sounds very mysterious and dark and contains some doomy parts. “Heart’s Shade In Closure” has something of both. The screaming vocals might refer to Dani Filth of CRADLE OF FILTH in a way, but we also hear some emotional laden parts. These parts appeal more to me and I must say, that I really liked the voice of Mel Bulian a lot. Next up is “Quarantine”, which sounds very brutal and easily develops into one of the highlights on this album. Surprisingly enough, the song closes with a melodic break, before the last growls and lashes fade away... Melodic and dark are also the main ingredients on “Anæthetise”, which gives the band the time to load up their batteries for another wild explosion. It’s a short piece of rest, which provides the necessary balance that the album needs. It reminds me in a way of the mid part of “The Rhime Of The Ancient Mariner” by IRON MAIDEN (which is meant as a big compliment!). “Exterminate” slowly builds itself up and contains some repeating industrial riffs, which is the basic foundation of this song. While the riffs will possibly remind you of MARILYN MANSON, the screaming vocal parts could very well be ALICE COOPER’s. Again a big surprise, when a nice melodic part follows halfway the song. Basically, ART: IN EXILE is not your regular melodic death metal band and they are not afraid to introduce a large variety of sub-styles into their music. In “Sober Optic”, the band flirts with some industrial gothic sounds, far off from what we’ve heard until now. The screaming vocals are simply breathtaking and even in this song the band opted for a nice piece of rest, which slowly becomes the band’s trademark. “Magnetism” opens with keyboards and contains wild screams and melodic vocal parts. While “Resonance” starts off with some Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-THE GATHERING/AGUA DE ANNIQUE) -like vocals. Obviously, you’ll never go wrong, because it’s all there and then some. Besides the lovely Mel, the band consists of Matt Redmond on keyboards, Tim Robinson on drums, Stuart Robertson on guitars, Leni Benton (the second maiden in the band!) on bass guitar and Rocc DeMaria on guitars. Title track “Æon Somnia” makes sure, that the last drops of sweat will disappear in another wild mix of CRADLE OF FILTH-like madness and ambient pieces of rest and doomy funeral march rhythms. Can we describe this outing as a musical chaos or just some unique musical experience? I’ll leave the verdict up to you. Anyway, I liked what I heard a lot and I think with the variety of styles presented here, the band will please many metal fans worldwide. Check it out and find out the madness, that reigns in each and every song of ART: IN EXILE. Website: http://www.artinexile.net. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MELISSA AUF DER MAUR-Out Of Their Minds (Capitol Records)
Finally, the new album by MELISSA AUF DER MAUR is a fact, which is called “Out Of Their Minds”. It contains thirteen songs and plays for a full hour. Opener “The Hunt” is an instrumental tune with groovy parts, which might be a nice opener for her live shows as well. Title track “Out Of Their Minds” on the other hand will probably please the many HOLE fans out there, because of its strong energy. While “Isis Speaks” sounds a bit more experimental perhaps, but it has a nice rhythm and a good groove. Sometimes, Melissa’s voice is a bit whining, but it fits very well to the music. When I listen to the very beginning of “Lead Horse”, my mind goes out to the early PINK FLOYD material. Perhaps not an obvious thought and I doubt if more people will agree with me on this, but the magical psychedelic feel is definitely there. “Follow The Map” sounds quite eccentric and alternative at the same time with the harmony vocals. Obviously, there’s a lot of variation on this CD. “22 Below” is on next, which sounds groovy and dark and contains some male choir vocals. The tight rhythm is pounding like Thor is swaying his mighty hammer!! Really great!! “Meet Me (On The Dark Side)” starts off with some new wave influences and its alternative character makes it good food for the hungry HOLE fan out there. “This Would Be Paradise” is a short interlude with some male spoken word parts. It’s the intro to “Father’s Grave”, which is a very emotional ballad indeed. Melissa turned it into a duet with Glenn Danzig (DANZIG / MISFITS). Because of this cooperation, it might even be a very successful single, who knows? As far as I know, Glenn has never done this before, so Melissa is very privileged here. “The Key” grabs back to the days of Melissa with HOLE and THE SMASHING PUMPKINS. It might even invite you to dance a little. Same goes for “The One”, which is another nice little tune that is quite danceable, at least for those who can dance. Count me out, please! “1,000 Years” is a longer track, but nothing really special to my ears. Maybe you could mention THE WHITE STRIPES as an influence here, but it’s not that obvious. The hidden part is a short and very cute fiddle on the piano. After that, it’s time for another groovy track to close the album with a song called “Mother’s Red Box”. It also deals with Melissa’s father. I think, this CD will easily find its way to Melissa’s fans and to every open-minded music lover. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BAND OF SKULLS-Baby Darling Doll Face Honey (Artist First)
The British BAND OF SKULLS consists of Russell Marsden on guitar and vocals, Matt Hayward on drums and Emma Richardson on bass and vocals. The name of the band makes me excited to review this twelve song debut album. Although the album title says, that I can better leave it for what it is. BAND OF SKULLS was founded in 2008 in Southampton and in fifty minutes they present us their first silver disc. What can you expect here? From the first notes of “Light Of The Morning”, I hear the groove that we know so well from the legendary LED ZEPPELIN. Mix this with the open sound of THE WHITE STRIPES and you’ll come quite close to what BAND OF SKULLS is all about musically. “Death By Diamonds And Pearls” has got that same groove going. Mighty powerful drum beats rule in the background and the hiccup rhythm is an essential tool to create a wonderful ZEP like atmosphere. Both thumbs up so far. “I Know What I Am” became a huge hit single for the band here in Holland. And I still can’t stop myself from turning up the sound, when they play it on the radio. Again the sound of THE WHITE STRIPES is there, but also a band like SLADE comes to mind. This is as retro as it gets and I really L-O-V-E this song! “Fires” has got a more ballad type of approach and the big drum sound is also back. Now it’s time to take a break. “Honest” is on next and the beat and groove are gone. The acoustic guitars play first fiddle, sounding more or less like “Led Zeppelin IV” instead of “Led Zeppelin II”, if you know what I mean. “Patterns” on the other hand gives back the groove and the urge to sing along to the ‘oh oh’ chorus line in the song. “Hollywood Bowl” has got a funky rhythm at times. “Bomb” (just listen to the sound of a clock ticking away!!) is short and dark and I definitely hear more ZEP influences. Unfortunately, it never gets to a real explosion here. “Blood” brings the album to a real climax. It’s another great groovy track with some progressive sidesteps. “Dull Gold Heart” sounds a bit different, but it fits really well to the other material. Emma’s voice reminds me of Chrissie Hynde (THE PRETENDERS) at times. “Cold Flame” is a slow but worthy closer, which could be rated between fantastic and very good. Especially the groovy ZEP-like tunes on this album are cool, but I’d rather like to see a little bit more of their own ideas. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BARRELHOUSE-Vintage Blues (Munich Records BV)
BARRELHOUSE are like the saints of the Dutch blues scene to me. I’ve never seen them having a bad day on stage and their albums are all very special to me. This album is a compilation of original blues classics, which received a special BARRELHOUSE treatment. Other people would call this a cover CD or a tribute album, but in the case of BARRELHOUSE there is definitely more to it. Thirteen songs, worthy of approx. fifty minutes of blues rock music is what you’re gonna get and you bet I’m ready for it! “Oh Death” is a traditional blues song, that sounds like an old gospel. Perfect stuff for Tineke Schoemaker’s voice. “I Love The Way I Live” has got that well-known, almost lazy BARRELHOUSE rhythm. Add to this the voice of Tineke and the double guitar attacks of Johnny and Guus Laporte and another BARRELHOUSE classic has been born. If you didn’t know, that MUDDY WATERS originally recorded this song, you would guess it was BARRELHOUSE, who actually created it. While “Shake ‘Em On Down” is an up-tempo song in the best tradition of the band. With BB KING’s “Comeback Baby” we have arrived at a real slow blues. And if someone knows how to put the right emotion into a song, it’s Tineke. “Bring It On Home”, originally recorded by SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON, is a nice shuffle, that invites you to dance on a long summer evening. “God Bless The Child” is another gospel tune, this time of BILLIE HOLIDAY and Tineke is accompanied by the banjo. LEROY CARR’s “Midnight Hour Blues” is actually quite well-known and I know it under the name “From Four Until Late” by the MOODY / MARSDEN BAND. It’s really nice to hear the original version reworked here. “Groundhog Blues” is from JOHN LEE HOOKER, which is another nice shuffle. Then there are two WILLIE DIXON contributions. First of all, we have the well-known “Spoonfull”, which can almost be categorized as a slow(er) blues. And next, it’s time to gain some speed in “Meet Me At The Bottom”. The blues scene is very rich indeed and it’s really great to discover so many classics, played in a somewhat modern way. LITTLE WALTER was responsible for “Mean Old World”, but I would probably never have heard it, if BARRELHOUSE hadn’t re-recorded it on this album. Now it’s time to get your hankies ready for “Weary Blues From Waiting” of HANK WILLIAMS, a very emotional song. I bet, you won’t keep this dry. “It Serves Me Right To Suffer” is the second rendition by JOHN LEE HOOKER and the album closer. It brings back a little bit of today’s sound and sometimes the guitars cry like JIMI HENDRIX. Besides the people I already mentioned, BARRELHOUSE also consists of Bob Dros on drums, Jan Willem Sligting on double bass, accordion and harmonica and Han van Dam on piano. If you like BARRELHOUSE, this is an essential buy. If you like blues music, this is an essential buy as well. And for people, who read Metal Maidens and are open-minded to good music, this would also be an essential buy. I can only reward this album with the full score. [10 points; FULL SCORE] (Toine van Poorten)

BLOOD CEREMONY-Blood Ceremony (Rise Above Records)
What a great name for this occult doom metal band from Canada. The band consists of Alia O’Brien on vocals, flute and organ, Sean Kennedy on guitar, Chris Landon on bass and Andrew Haust on drums. They were brought to our attention by our good friend Dennis Samokiszuk from New York. Thank you very much for this, mate! Although the CD was released in 2008, I think it’s essential enough to review it for our webzine. It contains nine songs and is worthy of almost fifty minutes of dark and doomy music. The band drags you back to the seventies, when bands like COVEN and BLACK WIDOW are the masters of the occult metal and rock scene. Get in a trance during the opening ceremony with “Master Of Confusion”. Big drums, some early ALICE COOPER-like keyboards and a slow rhythm get this song going. Alia has a clear voice, which provides their sound a pretty taste and makes it easy to listen to. The topic is definitely about occult rituals and witchcraft and musically, they come very close to the aforementioned bands, including a lengthy instrumental part dragging you into a long and almost spacey trip.”I’m Coming With You” opens with some heavy BLACK SABBATH guitar chords. The additional flute playing by Alia will probably remind you of JETHRO TULL and BLACK WIDOW in a way. Obviously, “Into The Coven” has got nothing at all to do with the MERCYFUL FATE classic and it has some more flute playing of Alia. “A Wine Of Wizardy” is a short, folky and instrumental interlude. “The Rare Lord” continues this dark witches ceremony. Halfway the song, it gets into another long, instrumental ritual. “Return To Forever” also contains a long instrumental piece, but this time sounding like the old BLACK SABBATH with heavy riffs. “Hop Toad” sounds very airy and maybe it’s the odd one out here, but hey you don’t hear me complain! The hippie organ sound at the end of the song comes right from the seventies, when Jon Lord (DEEP PURPLE) sounded very much alike. “Children Of The Future” makes up for this pretty easy, which is another COVEN/ BLACK WIDOW-like song. “Hymn To Pan” is the longest track on the CD and obviously, the flute plays an important part here. References to JETHRO TULL are easy to make. All in all, COVEN and BLACK WIDOW fans can buy this occult ritual masterpiece with their eyes closed and relive the retro seventies!!! Hail to doom metal! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CRYSTAL VIPER-Defenders Of The Magic Circle: Live In Germany (AFM Records)
Shortly, after seeing CRYSTAL VIPER at the Keep It True Festival in Germany, they released their live CD recorded at the Magic Circle Festival in Germany. CRYSTAL VIPER hails from Poland and delivers the purest form of heavy metal. The album consists of ten tracks and they are not just live songs. There are also some bonus goodies here, which the band has got plenty of. First off, the live songs are presented, starting with the short instrumental opener “Breaking The Curse”. “Metal Nation”, one of the most successful songs of the band, comes right thereafter. The front cover of the CD contains a nice picture of a flying dragon. In the meantime, the band is at full steam already. “Legions Of Truth” pulls the speed up in the beginning of the song. “The Island Of The Silver Skull” continues the show, in the best MANOWAR tradition. “Shadows On The Horizon” gets my head shaking up and down, like I’m pumping for oil, but then faster. Hopefully, it won’t cause another nature disaster like in the Gulf Of Mexico. The only thing that pumps though is the adrenaline, that is running through my veins. “The Last Axeman” is one of those songs, that can’t be left out from a CRYSTAL VIPER concert. It also marks the end of the live set on the album. After that, it’s time for the goodies. Starting with a pre-taster off the forthcoming studio album, called “Secret Of The Black Water”. It’s a DIO-like song with a slow pumping rhythm. Then it’s time for the single “The Wolf And The Witch”, which is finally made available on CD through this release. The song was also played live at the Keep It True Festival. I hear IRON MAIDEN influences in this fast rocker and in the distance, you’ll hear a wild wolf cry. “Stronghold: Under Siege” is taken from the CD single. It’s another headshaker with some references to the old WARLOCK. The fast guitar solo is really mindblowing! Last but certainly not least, is the VIRGIN STEELE cover “Obsession (It Burns For You)”, in which frontlady Marta Gabriel shows that she’s able to reach some of the highest notes. Just listen to her, when she pulls out at the very end of this song… Hey, I’m not kiddin’ here! CRYSTAL VIPER never lets their fans down, also not on this new album. What’s next? [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

D.A.M.N. (DIARY ABOUT MY NIGHTMARES)-Forbidden Anger (Unexploded Records)
DIARY ABOUT MY NIGHTMARES hails from Germany and on their second full-length album, they really impressed me with their brutal death metal with melodic parts. D.A.M.N. consists of Antonie Mrusek, the blonde, female growling frontlady, André Epp on guitar, Daniël Thunig on guitar, Mat Rahlmeyer on bass and Regi Sukopp on drums. “Urt La Bu Tal” is a short instrumental opener and the guitar riffs are simply amazing! In “Lost In Lines”, we’ll get our first introduction of the brutal voice of Antonie, who sounds like a mix between Dani Filth (CRADLE OF FILTH) in the wild high screams and Angela Gossow (ARCH ENEMY) in the lower brutal parts. Just listen to a song like “Close To The Border” to hear these two examples mixed together in one song. It also contains some of the melodic parts I was talking about: where the speed slows down and the music tends to sound less brutal. The slow and doomy ending here sounds ultra heavy though…. “Deathinfection” starts off with some movie fragments, after which the band steps on the gas in fourth gear. “Hate” sounds very brutal yet it’s a bit slower as well. In my eyes, it’s not forbidden to show your anger like this, because it sure is a pleasure to bang your head to the pounding beats and the fast riffs, that these Germans come up with. After “Ewigkeit”, there’s another short instrumental, called “First Class Suicide”, which brings you back to earth. A rather strange title for such a lovely, piece of art, I think. It gets really fast and brutal in “Forbidden Anger” and after “Across The Street” and “Hall Of Fame” – the last two tracks on this CD – it’s not over yet, but there’s a bonus for all you metalheads: a hidden and nameless instrumental track. For more info, visit their My Space page at: http://www.myspace.com/damnmetal. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DESDEMON-The Awakening (EP) (independent)
New York's DESDEMON play blackened power metal with an emphasis on POWER. Their debut effort is a five song EP, titled "The Awakening" and although there are only five tracks included, it features a playing time of thirty-seven minutes making it longer than your average EP. The songs are well written and remind me of classic metal with a definite modern touch to them. The band is fronted by the diverse vocal talents of Mistress Tina. She's got a huge voice and has the ability to deliver many different ranges, styles and emotions. The cool thing about "The Awakening" is that it features various nuances that manages to keep things interesting. The songs are intricate, yet highly listenable - the musicians are not as much interested in showing off as they are in creating good, classy music. All of this becomes obvious with the opening number "Aquiescence Of Illusion", that features some great guitar harmonies, that would make IRON MAIDEN proud and the great vocals of Mistress Tina are present as well. A great in-your-face guitar riff drives this track, which is heavy yet still melodic. A good first impression, that really grabs your attention and doesn't let go. The moody "A Soul In Exile" is next and shows a different - more mellow - side to the band, in the beginning before getting heavier. The song features some cool tempo changes and is one of the highlights. The eight minute "Iago" and "The Burning Martyr" are two more noteworthy tracks that highlights the bands remarkable abilities. The final number "In The Absence Of Light" is a monumental achievement. The song clocks in at well over eleven minutes long and closes "The Awakening" in a big, epic, bombastic way. As far as epic songs go, this is one of the better ones I have heard in recent years. Lord Metadox on guitar deserves a mention as well, as he delivers some truly inspired riffs and solos, which is part of what drives the band. All of these elements combined make DESDEMON a true metal masterpiece that fans of classic power metal should check out. So why isn't this band signed yet? I have a feeling, that once their music gets out there, it will only be a matter of time. [9 points] (Tony Cannella)

DÉTENTE-Decline (Cognitive Records)
We all know the sad story of Dawn Crosby, who sadly passed away on December 15, 1996. I am glad, that DÉTENTE decided to move on with their career after a long time of absence. The music of DÉTENTE was too wonderful to quit after only one album. The band toured with a new lead singer in Ann Boleyn, the evil metal priestess we all know from her work with HELLION and her solo career. Now Tiina Teal steps in and the band finally recorded a new album, which is called “Decline”. It’s made to be played very loud! The album contains eight tracks and runs for about thirty-five minutes. Opener “In God We Trust” already shows the strength of Tiina. Oh my god, what a brutal voice! This little red haired lady started her career as a drummer (!!!!), but here she demonstrates her impressive siren voice. The power of the band accompanies her voice very well and the first flashing solos are a fact. Yes!! DÉTENTE has resurrected and they show no mercy. Tiina’s voice is a mix of Dawn Crosby and Wendy O. Williams. No grunts, just wild screams, that need to be heard to be believed. The perfect voice for a lady on the barricades of the thrash metal. In “Predator”, she screams out, that she’s ‘on the prowl’. As if we didn’t notice that already. Mothers, watch your children, because Tiina ‘The Predator’ is in town! Besides Tiina, the band consists of old-time original DÉTENTE members Dennis Butler on drums, Caleb Quinn on guitar and Steve Hochheiser on bass. Steve has a leading role in the beginning of “Kill Rush”. The ‘Kill, Kill, Kill’ part is perfect to sing along to, so don’t be shy and just try it, but do it ultra loud! The last scream of Tiina will wake you up every time you have a nightmare. It will stay in your mind forever, once you’ve heard it. A real highlight for me! “Degradation Machine” is a short, brutal track with short chanting vocal parts that makes it supa evil. The faster parts appear, when Tiina gives the sign to ‘let go the fear’. Title track “Decline” is on next, which is a real race monster. “Genocide” shows Tiina at her very best. Her screams seem to come straight from her toes and the wild guitar solos are awesome. In “This Is Not Freedom”, I hear a little bit resemblance to another brutal female-fronted band, called ARCH ENEMY with front woman Angela Gossow. Maybe it’s because Tiina’s voice sounds even more brutal than ever before. The guitars are even wilder than before as well. A very brutal metal attack, that only the strongest metal heads among us are able to survive! What leaves us behind is the acoustic ballad “Ashes”…… Oops, my mistake, I guess…. The intro may sound like an acoustic ballad, but this is actually the most brutal and evil piece on the whole album. The hidden bonus tracks give me goosebumps all over. It’s the DÉTENTE classic “Blood I Bleed” only this time with the amazing voice of Tiina. The resemblance with Dawn is so striking here and it’s really unbelievable how a lovely looking lady like Tiina can sound so brutal and evil. I also love the artwork of the album, where the ‘Statue Of Liberty’ cries with both hands before its eyes. “Decline” turned out to be much more than a wonderful comeback album by one of the most promising thrash metal bands from the eighties, DÉTENTE. The only minus is the short playing time. However, it’s always better to hear eight perfect songs than three extra crappy fillers. This will not change my mind about their final score though, because an album like this needs to be rewarded with the full score!! Welcome back my friends! Who the hell needs authority after hearing this! [10 points; FULL SCORE] (Toine van Poorten)

SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA-A Sign Of Sublime (Rising Records)
SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA is probably one of the most well-known female voices in the black gothic metal scene. She already lend her voice to impressive names like CRADLE OF FILTH, THE KOVENANT, TULUS, MORTIIS, GRAVEWORM, MAD DOG, THERION, MYSTIC CIRCLE, ANGTORIA and even THE GATHERING. This album is part of her solo career and it contains nine songs, which are worthy of almost forty minutes of bombastic gothic metal. After instrumental opener “Genesis”, the title track of this solo album passes by, which is very easy on the ears. “She Stands Like Stone” is on next and this song also builds a bridge between powerful gothic metal beats and EVANESCENCE-like sounds. “The Devils Opera” contains a lot of bombastic and orchestral parts, which suits very well to the title of this somg. To me, it could be categorized as an outstanding track, but if every metal fan would be pleased with this piece of classical music remains to be seen. Although classical music is introduced in the rock and metal scene pretty often these days, this might be a bit over-the-top for some of us. “They Called Her Lady Tyranny” gives you the idea, that you’re in for something heavier. That’s true, but it all stays between certain borders and it never gets too extreme. I’d expected a little bit more brutality maybe. “The Road To Nowhere” is also a good song, but again it never gets really heavy. I hear riffing guitars and a steady beat, but it never really reaches my soul. The voice of Sarah remains outstanding though. Also in a radio friendly track like “Your Woeful Chair”. “A Newborn Failure” is a short, melancholic track with a slightly emotional undertone. It makes the introduction to the CD closer “Daddy’s Not Coming Home”, which is nothing but a sweet lullaby. I’d expected more balls from a lady with such an impressive career and ditto reputation. The music is definitely not bad of course, but a bit more power next time would lift the album up to a lot more than just average. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EDENBRIDGE-Solitaire (Napalm Records)
EDENBRIDGE is back with their new album, called “Solitaire”. After the short instrumental opener “Entrée Unique”, title track “Solitaire” is on next. We already discover the big strength of EDENBRIDGE in this: catchy songs with a symphonic foundation, a lot of bombast and a lot of space for melody and orchestration. This time though, I was a bit more impressed with Lanvall’s guitar work, riffing and symphonic parts in this track. “Higher” however is a bit more down to earth and sounds exactly what the fans expect from EDENBRIDGE. Big choir vocals, a catchy chorus and again a symphonic, orchestral foundation. In “Skyline’s End”, we also hear some Arabic / Eastern influences in the beginning of the song. The moody violin parts are provided by Astrid Stockhammer. She is not the only guest on this album though... We also hear Dennis War and Robby Valentine (VALENTINE) on backing vocals. Besides Lanvall and Sabine Edelsbacher, EDENBRIDGE consists of Dominik Sebastian on guitars and Max Pointer on drums. “Bon Voyage Vagabond” sounds quite melodic with some nice riffs by Lanvall. “Come Undone” is yet another typical EDENBRIDGE track. In ”Out Of This World”, the band opens all registers and Lanvall attacks with a good guitar solo. “Further Afield” is more uptempo and very powerful. Lanvall creates enough time for another great guitar solo in this one. “A Virtual Dream?” contains some wild riffing and is one of my favorite tracks on the album for that matter. Another highlight would be the long “Brothers On Dianir”, in which the instrumental part is very impressive. It shows how EDENBRIDGE grew out to be the symphonic, metal legends, that they are today. The CD closes with another instrumental, orchestral bombastic piece called “Exit Unique”. I think, that “Solitaire” is a lot better than the band’s previous works, but their strength is in the details. So listen very carefully to the new album by this Austrian based band and discover the beauty of their music. The limited version of the album contains two bonus tracks, called “Eternity” and “Inward Passage”. Website: http:// www.edenbridge.org. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ELYSION-Silence Scream (Massacre Records)
ELYSION hails from Greece and on their forty-five minute debut album they sound like EVANESCENCE all the way. Most of the songs are uptempo and if you like the sound of them, you will definately like the sound of this band. They consist of Christianna on vocals, Johnny Zero on guitars and synthesizer, FXF on bass and Petros Fatis on drums. “Dreamer”, “Killing My Dream” and “Never Forever” start the album, joyful and in an uptempo way. “Weakness In Your Eyes” sounds more or less like a ballad and takes back some speed. The voice of Christianna is very powerful and shows some emotion as well. The album contains eleven tracks with no real highlights or turndowns. It may be said, that it is a safe buy, because it will appeal to a lot of people, who like the music of bands like EVANESCENCE and LACUNA COIL. ELYSION knows how to rock and musically, they also know to impress. A song like “Don’t Say A Word” could receive some radio airplay maybe. It sounds commercial, but not overdone, if you know what I mean. Same goes for “The Rules” which is easy to sing along to, even after hearing it for the first time. “Bleeding” sounds alternative and in “Loss”, you’ll hear the guitars a bit more upfront in the mix. “Far From the Edge” sounds very balladesque and the best is saved for last. “Erase Me” has got some distorted vocals and some nice heavy guitar riffs. ELYSION might be a good alternative, if you like the sound of the aforementioned bands. Website: http://www.myspace.com/elysionmyspace. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MELISSA ETHERIDGE-Fearless Love (Island Records)
MELISSA ETHERIDGE never let us down. Her albums always received a high score and showed the craftsmanship, that you would expect from a professional musician. She also introduced us to a wonderful musician such as PHILIP SAYCE, who is quite successful with his solo career right now. Melissa’s new album contains a handful of new musicians, but she keeps playing the same style of music, that she’s well-known for. Powerful rock songs with a little touch of commerciality and emotional laden lyrics, that give you a good look inside of her soul and musical background. If you listen to title track and album opener “Fearless Love”, you already get a good example of what to expect on this twelve track, one hour lasting album. “The Waiting For You” sounds very uptempo and ready for radio airplay. But I must admit, that the radio isn’t very friendly to Melissa nowadays. You regularly hear the old tunes every now and then, but the newer songs are hardly played at all, while the music of Melissa didn’t really change that much over the years. “Company” is a bit more emotional laden and balladesque. On this album, the band of Melissa consists of herself (of course), John Shanks on guitar, Vince Indizzo on drums, Sean Hurley on bass and Jamie Muhoberac on keyboards. Additional keyboards are by Charles Judge. Guest vocals are taken care of by Natasha Beddingfield and Joss Stone, definitely not the least names. “Miss California” is slightly sounding like THE BLACK CROWES meets LENNY KRAVITZ and it rocks and rolls like hell. “Drag Me Away” on the other hand sounds a bit slow and gentle. “Indiana” is an uptempo tribute to the American state with the same name. Listen to the great guitar solo at the end of this song. That’s the way I like it! “Nervous” has got very nice rhythm, so get ready to sing along to it. Next on is a more ballad type of song, called “Heaven On Earth”. Sometimes the contradictions are quite huge here, but this keeps the album fresh and adventurous at the same time. “We Are The Ones” could easily have been on one of ALANIS MORRISSETTE’s albums. It’s open, uptempo and especially very radio friendly. Followed by the emotional “Only Love”, which sounds like a slow tribal dance at times. “To Be Loved” is on next. It’s another emotional, ballad type of song with a good guitar solo. While CD closer “Gently We Row” takes another look into Melissa’s heart. All in all, this album contains a lot of emotional, ballad type of songs and more slower material, whereas her previous album “The Awakening” sounded so much lighter. Musically, it’s not a bad at all, but it has a much lower rock level than her previous stuff. Website: http://www.melissaetheridge.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

FATIMA HILL-The Snow Tower (World Chaos)
FATIMA HILL hails from Sapporo, Japan and in1997 they surprised us with their great debut album “Valhalla”. It has been quiet for a while, but seven years after releasing their second album “Aion” in 2002, they finally have a new album out, called “The Snow Tower”. It contains eight songs with a total length of about forty-five minutes. And in opener “The Snow Tower”, my mouth falls wide open already. What a great surprise, because in this lengthy track guitarplayer Anjue Yamashiro shows us why we like this band so much. The slow rhythm matches well with the mystic, mythic song themes and the stunning guitars on this title track are absolutely fabulous! Sounding like one giant guitar orgasm, including the dark and slightly doomy vocal parts of frontlady Yuko Hirose, the opener turns into a real highlight with the very recognizable sound of FATIMA HILL in all its aspects, which sounds really magical to me. “Memento” is on next. It brings a new dimension to the sound of FATIMA HILL It’s like MICHAEL SCHENKER (the riffs) flirting with STRATOVARIUS (the melodic keyboards and rhythms). The howling guitars by Yamashiro sound just great and I must admit, that FATIMA HILL sure knows to impress me again with their musicianship. In “Arabian Daughter Say”, I almost removed the CD to see if there were any dust marks on it, as the song constantly repeats itself. This is part of their originality and totally madness, that they are trying to create here, I guess. They don’t want to sound like any ordinary power metal band and with stuff like that, they easily succeed. “Ghost” reminded me of DEEP PURPLE’s “Perfect Strangers” in a way. Just listen to the keyboard intro, which sounds so familiar. The guitars of Yamashiro are more SCHENKER-edged though. A spooky, horror atmosphere is created at the end of this song. “Down To Earth (Paradise Lost 8109)” sounds psychedelic, experimental and slightly industrial as well, but it suits the band just fine. The title refers to a RAINBOW album, correct me if I’m wrong. “Passing Bell Part 2” gives Yamashito the time to show his skills. Later on, the whole band concludes this slow piece of instrumental power. “The World” is a longer song, but it’s not much more than a catchy rock tune. The CD closes with the ballad “Aino-Uta”. Besides Yuko and Anjue, the band consists of Hayato Asano on bass, Takamichi Koeda on keyboards and Takeru Sugimoto on drums. I think, this is a very worthy follow up to “Aion” and hopefully, we don’t have to wait another seven years to hear new work by this Japanese progressive power metal band. A band, that is not afraid to mix traditional sounds with newer styles. In case of great musicians like FATIMA HILL, it all sounds great to me!! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

FIREBALL MINISTRY-Fireball Ministry (Restricted Release)
It doesn’t happen too often, that the fourth album is a self-titled one. But FIREBALL MINISTRY developed itself to not just any other band and they decided to call their fourth album “Fireball Ministry”. It contains ten new tracks and runs for about forty minutes. The first “Hard Lines” show us a pretty straight forward style of rock music with references to bands like FU MANCHU and FOO FIGHTERS. “Fallen Believers” starts off acoustic and floats into a slow rhythm. “Thought It Out” is simply asking for radio airplay. It’s short and has got a very catchy drive. “Followed By A Fall” is more my cup of tea: a BLACK SABBATH (Ozzy era) kind of sound makes this one very special one. Yes, this is the sound I have been waiting for. “Kick Back” is a pretty much straight forward and in-your-face rock song and it has a great rhythm. “Butcher, Faker, Policy Maker” contains that well-known KISS drive, which keeps you moving and grooving. It’s the first single taken off this new album and they also made a video clip of it. “End Of Story” sounds like a cross between LYNYRD SKYNYRD with Ozzy on vocals. It’s a whole lot of rock with a nice Southern edge to it. Most of the FIREBALL MINISTRY songs have got that Southern hook, which I like a lot. “Common Enemy” is a nice example here. The voice of Reverend James A. Rota II sounds raspy, raw and very emotionally at times. “Sleeping With Angels” has a dreamy slow drive with some Ozzy-like vocals. The CD closes with “In Their Own Right”. FIREBALL MINISTRY slowly moves away from their heavy, doomy sound, like back in the early days. They have become much more accessible to a larger public and a whole new generation. If you like the sound of the above mentioned names, you’ll definitely have a good time listening to “Fireball Ministry”. Besides the Reverend, the band consists of Johny Chow on bass, John Oreshnick on drums and Emily Burton on guitar. Website: http://www.fireballministry.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GENITORTURERS-Blackheart Revolution (Seasons Of Mist)
GENITORTURERS used to be quite notorious for their eccentric shows consisting of loud music and SM acts. I don’t know about their show these days, but their music is still very exciting and Gen knows to bash out loud. Forty minutes long, she will gladly torture your ears in ten new songs on “Blackheart Revolution”. Let’s hear, what Gen is up to this time. In my mind, I’ll picture the SM act next to the music to put it all into place. “Revolution” opens with a simple but heavy beat, including loud, industrial riffs and some strange beeps. A great opener in my eyes. “Kabangin’ All Night” opens with a GARY GLITTER-like drum beat. Obviously, we’re in for another great rocker! “Devil In A Bottle” reminds me of JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS, if you forget about the industrial sound… And this continues in the next song, which is called “Louder”. It could very well be on any early JOAN JETT album and it would be an outstanding song as well. “Fallen Stars” sounds more like a filler to me, while “Fake It” sounds very energetic with some MARILYN MANSON-like beats and rhythms. “Confession Of A Blackheart” is a dark song with distorted vocals, which could very well be on the soundtrack of a psychological drama. “Cum Junkie” sounds more sex related, like in the good old days. It’s also very old school and it invites to dance and jump along to the additional industrial beats and riffs. “Vampire Lover” sounds much darker, but it fits pretty well on this album. The CD closes with “Tell Me”, including some loud riffs and a fast rhythm. The band consists of Gen on vocals, Eric Griffin on guitar, Nate Manor on bass and Angel on drums. They recently played in Holland again and it’s good to see that this industrial metal band is still making music after an absence of almost seven or eight years. I think, that their music is a lot more suitable for a wider audience, than it was in the early days. The music scene has changed a lot and I think, that they fit much better in the time zone, that we live in right now. You could definitely say, that these people were ahead of their time. Website: http://www.genitorturers.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HEMORAGY-Headbang Till Death (independent)
Do I need to say more with a title like that? I really don’t think so. The new album of France based HEMORAGY contains ten songs and runs for thirty-five minutes. The title track opens in a furious way and all you can do is to bang your head to the rhythm. HEMORAGY already convinced me on their previous album “Jesus King Of Wine”, which they released three years ago. The band consists of Johannes Musslin on guitar and vocals, Lynda Siewicz Basstarde on bass and Steve Musslin on drums. “Sold-Out” gains more speed and contains some early IRON MAIDEN influences. While “My Ticket For Hell” sounds a bit more thrashy. I can’t wait to get me a ticket on that ride, too! If possible, the speed goes up a little more on “Dangerous Hitch-Hiking”. It also contains slower parts though and some more complex mood changes, that you wouldn’t expect here maybe. Obviously, the band is not only willing to win fans over by pressing the pedal to the metal and playing fast forward songs, but they’re capable of a lot more. “Metalic Biker” is a true headbanger and a definite highlight, as far as I’m concerned. It could very well be the new millennium version of “Bad Motor Scooter” (MONTROSE) or “Motorcycle Man”(SAXON), including the sound of roaring motorcycles. Great song! “Savagery” is another wild anthem with some great guitarwork. “Fishing Amongst Metalheads” might be a strange title, but it surely is a great song. It’s the sound of TRUST meeting up with IRON MAIDEN. “The Hemo-Truck” (another strange title perhaps) is a straight forward metal song with some ANTHRAX-like chants and rhythms. “Bourré Et Heureux” is the only French-titled song. Another highlight for me with some exciting speed changes and a lot of variation and nice guitars. The “Outtro” marks the end of this album. Put your cowboy boots on, bring your best hat and do a nice line dance on this one minute instrumental track. I like these silly jokes at the end of a damn good album. My only regret is the short playing time of this album, but HEMORAGY may be heard in the metal scene of today. Great artwork, by the way! Website: http://www.hemoragy.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HOLE -Nobody’s Daughter (Cherry Forever)
I will try to focus on the music alone of this new HOLE album. The whole media around her personal life is not very frenzy to write about, so I’d rather leave that up to the dirt journalists. This is the new album of Courtney Love and it’s exciting enough to write about after twelve years of absence with her band HOLE. The album contains eleven tracks and runs for forty-five minutes. Title track “Nobody’s Daughter” opens slow and dark. It’s raven black and sums up the state of mind she is / was in for a long time. “Skinny Little Bitch” on the other hand rocks away and is a bit more of what I’d hoped and expected the album to sound. “Honey” contains some whining vocal parts and a grungy beat. “Pacific Coast Highway” starts off slowly, but gains speed once Courtney puts her car in the next gear. “Samantha” is easy on the ears and a bit more uptempo. Both thumbs up for this one! “Someone Else’s Bed” is a dark and very emotional song. What I really miss here is the lady, that stood on the barricades and played some loud screaming rock songs in the well-known grunge years. The song slowly crawls itself towards that sound, but it lacks the energy that I’d expected on this comeback album. All I hear now is a woman pitying herself about her past, present and future. “For Once In Your Life” has got some PATTI SMITH-like vocals and sounds a bit more uptempo. “Letter To God”… Hmm, it doesn’t sound very promising, if I may say so. This song contains more PATTI SMITH-like influences and if you know what I really think about her, then you’d better skip it. “Loser Dust” is finally getting to the point, that I want to make here. It sounds furious and wild and Courtney is screaming her lungs out. It’s by far the best song on this album, at least for me. “How Dirty Girls Get Clean” is another example of how this album is supposed to sound like. It seems, that the later songs on this album are far better than the first few tracks. The album closes with “Never Go Hungry”, an acoustic (bonus)track with a country rock feeling. Pretty to listen to by the camp fire, but not on a HOLE album, if you catch my drift. I guess, not everybody will second my opinion about this album, but I’d expected so much more from a lady, who is trying so hard to get her life back on the road after a lot of difficult years. I’m afraid, that this won’t happen with “Nobody’s Daughter” though. Website: http://www.holerock.net/ [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

INDICA-A Way Away (Nuclear Blast)
INDICA is a five ladies outfit from Finland. It’s one of these bands, that is on everyone’s lips these days, like NIGHTWISH a couple of years ago. Not strange, since they hail from the same country and rock and metal is immense popular in Finland. However, musically INDICA sounds so much different than NIGHTWISH. They have more in common with pop, yet their music sounds easy in the ears and that’s why they attract a lot of listeners. Their first albums sold very well, although you can hardly call it rock what these five Finnish ladies present us here. With this fifth album, they seem to have reached the big success, that every band is aiming for. “Islands Of Light” and “Precious Dark” are very nice openers with a slightly commercial sound. While in “Children Of Frost”, they even use a children’s choir to give the song just that little bit of extra, that it asks for. “Litja’s Lament” is a fairy-tale like song with vocals, that might remind you of KATE BUSH at times. INDICA consists of Johanna ‘Jonsu’ Salomaa on vocals, violins, guitars and keyboards, Heini on bass guitar, Sirkku on keyboards and clarinet, Jenny on guitars and Laura on drums. “In Passing” is actually nothing more than an ordinary pop/rock song, which is very suitable for radio airplay. Still, in “Scissor Paper Rock” I also hear some nice guitars. Title track “A Way Away” could be part of a musical. Luckily, we’re also able to enjoy an uptempo song like “As If” after this one. You really have to be very open-minded to enjoy everything, that these ladies do. “As If” is definitely one of the highlights for me. “Straight And Arrow” does sound not bad either, but in a different way. The orchestration is good and the voice of Jonsu fits quite well in here. “Outside In” is another song, that is very easy to listen to and that’s why a lot of people will definitely like the sound of INDICA. The CD closer is rather lengthy and the ladies show that they are able to make an exciting song with a leading role for their instruments. I think, that this is the most impressive song on the album. The world is ready for INDICA and I think, that this album is just the beginning of a long and hopefully very fruitful career. For more information about the band, you can visit their website at http://www.indica-music.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS-Greatest Hits (Blackheart Records)
Do you have a minute to spare for what I’ve got to say about JOAN JETT’s new release? I hope so, because this is “Greatest Hits” part twelve or something. Where’s the new material of Joan or is she lacking of inspiration? I think, she’s gained a lot of interest in the recent movie about THE RUNAWAYS. She has closed that chapter for a long time, until she found out that there is money in that and now she has developed into the mighty JOAN JETT from THE RUNAWAYS again. This “Greatest Hits” includes a few JOAN JETT written RUNAWAYS classics. Opener “Cherry Bomb” was recorded in 1984, while “You Drive Me Wild” sounds a bit slower and received the well-known JOAN JETT make over for this album. A nice song, but if you know the original version, you know which one, I would really prefer. The same thing has been done with “School Days”, but this time without the annoying handclapping and slow parts. It rocks big time, just like the original version. The last make over is for “Love Is Pain” - an original JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS song, which also sounds much slower than the original. It comes close to Joan’s live situation in 2010. She is really taking a step back these days. Not strange, because after all she is in her fifties already, although you wouldn’t say. After “Love Is Pain”, the actual greatest hits part takes off with “Bad Reputation”, which was the first song I heard of Joan after she left THE RUNAWAYS in spring 1979. I bought her self-titled album immediately after that. “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got” is on next, with its wild drumming parts in the middle. “I Want You” is a kick ass punk rock song. “I Love Rock And Roll” needs no further introduction. It’s her all-time greatest hit, I think. Although the song didn’t receive the hit status right away. It was recorded in 1979 and re-recorded back in 1982, when it reached the highest position in the international charts world-wide. It was originally written by a band called THE ARROWS, by the way. I would not consider “(I’m Gonna) Run Away” a ‘real’ greatest hit, but I think the title has got something to do with it (RUN AWAY(S)…..get it??) “Crimson And Clover” on the other hand is definitely part of it. For your information, this song was originally recorded by TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLS. After that, CD 1 of this two CD set closes after thirty minutes and ten tracks. CD 2 starts off with “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)” and contains eleven tracks with a total playing time of about thirty-five minutes of JETT music. GARY GLITTER was the original performer of this first song, which has got that great GLITTER-like drumbeat in it. It has always been one of my favourite songs for both Joan and Gary. “The French Song” continues, which is another classic to every JOAN JETT fan. “Everyday People” and “Fake Friends” are some good choices here, which will please many fans. “Light Of Day” was recorded for the soundtrack off the self-titled movie with Michael J Fox. “I Hate Myself For Loving You” is another classic in my book: a great rocker, that highlights the heydays of JOAN JETT. “Backlash” is perhaps an odd choice, but it’s also a nice rock song , while “Activity Grrrl” is from 1994 (“Pure And Simple” album). “Love Is All Around” was originally written by Sonny Curtis and the tune for the MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW in the US. Short, but very nice. “Androgynous” is taken from the “Sinner” album in 2004 and I know, that our editor Rita likes this particular song a lot. It’s a cover of THE REPLACEMENTS (Paul Westerberg) and a nice laid back tune. So we get on to the last song here, called “ACDC”, which was written by the well-known writing tandem Chinn and Chapman. After eleven tracks, we have heard sixty-five minutes of JOAN JETT / RUNAWAYS classics. This could easily fit on one single album, but it looks so much nicer on a double CD set. At least, when it would contain some nice pictures, that will probably be added with the first re-release. And I would have liked to hear some more new material here as well, which will probably be on the second re-release of this double album. Let’s make one agreement here. If Joan turns up with another greatest hits album, than we distract three points from the rating. We want to hear some new material or a live CD or live DVD or maybe even better, we want to see her on stage again in Holland. Anyway, there is still a lot on our wants list. This album will probably find its way to the huge JOAN JETT fanbase, but it’s so easy to earn your money with old stuff. I could do with some new material at last. And I am very much looking forward to the new RUNAWAYS film, that is about to be released over here in Europe at the end of the year. For some real news, you can check out http://www.joanjett.com or http://www.therunaways.com. The high rating is for the timeless music of JOAN JETT and the RUNAWAYS, but for originality this one would surely score far below average!! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KAIPA-In The Wake Of Evolution (Inside Out Music)
KAIPA is not your ordinary progressive rock band. They are the real deal, in my opinion. I listened to their new album “In The Wake Of Evolution” with my mouth wide open. Is this GENESIS or is this YES? It sounds so authentic, that it could very well have been written by these artists from the early seventies. However, this album has been written in 2009. The only difference between GENESIS 1973 and KAIPA 2010 is the female voice of Aleena Gibson. In fact, the very recognizable voice of Peter Gabriel is the only missing link to these prog rock dinosaurs. Obviously, KAIPA was formed in 1973 and “In The Wake Of Evolution” is their newest release, whereas the band shows that they are still standing with both feet in the early seventies. Besides Aleena, we hear Hans Lundin on keyboards and vocals, Per Nilsson (SCAR SYMMETRY) on guitars, Morgan Ågren (MATS & MORGAN, ZAPPA) on drums, Jonas Reingold (FLOWER KINGS, KARMAKANIC) on bass and Patrik Lundtröm (RITUAL) on vocals. Guest appearances on this album are by Fredrik Lindqvist (RITUAL) on vocals and Elin Rubinsztein on violin. “In The Heart Of Her Own Magic Field” starts out as a fairy-tale like love song, but develops into a nice bombastic, slow and balladesque song. With the influence of ‘love and peace’ lurking in the back of my mind, while listening to the song. At the end of the song, the surprise is big, when the instrumental progressive switch takes place. “Electric Power Water Notes” is a lengthy song, that clocks in at almost eighteen minutes. Now, that’s the way to create a lot of excitement and you’ll definitely not be disappointed, I can assure you. I’d like to compare this song to YES in a way, but also the name of GENESIS comes to mind, because of the very recognizable organ sound. “Folkia’s First Decision” is short and shows some of the folky influences, that sometimes appears in KAIPA’s music as well. “The Words Are Like Leaves” shows the YES influences a bit better. The choir vocals during the refrain could well come from Jon Anderson and they even sound alike. “Arcs Of Sound” contains a beautiful instrumental mid-piece, which makes the song a special one and lifts it up far above average. “Smoke From A Secret Source” is very much YES-like again. The chorus vocals and instrumentation of the song takes care of that. The album, that contains eight tracks and lasts for seventy minutes, closes with another long prog rock anthem called “The Seven Oceans Of Our Mind”, which clocks in at a little bit of over ten minutes. It’s a ballad-like song, that really brings out the best in the band. KAIPA may not be the most well-known prog rock band, but I think they come very close to the original sound of the big names in that scene of the early seventies. I would highly recommend this album to everybody, who digs this sound. If I speak for myself, I had a really great time listening to the enormous craftsmanship of these musicians. You could almost sense the love for this kind of music, otherwise they could impossibly sound so authentic and last that long in the scene. Both thumbs up for KAIPA, one of the best traditional prog rock bands around these days. Website: http://www.kaipa.info. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KAIRA-Child Of Fire (Irond)
KAIRA hails from Russia and “Child Of Fire” is their fourth album in four years. This new album has a running time of fifty minutes and contains twelve new tracks. The CD has a wonderful looking front cover and the music is also quite nice to listen to. Opener “Intro” is a short instrumental and doesn’t really give you a clue of what to expect from these Russian metalheads. However, when “Illusionist” takes off, we hear that the band play a good mix of gothic metal and power metal with some melodic sidesteps. The voice of frontlady Kaira sounds dark, hoarse and of course very Russian. Besides Kaira, the band consists of Pavel Drozdov on guitar, Alexander Petrunin on bass, Mark Beliy on drums, Anna Zakharova on keyboards, Anastasia Kozhemyakina on violin and Ekaterian Babkova on viola. The violin and viola give their sound a bit of a gothic feel, but can not be seen as the main musical instruments. Instead, it brings more variation to their sound and makes it fuller. A sound, that is bombastic and contains some exciting moves. “Fallen From Heaven” shows the bombastic side of the band very well. While “Which Of Us” and “Lady Drive” have the keyboards upfront and shows the gothic side of KAIRA. In “Lady Drive”, the engines are roaring and the band gains some speed, which carries on in “Hetaera”. “The Virus Of Lust” also shows a more progressive face of KAIRA. Just listen to the marvellous instrumental part at the end of this song, which sounds really exciting and reveals their (yet undiscovered) progressive influences. Title track “Child Of Fire” has got a more simple approach, that even might be considered commercial in Russia and surroundings. “Step #2” however sounds a bit dark and close to a play, in which the strong gothic sound of KAIRA shows up well. Next song is called “Opium”, which is much faster and powerful and it has a leading role for the violin parts. In my imagination, I can see those heads banging up and down, when they would play this song in a live situation. The CD, that contains a lot of variation and craftsmanship, closes with “Carl Orff”. Hopefully, I don’t need to explain to you, that this is the famous German composer of “Carmina Burana” and his “O Fortuna” has been regularly used as an intro tape for the live shows of SAVAGE, PRETTY MAIDS and OZZY OSBOURNE, to name but a few. The “O Fortuna” part is being played on the violin here and a bit faster than we’re used to. Frontwoman Kaira pays tribute to this well-known composer in a great way. KAIRA’s new album might not be an obvious choice to most people, but it’s very much worth searching for and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Website: http://www.kairamusic.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KANYBL KAOW-Ranger Dave (independent)
Hey, it’s time for a new album by my favorite meat eating black spotted cow (oops sorry, I mean kaow)!! It comprises eleven new tracks and runs about forty-five minutes. Opener “Born Blind” contains the band’s well-known choir vocals, but there are also some innovating jazzy kind of switches in the song, which made me think of PRIMUS for a second. The second song is called “ApointofHeathersView” and besides the well-known KANYBL KAOW vocals, it keeps going on in a steady pace. I guess, Heather doesn’t have much interesting to say. “Go!” however contains a few more surprises, including some deafening death grunts and one or two drum solos. Expect the unexpected, including more jazzy interludes and even some spooky, high yelling vocal parts. MUCKY PUP influences are in here too…. and wait even a police car seems to check out and see what’s going on here. Only the sky is the limit in this song. “Fast Rusty Osgood” is more straight forward , while “Dee’s Pretty Gloves” sounds slower and walks on in the best KANYBL KAOW tradition. “Erik” is a very cool traditional rock’n’roll tune, including some LITTLE RICHARD-like pull outs in the vocals. You wouldn’t expect this at all, so do you get it now? KANYBL KAOW doesn’t know any borders and that’s what I find so fascinating about these four ladies. “Neener Neener Nanny” is on next. The title alone sounds strange enough to fill your desire to listen to it. The death grunt reappears in this one and it has got a nice steady beat and some cool bass lines. We can be short of “Ranger Dave”. This song was taken from their third album “Waterproof”. “Sparky” is the next in line and she was already mentioned in the lyrics of “Ranger Dave”. For traditional reasons, the lyrics of each album are printed in the booklet of the CD thereafter and that’s all I know about it. By the way, I begin to like their corpse paint more and more each time I have a look at it. “Sparky” contains another outstanding surprise at the end of the song by means of an exciting mood change, which you wouldn’t expect. The CD closes with a hidden track, called “The Longest Song In History”, which is in fact a short instrumental piece. You didn’t expect that, did you? This new album displays a lot of nice very cool surprises and I think it’s the band’s best effort so far. They will be touring in your area maybe, so don’t miss it! Check them out, while you can and give these young talented ladies a chance. They surely deserve it!! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KARNATAKA-The Gathering Light (independent)
KARNATAKA hails from England and their new album “The Gathering Light” came out very recently. It contains eight brand new tracks and runs for almost seventy minutes. KARNATAKA will appeal to many prog rock fans out there. Their music creates some rest in your mind. At least it does to me. Every time I hear this band, I like their sound, although it is not really heavy. The short instrumental opener “The Calling” is not much more than an introduction to the lengthy “State Of Grace”, which is also instrumental and very relaxed sounding. In “Your World”, you’ll hear the voice of Lisa Fury. Musically, I would like to compare the sound of KARNATAKA to MOSTLY AUTUMN and PORCUPINE TREE, but a little bit less on the raw edges. The guitar solo in “Your World” sounds like David Gilmour in a way. Responsible for this is Enrico Pinna. The rest of the band consists of Ian Jones on bass, Gonzalo Carrera on keyboards and Ian Harris on drums. “Moment In Time” is on next: a nice piece of music with many PINK FLOYD influences and a lengthy instrumental part, that is topped by another great guitar solo. Finally, we seem to have come to the real work. Three songs clock in at over ten minutes, while “Serpent And The Sea” even goes a little bit over that magic barrier. It sounds very much like a LANA LANE song, but in the end it slowly crawls back towards the sound of MOSTLY AUTUMN. “Forsaken” goes a bit over twelve minutes and contains a lengthy and very impressive instrumental piece, in which guitar player Pinna pulls out the very best from his strings. “Tide To Fall” is a nice piece of music and the title track closes this album with another reference to MOSTLY AUTUMN and LANA LANE. Music to dream away and I mean this in a positive way. The string arrangements, the lazy vocals, the dreamy parts, it almost made me forget about the cruel world outside for a moment. Unfortunately, KARNATAKA has a less bright future ahead of them, because in the last update we read that Lisa, drummer Ian Harris and keyboard player Gonzalo Carrera have all left the band and they are searching for suitable people to replace them. I hope, that they will soon be back at full force again. Until that time, you can enjoy this new album. Check out http://www.karnataka.co.uk for all the latest info about the band. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LE MONNIER–Cynic Sister (independent)
Sometimes it is a refreshing change of pace to hear a new, young band get back to basics and play just good, no frills hard rock. Such is the case with the U.K. based band LE MONNIER. The band is fronted by the soulful vocals of Alexandra Le Monnier and with their debut "Cynic Sister", the band deliver almost one hour's worth of heavy power rock, that features some seriously crunchy guitar riffs, catchy melodies and some cool musical moments and worthwhile ballads. The band's sound is somewhat reminiscent of good hard rock bands from the past, while still sounding current and relevant in today's musical climate. There is plenty of good music to sift through on "Cynic Sister": beginning with the orchestral intro of the opener "Grey Symphonic". Don't get too relaxed however, as this quickly gives way to the flat-out up-tempo rocker "Your Greed" and it really sets things in motion nicely. The following two songs show off the diversity of the band. "No Power" has a lot of power compressed in about two and-a-half-minutes and "Ballet" begins with a pretty piano opening but quickly evolves into 'power ballad' territory. My two personal favorites on "Cynic Sister" and what I believe to be the albums strongest moments come back-to-back with the 8-minute "Bad Dream" and "Underground". These two songs are sure be crowd pleasers in LE MONNIER's live shows. Another aspect of the band, that I was really impressed with, was the live, energetic feel that each and every song displays. You can't help but feel the energy and power emanating from the speakers. Other highlights include "Black Dot" (the band has filmed a video for this track - a solid choice, in my opinion), the pretty ballad "My Heart" and the title song "Cynic Sister", that brings this CD to a close. Personally, I find LE MONNIER to be an instantly like-able band and the music on "Cynic Sister" has the ability to make some huge headway in the Rock/Metal world. The songs are well written, beautifully constructed and very diverse and can reach out to different genres of music fans. If you like good hard rock music with plenty of powerful musicianship, diverse songs and strong vocals than by all means give "Cynic Sister" by LE MONNIER a listen. You won't be disappointed! [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

MAGICA-Dark Diary (AFM Records)
MAGICA is a very successful melodic power metal band from Romania. Fronted by Ana Mladinovici on vocals, the band has just released their fifth full-length album “Dark Diary”. Starting off with a furious speed killer called “Anywhere But Home”, they know to grab my attention right away. I didn’t really expect such a powerful opener. “Tonight” however is a bit more of what I’d expected them to sound like and the vocals of Ana show up well. I may be mistaken, but I really believe that this album is a bit heavier than its predecessor “Wolves & Witches”. At least “Never Like You” contains some nice riffs and wild chorus vocals by the other band members, that consists of Bogdan Costea on guitars, Vali Zechiu on bass, 6Fingers on keyboards and Cristi Barla on drums. It is only in the fourth song “Wait For Me” that I can’t deny the influences of NIGHTWISH are playing an important role here. Not that this is a bad thing. On the contrary, it is even a compliment, because after all NIGHTWISH is a very successful band. MAGICA doesn’t really play the same type of music, but I recognize a lot of NIGHTWISH influences in this one. “Need” is also very catchy and makes it easy for a lot of people to enjoy the music of MAGICA. “Release My Demons” might be another catchy tune, But the title predicts something special. The mad growls of the demons and the great guitar solo by Bogdan lifts this song up to a higher level and it easily becomes one of the highlights for me. “On The Side Of Evil” contains some heavy riffs and more male chorus vocals. Because of the aggression in the riffs, it’s definitely a real headbanger. “My Kin My Enemy” is also fast and it gives you a good overview of their instrumental power topped with the great vocals of Ana. “Used To Be An Angel” is on next and the powerful keyboards and guitars are galloping in a steady rhythm. “We Are Horde” really sounds like a gang of people going to war: it’s powerful and moves at full speed. The total opposite however is the short album closer and title track “Dear Diary”, that could very well have been written by TORI AMOS or KATE BUSH. Short but very sweet. Huge fans of MAGICA will have to buy the digi pack of “Dark Diary”, because they can listen to a bonus track here, called “Victory”, which is a RUNNING WILD cover. All in all, I think that we can talk about a ‘victory’ for MAGICA with this release, because it will please a lot of metalheads out there. The balance between powerful and melodic songs is good and the band develops into real masterminds on their instruments. The star of MAGICA is still rising, that’s a fact. The eleven songs on the album run for about fifty-minutes, by the way. Website: http://www.magicaband.com/ [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MAGION-Close To Eternity (independent)
The orchestra already shows up early on the bombastic opener of this new album by MAGION from Holland. This short piece of music is called “Tabula Rasa” and it’s the introduction to “Thirteen”, in which the orchestral parts are mixed with the guitars, bass and drums. What really appeals to me are the very clear vocals by singer Myrthe van Beest, who proves to be a perfect competitor for singers like Simone Simons (EPICA) or Sharon den Adel (WITHIN TEMPTATION). In “Murder Of Innocence”, we hear a nice guitar part. The symphonic influences mould very well together with the classical parts in the sound of MAGION. While “Greed” opens with some keyboards, introducing a fast galloping beat. We also hear some chorus vocals and a very brutal male voice. Later on, the keyboards reach a slower part, which breaks this song nicely in half. “Game Of Madness” is a good, up tempo gothic metal track with a very catchy chorus part. Maybe it’s even suitable to sing along to during the live performances of the band. We also hear some brutal male growls and the beautiful soprano voice of Myrthe. The madness part in the middle of this song lifts it up into a real highlight for me. The up tempo “Lost In Reality” is definitely another highlight, because of the very fast and furious metal riffs. “Forever Mine” starts off quite ambient, but soon the theatrical power parts rush in. This up tempo song is another good example of what this band is capable of with Myrthe as the big eye-catcher of the band. Besides Myrthe, the band consists of David de Waal on drums, Chris Vrij on guitars, Arjen van der Toorn on guitars, Walter Romberg on keyboards and Menno Bruggeling on bass. The middle part of “Forever Mine” is instrumental and a mix of gothic and symphonic sounds end up in a nice, melodic guitar part. “War Of Hearts” is another up tempo song with more brutal male vocal attacks. What attracts me the most is the voice of Myrthe, who knows to bring some rest in this song. At the end, she takes this song to a nice climax in a relaxing, melodic guitar solo. “New Season” is a ballad type of song with another leading role for Myrthe and her soprano voice this time. The guitar solo is breathtaking again. The band really knows to surprise me with this album, especially considering that this is the band’s debut album. In “Almost Immortal”, we hear an exciting battle between the keyboards and guitars, which makes this song very special and highly enjoyable to listen to. The seventy minutes, eleven track debut album closes with “Song For The Living”. MAGION is another fine addition to the already full grown tree of gothic metal bands in Holland. But there’s always room for a new leaf on this tree. I think, that MAGION has got the talent to become a full grown tree itself in a matter of time, if they keep this line up together and keep on making high quality music like on “Close To Eternity”. Website: http://www.magionband.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MASTERMIND-Insomnia (Lion Music)
I still think, it’s a shame that MASTERMIND wasn’t able to do the interview with us. It would have been a good introduction to this well-talented band of Bill and Rich Berends. In the meantime, they’ve released another album, in which we find back Bill on guitar and Rich on drums, as well as Jens Johansson on keyboards (formerly DIO, STRATOVARIUS and YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN) and female vocalist Tracy McShane. Chris Eike takes care of the bass parts on the album. The new album contains ten tracks and fifty minutes of prog rock music. Opener “Desire” has got a very catchy hook to start up the album. While “Break Me Down” has me sitting on the tip of my chair for the first time. Bill and Jens show their skills and I think that “Desire” was just meant to heat up their fingers. “One More Night” has got a balladesque sound with some prog touches here and there. Allthough I must admit, that I’d expected a bit more firework from the Berends brothers at first. The progressive sound, that I heard on their live album “Prog, Fusion, Metal, Leather & Sweat Live!” is far behind us and in the background you might still recognize something of the sound from this killer live CD. “Meltdown” sounds dark, but the instrumental parts are highly enjoyable. “Piggy World” is very nice, although it has a lot of modern influences, the progressive side of MASTERMIND shows up very well in this up tempo prog track. “No Answer” is on next, which is another slow song. From the first notes on of “Broken”, my mind directly goes out to “Tom Sawyer” of RUSH. This is only in the beginning, as the track develops into a melodic ballad type of song. “Night Flier” however is a fast instrumental, reminding me of the PINK FLOYD classic “On The Run” and therefore it’s an absolute highlight in my book. Besides, it also shows that the band has still got that magic touch, if they want to… In a way “Nietzsche” is a bit of a weird title for a progressive rock song, but I’ve seen stranger titles popping up in the world of prog music. The last notes are for “The Last Cigarette”, which is a slow, dark balladesque song based upon a melancholic theme. The duet didn’t really leave a deep impression on me. Maybe when it would have been performed by a band like LACRIMOSA, it could have been a great song, I don’t know. As far as MASTERMIND is concerned, I used to have other standards in mind, although the guitar solo makes up for these mixed feelings. In general, I have very mixed feelings about this album. Musically, it sounds fine, but like I mentioned before I’d expected so much more from this band. Sometimes I get a good feeling, while at other times I feel that I’m listening to a totally different band. So no cigar or a last cigarette for MASTERMIND this time. Website: http//www.mastermindband.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MEENA-Try Me (Ruf Records)
If “Try Me” is the title of your album, you get me going. I’m ready to try everything. MEENA was born in 1977 and she releases her debut album here. She is a blues, soul singer, who could appeal to me, if she really has some soul or blues in their voice. Think about singers like JOSS STONE, JANIS JOPLIN, DANA FUCHS or NIKKA COSTA (whatever happened to her?) and my absolute fave Dutch blues singer ever Tineke Schoemaker of BARRELHOUSE. And while listening to the first song of twelve on this full hour debut album, my mind directly goes out to her in the first place. “Try Me” is a gospel type of blues tune with a whole lot of soul in it. Including a choir in the chorus parts, MEENA shows that she knows how to touch my soul and this is only just the beginning, I hope. You definitely wouldn’t say that this lady comes from Austria, which isn’t exactly the capitol of blues rock music to me. But who gives a damn? “Nothing Left” swings in the best way and it reminded me of ANA POPOVIC a little bit. The guitars cry and in my mind, I see the first couples doing some dancing. The funky rhythm guitar at the end of the track won’t hurt you, just keep swinging to the flow my friends, until we reach the song “Send Me A Doctor”. This song shows that the spirit of MELISSA ETHERIDGE is also wandering around as influence of this young bluesy lady. ERIC SARDINAS is a guest player on this one. “Put Your Hand Out Of My Pocket” is a slow blues tune in the very best tradition and it has a great guitar solo. This is a mighty fine song, that really gives me the chills. What emotion, what a beautiful blues ballad! “Sorry” is more up tempo, but what the hack. MEENA already proved that she is capable of singing a whole wide range of different styles, going from slow blues to rock and from funk to soul or gospel. You name it and she sings it. “I’m Leaving You” sounds like an emotional title, but MEENA decided to put some rock elements into it. Besides Meena, the band consists of Dave Smith on bass, Steve Potts on drums, Rick Steff on keyboards and Chris Fillmore on guitar. The background vocal choirs come from Vickie Atkins, Sandy Carroll and Amyee Bragg. Other guest appearances, besides the ones mentioned in this review, are by Joanne Shaw Taylor, Erja Lyytinen and Donna Grantis. “This Song Is For You” is a nice love song and a little piece of rest before heading to another classic blues song. “I’d Rather Go Blind” is an ELLINGTON JORDAN written song, which was first recorded by ETTA JAMES. MEENA performs a very nice interpretation of this song here with a lot of emotion, class and style. “Love Won’t Fall Apart” is a rocker with a capitol R. “Let Your Sweet Love Shine On Me” is a mix of cajun and tex mex and it swings like hell. The versatility of MEENA is so incredible, that there will always be a song on this album that you like, no doubt about it. Most of the time the music sounds happy, but if there is emotion involved, then there is a lot of emotion. “I Shoot You Down” contains some guitar work by ERIC SARDINAS. It’s like the hot pepper in the dressing, that you didn’t expect. It’s there and you can taste it through all the other flavors, because you simply can’t miss it. In the last song we go down to the gutter again. The same kind of slow blues, she already pleased me a lot in her song “Put Your Hand Out Of My Pocket”. This time she knows to touch me again right in my soul with a LUTHER ALLISON song, called “Just As I Am” with guitar work by the mighty Coco Montoya, guitar player of JOHN MAYAL AND THE BLUESBREAKERS. You can imagine what a mighty fine song this turned out to be. MEENA took me by surprise and I think that she will astonish many people out there with her beautiful voice. Buy her album, because she is very well-talented and it’s great to finally hear a good female blues singer again. Website: http://www.myspace.com/meenacryle. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MYSTERY BLUE-Hell & Fury (Bernett Records)
MYSTERY BLUE from France plays metal as true as it can get. They released a new album called “Hell & Fury” and impressed me again. The CD opens with a short tune, called “The Night Before”, which sounds like it was taken from a movie. It’s a warning, before the actual album kicks off with title track “Hell & Fury”. The drums hold some thrashy beats, but besides that it’s heavy metal all the way. Fists rise up in the air, while shouting the words ‘hell and fury’ - a killer opener on this new eleven tracker. “Endangering Species” sounds fast and it has some furious guitar riffs. Nathalie Geyer’s vocals show some resemblance to PJ of TWILIGHT ODYSEY, which she can take as a huge compliment. What a volume and especially in the long pull outs, she is trying to give it another boost to sound even more powerful than she already does. “Welcome To Chaos” is a fast headbanger with some fast guitar work by FrenzyPhilipon. Besides Nathalie and Frenzy, the band consists of Rikki Mannhard on bass and Vince Koehler on drums. The riffs in this song are definitely less thrashy and the solo is simply breathtaking! This is pure heavy metal without any trendy input of doom, gothic, black or death metal. Prove is also given in “Metal Attack”, where the title explains it all. ‘Break Your Neck’, but please wait until you’ve listened to every song at least once, otherwise you’ll end up missing some of these metal beauties here. “No Way Out” also blasts off at full speed with Vince setting the pace here. In your imagination, you can see the long hair waving up and down in the slower parts. Bottom line is, that you’ll just have to bang your head and there simply is ‘no way out’. And don’t forget to enjoy the marvelous axe work on this one! “Fate” brings out the best in Nathalie and it shreds with full power. After all this metal madness, it’s time for a break in “Piece Of Eternity”, which develops into a good, solid power ballad. Every good metal album needs one. “Nuclear Skies” opens dark and mysterious, but this is only for a few seconds, before the band pulls off at full speed. By the time “The Deadly Nightshade” starts, it is entirely clear to me. This is by far the best MYSTERY BLUE album ever. This song even comes close to the mighty JUDAS PRIEST. Just listen to the beginning of this song... It could very well have been from the metal gods themselves. And again I hear the great resemblance to PJ in the high pull outs of Nathalie. What killer sound!! With “When Time Is Pain”, that shows the more melodic side of the band, the end of the CD has come near. For material like this, I can only give the full score. MYSTERY BLUE belongs to the better true heavy metal bands in this scene and “Hell & Fury” proves, that they’re still able to create killer songs with a killer sound. A must for every devoted heavy metal fan out there. Website: http://www.mysteryblue.com. [10 points; FULL SCORE] (Toine van Poorten)

NEMHAIN-From The Ashes (Tiefdruck Musik)
NEMHAIN from England are ready to take control. Their debut album “From The Ashes” contains twelve kick ass punk rock anthems, which are a mix of rock, metal and blues, running for forty-five dirty minutes. It’s energetic and contains a whole lot of power. Title track “From The Ashes” sets the pace and kicks off with a big bang. And when you think, that they will slow down after that, then you’re absolutely wrong. In “Ana”, they’ll even come closer to metal, than they already did in the opener. I hear influences of NASHVILLE PUSSY, MY RUIN, ROSE TATTOO and THE MISFITS in their ballsy sound. “Clear My Eyes” is dark and it sounds like vocalist Amber Erlandsson is crying, while singing the lyrics. It’s like a well of emotions are revealed here. The brutal sound of HOLE comes to mind as well. “Second Skin” is a cover of THE GITS and the guest vocals by Peter Dolving of THE HAUNTED really add some brutality to this punk rocker, which reminded me of the Australian band BLITZ BABIEZ. “Girls Like Honey” is a pretty love song as sweet as honey, but with a dark edge lurking in the background. That’s what NEMHAIN is all about. Always expect an evil side to their sweet outings. The filthy guitar solo is just that bit of extra this song needs. “Dirty Weekend” is a fast rocker and in “Jane Doe # 1”, the band pushes out all the energy they’ve got. NEMHAIN is definitely one of the big surprises coming from England. And although the band members are no rookies in the scene, they seem to have found the right way with this great debut album. NEMHAIN consists of Lakis Kyriacou on guitar, Sam Astley on guitar, Lisa Witch Dickinson on bulldozer bass sounds, Amber Erlandsson on vocals and Adrain Erlandsson on drums (CRADLE OF FILTH, PARADISE LOST, THE HAUNTED and AT THE GATES). These bands will turn pale, when they hear the strength and the enormous power of his new band NEMHAIN. It’s just incredible and I like it! “Heroin Child” contains some Debby Harry-like vocals by Amber, who is also known as Morrigan Hel, a name that suits her well, I think. “Mr. Bronson” made me think of THEM CROOKED VULTURES for a second, because of the repeating rhythm during the song. Besides that, it’s rock and roll to the core. “Babylonia” sounds dark and mysterious, while “The Filth And The Fury” has got that greasy NEMHAIN sound. The last pure rock song is called “Speed Queen”, which is a great album closer indeed. If you want to get rid of some energy, just jump up and down to the sound of “From The Ashes”. A killer album presented by a new killer band. By the way, the recording band is slightly different than band line-up today. In the meantime, they added second guitar player Sam Astley, so you can imagine how powerful they must sound these days. Let the world get acquainted with the power of NEMHAIN. It will hit you, when you least expect it!! Nice tattoo on the back of Amber’s body, by the way. Website: http://www.myspace.com/nemhainband. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

NEVERLAND-Ophidia (A.F.M. Records)
NEVERLAND present us their second album, worthy of eleven tracks and fifty-five minutes of progressive power metal. Musically, the band already lives up to my expectations in opener “This Voice Inside”, which sounds very powerful indeed. “Silence The Wolves” continues in the same tradition with heavy yet melodic hooks and some nice choir vocals. There’s even a great guitar solo. Urban Breed of TAD MOROSE and BLOODBOUND fame takes care of the guest vocals in this particular song, by the way. NEVERLAND hails from Greece and Turkey and obviously, they’re able to play some powerful progressive metal there, in case you doubted this. In the beginning of title track “Ophedia”, you can breath the Greek and Turkish atmosphere, while “Will Of God” has got a very folky edge, including some flute sounds and acoustic guitars. We take a short break, before the ‘Mountain King’ rises from his throne to sing “Invisible War”. It won’t provide that same magical feeling SAVATAGE or JON OLIVA’S PAIN are responsible for, but it’s so good to hear Oliva’s voice. After all, he is the real mountain king and an absolute addition here. “Places Unknown” is a ballad type of song with some very emotional vocals, reminding me of NICKELBACK at times. Help!! Luckily, they put back the power in the next song; “No One Leaves The Hive”. There is also a leading role for the keyboards and guitar here. The guitar solo in “Speak To Me” sounds very nice, as well as the keyboard parts. While in “Ashes To Fall” we hear the last guest appearance on this album: vocalist Edu Falschi of ANGRA and ALMAH. The progressive sound gets a dark melodic edge with his input, which really lifts the song up to one of the highlights on the album. “Final Odyssey” contains some computerized sounds, which they’d better leave undone, if you’d ask my honest opinion. Furthermore, the songs have a leading role for the male vocals rather than the female vocals, but I must admit that it’s not a punishment to listen to the sound of Iris Mavraki at all. Besides Iris, the band consists of Oganalp Canatan on vocals, Emrecan Savdin on drums, Onur Ozkoc on guitars, Burak Kahraman on guitars, Can Dedekarginoglu on bass and Guney Ozsan on keyboards. The limited first edition of “Ophidia” contains the bonus tracks “The Forrest Of Hope” and “Dying Threads”. However, on this edition, we are moving towards the last track, “Into The Horizon”, which is a nice closure on this remarkable sounding Greek/Turkish cooperation. Fans of BLIND GUARDIAN and ANGRA can buy this album with their eyes closed. People, who like a good melodic sound can also lend an ear to this new NEVERLAND release. They won’t be disappointed! [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

NOX AUREA-Ascending In Triumph (Napalm Records)
NOX AUREA exists for five years now and this is their debut album “Ascending In Triumph”. The name already predicts a doomy, dark sound and this is fully in compliance with the eight tracks and sixty minutes, that we get to hear. Frontman is Patrick Kullberg on vocals. His female colleague is called Alice Persell, who takes care of the angelic voice you sometimes hear inbetween. The musicians of NOX AUREA are Peter Laustsen on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Grim Vindkall on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Robert Persson on bass, keyboards and vocals and Joakim Antonsson on drums. The album opens with the title track of the album. The main ingredients are clear from that point on. Slow, dark rhythms, atmospheric keyboard sounds, a male grunting doom voice and some nice melodic touches here and there. “The Loss And Endeavour Of Divinity” opens with atmospheric string arrangements. Later on, the band gains some speed and then it’s the first time, that we hear the lovely voice of Alice upfront. It’s a welcome change in this pool of darkness and despair. Her voice brings a sparkle of sunshine for a little while. “The Shadowless Plains” opens dark and slow, like a good doom song, but I don’t like those grunts! I much more prefer doom metal with a normal voice, like CANDLEMASS, COUNT RAVEN TROUBLE, ST. VITUS or WITCHFINDER GENERAL. Don’t get me wrong. Patrick has got the perfect voice for NOX AUREA, but I’m just not a fan of grunt singers. The intro of “Mother Aletheia Chapter II” will make you grab your handkerchief right away. The violins start weeping and the first tears are falling down rapidly in this very sad song. Suddenly, the guitars rush in, like a hammer falling down. The duet between Patrick and Alice, that follows next, is simply mindblowing! The instrumental explosions, speed changes and everything else turns this song into a real doom metal classic. “The Delight Of Autumn Passion” is fast, comparing to “Mother Aletheia Chapter II” and it sounds a bit lighter, too. It has a leading role for Alice in the beginning and the end of this song. And for our readers, this is what counts. “My Voyage Through Galatic Aeons” is on next and contains an exciting mid-piece, in which the guitars play at high speed. It gets even better, when the speed goes down and Alice sings her lyrics in a mourning way. A great song with beautiful speed changes and a real voyage through different doomy landscapes. “To The Grave I Belong” is another duet between Alice and Patrick. It’s a bit easier on the ears, because it sounds a little bit lighter. The CD closes with the keyboard sounds of “Emendare”. It’s an instrumental requiem and a perfect way to close this dark masterpiece of doom. I think, that many people will love the sound of NOX AUREA and in its genre it definitely is a fine album, that has all ingredients a good doom metal album should have. Fans of MY DYING BRIDE will probably dig this Swedish doom release most. Website: http://www.myspace.com/noxaurea. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ONMYOZA-Kongoukyuubi (King Records)
It’s extremely difficult to obtain any music by Japanese heavy metal bands. LOUDNESS being an exception, because of their enormous fan base in Europe and the rest of the world. But it’s very hard to buy an album of a band like ONMYOZA here, simply because nobody is really interested in them, besides a few die-hard fans of this type of music. This new album was already released over a year ago in September 2009, but it only reached our office a few months ago. It contains twelve brand new tracks and runs for about a full hour. The vocals on the album are constantly switching from male to female. The yin and the yang, which is also a reference in their name, taken from Ommyoudou, which stands for the gathering of yin and yang. Opener “Baku” is a good example of the mix between female and male vocals. The five longhaired warriors dressed in silk kimonos from the Heian period flash away in “Aoki Dokugan”, a fast rocker in the best Japanese metal tradition, including some breathtaking guitar playing. “Izayoi No Ame” is fronted by Kuroneko, the female voice of ONMYOZA. The guitars have another dominant role in this song. “Kosode No Te” also has a leading role for Kuroneko, but it sounds more mainstream and less metal. This is part of the variation in music styles, that ONMYOZA presents. It’s not always one hundred percent pure heavy metal. It’s more accessible to other influences and it may also appeal to people, who are not strictly interested in heavy metal. When I listen to the first riffs of “Kuzaku Ninpouchou”, I think back to the days, when my bedroom was covered with posters of HONJOH MISAKO and HAMADA MARI. Japanese metal at its very best and a true highlight for me. “Banka” even shows that blues rock is part of the music, that ONMYOZA plays and this time with male vocals. After the GARY MOORE-type of blues solo, the song turns into a duet with Kuroneko. “Soukoku” is a fast rock song. “Doukoku” sounds like a romantic ballad type of song, but later on, it gains some speed and becomes a more regular rock song. “Tamamonomae” is part one of a song in three parts, called “Kumikyoku (Kyuubi)”, which sounds like a happy rock song. Then the mood changes into a more serious sound in the second and longest part, which is called “Shoumakyou”. It’s the longest song on the album and runs for almost ten minutes. It contains some exciting instrumental parts, but the main part is a duet between the male and female vocals. The last part is called “Sesshouseki”. Although it opens with acoustic guitars and drums, it develops into a fast rocker with METALLICA kind of riffs and solos and Hetfield type of screams. It’s definitely a song to let off some steam. Besides the female singer, which is mentioned already in this review, the band consists of Matatabi on bass and male vocals, Karukan on guitar, Maneki on guitar and Tora on drums. The CD closes with a song, called “Kuraiau”, which opens with MICHAEL SCHENKER- like guitar riffs. Despite that the lyrics are in the Japanese language, you will simply get the urge to scream the words out. A great closer on one of the finest albums by this magical Japanese metal band, which is definitely one of my fave songs here. ONMYOZA’s music will always be very hard to find on the European continent. But when you do, you will be sure of some high quality Japanese metal. Although the price might be outrageous, it’s the quality that counts here, right? The packaging of this release is very well taken care of, but this is something that you’ll always see at Japanese import products. They will surely give you value for money! Website: http://www.onmyo-za.net/ [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

PEARL-Little Immaculate White Fox (White Fox Music)
PEARL stands for Pearl Aday, the daughter of Marvin Lee Aday, who we all know as MEAT LOAF. She was a background singer/dancer for MOTLEY CRUE for a while, but now she presents us her first solo album. This white (read: blonde) fox cranks out eleven rock songs in approximately forty-five minutes. She starts off with the catchy “Rock Child”, that will immediately invite you to sing along to the chorus parts. It’s quite a powerful opener. “Nutbush City Limits”, the well-known IKE & TINA TURNER classic, is on next, although the CD mentions that this is the third track. Anyway, the guitars regularly reminds me of nobody else but the great TED NUGENT, so that’s just fine. In the CD booklet, the running order of the songs is correct and the groovy, slightly funky “Broken White” is next. Followed by “Check Out Charlie” with (guess who?) TED NUGENT on lead guitar, whose sound you’ll recognize from the very beginning. It matches very well with the sound of PEARL and he doesn’t overdo his role by turning this song into a TED NUGENT song. His solo is in service of the song here. “Mama” is sounding like THE BLACK CROWES: melancholic yet slightly groovy. Besides Pearl, the band consists of Matt Tecu on drums, Narcus Blake on bass, Jim Wilson on guitar and Scott Ian on guitar. And yes my fiends, Scott Ian is the guitarist of ANTHRAX, who also happens to be the husband of Pearl. Pearl’s voice is raspy and rocking and might remember you of DANA FUCHS, NIKKA COSTA or JANIS JOPLIN in a way. “My Heart Isn’t In It” is a slow ballad to recharge your batteries for some more musical firework, that you will get in the rocking “Nobody”, where they crank it out loud! “Worth Defending” is a great catchy rock song with some nice riffs, while “Lovepyre” is also rocking out loud and I love the somewhat BLACKFOOT sound of the guitars. “Whore” is groovy and fast and it has got that filthy TED NUGENT vibe again. Surprisingly enough, the CD ends with a slow ballad, called “Anything”. It has got a slightly country and western feel to it. ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist Jerry Cantrell plays a guest role here. Really beautiful indeed, but not really matching the rest of this great album, that will surely have a song or two for you out there, simply because it is so full of variation. A very nice album, if you like uncompromised rock songs and a nice opportunity to hear Scott Ian cranking out a different tune than “Indians” or “Madhouse”. Pearl shows, that she definitely owned the vocal talents from her very successful father. Website: http://www.myspace.com/pearl [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

REIGN IV-Tale Untold (independent)
REIGN IV has changed singers, since their latest release “Here Beneath The Bone”, which they recorded with Voltaire Andrews. The new singer is called Svjetlana Foster. The first song on “Tales Untold” surprises me in a very positive way. The CD sleeve predicts another gothic metal band, but the sound of REIGN IV is powerful and energetic and “Forever More” sounds perfect in every sense of the word. The album contains fourteen songs full of variation and a full hour of exciting metal music. “In Her Name” has some very powerful riffs and male choir chants, that could even be related to thrash or speed metal outfits from the eighties. Besides Svjetlana, REIGN IV consists of Vince Foster on lead guitar, Dave Levendoski on guitar, Eric Nartker on drums and Jon Clark on bass. In “Alive” we hear one of the main influences of Lana (or Svjetlana, if you like) and that’s Geoff Tate of QUEENSRYCHE. However, REIGN IV sounds much more energetic and less progressive. “Stigmata” is another fast song, while in “Say Goodbye” I hear some resemblance to “Stand My Ground” of our own Dutch pride-n-glory WITHIN TEMPTATION. You can easily sing along to the refrain, although he riffs are a bit heavier though. “All I Need” is a great song with a ditto guitar solo. It’s heavy, but also bears some melody. “Remember” is a ballad type of song and every metal album needs one. “Mistreated” is more up tempo, but I feel like the next song “Swallow” is more my cup of tea. “Reign Of Fear” is on next and after this one, another balladesque song announces itself in “Riding The Wind”. Obviously, there’s a lot of variation on this album and the sound of REIGN IV is easy on the ears and will probably appeal to many rockers out there. They throw back the riffs in “Focus” and the power comes along with that. The solo in this song is really nice. “Eternal Darkness” brings back the sound of early QUEENSRYCHE, mainly because of the vocals of Svjetlana. The CD closes with title track “Tale Untold”, which is another song in the best old school QUEENSRYCHE tradition. Don’t think that REIGN IV is just an ordinary QUEENSRYCHE copycat or tribute band, but the resemblance of the vocals is really striking sometimes. The riffs in this song are utterly cool and in my opinion this is definitely the highlight on the album. An album, that will certainly find its way to the fans. At least if you like good quality metal, you will start searching for it right now. Their website: http://www.reigniv.com will help you with that, I guess. Great CD cover, by the way. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

REVAMP-Revamp (Nuclear Blast)
To many people, it came as quite a shock, when AFTER FOREVER disbanded. After a short silence, it became obvious that Floor Jansen would be back in the ring with her new outfit REVAMP. No matter what this would sound like, we were sure that it would become a massive hit. Floor is so talented, that she could never fail. After hearing, that she had signed a deal with Nuclear Blast, any small doubt disappeared immediately: REVAMP would be huge from the start. And we were so right. But is this really the new success formula we have all been waiting for? The new album contains fourteen songs and runs for about fifty-five minutes. Opener “Here’s My Hell” is the well-known ‘punch-in-the face’ with a crowbar. It’s the introduction, that everybody has been dreaming of. Nobody could ever ignore this and it will definitely shut down the mouth of every acetic acid pisser, who still has its doubt. This song is such an eye-catcher and it’s so damn powerful, that it even had me speechless for a second and mind you, this is only the beginning. George Oosthoek of ORPHANAGE takes care of the wild guest vocals, which almost drown in this pool of pure power. While “Head Up High” has that same power and full keyboard sound of Joost van de Broek as the opener. It’s part of that giant introduction, that very first impression, which would never be forgotten once you’ve heard it. After that, it’s time for some fine tuning. The band is now ready to show what they’re really capable of. “Sweet Curse” bears some fine orchestration and starts off as a power ballad type of song. The guest vocals are done by Russell Allen of SYMPHONY X, who turns this into a fine duet, that you can only dream about, especially on your debut album. “Million” has got that energetic orchestration, that bands like AFTER FOREVER are famous for. Add to this a choir for the bombast and you’ll make another smashing impression. Also breathtaking are the soprano vocals of Floor. What a voice! She even makes Tarja look pale with her enormous pull-outs. Ok, it’s time for a little break now in “All Goodbyes Are Said”, which is part one of the trilogy “In Sickness ‘Till Death Do Us Part”. “Break” could very well be part of this trilogy, if you compare the styles. It has a lot of WITHIN TEMPTATION influences. Part two of the trilogy is on next, which is called “Disdain”. It contains the screaming vocals by Speed of SOILWORK, which gives it a lot of power. “Disgraced” opens with a bombastic orchestration and it’s the third part of the trilogy. The voice of Floor sounds marvellous and I can only describe this song as a mix of SAVATAGE and NIGHTWISH. “Kill Me With Silence” brings me back to reality and back to earth. What I hear is so overwhelming and sounds so breathtaking. It feels like walking in a metal labyrinth. It has so many corners, angles and places, you think you’ve seen before, but in fact they’re all just a little bit different from the rest, which makes it even more exciting. “Fast Forward” is groovy and soft in the middle. “The Triad Of Monsters” is another song, in which power and energy are the main ingredients. It’s a real headbanger and shows that Floor is a rocker in the truest sense of the word. “Under My Skin” is another break, where Floor shows her skills in sounding melodic and emotional at the same time. “I Lost Myself” shows only her emotional side. It will make you silent and soon thereafter the goosebumps will show up on your body. “No Honey For The Damned” is the CD closer and bonus track for the digi-pack version of the album. With this song we are at the end of one of the most talked about debut albums of the last few years. Floor and REVAMP will have a great future ahead of them, no doubt about it. If you can make an album like this, you can even impress the deaf. Besides Floor and Joost, we also need to mention Waldemar Sorychta, who played guitar and bass together with Arno Krabman. REVAMP live will consist of Floor, together with Arjan Rijnen and Joost Otto on guitar, Jaap Melman on bass, Ruben Wijga on keyboards and Matthias Landes on drums. No matter who will be in the band, as long as Floor is standing behind the mike, it will sound like REVAMP. Welcome back, Floor! We’re proud of what you have accomplished with this great new album and we fully support you. Now go and get them!! Website: http://www.revampmusic.com [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ROBYN DANGER-Anthology 1985-1992 (Stormspell Records)
ROBYN DANGER is no stranger to heavy metal music. In the period between 1982 and 1992, she released several demos and gained a lot of experience. The songs she released back then were only available on demos and a lot of people may never have heard it, until they got compiled and released on one album. I’m listening to the seventeen tracks compilation right now and I must say, that I really like the music of this rocking frontlady. Especially opener “Scream (Your Lungs Out) “ sounds very impressive. From that moment on, the album will catch your attention immediately. “Dreamstate” is a ballad type of song with an impressive guitar solo, that erupts like a sparkling volcano. While “Payback’s A Bitch” will raise your fists in the air without a doubt. Robyn’s voice sounds like Ann Boleyn, Betsy Bitch, Doro Pesch (WARLOCK days) or Leather Leone. If you don’t believe me, just check it out. “Too Far Gone” is a fast rocker. The underground sound fits perfectly to the music of ROBYN DANGER and it’s a mystery to me why this band never became bigger than the underground status, that they have now. Is there really nobody in California, that has a good sense of hearing? “Nasty Lady” is a nasty rocker and in “Counter Attack” we may even hear some influences of JUDAS PRIEST or SAXON from this American band. A band, that consists of Bruce Sedlacek on guitar, Ron DeSilva on guitar and Doug Teixeira on drums. I know this man from his work with BLITZENHAMMER, a great old school metal band, who also guested with Y&T for a while. “Counter Attack” is a real winner and definitely one of the highlights on the album. “Murder Breeds Murder” begins with a big drum solo by Doug and some great guitar riffs.”I’m Running” contains that mighty JUDAS PRIEST sound to the max and it’s another highlight in my book. Just check out that mighty solo and you’ll be addicted! Robyn’s voice is raw and made to sing metal anthems. “Grab A Hold And Pull” is a firm rocker, ready to shout along to. “Night Porter” stands out well with the lights down low creating the right atmosphere. While “Master Of Discipline” has a BITCH kind of feel: it’s driven and hard as steel. “Winds Of Change” on the other hand is a moment of pure emotion and tenderness. “You Don’t Own Me” is a straight forward rock and roll song, which is easy on the ears. “Tears In The Rain” is as mellow as the title already suggests. Maybe this was a test to get her music played on the radio and astonish the deejays, when checking out her other material. The solo is full of emotion, but it’s a bit too sweet for me though. “Full Load” has got a nice pumping rhythm and a rather progressive sounding intro. And before we know it, we are already at the end of this seventy minutes compilation CD, that closes with “Burning Heaven” and “Time Will Tell”. “Burning Heaven” reminds me of PAT BENATAR in a way and ‘Time Will Tell” goes in that same direction. Which shows, that Robyn slowly changed her musical direction from metal to a more melodic sound with some progressive influences. I do believe, that we are dealing with a very talented lady here, who really knew how to rock out loud. Her last demo was released in 1990, but twenty years later all of those demos are compiled on this seventeen songs CD, that gives you a perfect overview of what ROBYN DANGER was all about. A small diamond in the rough for me. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE RUNAWAYS-Original Music From The Motion Picture THE RUNAWAYS (Atlantic Records)
THE RUNAWAYS are HOT nowadays. I review this CD under the monicker of THE RUNAWAYS, because that’s where the many followers and die hard fans will start to search. However, this soundtrack of the film about these female rockers from the mid-seventies contains many more rockers from that same time. THE RUNAWAYS are the main characters though in the movie and on this silver disc. Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Cherie Currie, Jackie Fox, Vicki Blue and Sandy West - these are the ladies that it’s all about. The movie tells the story about five young girls, who get together and form a rock’n’roll band. In America, the film is already a big hit, while in Holland we will have to wait until November 2010 to see it in the theatres. But we’ll bring you the news when it’s hot and not when the flame has been turned off. I won’t go into details about the story told in the movie, I will keep this for the DVD review of the film “THE RUNAWAYS”. I will only focus on the fourteen tracks, fifty minutes soundtrack, that starts off with NICK GILDER and “Roxy Roller”, a nice bubble gum rock song, performed by the former SWEENEY TODD frontman Nick Gilder. It’s followed by “The Wild One” performed by SUZI QUATRO. I think, that we can see this lady as the biggest influence of Joan Jett of THE RUNAWAYS. She was probably the first ‘queen of noise’, dressed up in her best leather jacket, doing things that girls were not supposed to do, and with huge success. But there are more influences on this silver disc. MC5 comes from that scene, where IGGY POP ruled as well. This Detroit based band was well-known for their wild performances. Maybe they can be considered as the forefathers of the punk rock movement. If not, they are still an interesting influence for the music and attitude of THE RUNAWAYS. It’s perhaps a bit odd, that they’ve chosen “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World”, originally recorded by JAMES BROWN. Maybe “Kick Out The Jams” would have fitted much better, considering the rebellious outfit THE RUNAWAYS really were in the seventies. Another big influence must’ve been DAVID BOWIE, who is added here with a song, that matches perfectly in my opinion, namely “Rebel Rebel”. A song, that suits very well within the time frame and the whole story told. The first RUNAWAYS song here is of course “Cherry Bomb”, the most famous RUNAWAYS classic of all time. If you hear that particular riff, it will tell you what this whole story is about. It’s the blueprint for these wild women. “Hollywood” is another good choice for this soundtrack. This is the environment, the place, where things were happening. A melting pot of glitter, glamour, sex, drugs and rock and roll, stars and wannabes, living together in harmony and if you wanted to be something, this is the place where it all happened. Dakota Fanning is not the name of a band, but she is the actress, that plays the role of frontlady Cherie Currie. Together with Joan Jett, she cranks out “California Paradise”. THE RUNAWAYS continue with “You Drive Me Wild”, one of my personal faves from the band. It has got a very cool rocking beat and the bass sound is great. I like the wild, raunchy guitar solo, that matches perfectly with the song title. The horny growling of Cherie is pleasant to listen to as well. Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart are on next in “Queens Of Noise”. Kristen plays the role of Joan Jett in the movie. Joan and Cherie are heard in the song as well. “Queens Of Noise” would also be the perfect name for a rock band and these ladies were just that in the seventies. They and SUZI QUATRO were not following any rules. Instead, they decided to play rock and roll and not become the next singer/songwriter, that made one well-known song to disappear into nothingness after that. They wanted to show the world that girls can rock as well. Okay, the man, who pulled the strings was the infamous Kim Fowley (record producer, impresario, songwriter, musician, film maker and radio actor), which slowly came to light after it was all over and done with the band. In the magazines, the press only talked about THE RUNAWAYS, but there was this one man who had everything figured out in his head and he did everything to make his vicious plans become reality. In fact, THE RUNAWAYS were just the puppets, that danced to his tune. Now we know, but this wasn’t really clear, when the girls experienced their biggest success. I’m really curious how they show this in the movie. But let’s go back to the CD, where we have come to my all-time favorite RUNAWAYS song maybe, because it is so way out of the well-known boundaries, that we know them of. “Dead End Justice” is actually a story of its own, containing a duet between Joan and Cherie and a major spotlight for drummer Sandy West, who knows to turn this song into a mini thriller, that makes you fall off your chair in surprise, when hearing this for the first time. “I Wanna Be Your Dog” is sometimes played live by JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS, but here is the original versions by THE STOOGES. Followed by a live version of “I Wanna Be Where The Boys Are”, taken from the ultimate RUNAWAYS live album “Live In Japan”. THE SEX PISTOLS are the most notorious punk band in this scene and their wild reputation wasn’t just like that. JOAN JETT has a strong connection with this band and Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the SEX PISTOLS were special guests on her solo album “Bad Reputation”. Maybe that’s the main reason why they added “Don’t Abuse Me” to this sound track. Well, we’ve reached the end of this CD and the end of THE RUNAWAYS. It’s the start of a long and very fruitful solo career of JOAN JETT, that marks the end of a band, that can be seen as the pioneers of the female (fronted) rock and metal scene. These ladies deserved a movie about their career, because they meant so much for rock music in general. Only they didn’t know that, when they played the many clubs and halls and recorded several albums. They were on a rollercoaster ride and once they were out of it, there was no way back. All that’s left now are the memories of a band, that was everything many rock ladies dream about. Playing music in an all-female rock and roll band. This soundtrack is a tribute to the seventies – the heyday of the RUNAWAYS - and I think, it will please a lot of fans out there. Website: http://www.therunaways.com/ [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE RUNAWAYS-The Mercury Albums Anthology (Mercury Records)
The legendary all-female band THE RUNAWAYS are back on the silver screen with a movie about their career. And obviously, everybody wants to earn some extra pocket money with this happy occasion. This time, Mercury records comes with a double CD, packed in a deluxe gatefold sleeve and nice booklet. While the fans are rushing to the stores, I’m going to have a listen to it first and write this review. The first CD covers twenty-two songs and runs for seventy-five minutes (well almost then). It opens with two of everybody’s favorite RUNAWAYS tracks, I guess. “Cherry Bomb” is the song that says it all and “You Drive Me Wild” is one of Cherie Currie’s all-time favorites. Considering this is from their debut album, it shows that THE RUNAWAYS were not just any average rock band, they were very special. “Is It Day Or Night?” has got a catchy groove and a huge rocking drive to it. “Thunder” is kind of catchy in a way, but on the other hand it’s considered rock’n’roll at the time this was released. “Rock & Roll” has got the sound of the cowbell, which gives it the right atmosphere. Originally recorded by VELVET UNDERGROUND with Lou Reed. “Lovers” contains a good guitar sound, however it doesn’t sound as catchy as for example “American Nights”. “Blackmail” has always been one of my personal favorites, because of the loud screams and the overwhelming heavy sound. “Secrets” opens with the ALICE COOPER “No More Mr. Nice Guy” riff, but who gives a damn anyway? It’s just a fabulous rock song by these five ladies, that were way ahead of their time. Just listen to the awesome “Dead End Justice”, which is in my eyes the most f*cking brilliant song, the band has ever recorded. It makes you cling to your chair forever. It’s a mini horror play and so far away from what they’ve ever recorded and would record afterwards. What a massive rock song and such a great story. The CD continues with the “Live In Japan” album. What can I say, that hasn’t been said before?!? The announcer introduces the band, that cranks out “Queens Of Noise”, followed by a raunchy version of “California Paradise”. Consider it this way. This band existed only a year or two and they played in Japan. This only happens to a very few lucky people, especially back in those days. They had a lot to thank for, because of their manager and discoverer Kim Fowley, but he was also the man in charge and in my humble opinion, the man that was responsible for their break-up in the end. “All Right You Guys” is for the guys in the audience. “Wild Thing” could be the nickname of Sandy West. She was out there in the back, but she bashed them drums so loud, that she was constantly in the spotlights. Sandy was a very respected musician and throughout the years, she certainly created a style of her own. While Lita Ford expresses her wild guitar playing in “Getting Hot”. “Rock & Roll” is a nice opportunity for the fans to shout along to the lyrics. Then it’s time to rock out again with “You Drive Me Wild”. “Neon Angels On The Road To Ruin” follows directly after that. It contains a great drum part of Sandy and reminded me a bit of “Clock Strikes Ten” by CHEAP TRICK. “I Wanna Be Where The Boys Are” is the only song from the live album, that is used on the soundtrack album of “THE RUNAWAYS” movie. “Cherry Bomb” is on next in a smoking live version and this song will always be THE RUNAWAYS biggest hit or at least tied to the band’s name, I guess. When you listen to the response from the audience at the end of “American Nights”, you’ll realize how successful the band must have been at that particular tour. “C’Mon” is the crowd-pleaser annex encore of the live album and closes this first CD. The second CD holds twenty tracks and runs for a little over seventy-five minutes. “Queens Of Noise” gets this silver disc going. It’s a mix of raunchy rock with sensitive and very emotional vocals. This beat was just perfect for Cherie to do her stuff and the guitars have that great BOWIE vibe. “Take It Or Leave It” also has got that magic RUNAWAYS rock vibe, while “Midnight Music” shows the other side of the medal. The emotional part, that no one ever gets to see. The side, that shows up when the lights go out and the bottle is empty and you see that you have run out of fags….again. The rain will soon start to pour down on you, it’s as pure as life itself. The two sides are combined in one simple song and that’s “Born To Be Bad”. Emotional on one hand and tough on the other hand. Every story has two or more angles and this is a different look at the life of a rock singer. She leaves her family to become a rock star, because she was born to be bad. A lot of female rockers will relate to this song. The guitar solo by Lita fits perfectly within the ballad-like atmosphere, that is created here. “Neon Angels On The Road To Ruin” shows, that Lita Ford is capable of playing some stunning guitar licks, which we already know of course. But prove is given here, if you still needed to be conviced. “I Love Playing With Fire” is the story of THE RUNAWAYS in a nutshell. They didn’t take no for an answer and they did take a risk or two. They were wild and maybe not too innocent, but they had the guts to go wild and do everything that other girls only dreamt of doing. “California Paradise” is about the state, that never sleeps, the place where it all happens. It can be a paradise, when you’re happy, but it can be so cruel when you’re not. “Hollywood” is chosen as the perfect continuation after “California Paradise”. “Heartbeat” is also one of the less well-known RUNAWAYS songs. I wonder , because it contains some nice emotional guitar work by Lita Ford. I’ve always considered “Johnny Guitar” as the successor of “Dead End Justice”, but not nearly as good in my opinion. It has got the same vibe though. The song is slow and the solo is absolutely stunning. It’s another good example, that they were capable of doing (almost) everything. It also marks the end of THE RUNAWAYS as most people will probably know them. They would continue with Vickie Blue on bass instead of the stunning looking Jackie Fox. Cherie Currie also packed her bags and with Joan Jett on lead vocals and guitar, the band blasted out the “Waiting For The Night” album. “Little Sister” proves, that the band still rocks hard and their sound didn’t differ that much from their previous albums. While “Wasted” has got that raunchy punk rock sound, that we’ve known them for. Listening to “Gotta Get Out Tonight”, you’ll already hear some influences of JOAN JETT as a solo artist. “Wait For Me” was quite popular during the latter concerts of the band. “Fantasies” is ballad type of song. It’s groovy and the punk meets rock sound of THE RUNAWAYS is displayed here at its very best. “School Days” is also on the list of what THE RUNAWAYS are all about. The song “Trash Can Murders” is as rock and roll, as it can get with a filthy solo of La Ford. “Don’t Go Away” is a nice rebellious punk rock anthem, followed by the emotional ballad “Waiting For The Night”, that has some extremely surprising wild guitar playing of Lita Ford. I think, that Lita wanted to add her own twist to it and thought that it sounded too sweet for a rock band. All in all, these twenty-four tracks give you a good overview of what THE RUNAWAYS were all about. Just listen to the lyrics and their story is being told in a two and a half hours flashback to the late seventies, where five ladies paved the road to success for bands like L7, Chrissie Hynde (THE TRETENDERS), THE DONNAS, THE LUNACHICKS, HOLE and many more. The CD booklet looks very nice and the sleeve unfolds itself nicely with the four album covers captured here. Although, there is one BUT for me…. Where are the bonus tracks? Where are the pictures, that nobody has seen before? This is just another release, that all the fans have a thousand times in their collection. It just got another name and a slightly different package. There are so many fans out there searching for exclusive material and it’s sad that these people have to empty their pockets again on something they already have. It’s too bad, that after so many years, nobody has ever taken the opportunity of releasing something really special. It’s a nice overview of this cult all-female band, but with one or two exclusive demo or live tracks, it could have been so much more. Next time though, we’ll ignore releases like this and leave it for what it is. On the other hand, we can only reward this double CD with ten points out of ten and both thumbs up. What else would you expect??? [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SATANIC RITES-Which Way The Wind Blows (Cult Metal Classics)
The NWOBHM scene wasn’t really a scene, where ladies did have a leading role unfortunately. Of course GIRLSCHOOL and ROCK GODDES come to mind, but it stops right after that. SATANIC RITES is a band exclusively for connoisseurs and you’ve come to the right place here. “Which Way The Wind Blows” is the first album by this female-fronted NWOBHM band. The original version of this album was released in 1985, but to many people this is already considered as the after-party of the NWOBHM scene. Opener “Burn In Hell” sounds magnificent though and from the first notes on, you’ll know exactly in which time frame you’ll have to put it. The album starts off with one of my absolute highlights. “Matter Of Evolution” also shows some influences of the new wave scene, at least if you listen very carefully to the keyboards in the background. THE RADIOS might have been an influence to the band. The main style is rock and metal of course, topped by the slightly screaming vocals of Deborah Webster. “Don’t Tell Lies” contains some rocking guitar riffs in the beginning. It would have been suitable for radio airplay at that time. In “Fear Of The Night”, the keyboards are very much up front in the mix. The song is still powerful, but obviously the band sometimes flirts with other types of music as well. “Turn Around” could be described as a mix between NWOBHM and ….JEFFERSON AIRPLANE. Listen to the almost psychedelic intro of this song and you’ll know what I’m talking about. While “Slam The Door”, is a loud rocker and NWOBHM to the max. Just listen to that fantastic instrumental climax at the end of the song, which sounds phenomenal! “Law Of The Land” is another great rock song with a bit of a strange fading end. “Feel The Power” is powerful, but the keyboards have a very prominent role again. The solo is magnificent, by the way. Title track “Which Way The Wind Blows” closes the original album. An awesome ballad with all the ingredients for a well-known classic. It’s a damn shame, that a song like that never got the attention it deserved. Another highlight for me. The CD, that contains eleven tracks and runs for forty-five minutes, closes with the single that was released in 1981. It contains the songs “Live To Ride” and “Hit And Run”. A special note to all Metal Maidens readers is, that the single doesn’t contain the female vocals of Deborah Webster, because at that time the vocals were still being handled by Daz Bingham. Besides Deborah Webster, SATANIC RITES consisted of Stuart Page on guitar and vocals, Kevin Doyle on keyboards and vocals, David Ingham on bass and David Kershaw on drums. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SATANIC RITES-No Use Crying (Cult Metal Classics)
This is the second and final release by this NWOBHM band from Halifax, West Yorkshire. This album is definitely more difficult to find. However, there’s ‘no use crying’, because it has been released on CD now after a long time. The album originally came out in 1987. It opens with “Good Times Now”, which is a nice rock song. However, it has got nothing at all to do with NWOBHM whatsoever. This has been corrected in “Never So Easy”, which has got a great drive, that turns it into an excellent rock track. “Borderline” received some choir vocals and keyboard bleeps, that are not really my cup of tea. The guitars however sound mighty fine in this song. “Song For Stuart” rocks. It seems for every good rock song, they also recorded a less quality track. And I’m sorry to say so, but “Pain Of Confusion” is not what you’d expect from a band like SATANIC RITES. What were they thinking? Let’s forget about it and move on. I’m glad to say, that “Changeling” easily makes up for that mistake. The keyboards are back upfront and although it has a rather poppy feel, it’s very danceable rock music and I’ve heard much worse than this. The guitars cry and that’s what it’s all about, right? “Woman Of Mystery” is build upon a jolly, ‘easy-on-the-ears’ guitar sound, whereas “Cast Of My Spell” is definitely a step back to their previous album, considering the heaviness of the guitars. The obligatory ballad of the album, next to the awful “Pain Of Confusion”, is called “Here Comes The War” and it has a very sensitive guitar solo by Stuart Page. What strikes me, when I look at the band line-up that recorded this album, is that the singer is now called Deborah Ingham instead of Deborah Webster like on their first release. Apparently, she got married to bass player David Ingham in the meantime. Graham Dyson plays keyboards and David Kershaw plays drums on this album. On the demos, that are on the CD version of “No Use Crying”, we hear Kevin Doyle on keyboards, by the way. “No Use Crying” concludes this album, which is again a raw rock song and the perfect closure. The bonus tracks on this album are two demo tracks of “Never So Easy” and “No Use Crying”, which makes it a very interesting buy. The sound quality of the demos are great, by the way. SATANIC RITES deserves it to be honored this way and word has it, that the band is planning to do a reunion gig (or two). Both CD’s have received new artwork and contain all the lyrics of the songs and a small biography of this remarkable band from the NWOBHM scene with a female singer. They were one of a kind, that’s for sure! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SIN7SINS-Perversion Ltd. (independent)
SIN7SINS calls their album “Perversion Ltd”, that shows the naughty side of the band. What this means for the band musically is to be heard on this ten tracker, that runs for almost forty minutes. Opener “Crossroad 666” sounds very happy indeed, comparing to the song title. It also shows, that you can count on some surprises by this Dutch band. “7Even Stiches” (great title, by the way!) sounds industrial, but also happy and easy on the ears and if you like, danceable, because of its repetitive beat. “Rape & Take” shows, that the guitars can rock as well, in case you’re wondering. A name, that comes to mind regularly are THE GENITORTURERS, but without the show elements. “Rape & Take” also has a good mix between female voices and a male counterpart, that sounds more brutal. In the riffing parts, I see long hair waving up and down in my imagination. “Dead World” sounds raunchy and wild, with more brutal male vocals accompanying the female vocals of Lotus. In “Between Broken Dreams”, they slow things down a bit and create a dark atmosphere, that matches the ballad type of sound in this song very well. “Portrait In Blood (Braindead)” sounds vicious and mean and the voice of Lotus shows some resemblance to the female singer of THE NAME, Hadassa. “Insult # 7” is a fine rocker and the industrial guitar sound and beats return in “Sexual Predator” - a heavy pounding song with a strong heavy sound. It will easily get you on your feet to let out some sweat. The power is breathtaking and ultra pure. “Eye Want All” (another great title, guys!) rocks to the end of this CD, which is another great pounder, called “Taste Of Twilight”, including more brutal growls by singer/guitarist Gen Morphine. In this last song, their industrial influences show up well by some interesting beeps and bleeps during the instrumental mid-piece. A very kinky sound and very suitable for sexy latex parties and underground karma sutra evenings on dope. If you like rock with a kinky edge and a constant pounding drive, then SIN7SINS is ready to rock your world. Check them out yourself, you pervert! Besides Lotus and Gen, this industrial sexy rock company consists of Tristan Hex on guitar, J.D. Acid on bass and Armada Xtc on drums. Website: http://www.sin7sins.com. or http://www.myspace.com/sin7sins. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SKULL FIST-Heavier Than Metal Maidens (EP) (independent)
This year at Keep It True festival in Germany, I noticed many people with the SKULL FIST EP in their hands, showing a picture of two guys and a lovely looking blonde lady. The music by these three Canadian musicians is as metal as f*cking heavy metal is supposed to sound like. No wonder, that SKULL FIST’s star is rising very fast. Their five track EP runs for a bit over twenty minutes and opens with the fast headbanger “Sign Of The Warrior”, in which the blonde drum lady AlisonThunderland has a leading role in the beginning of the song. The voice of Jackie Slaughter is high and fierce and matches very well to the true speed metal sound in this song. The line-up is completed by Ken Neilson on guitars. “Heavier Than Metal” is a mix of IRON MAIDEN, LEATHERWOLF and VICIOUS RUMORS with the vocals of Jim Gillette in his early NITRO days. “Ride The Beast” has some MERCYFUL FATE influences and a touch of ENFORCER (the great Swedish newcomers) on top of it. As you can see, SKULL FIST mixes the best of the early days and adds a bit of today’s metal to it, creating a sound that they can be proud of. They have my vote after hearing these first three songs, that’s for sure. “Blackout” contains sharp, fast riffs and shows that this band is able to write a damn good metal song. The last song captures it all: “No False Metal”. Now that’s what it’s all about!! SKULL FIST presents us five true metal killers and no fillers. I think, we can talk of a new true heavy metal sensation from a country, that has already brought us RUSH, FRANK MARINO, PAT TRAVERS and TRIUMPH . You can’t deny it, after these five tracks, this band has got it all. Five headbangers that rock your crazy world in twenty minutes and turn it totally upside down. And Alison is definitely the most beautiful drummer in this scene! Their thanks go out to ‘the spirit of heavy metal’. Well, my thanks go out to SKULL FIST for bringing that spirit back to the scene, that was supposed to drown in a bunch of no-hopers and wannabes, that didn’t know how to rock at all. SKULL FIST is the living example of how metal should be played: hard and heavy, loud and proud. Both horns up for SKULL FIST, who receive the full score from me. Website: http://www.myspace.com/skullfisted. [10 points - FULL SCORE] (Toine van Poorten)

STARK-Race To the Floor (independent)
The ‘plug in and play’ attitude is always in my good book. And STARK has got that attitude. They present us their new album and they rock out fine with nine brand new songs, that run for a bit more than half an hour. “On The Edge” is a super cool opener, that has more rock than you can eat at once. It’s like opening a door and being blown away by the heavy sound in a full and sweaty hall. The powerful beat and filthy riffs will grab you by the throat right away. “Get It” continues in the same heavy beat. It also has a touch of early BLONDIE and a heavy rocking guitar solo right in the middle. STARK hails from New York City and with a sound like that, they can easily conquer the world. “Getting Along” contains more of these punk influences. I’m sure, that it won’t take long, before other people find out about the strength of this three piece sleazy rock combo. The band slows things down a bit in “Wasting Air” to catch some breath, but it’s not over yet. STARK consists of Joe Hogan on guitar and vocals, Eric Rock ‘N’ Robel on drums and Lani Ford on bass and vocals. Lani gives the band a female face without getting mellow, because this lady lives to be wild and energetic. In “Drunkaholic” the band pays tribute to king alcohol and its naughty abusers. It rocks like hell with the stunning bass sound by bass monster Lani. Let’s get rid of some sweat on this one! It will get you up on your feet in a sec, no matter how drunk you are. “What It Is” is for Joe, who show his skills here in some powerful axework. “Nightmares” has got a wayward sound, turning it into a real highlight for me. “End Of The Line” starts off slowly, but –wow- that great ending wraps it all up totally. Just awesome! “Puttin’ Out Your Fire” closes this sleazy rock party disc. The dirty guitars are mindblowing and the groovy sound will make you want to hit the ‘repeat’ button again to maintain that filthy vibe, that you are in. STARK rocks the hell out of you and if you don’t like it, they will put their fist in your mouth. That’s the way to do things in the underground scene nowadays. You gotta impress to be cool and STARK impressed me. Now run to your record dealer and get that album and do it FAST! Website: http://www.starknyc.com or http://www.myspace.com/stark. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

TOUCHSTONE-Wintercoast (Heavy Right Foot)
TOUCHSTONE hails from England and consists of Kim ‘Elkie’ Seviour on vocals, Rob Cottingham on vocals and keyboards, Adam J Hodgson on guitars, Moo on bass and Henry Rogers on drums. The Oscar Wilde-like introduction of “Prelude” sounds very interesting indeed and I wonder what’s next. After title song “Wintercoast”, I really can’t seem to put my finger on TOUCHSTONE. They play metal with some progressive and symphonic touches, but I also hear groovy riffs and a lot of aggression. It’s really a mix of many different styles blended together. The guitars sound great though and the progressive edges are very exciting. “Strange Days” is more up tempo and easy on the ears, perhaps even radio friendly in some way. This doesn’t really apply to “Voices”, which has a keyboard intro and a very strong dominating keyboard sound. It’s a very lengthy track, where the band shows its progressive side. The voice of Kim is soft and gentle and matches very well with the subtle character. “Joker In The Park” however sounds more exciting and asks for some special attention. Especially the part at the end, where the speed goes up, meets my approval. “Original Sin” is on next and the guitars nicely fill up the dreamy sound in this one. “Solace” captures more of that dreamy sound, but it never gets really exciting unfortunately. Because of this, I must admit, that I have very mixed feelings about this album. On one hand, it sounds exciting and weird, while at other times it sounds too dreamy and almost makes me fall asleep. “Zinomorph” opens funky and continues with some nice guitar riffs. The duet, that follows next, might remind you of MOSTLY AUTUMN in a way. The mid-piece is a bit new age, but the guitar solo sounds very juicy indeed. “Line In The Sand” contains some groovy riffs, but it also has some very melancholic vocals. This is put so close together, but makes it very hard to stay focused. It’s like a melting pot of things, that should not match together. The jazzy sidesteps in this song are a real surprise and not supposed to be there, but they lift it up real nicely, I must admit. “The Witness” is a song in two parts. The first part is a ballad type of song with male vocals in front of the mix. The second part is a lengthy song, which develops into a duet and consists of a nice instrumental adventure, in which the keyboards are very much up front. MOSTLY AUTUMN comes to mind (again), because of its slightly progressive character. “The City Sleeps” follows next, in fact it’s the album closer. It’s a short spoken word part. The ‘radio edit’ version of “Zinomorph” is a nice bonus, that puts the total amount of tracks on thirteen, with a total playing time of almost seventy-five minutes. The question remains, whether everyone will enjoy this album. I think, that if you are very open- minded and not afraid of a bit dreamy sound next to some exciting moments as well, this album may definitely appeal to you. It’s not an easy album and maybe you even need to listen to it several times to finally like and understand it. For more information, check out http://www.touchstonemusic.co.uk. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

TRIPTYKON-Eparistera Daimones (Prowling Dath Records)
When CELTIC FROST collapsed for the second time, Tom Fischer didn’t sit still long. He put together a new outfit, called TRIPTYKON and released more dark, doomy, epic tunes from his mind, that’s jam-packed with musical thoughts, riffs and songs. The band consists of V Santura on guitars, Norman Lonhard on drums, Vanja Slajh on bass and of course Thomas Gabriel Fischer on vocals and guitar. The debut album is one, that may not be missed in any collection of you die hard heavy metal fans. This nine track album consists of songs, that could very well be on any of the previous albums released by CELTIC FROST or HELLHAMMER. Maybe this sounds even more intense than some of the CELTIC FROST stuff, that is released. Just listen to the marvellous opener “Goetia”, which is like a doom metal train, which slowly crosses the landscape in eleven minutes, containing all the black thoughts that are needed to create a real classic doom metal hymn. Same actually goes for “Abyss Within My Soul”, which is a little bit faster, but it shows that Fischer converted all the CELTIC FROST elements into his new outfit and added a little bit more of his blackest soul into it. “In Shrouds Decayed” is very much up tempo and releases a lot of power. While “Shrine” is a musical horror story played in a little bit less than two minutes. It’s like watching a horror movie in your mind and listening to the soundtrack at the same time. Consider this the intro to this ultrafast thrash explosion in “A Thousand Lies”. Everybody will be awake after this brutal attack, don’t you think so?! “Descendant” opens with a slow instrumental part, showing the musical skills of these four black metallers from Switzerland is the best possible way. They spread their doomy riffs and all you can do is listen with fear and exhaustment. The fast thrashy ending of this somg comes as one big surprise and is the cherry on the cake here. While “Myopic Empire” shows, that the band isn’t afraid to do something completely different. How would you call the mid-piece in this song with pianos and soundscapes by a dark doom metal band like TRIPTYKON?!? This can only be done by a band, that knows what they’re doing. There are no borders or barriers for TRIPTYKON and if there are any, they’ll have to be replaced and removed to a place, where they can’t cause any difficulties to express their musical diversity. “My Pain” is maybe the darkest piece on this album, where Vanja also sings a short bit. If you have ever thought of committing suicide, I suggest not to listen to this song, it would only make your choice a lot easier and you wouldn’t be able to listen to this stunning album anymore. The CD closes with “The Prolonging” - an almost twenty minute doom metal piece, including some dark doomy spoken word parts, slow beats and riffs and a band, that is performing a real masterpiece. TRIPTYKON is the perfect choice for fans of CELTIC FROST and HELLHAMMER, they can buy and enjoy this album without any hesitation. If dark sounds, doomy rhythms and thrashy, galloping beats are not your thing, this album could be a seventy-five minute torture as well. But I think that most die hard metalheads will have the time of their life with this “Eparistera Daimones” and not just because of the flawless input of female bass player Vanja Slajh. Check it out before the end of the world is near and we will be drowned in darkness. For the sun might never shine upon us after our demise. At least we will have the perfect album for this to happen. Hail to Tom Gabriel Warrior, because he did it again! No matter which name he likes to use, his music is always of very high quality, coming right from the deepest of his dark spirit. Website: http://www.triptykon.net. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VAN CANTO-Tribe Of Force (Napalm Records)
This is categorized under acapella metal……and it must not get any weirder than this. I didn’t like the first album by these vocal jugglers, although many people think this is the ultimate virtuosity of the human voice. I really had to induce myself to listen to the full fifty-five minutes on this new thirteen song release. The sound on this CD is captured by metal voices, which is supposed to be a more common thing these days. Not only in the metal scene, this way of singing seems to be getting quite popular. As long as they are singing the lyrics, things are fine with me, but all the humming and dumming is not really my cup of tea. I can’t help it, but in my mind this has got nothing at all to do with metal. The instrumental parts are fine, and the high screams in “To Sing A Metal Song” are fine as well, but it really sounds (forgive me!) a bit childish to me. In Germany VAN CANTO are the next big thing on earth. Count me out, I simply can’t take this serious. In “One To Ten”, I hear a beautiful female voice, but the rest sounds almost ridiculous to me. The GRAVE DIGGER song “Rebellion”, in which Chris Boltendahl (!) joins the band, may sound vocally acrobatic to some of us, but it really doesn’t come close to what I call (heavy) metal. Although it is definitely one of my highlights here. I try to look at it the positive way, but I just can’t help myself for not liking this one way or the other. The second cover, that they do here is “Master Of Puppets”, which is blasphemy in my book. I simply can’t take this very serious, no matter how hard they try. The guitar solo sounds like the buzzing of a midge. It sounds like they want to make my favorite music sound ridiculous. And I know that this is not their intention, but they have really spoiled it for me. People, who like this stuff, may not agree with me here and if you don’t mind, I’ll leave it for what it is. [5 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VANITY BLVD:-Rock ‘N’ Roll Overdose (Gain Product)
VANITY BLVD: hails from Sweden and I think, that this release comes at the right time. The band was founded in 2005 and about five years later, they present their debut album. Let’s first introduce the band to you, before we’ll have a talk about their music. The band consists of Cindi on lead vocals, Traci Trexx on guitars, Marty on bass and Frecko on drums. The ten tracks on this legal dose of rock and roll play for approx. forty minutes, starting with “Talk Of The Town”, which sounds like LITA FORD in her wildest and most successful days. “Sweet Saturdaynite” sounds a bit more modest, but it still has those LITA FORD influences all over. And then we have gone back to the start of this review. This album could be a very suitable replacement for the bomb, that Lita dropped in 2009. And with the movie of THE RUNAWAYS showing in the cinemas this very moment, they can easily sell a few albums more, because this all-female cult rock band can be seen as one of the biggest influences of VANITY BLVD:, next to names such as BILLY IDOL, MOTLEY CRUE and ALICE COOPER. Easy rock tunes, that are perfect for a boozing party or a long drive to the shoreline in your cabriolet. Since I haven’t got one, I opt for the first choice, as long as there’s good loud music, booze and lots of girls, it will be fun. (Oops, I don’t even drink alcohol, so it looks like I’m caught with my pants down here!). “Private Hell” rocks on and after that, it’s time to “Share My Pain”. This catchy song is the first single taken off the album. The guitar solo in “Summer Teaze” is smoking hot and once again, the vocals of Cindi show a lot of resemblance to LITA FORD’s. “Come Dance With Me” is a much slower song, but the guitars still cry out loud. In “Nasty Girls”, they rock it out a little louder, while in “4 The Love Of Rock ‘N’ Roll (Scratch Like A Cat)”, the band shows their affection for a band like MOTLEY CRUE. In “feed My Obsession”, it’s time to party and the CD closes with a nice little love song (or a ballad-type of song, if you like) with “Since U Been Gone”. The rock and roll spirit of VANITY BLVD: feels really fine. It has got a high LITA FORD level, which may appeal to the many fans out there, that like the music of the aforementioned names in this review. If you have this party until you drop attitude, then you’d better check out VANITY BLVD:, before they’ll start their party without you. Website: http://www.myspace.com/vanityblvd. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WE ARE THE FALLEN-Tear The World Down (Universal)
You could wait for this to happen. Ben Moody announces his new band WE ARE THE FALLEN and everyone, who thinks we’re dealing with EVANESCENCE part two is ever so right. There isn’t anything wrong with that, because obviously Ben was one of the driving forces behind this successful band. In eleven songs, we hear his new product that is about to tear the world down in forty-five pleasant minutes. Already from the start, you’ll hear that opener “Bury Me Alive” contains the same ingredients as the EVANESCENCE sound. While “Burn” contains a bit more guitars and some brutal beats. The female vocals are done by a former American Idols finalist called Carly Smithson, who has a little less tragedy in her voice than Amy Lee. “Paradigm” is easy on the ears, and you’ll hear some nice emotions floating around in “Don’t Leave Me Behind”. “Sleep Well My Angel” is a lullaby with the lovely vocals of Carly. Her vocals are accompanied by a piano. You know the drill. “Through Hell” contains dance beats and “I Will Stay” could very well have been on the most successful EVANESCENCE album without any hesitation. In “Without You”, Carly sounds a bit like KELLY CLARKSON. “St. John” sounds quite exciting and it is one of the highlights on this album for me. “I Am the Only One” is a ballad type of song with all the necessary ingredients and a leading role for the marvellous vocal capacity of Carly. The CD closes with the more up tempo title track “Tear The World Down”. Another highlight with a lovely bombastic mid-piece. WE ARE THE FALLEN will definitely appeal to everyone, who loves EVANESCENCE. Beside Ben and Carly, the band consists of John LeCompt (formerly EVANESCENCE) on guitar, Rocky Gray on drums and Marty O’ Brien on bass. If you are looking for something totally different other than EVANESCENCE, than you’ll have to continue your search. If you are searching for high quality gothic rock music, you’ve come to the right place with WE ARE THE FALLEN. Website: http://www.myspace.com/wearethefallen. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WEEPING SILENCE-End Of An Era (Sleazy Rider Music)
WEEPING SILENCE hails from Malta and they play the doomiest metal you can ever imagine. Lengthy dark, black and very slow songs on a gothic and atmospheric base. This is the second album of the band, which is called “End Of An Era”. It runs for about fifty minutes and contains only six tracks. And the first one “Mourning Reign” is a short intro, that hardly takes any of the available time. So in fact we have five lengthy tracks to enjoy here. The voice of Rachel Grech could be compared to Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-THE GATHERING, AGUA DE ANNIQUE) or Marcela Bovio (STREAM OF PASSION). “Deep Regret” has the melancholic atmosphere, the title asks for, so obviously this is very well chosen. “Tell Me” contains the same slow funeral march walk and the tender vocals of Rachel are very much upfront in the mix. Sometimes the music tends to be secondly, but the small instrumental parts make up for that. The vocals are the main ingredients here though. This doesn’t really change in the fragile and sober “Chrystal Images”. The instrumental piece in this song has got a little touch of PINK FLOYD. Halfway the song, the band gains speed and in your imagination you’ll see the long hair waving in the wind. THE GATHERING comes to mind again. Since there’s a long time inbetween the songs, I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce the band to you and let you know who is responsible for these atmospheric sounds. Besides Rachel on vocals, we have Joseph on male vocals, Mario on guitar, Manuel on guitar, Sean on bass, Angelo on drums and Alison on keyboards. Slowly, the band has moved on towards “Darkness In My Heart”. You can almost sense the darkness in here. Title track ‘End Of An Era’ is the short album closure. Don’t worry, the sun will still shine after this dark, epic, gothic doom metal attack from Malta. But “End Of An Era” is an absolute must for those, who love the gentle sound of the vocalists mentioned in this review. Together with the atmospheric instrumental parts, this is a real doom treat to your ears. More info: http://www.myspace.com/weepingsilence. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ABSINTHE-La Fée Verte (independent)(EP)
Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees! No moaning or soft and tender squealing, ABSINTHE rocks out loud on this three song EP. Remember that GIRLSCHOOL attacked your ears for the first time? This first impression of ABSINTHE gives me the same thrill. No nonsense rock and roll with a dirty guitar attack in the middle. That’s the way I like it. The drive goes on and you get that distinct feeling in your abdomen, that this band takes their mission damn serious. The firm rock riffs hit your ears and you start tapping your feet right away. This L.A. based all-female band is the real deal and they kick you in the teeth with a brutality, that can’t be denied. Their drive is very recognizable and even the choir vocals seem to derive from the many big examples from the mighty eighties. STEEL PANTHER already put straight rock and roll back on the map, but these ladies are the absolute prove of it. They left a great impression on me after these three songs and I’d surely like to hear more of these ladies, who rock like AC/DC and early GUNS ‘N’ ROSES with so much passion, they must hit you straight in your metal heart, like they did to mine. I think, you’ll have a great time hearing songs like “Lick It Up”, “Filthy” and “Pull The Trigger”. There is still hope for the old school rock and roll sound, as long as it’s done with passion and style like these ladies on “La Fée Verte”. So take another zip from your drink (absinthe of course, what else?!) and push the ‘play’ button on your stereo, you’ll be impressed too. Responsible for these flashing guitar attacks and crazy rock licks and beats are Briana Alexis on guitar, Shannon Bizzy on bass, Cherokee Fortune on vocals, Dacey Spinuzzi on drums and Terri McCoy on guitar. ABSINTHE put my heart in flames…..now I know the meaning of their logo. Rock on, ladies and keep drinking “La Fée Verte”! Website: http://www.myspace.com/absinthewomen. By the way: my compliments for sending us such a perfect promo kit. This is the way how things should be handled!! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ANNATAR-Reflection (independent)(EP)
ANNATAR hails from our own country, The Netherlands . They consist of Wietse Braam on synths, Jeroen Gahrmann on bass, Daniel Zonneveld on drums, Bart Limburg on guitar, Johan van Heusden on guitar and brutal vocals and last but not least Elisabeth Cordia on vocals. After their demo “Remember” and a mini CD called “Quest For Reality”, the band is releasing a new EP, called “Reflection”. It contains two new songs, which are interesting for people, who like gothic or doom metal. The two songs are worthy of nine minutes of pure Dutch quality music. Especially Elisabeth’s voice is a real treat to your ears. The song arrangements of opener “Reflection” are easy on the ears and very joyful. The up tempo riffs are supported by the keyboards and the guitar solo is in service of the song but still outstanding. The voice of Elisabeth impressed me the most though. She leans towards a soprano, but it doesn’t have the opera sound that you’ll hear from singers like Tarja Turunen. It moves more towards the sound of Sharon den Adel (WITHIN TEMPTATION). The second track “Out Of My Hands” is also up tempo and contains some heavy guitar riffs and sportive drum sounds. The keyboards at the end of the song are powerful and I must say, that I liked what I heard very much. ANNATAR has already shared the stage with bands like STREAM OF PASSION, EPICA, AFTER FOREVER, AUTUMN, IMPERIA and TRAIL OF TEARS, and a full-length CD is now in the making. This is really something to look forward to, because this “Reflection” EP sounds very promising indeed! Website: http://www.annatar.nl. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

A NEW DAWN-Finally (independent)(EP)
A NEW DAWN can be seen as a serious new and successful talent from Holland. They are a huge name in the Dutch club scene and get positive reviews everywhere. This new three track EP is worthy of eighteen minutes of some very fine powerful metal, they can be proud of once again. The IRON MAIDEN-like riffs in opener “Desire” already got my head banging up and down. What a powerful start! The strength and trademark of A NEW DAWN consists of the fact, that they are fronted by two different female vocalists. Next to Jamila Ifzaren, we also hear new band member Alysia van Horik, who adds something special to the already surprisingly fresh sound of the band. In “Masque Of The Red Death” a third voice is added to the front line. Mike van den Heuvel adds a grunting voice to the whole. Not an aggressive grunt, but one that broadens their sound. The IRON MAIDEN-like riffs remained. Besides the singers/grunters, the band consists of Michiel Glas on grunting vocals and guitars, Michèl van Reekum on bass, Rik Bruineman on drums and Elbert de Hoog on guitars. Wilem Cremer was hired as an additional guitarist. The final riffs sound more aggressive and they are a nice introduction to a strong piece of harmony vocals, where the clear vocals and grunts meet eachother. This hasn’t been done too often and sounds very refreshing. The last song on this three tracker is called “Final Verdict”. It starts with some riffs, that will probably remind you of BLACK SABBATH (Ronnie James Dio era) and JUDAS PRIEST. Also there are the surprising vocals, that seem to be the highlight of every song and lift it up to something special. With the additional progressive influences later on, this song is the definitive highlight of the EP. I guess, A NEW DAWN will please many fans with this new release. They put a lot of variation in their songs, mainly because of the use of different singers. Definitely a name to remember! Website: http://www.anewdawnband.nl/ [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CHRISTIAN MISTRESS-Mother Of Mercy (Nasjonal) (7 inch single)
This heavy metal band hails from Olympia, WA and they present us their seven inch single with two pure heavy metal songs on it. “Mother Of Mercy” is an up tempo track with IRON MAIDEN-like guitar work, which will also remind you of early SAXON in the riffing parts. The guitar solos are fast and breathtaking, but also the drums are very impressive. The female vocals are handled by Christine Davis. This is the forerunner of their full-length album, that will be released later on this year. And what a pre-taster this is! The flip side is called “The Hereafter”, which also breathes the old school sound of a band, that musically stands with both feet in the early eighties. The solos are massive and this single just screams for more attention. CHRISTIAN MISTRESS consists of Ryan McClain on guitar, Oscar Sparbel on guitar, Rueben Storey on drums and Johnny Wulf on bass. Christine Davis is the frontlady of the band, the christian mistress herself. Don’t miss it, as it’s a ‘must have’ for every old school metalhead out there. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CRYSTAL VIPER-The Wolf And The Witch (High Roller Records) (7 inch single)
The beautiful cover of this seven inch vinyl single is worth the buy alone. The single contains two songs and is printed on a blue marble wax disc and a real treasure for your collection. The Polish metal band is very popular at the moment and proves that old school heavy metal is still very much alive. CRYSTAL VIPER consists of Tom Woryna on bass, Golem on drums, Andy Wave on guitar and Marta Gabriel on vocals. The A-side of this single is called “The Wolf And The Witch”, which is a fast headbanger with a very catchy chorus. A great song to play in a live setting, which they frequently do. This is a good start. The B-side is a cover of WARLOCK. Strangely enough, Marta sounds exactly like Doro in her early days. Later on, she changes back to her normal voice. I think, she didn’t do it on purpose and it could very well be my imagination only…..In that case I will have to consult a doctor for my hearing problems. CRYSTAL VIPER knows exactly what an old school metal fan like me wants to hear and these two songs are a very good example of this. Hail to CRYSTAL VIPER for keeping the old school metal alive!! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MADDER MORTEM-Where Dream And Day Collide (Peaceville Records) (EP)
This five tracker is a good way to narrow the time until the new album will be released. We hear a good taste of what’s to be expected in the future. Besides some brand new songs, we also hear the title track in two different versions. The twenty minute CD opens with the edited version and closes with the normal album version of “When Dream And Day Collide”. It shows the poppy side of MADDER MORTEM and we can hardly categorize this as hard rock or heavy metal. The great voice of Agnete makes up for it though, but if this is enough for the average metalhead is highly questionable. The jazzy, laid back atmosphere sounds very relaxing though and in the last minute, they explode in a loud orgasm of riffs. “Jitterheart” on the other hand sounds much more vivid and airy and touches the very borders of metal and rock again. The jazzy sound returns in the next song as well. “The Purest Strain” sounds like MADDER MORTEM being a dixieland band, but don’t be afraid, because the guitar riffs pull out very loud. I can imagine, that some people will have their doubts about the (sometimes) rather strange sidesteps this adventurous band makes here. Here and there, Agnete M. Kirkevaag still cranks out a maniacal KATE BUSH-like scream. “Quietude” is a piece of rest, that lacks the rock riffs, you are waiting for. All in all, this is not a bad EP, but to be honest I’d expected a bit more from this Norwegian band. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MARYA ROXX-The “21?!” EP (EAA/RAM Music) (EP)
MARYA ROXX isn’t a new face in the music scene. She has won several prices in Estonia, and gained a lot of popularity there. She also plays saxophone, bass guitar and piano, but her voice is her biggest focus at this time. Maarja chose to change her name into Marya, when she came over to America. An album is in the making and to introduce Marya to you, we decided to review her four track EP, that was already released in 2007. An EP, she recorded with Paul Crook on guitar, Scott Metaxas on bass, Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER) on keyboards and Brian Tichy (WHITESNAKE) on drums. The EP with the rather odd title contains four songs and runs for almost fifteen minutes. “21?!” opens with some catchy riffs and the lyrics are very easy to sing along to. A good way to start and to gain some interest of your listeners at the same time. Later on, we hear some nice heavy riffs and a guitar sound, that might remind you of the more solid BON JOVI songs . Don’t think, her sound is modest though. Prove is given in the heavy “Oh Yeah”, that might remind you of GUNS ‘N’ ROSES in a way. If this is still not loud enough for you, just check out the excellent “Rebel” and the mind blowing guitar solo, that will change your mind about MARYA ROXX in a sec, for that I’m sure. The bonus track is called “Nothing Going On” and it rocks from the beginning until the end. The original version is by CLAWFINGER and you know that they are a groovy kind of band. That same wild groove is on this rebellious track, that will hit you right in the face. We’re really looking forward to the first full-length album of MARYA ROXX. I can only tell you, that we were very positively surprised by this EP. Website: http://www.maryaroxx.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SACRED STORM-Extreme Assault (independent) (EP)
SACRED STORM hails from America and presents us their new five track EP, that has a total playing time of about twenty-two minutes. The band consists of Kenny Krenzin on guitar and vocals, Dave Maciel on guitar, Jimmy Sullivan on bass and Lux on drums. The band originally started their career as BONESAW, but about a year later they changed their name into SACRED STORM. But what about the music, I can almost hear you think? Think of Bay Area thrash metal style. Old EXODUS, METALLICA or TESTAMENT with perhaps a touch of hardcore in the shouting of the title “Dead Meat”. The guitars are ultrafast and in your thoughts heads are banging and the pit is growing immensely. Title track “Extreme Assault” is another thrash classic in the making and this time it has a more brutal growl. Female drum beast Lux has to move very fast to get the speed right, but things work out fine in the end. An ANTHRAX / PANTERA-like riff opens “Skull Crusher”, which develops into a groovy, wild chopping headbanger, including some innovating drum fillings. On they go with “Virus”, which sounds dark and mysterious somehow. The guitar solo in this track is mindboggling! The EP closes with “Confessions Of A Killer”, that contains more great guitar work. Obviously, SACRED STORM surprised us in a very positive way on this EP, that breathes old school thrash metal all over without flirting with other styles. It’s indeed a very extreme and brutal assault, but hey, we like it that way! Website: http://www.sacredstorm.net. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SIGN OF THE JACKAL-Haunted House Tapes (Heavy Artillery) (7 inch single)
The band photo reminded me of ACID in a way, while the sleeve shows some similarity to the cult single “The Soundhouse Tapes” by IRON MAIDEN. The seven inch by this Italian old school heavy metal band contains four tracks, but you can also see it as two tracks and two intros. What difference does it make? SIGN OF THE JACKAL is a new band and they show us, that old school heavy metal ain’t dead yet, in case you didn’t know. The single contains a fold out poster of the band with the lyrics and a ‘thank you’ register on the rear side in black and white. Now let me introduce you to these wild jackals first. We hear Sergio ‘Mate’ Condini on drums and vocals, Federico ‘Kill’ Sala on bass, Max ‘Mr. Pinkle’ on guitar, keyboard and background vocals, Roberto ‘Bob’ Condini on guitar and background vocals and Laura on vocals. So here you’ll have it and now on with the music on this vinyl disc. The ‘heavy’ side contains an intro, which is followed by “Sign Of The Jackal”. High pinching vocals, a haunting rhythm and loads of brutal riffs, this is old school true heavy metal to the core. Think of bands like WARLOCK, MALTEZE, BLACK LACE, IRON MAIDEN, ACID and ENFORCER here . The ‘metal’ side opens with church bells and a door, that slowly opens. It’s the intro to “Fight For Rock”, a heavy rock song with a very catchy feel. This might work out very well in a live situation. This single is just the beginning of a hopefully successful career of SIGN OF THE JACKAL. The band is also included on the Keep It True compilation album, “The Underground Kodex Volume I”, where they do the song “Heavy Metal Demons”. Check it out! During the last weekend in April (2011), we will get to see the band live on stage during the 14th edition of the Keep It True Festival. And hopefully, they will be able to present their full-length album there as well. It’s great to see a band, that is willing to bring back the true heavy metal spirit to the people. The way, SIGN OF THE JACKAL has presented themselves here is already very promising indeed. Website: http:// www.myspace.com/signofthejackalmetal. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SLINGBLADE-Slingblade (High Roller Records) (7 inch single)
From Stockholm, Sweden comes this remarkable old school heavy metal band. The band is called SLINGBLADE and they consist of five members, of which two members are female. The line-up consists of Johan Berg on lead guitar, Niclas Svensson on bass, Peter Henriksson on drums, Linnéa Olsson (ex-SONIC RITUAL) on rhythm guitar and Kristina Karlsson on vocals. Side A starts off with “Can’t Get Enough” in a way that SAXON or AC/DC would open a song. The voice of Kristina is easy on the ears and the mid tempo song will make you tap your feet immediately. A catchy vibe surrenders the song and a SAXON type of guitar solo is the cream on top of it all. A good start wins half the battle, so they say. The B-side is reserved for “Until Death Do You Part”, which is a very good title, I think. A straight forward rock song unfolds itself with the bitchy, screaming vocals of Katrina spitting it out really loud. I think, we will surely hear more from this Swedish band, who puts the metal in their sound real proudly. The single is available in very limited quantities from High Roller [http://www.high-roller-records.de/] in black, clear and splatter vinyl, so you can pick your favorite colour of this nice release. Website: http://www.myspace.com/slingblademetal. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

[Updated: December 31, 2010]

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