CD REVIEWS


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


Autumn/Winter 2008-2009:

A.D.D.-Elements Of Emptiness (Femme Metal Records)
Normally one would associate the letters A.D.D. as attention deficit disorder. In this case however, it refers to a positively ferocious female fronted band from Lockport, Illinois. This band is called A.D.D. (which stands for Analog Digital Disorder). It is a cleverly ironic band moniker, because I would defy anyone not to pay attention when listening to this - their debut CD - "Elements Of Emptiness". The band is comprised of five members: Margaret Young (vocals), Dave Adams (guitar), Jeremy Sparta (vocals, guitar), Randy Berg (bass) and Ron Bailey (drums). With the intros out of the way, on to the music. With the opening track "The Path", we are off and running. This is a cool opener that has a pretty solid, biting guitar riff. The vocals of Margaret Young are strong and well done. She alternates between a solid melodic style and more of an angry aggressive approach. Whatever the song calls for. The next song "Vacant" is another excellent track and one of my favorites. Some male vocals are presented here and they mix well with Margaret's. This is just a song that maintains a steady, zestful pace. The following trio of songs, "Maybe", "Can't Breathe"' and "Too Late" does nothing to bring the energetic nature of the CD down. In particular the song "Maybe" is a venomous number with sharp, biting lyrics. "Half Of Me" goes from a slower track to a beautiful mid-tempo number, something the band does very well. Other highlights include "Bridges Burning" and "Silence". The sound and production value are also very good. The band definitely put a lot of time and care into the CD. The final two songs "Waiting" and "Letting Go" (2003 demo) bring this collection to a satisfying conclusion. Definitely the strongest aspect of this band lies in the monster guitar riffs and all around musicianship. The songs are well written and the lyrics are angry, honest and sincere. "Elements Of Emptiness" features eleven songs and almost forty-five minutes of powerful, in-your-face hard rock and metal. The songs are pretty straight-forward, hard hitting and passionate. A.D.D. is a band that will bear some watching in the future. The CD remains consistent throughout and A.D.D. is a worthy addition to the Femme Metal roster. There is nothing negative I can say about this CD. From top to bottom, it's pretty solid and an enjoyable listen. [9 points] (Tony Cannella)

ADDICTION CREW-Lethal (Aural Music)
ADDITION CREW can best be described as nu-metal with dance beats on their new abum “Lethal”. The band hails from Italy and is already very hot in several countries. Their clips are regular food on the local MTV chanels. This reflects in the songs on their third album. Their previous album “Break In Life” even reached a numero uno position in Japan. Just to show you how popular this band really is. Nonetheless, their music sounds a bit like fast food to me. And this, while “Lethal” is their heaviest album so far. There are guitar riffs, uptempo rhythms, the powerful vocals of female vocalist Marta Innocenti and a very powerful beat. However, the twelve songs on “Lethal” will possibly appeal to a younger audience, rather than an old fart like me. Regular TMF and MTV viewers will probably love this stuff. It’s definitely radio friendly, but in my opinion it’s much too ‘nice’ and ‘commercial’ for the average reader of Metal Maidens. Although the catchiness in the songs could be compared to a band like KREZIP for example. Okay, we may have a point here. Anyway, the music of ADDICTION CREW is very easy on the ears. Besides vocalist Marta, the band consists of Luca Canali on drums, Alex Guadagnoli on guitar and Maxx Canali on bass. Highlights, that I would like to mention here, are “Along The Way” and “Shove” for their more aggressive character. The twelve songs are worthy of thirty-five minutes of dancable rock music with some sharp edges. Have a go at this, it may appeal to you. http://www.addictioncrew.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

AKPHAEZYA-Anthology II (Ascendance Records)
I learned about this band and album, while listening to the Sonic Cathedral sampler “A World Of Sirens”, where they submitted the song “The Bottle Of Lie”. From that moment on, I knew that I had to review the CD by this French band for our online webzine. AKPAEZYA mixes a lot of very different styles in their music: ranging from metal to jazz, easy-listening to gothic metal and some progressive stuff as well. You name it and they play it. Already after short opener “Preface”, they will astonish you with a song, called “Chrysalis”, in which they open all registers. And if you think, the whole CD will be filled with this kind of musical madness and aggressive power, better think again. They are in for another surprise. Because “Beyond The Sky” is on next - an acoustic song, which is still very expressive, but so different from “Chrysalis”. Be warned, much more of these sidesteps will follow on this album. “Khamsin” for example sounds very jazzy and fusion-like with some heavy riffs. It’s hard to describe. A mix of FRANK ZAPPA, ATROX and TORI AMOS or KATE BUSH. Simply mix and stir real heavily, and you’ll might get what AKPAEZYA is all about. But there is so much more to this band, that doesn’t fit this weird description. DIAL could be a nice reference in the more emotional and darker parts of their sound. Mehl Aëlin’s voice can do almost everything. She can scream, she can whisper, she can sound emotionally, sexy and erotic, but she can also really sing. Besides that, she also plays the keyboards. All the more reason to refer this band to TORI AMOS here. Besides Mehl, the band consists of Stephan on guitars, Stéphane on bass and Loïc on drums. While a song like “Reflections” sounds jazzy again with some wild eruptions of Mehl here and there. It keeps their music exciting and flowing. “Awake” is a short instrumental intro to a song with the remarkable title “The Golden Vortex Of Kaltaz”. It’s a very exciting piece of music, starting with something that could very well be on a classical album. But then all of the sudden, the band explodes in some kind of ARCH ENEMY-like blast beat. Surprises all over, as you can see. “The Secret Of Time” has got a lengthy instrumental intro, including some Eastern influences, which are also to be heard in Mehl’s vocal parts. While “Stolen Tears” is a short emotional song, followed by another short track, called “Trance: H.L.4.” However, it’s a bit harder to describe that last one properly. It’s some kind of musical freewheeling with an African touch. Are you still with me? I hope so. Well, we have one more challenge for you and that is “The Bottle Of Lie”. It’s my first introduction to this band. A mix of styles are glued together in eight minutes of freaky music, including some KATE BUSH-like vocals and an accordion. If you judge this CD by its cover, you could say that this is a death metal band. However, the jazzy parts (again) in the middle of “The Bottle Of Lie” will definitely prove you wrong. After hearing this one song, my attention was caught right away. And after listening to the whole CD, I know that my feeling was right. This “Anthology II” is a wonderful piece of art. It’s definitely not meant for those, who suffer from a nervous breakdown, but when you’re in for a freaky treat to your ears, then you must have a listen to AKPHAEZYA. All other music may sound very dull after hearing this mix of styles. I had a great time listening to the eleven songs on this fifty minutes album, which closes with a prayer in a language, that I don’t understand. Now, what do you mean, weird!?? [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ALL ENDS-All Ends (GUN/Sony BMG)
We found a Swedish band with two frontladies, that we would like to introduce to you. The band is called ALL ENDS and their singers are Tinna Karlsdotter and Emma Gelotte.The band recently toured in Europe on the Earthshaker Roadshock Tour with FINNTROLL, AFTER FOREVER and TAROT, which must have been quite an experience for them. The music by the band is very catchy and radio friendly. It finds itself right in the middle, where rock and metal meet each other. Their debut album contains twelve songs with a total playing time of almost forty minutes. Besides the two ladies, the band consists of Fredrik Johansson (ex-DIMENSION ZERO, CHAMELEON) on guitar, Peter ‘Texas’ Mårdklint (ex- EMBRACED, FUNHOUSE, TENEBRE) on guitar, Joseph ‘Joey’ Skansås (ex-THE GREEN JESUS SAVIOURS) on drums. “Wasting Life” captures a good guitar solo and the opening riffs of “I’m Sorry” are rather heavy, in comparison to the other material. The same goes for “Spend My Days”. But their music mostly gets softer after these heavy, sometimes distorted intros. So therefore, I would like to say to listen very carefully, before judging them the wrong way. Their biography tells us, that the band doesn’t sound like a band like NIGHTWISH, EVANESCENCE or WITHIN TEMPTATION. But I am confident enough, that if you take these bands as a reference, you can’t go wrong with this Gothenburg-based metal rock outfit. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

AMBERIAN DAWN-River Of Tuoni (Ascendance Records)
AMBERIAN DAWN hails from Finland, has a female frontlady, plays neoclassical power metal and Heidi Parviainen has got a beautiful sorprano voice. And now all together: NIGHTWISH!!! I’m sorry to say so, but yes, it is that obvious. I even believe, that Heidi could have been the perfect replacement for Tarja Turunen. It wouldn’t harm their sound at all and they could all live happily ever after. However, faith didn’t go for this option and Heidi is a member of AMBERIAN DAWN, which shows a lot of resemblance to NIGHTWISH, as we could read already. Besides Heidi, the band consists of Tuomas Seppälä on guitar and keyboards, Tommi Kuri on bass, Tom Sagar on keyboards, Joonas Pykälä on drums and Ksperi Heikkinen on guitar. The ten songs on “River Of Tuoni” have a total running time of about thirty-five minutes. And the first two songs are very radio friendly and the well-known NIGHTWISH style is cloned perfectly. In “Lullaby”, which doesn’t sound as a lullaby at all by the way, we hear the more progressive side by this band. Resulting in a more exciting piece of music, including some very brutal male vocals. The band creates a face of its own on this one, which makes it to one of the highlights on this album for me. The same happens at the end of “Valkyries”, where the band knows to create a dark atmosphere in a rather light tune. “My Only Star” is the obligatory ballad, but with “The Curse” they also present us a rather convincing prog metal song here. “Passing Bells” sounds darker and I can hear some nice musical ideas in “Sunrise”. AMBERIAN DAWN will certainly have a hard time not being slayed down as a NIGHTWISH clone. But if you listen to their music very closely, you’ll know, there is much more to this band to meet the eye. Hopefully, the band will show their real face on their next album. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

TORI AMOS-Live At Montreux 1991 & 1992 (Eagle Records)
A red haired woman and her piano. Nothing more, nothing less. That’s what you get on this brilliant double live CD by TORI AMOS, recorded at the well-known Montreux Jazz Festival in 1991 and 1992. Either you’ll hate it or if you’re a bit more open-minded, you’ll love this double live package. I belong to the second category of people. Mainly because of the beautiful voice of Tori. A voice, that has influenced many female gothic metal singers of today. Tori is a musical genius, just like KATE BUSH. Which is another good example of someone you either like or totally dislike. I think, they’re both musical geniuses. CD one captures her live performance at Montreux in 1991. Forty-five minutes of beautiful moments by an artist, who had just released her debut album “Little Earthquakes”. This was her very first ‘big gig’, and her very first ‘big success’. She astonished her audience with a series of songs, taken from this debut album. Influences of KATE BUSH can be recognised in “China” and in the very beginning of “Leather” maybe, but of course Tori’s own distinguished sound is captured at its fullest here. Just listen to the very short, but touching “Song For Eric” to get the idea. The slip of the tongue in “Happy Phantom” is forgiven right away. Especially when you hear the (again) touching version of “Winter”. Everybody felt positively surprised by the honest charm of the red haired vocalist, resulting in an encore. Therefore, she chooses the LED ZEPPELIN cover “Thank You”. A nice surprise and a great way to ‘thank’ the audience for their kindness. It’s also a nice link to her harder music style of course. 1992 sees the return of Tori at Montreux. With a very successful album in her pocket, she was ready to astonish her audience once again. And man, did she blew them all away! She was not the shy, fragile little puppet anymore, but she had reïncarnated into a monstrous top act, ready to survive in the next years. Already in the very first minutes of her gig, she showed the audience that something dramatically has changed in one year time. She opens another fabulous show with “Little Eartquakes”, which could be a nice description for all her songs, because in fact they are all little mini earthquakes, and gets disturbed by some people talking during her show in the front rows. So she just stops singing and asks if they can quit talking, and after that, she continues to sing the song she just interrupted so abruptly. This is the attitude and the spirit, that I like. The lady became a star, and nobody interupts a star, when she performs a show. A lot of the songs from the 1991 show are performed again. But in a much warmer version, in my opinion. The LED ZEPPELIN cover “Thank You” moves to the middle of the set, and is extended with another ZEPPELIN song, called “Whole Lotta Love”. Maybe it all sounds a little bit unrecognisable, but it shows the strength of TORI AMOS. She does things in her very own way or no way at all. “Me And A Gun” was taken from the four track EP, released during the time this show took place. “Winter” brings the audience back to silence and after that, Tori has just one more surprise for her fans. A stunning version of NIRVANA’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Just a red haired woman and her piano. Beautiful! Both thumbs up for this performer. These two shows can also be viewed on the DVD of “Live At Montreux”. If you’re one of the open-minded music fans like me, you will love this double live CD set. If you only like hard brutal pounding heavy metal, then you’d better leave this for what it is. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ANDEM-Pendulum Of Life (Ascendance Records)
ANDEM hails from Russia, and they present their debut album here. Their name is an abbreviation from Angel and Demon. A name, that sounds really well in my opinion. The Russian influences are clearly present in the heavy prog rock songs on “Pendulum Of Life”. After the instrumental “Intro”, you can hear it back in the great rocking opener “Nine Circles Of Hell”. And if you didn’t hear it in the instrumentation, you can hear it in the accent of female vocalist Juliana. Of course, it is not disturbing in any way. Instead, it adds a nice touch to the good sound of ANDEM. “From Nothingness” is another great song, followed by “I See The Look”, in which we also hear some brutal male vocals. Besides Juliana, ANDEM consists of Serge ‘Olori’ on guitar, Eugenius on bass and Nataly on keyboards. Yes, a second lady appears in the line up. The band has got a new drummer now, who replaced Vyacheslav, who played on this debut album, but left right after the album was released . In the meantime, they were helped out by stand-in drummer Andrey Ischenko (ex-CATHARSIS, HIERONYMUS BOSCH). At the end of “I See The Look”, we hear some exciting speed changes. And also in the beginning of “The Sign”, ANDEM doesn’t sound like any other average prog rock or female-fronted gothic metal band. The band definitely adds more to their sound and they sound quite fresh. In “Legend Of Poisoned Souls”, the speed goes up. A good orchestration takes care of a catchy atmosphere in this song. Title track “Pendulum Of Life” opens with a piano and a warm acoustic guitar sound. Highlight for me is a song, called “Mad Angel”, mainly because of the strong guitar parts at the end of the song. The CD closes with the wild and ultrafast “Angel, Demon And Me”, reminding me of IRON MAIDEN in a way. And the male, brutal vocals pop up as well. Without this, it would remind me of DRAGONFORCE too maybe. ANDEM surprised me with their debut album and we’ve heard that the band is already working on their second album as well. Website: http://www.andem.heavymusic.ru. Or http://www.myspace.com/andemmu for more information about this new Russian metal sensation. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ANOUK-Live At Gelredome (doCD) (Dino Music/EMI)
ANOUK’s concert at the Gelredome in Arnhem was a huge succes. No wonder, it would be captured on double CD and double DVD. Need I say more about Holland’s most famous rocking chick from The Hague? I don’t think so. Live, she rocks like a wild animal. There is really no one, who can tame her. Backed up by a whole new band, she rocks throughout the all-time favorite songs. After the intro, composed and performed by JUNKIE XL, she opens with “The Dark”. A good and catchy tune, to warm up the audience at full blast. “Make It Rain” gets the speed down a bit. Although this song isn’t really one of ANOUK’s biggest hits, the crowd still reacts outrageous. Why? Because this lady rocks with a capitol R. In a few slower songs, she recharges her batteries to unleash full power in the more heavy and rawer tracks. “Modern World” is such a song, in which she can let herself go at full speed. Followed by the masterly ballad “Michelle”, one of her biggest hitsingles. While “Whatever You Say” has got a little gospel touch to it. After “The Difference”, it’s time to rock again with “Girl”. The longer outro is a short moment for the band to let it all out. “RU Kiddin’ Me” has always been one of my favorites. And also on this double CD set, it’s one of the heavier tracks. “Alright” and “Our Own Love” are some of the lesser known songs, but they fit quite well to the concept. ANOUK needs a little division between the big hitsingles and some of the lesser known material to create a good overview of her long spanning career. The emotional “I Don’t Wanna Hurt” is on next, which is another piece of rest. It’s followed by “Graduated Fool”. The more rocking “It’s So Hard” is on next, which has a nice choir singing at the end of the song. CD one closes after sixty-five minutes with “More Than You Deserve”, the fifteenth song of tonight. It’s a ten minute plus tune, including a long and very powerful drum solo. Way to go and drummer Oscar Kraal really shows his skills here! A great song, which shows that the band is capable of doing more than just the average three minute rock songs, for which they are well-known. CD two opens with another ballad called “Lost”. It contains eleven tracks and runs about fifty minutes. The choir singing returns in “Might As Well”. “Everything” is another rocker, although I must admit that it doesn’t sound that flashing anymore. ANOUK is loved by a very broad audience nowadays and also non-rock chicks dig the sound by this lady. And I kinda hear this back in the more modest versions of most of the songs. Slowly, the blonde vixen has got things started and in “Jerusalem”, the guitars are rocking out very loud. And also “If I Go” sounds louder than ever before. The show ends with ANOUK’s biggest hitsingles “Nobody’s Wife” and “Good God”. “Nobody’s Wife” is where the success of this lady started and her biggest hitsingle ever. “Good God” is a more recent classic. It rocks big time, but comes with a horn section. ANOUK is still hot, believe me. But she also shows a more modest side on this CD. A CD, that captures one of the many highlights in her career, her show at the Gelredome in Arnhem. The twenty-six songs are worthy of almost two full hours of the best rock music Holland has got to offer. Besides Anouk Teeuwen on vocals, the band consists of Oscar Kraal on drums, Boaz Kroon on bass, Mennu Renjaan on guitar, Angelo de Rijke on guitar and Thijs Boontjes on keyboards. This success could go on for a very long time, that’s for sure. On the double DVD, you can watch the whole gig in its full glory, and you can also see two video clips and some backstage footage. What more can you ask for?? Website: http://www.anouk.nl. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

AREA 51-Daemonicus (independent)
This is the second album by the Japanese progressive, neoclassical powermetal band AREA 51. Their debut album “Ankh” was released in 2005. The classical intro “Introitus” already gives you a clue, in which direction the music will be heading. Think about STRATOVARUS, IMPELLITERI, SYMPHONY X or maybe even YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN and you’ll come very close to the sound of AREA 51. However I think, there is a little bit more to them, than simply comparing the band to some of the big names in the same genre. The ten songs on the album are worthy of a full hour of exciting music, and a lot of exciting speed changes can be heard in the different songs. The difference lies of course in the fact that we’re dealing with a female fronted band here. Kate is a vocalist that matches really fine with the progpower songs on “Daemonicus”. But the biggest musical surprise is in the last track of this album. More about that later though. First I will introduce this band to you. We have already told you about singer Kate. We also can enjoy the skills of founder band member Yoichiro on guitar, Takeshi on keyboards, Zinn on bass and You on drums. After two fast tracks in “Les Anges” and “Ashes”, the band takes back speed in the beautiful ballad “Venus (Croix Eternelle)”. Together with the string arrangements and the spoken word part in this song, you would almost forget that you’re listening to an heavy metal album. The speed goes up again with “Close To….(You And Me)”. The long instrumental part in “Just Like A Prayer” impresses a lot, and it turned this song in one of the highlights on the album for me. “Requiem” is a short instrumental intermezzo and a sort of intro to the ultimate highlight of “Daemonicus” namely the sixteen and a half minute “Lord Knows”. Better sit down for a while to enjoy that. It’s a duet between vocalist Kate with Rob Rock (IMPELLITERI, ROB ROCK). The song is impressive, with many great speed changes. A real treat, at the end of this good album, which will make you cling to your seats for the full sixteen and a half minutes. AREA 51 is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of the aforementioned bands in this review. I bet they won’t let you down with “Daemonicus”. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

AESMA DAEVA-The Thalassa Mixes (EP)(Root Of All Evil records)
AESMA DAEVA are a female fronted symphonic metal band from Minnesota. They have actually been around for a number of years with their debut album being released in 1999. Ex-VISIONS OF ATLANTIS Melissa Ferlaak even passed through their ranks at one time. The latest release from AESMA DAEVA is a four song, twenty-six minute EP, titled "The Thalassa Mixes". The band is currently fronted by strong operatic vocalist Lori Lewis. She is joined by the following musicians: John Prassas (guitar/composer) and Chris Quinn (bass).The CD begins with eight minute "Tisza's Child - Sunken Cathedral". The opening of the song combines some cool sounding orchestration combined with Lori Lewis's operatic vocal delivery and some other sound effects - giving it a movie soundtrack-like feel to it. The track moves along at a very deliberate pace, but it is still a powerful number. This is a big sounding track that really weaves a majestic sound-scape. Next is "The Garden I Long For". A melancholic instrumental, that is quite peaceful and serene. A bit of a change of pace and sets a definite mood. Next up we have "Loon - Thalassa", Lori Lewis definitely takes center stage here. This is another slower track that features some more orchestration. This leads us into the final track "Loon - The Swamp". This track is a fine way to end things as the band utilize more orchestra arrangements, this time in conjunction with a heavy guitar riff that just keeps building and building. The two styles gel nicely together and gives the track an epic feel. Lori Lewis has also worked with the Swedish band THERION on a couple of their previous releases and tours. After listening to her work with AESMA DAEVA, it's easy to see why she got the job. After listening to "The Thalassa Mixes" and going back and re-visiting their previous works from AESMA DAEVA, it is beyond me why worldwide success have eluded this band. It's true that this style of music may be an acquired taste for some, but there is no denying the musicianship and talent that are on display here. This is operatic, symphonic metal at it's best. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

BACKSLASH-Trip of Pain (SinSin-Music)
This release from 2007 came like a thunderstruck in a clear sky at our office. We saw BLACKSLASH in the late nineties, supporting RIVERDOGS. They released three full-length albums until 2003 and a demo CD in 2004. After that, it becomes rather silent around the band. After a constant search on the internet for more information about this talented band from Germany, we almost thought that the band had vanished into thin air. Can you imagine our surprise, when we got hold on their new, full-length album “Trip Of Pain”? It’s almost five years later, since their previous release “Princess Of Disharmony” and the band still sounds very fresh to my ears. BACKSLASH now consists of Jens Koehn on drums, Wolfgang Scheier on bass, Dennis Schneider on guitars, Frans Exner on guitars and Heike Grebita on vocals. Opener “Music Of My Life” sounds like a ZED YAGO, VELVET VIPER kind of tune. Maybe because the voice of Heike shows quite some resemblance to the strong voice of JUTTA WEINHOLD. The eleven songs on the album are worthy of almost fifty-five minutes of decent German heavy power metal. “Horrorscope” opens with soprano vocals, that will remind you of TARJA TURUNEN and NIGHTWISH. But don’t be afraid, because the metal calibre in this song is still high and it even contains a great guitar solo. The song also contains a high sing along level. While “Enter The Night” opens with more opera-like voices, but this song is definitely darker than “Horrorscope”. At the end of the song, there is some kind of vocal part again, which proves that the Heike’s voice sounds very differently, when she sings with her opera voice. “Phantom Of The Dark” is definitely a highlight on this album. It’s a classic heavy metal song with all the right ingredients. “Fade Away” sounds a bit like the JUTTA WEINHOLD fronted bands again, because of the vocal sound of Heike, including some dark metal riffs. A very exciting song! “Fairy Tales” is on next, which sounds without any doubt as a dreamy rock song. Mind you, the rock riffs are still there, but the song breathes a fairy tale like atmosphere. The guitar solo in the song is quite okay though. And the spoken part at the end of the song, makes it a lot more exciting than the average fairy tales, I used to listen to. “Looser” is one of the more heavy tracks on the album. Just listen to the opening riffs. Great sound on this one! Of course I was expecting a ballad on the album as well. I had to wait a while, but with “Cold Eyes”, it’s finally there. It contains a nice guitar solo as well. A ballad just can not be missed on a metal album like this. “The Gambler Wins The Game” is a dark uptempo song. The CD closes with “Johnnie Walker”, which opens quite funny. This tribute to the brand of Scotch whiskey seems to come straight from the heart. The short bonus material is very funny, but you’ll have to find out for yourself. We hope, that we don’t need to wait another five years to hear more from this German power metal band. This new album didn’t exactly sound like a trip of pain to me. Instead, it sounded more like a trip of joy. Website: http://www.backslash-metal.de/ [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BAMBIX-Bleeding In A Box (Go-Kart)
The melodic hardcore punk band BAMBIX is still going strong. The band plays a lot of gigs all over the world and every now and then they please their fans with yet another strong album. “Beeding In A Box” is not an exception to this golden rule. With opener “Under The Moon”, you’ll already know that this is an album to cherish. “Bottle” is catchy, and it could even be suitable for radio airplay. It’s a great song with a high RAMONES calibre. And the party goes on in “Mount Neverest”. A mountain, you won’t be able to climb in two and a half minutes, but that’s the time the band needed to crank out this fast rocker. In 2008, BAMBIX consists of Wick on lead vocals and guitar, Peter Dragt on drums and Patrick Turner on bass. In “Leave Luke Be”, Wick even sounds very brutal and aggressive. But the average sound of BAMBIX is melodic and catchy. Party punk rock to the max. In “Tyra Banks”, the band pays tribute to the well-known top model. Their great sense of humor goes on in the brilliant title “Viva Las Vegans”. Terrific choice! I must admit, that this is one of the best, maybe even the very best BAMBIX album so far. After “To Not Do”, there is a short, but fast hidden track, which closes the album after about forty minutes and fourteen songs (including the hidden track!). After the release of this album, BAMBIX will undoubtedly hit the road again to please their many fans all around the world. People, who like bands like FABULOUS DISASTER, will have a killing time with “Bleeding In A Box”. For more information about this Dutch melodic punk rock band, you can go to: http://www.bambix.org/. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BATTLELORE-The Third Immortal (Napalm Records/Hard Life Promotions)
Those modern purveyors of fine fantasy, epic, Tolkien-inspired metal heads have returned with their new album "The Third Immortal". Finland's BATTLELORE have really carved out a unique niche for themselves in the world of metal. This band has been around for a number of years, but I first became familiar with them via their phenomenal "Evernight" CD, so it was with great enthusiasm that I jumped right into "The Third Immortal". The title track begins things in a big way. It features all of the elements, that one would expect from BATTLELORE. It has great production and movie soundtrack-like orchestration. Female singer Kaisa Jouhki takes center stage here and sounds better than ever. She is joined on the chorus by Tomi Mykkanen and his brutal vocals. "Exile The Daystar" is next and keeps things going in much the direction of the previous song. The male and female vocals are split pretty evenly here and there is a stark contrast between the two styles, with Kaisa's being more angelic mixed with Tomi's more aggressive vocals. Things take a heavier and more brutal turn on "The Great Gathering". The brutal male vocals are featured more prominently on this song and the choir-like vocals on the chorus are done really well. The song just gets heavier as it goes along. The next song "Guardians" is one my favorite tracks here. It starts off slower and is - for the most part - a mid-tempo number, but it does have it's heavy parts. This is a song that should really appeal to fans and non-fans alike. "Voice Of The Fallen" is next and keeps things going at a nice, heavy pace. The speed comes down a bit with the next song. "Daughter Of The Sun" is a quieter number, that is a bit of a ballad. Very beautiful and heartfelt. Some more orchestration is included in the song and nice use of violins only enhance the overall feel and melancholy the song is trying to convey. "Green Dragon" is just a heavy straightforward number. Other highlights include: "Awakening", "Epic Dreams", "Moontower" and "The Star Of High Hope". BATTLELORE sounds like a more energetic, cohesive and focused band unit these days and that is apparent throughout "The Third Immortal". BATTLELORE have recorded a worthy follow-up to "Evernight". They have taken the best qualities from that album and applied it to "The Third Immortal" and then some. The limited edition version comes with a beautiful sleeve and a live DVD of the band tearing it up at the Female Voices Festival in 2007. Something fans of the band should definitely check out. In fact, the whole package should be necessary listening/viewing for any fans of BATTLELORE. "The Third Immortal" features eleven songs and fifty-three minutes worth of essential music for any fans of the band or just the genre in general. J.R.R. Tolkien would be proud. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

BLACKMORE'S NIGHT-Secret Voyage (SPV)
You have to hand it to Ritchie Blackmore, if nothing else, he is a man of integrity. Many fans thought (hoped?) that once he got the renaissance thing out of his system he would head back to the loving arms of DEEP PURPLE or - better yet - resurrect the legendary RAINBOW. After over ten years and many CDs later, the likelyhood of this happening is becoming less and less (although you never say never). Yep, the band Ritchie fronts with his girlfriend Candice Night continues to churn out album after album. Their latest is titled "Secret Voyage" and you know what? I really like the renaissance thing. The CD begins with the three-and-a-half minute instrumental "God Save The Keg". That title alone proves that Ritchie does indeed have a sense of humor. The band is solid on this one, as it segues into the eight minute track "Locked Within The Crystal Ball". This - quite simply - is one of the best songs that BLACKMORE'S NIGHT have recorded. The vocals of Candice sound great and the song marches along at a brisk pace. Next is the balladesque "Gilded Cage". Then comes "Toast To Tomorrow". This song keeps things going smoothly. It has a great melody, lyrics and is just an all around great song. Next is, "Prince Waldeck's Galliard". This is a two minute instrumental, that leads us into the next track a stunning cover of the RAINBOW classic "Rainbow Eyes". It's nice to see, that Ritchie isn't running away from his past, he embraces it. This is already a great song and the vocals of Candice Night really breaths new life into the song. Not to say that there is anything wrong with the vocals of Mr. DIO on the original version, this is just a new take on an already great song. Next up is "The Circle". Another song that utilizes exotic instruments and paints a breathtaking musical picture. Other highlights include: "Sister Gypsy", "Can't Help Falling In Love" and "Peasant's Promise". The final two songs "Far Far Away" and "Empty Words" are slower numbers, but are a nice way to end things after twelve songs and almost sixty minutes worth of renaissance magic. With "Secret Voyage" BLACKMORE'S NIGHT have delivered another great album. The band sounds as tight as ever and seem to be really enjoying themselves. After more than a decade with BLACKMORE'S NIGHT, Ritchie Blackmore, Candice Night and company have continued to write a new chapter and add to their legacy. I look forward to many more albums from this great band. [9 points] (Tony Cannella)

BRAVE-Lost In Retrospect (Femme Metal Records)
It's hard to believe, that it's been twelve years since Virginia's BRAVE have released their first recordings. Back then they were known as ARISE FROM THORNS (having adopted their current moniker in 2001 for "Waste Deep In Dark Waters" EP). In that time the band have released four full-length CDs and two EPs, yet they have still managed to fly a bit under the radar. They have just released a comprehensive compilation CD titled "Lost In Retrospect". Their music can be described as progressive rock and metal with a touch of the avant garde. But really this is a band with several different layers and that makes them hard to categorize.The songs - for the most part - are presented in reverse chronological order. The first three songs are taken from the bands 2008 album "Monuments". Right off the bat you get a sense of diversity of BRAVE. The second track "Driven" is one of my favorite songs the band has ever recorded. It's heavy, yet melodic and very catchy. Check out the excellent guitar solo on this one. It just plain rips and the vocal work of Michelle Loose can't be denied as well. Her vocal style is somewhat unique and it blends well with the music. The 2004 EP "Passages" is represented with "Words". This song features some impressive changes. Three songs from 2002's "Searching For The Sun" - arguably the bands best release - are up next. "Before Nightfall", "Trapped Inside" and "Candle In The Dark" are all solid choices. 'Before Nightfall', in particular is very memorable. It's really a pretty sounding song that is a bit of a ballad, but it is has more to offer than your standard ballad. Four songs are included from when they were known as ARISE FROM THORNS, giving fans a glimpse into their early material and you can see how the band has progressed since then. The best is saved for last with the ten minute epic "Passages" from the 2004 album of the same name. This song really ends things with a bang. It is one of the most mature things the band has ever recorded - what a way to end things. The inclusion of violin on a number of tracks is also a nice touch. At fourteen songs and sixty-nine minutes long "Lost In Retrospect" serves its purpose as an audio history lesson. The music on this CD just goes to show how criminally underrated a band that BRAVE has become, it also serves as a good starting point for anyone looking to get into this band. I could go on and on about this band, but instead of me just babbling on, I would encourage anyone who likes what they hear on this collection of songs to seek out their back catalog. [9 points] (Tony Cannella)

BUG GIRL-Rock And Roll Hell (Middle Class Pig Records)
BUG GIRL hails from Australia and this is the band’s second album. I can highly recommend this to everyone, who’s into sweaty, no nonsense, in your face, rock and roll. Fans of AC/DC, NASHVILLE PUSSY, THE CULT and THE DISTILLERS will know what I mean. The metal version of THE WHITE STRIPES could also be a very suitable description of this twosome from Down Under. The band consists of Clinno on drums and vocals and metal maiden Amber on vocals and guitar. This album contains ten tracks and has a playing time of about forty-five minutes. “Shootin’Fire” is already a great opener. They get their guns ready for title track “Rock ‘N’ Roll Hell”, which will definitely invite you to sing along, even after hearing it only once. “Ian Astbury” must be a tribute to the wild frontman of THE CULT. In “Death On Wheels”, the band sounds a bit like WOLFMOTHER in a way and in “Resurrected” we hear a more laid back, bluesy side of the raw rawk and rollers. While “Hot Tonight” is another nice, fast rock tune, including a speed change in the middle of the song. Next on is “(If I’m In Luck I Might)Get Picked Up”, which sounds like a jam session in a way. It also contains some influences of LED ZEPPELIN here and there. This song was originally written by Betty Davis Mabry, the wife of jazz legend MILES DAVIS. It may sound like the odd one out here, but it fits really well with the other songs though. In “You’ll Luv It In Here”, the band returns to their uncomplicated rock and roll sound. “Suck It” is a shot full of adrenaline, covered in a sexy three minute explosion of rock and roll. The CD closes with “War & Fire”, where the band sounds a bit like WOLFMOTHER again. Okay, this is a real high quality, dirty rock and roll album. And I can assure you, that the band can produce this rock sound live on stage, too. Prove was given, when they supported BENEDICTUM and GIRLSCHOOL in de Pul in Uden (NL) and they rocked down the house completely! I never knew, that two people could make such a loud, cranking rock and roll sound! BUG GIRL does and they proved to be some very fine musicians on this album. Check it out, before it gets you! I’ll give this one the full score, because they really deserve it! [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CELLULITE STAR-Explicit Attitude (Andromeda Relix)
CELLULITE STAR is an exciting all-female punk rock band from Italy and they really surprised me on this debut album. The thirteen songs on “Explicit Attitude” are worthy of a forty-five minute party with the four ladies rocking out real loud! Opener “Shake Your Music” sets the pace. Party punk rock in the best DONNAS tradition could be a short but very suitable description of CELLULITE STAR. In “Green For Us”, the band rocks wild and loud and they press the pedal to the metal. “Baby Don’t Go” is a nice sing-along tune and I’m sure you all still remember the words of “Call Me”... It’s a cover of the BLONDIE song, but it has a much better guitar solo. The guitars in “My Man” sound quite raw and takes the band to a much higher level. There is also some good guitar work in the raunchy “Numbered Days”. However, the real highlight on this album for me is “Hey You…”! While in “I Can Guess”, the band is slowing things down a bit and gathering ‘round like a campfire party. CELLULITE STAR consists of Silvia on rhythm guitar, Klaudia on guitar and backing vocals, Desiree on bass and backing vocals and Lara on drums. “Have You Been Around” (HARDCORE SUPERSTAR cover) opens with an IRON MAIDEN-like riff, which closes this album with a big bang. I really had a great time with this fantastic punk rock album! Better watch out for CELLULITE STAR, because these young ladies do have an “Explicit Attitude” and there’s no stopping them now! Website: www.myspace.com/ cellulitestar. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CHERRY LIPS-Cherry Lips (Andromeda Relix)
The next all-female band from Italy, I would like to introduce to you, is CHERRY LIPS. They play some great catchy hardrock music. The band consists of Stefy on vocals and guitar, Karima on bass, Elisa on guitar and Serena on drums. The ten songs on this self-titled debut album play for forty minutes and bring you back to the time of AEROSMITH and THE RUNAWAYS. Hardrock with its roots in the seventies. Opener “Dead Or Alive? (Are You)” is a raunchy rocker and with “Haunted”, the band also cranks out a more serious song. “The Race Is On” reminds me of LITA FORD in her most successful days. Meaning that it rocks, but it also has a very catchy twist to it. While the opening riffs of “Right Now!” contain some influences by THE DONNAS, without being an excellent copycat. Yes indeed folks, CHERRY LIPS rawks real loud, just like their all-female labelmates CELLULITE STAR. In “On My Own”, you’ll hear some well-known AC/DC riffs. “Mean Hot And Nasty” sounds like a mix between THE DONNAS and NASHVILLE PUSSY. Talk about some steaming hot rock and roll! These mommas really know how to play it dirty. It’s definitely one of the highlights on this silver disc for me. While a song like “Heartbreaker” sounds much lighter and has a very high ‘sing-along’ calibre. “Shadow” is a short piece of rest, before the band present their version of the CYNDY LAUPER classic “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. This song really gets a nice CHERRY LIPS treatment, which makes it sound a bit more alternative. “Narcissus” is a beautiful ballad with a ditto guitar solo. A nice way to close this CD. CHERRY LIPS has the rock and roll virus running down their veins and prove is given on these ten songs and debut album. It’s good to hear how a band, that mainly played covers, can develop in such a good sounding rebellious rock outfit. Website: http://www.cherrylipsrock.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CIVET-Hell Hath No Fury (independent)
CIVET is an all-female rock and roll band from Los Angeles. Their album “Hell Hath No Fury” is the band’s fourth album, after “Graceland (2001)”, “Civet (2003)” and “Massacre (2005)”. “Allibis” opens very loud and in your face! You can’t escape this attack! “Son Of A Bitch” (No, not the ACCEPT song!) is another slam in the face. These girls don’t take no for an answer and they sound like they’re out for blood. Which is also a nice bridge to LITA FORD, THE RUNAWAYS and JOAN JETT, because the music of CIVET could be compared to these hard rocking ladies in a way. Maybe they sound a bit more punky, but hell, they sure do know how to rock out loud. The band consists of Ms. Liza Graves on vocals and guitar, Suzi Homewrecker on gutiar and vocals, Jacqui Valentine on bass and vocals and Danni Harrowyn on drums. “Pay Up” sounds punky with loud, screaming vocals. While “All I Want” could have been on any JOAN JETT album! Even the vocals of Liza sound very much alike the queen of punk ‘n’ roll. “Bad Luck” sounds loud, very fast and ultra mean. “Brooklyn” however, has this great ‘sing-along’ content, while “Take Me Away” has got that well-known Riot Grrrls character. That is lurking at the backdoor of most of the songs, but is carefully hidden by the rock and roll attitude by these four ladies. In “Gin & Tonic”, you’ll hear more of their Riot Grrrl influences, but in “You Got It” it’s completely gone away. Riot Grrrl influences or not, I don’t think the average fan will give a damn, as long as the ladies crank out HOT songs like “Sin City”. The band closes the CD with title track “Hell Hath No Fury” (not to be confused with the ROCK GODDESS classic!!), in a furious way. CIVET is what you would call a wild cat, that you’d better not come too close to, because these kittens got claws, that will tear your face apart. If you like the sound of loud and wild rawk and roll, mixed with a punky attitude and a touch of the Riot Grrrl sound, then you’ll love “Hell Hath No Fury”. Website: www.myspace.com/civet. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DAMNZAL-Damnzal (2008) (DEADFamous Records)
Didn’t we review this CD before? I guess so, but this version of DAMNZAL’s debut CD is slightly different than the original, we reviewed back then. It also contains some different songs, so as David Coverdale would like to say, Here I Go Again! This CD contains nine songs, resulting in twenty-five minutes of kick ass rock and roll. The CD opens with the catchy yet groovy “Sin City”. In “Come On”, I hear a slight touch of THE RUNAWAYS, but this time with a soft grunt sound here and there. The RUNAWAYS cover “Cherry Bomb” is included on this version as well. That’s how we actually found out about DAMNZAL. Every link to THE RUNAWAYS is checked out thoroughly and the version of this classic rock song is raunchy and very much approved by yours truly! “Superstar” opens with a brutal scream and sounds dark all the way. While “I Feel Used” is a more ballad-ish song. So far, no new songs on the horizon. But that’ll change soon. “Sex Slave” is on next, a song with a nice beat, and a bit doomy pace to it. “Bang Your Head” says it all in the title, I guess. When the speed goes up, it’s perfect to move your head up and down to the rhythm. Yes kiddos, that’s the way your mom and dad did express themselves back in the eighties. The wild sound remains in “Satans Preacher”. The CD closes with “Stand Up”, which is another groovy attack to your ears. These ladies and one bloke are a really wild experience from Down Under. DAMNZAL consists of Tania Pennisi on vocals, Vanessa Payne on bass, Paula Condell on lead guitar and vocals and Scott Danson on drums. At least, that was the band line up, while recording this album. A recent update will learn, that Vanessa, Scott and Tania have left the band due to musical differences. Paula will continue under the name DAMNZAL, but then with different special guest musicians. Okay, the band will at least remain as such, but I really hope that Paula will get a stable line up together. So we will hear more powerfull, in your face, rock music from this Australian band. Website: http://www.damnzal.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DECEMBERS FALL-Awakening (independent)
New York City rockers DECEMBERS FALL really impressed me on their debut album “Awakening”. Fifteen dark, groovy and a bit alternative metal tracks, worthy of almost forty minutes of music, enter my room. These songs hold a very groovy alternative sound, some dark melodies and true emotions. The first impression I get is of a band, that mixes LACUNA COIL influences with the louder sound of for example EVANESCENCE. Each song is connected to each other by a short instrumental part, which makes their music very pleasant to listen to. Every song gets some kind of an instrumental intro this way. Easily, the best song on this album is “In Giving In”, for which the band recorded a video clip. The instrumental “Isolation From The World” is very atmospheric and a good introduction to the acoustic “Solitude”. While “Ellipsis” is another nice acoustic piece. However, I had mixed feelings about “Absence Of Yourself”. I really dislike the FAITHLESS-like dance influences, but I did like the uptempo beat on this one. Same goes for the dance rhythm and beats of the short intermezzo “Don’t Be Afraid”. It really scared the shit out of me. What has gotten into them? I don’t get it. A feeling of relief comes over me, when the next song “Words”starts off. The BLACK SABBATH-like riffs really make up for these bad feelings and I realize that these dance moves were probably just a slight slip of the tongue (hopefully). The short instrumental, right before “Silence”, is very wisely named “In Between Words And Silence”.The perfect title, if I may say so. (LOL). Some of these songs could be very suitable for radio airplay. And maybe the mix of dance beats and groovy rhythms of “Absence Of Yourself” could work out very well. But the highlight of this CD remains “In Giving In” for me. “Nothing Left of You” closes this album, showing a band, that fits really well in the world of today’s metal. Especially, when you’re into a band with a bit darker sound, that is not afraid to experiment at times. Check out their MySpace site for more information at http://www.myspace.com/decfallnyc. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ILSE DELANGE-Incredible (Universal Music)
I am afraid, that people don’t really get it at times. Some non-metal releases get attention and high scores. Same goes for this new album by ILSE DELANGE. It has got nothing at all (or whatsoever) to do with heavy metal or rock music. However, like TORI AMOS, SHANIA TWAIN or KATE BUSH, this musician is way too essential to keep away from our online ‘zine. Mainly because the music is good, the vocals are fabulous and it sure gives me extreme pleasure to say something nice about non-metal artists in general. This brand new CD by ILSE DELANGE contains twelve songs and captures forty-five minutes of high class mainstream pop music, which is also linked to country rock. Listening to the first hit single “So Incredible” simply makes me very happy. But also the second single “Miracle”, which is already lurking around the corner, has got that incredible catchy feel, which make it so easy to listen to and enjoy. “We’re Alright”, in this context, could be a good follow up as a third single. After hearing it once, you can almost sing along to it immediately. “Puzzle Me” has got that same open and catchy sound, whereas “Adrift” is a bit more balladesque in a way. I agree, that not every song appeals to me as one of the seven wonders of the world. However, I can listen to this album with a good feeling and a smile on my face, because it contains some ‘easy on the ear’ music with great vocals. Fact is, that Ilse also scores her first number one hit single, taken from this album. I am glad, that there are more people, who dig her voice and her incredible ability to write good and very catchy songs. “The Other Side” is another very attractive tune, while “Fall” closes this new incredible album by Ilse. It’s good to know, that LYLE WORKMAN is still her main man on lead guitar. To me, he will always be the man behind “Code 3” on the “US Metal I” compilation album, which is one of the best instrumental guitar explosions ever! Besides Lyle, Ilse’s band consists of Matt Chamberlain on drums, Chris Channey on bass, Luke Potashnick on guitar, Zac Rae on keyboards, Dave Ristim on bajo and pedal steel guitar and Jony Samuelsson on mandolin and violin. In the limited edition version, you’ll find a bonus DVD with the video clip for “So Incredible” and some ‘Behind the scene’ footage. A nice addition for all the die-hard fans of this sympathic, pretty lady from Almelo in The Netherlands. Website: http:// www.ilsedelange.com. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DÉTENTÉ-History 1 (Cognitive Records)
In 2008, a hype has started around DÉTENTÉ. First we see the reunion of this thrash metal band, followed by a very successful reunion show at the prestigious Headbangers Open Air festival in Brande, Germany. The part of the frontlady was successfully done by Ann Boleyn (HELLION), who took the place of the late Dawn Crosby (R.I.P.). Here, we can enjoy “History 1”, an interesting compilation CD consisting of the original four song demo recordings by DÉTENTÉ, consisting of “Holy War”, “Widow’s Walk”, “Shattered Illusions” and “Vultures In The Sky”. Dawn’s raspy voice is still sadly missed and when you listen to these songs, they’ll make your flesh crawl. And so does the breathtaking guitar solo in opener “Holy War”. Dawn Crosby’s voice was meant to sing brutal thrash metal. When the band split up, the remains continued as CATALEPSY, where Ross Robinson on guitar and Steve Hocheiser on bass, teamed up with drummer Dave McClain. The two demos released by CATALEPSY are also to be found on this first history lesson on CD. It contains the vocals of Veronica Ross. Veronica is a less extreme version of Dawn Crosby, but she has also got that raspy, raw sound, which we can enjoy in the six remaining demo songs here. Dave McClain later returns in the very successful band MACHINE HEAD. But the other band members disappeared into the unknown. It’s good to hear though, that their music remained, although it’s only for about thirty-five minutes here. Veronica Ross never made a full-length album with CATALEPSY, although their music was widely praised and the band was one of the forefighters of what was to become the more progressive thrash metal sound. I hope, the second history lesson will tell us a bit more about the FEAR OF GOD demos. This is a very good start though. A must have for all the thrash metal fans out there. It’s great to know, that Ann Boleyn carries the torch of this band now, but it’s even better to hear the band in its most original form. Top notch material from the mid-eighties, finally printed on CD!!! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DORO-Celebrate - The Night Of The Warlock (EP) (AFM/Rock Inc.)
In December 2008, DORO will celebrate her 25th anniversary as a performer. Man, how time flies! In commemoration of this milestone event, the German metal queen has released a five song EP, appropriately titled "Celebrate - The Night Of The Warlock". This is a very special release, that fans of DORO and fans of metal in general should eat up. This EP contains three distinctively different versions of the title song. The first is just DORO on lead vocals with some help from her fan club on background vocals on the chorus. This gives the song a totally live and energetic feeling. You can envision an arena full of DORO-maniacs singing along. The next version of the song features special guest vocals by one Mr. Biff Byford of one the most legendary bands of all time (in my book anyway) SAXON. It is always a pleasure to hear Biff's vocals and he and Doro have tremendous chemistry together. The third and final version of the song features an all star line-up of female metal stars. It really is a whose who. Just some of the singers represented are: Floor from AFTER FOREVER, Sabina from HOLY MOSES, Liv from LEAVES' EYES, Veronica from BENEDICTUM, Angela from ARCH ENEMY and the girls from GIRLSCHOOL - just to name a few. The song itself is truly a great song, that is indeed a celebration for anyone who loves rock and especially metal. "The Night Of Warlock" is next and it begins with an eerie intro featuring a demonic male voice, but quickly turns into a rousing rocker. With the title DORO once again gives a little nod and a wink to her past, but the song itself fits right into her current catalog. The final song "Rescue Me', is a beautiful heart-felt ballad. Something that DORO has become known for over the years and this will not disappoint. The final verdict is this: "Celebrate - The Night Of The Warlock" contains five songs and twenty-three minutes worth of music, that is more than just a celebration of twenty-five years of performing on a stage. It is also a celebration for those of us, who have been along for such an incredible journey - a journey that will continue for a long time to come. Get it! [9 points] (Tony Cannella)

DYLATH-LEEN-Semeïon (independent)
If you like it louder, wilder and more brutal, you can lend your ear to the new DYLATH-LEEN album “Semeïon”. This second album by the French death metallers contains eleven songs and fifty-five minutes of technical death metal. Let’s first introduce the band to you, before we talk about their music. We hear Kathy Lopez on guitar and female screams, growls and the more clean oral outings, Igor Landorique on guitar and brutal male growls, Jérémy Mairesse on bass and Bertrand Oria on drums. “Buy Me A Smile” opens very brutal. However, in “Adorning Wounds”, we hear that this is not just another brutal and powerful headchoppers death metal outfit. The clean, angel-like vocals of Kathy gives this song a sort of gothic twist. At the end of this song, there is also a nice slow, more doomy instrumental part underneath with some fast thundering drums. While in “Frozen Reflect In A Broken Mirror”, the band gains back speed. But also here, they show us that they’re not your everyday’s death metal band. And in the last one and a half minute, the band closes this lengthy track with an acoustic guitar piece. Which is not really something you might expect from a death metal outfit. “So Ill-fated” contains some CRADLE OF FILTH-like screams, while in “Scars As Victory”, the band sounds more like the British meat eaters of CARCASS, with their nearly understandable dark growls. For me, the best song on this album is the short but outstanding track “Despair”. Well, the title says it all, I guess. It’s like a cult horror movie packed in two and a half minutes. Wicked, unexpected, doomy, spooky and dark. But really fantastic! The song is also a nice step forward to the more uptempo “Abhoth”. “In A Memory Of Those Halycon Days” closes the album. One, that will probably surprise many death metallers, because this band dares to add melody to this rather brutal style of metal. It’s furious, yet with a soft touch here and there, so check it out! Website: http://www.dylath-leen.net. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EOWYN-Silent Screams (independent)
"Silent Screams" the new album from Nashville, Tennessee based Christian singer EOWYN. I was not at all familiar with her music before and was surprised to find out that this is actually her third album. Musically, she has an industrial rock sound combined with dramatic and ethereal music to go along EOWYN's emotional and engaging vocals. She really does have a lot of talent and it really shines through on "Silent Screams". The opening track "Crashing", literally comes crashing through your speakers. It is a blistering riff-heavy guitar track that really does a good job in setting the mood. The next song is "Life" keeps the momentum going and that is followed by "To My Surprise" which is a definite highlight for me and it would make a great single. The title song "Silent Screams" is another scorcher that sees EOWYN joined by PILLAR front man Rob Beckley. This is a pounding aggressive number, that if given the right kind of exposure, this could do for EOWYN what "Bring Me To Life" did for EVANESCENCE. Some comparisons have already been made to Amy Lee's band - I can see such comparisons musically, but vocally EOWYN is pretty unique and stand on their own merits, she is just brimming with raw emotion and power on each and every song. Continuing on with the music: "Runaway" is next and it keeps things going in a strong direction. "Unfinished Memories" slows things down a bit and it is a beautiful ballad. Other highlights include "Hands Of Time", "Saving Grace" and "Significant". The final song "Goodbye" brings things to a close. This is just a straight forward rocker with buzz saw-like guitars and a perfect way to end things. Musically EOWYN combines elements of industrial with a heavy rock sound. Lyrically, she comes from a more spiritual and Christian place. At ten songs and almost forty minutes long "Silent Screams" is an album that hits you hard and fast and then it's over and leaves you wanting more. Maybe it could have been five-ten minutes longer, but there is no denying the impact that these ten songs have. Simply put, EOWYN is a revelation. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

FLOWING TEARS-Thy Kingdom Gone (Ascendance Records)
FLOWING TEARS consists of Stefan Gemballa on drums, David Vogt on bass, Benjamin Buss on guitars and Helen Vogt on vocals. The band already proved to be a successful addition to the gothic metal scene. And their music is regularly compared to a band like THE GATHERING. Former vocalist Stefanie Duchene left in 2002 and has been replaced by Helen Vogt. With her, the band recorded their studio alum “Razorbliss” and their live album “Invanity – Live in Berlin”. The new album “Thy Kingdom Gone” contains eleven tracks and runs for about fifty-five minutes. The album is much louder than the previous work by FLOWING TEARS. The guitars are raw and Helen’s voice sounds very powerful and upfront in the mix. Just listen to “Pain Is Taken Over” in the beginning of this album, to get the big picture here. While “Rain Of A Thousand Years” (like the title suggests) sounds quite dark and depressing - gothic black metal at its very best! You won’t feel too happy after hearing that one, I think. While in title track “Thy Kingdom Gone”, there’s a guest performance by SAMAEL vocalist Vorph, making it sound even darker than planned. I guess, the tone has been set from this moment on, and the album becomes more darker and slower. “Words Before You Leave” is already quite slow, but “Miss Fortune” could easily be done by Marlène Dietrich. Well, at least the first two minutes or so, then it slowly gains some speed and power. And at the end, a melancholic piano part closes the song. Musically, it goes a long way and the average metal head will probably hate this outing of melancholy, bitterness and pain. “Colossal Shaped Despair” almost sounds like doom metal, while in “Kismet”, Helen cries out the pain, that is locked inside of her. At least, it sounds like that. “For My Enemies” sounds a bit spooky at times, but very powerful. While in “Souls Of The Neon Reign”, it’s time for another duet song. This time Sascha Blach of TRANSIT POETRY gets a go and he matches very well to Helen’s voice. The album closes with “The War We Left Behind”. All in all, it becomes quite clear, that FLOWING TEARS are still developping their sound and trying out different styles. Sometimes it’s loud and powerful, while at other times it’s dark, depressing and very sober. One thing’s for sure: their music is always of a very high quality! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GIRLSCHOOL-Legacy (Wacken Records)
Let’s have a party to celebrate GIRLSCHOOL’s 13th anniversary! And what’s the best way to do this? I would say with a splendid brand new album. Fifteen new tracks, covering fifty loud minutes of the well-known GIRLSCHOOL metal heavy sound. Things have been rather tough lately for these ladies and the death of Kelly Johnson hit them really hard. But these ladies are true survivors and they return with a strong and very solid new album, which proves that they are not ready yet to lay down their swords. Just listen to the fantastic openers “Everything’s The Same” and “Other Side” to get my point. “I-Spy” is a strange, yet phenomenal song, which brings DIO and the darker sound of MOTÖRHEAD together (I think about a song like “Orgasmatron” here). Maybe there are even some PINK FLOYD influences here and there in this song. Later on the album, you’ll hear the same song with Ronnie James DIO on vocals. The lead guitar solo of Phil Campbell of MOTÖRHEAD makes the circle round again. There are more guest appearances on this album. We will also hear Jay Jay French, Fast Eddie Clarke, Tony Iommi, Neil Murray and Eddie Ojeda. Wow, quite an impressive list, if I may say so! Next track is “Spend, Spend, Spend”, which has got that dirty rock and roll atmosphere going on. The drive, that GIRLSCHOOL is very well-known for. The urge to have a rock and roll party all night long, after you’ve heard this song only once. TWISTED SISTER’s Eddie Ojeda must’ve burned his fingers during the guitar solo in this one! While in “Whole New World”, we will hear Phil Campbell again. Neil Murray plays bass in this particular song. He also returns in “Just Another Day”. “Legend” has become the perfect tribute to Kelly Johnson. It’s the way, that the girls remember her. And you can hear that the lyrics come straight from their hearts. “Still Waters” is a nice uptempo song. Next on, you’ll be able to enjoy the girls’ version of the MOTÖRHEAD classic “Metropolis”, including a lead guitar solo of Fast Eddie Clarke. Who else could play the leads on that one, I would almost say?! In “Don’t Mess Around”, the ladies called in the help of TWISTED SISTER’s axeman Jay Jay French and I can tell you, that he isn’t messing around here! That’s for sure. “Zeitgeist” captures another Phil Campbel lead solo. That male voice in “Don’t Talk To Me” sounded very familiar to me. It’s a guest appearance by Lemmy of MOTÖRHEAD on vocals, bass and ….the not to be missed instrument in heavy metal, namely the triangle (lol). It’s definately one of the heaviest and fastest songs on this album. Then, a set of three bonus tracks round this CD off. Starting with the Ronnie James DIO version of “I-Spy”, which is a great song! Tony Iommi laid down the guitar solo on this one. “London” is a song co-written by Kelly Johnson, which has got a nice catchy sound and the well-known GIRLSCHOOL vibe coming along with it. We all know “Emergency” of course. The ladies have re-recorded the song and this new version closes the album. So don’t get confused here, because the CD mentions “London” as the last track on this brilliant album. In 2008, GIRLSCHOOL consists of Denise Dufort on drums, Jackie Chambers on guitar and vocals, Enid Williams on bass and vocals and Kim McAuliffe on guitar and vocals. This album can only receive full score! And not just because of all those great names, that cooperated on here. It’s the high quality of the songs that I’ve heard, which made me decide to pull five fire cracking bombs out of my magic hat for these four girls. Here’s to the next thirty years, ladies!! Cheers you lot! Website: http://www.girlschool.co.uk. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GORE GORE GIRLS-Get The Gore (Bloodshot Records)
Retro is hot and it’s cool again to relive the sixties or seventies. And I get that feeling, when I listen to this new album by the GORE GORE GIRLS. Consisting of Amy Gore on lead guitar, Marlene The Hammmer on guitar, Carol Anne Schumacher on bass and Nicky Styxx on drums, the band presents us fourteen infectious rock-n-roll tracks. These Detroit rock chicks could be compared to bands like THE STOOGES, MC5, NEW YORK DOLLS, THE DONNAS and THE RAMONES. Openers “Fox In A Box” and “Loaded Heart” have a bit of a punky feel, but “All Grown Up” definitely has got that great sixties big hair tutti frutti rock and roll style. While “Pleasure Unit” makes a turn of one hundred and eighty degrees and opens with riffs, that could have been on any AC/DC album. The song was co-written by Kim Fowley. Yes, that’s the same man, who discovered and managed THE RUNAWAYS in the mid-seventies. The next song “Where Evil Grows” sounds a lot more laid back, while in “Don’t Cry”, the ladies rock it out real dirty. As you can see, there’s a lot of variation in their songs, but one thing’s for sure: they always rock! Although I must admit, that only those people with a broader view in rock music might dig the sound, that this all-girl band provides. And especially the dirty guitar sound will appeal to the sleazy rock fans out there. This fourteen song CD runs for forty minutes and closes with a nice instrumental, called “Hammer Stomp”. These GORE GORE GIRLS really crank it out on this one! Website: http://www.goregoregirls.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HOLY MOSES-Agony Of Death (Wacken Records/SPV)
We were really looking forward to hearing this new HOLY MOSES album. And holy f*ck, what a killer album this is! Sabina and her guys really did a great job on “Agony Of Death”. Opener “Imagination” sounds already like the HOLY MOSES, that we know . “Agony Of Death” is really a concept album. And the big strength of this whole album for me is, that the songs are melted together by instrumental parts at the end of each song. At the end of “Alienation”, the song turns into a dark instrumental part of thirty seconds or so, slowly melting into the next track “World In Darkness”. The songs however are ultra loud and raw, and have Sabina’s cruel growls and some fast, mean, and very loud riffs. I simply just love the riffing part in “Pseudohalluzination”, which is definitely one of the highlights on this album for me. But to be honest with you, I really couldn’t discover any bad songs on this album. It’s one big thrash metal orgy, melted together with dark instrumental interludes. I absolutely love the repetitive riff salvos in “Dissociative Dorder”, which sound like a machine gun emptying a bullit belt. Listen to the flashing guitar riffs in “Delusional Denial”, the thundering drums in “The Retreat”, and the slightly doomy “Through Shattered Minds” with brutal repetitive chorus lines. That’s the way to please a thrash metal fan. Perhaps some people might dislike the soundtrack-like approach at the end of each song, but I think it sounds really marvellous! To me, this has become by far the best HOLY MOSES album ever. The band now consists of Sabina Classen on brutal vocals, Michael Hankel on guitars and vocals, Oliver Jaath on rhythm guitar and vocals, Atomic Steiff on drums and Thomas Neitsch on bass. Together with a handful of guest musicians, like Schmier (DESTRUCTION / HEADHUNTER), Ralph Santolla (OBITUARY / ICED EARTH / DEATH / DEICIDE) and Ferdy ‘Carpenter’ Doernberg (AXEL RUDI PELL / ROUGH SILK), they created a killer album, which may not be missed in the collection of every thrash metal fan out there. Website: http://www.holymoses.de. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

IN THIS MOMENT-The Dream (Century Media)
I have to admit, I have always tended to steer clear of IN THIS MOMENT. I don't know why. Something about them just screamed nu-metal to me. It was only recently that a friend of mine played their new CD "The Dream" for me, when I realized how very wrong I was and I am happy to admit this. To say I was blown away is an understatement and I am only sorry that I didn't give IN THIS MOMENT a chance sooner. Oh well, it was my loss. The one minute intro track "Into The Dream" kicks things off and leads us into the bombast of "Endless Days And Nights". This is a fist pumping number, that really gets your heart racing and your blood going. Next is "Forever Infinity". This keeps things going much in the direction of the previous song. I would have to rate this as one my favorites. It features a great guitar riff and the chorus is so catchy, that you can't help but sing along. The band slow things down a bit for the next song "The Storm". It starts off with some melancholic guitar work, that is joined by Maria's mournful vocals, before getting heavier and really turning into an excellent, epic, powerful number. Next is "Standing In The Rain", which is just a straight forward track. "The Underworld" is next and is another definite highlight. Here, Maria really shows what she can do vocally, as she is just all over the place. From one end of the spectrum to the other "The Promise" is a beautiful ballad, that is just Maria, a piano and orchestration. This song is the most different of anything else offered up here, but it totally fits. This song is - dare I say - pretty. Other highlights include "Unconditional", "Empires Fall and Rise Again" and "The Rabbit Hole". The vocals provided by Maria Brink are breathtaking throughout. She has an innate ability to go from aggressive, to soft, to melodic and back again. She gives a passionate performances that really packs a wallop. That's not to say, that the other musicians don't shine as well. The band: Chris Howorth (guitar), Blake Bunzel (guitar), Jesse Landry (bass) and Jeff Fabb (drums) all turn in excellent performances as well. This is a total band effort. "The Dream" features eleven songs and forty-three minutes worth of melodic, well- crafted metal, that does not fail to make a positive impression. With "The Dream", IN THIS MOMENT have recorded an album, that should take them to the next level. If there is any justice, that is exactly what will happen. [10 points] (Tony Cannella)

JAM PAIN SOCIETY-Black Light Messiah (Locomotive Records/Rock Inc.)
JAM PAIN SOCIETY rocks it out loud on this debut album “Black Light Messiah”. Guitar riffs, that could come from PANTERA and the sometimes aggressive sounding voice of Leah Kirby, they sure know to impress me. “You Made Me” even has got a LED ZEPPELIN “Kashmir” like sound here and there. The song also contains a great guitar solo. JAM PAIN SOCIETY consists of Chris Hill on guitar and vocals, Greg Putnam on bass, Chapman stick and vocals, Matt Frederick on bass and vocals, Nick Campbell on drums and the aforementioned metal maiden Leah Kirby on vocals. “Secret” introduces a dirty groove, which made me think of MOTHERS FINEST for a few moments. Big beats, maybe funky at times, yet ultra loud and very groovy. The guitar solo is alike and fits very well to the rest of the song. “Monster Mind” is another dirty and groovy song. While “7-Second Smile” is a bit easier on the ear and it may invite you to dance or move along to the groove. The song, that we all were looking forward to hear is “The Ride”. Mainly because it captures a guest performance by former KISS guitarist ACE FREHLEY. It doesn’t really have that KISS vibe, that you might expect in a way. But I bet you a fiver, that the guitar solo by Ace is very recognisable indeed. And it gives the song just that little bit more, that it needs. And it also gives you the drive, that you need to hear this album, if it was only once in your life. Space Ace blows it out real nicely, that’s for sure! The album continues with “Erase You”, which is another groovy ear attack. In “Wrapped Around”, we hear an exciting mix of male and female vocal parts. The subtle aggressivity returns in every song and provides this debut some good melodic groovy rock. Even if Ace wasn’t on the album, it’s still a nice listen to this North Carolina based band. If you like the sound of MOTHERS FINEST, then I think, you will dig JAM PAIN SOCIETY as well. Website: http://www.jampainsociety.com/ [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KAIRA-Huntress (Irond Ltd.)
We already informed you before about the band KAIRA from Moscow (Russian Federation). They are back with a new album, called “Huntress”, released in February 2008. Well, at least that is the English translation. According to their MySpace site, the current band line-up is: Kaira (vocals/lyrics), Pavel Drozdov (guitar), Alex Docuchaeb (bass), Alex Generalchik (keyboards), Anastasia Kozhemyakina (fiddle), Alina Varushina (violin) and Vitaliy Smikalov (drums). This CD simply breathes the good old heavy metal spirit, that we all love so much! And alltogether, the ten songs have a total playing time of about forty-five minutes. Undoubtedly, you’ll hear one of the better Russian female-fronted metal bands and their songs capture a lot of variation. Here and there, their Russian background is very recognisable, like in the low-pitched voice of female singer Kaira, the use of an accordion and a spinet in the beginning of “The Legend Of The Brothers Of Camelot” (dedicated to the Zapashnyj brothers) and more of those small details. But in general, we are dealing with a hot and true heavy metal band here. Listen to the sound of armour in the fourth song “Sparta” for example. Here and there, you can also hear some progressive influences like in the fifth song “Our Subtle Nameless”. While “The Greatest Hero Of Middle Ages” is an instrumental tune with the keyboards in a leading role. “Run” on the other hand is a soundtrack for the English movie “To Escape From Destiny” (label: Screen Gems). Never heard of that one, but it’s a good song. One things’s for sure: KAIRA is a great band, that can easily compete with West-European bands. The band has three (!!) female members in their line-up, which makes them even more interesting than the average one lady metal band out there. For more information about KAIRA, you can go to their website at http://www.kairamusic.com or visit their MySpace site at: http://www.myspace.com/kairarussianband.com. Better make sure, that your Russian is perfect, before entering their official site (or take some Russian lessons first!!). [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KANYBL KAOW-A Birthday For Pancho (independent)
Hey, here’s that meat eating Kaow again. The Kaow that ate himself. After the live album “Glassbox, Live And In Concert”, the four ladies have returned with a new album, which contains ten songs and forty-five minutes of alternative doomy gothic rock and metal. The ladies have gained some experience and they sound a lot mature and more sure about themselves and their music. Opener “Narcissist” will cling to your mind from the start. And also “Peggy’s Song” has got that magic touch. You start to hum along with the chorus, without really knowing the words. So there’s a strange kind of catchiness in the songs here. KANYBL KAOW still uses the corpse paint, although their music has got no links with black metal whatsoever. I think, that’s cool. They just do their thing, the way they want to. In “Waterproof”, I hear some choir singing by the ladies, which reminds me of the Indians, the native American citizens, singing together. And judging the ladies names, they could well descent from Indians. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Snow, Whitefeather, Pain and Silvermoon could be the perfect names for Indian ladies. Anyway, back to their music now. The slow songs sound rather dark. And sometimes the instrumentation is a bit sober. But it fits very well to the dark atmosphere. It’s a shame maybe, that a lot of the songs are played at the same speed. A good exception to this rule is title track “A Birthday For Pancho”, which is a bit more uptempo than the previous four to five songs. While “Lies” definitely makes you anxious to hear more... It’s more brutal than the other tracks and contains brutal growls and grunts and has some distorted vocal parts as well. The CD closes with “Slightly Crunchy Biscuits”. Has the Kaow turned into a Cooky Monster? I liked the drumming part on this one, which is very innovative. I’ve still got both thumbs up (or should I say two horns up?) for these young ladies from Montasque, California. They fight their way up for a very good reason. They have been playing many shows to raise some money for the national breast cancer foundation. The Kaow has got its heart in the right place. That’s why you should at least have a listen to the ladies new CD. Or even better, visit a show of the Kaow, when they play in your neighbourhood. Happy birthday Pancho, and hip hip hooray for KANYBL KAOW. And a big Mooooooooooo back to you, ladies! Website: http://www.kanybl-kaow.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KATRA-Beast Within (Napalm Records/SPV/Rock Inc.)
Fans may not be familiar with the Finnish band KATRA, led by vocalist Katra Solopuro. I wasn't either, until I stumbled upon their 2nd CD (and first for the great label Napalm Records) titled "Beast Within", and man am I glad I did! For fans, who are still mourning the absence of Tarja Turunen from NIGHTWISH, than KATRA might just fill that void. Her vocals are very powerful Tarja styled operatic vocals, but she definitely adds her own flavor to the songs and proves that she is more than just a mere Tarja clone. KATRA has actually been around for a few years and although this is her debut album on Napalm Records, this is actually her second release overall. She is also joined by a very talented gang of musicians, the band line-up looks like this: Kristian Kangasniemi (guitars), Jani Wiland (keyboards), Johannes Tolonen (bass) and Jimmy Drain (drums). The band is also joined by a myriad of guest musicians who come together to make this one of the more enjoyable metal experiences in a while. The CD begins with the fantastic "Grail Of Sahara" with an infectious guitar riff and an instantly memorable melody. The vocals of Katra are powerful, energetic and emotional. They follow that up with the track "Forgotten Bride", this song begins with piano before evolving into a big, bombastic track complete with choir-like backing vocals. Next is the title track. "Beast Within" is just a straight-forward song with a catchy guitar riff and another great melody. One of the many highlights that is on display throughout this disc. "Fade To Gray" and "Swear" keep the momentum going as they are two fine mid-tempo numbers. "Promise Me Everything" slows things down a notch, but it is no less powerful than the previous songs. The vocals of Katra are definitely the center piece of the "Beast Within" CD. Some other highlights presented here are: "Mystery" (featuring a nice haunting melody), "Flow" and the ballad "Mist Of Dawn". The Finnish language track "Kuunpoika" brings "Beast Within" to a wistful conclusion. This song is very beautiful and a great way to end this strong CD. "Beast Within" features twelve songs and forty-nine minutes worth of music, that is definitely in the realm of symphonic, power metal with some operatic elements thrown in for good measure. Overall, this is a fine CD that is loaded with excellent songs and great performances all the way around. In my mind, this is a band that has a lot to offer and one that will no doubt be heard from in the future. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

KREZIP-Best Of (Sony/BMG)
KREZIP decided to quit. Some band members will pursue a solo career, while some others will possibly quit playing music. What remains are memories of this nice Dutch band. No, they were not the new heavy metal kings and queens maybe, but they always managed to write some quite catchy and easy on the ear music. Like ILSE DE LANGE does. Not heavy, but easy to listen to. And listening to this ‘best of’ album, you will easily recognise each and every song, that goes by. So sit back and relax and enjoy the seventeen songs and a full hour of KREZIP music. In this full hour, you will mainly hear their own written material, but they also played some covers in their long-term career. One is captured here. “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime”, which was originally done by THE KORGIS. On the DVD, that comes with this CD, if you’re a quick buyer, you can also watch the band play “Venus”, originally performed by SHOCKING BLUE with the late Mariska Veres on vocals. This CD plays as a sort of all-time KREZIP hits jukebox. Just choose your favorite song and play it. In the Dutch charts, the band will be sadly missed. But I am sure, that we will hear more from Jacqueline, after she has given birth to her first child. This is the band’s last child in ten years of modern pop and rock music. It contains a good overview of the band’s career. The DVD was recorded live at the Heineken Music Hall (A’dam) and contains twenty tracks and some behind the scene footage. A real ‘must have’ for all the fans of this Dutch band. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KRLEŠ-Perunovo Requiem (Sia Production)
This is the fourth full-length album by the Czechian heavy metal band KRLEŠ. It contains ten new songs and has a playing time of about forty-five minutes. It’s great to hear, that there are still bands out there, that play traditional heavy metal. I don’understand the lyrics, but the different songs contain a lot of power. Since their last album “Sizy Arkony” came out, the band went through some line up changes. They have a new guitarplayer, called Libor Daniš and a new singer, called Lucie Roubièková. Lucie replaced former singer Zuzana Martincová. Besides Libor and Lucie, KRLEŠ consists of Radek Sady Sádovský on guitar, Jiøi Mráza Zima on bass and Jiøi Smìlik on drums. The music of KRLEŠ shows some resemblance to the old sound of ACCEPT and JUDAS PRIEST. Powerful, ‘fists in the air’ heavy metal with catchy hooks. The album opens with the short instrumental title track, followed by “Saumrak Bohu”, which obviously contains some ACCEPT influences. The JUDAS PRIEST-like riffs appear in “Posedlost”. While “Nechte Mĕ Bejt!” has got that pounding rhythm, that will also remind you of the good old PRIEST sound. In this song, they turn up the speed a little. “Prokletá” is introduced by a tearing guitar sound. Traditional hard rock and heavy metal fans, who are not too happy about all the different styles, created in the past few years, will be delighted by the down-to-earth sound of this band. “Ekokalypsa” opens with a rather doomy drum intro and a darker light shines in this one. At the end of this song, a child choir sings some harmony vocals. While in “Vykoupeni Kruí” the speed goes up, until it reaches great headbanging speed. A great warming up for your neck muscles! The ACCEPT-like twin guitar solo explodes right in your face. For sure, my favorite song oo this album! “Za Servskeju Golu” is the obligatory ballad with harmony vocals by the male members of the band. The harmony vocals return in “Poločas Rozkladu”, which has also got some riffs of MICHAEL JACKSON’s “Beat it”. “Perunovo Requiem” is a real treat for people, who like honest and true-to-the-bone heavy metal. I think, this is a worthy album between all the gothic, nu-metal and alternative releases and I would highly recommend it to everybody, who reads these lines. Both thumbs up for KRLE Š, which means a full score for this mighty fine album. Website: http://www.myspace.com/krlesband. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LIPSTICK MAGAZINE-Skin Deep (Vigilante/Rock Inc./Bertus)
The first song, that I heard on this album of LIPSTICK MAGAZINE hit me straight to the heart. Yes, this band knows to create a great melodic rock sound. And I can only hope, that the rest of the album is just as good as the opener and title track “Skin Deep”. LIPSTICK MAGAZINE knows to hit the nail right on the head. With a female singer, that sounds like SASS JORDAN, the band impresses me with a ballsy, yet melodic sound. This continues in a song called “Against The Wall”. Names like JOURNEY, SURVIVOR and DOKKEN come to mind, when listening to this footstomper, inclusing some high screaming guitar outings and double bass drum rolls. “Something You Should Know” is also good, right from the beginning. These kind of songs make you curious how they will develop later on. You wanna hear more, right from the first beats, riffs or chords. Or, at least I get that feeling. Toni Loyas is the frontlady with the great voice. Prove is given in the sensitive ballad “All I Want”. After that, the band lets it all loose in “Keep Me Running”, which gives you a full rock and roll song to the max. New Jersey already had some amazing talent, but now they can definitely add this great rock band to the list. The nine songs have a playing time of about forty minutes and every song has got the magic and makes it very easy to listen to. The songs sure have radio potential and the whole album came as a very big surprise to me. “Out Of Control” is a rather sleazy rocker with ome great guitar work. And “Defenseless” is the second ballad. This time, it’s acoustic and it might remind you of HEART in a way. Besides Toni Loyas, the band consists of Damon on lead/rhythm guitar, David on keyboards, Nat on lead / rhythm guitar, Marc on bass and Russ on drums. After playing some “Love Games”, the band closes the album with “OK To Cry”, which is another catchy rock song. I am deeply impressed with the fresh melodic rock sound by LIPSTICK MAGAZINE. They already build up a solid live reputation by supporting bands like WINGER, DANGER DANGER, DORO, JANI LANE, UFO and YES. I truly believe in this band and to prove this, I’m gonna reward “Skin Deep” with the full score. I am not totally speechless, but I’m really impressed by the skills of this New Jersey based rock band. Hopefully, their next album will be a bit longer, so we will be able to enjoy more of their great music and the fans will get more value for their money. But that’s the only negative remark, I have right now. Website: http://www.lipstickmagazine.net. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MAB-Decay (independent)
This CD was recorded in Hell. Okay, you’ve got my full attention. MAB is a four piece, all-female outfit, originally hailing from Italy. The slightly morbide front cover will already give you the idea, that we’re not dealing with some kind of dreamy gothic kind of outfit. However, to label this band in a way, that fully fits them, is almost impossible. Their sound is dark and especially vocalist Psycho Jeremy (that name alone), shows what a woman can do with her voice. She sounds sweet, psychic, screaming, tender and emotional. And besides this all, she also plays bass guitar. Lisa Oply Masia plays guitar and violin, Jessica Sionica plays drums and Marina Cristofalo plays guitar. Well, at least on this album. As we speak, the two guitarplayers Lisa and Marina have already left the band. But back to this album. “Suicide Angel” is a very emotional song and you can almost feel those emotions in the vocal sound of Psycho Jeremy. A voice, that will remind you of people like LENE LOVICH, NINA HAGEN and DIAMANDA GALAS. “More” sounds a bit louder, while “Atrophel” is another emotional song. And to our big surprise, this track is sung by nobody else but LENE LOVICH. Is this a coincidence or what? The pictures in the fold out booklet show us a lot of morbid visions of the ladies covered in blood and lying in deep freezers. “Pure” and “Pearl” are great songs, because they both sound very powerful and the high opera voice of Psycho Jeremy adds something special to this sound. “Adrenaline” will make your adrenaline flow faster. One of the heaviest tracks on this album is called “Candyman”. I think, they’ve slaughtered the poor man down and put him in the freezer as well, because these ladies sound sick enough for it. Watch out for the hidden track on this CD. MAB is definitely a band, that you have to hear at least once in your life. It may not change your world, but it can certainly add something beautiful, as it did to my world. I really hope, that Jessica and Jeremy will continue with this band, because they’ve just put psycho metal on the MAB for me. For more information you can tune into http://www.mabofficial.com or http://www.myspace.com/mabuk. Oh, and don’t forget: Defrosted Food May Not Be Frozen Again! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MAGICA-Wolves And Witches (AFM Records/Rock Inc.)
The third album of MAGICA, “Hereafter”, left behind a good impression. See what they have in mind for us this time. MAGICA hails from Romania, a beautiful country in the Eastern part of Europe. The band opens in the fourth gear with “Don’t Wanna Kill”, followed by another powerful rocker called “They Stole The Sun”. It also shows the progressive side of MAGICA. Ana Mladinovici developed herself as a great singer and at times, she might even remind you of Sharon den Adel of WITHIN TEMPTATION. “Hurry Up Ravens” has got the well-known GAMMA RAY, STRATOVARIUS, HELLOWEEN galloping riffs. “Maiastra” is a short interlude, before the band unveils a “Dark Secret”. It shows the more gothic side of the band. As you can see, there is no lack of variation on “Wolves & Witches”. I must admit, that I like the instrumental part of “Just For 2 Coins” very much. And I definitely think, that a lot of metal heads will dig the diversity in songs, shown on “Wolves & Witches”. On the live front, Ana has done a whole tour with AXXIS in 2007/2008, supporting HELLOWEEN and GAMMA RAY. Right now, she probably can’t escape touring with MAGICA through Europe. MAGICA consists of Ana Mladinovici on vocals, Emilian ‘Emy’ Burcea on guitars, Valentin ‘Inger Alb’ Zechiu on bass, Cristi Bârlă on drums and band leader Bogdan ‘Bat’ Costea on guitars. Some riffs in “Until The Light Is Gone” reminded me of “The Trooper” of IRON MAIDEN. “Chitaroptera” is a short, heavy instrumental song. The CD closes with a song, called “Mistress Of The Wind”. All in all, MAGICA proves that they are capable of writing powerful songs, covering a wide range of styles varying from gothic metal to metal with a more progressive background. The limited edition of this album contains an exclusive bonus track, called “In The Depths Of The Lake” and a video part, which takes “A look behind the scenes of MAGICA”. The ten songs together have a total playing time of about forty-five mintues. Website: http://www.magicaband.com or www.myspace.com/magicaband. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MAXINE-Don’t Hate Me (Angelina Records)
“Don’t Hate Me” is the title of the second solo CD by Maxine Petrucci. And my answer would be: certainly not! I will never hate someone, who released such awesome songs, like “Max Attacks” (from her 2005 CD “Titania”), which is still in my CD player quite frequently! While listening to “Arithmetac”, the opening track off her new album “Don’t Hate Me”, I know that I will walk around with a bright smile on my face for at least the rest of the year, after hearing all these great hard rock anthems! The blistering guitar sound of MAXINE is the absolute highlight on this forty minutes ballbiter. “Check Me Out” is a song, that you really must check out and it contains more fabulous axe sounds by Maxine. The title track opens with some very vicious opening riffs. I must be in heaven. What a gorgeous sound! That shredding (lead) guitar solo is so f*cking mean! It reminded me of VINNIE VINCENT for a moment - a guitar shredder extraordinary in my book of faves. After three serious kicks in the nuts, I’m down and already gasping for some air. MAXINE has respect for the situation and takes back some speed in “Left Behind”, however in the guitar solo she loses control again and knows to impress me one more time. “Generation Me” sounds a bit punky and it’s back to full speed ahead again. And if this isn’t enough, the speed goes up even more in “My QT”, that will probably remind you a bit of “Hot For Teacher” (VAN HALEN). What a great song! I think, that “Don’t Hate Me” (the album) maybe sounds better than the already incredible “Titania” (if that’s possible, in my eyes). The next song; “Need You Here” is also packed with a lot of power again. Maxine’s partner-in-crime on this album is Charlie Grover (PAPER STREET SAINTS) on drums. They are helped out by Roxy Petrucci on drums, Paul Petrucci on bass and Darren Trentacost on keyboards. “Caught Off Guard” reminded me of “Black Velvet” (ALANNAH MYLES) in a way, which is meant as a compliment. While “Razzed” is raging on again and keeps you foccused and sharp. The CD closes with “Spent”. MAXINE is back for sure and her new album made a huge impression on me! This lady is a real guitar wizard of her own kind, and nobody can come close to her skills being a true shredder. We don’t hate you for this new CD, we just LOVE you for this fabulous new album! A real must have album for everyone, who loves his (or her) music loud and appreciates a good wild and sharp guitar solo!!! Website: http://www.myspace.com/maxinepetrucci. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MEMOIRA-Memoira (Nightmare records)
The great country of Finland has a rich history of producing many a great metal band. The list is endless as there have been bands of all styles, shapes and sizes who have emerged from that region of the world. Now you can add another band to that list: MEMOIRA. They are a female-fronted six member band and one of the more recent signings to Lance King's great progressive label Nightmare Records. The CD begins with an atmospheric intro, called "Arise". This is about two minutes long and it features alternating piano and keyboard bits that builds to a nice crescendo, before launching into the opening track "Experimenters Farewell". This opens with a cool riff and then the vocals of Jemina Pitkala join the fray. This song is an instant winner. It just keeps your attention the whole way through. Great vocals and great musicianship. Moving on, next we have "Haunted". This song begins with a cool piano passage and then launches into a relentlessly melodic number that is just another great track. The next song "Destiny Of Yours" is a quite simply a very pretty song. It starts off as a ballad but then speeds up a bit, but doesn't lose any of it's heart. Next is "Incurable". This is one of the heavier numbers on display here and another great track. It's got a nice up-tempo vibe going for it and it is one of my favorites, but that changes every time I listen to this CD. I hate to use the phrase "happy metal", but it is impossible to be angry or pissed off when listening to this CD. The band have obviously put a lot of enthusiasm and enjoyment into their craft and that comes shining through. Continuing on, the next song "Shadow On My Name" is a bit of a departure as it features some prominant male vocals (I believe they are supplied by the keyboardist Lassi) dueting with Jemina. That gives the song a cool element and I love the way the male vocals are presented here, they are not the death grunts that one might expect (although there is nothing wrong with that), the vocals are done in classic metal style and mesh really well with the female vocals. "Half Alive" keeps things going in the right direction. "Liberation" is next and it is another favorite (check out the video on their web site). The final track "Amortization" brings things to a satisfying conclusion. It's been a long time since a debut release has gotten me this excited. MEMOIRA's debut CD contains nine songs and forty-one minutes worth of high quality symphonic, progressive metal with tons of melody. The all around musicianship is very good, the songs are very good and MEMOIRA are very good. The great Finnish metal tradition continues. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

MORNING-Moments Of Truth (Snakebite Records/Rock. Inc.)
Of course we all still remember the Dutch band MORNING. In 2005, we saw them live on stage several times in Holland and we enjoyed their debut album “Hour Of Joy” a lot. Their second album, which is perhaps even more important for a band than their debut album, is out now and is entitled “Moments Of Truth”. A title, that may cover the first sentences in this review. What really appeals to me on this album, are the strong and very powerful guitar riffs by Martijn Brauwers and Bas Rensen. Not only in opener “Fading vs. Waiting”, but also in “Killing Truth”. And the band doesn’t only treat us to some huge, mighty riffs, but also the guitar solos are breathtaking. So far so good. The band can be relieved though, because not only the guitarwork sounds much stronger than on the previous album. In general, their sound has matured quite a lot and especially the voice of Saskia van Heugten has gained a lot of strength and power. She sounds like she is more convinced of the fact, that she can sing beautifully. She is not a that shy, young girl anymore and has developped to a strong young woman. And she likes to express that with her voice. The album contains thirteen songs and has a playing time of a bit over fifty minutes. After the debut album came out, the band also changed drummers. Mauro Pi has left the band and is being replaced by Jim van de Kerkhof. The brothers Pol and Stijn Bannier complete the band, playing bass guitar and synths. “Let’s Escape”, the fifth song on the album, is the first song that starts with a more modest intro, but soon the band gains back speed and puts on some more power. Saskia’s voice is still at its very best in the slower parts. She reminds me a lot of Anneke van Giersbergen. Which might be an easy reference and somebody who is probably mentioned in many reviews. However, Saskia must take this as a huge compliment, because after all Anneke is one of the best (if not, the best) singers from our country. The very first riff of “My Shadow’s Meal” could be of IRON MAIDEN. Same goes for the first riffs in “Disorder”. There is a leading role for Stijn’s synths in this song and again the guitars cry out real wild! Yep, here’s my first real highlight of the album! The spoken word part in “Ever Unfolding Secret” makes it very sphereful and a little bit gothic. But after hearing this album so far, you simply cannot call this band gothic or dream metal anymore. Melodic metal are more the words, I was thinking about. “Disorder” is powerful and heavy, and contains a masterly synthesizer part in the centre. While “A Burden” sounds more laid back and modest. Variation all over on the album. And while the talent of the different musicians sounded more hidden and underneath before, it all sounds a lot more open and upfront now to fully demonstrate that the band is ready for the next step on the ladder of success. In the last two songs, Stijn’s synths are again upfront in the mix, which adds a more symphonic edge to the mix of style, that we already heard. Judging, if this is really a “Moment Of Truth” for MORNING, they can be very proud of themselves. The band has certainly proved to sound so much better than on their debut “Hour Of Joy”. Both thumbs up for MORNING!! Website: http://www.morning.nl. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ONYX EYES-Delights And Tears (Firezone Records)
ONYX EYES hails from Germany and consists of Josch on drums, Mart on bass, Alex on guitar, Denis on keyboards and vocals, Sören on guitar and Ines on vocals. The band brings the gothic metal sound back to its most basic form and add some progressive influences to this. A nice example of their skills can be heard in opener “Persephone’s Light” on their debut album “Delights And Tears”. It opens in a more basic gothic way and after that, they add a nice progressive feel to the song. I really like the clear vocals of Ines. They are a joy to listen to. I would like to compare her to Tarja Turunen (ex-NIGHTWISH, now solo) and Christina Scabbia (LACUNA COIL). In “The One”, I definitely hear the sound of NIGHTWISH (Traja era) and they can take that as a compliment. In “Ask”, you’ll hear the male vocals in front. I must admit (and not because this is for Metal Maidens), that I like the female vocals much better. They are warmer and show more emotion. “Onyx-Eyes” is a slower song and in “Hopes”, we hear the male voice of ONYX EYES once again. Next song “Purple Rivers” sounds very basic and breathes a nice, dark gothic metal atmosphere. While “Siren” is a balladesque song, in which the two vocalists sing in close harmony with each other. “Your Fear” is an uptempo track and “Interlude” is just what the title predicts: a short interlude. “Lost In The Past” shows again a nice mix of gothic metal and some progressive influences. The circle is round and ONYX EYES has definitely brought some delight to my world. No tears, because therefor this CD sounds too well. The album closes with a remix version of “Ask”. Twelve songs with a total playing time of almost a full hour are on this debut (?) album. Currently, the band is writing songs for their next album, so keep an eye out! Website: http://www.onyx-eyes.de. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

OPERATIKA-The Calling (Scarlet Records)
New Jersey's OPERATIKA are a band, that have created a tremendously positive buzz over the years, but until now I have not had the opportunity to give them a listen. They play a blend of symphonic, power metal and even though the band is based out of New Jersey, Singer Slava Popova and drummer Yuri Liakhovitch originally hail from Kiev in the Ukraine and keyboardist Anna Dok comes from Moscow, Russia. The band is completed by guitarist Bill Visser and bassist Michael Lepond of SYMPHONY X. "The Calling" - I believe - is their first full-length release, following up their independently released 2005 EP "Dreamworld". The bombastic thirty-five second "Intro", leads us into the frenzied riffing of "Gladiator" and we are off and running. This is a solid opener that really highlights the immense talent of all of the musicians. Slava's vocals are in the operatic range, but she comes down a bit and her voice is beautiful and really fits the song. Next is "Tears Of The Sun". The guitar work from Bill Visser is really out of this world. Not only on this song, but throughout the twelve songs and fifty-one minutes on this CD. It's great to hear guitar solos and flashy work once again and on this CD you get that and more. "Tears Of The Sun" keeps a nice pace throughout and just gallops along at a break neck speed. Next is "Dark Horizon". It begins with an eerie intro before settling into a nice mid-tempo tune that once again highlights the magnificent vocals of Slava. She really takes the spotlight here. The next song, "Ice Queen" begins with another solid riff. This is another absolute highlight. This is one of the heavier songs included here and the brutal male vocals are a nice touch. The next track "Life Saving Flame" is epic in feel and another favorite. "No.3/23 In A Minor" is a short 2-minute instrumental that really gets the blood pumping. Bill Visser takes center stage and delivers the kind of performance that Yngwie used to be known for. That leads us into "Mask In The Mirror" another virtuosic guitar driven number. Other highlights include, well the rest of the CD. "Secrets Of The Past", "The Storm" (a forty second intro track), "The Calling" and coup de grace of the magnificent, epically fantastic final track "Last Quest". There is not one bad song in the bunch. On their My space profile, the band list among their influences: HELLOWEEN, STRATOVARIUS and NIGHTWISH, so that should give you an idea where they are coming from musically. Talent wise, OPERATIKA are something special. They are a band that should appeal to musicians and non-musicians (like me) alike. There is plenty of virtuoso moments but in the end the most important thing are the songs and I am happy to say that on "The Calling", the songs are most definitely front and center. OPERATIKA have made a name for themselves on the east coast of the United States and now with "The Calling" the band is poised to take on the rest of the world. In the realm of music, it is easy to become jaded, but every once in a while a band emerges through the mire. For me, OPERATIKA is one such band. [10 points] (Tony Cannella)

ORPHAN HATE-Blinded By Illusions (Plainsong Records)
The loud sound rises up slowly, until it reaches full power and strength. And after a few seconds, you’re witnessing the fourteen brutal epistels on “Blinded By Illusions”. Better prepare yourself for this Berlin-core outfit, because they really kick your face from opener “Walk Straight” to CD closer “Fragnance”. Before we go into details here, we first like to introduce these Berliners to you. We have Sina Niklas on vocals (better rephrase that to brutal vocals), Alexander Binus on guitar (also main songwriter), Marcus ‘Rooky’ Forstbauer on guitar, Jan Sadler on bass and Mathias Gutschmidt on drums. With a brutal frontlady behind the mike, your thoughts might go out to ARCH ENEMY. And of course you hit the nail right on the head. But there’s more to this band. I would like to add NEVERMORE and SOILWORK to that. And listening to “King’s Misery”, you may add PANTERA to that list as well maybe. Listen to these great Dimebag-like riffs at the end of the song. I think, that Sina’s vocals are more brutal than the voice of Angela Gossow. Although she sometimes uses her normal singing voice, she also growls like a grizzly bear, who didn’t have lunch for a week or two. “Evil-A” is a good example of the raw power, that’s unleashed here. It reminded me of old style TESTAMENT for more reasons. I really liked the sidestep, that the band makes in the song “This Child”. Clearly, this band is capable of more than just screaming brutal outings. They deliver their goods with an outstanding passion, that goes far beyond striking a chord or two. Their passion for brutal metal comes right from the heart. Another good example is shown in a song, called “Passion”. The instrumental mid-piece is less brutal and it shows a band, that can actually play. Great stuff! It’s the same passion, that I hear with ARCH ENEMY. “”Nothing’s What It Seems” has got that TESTAMENT vibe again. Brutal, but still with a touch of melody to it. In “Pull Out Some Hope”, Sina sings with her normal singing voice, which adds something special to the already great impression, that I had of this band. She has a dark voice and she can sing, scream and growl without losing sense of brutality and emotion. The CD closes with “Fragrance”. Be prepared for a big surprise, because this song does not start like you would expect. It starts off as a dark balladesque track, but gains more power as it rolls along. There is a sinister, spooky, dark atmosphere to be found in this one. The dark atmosphere, that you would probably expect from somebody like OZZY OSBOURNE. As you can see, this album has got many nice surprises. I would suggest to check it out yourself. Wear protective clothes before you start banging your head against the wall from excitement. For more information, check out the interview that our editor Nick did with the band recently or go to the bands website at http://www.orphanhate.de. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

NIKKI PUPPET-Power Seeker (Artist Station Records/Rock Inc.)
The third album by NIKKI PUPPET is a fact. And if you’re a ‘power seeker’, you don’t need to seek any further. The power is all in there and it will rock your world in forty-five minutes and thirteen solid rock songs. Listen to opener “Destroy This Toy” and you’ll get the point. With their previous albums “Puppet On A String” and “Militant Mother”, the band already proved to play some very catchy hard rock. And they are not only successful on CD. They also amazed the live crowds, when they supported bands like VICTORY, MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP and ROSE TATTOO. “Can Dream” and title track “Power Seeker” are solid rock songs, too. “Pricks” is a bit slower, but they pull up in the third gear again in “Falling In 2 Pieces”. While “300 Warriors” is more like a war anthem than anything else. HAMMERFALL fans might like this one. “Yia Sou Saloniki” is the “Eruption” (VAN HALEN) of NIKKI PUPPET. Christian Mamalitsidis shows us his guitar shredding skills in this short instrumental. “I Spy” is my personal highlight off this third album. It’s a ballsy, fast rocker and a song you must definitely hear! “Come Back” will give you a nice opportunity to sing along to during the live gigs. It could be very suitable as a single, in my opinion. The guitar solo in “Blind Race Of Ice” is very impressive, and so is the guitar work in “Daddy Yells”. While “Scream” is another highlight for me. Why? That’ll become obvious, when you’ll hear the song, because it shreds from the beginning until the end. The CD closes with ‘Turn Back Time’, the ballad of the album. I think, that NIKKI PUPPET rocks like never before on this one and their fame is still growing strong. Website: http://www.nikkipuppet.de. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

PYRRAH-Eternal Cremation (EP) (independent)
An EP, that runs for twenty-five minutes. That sounds cool in my ears already. Value for your money is always good. At least, when you’re a death metal fan, because PYRRAH plays gore death metal. The band consists of Christine P. Newman on vocals, George Matthew on guitar and Dave Whelan on bass. In “Bestial Plague”, you can enjoy the brutal gore voice of Christine for the first time. The high, squeaking and peeping guitar solos are in good contrast with the low rattling bass sound on this one. “Lake Of Burning Suffering” is again quite brutal with Christine growling and grunting as low as she can get. The guitar solo at the end of this remarkably lengthy brutal death attack sounds great! Dark are the riffs, that open “Human Debris” - another brutal adept – and the song closes with another masterful guitarsolo by George. The last song is called “Sleepwalkers”, where the speed goes up again. At the end of this one, there is another surprise. A sudden silence, where only a bass guitar dwells introduces a short bluesy piece. I like these kind of breaks. So if you’re into melodic death metal with a brutal vocal sound, PYRRAH can deliver the goods to you. And if you want to know more about the band and their great singer, please check out our interview with Christine (thanks Nick!), that’s recently been added to our website. Website: http://www.myspace.com/pyrrahband. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

RADIANCE-....And The Night Comes Down (independent)
RADIANCE hails from Sicily, Italy and was founded in 2004. This is the band’s first album, which contains six songs and almost thirty minutes of heavy metal. The band started out as a heavy metal cover band playing cover versions of great bands like DOKKEN, LOUDNESS, DIO, LIZZY BORDEN and DIO. And while listening to opener “Lady Blackness”, it’s quite obvious, that these ladies are definitely influenced by all the old school masters. Great guitar solos are captured in this uptempo rocker. In 2006, Marcella Giuffré left the band because of musical differences and she was replaced by former AGHAR and AMORGEN vocalist Karin Baldanza. More line-up changes followed and it was not possible for the band anymore to remain the all-female concept. This doesn’t affect the great sound of RADIANCE though. “Moon On The Mirror” opens as an old school JUDAS PRIEST song and also the guitar solos fit in very well. Right now, the band worked with a session drummer, just to get the album released. And judging these wonderful songs, I’m glad they did. On these six songs, the traditional way of playing heavy metal is mixed with a touch of gothic here and there (especially in the vocals). What remains are the strong powerful riffs, biting and screaming guitar solos and galloping beats. At the end of “Inferno”, Karin Baldanza outs some vocal parts, that come close to KING DIAMOND in the early days. Next one is “Fire” and mind you, the guitar riffs in the beginning are just perfect! And the instrumental mid-part in this song, including the short PANTERA-like riffing, are small details that make this song different and outstanding from any average metal song. Same goes for a song like “Inspiration”. It also contains some nice aspects, that you won’t expect at all. Which gives the album a high level of originality. The CD closes with a song, called “Warm Zephyr”. What a great guitar work again in this one! RADIANCE stole my heart. One way or another, this whole CD breathes magic. Metal magic that is. Check it out, because you don’t know what you’re missing! Website: http://www.myspace.com/radiancemetalband. RADIANCE consists of Federica Viola on guitars, Karin Baldanza on vocals, Fabio Accardo on bass and Elio Lao on drums (not on this CD!). [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE RUNAWAYS-The Runaways/Queens Of Noise (Raven Records)
Two CDs on one by one of the most influential bands in the all-female rock scene. “The Runaways” and “Queens Of Noise”, are released on one CD by Raven Records from Australia. Listening to these songs, which I’ve heard so many times before, always gives me extreme pleasure to hearing them over again and again. The different songs became immortal and timeless. Opener “Cherry Bomb” is the most well-known of them all, I guess. “You Drive Me Wild” has always been one of my personal faves, because of the rocking character. Most of the songs are easy on the ear. They were meant to appeal to a big audience. “Is It Day Or Night” has a chorus, that you can cheer along to. “Thunder” is one of the songs, that was co-written by Kari Krome, a member of one of the very early line-ups of THE RUNAWAYS, that only lasted very short. Micki Steele and Jackie Fox replaced her, after she left the band. “Rock And Roll” is a LOU REED cover. It has a very catchy chorus, ready to sing along to. But it also shows the early influences of the band. “American Nights” was one of the live faves of the band. While “Blackmail” is also on my list of personal favorite RUNAWAYS songs. The pumping bass, when the speed goes up, the crazee guitar solo, the high scream before the guitar solo starts, and all of this in less than three minutes. A killer rock song! Every time I listen to the first notes of “Secrets”, I think that an early song of ALICE COOPER starts. He also had that kinda dirty guitar sound. The best of all RUNAWAYS songs for me is a song, that was so far away from the original catchy rock and roll and punk attitude and sound by THE RUNAWAYS. It’s a song, called “Dead End Justice”. The beginning has got a sort of “Cherry Bomb” sound, but after two minutes the song gets a spooky twist and the catchy rock tune turns into a horror novel on music. A horror story, that ends in a pure heavy metal song at the end, with the screaming guitar sound by Lita. Sandy closes the song, which sounds so much better than all the other well-known tracks, in my opinion. Wonder what the real RUNAWAYS think about this statement, because this song is really so much different than their regular material. “Queens Of Noise” was of course a perfect nickname for the five members of the band. And the song is another classic too of course. It sounds a bit like the early SLADE to me, a band that obviously was a big influence to them. They were heavy in their own way, but catchy and commercial on the other hand as well. A band with two different faces, just like THE RUNAWAYS. They also had a slightly commercial sound, but also a raw and rough edge. A nice example of what would be the lesser known track is “Take It Or Leave It”, which has a real heavy sound for those days. It’s 1977 and hard rock music is still a young child. This band, these ladies, were the people who co-created the whole sound like we know it nowadays. They shaped it. Each good rock and metal album needs a good ballad. And the ballad on this album is “Midnight Music”. Maybe it’s a bit too much over the top nowadays with the ooohhhh’s and aaaahhhh’s in the choir, but in that time frame, they simply took back to the sound of the late sixties. If you think, that “Born To Be Bad” is THE RUNAWAYS version of “Love Hurts” by NAZARETH, you are very right…..for the very first secconds. The harder parts though would scare the shit out of old NAZARETH fans maybe. It comes as a big surprise and makes the song really special. It was co-written by Micki Steele, who later played in THE BANGLES. “Neon Angels On The Road To Ruin” is another classic and personal fave of mine. Just listen to the biting sound of Lita’s guitar and you’ll know why. The surprising drum part at the end of the song sounds very controversial. “I Love Playing With Fire” is a nice footstomper and you can hear the first heavy influences, rather than the (let’s say) bubble gum pop and rock’n’roll sound, that many magazines compared them to. “California Paradise” has got that well-known GARY GLITTER-like drum and guitar sound. “Hollywood” has got a raw punk sound. Mind you, that six out of ten songs were sung by JOAN JETT already, while Cherie Currie was still their official lead singer. Was this the first sign, that the band would not last long in this line-up? Of course they still released that fabulous live album together, but “Waitin’ For The Night” already shows a totally new band, with a more matured sound. But let’s not jump to conclusions just yet. Cherie is still fronting on a song, called “Heartbeat”, a darker song than you might expect from these five young ladies. “Johnny Guitar” is another relative lengthy song, but it doesn’t come close to “Dead End Justice”, which was the absolute highlight on their debut album. This is a seven minute plus bluesy song with again great guitar work by Lita. There is also a switch after three minutes or so, but the quality is far behind “Dead End Justice”, if I had to compare these two songs with each other. The RITCHIE BLACKMORE solo at the end of the song is f*cking fantastic of course. The CD closes with two songs taken off “Waiting For The Night”. Jackie Fox has been replaced by Vickie Blue and Cherie Currie has also left the band. “School Days” is one of the highlights on this album, and a real JOAN JETT rocker. The other song they choose to add is a LITA FORD rocker, called “Thrash Can Murders”. These two songs simply indicate, in which direction the solo career of these two wild ladies would be heading. Joan would follow a more punky direction, whereas Lita became a real heavy metal icon. They both became the most successful ex-members of THE RUNAWAYS. And so, with a glimpse on the third RUNAWAYS album, this CD also gives a nice prediction of what the future will hold. The CD booklet contains a nice, short biography, some nice pictures and to my biggest surprise a short message by JOAN JETT. RUNAWAYS devotees of course have all the songs, but they will buy everything that is available from this all-female band. The material on this CD is essential enough to give it a full score, because these two albums are a very important part of the whole hard rock and heavy metal history as we know it today. Website: http://www.therunaways.com. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SERAPHIM-Rising (Magnum)
The new album by SERAPHIM from Taiwan was released in 2007 already. Because of its difficult availability, it only reached our office a couple of weeks ago. That doesn’t really matter. Fact is, that we are able to present it to you now, because SERAPHIM is a very talented outfit. And with “Rising”, they present us their fourth album already. Opener “Betray” already sums up, what we can expect from them on this album. It contains a lot of melody, there is a progressive twist to some of the songs, and it has a lot of power. A great opener. More power is unleashed in a song, called “Innocent Endless Hope”, which make your thoughts go out to SYMPHONY X and STRATOVARIUS, only this time with a female vocalist. The line-up of SERAPHIM has changed quite a lot recently. New are bass player Mars Liu and guitar player Thiago Trinsi. The rest of the band consists of Kessier Hsu on guitars, Van Shaw on drums and Quinn Weng on vocals. In “Permanence”, we hear a more NIGHTWISH-like approach. Quinn sings a duet with a male vocalist here. “Beautiful New World” sounds a bit more like YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN, especially the guitar solo is quite breathtaking. The brutal grunts in “Springwind” are rather surprising and perhaps a bit over the top, while the rest of the song sounds quite normal, including a YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN or MICHAEL ROMEO-like guitar solo. The grunts and wild screams return in “Resplendent Century”. If their sound wouldn’t be so fast, a comparison with TRISTANIA would not be that bad. “Destiny” shows a more melodic side of the band, before we get to the anthem on this album, the nine minute plus title track “Rising”. An uptempo song with dual vocals. “No More” is melodic and the album closes with another uptempo song, called “Time”. All in all, “Rising” shows a more metal side of SERAPHIM, including some brutal grunts and screams here and there. However, the people, who liked the melodic and power metal aspect of this band, will definitely also have a good time listening to these ten new songs, that are worthy of sixty-five minutes of Taiwan melodic power metal. Website: http://www.seraphim-metal.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SERPENT CULT-Trident Nor Fire (EP) (I Hate Records)
SEPENT CULT rips the flesh of your skin in four ultra brutal sludge doom tracks. Just listen to that ultra heavy bass sound in the beginning of “The Harvest”. It had my heart beating faster in no time. I simply love that sound. The band hails from Belgium and was founded in 2006. Consisting of three former members of THEE PLAGUE OF GENTLEMEN, they reminded me a lot of the sludge doom masters THE GATES OF SLUMBER or even the older material by GRAND MAGUS. The band is named after the working title of the second album of THEE PLAGUE OF FENTLEMEN. “Red Dawn” also has this slow woollen sound, that takes you down to the wet gutters of the back streets. There where no one dares to wander. The female voice of Michelle fits very well to the slow grinding bass sound in “Screams From The Deep”. It’s doom at its very best. Besides Michelle, the band consists of Frederic Caure on guitar, Steven van Cauwenbergh ‘LQW’ on bulldozer bass and Frederik ‘Cozy’ Cosemans on drums. The best track on this four track EP is saved for last. It’s a cover by URIAH HEEP and it’s called “Rainbow Demon”, including a great guitar solo. The eigheen minutes will make you crave for much more. And that’s exactly what you get on their debut album “Weight Of Light”, which will be reviewed next. Website: http://www.serpentcult.be. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SERPENT CULT-Weight Of Light (Rise Above Records)
I just had a listen to the EP of SERPENT CULT and after that, I simply couldn’t wait to put their debut album “Weight Of Light” in my stereo set. This Belgian sludge doom band takes back to the very early days of doom metal. Think about WITCHFINDER GENERAL, CATHEDRAL, CELTIC FROST and maybe more recently THE GATES OF SLUMBER and GRAND MAGUS. Although in opener “New World Order”, I even would like to grab back to the sound of early BLACK SABBATH. “Screams From The Deep” continues this tour through the dark alleys of doomland. Title track “Weight Of Light” takes back speed and puts some more heaviness into their sound. “Awaken The Kraken” is a short, dark instrumental break, before “Templar” comes by. One of the real highlights for me on this album is the long and dirty “Arkanum”. In this song, the band shows what they are really capable of. The musicians show their skills to the max and this - almost nine minutes - anthem becomes a real treat for the fans of slow, doom metal. It already takes the band two minutes to get the pace started. FTo me, this is the most excellent form of doom metal. It is an outstanding track on this fantastic album, which flows seamingless into “Red Dawn”. The album closes with the lengthy “Serpentcult”, in which the band lets it all out one more time. The song has a more CATHEDRAL feel this time, which means that there are more speed changes going on. And at the end, the jam is getting a bit freaky, and I must say that I like it that way. I don’t smoke any forbidden weed, but I sure can imagine that this song would become one helluva trip, when smoking them joints. It’s another highlight on this album for me. SERPENT CULT created a fantastic doom metal album, and I can only say, that I’m already looking forward to hearing the new material by this great band from Belgium. Website: http://www.myspace.com/serpentcult. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SEVENTH SEAL-The Sacred Test (My Graveyard Productions)
SEVENTH SEAL hails from Italy and started their career under the name of XXX in 1996. Three years later the band changes its name into SEVENTH SEAL. They now consist of Pasquale Bianco on guitar, Francesco Fanciullotti on guitars, Andrea Mati on bass and backing vocals, Mark Napolitano on drums and Chiara Luci as the Italian Metal Queen on vocals. The sound of this band is true metal to the max, with influences of HELLOWEEN, IRON MAIDEN and HAMMERFALL. The CD opens with the short instrumental “Intro” and some church bells. The band gets my full attention from there on. I like the sounds of thunder and church bells. A lot of the more modern reviewers think this is something from the past, but I like it a lot. Title track “The Sacred Test” contains all the ingredients, that you might expect. An uptempo beat, flashing guitarwork, strong vocals, it’s all there. “Lucifer’s Cry” sounds like the early IRON MAIDEN, without being a one on one copycat of the band. For example, the breaks in the middle of this long anthem add something special to it. And there are more speed and mood changes in this magnificent song. Old school IRON MAIDEN fans will love it, which is one of the highlights on the album for me. “The End Of The Day” is another piece of art with some great guitar work and more galloping rhythms. Then we march along to “A Fire Of Destruction” with our swords held high! Next, it’s time for a ballad, called “I’m Free”. After this short piece of rest, the speed goes directly into fifth gear with “The Seventh Seal”. Better be prepared to bang your head to this one. “The Prisoner” is a mighty instrumental song, which sounds very exciting. The last song is called “A Wind From The West”, which is another great metal anthem with influences of WARLORD. I think, that a lot of old school metal freeaks like me will probably like this CD a lot, because it has that true old school metal sound from the beginning until the very end. The bonus track, that really closes this full score CD is the DIO cover “Holy Diver”. Need I say more? Horns up for this true metal killer CD from Italy. Ten songs with a playing time of a full hour. It’s the ultimate ‘Sacred Test” for every metalhead out there. Website: http://www.seventhsealband.com/ [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SHADOW KEEP-The Hourglass Effect (Melissa Records/True Music Promotion)
My heart starts beating faster and faster. The new SHADOW KEEP CD is a fact. The line up of this progressive power metal band from England now consists of Omar Hayes on drums, Stony Grantham on bass, Chris Allen on guitars, Nikki Robson on guitars and former TYGERS OF PAN TANG frontman (and of course ANGELWICH bassplayer!) Richie Wicks on vocals. From the first notes on of opener “Shadowkeep”, I know that we have nothing to fear. You never know how a band develops their sound. Look at the strange sound changes of METALLICA for example. I don’t need to explain more, I guess. SHADOW KEEP keeps the metal flame burning. They even put some extra petrol on to make the flames go higher and higher. “Incisor” sounds like HALFORD or ICED EARTH with some great high vocals of Richie. What a great acquisition for the band. I really hope, that he’s a stayer, because until now the band didn’t have much success with singers, to say the least. “The Shades Of Black” contains with a lot of exciting speed changes and some breathtaking guitar work. The guitars are upfront in the mix and sounding better than ever. “The Hourglass Effect” is a concept album, which is beefed up with several sound effects, like a little piece of speech in the beginning of “Riot On Earth” or the short sound of a wolf growling in the beginning of “Incisor”. “Six Billion Points Of Light” is an acoustic ballad and it has some effects inserted at the very end of the song. It’s a short piece of rest before “Waiting For The Call” explodes. This song captures a lot of power. While ”Leviathan Rising” sounds quite like the early QUEENSRYCHE. Especially in the beginning of the song, where Richie sings out the first words. Then we’re down for some rest again in the acoustic track “Heart Shaped Stone”. “With Force We Come” and “How Many Times (Have We Tried To Save The World)” close this great power metal album. SHADOW KEEP will possibly not save the world with this one, but they definitely made at least one fan very happy with these eleven new tracks, which are worthy of a little over fifty minutes of powerful heavy metal. Both thumbs up for SHADOW KEEP. Website: http://www.shadowkeepmetal.net or visit their My Space page at: http://www.myspace/com/shadowkeepuk. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SIRENS GATE-Haunt Me (EP) (independent)
This fivesome hails from Melbourne, Australia and they present themselves on a five track EP here. The music is a great mix of traditional rock and metal, touches of thrash and some very good female vocals. This all comes together in opener “Borrowed Eyes”. The EP continues with “Only An Angel”, which also unleashes a lot of power. The female vocals tend to go in the classical direction at times, but they keep it rocking in general. In title track “Haunt Me”, the band slows things down a bit. Slowly, the song builds itself up to an exciting rock song. The will to make something special out of the different songs is there, and you won’t be disappointed. In “Chains Of Pain”, Alicia even sounds a bit like KATE BUSH for a few seconds. Check it out, metal with KATE BUSH-like vocals! The most outstanding song is kept for last (“The Garden Of Night”). It contains some exciting thrashy rhythms and has got the most power of them all. It’s a shame, that these five songs last so short. After twenty minutes it’s all over again. But SIRENS GATE have definitely proved on this EP, that they are willing to create a sound of their own. This isn’t easy in an overflow of bands, but with the combination of metal and the singing voice of Alicia, they’ve come quite far already. SIRENS GATE consists of Alicia Taylor on vocals, Casey Brew Kurec on guitars, Dave Hudson on Guitars, Matt Camm on bass and Winston Chamberlain on drums. Oh, and I liked the drawing on their EP. Go to their website at: http://www.myspace.com/sirensgate for more inforamtion about this new metal band from Down Under. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SUDNYI DEN’-Black Prophecy (Irond Records)
After the short opener “The Gates Of Hell”, the Russian demon is unleashed in a song, called “Aria Demon”. I’d never heard about SUDNYI DEN’ before, but this album really appealed to me. The Russian band mixes old school metal with newer elements like the use of a choir with male and female vocalists. “Aria Demon” sounds very old school, while “One Of Us” is a bit slower and more melodic. The band consists of three members, compiled with a couple of guest musisicans. The members of the band are Morley Dots on guitar and Anthony Novozhenov on keyboards. The female frontlady is called Irina Kirova, who also plays lead guitar. Irian originaly hails from the Ukraine. Her first heavy metal band was called VEK, from Belarus. SUDNYI DEN’ was formed in 2001. And you can hear that this band has got a lot of experience. Just listen to great symphonic power metal tracks, like “Predsmertnaya Confession” and the MALMSTEEN, SYMPHONY X-like “Century”. “Temptation” is a ballad with some nice acoustic guitar work by Irina. While “Times Are Grim” contains a lot more power. The newer elements return in “I.N.R.I.”, which is one of the heavier tracks on this album. It contains more brutal vocal sounds and fast drumming blast beats here and there. “I.N.R.I” stands for “Igne Natura Renovatur Integra”, by the way. “Zabludshaya Dusza” can be translated into “Ave Maria”, which may sound religious, but nothing in this song will remind you of any religion whatsoever. Except for the lyrics maybe, but they are in the Russian language, so only Russian rockers will understand the real meaning of this song. Title track “Black Prophecy” is on next. Herein, the more symphonic aspect returns. There is a lot of space for the instrumentalists here and to me, it is also one of the highlights on this mighty album, next to “Aria Demon”. Epilogue “The Gates Of Hell” contains more choir vocals, like only Russian bands will sound like. After this one minutes short epilogue, the show is over. Twelve good symphonic power metal tracks in fifty minutes. The front cover of this album alone will at least invite you to have a listen to this nice Russian masterpiece. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SUPERFLOOR-Kharma Baby (Fap Records)
It’s been a while, since we heard of SUPERFLOOR from Arnhem, NL. They’re back now with a full-length album, called “Kharma Baby”. It contains eleven tracks with a playing time of a bit over forty-five minutes. In opener “No Good For Me”, I remember again why we liked this band so much. Their music reminds us of the early work of the magnificent CRY OF LOVE. In title track “Kharma Baby”, we hear some Eastern influences as well. “Get Out Of Here” is a mix of JOSS STONE, BETH HART and JANIS JOPLIN. It rocks and swings in the best way possible. “You’re So Cold” is slow and very intense. And the spirit of DEEP PURPLE wanders around in “Been Down”, which is a steady uptempo rocker. The band also adds some soul to their sound. Listen to “Led Me” for example. While “Soul On Fire” and “You Talk Too Much” both have got that little bit of MOTHERS FINEST feel to it, especially in the vocal parts. But also the great power that these two songs have, is truly amazing! I must admit, that I really like the diversity of songs on this album. It’s all very groovy and you can hear that the music comes straight from their hearts. In “You’re So Cold” and CD closer “Miss You”, the band is guested by former RIVERDOGS frontman Rob Lamothe. SUPERFLOOR proves, that they are still able to make a groovy, yet catchy rock album, that excites the listener from the beginning until the very end. And they can be damn proud of this, because there ain’t too much bands around in our small country, that play some honest rock music, like they do. SUPERFLOOR consists of Floor Kraaijvanger on vocals, Frank van der Wiel on guitars, Rob van der Broek on bass and backing vocals and Thomas Calis on drums. If you like to hear some rock in the most traditional way, then you need to check out this “Kharma Baby”. You won’t be disappointed, I promise you that much. Food for fans of THE BLACK CROWES, STONE THE CROW and CRY OF LOVE. Website: http://www.superfloor.net. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

TEARS OF MAGDALENA-Myths And Legends (Scarlet)
TEARS OF MAGDALENA are from Finland and they consist of Mario on bass, Mr. Vasstago on vocals and Magdalena Lee on vocals, keyboards and violin. Their music finds its roots in bands like NIGHTWISH (Tarja era), who are also from the same country. However, this band adds some folk aspects to their sound through the use of the violin. And they also introduce some brutal male vocals. By doing this, they distance themselves from becoming a one in a million NIGHTWISH wannabee or copycat. But the fans of this giant Finnish metal monster will still have a good time listening to the eight tracks, which are worthy of forty minutes of symphonic gothic power metal. All the aspects mentioned here return in opener “Aurora Borealis”. The male vocals open “Cut ‘Em Down”. They have a prime role in this uptempo rocker. “Immortal Love”, as the title predicts already, is an uptempo love song, including some brutal male vocals. While “The Eastway” contains some nice violin fiddling. In “Nightmare”, the female vocals are a bit more upfront again. Just like in “Mermaid”. Because of the symphonic aspects in this song, it’s definitely one of the highlights on this album for me. The album closes with “Your Blood Is My Wine”, which is another highlight, especially because of the great interaction between the male and female vocalists. “Myths And Legends” may not be renewing, but it’s definitely worth checking out, especially for old school NIGHTWISH fans and people, who like their gothic metal sound a bit more symphonic. I think, we will hear more from this band in the future. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

UNSHINE-The Enigma Of Immortal (Low Frequency Records)
UNSHINE hails from Finland and they call their music druid metal. Now that’s something different. Their album “The Enigma Of Immortals” contains eleven new tracks with a running time of almost a full hour. “What can I expect from druid metal?”, is my major question, when listening to the short instrumental opener “Awen”. Judging by the first few songs on this album, it’s a mix of powerful instrumentation mixed with some beautiful angelic vocals. It’s the content of the lyrics, that seems to make the big difference here. Susanna Vesilahti, the frontlady of UNSHINE, was rumoured to become the new NIGHTWISH vocalist for a while. I am glad though, that she stayed with UNSHINE. With this band, she recorded their debut album, called “Earth Magick”, followed by this one, “The Enigma Of Immortal”. The album sounds like a fairytale on metal music. Listen to the lengthy epic “Catherine His Beloved” to get my point. It could very well have been the metal soundtrack for the movie “Narnia”, including the sound of birds singing. UNSHINE consists of Harri Hautala on guitar and keyboards, Jaro Hautala on guitar, Teemu ‘Teemal’ Vähäkangas on bass and Jukka ‘Stibe’ Hantula on drums. “Luminaries” would fit that same description. It contains some folk influences, symphonic parts and even has some Celtic influences here and there. As you can see, there is a lot of variation in styles and influences in the long, epical songs, that easily reach the length of seven to eight minutes. “The Paradise Lost” and “Washer At The Ford” are a few shorter examples of this fairytale-like sound. While “The Sheer Of Night” is a longer and more epical tune. The folky atmosphere returns in the last song, which is called “With The Silents Of The Earth”. Perhaps it’s even one of the most catchy songs on this album. An album, that is full of exciting and joyful folky-edged melodic metal. In the world of UNSHINE, this is labeled as ‘druid metal’. I think, that Panoramix will have a great day listening to “The Enigma Of Immortal”! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

UNSUN-The End Of Life (Century Media)
Poland's UNSUN were formerly known as UNSEEN. They are the new band formed by VADER guitarist Maurycy "Mauser" Stefanowicz. For those expecting this new project to share some of the death metal leanings of VADER, however you will be disappointed. For one thing, UNSUN have a female singer named Aya. UNSUN's style is more along the line symphonic power metal with some progressive and melodic elements thrown in for good measure. It is a good mix that works quite well. Their debut release is titled "The End Of Life", but this is just the beginning for this promising band from Poland. The band is completed by Heinrich (bass) and Vaaver (drums). The heaviness of the opening track "Whispers" gets things going. This is a darkly melodic number that features a great guitar riff and the beautifully angelic vocals of Aya. It keeps up a pretty relentless pace throughout and provides a good introduction for what is to come and what is to be expected. Next up is "Lost In Innocence" and the band keep the momentum going. It's pretty a straight-forward track that never wavers. I love the use of male vocals on this track. It's not really a duet, but you can hear the male voice in conjunction with Aya on the chorus and it really gives the song a strong dimension. The next track "Blinded By Hatred" starts off with some seriously pretty piano music, then escalates into another straight-forward pumping rocker. Check out the ripping guitar solo on this one. After that comes "Face The Truth". It begins with another piano passage and it remains a ballad throughout. It features some passionate vocals by Aya that remain even when the song gets a bit heavier. This song is a bit of a change of pace, that gives the listener a chance to breathe, yet it is no less powerful than the other material. I would definitely classify this as one of the standout tracks and my favorite. The next song "The Other Side" really comes on like a buzz saw as it kicks the heaviness up a notch and the main riff is just so over-the-top catchy and heavy. Other highlights include "Destiny", "Memories", "Bring Me To Heaven", "On The Edge" and "Closer To Death". The vocals of Aya really shine throughout, as I believe she is a rising star in the realm of metal. The other musicians are not to be out done either. The band all turn in power packed performances. "Indifference" brings things to a close, but you'll be far from indifferent after listening to this eleven track forty-two minute opus. The CD also contains a cool video clip for the track "Whispers", a solid choice - in my humble opinion. "The End Of Life" is a solid album from top-to-bottom. Hopefully, this is only the beginning for Poland's latest metal export. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

VARIOUS ARTISTS-A World Of Sirens (Sonic Cathedral)
Hail to Sonic Cathedral for this wonderfulfantastic release! If you want to know where women stand right now in the world of (hard) rock, (heavy) metal, gothic metal and alternative music, just listen to this double CD and you’ll have the answer to your question. Thirty two (yes, you’ve read that right!) songs are on this double CD, that spins around for one hundred and forty minutes and spits out the female-fronted rock bands, that rule the scene in 2008. Let's take a walk down this female metal labyrinth and see what they have in mind for us. AFTER FOREVER opens with "Equally Destructive". Do I need to say more? If there ever was a band, that rocked their career to a sky high position, then it’s AFTER FOREVER. I still remember listening to their first demos and interviewing Floor for the very first time. Amazing how things can go very fast, after that. This song comes from their album "After Forever" and shows a band, that is capable of ruling the world in their style of music. It's cool to hear a mix of well-known stuff and bands that we didn't hear yet. I was not familiar with the music of EBONY ARK. "Ecstasy" was taken from their album "When The City Is Quiet" and the sound of this Spanish band comes close to a lighter version of WITHIN TEMPTATION. Leave out the bombast, add some power and you'll come close to the sound of EBONY ARK. Beatriz Albert is the female vocalist in the band. STOLEN BABIES from Amerika is also totally new to me. "Tall Tales" is a sort of electro, techno punk attack. Dominique Pemquin screams her lungs out on this one and surprises me with the enormous power she puts in her vocal parts. The song comes from their album "There Be Squabbles Ahead". CARDAMON plays a more traditional rock sound. Floortje Donia is their frontlady, who really astonished me with her great voice. The band is based in Utrecht in The Netherlands and very recently they added Luuk van Gerven to their line-up as a bass player. It's not certain yet, if he will permanently fill this position, but at least the band is ready to attack the Dutch club scene right now. The song "When Space & Time Collide" is taken from their album "The Primrose Path". Strong guitar riffs, a heavy repeating beat and thundering drum salvos open "Highlight" by the Brazilian metal band SHADOWSIDE. People, who dig bands like IRON MAIDEN or HELLOWEEN, can safely take a bite here. Dani Nolden is the frontlady of these Brazilian metalheads. Check out their album "Theatre Of Shadows" to be part of more Latin metal. BLOODFLOWERZ invites you for "The Last Dance". My feet hurt by the idea alone. I’d better listen to the song from their album "Dark Love Poems", which could be a description of their music. It's dark gothic like metal or rock, if you prefer. Kirsten Zahn is the female member in this German based band. BRAVE is on next with "Hold On" from their recent album "Monuments". An album, that has got some exciting musical moments and can be categorised as progressive metal. This "Hold On" is a good example of the fact, that BRAVE is not willing to follow the paved path. They search for side paths, that sound so much more adventurous and innovative. Frontlady Michelle Loose has got the emotion of TORI AMOS and the power of LANA LANE. After that, we're ready for UNEXPECT from Canada. Well, better get ready for the unexpected. This song is called "Meet Me At The Carousel" and it comes from their album "In A Flesh Aquarium". If you would say, that this was written by FRANK ZAPPA, after he had listened to NAPALM DEATH, while drinking ten bottles of cheap whiskey and eating cotton candy soaked in the fresh blood of the Holy Virgin Mary, hanging upside down on a steel cross with pierced nipples and a broomstick up his ass, I would also believe it. Welcome to the world of different styles in music. Is this a circus act or am I just being too modest not to see the beauty by this weird bunch of people? Leïlindel is the only born child between the marriage of DIAMANDA GALAS, NINA HAGEN and TORI AMOS and only God knows, who the father is. It's art, it's excentric, it's vaudeville, it's powerful, it's like swimming in a flesh aquarium with a dozen piranhas giving you a blowjob, only ten times worse. It's so UNEXPECTED! We’d better continue with MARKIZE from France, who take "Another Breath". Alina Dunaeskaya adds something special to the music of this French band. You can already judge by her name that she originally comes from Russia and sometimes the lyrics are in the Russian language as well. Together with the great musicianship by the male band members, this is definitely worth checking out. The band’s album is called "Transparence". I don't think, I need to introduce Anneke van Giersbergen to you at all. She now has got a new band, called AGUA DE ANNIQUE and this "Beautiful One" comes from her debut album"Air". The music on the album has much in common with THE GATHERING. Maybe it's a bit more dreamy and modest, but Anneke's voice sounds so beautiful, that she definitely has earned a place on this compilation. It just wouldn't be the same without her. SYLVER MYST is another exponent of the booming rock scene. "Emotions Revealed" perfectly captures the opera voice of leading lady Marjolein Hüsken. Think about the old sound of NIGHTWISH and you'll come close to their sound from the marvellous album "Devoted Yet Unable". The sad news though is that SYLVER MYST has gotten into some severe heavy wheather, now Marjolein and drummer Marc Jaspers recently left the band. What a shame. Luckily though, we have so many good new bands to choose from. What about A NEW DAWN then? Another promising band, that surprised us with their album "Falling From Grace". From that album, we hear "Veil Of Charity". IRON MAIDEN-like guitars open this song, which explodes in galloping metal riffs and continues in PANTERA-like beats and riffs. Surprisingly, we get some soprano vocals to accompany these metal influences. Another band, who really knows to create a style of its own, while combining other existing styles. Add to this an additional death grunt and you have an astonishing metal sound. Sanne Kluiters, Monica Janssen (who also plays bass guitar) and Jamila Ifzaren are the metal maidens in this fabulous young band, that hopefully has got a long fruitful future ahead of them. ANADIES from America is on next with a song, called "Unseen", taken from their album "Prevail". Christy Lumberg's voice makes me compare them with WITHIN TEMPTATION and LACUNA COIL. It's sad to know that the second female member of the band, keyboard player Talia Hoit, left the band a year ago. But with "Unseen", they present us a good and very catchy song here. DENDURA also hails from America. Their song "Isis" is filled with Eastern influenced rhythms. Aziza Ami Poggy is the beautiful named frontlady, who also plays the keyboards in this band. The Egyptian influences gives the band a mystical atmosphere. So we can welcome yet another band, that knows how to do things differently, by staying out of the well-known paved paths. The band recently supported LEVEL-C and their most recent album is called "A New Life". "Chosen Destiny" by ANCESTRAL LEGACY sounds more gothic again. This song is part of the "Nightmare Diaries", which is a beautiful title for an album, that consists of dreamy, melancholic soundscapes. Elin Anita Omholt has got a voice, you can easily dream away upon. But not before we have a listen to the last song of the first CD here. Get ready for PIN-UP WENT DOWN with "Get Ready To Sweep". Another strange combination of dark doomy music with a possible link to the sound of the seventies (just have a close listen to the guitar sound here and there). Asphodel plays bass guitar and takes care of the female vocal lines. The sound by this French band can be described as artistic, excentric and alternative. Their album "2-Unlimited" also captures this song. The first seventy minutes are over. When you are ready for the second set of sixteen bands, you just continue reading here, because there is so much more to listen to.
We open with another odd mix of styles on the second CD. THE DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA plays the "Balrog Boogie", which is a mix of dixie, swing, jazz, rock and opera. Annlouice Loeglund is the female voice in this Swedish band and things won't get more dancable and swinging than this one here. So put on your dancing shoes and enter "The Butcher's Ballroom", which is by coincidence also the name of the album, this song was taken from. On we go with a more traditional sound. EPICA is gaining more popularity each day. Simone Simons is the frontlady, who has had some serious health problems recently. Her place was taken by Amanda Sommerville, but luckily enough the lady is back again. They definitely earn their place on this compilation with "Sancta Terra" from "The Divine Conspiracy". Opera metal at its very best with a lot of bombastic parts, which is a real must for each fan of this genre. LA VENTURA is another talented Dutch band, that profile themselves with "Trefoil" from their debut album "A New Beginning". Their gothic type of metal will easily appeal to the many fans in this genre, because it's so easy on the ears. Which is the way to draw the attention of your fans. Nowadays, people don't sit down and listen to a whole CD anymore. Instead, they select and judge a band by hearing short snippets from internet sites and go on from there. WITCHBREED creates a more progressive and melodic sound. The band hails from Portugal and Ruby is the frontlady of WITCHBREED. Their song "Brotherhood Of Fang & Claw" contains some nice speed and mood changes. "Heretic Rapture" is the name of the album and if you like the more adventurous sound and a more progressive approach, than this is definitely for you. CHAOSWAVE also has a progressive sound, only with a more thrash metal background. This Italian band contributed a song, called "Rise", which sounds fast and furious just like the Italian mentality. Blast beats are mixed with the beautiful sound of Giorgia, their female singer. Steve Smyth (ex-TESTAMENT, ex-DRAGONLORD, ex-VICIOUS RUMORS, NEVERMORE) is a guest player on this album, and if you think about NEVERMORE, you'll come close to the sound by this Italian combo. The album from which this song is taken is called "Fork Tongues And Foul Times". GWYLLION is from Belgium and they added their song "Trinity" to this masterpiece. Annelore Vantomme has got a great voice, that reminds me of Nienke de Jong, the former AUTUMN singer. The band rocks and the guitars are up front in the mix with heavy riffs. I like this song a lot. It’s taken from their album "Awakenign The Dream". Do I need to introduce PHOENIX REIGN to you? I don't think so. They surprised me in a very positive way with their album "Destiantion Unknown", which contains many furious heraldic metal songs. They choose "Masquerade Angel" to end up on this compilation, which is a great choice in my opinion. It really gives you a good impression of what this New York based band is all about. Theresa Gaffney is the voice of this IRON MAIDEN-influenced outfit. I know I really don't do justice to their professionalism and their sound. But as a short description it's not an assault to their door, and for people who are not familiar with their great album, perhaps it’s all the more a reason to check it out. It's definitely one of the highlights on this compilation album in my book. The next band, DEAD-END TRACK from Italy were completely new to me. You've heard the name and checked out some sound files along the way, but this time we hear a full-length song here, which is called "Sun To Fall". It's taken from their album "Dead-End Track". Luisa's voice reminded me of Anneke van Giersbergen (again), while their music shows a bit more resemblance to SIRENIA, only more heavy. Especially in the beginning of this song, they sound very much sound alike, although later on DEAD-END TRACK wins by a knock out. DYLATH-LEEN on the contrary is really loud with their METALLICA-like riffs and they will surely move your heads up and down. When listening very close to "The Awakening" you'll hear that their sound goes more into the direction of CRADLE OF FILTH or SIEBENBÜRGEN. The name of the band comes from the books by H.P. Lovecraft and it is the name of a fictional city. Kathy Coupez is the singer in the band and she does a great job. She doesn't only scream very loud, but she also uses her clear voice. In the beginning of their career, the band also had a female keyboard player, called Carine Pochet, but unfortunately she left DYLATH-LEEN in 2001. SKEPTICAL MINDS from Belgium definitely had to grow on me. I wasn't too impressed at first, but when listening to the album very thoroughly a couple of times, it hit me very hard. The band hails from Belgium and they mix industrial and gothic soundscapes with metal riffs and guitars. Above this all is the beautiful, erotic voice of Jamie Lee, which is the icing on the cake for me. "Skeleton Key" comes from their 2007 EP "The Beauty Must Die". As long as they don't mean Jamie-Lee, I am fine with that statement. ECHOES OF ETERNITY is a metal band from America and their album appealed to me very much. Francine Boucher is the great singer of this band. Their album "The Forgotten Goddess" is a must for people, who like hard riffing metal with a good melodic female singer. And if the voice of Francine doesn't appeal to you, you must buy, steal or even lease yourself a new pair of ears and you'll definitely be astonished by her looks. "Voices In A Dream" is another highlight for me here. AKPHAEZYA, I would lie to you, if I said that I had heard about this band before. Their song "The Bottle Of Lie" comes from the album "Anthology II", and they hail from France. Listening to their music, it's obvious that I didn't cross their path before. I hear jazzy rhythms and an easy listening sound. Just before I want to pour myself a glass of wine, the band starts making more noise and female vocalist Nehl Aëlin really astonishes me with KATE BUSH-like screams and that weird combination of jazz and experimental music keeps playing in the background. Nehl also plays the piano and if you like the experimental outings of a band like ATROX for example, this would be for you. Maybe they are a bit too experimental for the real metalheads among us, but it was a very pleasant surprise for yours truly. ADASTREIA comes from England and their song "The Reach" shows a more tradtional gothic sound, along with the sorprano vocals of Alexandra Martin. I guess, NIGHTWISH fans will eat out of their hands. Their album is called "That Which Lies Within". DYONISIS comes with a more modest sound on their song "Hunter", taken from thir self-titled album. This band from England had two female members in their ranks, but they parted ways with their keyboard player. Nel is the singer and she has a beautiful voice. DYONISIS plays ambient rock with a sometimes folky twist at its best. AYIN ALEPH was a nice surprise to us already, when listening to her self-titled album. The song "Walpurgis Night" was chosen to be on this compilation and I think that this is a good choice to get familiar with the surprising sound by this lady. TORI AMOS and KATE BUSH fans must definitely check out this lady. Her video clips are amazing and I am really looking forward to hearing more from this remarkably talented lady. This double CD set closes after seventy-two minutes with DREMORA and "Martyrs & Madmen", taken from their EP "Martyrs". Juliana Novo is the voice of this band, that sounds similar to big names like WITHIN TEMPTATION and NIGHTWISH. And although we are dealing with a threesome here, the power they manage to bring across sounds like it comes from a five piece band. A worthy closure on this ultimate compilation of female fronted metal of today. I believe my time is up for now, more female-fronted bands are waiting to get a review of latest their release. This four page review is only to let you know that this is the ultimate collection in the world "Where The Women Of Metal Rock!". I rest my case with a full score. Website: http://www.soniccathedral.com. Thanks go out to John Wolff, not only for compiling this great double CD, but also for the opportunity to review this masterpiece. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VARIOUS ARTISTS-Tribute To Steel: A Tribute to Warlock (Pure Steel records)
In my opinion, German metallers WARLOCK have long been one of the most underrated and under-appreciated bands of the 80's, so it is somewhat gratifying to see them get the tribute treatment courtesy of the good folks at Pure Steel Records. This CD features a wide array of bands giving their interpretation of some of the classics by this DORO-led band. Some of the tracks remain faithful to the original, whilst others veer off into their own territory and provide different takes on true metal classics. The CD begins with a re-mixed version of "Earthshaker Rock" done by the originators WARLOCK. It still holds up well to this day and just a great, great track. Progressive metal band IVORY TOWER follow it up with their take on "Cold, Cold World". It is a bit strange to hear a male vocalist on this song, but they do a fine job. Next up is Russian band VOLNAYA STAYA with their version of "I Rule The Ruins". This is one of the true highlights here. The band stays totally true to the original, while adding their own flare. They are an excellent band to begin with and they have chosen a great track in which to cover. Next up, is the band with silly name CUSTARD with a not so silly version of one of my all time favorite tracks "Metal Tango". They do an excellent job on this track. Poland's CRYSTAL VIPER follow that up with their version of "Mr. Gold". This is another faithful version of a classic song. I would put this right there with VOLNAYA STAYA as my two favorite tracks on this CD. BOOMERANG chimes in with an interesting version of "Three Minute Warning". This is a different take on the song. Not as fast as the original. It's not a bad version, just different. Almost a goth version of a ripping metal song. Next is Germany's THE MYSTERY who stray a little with their version of the DORO track "Bad Blood". This is the only non-WARLOCK song performed here and a solid choice. I like this version a lot and I like the fact that they chose a DORO track. SABATON chimes in with an interesting take on "Fur Immer". BONESHAKER pulls out a faithful and energetic cover of "Out Of Control". Other highlights include: "True As Steel" (by LONEWOLF), "Burning The Witches (by EMERALD), CAPITAL SIN's take on the classic "All We Are", ETERNAL WINTER's version of "Touch Of Evil" and yet another version of "Cold, Cold World" this time performed by RAVAGE. Overall, I was not disappointed by this tribute CD. Each and every band puts their hearts, souls and respect into paying homage to a great band. I am glad to see that Pure Steel put a lot of care into compiling this CD and they are to be commended. Now, how 'bout a DORO tribute CD. [9 points] (Tony Cannella)

WALLS OF JERICHO-The American Dream (Trustkill Records)
I really had my doubts about this new WALLS OF JERICHO album, after reviewing their acoustic CD earlier this year. But you can heave a sigh of relief, because “The American Dream” is again loud and brutal, like old times. If you like a band such as ARCH ENEMY with a bit more hardcore or punky edge to it, you don’t need to look any further. The twelve short tracks have a total running time of almost forty minutes. Forty brutal minutes I should say. And with a sound and statements, that are definitely not suitable for people who chase ‘the American dream’. The opening sentence of the title track on this album is “Fuck The American Dream”. I think, that this is enough explaining as far as the lyrics concern. Their sound is ultra loud and brutality is a main ingredient in the book of WALLS OF JERICHO. The riffs will remind you of SLAYER at its very best and the brutal screams of Candance shows a lot of resemblance to Angela Gossow. In “Famous Last Words”, I hear a bit of the original punky hardcore sound from their early days. At the end of “Discovery Of Jones”, another brutal anthem, the band picks up the acoustic guitar again for a suitable ending of this song. This could also be seen as a good way to introduce another punch-in-the-face, called “Standing On Paper Stilts”. While “Night Of A Thousand Torches” captures a very raw thrashy atmosphere, especially because of the great riffs. “The Slaughter Begins”, where the CD ends. You might expect a murderous thrash metal monster, by judging the song title. Well, better think twice, because it’s a laid back piece of rest with a threatening edge to it. I would probably have ended this CD with a loud bang, but hey, this is WALLS OF JERICHO, not me. I think, that the die-hard fans will absolutely love this album, and if you put it next to the acoustic EP, you’ll hear a world of differences. I dig this one much more, that’s for sure. I think, I’d better play it again, just to wake up the neighbours. Website: http://www.wallsofjericho.tv/ [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WIZARDS' HYMN-Transience (Black-listed Records)
From Japan comes WIZARDS' HYMN. This band has already been around for a few years. In 2005, they released their debut album "Hymnal". Now in 2008, the band have released their second album, entitled "Transience". WIZARDS' HYMN have also added two new members to the band, they are: YuSa (vocals) and Junichi Ohtsuka (keyboards). The rest of the band line-up looks like this: Kensuke Imai (drums), Toshimasa Kato (bass) and Tsutomu Aruga (guitar). Musically, I would describe them as a mix progressive metal and goth with plenty of atmosphere - and loads of talent. The album kicks off with some nice sounding piano before launching into the opening track "Remains". Next is "King & Servant. This is another one, that starts with a sweet piano into before a cool sounding riff takes over. After that the song is off and running. "Wake In Dreamland" and "Zero" are two more highlights that keep things moving right along. "Wake In Dreamland" in particular is a nice change of pace, half ballad and full of atmosphere and drama. YuSa turns in possibly her best vocal performance on this song. Some cool orchestration is also on display here. "Zero" ups the heaviness a bit, but also a very haunting and atmospheric number. Moving along, "Red Petal" is next and features a wicked guitar solo by Tsutomu Aruga. Other highlights include: "The Trace", "Hindsight" and 'Anytime". The final song is "Whisper Of Snow". At over nine minutes long this is an epic in every sense of the word. Just huge sounding with lots going on and just an all around great song, a perfect way to end things on a high. Vocalist YuSa has a nice - somewhat understated - voice that melds nicely with the music and combines to form a pretty good combination. "Transience" features nine songs and forty-six minutes worth of great music. WIZARDS' HYMN are technically proficient and write good songs. The addition of YuSa & Junichi have really given the band a shot in the arm. This is a solid release and I look forward to hearing more in the future from this band from The land of the rising sun. Website: http://www.wizards-hymn.com/ [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

ANOUK-If I Go (CDsingle) (EMI)
“If I Go” is an uptempo song, taken from the current ANOUK album “Who’s Your Momma” and another huge success for the Dutch diva of rock. Whether it’s a ballad or an uptempo rocker, it really doesn’t matter what this lady sings. Her shows are constantly sold out and all her singles turn into big hits. This single contains two tracks, u.w. the new single “If I Go”, but it’s the second song, that’s the most interesting one. It’s called “With You” and it’s a previously unreleased track. Because it received quite some attention on the Dutch radio and a particular 3 FM discjockey almost became ‘immortal’ for adding it to his personal website and then kindly was asked to remove it, ANOUK decided to release it after all. It’s a typical ANOUK ballad - nothing more and nothing less. People, who regularly listen to 3FM, probably might have heard this song already on a few occasions. It brings the running time of this single up to almost eight minutes. For those, who still want to hear the song and add it to their collection, I suggest to buy this single, because it’s not on the (any) album. More updates about ANOUK and her band, go to her website at: http://www.anouk.nl. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ILSE DE LANGE-So Incredible (CDsingle)(Universal Music)
The next pop/rock diva from the Netherlands, ILSE DE LANGE has released “So Incredible” as the first single from her new album “Incredible”. And she has just gained her first major success: a number one position in the Dutch charts. And I am really happy for her, because she has been working very hard for it all these years. It’s a very catchy, uptempo song with some touches of country here and there. The second song “Fall” is a ballad type of song, which puts everyhting into balance again. Bringing the running time of this single to six and a half minutes. I like the warm sound of the Ilse’s voice and her spontaneous character. All the more reason to be glad, that success is finally knocking on her door. Besides Holland, also the people in America are finally discovering the many talents of this ‘down-to-earth’ lady from Almelo. Website: http://www.ilsedelange.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DORO-Herzblut (CDsingle) (AFM Records/Rock Inc.)
A CDsingle with a running time of about twenty-five minutes, that’s almost a complete album to some bands. Now that’s what I call good value for your money! DORO definitely wants to please her fans and with these six tracks, she definitely succeeded with that. “Herzblut” opens with the single version of this song, followed by the album version, which is almost a full minute longer. DORO is destined to make this a hit single, I guess. And so she pleases her French speaking fans, her Spanish fans and her Portuguese fans with “A Fond Le Coeur”, “Te Doy Mi Corazon” and “Eu Dou-Te O Meu Coração”. A good strategy, because there are a zillion fans in countries, like Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, etc, who now can sing along to the new single in their own language. The six tracker closes with a new previously unreleased song. It’s a ‘non-album version’ of a song, called “Share My Fate”. Her upcoming album (entitled “Fear No Evil”) will be released somewhere at the end of January 2009. This song starts and closes with the sound of rolling thunder and is a very traditional rock song. So you’d better get ready to throw your fists in the air to this one! A great buy for every DORO fan around the world. However, I still wonder, what the Chinese version of “Herzblut” will sound like though… Website: http://www.doro.de. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ROKTOPUSS-Roktopuss (EP) (independent)
I guess, most of you have never heard about this band ROKTOPUSS. To be honest, I didn’t either. Until I found out, who are involved here. We are talking about a cooperation between Lorraine Lewis of FEME FATALE and Roxy Petrucci of MADAM X and VIXEN fame. Are you getting curious yet? There are four songs on this EP release. “Naked” is a sleazy combination of Lorraine’s raw vocal chords in combination with the steady drumbeats of Roxy. In this first song, Lorraine’s vocals sound a bit like LITA FORD and “Naked” could very well be on one of the early albums by this former RUNAWAYS guitarplayer. “Dog Bite” is on next and again I am thinking of LITA FORD, when searching for a good reference. There are worse people to be compared with, to be honest. “Away” is a very catchy mid-tempo song, followed by “Desperate”, which is a more bluesy type of rock song. Judging by these four songs, that have a total playing time of about fifteen minutes, I must say this band rocks big time! Musically, they come close to the sound of bands like WINGER, WARRANT, LITA FORD, GUNS N ROSES, etc.etc. I think, we can talk about a very fruitful cooperation here by two ladies, who have already earned a lot of recognition in the hard rock and heavy metal scene with their previous bands. Their new outfit ROKTOPUSS has already played some live dates as well. For more information about this interesting ‘get- together’ of these two lady rockers, you can check out their My Space site at http://www.myspace.com/roktopuss. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WHY SHE KILLS-Of Hope And Suffocation (EP) (independent)
We would like to review both EPs by WHY SHE KILLS here. This particular one is from 2006 and contains a very different line up, than the EP released in 2008. Never look back, may be an appropriate statement here. Still, it’s the essential introduction to the EP from 2008, so why not give it some attention as well. WHY SHE KILLS hails from The Netherlands and therefore it’s very important to give them the full attention, that they need. Imke Kuipers and Janneke de Rooy were in the line-up of 2006. They both did the vocal parts. “Demise Of Your Crown” and “A Lover’s Poetry” sound very dark and sometimes the pedal is put to the metal. Obviously, the band is still looking for a sound of their own in this area. The music contains a lot of power. It’s too powerful to call it gothic metal, but on the other hand, it doesn’t sound extreme enough to call it thrash or death metal. Well, except for some parts in title track “Of Hope And Suffocation” maybe. But the clear vocal parts in this song sound a bit too sweet, next to the brutal growls. The fifteen minutes four tracker closes with a short, instrumental song, called “Spasm Of Violence”, which is (well, in my eyes, anyway) perhaps the best song on this EP. It doesn’t sound totally finished though and it’s like the band has found a way to continue their next musical endeavours. Read on the review of “Daydream Of Obliteration” and hear how the story of WHY SHE KILLS continues after this. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WHY SHE KILLS-Daydreams Of Obliteration (EP) (independent)
The second EP of WHY SHE KILLS shows a musical revolution. The band sounds tight and their dark sound has deepened by introducing a death metal growl. The puzzle seems to fall into the right places with the departure of the two former singers. They were replaced by Daan Logtenberg and former METHYLBENZEEN, IZEGRIM, BELLE GUNNESS vocalist Anita Borst. They really make a difference here. Just listen to opener “Submission” or the brutal riffed title track. In my thoughts, I see tonz of long hair waving around to the guitar riffs. Not my hair, because I only have a couple of millimeters. In the meantime, we’ve come to “You Wish”, including some extreme brutal growls of AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHNITAAA. She likes to consumpt a bottle of hydrochloric acid to give her voice more brutality. Or was it methylbenzeen? Anyway, she’s the right component, that this band needed so much. Besides these two ladies, the band consists of Peter Slootbeek (ex-GENETIC WISDOM) on guitars, Ralph Roelvink (ex-GENETIC WISDOM, CALLENISH CIRCLE) on guitars, Ronny Scholten (ex-SACROSANT, GENETIC WISDOM) on drums and Gerrit Knol (ex-GENETIC WISDOM, SACROSANT, UNDER SIEGE) on bass. The EP, that runs a bit over seventeen minutes, closes with my personal favourite “One Night One Lifetime”. Especially, the guitar riffs at the end of the song made me almost kill my neighbours from excitement. People do weird things, when the adrenaline flows through their body, you know. Anyway, now I know why WHY SHE KILLS has become such an important band in the underground scene. Simply because they are getting into their best shape ever. Female-fronted metal at its most brutal form. Check them out, before she starts to kill again. Website: http://www.whyshekills.com [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

[Updated: Febr. 13, 2009]

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