CD REVIEWS


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


Autumn 2007:

AUTUMN-My New Time (Metal Blade)
AUTUMN the band hails from Holland and they’ve just released their third disc titled "My New Time" via Metal Blade Records and - if I’m not mistaken - this is their American debut. If so, then this is a fine introduction to those of us on this side of the Atlantic. The band is led by the mesmerizing vocals of one Nienke de Jong. "Satellites" get things rolling and right from the start the listener is drawn in by the bands ethereal and dreamy sound. Up next is "Closest Friends Conspire" another fantastic track. What also strikes me about the band are the lyrics. Very introspective and emotional. The third track is "Blue Wine", which is more uptempo and Nienke really shines on this one. This also gets my vote for single/video. "Angel Of Desire" is another standout. The title track features a great guitar riff all the way through. "Communication On Opium" is a slower paced track, but it doesn’t lack energy. Other highlights include: "Twisted and Turned", "Shadowmancer" and "Forget To Remember". "Epilogue (What’s Done Is Done)" brings things to a satisfying conclusion. I really like this band. They seem to be getting a lot of comparisons to AFTER FOREVER. I don’t really think that’s fair at all though. AFTER FOREVER is a great band and so is AUTUMN. They’re good enough to stand on their own two feet. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

AESMA DAEVA-Dawn Of The New Athens (independent)
Heavy, doomy sounds enter my room, when I start my listening session with the new CD of AESMA DAEVA. Opener “Tisza’s Child” is a heavy, doomy metal song topped with the soprano vocals of Lori Lewis. Lori replaces Melissa Ferlaak, who left the band at the end of 2005. She continues her musical career in VISIONS OF ATLANTIS. Because a lot of the new material was already written with the voice of Melissa in mind, the band had to search for a singer that sounded very similar to hers. Lori’s voice is perhaps even better. It has a much wider reach and comes close to the voice of Tarja Turunen (ex-NIGHTWISH) and Vibeke Stene (ex-TRISTANIA). The music of AESMA DAEVA however leans more towards TRISTANIA, but it’s a bit darker in a way. You could say doomier in that perspect. The nine songs on this new album have a total playing time of about fifty minutes, so you can expect some long pieces of art on this melancholic dark doom metal disc. And although the overall sound is dark and depressing, the guitars fight theirselves a way upfront in the mix to give the whole a pretty heavy atmosphere. “Hymn To The Sun”, as the title may predict, is a more lighter piece. While “D’ Oreste” sounds like an opera piece composed for metal music. It even includes some aria’s from Lori. It’s definitely one of the highlights on this CD for me. It’s not really heavy, but it comes into a strictly prohibited area where nobody has ever walked before until now. “The Camp Of Souls” contains some operatic harmony vocals in the beginning, which also sound very impressive. Yes, that’s right, this band doesn’t ride the smooth way, they dare to choose a path of their own to the top of the hill, which is more difficult but also much more heroic. “Since The Machine” sounds a bit more in the style of HAGGARD, because of the male vocals, but then again it has these dagger sharp Hetfield (METALLICA) like riffs. “The Loon” closes this CD, which causes tears in my eyes of emotion. Sounding dark, depressed, doomy and giving me the chills running down my spine. Maybe it’s because of the great production of star-producer Neil Kernon, maybe it’s Lori’s voice or the funeral-like depressing dark sounds of their music. I think, the combination of it all makes AESMA DAEVA a very special band, who have released a great album with this “Dawn Of The New Athens”. I wonder, if they ever released the DVD of their live show in Minnesota 2005, because there were plans for it. It would be wonderful to check out the live shows of this band as well. Besides Lori Lewis on vocals, the band consists of Tim Klatt on drums, John Prassas on guitars, Chris Quinn on bass, Earl Root on guitar and Kris Kautzman on male backing vocals. The bands website can be found at www.symphonicmetalband.com. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CADAVERIA-In Your Blood (Seasons Of Mist)
CADAVERIA is ready to split your skull again. “100,000 Faces” is a very strong opener with brutal vocals and heavy riffs. “The Dream” however is a very different approach, and I would even call the vocals poppy. There are some thundering riffs as well, but the goth keyboards make this song sound a lot softer than the opener. It looks like we’re in for a mix of brutal stuff and some lighter material. “Anagram” is a good example of the more heavy side. It’s brutal and it sounds exactly what I would expect of this new material. “Memento Audere Semper” however sounds very depressing and adds a slightly industrial touch to the sound. Brutal screams are switched with ordinary vocals, creating a dreamy atmosphere at the end of the song. The more recent promo pics of CADAVERIA already pointed in that direction. The metal atmosphere is still there, but the gothic side slowly inducts itself into the music of CADAVERIA. The guitar solo in “Laying In Black” is quite impressive, and so are the heavy screams and maniacal growls in “Queen Of Forgotten”. These are just segments here, but they surely lift the album to a higher level. In “Exorcism To Chaos” the industrial beats are back, topped with the maniacal growls by Cadaveria. The twelve songs together have a running time of about fifty minutes and this new CD shows us a milder, easier to approach, side of this Italian singer, who once started out her career with OPERA IX. If you’re ready to go with the CADAVERIA flow, then this one’s for you. If you only like the brutal approach of this band, have a good listen first and then buy this new shit! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DIAL-Synchronised (Progrock Records)
Better sit down and concentrate yourself on this one. DIAL is the new band of former PAIN OF SALVATION bass player Kristoffer Gildenlöw, former CIRRHA NIVA bass player Liselotte Hegt and guitar player Rommert van der Meer. Drums were played by Dirk Bruinenberg. When you are familiar with the musical background of all bandmembers, you’ll know this won’t be an easy album to listen to. DIAL asks for some special attention to enjoy this album to the max. We know, that Liselotte’s voice shows some resemblance to her big examples TORI AMOS and KATE BUSH. Combining this with the experimental and sometimes excentric music, you’ll get an idea of what direction this album will be heading. Opener “Beautiful” is a good example here. The album, thank God, shows a lot of variation. The next song is called “Sadness”. It has Kristoffer on vocals and reminds me of PINK FLOYD or the solo material of DAVID GILMOUR. I really like the heavy riffs in “Jewel”, which is a cover of MARCELLA DETROIT. This song was very well chosen in addition to their own penned material. After that, we’re invited to “Candyland”. This is a kind of vaudeville song, that could very well have been on one of the first QUEEN albums. QUEEN sometimes added stuff to their albums that was completely different from the remainder of the songs. These songs however still captured that reliable QUEEN sound, but only in a different way. This song also sounds completely different, yet it still fits very well to the sound of Liselotte’s voice.“Green Knees” captures the voice of Kristoffer again. I hear thick bass lines and the sound of mandolines slowly introduce us to a beautiful climax, where the FLOYD could have been proud of. “Hello” is a piece of rest halfway through the album, which contains eleven tracks and plays for about fifty minutes. “Points Of View” starts off just like another song, but slowly develops into something you might not expect at all. But that’s what most of the songs on this album are about. I would like to call them little cameleons. They have the urge to change into something you may not expect. “Wish It Away” is another piece of art, in which the band called in the help of Mr PSYCHOTIK WALTZ himself, Devon Graves. Devon plays additional guitar on this song and he also does the lead vocals. An outstanding track! With “Wounded”, we have come to another song, that contains the unmistably Hegt signature. It sounds mystical, dark and with the distorted vocals perhaps even creepy at times. “Nature’s Cruelty” (Mo’s Song) is a lullaby. The CD closes with “Childhood Dreams”, another great track which slowly builds itself to a wonderful climax with some great FLOYD-ian guitarwork. This last song is really brilliant and by far the highlight on this great piece of art. Be careful, don’t judge this album by only listening to it once. It really has to grow on you and then you’ll find a lot of undiscovered beautiness just below the upper skin. Highlights for me are “Jewel” and “Childhood Dreams”. So I would highly recommend “Synchronized” of DIAL and to enjoy this very fine piece of art. Website: http://www.myspace.com/thebanddial [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DORRN-Oversexed And Underfucked (STF Records)
I’d like to add an additional point for the great album title already! DORRN is a crossover band from Germany, that plays a music style that is suitable for a giant wide scope of fans. Pop fans may like it, metal fans may like it. It shows a lot of variation and it contains a lot of bloody good energy. DORRN consists of blonde frontlady Jackie on vocals, Jörn on guitar, Bernd on guitar and Mario on drums. The eleven tracks on the album have a total playing time of a bit over fourty minutes, and show a wide range of influences, that are too many to mention here. It’s like a giant rollercoaster ride through different energetic styles of music. However, there’s always enough melody in their songs to be suitable for radio airplay in some cases. “Stop Pushing Me Around” is one of the more brutal songs, and to me one of the highlights of the album. “Bad Girl”, originally recorded by MADONNA, sounds very excentric and is the odd one out here. Although “City@Night” also contains some dance beats. Jackie’s voice sounds a bit like GRACE JONES in this one. But this won’t be a problem for open-minded music lovers that love to hear a variation of styles. On this disc you can also enjoy a video for “We’re Out”. The song is actually not on the CD, but the bonus video is. It’s a mix of the more brutal DORRN sound with old black and white horror movie footage. It’s a shame though that the band left out this powerful song from this album, because it’s a great catchy song. Anyway, DORRN is definitely worth checking out, if you like powerful melodic rock music with raw energy and emotional dark sides as well. Website: http://www.dorrn.de [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EVIG NATT- I Am Silence (Omvina Records)
The seven tracks on the debut album of Norwegian band EVIG NATT have a total playing time of about forty-five minutes. EVIG NATT consists of Stein Sund on bass, guitars and synths and male vocals. The female part of this two-piece band is female vocalist Kirsten Jørgensen. “Nemesis Of Heart” already predicts some exciting moments. “In My Darkest Hour” contains some very fast and brutal blast beats and while my first thoughts go out to bands like ANATHEMA and MY DYING BRIDE, I have my doubts after hearing the wild screaming male vocals. When I listen to “My Demon” these feelings return again, until Stein starts screaming, which gives a more CRADLE OF FILTH-like approach to their sound. Add to this the blast beats that the band uses and you’ll get a style, that lies in the middle between MY DYING BRIDE and CRADLE OF FILTH. I like the voice of Kirsten, who has no soprano voice at all. Sometimes she sounds more like a rock or pop singer, which gives their music another dimension, that you don’t hear too much. “In My Death I Dream Of You” was one of the highlights on this CD for me, because of its modest character. I also really like the great mood swing in “A Final Lament”. It will keep the fans awake, after starting out so beautiful and melodic. Sometimes, it just works very well to disturb a peaceful atmosphere so brutally and direct. The most beautiful masterpiece on the album however is CD closer “Fallen”. True silence follows after this and it’s the perfect closure of a good debut album. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

FEED FORWARD-Barefoot & Naked (independent)
Let me introduce you to FEED FORWARD this time. It’s another promising Dutch band, that surprised me with their debut album. This is not another band that tries to jump on the bandwagon of the success of bands like AFTER FOREVER, WITHIN TEMPTATION or EPICA. The band actually sounds a lot more progressive and the guitar riffs are loud. And in Biejanka, they have found a very talented frontlady, who is the icing on the cake for me. “Fade Away” blew me out of my chair right away. And if this song didn’t do the trick for you, “Run The Race” certainly will. What a great instrumental intermezzo, what a great voice, what a suprising movements! This is absolutely brilliant!! Thick heavy riffs fill this song, without giving me the idea that they are creating a metal sound. Instead, they sound very progressive indeed with some great guitarparts. “Crossing The Line” is a very sensitive piece of rest. “Innocence” is too and it keeps the balance between the louder tracks and the softer pieces in the right way. Besides Biejanka, the band consists of Pi on drums and background vocals, Mario on guitar, Job on keyboards and Jan on bass. “143” sounds like the very early RUSH, which they can take as a big compliment. “Our Sky (For One Time)” is a short piano ballad. While “Before I Leave” is right in your face again. “Moving” is an instrumental song, in which we’ll enjoy the great skills of the musicians. And with “Stop To Think” this exciting album comes to an end, which is another good example of what this band is all about. As you can see, there is a lot of variation here. The ten songs together are worthy of about fifty-five minutes of exciting prog rock music. I think, this is only just the beginning of the career of FEED FORWARD. This band is a real promise for the future. Although, they are barefoot and naked, they are still able to put their best fee(d)t forward. Website: http://www.feedforwardband.com [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LITA FORD-Lita [reissue](Rock Candy)
LITA FORD still tickles my mind. Not only her good looks, but also her music still sounds great of course. “Lita” contains some of the bigger hits by LITA FORD, and the CD I have here contains some of the best moments of Mrs Ford. I almost forgot how powerful “Can’t Catch Me” sounded, which was co-written by Lemmy of MOTÖRHEAD. “Blueberry” is easy to sing along to, and the song is originally based on the movie “Blue Velvet”. “Kiss Me Deadly” is another catchy song and definitely one of the highlights in Lita’s live shows. While in “Fallin In And Out Of Love”, we hear the outstanding guitarplaying qualities by this lady. Ignored by many people, she sure knows to play them strings, believe me. “Fatal Passion” starts with a steady and heavy drum beat. The story in the CD booklet for this song is a really nice read. Again, this song is filled with some hot axework. “Under The Gun” was originally made for a movie, but later on it found a way to this album. The guitarsolo in this song shows some resemblance to ‘former boyfriend’ Tony Iommi (BLACK SABBATH). The sixteen page booklet of the CD contains an interview with producer Mike Chapman, liner notes by Dante Bonuto and a track by track comment by Lita herself. “If I Close My Eyes Forever” is the top ten hitsingle, that Lita got into the charts. This duet with OZZY OSBOURNE also contains some BLACK SABBATH-like guitarwork. And even almost twenty years after its first release, this song still sounds like magic to me. The bonus remix of the song is not included on the CD. LITA FORD’s finest moments are on this album. The only disadvantage is that the album only lasts for forty minutes and there are no bonus tracks included. But the fans of Lita won’t be disappointed. They’ll cherish every single moment on this CD!! [10 points - FULL SCORE] (Toine van Poorten)

GALLHAMMER-The Dawn Of.... (Peaceville Records)
GALLHAMMER is the female answer to doomy black metal bands like CELTIC FROST and HELLHAMMER. They come from the land of the rising sun and unlike the aforementioned bands, they are an all-female outfit. We have Vivian Slaughter on vocals and bass, Risa Reaper on drums and Mika Penetrator on guitar and vocals. GALLHAMMER is ultrabrutal and the CD contains demo tracks and rehearsal sessions. Officially, we are dealing with a band that has three singers. But because a band also needs musicians, Vivian and Mika taught themselves how to play an instrument. “May Our Fater Die” is a good example of the death doom sound of the band. Screaming vocals and a slow, doomy sound are the main ingredients here. This is definitely not for the faint hearted, because GALLHAMMER’s sound is uncompromising and there is no space for melodic parts whatsoever. It sounds raw, brutal and morbid. Songs like “Hallucinations” are hard to describe. The dark growls will make you shiver, they sound like they were recorded in Vivian’s death tomb. While “Selfish Selfless” is very short and has that magical HELLHAMMER feel. The ladies look like they have rizen from their graves, where they have been asleep for a couple of years before becoming the terrible zombies they are now. With their dark eye make up, they also show their appreciation for CELTIC FROST frontman Tom Warrior. “Friction” opens with some distorted bass parts, which will colour your ceiling black and your face pale. The dead march slowly goes on, while Vivian growls her lyrics into the microphone. Please avoid this double CD set, if you are a party freak. But when you’re about the dig up the grave of your grandparents tonight, then this is the music you should play during this morbid activity. The DVD, that comes with this CD, contains live footage of GALLHAMMER in concert in 2005 and 2006 and a photo gallery. If you like it brutal, then you’d better pick up your Gallhammer and bang yourself away into this. Website: http://www.gallhammer.com [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GOSSIP-Standing In The Way Of Control (Kill Rock Stars)
I remember, that THE GOSSIP were the hottest band around at the Ladyfest in Glasgow, Scotland in 2001. Apparently, a bigger audience is finally discovering their talents, too. The band is being played by radio stations all over the world and they show up at festivals in our country, too. Their new album has gotten many positive reviews, and I’m glad that I can add another one to this list as well. Although we already informed our readers about this band, when the millennium change was there, seven years ago now. Ten songs are on this thirty-five minute disc. Beth Ditto is still the frontlady of the band and it’s her voice, that lifts this band to a higher level. The band recently toured with THE SCISSOR SISTERS, but complained about the fact that the fans of this band didn’t like the RAMONES-like attitude of THE GOSSIP. The band started out in the Riot Grrrl scene, and that’s where we found out about them, before slowly evolving into a groovy rock band with a slightly punky attitude and social critical lyrics. Title track “Standing In The Way of Control” is the best example of what THE GOSSIP is all about nowadays. The lyrics are about the fact, that homosexual people can’t marry the one they love in the USA, thanks to the weird decisions of president Bush. It’s not 1937 anymore. Does that guy know that it’s 2007 already, for Christ’s sake? The raw energy, they put into this song, is a good example of the overall sound of the whole album. There are some exceptions to this rule of course. Like the song “Cool To Diamonds”, which is much slower. “Eyes Open” sounds a bit like THE WHITE STRIPES, just listen to the drum beats in this one. And the same goes for “Yr Mangled Heart”, but this time it’s the guitarsound that drives me to make this comparison. The last three songs are a bit less energetic in a way, but they take care of the balance on the album. A solid release, which will launch THE GOSSIP in the rock scene of today pretty easily. Besides Beth, THE GOSSIP consists of Brace Paine on guitar and Hannah Blillie on drums. Website: http://www.gossipyouth.co.uk [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GRAVEWORM-Collateral Defect (Massacre Records)
Ten songs are on the new album by this Italian/German metal band. And in my opinion, they have become more brutal than on their previous album. “Reflections” is nothing more than a short instrumental opener. After this “Bloodwork” and especially “Touch Of Hate” get the album really going. The CRADLE OF FILTH-like screams in combination with the deep, dark growls still work very well. The addition of the spherical sounds of the keyboards by Sabine Mair, creates the well- known GRAVEWORM sound. The whistling part in this song is new though. It gives a nice twist to this ultrabrutal song. I like the mood change in the middle of “The Day I Die” a lot. The sound is getting darker and slower and I think, this is the moment where the Grim Reaper is knocking at the door. In “Fragile Side” we also hear some ordinary singing, which sounds remarkably well. The cover, they choose to do this time, is perhaps another odd choice. “I Need A Hero”, (originally called “Holding Out For A Hero”, recorded by BONNY TYLER) gets a real GRAVEWORM treatment here. However, you can still recognise the original song, if you listen very carefully. “Memories” might have a very deep meaning to the band, but to close your album with a six minute acoustic lullaby sounds a bit over the top for me. After forty minutes of pounding and screaming (not counting “Memories” here), the CD is really over. We come to the conclusion, that GRAVEWORM has created a new album that will easily please their fans, who are addicted to their melodic black metal. If they will attract any new fans however remains to be seen.... Website: http://www.graveworm.de [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HOLY MOSES-Master Of Disaster [reissue] (Armageddon Music)
Even “Master Of Disaster” gets a remastering treatment, six years after its original release. Seven bonus tracks and two videos were added here, making it a real must for all HOLY MOSES fans out there. I already like the original version a lot, mainly because I like the sound of HOLY MOSES much more than the sound of TEMPLE OF THE ABSURD with Sabina. Just listen to a song like “Hand Of Death” here. The absurd speed of the music combined with the brutal screaming of Sabina makes your adrenaline flow fast. “Say Goodbye”, “I Will” and “Space Charing” are remastered for this release and “Channeling” was a Japanese bonus track. It’s slow, more doomy and definitely one of my faves here. We also get to hear two MOTÖRHEAD covers. The rehearsal versions of “The Hammer” and “I’m The Doctor” were recorded in 2002. The CD closes with a remastered version of “I’m Wagen Vor Mir”, which was a very well-hidden track before. You don’t have to search for this duet with Tom Angelripper any longer, because the party starts at number twelve on this remastered release now! The CD booklet contains all the lyrics, liner notes and some nice pics. But there is more to this. You can also watch videos for “Hate Is Just A Four Letter Word” and “Too Drunk To Fuck” from their Wacken gig in 2003. You can even use these videos on your IPOD or your cellphone, but this is too complex stuff for an old fart like me. I’m happy, that I can get this text on my computer without getting the thing exploding in my face. The twelve songs on this CD have a total running time of about forty minutes. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HOLY MOSES-Too Drunk To Fuck (Armageddon Music)
The remastered version of “Too Drunk To Fuck” gives you more value for your money. Seventy-five minutes of the brutal sound of HOLY MOSES enter your room. The album starts with covers of THE DEAD KENNEDYS, who are the original performers of title track “Too Drunk To Fuck”, and THE BEASTIE BOYS, who we all know for their hitsingle “Fight For Your Right (To Party)”. Later on, we will also hear “Welcome To The Real World” of D.R.I. and in between there’s a lot of heavy pounding by Sabina, Andy and their band. The bonus stuff on this CD is very exclusive. Besides rehearsal versions of “Finished With The Dogs”, “World Chaos” and “Waste Or Try” (the latter being a song that never landed on any album!!), we also hear a special version of VENOM’s “Black metal”. It was recorded with WARPATH and Cronos of VENOM. Check it out! The CD closes with the “Death Bells” live demo, recorded in Holland and Belgium in 1982, 1983 and 1984, the good old days, so to speak. Not that HOLY MOSES can’t compete with the metal bands of today anymore. In contrary, HOLY MOSES is one of the very few bands, that easily stood the test of time after deciding to invade the stages again. Their sound is much better now, and that’s why these remastered albums are such a relief. If you drunk too much, that f*cking is not an option anymore, I suggest to have a listen to this album instead. At least you will have a good time then! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

IN THIS MOMENT-Beautiful Tragedy (Century Media)
IN THIS MOMENT is a new star on the metal horizon. The band hails from Southern California and was founded in 2005. Frontlady of the band is Maria Brink, who proves to be a real great screamer. Their debut album contains eleven tracks and runs for about forty-five minutes. “Whispers Of October” is a short intro, but then they start to let it loose. What you get to hear is a brutal attack of maniacal screams, topped with repeating riffs and a thundering drum beat. But there is also some space for melody. Think about OTEP, WALLS OF JERICHO and KITTIE. The band does not forget to put some melody into their songs as well. Just listen to “This Moment” for example. But right thereafter, the pounding starts again with “Next Life”, which is one of the highlights on this album for me. Besides Maria, the band consists of Chris Howorth on guitars, Jeff Fabb on drums, Blake Bunzel on guitars and Jesse Landry on bass. If you like PANTERA riffs with screaming female vocals, then this one is for you. “When The Storm Subsides” closes the album with some emotional vocals and acoustic guitars. A good release of a band, that is gaining popularity real quickly. I hope, that they can keep up with the many competing bands out there. Website: http://www.myspace.com/inthismoment [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KITTIE-Funeral For Yesterday (X Of Infamy/Merovingian Records)
The Lander sisters made this album in the darkest days of their lives, and they thank their fans for staying devoted to KITTIE. The sound of this album is less brutal maybe, than you would have expected from KITTIE. But I think, that a little bit more structure came in place for that. The new album captures foruteen new songs with a total playing time of about forty-five minutes. Slowly, the band sounds darker and less powerful. Not that they have mellowed their sound, but the power explosions have made space for a more heavy AVRIL LAVIGNE-like approach. However, in “Slow Motion”, we hear the old KITTIE again, including the wild screams of Morgan. Besides Morgan (vocals and guitar) and Mercedes (drums, background vocals and piano) Lander, the band consists of Tara McLeod on guitars and Trish Doan on bass, who turns KITTIE back into an all-female outfit. In “Never”Again” the band also return to their roots again. It’s their raw sound, that I like the most, while the other songs are more accessible for a broader audience. I am trying to avoid the term ‘commercial’ here, because they aren’t that far gone. But when I think of KITTIE, I think of loud screams, riffing guitars and lots of adrenaline floating around. I think, they will reach more fans with “Funeral For Yesterday” and they obviously want to bury the past and focus on a new future. Quick deciders get a forty-five minute bonus DVD, when buying the album. “This Too Shall Pass”, “Last Goodbye” and “Witch Hunt”(all at the end of the CD) are the highlights on this album for me, and when you hear the voice of Morgan and the thundering drum beats, you’ll know why. I am not disappointed by this album and I am not surprised either. I think, it was just part of the musical evolution of KITTIE, who obviously burried their “Spit” days with this album. Website: http://www.kittierocks.com [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KREZIP-Plug It In (Sony BMG)
KREZIP decided to move slowly towards pop music, instead of the more rocking sound that they had before. That’s okay, as long as it’s done well. And I think, we don’t have to worry, because KREZIP always stands for high quality music. And I really like their first two singles from the new album “Plug It In”. Taken in account, that we’re dealing with a pop rock band here of course. KREZIP is no heavy metal, so I have to look and listen to their music with different glasses on, because there is a world of difference that we’re dealing with. Anyway, if you like to rock and hear songs that keep clinging to your mind after listening to them once, than this might be something for you. The album contains eleven new songs and has a playing time of about forty minutes. The compact songs with the voice of Jacqueline Govaert are very easy to listen to, and they give you a good feeling. Yes, the band sounds commercial, but with taste. “Easy Way Out” and “You’re Wrong” are good examples of songs that stick inside your brain, once you listened to them. Jacqueline’s voice is very pretty and I think this band simply won’t make it without her as a frontlady. Just look at the picture on the cover. Everybody is printed in black and white, besides frontlady Jacqueline, who screams for attention in her lovely pink dress. KREZIP plugs it in for another forty minutes and there you have it. Another chapter in the successful story of this Dutch pop rock band. Website: http://www.krezip.nl [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LINK-S/T Tour Edition (independent)
LINK hails from Groningen, in the northern part of Holland. The band consists of four ladies, who play some damn good bulldozer punkrock with Dutch and English lyrics. Musically, the band could be placed between THE RAMONES (music) and VANDALE (lyrics). The band consists about three years now, and these ladies don’t take shit. They are in your face and they have their heart upon their sleeves. ‘Take it or leave it’ is their message, and this might lead to some wild, short outings of aggression. Why do you have to pay for your beer, sexism and animal cruelty are some of the topics, that we get to hear about. In addition with their loud punk rock music, these ladies make sure that their message is very clear. You can agree with their lyrics or not, I am judging the band for their musical qualities and that’s quite okay. Their songs are even catchy in a way, and I can assure you that the fans will scream their balls off, when shouting along to “Nazi Soa”. The fast songs are played very tight, and they sure prove that they can do a lot more than making some noise alone. The ten songs on this CD have a total length of almost twenty-five minutes. Just enough to wring out all the sweat of your body. LINK consists of Jantina on vocals, Esmo on guitar and vocals, Eva Cavia on drums and vocals and Eva Kikker on bass and vocals. Website: http://linkuitgroningen.nl [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE LUST-Membrane (Sleaszy Rider Records)
The opener on this album might point you into the wrong direction. It contains rather strange sounds and a spoken intro. You are expecting a dance beat to follow, but THE LUST from St. Petersburg play gothic rock. They have a female vocalist in their ranks, who goes by the name of Mirla. The rest of the band consists of Yan on vocals and guitar, Andy on bass, Max on keyboards and Marti on drums. Sometimes their music tends to lean more towards the gothic rock, instead of gothic metal. Just listen to “When Death Still Dances”, which hardly can be called gothic metal anymore. There are some wild riffs here as well, but after a few songs you are asking for a bit more variation. If some songs would have sounded a bit more like CD closer “Darkness In Bright”, my opinion would have changed into a more positive direction. Now I can only say, that this is an average gothic rock CD with twelve new songs. And after a forty-five minute spin, you won’t feel like pushing the play button again, I’m afraid. Nontheless, this CD is too good to be called worthless and I have good hopes, that it will reach all the fans of this genre. The CD cover is very cool though! [6 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MELDRUM-Blowing Up The Machine (Frontiers Records)
I’ve always liked the sound of MELDRUM a lot. It reminds me of the wild guitar chords and riffs of ZAKK WYLDE and DIMEBAG DARREL. This time, the band is “Blowing Up The Machine”. The eleven new songs have a total running time of about forty-minutes. The aggressive sound is still there and in openers “Purge” and “Down Your Throat” the ladies let out all the energy, that was hidden inside them. The band consists of Michelle Meldrum on guitars, Frida Stahl on bass and Moa Holmsten on vocals. On drums, they hired some of the best forces immaginable: namely her old collegue Linda McDonald of PHANTOM BLUE and THE IRON MAIDENS fame, plus the drum beast Gene Hoglan of DARK ANGEL, DEATH and STRAPPING YOUNG LAD. In “Scar”, the band takes back some speed, but with “Crème De La Crème” the band pounds out some of its finest tunes. Brutal, loud and slow yet aggressive riffs. Yes, this is the shit, that I wanna hear! In “Miss Me When I’m Gone”, Lemmy appears as a guest vocalist. It’s well-known, that the MOTÖRHEAD boss is a big fan of the band. “Get Me Outta Here” is a strong power ballad. The CD closes with “Bite The Pillow”, which has some hot guitarwork of Michelle. I share Lemmy’s taste in music and I think that every fan of MELDRUM will be pleased with this new album. It has got that groove that I like, and the girls let loose the energy in their wild, raw sound. I like it that way. This is not for wimps, this is for women (and men of course), who like to blow up machines for Gods sake! Website: http://www.meldrum.nu [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

METHADOL-Methadol (MCD) (independent)
METHADOL hails from France and they present us their five track promo CD, which gives you a twenty minute plus preview of what this band is all about. Opener “Nightmare” is not a nightmare at all. The voice of Manu Dal-Grande is very easy to listen to and I hear some nice musical ideas, like the guitarsolo in this song for instance. Not too many bands are keen of playing a guitarsolo these days, but METHADOL doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. For a self-produced release, it certainly doesn’t sound bad at all. Their nice musical ideas continue in the wild and exciting “Silent Is….”. The music of this French band can be described as wild rock or just plain hard rock, if you please. Besides Manu, the band consists of Fred Carceller on bass, Mallory Julia on drums and Stef Piovesan on guitar. And Stef plays an impressive guitarsolo in this second song as well. The five tracker continues with “The Day Of Your Death”, which opens as a ballad, but gains some speed later on. The guitarsolo is again roaring in this song. Check! This band certainly has the potential to write catchy songs. They could do with a little more aggressiveness in their songs maybe, but at least they follow the right track, in my opinion. I liked the powerful drumming in “Aggressive” in this context. The mini CD closes with “The F*** King”. And with this song, they’ve got it all right. Continue like this on the upcoming full-length album, and it might become a killer debut. As you can see, the CD closer was definitely my favorite track here. It has got a catchy chorus, which is easy to sing along to and a great IRON MAIDEN-like sound. Just remember the name METHADOL, and check out this mini CD. It only costs 5 Euro plus postage, but the last song alone is worth that money already. Don’t forget to go to: www.myspace.com/methadol and give the band some feedback! [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE NAME-Recognition (independent)
THE NAME consists since the millennium change and with this third album, they prove to be stayers creating a style of their own. A style, that is a mix of pop, rock and metal with female and male vocals. Some really exciting moments are coming your way during these nine songs. Death grunts, rap parts, loud riffs, and catchy chorusses constantly change and ask for your attention. THE NAME consists of Hadassa on vocals, Silas on guitar and background vocals, Fabio on guitar (he's new in the band), Mike on bass and Salvador on drums. What’s in a name, I hear you say. As long as these five people know how to play excentric songs like “Lies”, it’s fine by me. “Lies” is just one example of the enormous variation of styles, you will find back in only one song. There are speed changes all over the place, which makes this album even more enjoyable to listen to. There’s never a dull moment around and I think, that this band will be able to create a great party when playing live. The only thing, that they need now is to get some recognition. Well, with this great album, they definitely get that from me. To give this album the full score is perhaps a bit too early, but they’re just a fraction away from it. Great music from four well-talented musicians, who don’t care about hypes, trends or hitsingles. They just want to give their music some dimension and vision and there is nothing wrong with that. Give them a chance and buy their album, they surely deserve it. Website: http://www.thename.nl. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

NEMESEA-In Control (Sellaband)
NEMESEA started their career in 2002 and with their debut album “Mana”, they already gained some popularity. They toured with AFTER FOREVER, and slowly saw their star rising to the status they have achieved now. Then they decided to participate on sellaband.com. People could pay you money, if they believed in your music. And if you raised enough money, you could record an album. Everything is possible in the days of internet, as you can see. And they did a real fine job here, because in no time they collected the money to record their next album. So now they’ve released “In Control”, which was financed by their fans. You might think that this is a strange situation, but hey, it’s 2007 and this is just the way things are going at the moment. No shopping around anymore with demo tapes, just put your music on the internet and make sure that everybody listens to it and likes what you are doing. The same can happen to you……or not. You must be talented of course, and the musicians in NEMESEA are very talented indeed. Prove was given already on their debut album. The fact, that everybody likes your music is a different thing, especially when you play (hard)rock or (heavy)metal. So I guess, you won’t be surprised, when I say that NEMESEA has changed their style a little bit. Their music has become a bit more radio friendly, to avoid the word commercial. We can still compare them to bands like WITHIN TEMPTATION in a way, but only the more commercial (oops - sorry for using that word again) songs. I can’t deny, that Manda Ophuis has got some good looks and a very nice voice, but when I listen to the electronic sounds in the beginning of “Lost Inside” for example, I really get the creeps all over. I realise at the very same moment, that this song could do very well on the Dutch radio stations. More potential hitsingles are on the album as well. I think, we will hear much more about NEMESEA in the near future, because right now this band is very much “In Control”. Website: http://www.nemesea.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

OCTAVIA SPERATI-Grace Submerged (Candlelight)
“Grace Submerged” has become a rather heavy album for these Norwegian nymphs. Their groovy guitarsound surprised me right from the start. And it’s only in the fourth song of the album, that they take back speed a little for a special piano version of the THIN LIZZY classic “Don’t Believe A Word”. Their melodramatic sound has gained some sunlight and shines brighter than ever before. The ten songs, that have a playing time of about forty minutes, can even be called catchy at times. The more sober moments are short, and fit well to the rest of their material. A song like “Moonlit” for example, is darker, but it is one of the shorter tracks on the album. It’s like they’ve added it as a short piece of rest, without really having the intention to add it. Later on, the songs get some more uptempo parts as well, and a bit of sunshine sparkles in. The doomy aspects in their songs are still there, but the band is more open to other styles. Especially, a song like “The Final Rest”, which could very well have been on the “Winter Enclosure” album, because of its gothic, doomy character, sounds much better and more in balance than all their previous work. The short instrumental closure of the CD make me realise, that forty minutes is a bit short for a full-length album. However, considering the high quality of all these songs, it has easily become their best CD ever. I do hope, that these Norwegian ladies are ready for a bright future. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

PHOENIX REIGN-Destination Unknown (independent)
Metalheads, raise your swords for PHOENIX REIGN from New York City. The debut album “Destination Unknown” contains eleven true metal tracks, worthy of a full hour of true, powerful epic metal. The band started their career as PHOENIX in 1998, and after playing many clubs in New York, the time was right to record a debut album. However, their singer at the time thought about it differently and left the band. With Theresa Gaffney, they have found a new metal frontlady, who is the perfect singer to take this band to a higher level. The songs on “Destination Unknown” have got a high calibre of IRON MAIDEN influences, but I also hear back some of the true warrior sound of WARLORD and other metal heroes from the US metal scene. The guitar playing of Billy Chrissochos made me do the comparison with WARLORD, while the tandem rhythm guitarwork is more IRON MAIDEN-like. The lyrics on the album are about warriors, wars, shining armour and battlefields. Some songs are a bit easier on the ear, like “Open Your Eyes”. But watch out, this is only in the beginning, because halfway through the song, the band gallops off at full speed. And all swords are pointing into the direction of Billy’s guitarwork. One of the highlights for me is “Run Now”, because of the awesome guitarwork. And I’d also like to mention title track “Destination Unknown”, because of the enormous power in this song and the flashy guitarwork. Besides Billy on guitar and Theresa on vocals, the band consists of Chris Pollatos on bass, Wayne Noon on drums and Kostas Psarros on guitar. The magnificent CD closes with another highlight, called “Constantinople 1453 (On The Eve Of The Fall)”. With its length of almost twelve minutes full with power and speed changes, it’s simply the ultimate epic war anthem imaginable. Don’t let the fast bouzouki playing distract you, because this song is really fantastic. And there you have it. A fantastic debut album from a very promising New York City heavy metal band. Their destination is still unknown, but if they continue making records like this, their destination will definitely be to the top of the international heavy metal scene. Website: http://www.phoenixreign.com. [10 points - FULL SCORE] (Toine van Poorten)

PRESENCE OF MIND-To Set Out On The Light (STF Records)
We always ask some special attention for all-female bands. PRESENCE OF MIND is an all-female punk rock band and they write catchy rock songs, that are very suitable for radio airplay. Besides that, they are also a perfect outdoor festival band. Their songs are really easy to sing, jump, scream and sing along to. In their music, I hear a lot of influences from Dutch chartbusters like ANOUK and KREZIP, but I also hear a bit of KITTIE and SKUNK ANANSIE here and there. As far as I know, this is the second album by this band, who debuted their career with “Finding Home”. I will not be denigrating German bands, but I would have never guessed that this band hails from Germany. Their perfect English is a real treat to your ears! I’ve heard it differently many times before! Okay, having said this all, it’s time to introduce these ladies to you. We have Sarah Steinbrecher on vocals, Sabrina Meier on guitars and vocals, Anna Müller on bass and screams, and Sina Steinbrecher on drums and vocals. In “No Need To Entertain”, the band even uses a child choir. It’s a nice tryout, but not for me. To me, it’s the odd one out here and doesn’t really fit to the rest of the material on this album. In thirteen songs and a little bit of over fifty minutes, you’ll get a pretty good idea of the strength of PRESENCE OF MIND. They are ready to rock the world. And if you look at their impressive touring schedule, you can only come to one conclusion: many bookers have already discovered this band and added them on their festival bill. The CD also contains a bonus video of “Turn The Page”, just to please their fans. Website: http://www.presenceofmind.de. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MARION RAVEN-Here I Am (Warner)
Raise your hands, if you don’t know MARION RAVEN yet. She is most likely well-known to most of you for her work with MEAT LOAF. Now we want to bring her solo CD under your attention. Next time we’ll pay some attention to her new album, but first things first. “Here I Am” is a collection of ballsy rock songs, ballads and radio friendly rock and pop songs. Fifteen songs in fifty-five minutes are on this CD, and it shows that we’re dealing with a big talent here. The songs are catchy, but sometimes they also have a raw edge to them. Think about KELLY CLARKSON, PINK or AVRIL LAVIGNE here and you’ll get close to the sound of this album. The beautiful voice of Marion is a real treat to listen to. Add to this the fact, that she is capable of writing some good songs, with or without the help of MOTLEY CRUE bassplayer Nikki Sixx. These facts together make this album to a nice listen during the long summer days on a party or during the long drives to your summer holidays destination. Let the wind blow through your hair and enjoy the sunshine, that seems to come out of your speakers. And this is just the first big step on the way to worldwide success for this Norwegian singer (her original name is Marion Elise Ravn). Her new album will possibly please even more fans of this genre. Website: http://www.marion-raven.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

RESOLUTE-Titanium (RRO)
RESOLUTE is being announced as the new rock sensation from England. They have been hailed as ‘best newcomers’ in Bruce Dickinson’s (IRON MAIDEN) BBC6 rock show and apparently, they are SAXON’s fave band at the moment. Talk about a good introduction! The four songs on this EP show us a band with a very fresh approach on music with a sunny vibe. Sounding like a cross between our very own rock star ANOUK and SKUNK ANANSIE. It’s a bit hard to judge the band after only hearing four songs and a little bit of over ten minutes of music. But what I heard definitely has the potential to grow bigger. Especially, the BLACK SABBATH-like riff in “As I Am” does appeal to me a lot. While I would describe the other three songs as very catchy rock tunes. Maybe GARBAGE (Shirley Manson’s outfit) would be a good reference for this band. Are you still with me? RESOLUTE consists of Christelle Kelley on guitar and vocals, Dawn Rose on drums and Paul Frainer on bass and backing vocals. Christelle’s voice is easy to listen to and makes you long to hear more. However, comparing her with a female version of James Hetfield (METALLICA) is definitely a bit over the top for me (as their biography stated). Anyway, RESOLUTE is definitely worth checking out. There’s no doubt about it. If they’re really the next big rock sensation from England remains to be seen, but they’re ready to take their first steps to international success. Website: http://www.myspace.com/resoluterock. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SKLATCH-Blowing Noisemakers (Nidus Music Productions)
What a great catchy logo! I’m interested right away to hear the sound by this Los Angeles based band. Erin Hamler is the singing frontlady and guitarplayer of SKLATCH. On this CD, she is backed by Robert Ryder on bass and Bill Sablan, who plays lead and rhythm guitars. The drums were done by Tiny Bubbles and Tia Sprocket (LUSCIOUS JACKSON, SEXPOD, MINISTRY, RAGING SLAB, LUNACHICKS). Their music can be described as catchy rock with some raw edges. Think about a more alternative version of THE RUNAWAYS and THE DONNAS , because their influences definitely live on in the sound of SKLATCH. Sometimes they get really raw and rough, and that’s when SKLATCH is at its best. Take a song like “Parasite” for example. The groovy riff, raw vocals and steady beat, turn this song into a great rawker! Topped by a great guitarsolo at the end of the song. If you listen to songs like “Away” or “Rough You Up”, you’ll hear, that Erin’s voice shows some resemblance with the raw, rebellous voice of PINK, singing in a rock band. The guitarwork in “Rough You Up” is really excellent, by the way. While “High” (in contrary to all this rebellous power), is a little piece of rest here. The eleven songs on “Blowing Noisemakers” have a total running time of about forty minutes and make you aware, that there are still some well-talented bands out there, who are ready to rock your world. SKLATCH is definitely one of these bands and I suggest to check them out. Highlight on the album for me is the groovy “Parasite”. Website: http://www.myspace.com/sklatch. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

STYGMATA-Bleed (Karma Records Group)
STYGMATA is a great name for a metal band. The letter G in their logo holds a cross, which is turned upside down, while the letter T has a normal cross. On the CD cover, you can see a blonde lady holding up a white Flying V, while the blood is dripping through her hands. This combination will grab your attention immediately and after seeing that STYGMATA is Kathie Jarra’s new band, I cannot wait to put the silver disc into my stereo set. This new album contains nine tracks, and has a running time of about forty-five minutes. Eight songs are new and the last song is a cover of SLAYER’s “Spill The Blood”, but more about that later on. Besides Kathie on lead & backing vocals and rhythm guitars, her recording band consists of Mike Armstrong on drums, Judas on guitars, HB Abels on bass and Brent Guiterrez on male backing vocals. Great metal riffs enter my room, when the music starts to play. And with “Sea Of Red”, I can almost see the sea coloring red with blood in my imagination. Kathie’s voice matches very well with the thick riffs and rough-edged guitar solos, that embrace a great song like “Haunted”. Her raw voice gives the music the unpolished and raw feeling, that it needs. It also takes care of some kind of ominous character, that these songs have. The same could have been done by Tom Araya (SLAYER frontman), but then with a loud screaming voice. The result would be the same. I’m being blown away by title track “Bleed”, which has some mighty riffing in the beginning of the song. It has got the same atmosphere as a song like “In Trance” of THE SCORPIONS, when Uli Jon Roth was still in the band. It’s this threatening dark atmosphere, these songs simply need, which is really done very well. I already knew “Kill The King” by RAINBOW (talk about a classic here!). But now we also have “Kill The Rainbow” by STYGMATA, which sounds like the 2007 version of BLACK SABBATH’s “Heaven And Hell”, which they can take as a big compliment. “By Myself” opens groovy again with some killer riffs. SEVEN WITCHES’ frontman Jack Frost will be playing these riffs, when STYGMATA will be touring, which makes it even more exciting. “Crawl” has another awesome guitarsolo, and you can almost feel the hate in “Hate”. When you take into account, that the intro to this song was played by a drummer who is…blind, then you only can have deep respect for this guy. Some drummers can’t even do this with their eyes open! He also seems to have a sixth degree black belt in karate. This gives me another vision of his skills, I can tell you that. The title is just perfect for this brutal piece of music, containing some great SLAYER-like riffing. Like I mentioned before, the CD closes with the SLAYER cover “Spill The Blood”. This makes the CD really complete. STYGMATA is ultrahot and I hope to be able to catch the band on tour, when they invade Europe. Kathie astonished me before, but this band goes beyond my wildest dreams. Bleed for me Europe!! Website: http://www.stygmata.com. [10 points - FULL SCORE] (Toine van Poorten)

TACERE-Beautiful Darkness (SM-Records)
I remember being very positive about TACERE’s MCD last time. Their full-length album is out now and it contains twelve songs, and has a running time of about fifty minutes. The sound of the band was full of variation, because they also put some progressive parts into their music. Doing so, they didn’t become another NIGHTWISH copycat or a WITHIN TEMPTATION clone number so much. Touches of DREAM THEATER and SONATA ARCTICA made their music so special and I was really very curious about this album. The drumbeats in opener “Deep Tears Of Tragedy” sound like ordinairy housebeats, but the remainder of the song is quite okay. In “I Devour”, I hear the sound that I liked so much on their “A Voice In The Dark” mini album. It has some great speed changes, brutal growls, choirs and plenty of variation in styles, that only this band knows to put in one song. “Excursion” is another great example of the way things are handled by TACERE. Here we hear the beautiful soprano vocals of Helena Haaparanta and the brutal voice of Karri Knuuttila, plus some YNGWIE MALMSTEEN-like guitarwork to spice things up, a remarkable fresh combination. “A Voice In The Dark” is a duet between Karri and Helena, which has some bombastic string arrangements accompanying the whole. While “Phantasm” shows the progressive skills of the band and also gives some room for the instrumentalists to show us their talents. People, who still compare this band to NIGHTWISH, must take a better listen to this band, before they start to shout something. TACERE starts, where NIGHTWISH ended (I’m not talking about the new line up, because I can’t judge them yet). “Beyond Silence” is a short tune, that we can see as some kind of intro to “Beautiful Darkness”, the ballad-like song at the end of the album. This song also shows the doomy, dark character of the band. CD closer “Into Your Dreams” is another good example of the music style, that TACERE is presenting here. Besides Karri and Helena, the band consists of Jarno Vanhanen on drums, Janne Salminen on keyboards, Pekka Pyrhönen on bass and Seppo Nummela on guitar. Finland can add another well-talented band to the long list. I predict a very successful future for this band, if they can cope with the strong concurency, and if they can keep their line up stable. Website: http://www.tacere.net/ [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

TWO OF A KIND-Two Of A Kind (Frontiers Records)
TWO OF A KIND is a Dutch band, who present us their fifty minute, eleven songs, debut album. And this album is damn hot, I can assure you. First of all, I didn’t really had the idea that I was listening to a Dutch band at first. Mastermind of the band is Fred Hendrix of TERRA NOVA. TWO OF A KIND can be categorised as melodic rock and A.O.R, both played at a very high level. Think about WITNESS, HEART, RTZ or WHITESNAKE to get an idea what to expect here. “Light In The Dark” is a very strong opener, that leaves no doubt of what to expect from this band. A band, that has two female vocalists, instead of one. Anita Craenmehr, who sang in NIGHT SHADE and FAST FORWARD, and Esther Brouns, who previously sang in several cover bands. Their experience shows and their voices match very well together. Besides Fred, Anita and Esther, we have Gesuino Derosas on guitar, Hans In ‘t Zand on drums and Ron Hendrix (Fred’s brother) on keyboards. “Unbearable” is a beautiful ballad with an almost emotional sounding guitarsolo, that seems to come straight from the heart of Fred’s guitar. “Into The Fire” starts out as another ballad, but after a speed change, it develops into a HEART-like rock song with some remarkable guitarwork of Fred. To me, it’s definitely one of the highlights on this album, together with the fast and heavy rocker “Whole Again”. “To The Top” sounds a bit more catchy and this is right where the band is heading to, if you would ask my humble opinion. TWO OF A KIND is a real top notch band and people, who like melodic rock with female vocals must definitely check this one out. Full score is what I'd like to give this! [10 points - FULL SCORE] (Toine van Poorten)

XANDRIA-Salomé – The Seventh Veil (Drakkar)
XANDRIA is a band for people, who like the lighter stuff, powered up with some strong heavy riffs. XANDRIA hails from Germany, a country where many gothic metal bands come from. But while our Dutch gothic bands all sound a bit more metal, the German bands seem to cling to the more sublte, gothic-like style. It’s not that there aren’t any heavy parts on this CD, but the overall sound is less heavy than you might expected. In “Firestorm” however, they added some very heavy male grunts and growls. While “The Wind And The Ocean” on the other hand sounds very modest, to say the least. “Sisters Of The Light” sounds a bit like BLACKMORE’S NIGHT with its joyful refrain and ready to sing along to. It has got that sound in the beginning, which will make you think of the Middle East. After twelve songs and about fifty minutes, “The Seventh Veil” is over. And I have to admit, that I had a rather good time, although I didn’t hear anything new. It sounds very well, but everything has been done before. Maybe that’s the strength of bands like XANDRIA. Their music will appeal to many different people and isn’t too complicated. XANDRIA consists of Lisa Middelhauve on vocals, Marco Heubaum on guitar, Gerit Lamm on drums, Philip Restemeier on guitar and Nils Middelhauve (who is married to vocalist Lisa) on bass. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DELAIN-See Me In Shadow (CDsingle) (Roadrunner Records)
DELAIN is working very hard to get their name established in the premier ranks of the Dutch (gothic) metal scene. They’re managing quite well, I think. Thanks to the increasing success of their new single “See Me In Shadow”, which was taken from their recent album “Lucidity”. It contains four songs, worthy of fifteen minutes of DELAIN music, and a video clip for “See Me In Shadow”. The song, they choose, is a ballad type of thing and it fits really well with the acoustic versions on the single of “Frozen”, “Silhouette Of A Dancer” and “See Me In Shadow”. I think, it will be only a matter of time, before the band will be discovered by a bigger audience and they sure deserve it! [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DORO-All We Are – The Fight: A Tribute To Regina Halmich (CDsingle) (AFM Records)
DORO always knows to please her fans. This CDsingle has a total playing time of more than twenty minutes for the audio part alone and it’s a must for the fans of this metal lady. The single was released as promotion material for the McFit Fight Night, where Regina Halmich (a good friend of DORO’s) showed her boxing skills and DORO played a live gig. Opener “All We Are” is a real crowd pleaser and a very good choice. It’s catchy and easy to sing along to. Just raise your fists in the air and shout ‘All We Are’!! “Thunderspell” is another great rocker, which reminded me of her good old WARLOCK days. It’s metal to the max with a great hook and it will immediately invite you to jump and shout along. “Everything’s Lost” is a beautiful ballad with some very tasteful guitarsolos. A good metal band needs a good ballad, and this one will definitely blow you away, I’m sure! “On My Own” was co-written by Marc Storace of KROKUS. He also sings this strong power ballad together with DORO. But the song, I was really looking forward to hearing, is DORO’s version of the LED ZEPPELIN classic “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”. An odd choice maybe and it’s very hard to come close to the original version of such a classic song. However, DORO did manage really well and her version is very enjoyable. The video part consists of five video clips, including some rare footage of this fight night, all worthy of more than twenty minutes of exciting material. So for the price of a single you’ll get about fifty minutes of audio and video stuff. While Regina wins the fight from her fellow encounters in the ring, DORO wins the fight with her music. There aren’t too many bands, who know to please their fans like DORO does. A killer release from this beautiful blonde metal lady with the killer instinct. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HOLY HELL-Apocalypse (CDsingle) (Magic Circle Music)
I was looking forward to hearing this band for a long time now. The single contains four songs and twenty minutes of some of the finest in heavy metal. HOLY HELL performed a special guest star spot on the ‘Demons Dragons And Warriors’ tour of MANOWAR. In the first minutes, you will think of HOLY HELL as the next NIGHTWISH copycat in town. I’m sorry to spoil your dreams, because this band is so much more. First of all, their lyrics come close to the epic material of the metal gods of MANOWAR. Add to this the great flashing guitarwork in opener “Apocalypse” and the mighty metal vocals instead of the soprano opera vocals, and you’ll know that HOLY HELL is more than just another heavy metal band. “Ressurection” sounds creepy and very different than the opener, in case you need some variation. HOLY HELL delivers it all. Okay, but who exactly are these people of HOLY HELL? Well, the line up consists of Maria Breon on vocals, Tom Hess on guitars, Francisco Palomo on keyboards and Jay Rigney (REIGN OF TERROR) on bass. The powerful drums come from Rhino [you know the one, who set his old drumkit on fire, when he replaced Scott Columbus in MANOWAR for a while]. Guitarist in this new metal sensation is another wizard, that many people will know already. Nobody else but Joe Stump takes care of these flashing guitar solos on this four tracker. All songs were co-written by Joey DeMaio, which shows. It contains that strong epical undertone and a mighty bombastical sound mixed with a true heavy metal feeling. Only a few people can make this combination work, and he is a genius in this genre. ANDREW LLOYD WEBER’s “Phantom Of The Opera” is on the CD as a live version, recorded in Czechia in 2005. Here we can hear Maria in a duet with the MANOWAR phantom Eric Adams himself. M – A – G – I - C , no other words can describe my feelings, while listening to this well-known musical classic. The audio part of this CD closes with another mighty epic metal song, called “Last Vision”. On the video part of this single, we’ll get the video of “The Phantom Of The Opera”, performed live at the Masters Of Rock festival in 2005. I think, this is only the beginning of a hopefully long lasting career for HOLY HELL. If they’ll keep on making music like this, then they will not only make my head shake, but they will even be able to shake the earth with their mighty power. All swords rise for HOLY HELL and to a great future of these new kings and queen of true heavy metal music! Website: http://www.holyhell.com. [10 points - FULL SCORE] (Toine van Poorten)

KREZIP-Play This Game With Me (CDsingle) (Sony BMG)
You know by now that I really like the sound of KREZIP. Maybe because their music is played on the Dutch radio almost every day, and since my radio is always on at work, I hear their songs many times. And their singles always seem to have a certain attraction, which makes them easy to listen to. This new single release for “Play This Game With Me” is no exception to that golden rule. Even when their music is much more leaning towards ordinairy pop music in a way, it’s still very enjoyable to listen to it. The additional track for this single is the live version of the same song, recorded at Pinkpop on May 27th, 2007. How can you resist, when Jacqueline asks you with a hoarse voice to play a game with her. I think, that no one can turn her down, so let’s play a game, while listening to this new single. Website: http://www.krezip.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LONG TIME DEAD- 2007 EP (independent)
LONG TIME DEAD hails from England and the band consists of Emma on vocals, Merylina Hamilton on lead guitar, Mart on guitar and backing vocals, Lee on bass and Mat ‘Animal’ on drums (who has just left the band. Probably to join THE MUPPETS on another world tour - just kiddin’). No, seriously, this three song EP made a good impression on me. The sound is fine and sometimes I even got the idea that I was listening to an old school NWOBHM band. “Fade Away” is a great start, and especially guitarist Merylina sounds smoking hot here. Their powerful sound is perfect to tear down a wall, or two. If the band is willing to put the rock back into Brittain, I think they sure did succeed their mission with these three songs. They play a mix of the old standards like THE WHO and LED ZEPPELIN on one hand, and some dirty rawk and roll on the other hand. Merylina is again pulling out some tasteful solos in “Why Can’t You See”, which makes them sound like THE WHO with JIMI HENDRIX on guitar. Can you dig that combination? Other people may slay this down as plain, simple rock and roll. But I think if you listen a little bit more closely, you will hear the force of these three songs. They will bring you back to the roots of the seventies rock sound with a new millennium approach sauce on top of it. And this works remarkably well to me. The original rock sound may be long time dead already, but this British band really knows to reanimate it again, and create a sound of their own. Check them out on My Space at: http://www.myspace.com/longtimedeaduk. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

NIGHTWISH-Eva (download) Nuclear Blast
This new song of NIGHTWISH is the first song, they released with their new singer Anette Olzon. It’s difficult to judge the band by only hearing three minutes of music. Anette sounds very different and less powerful than Tarja. The ballad “Eva” has got a beautiful guitar solo, but I think that the sound of NIGHTWISH will become less heavy in the near future. Although I could be mistaken ofcourse. Their bombastical sound remained and obviously, they didn’t change that much musically. Their ability of writing a musical story, including a guitar solo of only a little bit over three minutes has remained. And only the future will tell us, if their success will continue after the surprisingly, much spoken about, line up change. The new NIGHTWISH album will be out somewhere in September, together with the new EPICA album, and I must admit that this might not be a wise decision. Or will it be a misjudgement from yours truly and will the NIGHTWISH fans take the album to a number one position in the charts in no time? I really don’t have a clue. Whatever, fact is “Eva” will not disappoint the long term fans of NIGHTWISH, I guess. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WITHIN TEMPTATION-Frozen (CDsingle) (GUN Records/Sony BMG)
There are four new songs on this new CDsingle by WITHIN TEMPTATION, which has a running time of about twenty-two minutes. Besides that, there are two videos on here as well. One for “Frozen” and one for “The Howling”. The single starts the audio versions of these songs, followed by the previously unreleased “Sounds Of Freedom”. This song would sound well on any WT album and it sounds quite exciting, in my opinion. The last two songs are two acoustic live tracks, recorded for radio broadcast. They play “What Have You Done” and “The Cross” for the program “Met Michiel” (Which Michiel? Veenstra Veenstra….of course). Anyway, it’s WITHIN TEMPTATION stripped down to the most elementary way possible. Two songs, one previously unreleased track and two acoustic live versions plus two video clips, sums up the complete content on this new single release by one of the most successful bands in the Dutch scene. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

[Updated: October 25, 2007]

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