CD REVIEWS


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


MM#40/June 2005:

ANGELHEART-Caution It Rocks! (Point Music/Rock Inc.)
ANGELHEART is a cooperation of Janet La Rose on vocals and percussion, and Paul Etterlin on vocals and guitar. On stage they call in the help of Mega Horvath and Rainer Loretan on keyboards, Toni Lumiella on guitars and Urs Furrer on drums. These eleven new tracks are worthy of about forty minutes of good melodic rock. I must say, that I was quite impressed by this third album of ANGELHEART. I hear back influences of ALANIS MORISSET-TE, SKUNK ANANSIE, KREZIP and ANOUK, which are high quality artists in my book. After solid openers like “Gonna Get You” and “Into The Night”, which cling to your mind pretty easily, they added some Eastern influences to the intro of “Caged” as well. The rest of the song is very catchy. Janet’s voice sounds sensitive at times, but it’s also very nice to listen to in the rawer parts. Because of the recognisable midtempo speed and the very catchy songs, this turned out to be a very nice album, although towards the end you’ll get the idea that the band are repeating themselves more than once. Eleven pieces of catchy, melodic rock, ready to be swallowed without chewing, that’s what you’ll get. Nothing more, nothing less. The last song on the album is the ANGELHEART version of the CLOUT classic “Substitute”. Oh, and you’d better beware, because as the title suggests already, it rocks like hell!! A good, solid rock album made by some very talented musicians from Switzerland. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BAMBIX-Club Matuchek (Go-Kart Records)
You’ll have to listen very quickly to this album, because before you’ll know it, it’s over! It’s nice to know that you have a ‘replay’ button on your stereo set. In thirty-five minutes you get to hear thirteen new energetic songs by this Dutch punk rock band. Because of the recognisable voice of Willia van Houdt, the driving force behind the band, you can say that BAMBIX has created a sound of their own. It’s catchy, it’s kind of melodic, and yet, it rocks a lot! Besides Willia, the band consists of Peter Dragt on drums and Patrick Schappert on bass. Sometimes I feel, that the band’s music sounds a bit too happy, comparing to the critical undertone they sometimes tend to use in their lyrics. But that’s only a small minus point. Overall, the music of BAMBIX sounds very catchy, and you just can’t sit still when they crank out another fast monster. In “Little Less Drunk”, you’ll hear Lynda Mandolyn as a guest vocalist. The song also deals about FABULOUS DISASTER, the band of Linda, and a ‘romance’ between her and Willia. Is this fiction, or is there really something going on between these two ladies??? I must confess that I really don’t care, as long as both bands keep making great albums like this “Club Matucheck”. (Matu)Check it out, I would say! Website: http://www.bambix.org. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BANTAM-Suicide Tourist (Heavy Nose Records)
New York punk rock icon Gina Volpe is the frontlady of BANTAM. Together with skinsbeater Pete and bassplunderer Doug, she released her second full-length album. In thirteen tracks, we hear how the band developed in the last three years. Their music ranges from tough punky songs to rock tunes, that are straight from the heart. Gina’s past with THE LUNACHICKS was a great start. This all-female punk band meant a lot to the women in the scene. The music of BANTAM is one step further on the ladder. They sound more mature, and I’d like to compare their sound with a band such as L7. There’s a bit more variation in their sound, and like I mentioned already, the music seems to come more from the heart nowadays. No frills, but thrills. BANTAM already shared the stage with great names like TRIBE 8, THE BUTCHIES and NASHVILLE PUSSY to name but a few. “Montgomery” is a short filler. And in “Dicky Rush” I thought that Gina’s voice sounded a bit like Kat Bjelland of BABES IN TOYLAND. Highlight for me is a song, called “Replete”. Why? Just listen to the guitarwork in this song, and you’ll know why. While opener “The Black And The Red” follows right at the second place, simply because it’s a perfect opener. But don’t forget to check out great songs like “The Beast” and CD closer “Strange Affect”, that could well be on any great LUNACHICKS CD, in my humble opinion. BANTAM is a high octane fueled punk rock band. A loaded gun, ready to shoot their rock and roll songs at the hungry audience. On http://www.bantamnyc.com, you can read all the other information about Gina and her boys. New York City can be proud of this well oiled rock machine! [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BOTTOM-You’re Next (Small Stone Records)
Before I will start to review the new CD by the New York all-female outfit BOTTOM, I just want to say that I love the experimental artwork of this new album a lot. The music of the band also moves slowly into a more experimental direction. Opener “Testimony Of The Mad Arab” is an instrumental track dominated by distorted bass sounds. Very spooky, and maybe even psychedelic in a way. “By A Thread” contains distorted vocals and it’s clear, that BOTTOM is definitely not willing to follow the easy highway. They know a path, that will also lead them to their goal - a road through psychedelic, experimen-tal soundscapes and other progressive, yet heavy music outings. I like it very much, but I can imagine that some listeners won’t dig it and push the ‘stop’ button after three or four songs. However it’s there, where the CD starts to become real interesting to me. They constantly make you wondering about their next move. I hear VOI VOD, OTEP, BABES IN TOYLAND, PINK FLOYD and CATHEDRAL and I hear a sound that clings me to my seat for fifty minutes divided over thirteen songs. This could well be the soundtrack album to a horror movie or a thriller. Although I really wonder, if the fans will dig this experimental trip live on stage too. This dark concept asks for a lot of imagination from the listener, and can not be used as a background sound. Just use your headphone and listen to the beautiness and depth of these thirteen songs. The band might be narrowing their fanbase a lot with this album, but the intensity of their music is bigger than ever. Better listen first before you add this silver disc to your collection. The live shows of BOTTOM are done by four ladies now, because Gretchen (on guitar) was recently added to the already existing line up of Sina on vocals and guitar, Nila on bass and Clementine on drums. http://www.bottommusic.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CHARADE-Charade (independent)
This seventy minute compilation CD gives you a good overview of the five years of existence of this band from San José, California. I would call this hard rock, and damn good hard rock too. The band started their career in 1989, and the first four songs, we hear are from 1990. We hear John Abatecola on drums, Robert Abatecola on guitars, Tim Larson on bass and Catherine Olthof on vocals and guitars. The musical style could be compared to a band like DANTÉ FOX for example. It’s hard rock, not too heavy maybe, but not too soft either. Nice heavy riffs, good vocals and a steady rhythm section as the driving force behind the band. Oh, and some good solo parts, which reminded me of a cleaner version of SAXON sometimes. The songs are a treat to your ears, and this resulted in many live shows. They supported bands like FOGHAT and Gary Richrath (ex REO SPEEDWAGON) during one of their shows. A good example of a band, that really had it going in their area. But in 1991 the first line up change occurs, when Tim Larson leaves the band and is being replaced by Shawn Currin. When I lisen to this demo compilation, I think it’s really a shame, that the band was not able to release a full-length album when they existed. They sure had the potential to write songs that are easy to comprehend, and are nice to hear. In 1992 however, the singer of the band decided to quit and Catherine was being replaced by Lisa Sahara. So the last five songs on this seventy minutes, fifteen song compilation, are done by a new frontlady, and they sound a lot more melodic and less powerful, in my opinion. Although it’s been over ten years ago, that this band existed, their music is still very nice to hear. In 1994, the band decided to split up. But with this release, their music will remain forever. If you want to read more information about CHARADE, you can find their website at: http://www.tsgus.com/~jblade/charade.htm [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

COLPORTER-Souvereign Mind (independent)
COLPORTER plays alternative metal with wild loud riffs, and the pleasant voice of Sarah Paolini on top. It’s not nu-metal, it’s not heavy metal, it’s not gothic metal, but it’s everything inbetween. It contains a lot of power combined with a giant dose of melody as well. Twelve catchy tracks fill the forty-five minutes of music on this debut CD. COLPORTER hails from San Diego and they consist of Sarah Paolini on vocals and bass guitar, David Paolini on guitar and Gary George on drums. “Cannot Continue” sounds dark and depressing. Sarah pulls a five string bass, while David plays a seven string guitar. The riffs are quite heavy, but the vocals would sound much better to a more gothic metal sound. The PANTERA like riffs in “Don’t Let Me Fall” gives the song a nice twist in the middle. The music of COLPORTER might be suitable for radio airplay, although the lightly experimental character of a song like “Galaxy” might be too difficult to swallow for the average pop rock fan. Sometimes, their music tends to lean towards a heavier version of GARBAGE. In “Principal Of Envy”, we hear the distorted voice of Sarah. This indicates, we’re not just dealing with another average rock exponent, but a band that is not afraid to take some experimental steps. The average alternative rock fans might want to check out this first CD of COLPORTER. I think, they will like it, because the band is covering a broad range of styles, and turned it into a compact style of their own. It seems that after the release of the CD, the drummer has left the band. With a new drummer, the band is working on a new six track EP right now. To be continued! Website: http://www.colporter.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CRUCIFIED BARBARA-In Distortion We Trust (GMR Music)
Eleven songs are on this forty minute debut album by the Swedish all-female metal band CRUCIFIED BARBARA. They are willing to press the pedal to the metal and they are not afraid to shout out their lyrics loud, too. ‘Barbara on a cross’ consists of Nicki Wicked on drums, Ida Evileye on bass, Klara Force on guitar and Mia Coldheart on vocals and lead guitar. Their music is pretty much straight forward rock. Some titles gave me a big smile on my face, like “Motorfucker” (instead of Motherfucker), “I Need A Cowboy From Hell” (which may sound a bit tongue-in-cheek, considering the fact that Dimebag Darrell has been shot a couple of months ago!) and “Ride ‘Em All” (referring to “Kill ‘Em All”). These girls sure know to kick some f*cking ass, and they were able to prove that during their recent tour with PAIN, the band of Peter Tägtgren. Their steady AC/DC like beat takes care of a very catchy sound, and ensures that the band is ready to launch themselves in the highest ranks of the Swedish pop and rock charts. I hope, they can make this happen, because CRUCIFIED BARBARA is definitely a high skilled, charming looking new band, that brings back the rock into the hearts of the many music fans. For more information, you can check out their website at: http://www.crucifiedbarbara.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DARK NOVA-Sivilla (Black Lotus/Rock Inc.)
DARK NOVA hails from Greece and they present us their third album here. The band contains two female members and consists of Elias Koskoris on guitars, Nick Adams on drums, Michael Choulakis on vocals and the two metal maidens of the band Mary Tassouli on keyboards and Kiki (Lara) on bass guitar. The foundations of the band were already build in 1987, when the band was still called DARK DEVILS. They already shared the stage with bands like GAMMA RAY, RAGE, TESTAMENT, PAUL DI ANNO and FATES WARNING. And with this last band I want to make a comparison, because I definitely hear some FATES WARNING influences in their music. Think about the progressive style, the keyboards and the slightly experimental character of the songs. Completed with subtle heavy riffings, like in the title track “Sivilla”, which became one of the highlights on this CD for me. Sometimes the vocals sound a bit dull and monotonous, but the music easily makes up for it. Just listen to the wild explosion in “Say No More” for example. If progressive music with many breaks and speed changes is your thing, then this new album is highly recommended by yours truly. “Sivilla” will be a pleasant listen to you for the full fifty minutes. Website: http://www.darknova.gr. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DESENSITISED-Virus Of Violence (5 track promo) (independent)
DESENSITISED plays old school death metal and they present themselves with this five track promo version of their first full-length release “Virus Of Violence”. The official release will contain thirteen tracks, by the way. The band consists of Susan on guitar and additional vocals, Wilbert on vocals, Jeroen on bass and Martijn on drums, and was formed in 2001. Some of the band members, including Susan, came from CATAFALQUE. On these five songs, you’ll hear that DESENSITISED is brutal without losing the melody in their music. “In The Grip Of Fear” opens ultraloud and ultrafast, but it soon changes into a more doomy death metal attack, before returning to the speed explosion in the beginning of this song. A very good start indeed. “Foetus In Fetu” contains a great heavy riff, and once again it becomes quite clear, that the band likes to put some variety and melody into their music. It’s not simple straight forward rattling, but there are some nice different parts in this second violent attack. Listen to the great guitar solo in “Struggling Existence” for example. You’ll only hear this from the generals in this scene. This is far above average. The promo closes with “Blind Allegiance”, containing some great SLAYER like riffs, and a song called “Introspective Exploration”. Oops, I think that I just woke up the neighbours. No, I am not slaughtering anybody, I’ve just turned down the music a little bit. You know, this is no music for wimps (or old neighbours). This is the real thing. I am not a death metal expert of any kind, but I liked the power and the variation on these five songs a lot, and I can definitely recommend this CD to anyone out there, who likes to rip the raw flesh of the bones and eat it, instead of cooking it first. Highlight for me is “Blind Allegiance”, because of the great riffing. Our thanks go out to Kim for introducing us to this great band, and to Susan for sending us this excellent promo package. I think, I am infected after hearing this promo CD, infected by the “Virus Of Violence”. Go to: http://www.desensitised.nl. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EPICA-Consign To Oblivion (Transmission Records)
Even opera fans should have a listen to the new album of Dutch goth metal gods EPICA. The short opener “Hunab K’ U” is the perfect setting for the real opener “Dance Of Fate”. I like the loud riffs in the beginning of “The Last Crusade”. Their bombastic sound - their trademark - has remained, which will surprise no one I think. Never change a winning team. The songs on this new album are partly based on the ancient Mayan culture, which we also find back in the artwork of the new CD. Eleven brand new songs slowly enter your mind in about fifty minutes. And through the intensity and the warmth of Simone’s voice, they easily reach your soul. It’s there where they grow and start to cling to your mind pretty easily. One of the highlights for me, after hearing this CD just once, is “Solitairy Ground”. And when I look at the information sheet, this is also the first single taken from the new album. Good choice, in my opinion. Besides the choir and high soprano vocals, we can also enjoy the dark, brutal growls again. Just tune in to “Force Of The Shore” for that. While “Quietous” has got some kind of medieval feel. “Trois Vierges” is a duet that Simone does with Roy Khan of KAMELOT, which sounds very sensitive and romantic. The title track of the album is another long epical tune, which easily reaches the ten minutes limit. It explodes after a beautiful, dark, instrumental intro. The black metal like screams and brutal growls are there again, next to the opera like choir. Well, there you have it, all the ingredients to get another hopefully successful album of these epic metal gods and goddess. Even the Mayas would have liked it that way, I think. EPICA consists of Simone Simons as the beautiful red haired eye-catcher and impressive soprano vocalist of the band, Mark Jansen on guitars and loud oral outings, Ad Sluijter on guitars, Coen Janssen on synths, Yves Huts on bass ands Jeroen Simons on drums. The limited edition of the CD also comes with a bonus DVD, so don’t be late! You can find more info about the band on their website at: http://www.epica.nl. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ERIKA-In The Arms Of A Stranger (MTM Music/Suburban)
You might remember the reissue of her debut album “Cold Winter Night” last year. Now it’s time to re-release her second album “In The Arms Of A Stranger”, which was originally released in 1991, one year after her debut album came out. In this period, Erika also married guitar wizard YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN, who is not to be heard on this album, by the way. The CD opens with a very short intro called “6 AM”, followed by one of her bigger hits that time “Wake Me Up, When The House Is On Fire”, which was co-written by Ponti and Pepe, who were the big guys behind the music of ALICE COOPER at that time. And you might recognise the sound, which could also have been used for any ALICE COOPER song back in those days. “Rock Me Into Heaven” is a very sensitive ballad. We’ve got something for everybody here. Eleven songs, with a playing time of about thirty-five minutes. ERIKA’s band consisted of Benny Jansson on guitar, Bobby Ljungren on guitar, Hakan Almqvist on keyboards, Johan Akerfeldt on drums and Fredrik Lunfeldt on drums. Before ERIKA released her next album, her marriage with Yngwie was over already. Right now, Erika is writing her memoires. They will probably capture the fact, that she was chosen to be the worst dressed woman several years in a row. But besides that, she might be very proud of her short but very successful singing career. Erika still writes lyrics for some projects, and I expect that MTM will reissue her third album “Lady Luck” next year or so. If you like some good melodic rock or ballsy A.O.R., then I’d suggest to have a listen to “In The Arms Of A Stranger”, in case you don’t know this album of course. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

FEMME FEST 2-Recorded Live (Motor City Music)
This is in fact a sampler, on which we hear five bands play live at the ‘Femme Fest’ at The Club Soda in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The CD opens with five songs by a band, called MELT. The band consists of Sam Francis on guitar, Jason Jach on bass, Joe Stevenson on drums and Heather Jach on vocals. “Looter” is a punky, kick ass song. But with “Tricky” the band sounds more like THE ROLLING STONES. “Little Secret” sounds more punky, while they continue with a DEPECHE MODE cover, called “A Question Of Time”. Their last song is called “Crush”, which is a little wilder again. You can check out the bands website at http://www.melting.net. The biggest part on this almost seventy minutes CD was put away for BLAMMO! They do eight tracks out of twenty-one. Their songs are very short and fast, and sometimes they even don’t reach the one minute limit. Punk band BLAMMO! consists of Boris Diesel on drums, Cy Klone on bass, Craven Morehead on guitar, Jane Reaction on vocals, Buzz Sawyer on lead guitar and Claire Voyant on vocals. I like those names. It shows, that the band has got a lot of humour. FLIRT kicks out on four songs. The band rocks and consists of Rockee Berlin on vocals, Thomas St. Thomas on guitar, Danny Bloxsom on drums and Skid Marx on bass. Their punky rock stands out well in the last song “Faster Than You”, where the band plays in fourth gear. For more info, check out http://www.flirtdetroit.net. Next we get two bands with two songs each. First there is ETTISON CLIO, which consists of Stephanie Gunther on vocals, JP Niemiec on guitar, Jared Nisch on bass, John Ostler on drums and Brian Roop on guitar. On their first song, the band takes away in the highest gear imaginable, but “Apologies” sounds more angry than ultrafast, except for the ending of the song. Go to http://www.ettisonclio.com for more information. The last band on this compilation is called GINGER FIG. They consist of Jason Chester on bass, Ryan Cunningham on guitar, Paul Ward on drums and Connie Meines on vocals. Their sound is a bit darker, but they still rock a lot of course. You can get more information about GINGER FIG, when you visit their website at http://www.gingerfig.com. The five bands show us, that there are still a lot of good rocking, female-fronted bands in the Motor City area. And it’s a nice initiative to introduce them to a bigger audience this way. For more info about this release, surf to the website of Motor City Music at: http://www.motorcityjams.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GARBAGE-Bleed Like Me (Geffen Records)
GARBAGE is back! After a lengthy four year hiatus that saw the future of the band very much in doubt, GARBAGE returns with an album ("Bleed Like Me") that sees the band rocking with a conviction and attitude that have not been heard since their fantastic debut in 1995. After the mediocre "by-the-numbers" result of their last release "Beautiful Garbage" this is indeed music to my ears. After four years off, the band have definitely recharged their batteries. The rocking "Bad Boyfriend" only confirms this (featuring guest drummer Dave Grohl of the FOO FIGHTERS) and the band show they are back and mean business. Other tracks that are highlights, include "Run Baby Run", "Right Between The Eyes", the first single "Why Do You Love Me" and "Sex Is Not The Enemy" to name a few. Shirley Manson is back and writing her usual angry lyrics, punctuated by her breathy, sexy vocals. She is one of the most talented women in music and it is about time she gets her due. All-in-all, this is a damn good comeback release from GARBAGE. After four years, I’d say that this is worth the wait. Lets hope we won’t have to wait another four. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

BETH GARNER & QUEEN OF SPADES-Live At Deep Ellum Blues 2004 (independent)
This is a live recording of BETH GARNER with the all-female band QUEEN OF SPADES. The sound quality is quite good and clear. When you record a live performance you have to play each song right the first time. This performance must have been near perfect. All of these songs are instrumental. Beth Garner plays lead guitar. She plays it very well. This would be a workout for most guitar players. The compositions are each a little different. There are different rhythms and different uses of notes and cords. There are enough changes in each song, that it doesn't get boring. Beth has a definite idea of what she wants to play and what should come next. There is no stopping her, as she moves forward. We also hear Karen Biller on drums. There are times when we hear guitar and drums equally, even a few drum solos. Harmoni Kelley provides harmonies. Some of the songs on this CD could be called surf music. Some are a little heavier. Not as heavy as “Ace Of Spades” of MOTÖRHEAD of course. The queen is a good card to have too. The CD doesn't list any names for these compositions. I don't have to be told, that the last track is “Barracuda”. A lot of bands cover this HEART song, but no one does it as an instrumental. It may not be as strong as the original. It is cool without the words. Those who enjoy guitar virtuoso CDs and those who like instrumental rock get this. Contact address: Beth Garner Band, 9311 Rustown Dr., Dallas, TX 75228, USA. Website: http://www.bethgarner.com. [9 points] (Jack Little)

GIRLSCHOOL-Screaming Blue Murder (Castle Music)
What a treat it is to hear these re-releases of GIRLSCHOOL. They are put together with a lot of love and affection for the band, and they’ve added a lot of bonus material to make them interesting for the diehard GIRLSCHOOL fan. They didn’t simply copy the record on a silver disc, but with this release for example, they added a nine song BBC concert to the album and a bonus track, called “Don’t Stop”. The liner notes are some kind of a continuing story, that takes you from one album to another. The bonus track on this CD comes from the “Wildlife” EP. So if you don’t have that item in your collection, then don’t worry and enjoy the song on this great compilation. The live set was recorded at the Paris Theatre in London. It contains the ZZ TOP cover “Tush” at the end. Seventy minutes of good old heavy metal, twenty-one songs in total, what more can you ask for? “Play Dirty” is next in line, so read on for more information about these great re-releases of one of the very best all- female metal bands worldwide. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GIRLSCHOOL-Play Dirty (Castle Music)
I think, that “Play Dirty” will be the last re-release by GIRLSCHOOL for this moment. The albums hereafter were released by different record companies. Although it still captures that well-known GIRLSCHOOL sound, the first three albums are much better, if you’d ask my personal opinion. The bonus material is the cream on top of the cake again. And this time, they added five bonus tracks, which some of you might know from the “1 2 3 4 Rock N Roll” twelve incher. You also can hear the slightly different change in sound. Starting out as the twin sisters of MOTÖRHEAD musically, they slowly developed to a more polished DEF LEPPARD kind of style. The CD contains fifteen songs and runs for fifty-five minutes. An important part of metal history is captured on the re-release of these four GIRLSCHOOL albums. And the band is still alive and kicking. Not many bands can say this after more than twenty-five years of existance. They still play their rock, loud, proud and dirty and I can’t wait to check out their live show at the Raise Your Fist Festival in Holland. By the way, the band will be supporting their brothers of MOTÖRHEAD on their thirty year anniversary tour in England this fall. This band can go on for ages, if it was up to me. And if they ever decide to stop, we can still enjoy their timeless music with these re-releases. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HOLY MOSES-Strength, Power, Will, Passion (Armageddon Music)
The tenth album of HOLY MOSES is a fact. It contains eleven songs and has a playing time of about six six point six minutes. Heavy shit! Sabina takes another draught of hydrochloric acid, while the guitars fire their riffs at the poor listeners, the drummer hits the shit out of his kit and the bass player makes a fundament of pure concrete with his ultra low tones. Sabina is visualised as a horned goddess in front of a pentagram, which is surrounded by a circle with the words “I Am God, We Are Gods, You Are God” in it. On her forehead she has a crucifix, turned upside down. This in combination with the bone hard, SLAYER like riffs, entering my head constantly, makes me realise that this is probably the best HOLY MOSES release ever! Sabina needs no ballads to touch the soft spot of her listeners. Instead, she goes for the rough approach. There is a lot of strength, an awful lot of power, the will to convince people of these two qualities and the passion for great thrash music to explain the album title in a nutshell. After “Say Goodbye”, you push the ‘fast forward button’ to hear an unnamed ONKEL TOM like schlager, which is totally different from what you would expect from these thrashers. It’s a cool song for an after party, when everybody is too drunk to fuck. “Strength, Power, Will, Passion” is a cool album and the living proof, that Sabina is still the queen of female thrash vocals. HOLY MOSES consists of Sabina Classen on vocals, Franky Brotz on rhythm guitars, Michael Hankel on guitars, Alex DeBlanco on bass and Julien Schmidt on drums. Visit www.holymoses.de for more information about the band, and a tour report of the past Wacken Open Air Roadshow Tour 2005 with SUIDAKRA, REGICIDE and ILLDISPOSED. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HOT DAMN-The Girl Can’t Help It (Steel Cage Records)
The music style is more punk than anything else. The first four songs have lots of chords and shouted vocals. It can be chaotic. It can be exciting. During instrumental breaks, there's some good guitar playing. I'm not sure just what combination of Allen, Amina, Kristina and Zebra we’re hearing. Whatever it is, they can play their instruments well. Something complementary should be said about Shane Bond and Steve Pratt on drums. There is not a lot of lyrical depth here. I'm used to punk girls, who have more to say for themselves. The first four songs are about shouting the choruses, throw in a few words and act sexy. Sure that's fun, but is it good music? Later on, we get to “She's A Devil”. It observes another woman. She likes to flirt. The other girl is good looking and knows it. She gives them competition for the boys attention. The lyrics use a lot of comparatives. It's the heaviest of the thirteen. Only one of them lasts over three minutes. That song is “Smart Guy”. At first she's drawn to him. He seems cool and educated. As the speaker watches him more, she decides it's false. He's just conceited. We could conclude that these are sexy songs from the furious five. We could also decide that quality guitar playing is wasted on simple lyrics. [10 points; musically] [6 points; lyrics] (Jack Little)

IMAGIKA-Devils On Both Sides (Mausoleum Records)
After the release of “Worship” and “And So It Burns”, it’s time for “Devils On Both Side”. An album that will easily please every metal fan out there. Because next to the Bay Area thrash influences, you’ll also hear back a lot of influences of many classic rock bands in the sound of IMAGIKA. Listen to the vocals of newcomer Norman Skinner, and compare his voice to Paul Stanley of KISS or Blackie Lawless of WASP, mix this with the fast, and brutal riffs of bands like MEGADETH, METALLICA, AGENT STEEL, JAG PANZER, LAAZ ROCKIT and ANNIHILATOR, and then add a touch of MERCYFUL FATE to this. It will become the sound of IMAGIKA. It’s straight in your face, it’s fresh, and in my mind I can see those heads go up and down already, when I listen to their powerful riffs. Elena Luciano (formerly MOTHER EARTH) is the metal maiden in the band. She plays the thunderous bass parts. Did you know, that you can see her in the METALLICA DVD “Some Kind Of Monster”? Better check out her part in this documetary. Anyway, back to the music of IMAGIKA, because that’s exciting enough. It puts the balls back into the heavy metal music. No choirs, keyboards or other wimpy stuff. Just normal ‘balls to the wall’ heavy metal, that’s what you’re gonna get. What else would you expect, when you’ve got the devil on both sides of you?? Besides Elena and Norman, the band consists of Steven D Rice on guitars, Pat Toms on guitars and Henry Moreno on the drums. “Dead – Eye Stare” could easily have been on any JUDAS PRIEST album. Need I say more? I don’t think so. Let the neighbours know how much you enjoy this album. I did, and I haven’t heard from them ever since, which is a good sign! http://www.imagikametal.com. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KANARY-Only Dead Fish Go With The Current (independent)
Ten new songs are on this full-length forty minute CD of KANARY. There is also one cover, which is the second song on this CD. It’s the KANARY version of “Baby It’s You”, a hit from Leslie’s (and her brother Benny) old band called PROMISES from 1978, which was a huge hit in Germany. The other songs are good rock songs that show us a band, that has developed very well in the past few years. They have specialized in playing catchy songs with some rough edges here and there, but still with enough catchiness, so they can be played on the (inter)national radio. Leslie already knew, that she was able to write a good rock song with her band PRECIOUS METAL. But with KANARY she has matured her sound and it really shows in the albums she has done with this band so far. Leslie’s voice sounds a lot like BONNY TYLER. It’s raw and raspy and it fits very well to the songs of KANARY. I am glad that “Can’t Stop Crying” is only a short song, because this country like tearjerker is a bit too much for me. But with “Pity Party Fuck”, the band has recorded their most heavy song in their whole career. As you can see, there’s enough to enjoy for everybody on “Only Dead Fish Go With The Current”. By the way, I really liked the drawings of the lady skeleton with the mohawk on the CD booklet. KANARY still consists of Leslie Knauer on vocals and guitar, Mary Kay on bass and Tony (Tonedog) Matteucci on drums, and for more information about this band you can go to their website at http://www.kanary.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KREZIP-What Are You Waiting For? (RCA/BMG)
KREZIP’s star is still rising. Jacqueline Govaert and her band have gained a prominent place in the charts, in the news and on TV, and they also get a lot of space on the radio and in the magazines. Every new song becomes a major hit, and I think that the same will happen to this new album. Because of the recognisable voice of Jacqueline, the band has easily developed a sound of their own. It’s rock, it’s alternative, it’s catchy, and it’s a huge success. The new album contains thirteen brand new tracks, and every one is ready to hit the charts. “Out Of My Bed” is their first single, and it contains all the ingredients that are mentioned here. It has a recognisable sound, it’s catchy and it’s already high in the charts. There are a few ballads on the album, and some rockers as well. And after forty-five minutes, you just push the ‘replay’ button on your stereo again, before even realising what you’re doing. Why? I think because this is what I’d like to call ‘middle-of-the-road music’. It sounds negative, but in fact it’s very positive, especially for the band. This is music that everyone will enjoy. Almost nobody in this world will hate it, because it has got all kinds of everything, and there are no extreme pull outs, that nobody will like. Maybe it’s a safe way of making records, but on the other hand it is a successful way of making records, and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Quick deciders will be able to buy the CD with an enhanced DVD, which contains the band live at the TMF Awards, the video clip of “Out Of My Bed” and the first episode of the real life soap of KREZIP on MTV, called “On KREZIP”. These young people are doing the right thing by making some nice music, that a lot of people will enjoy, they’re having fun, see something of the world and become successful without losing reality out of sight. They’re still young, and a lot of things can happen in the future, but I really believe that this band is moving on the right path and this new album is a great example of that. KREZIP consists of Jacqueline Govaert on vocals and piano, Anne Govaert on guitars, Jan Peter Hoekstra on guitars, Annelies Kuijsters on keyboards and background vocals, Joost van Haaren on bass and Bram van den Berg on drums. You can check the bands website at http://www.krezip.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LANA LANE-Lady Macbeth (Think Tank Media/Frontiers Records)
“Lady Macbeth” is the new CD from LANA LANE, and her best in several years. As the title indicates, this is a concept album, based on the Shakespeare play. But despite the underlying theme, each song stands pretty much on its own. In this respect, the CD is similar to the early MOODY BLUES albums or some of PINK FLOYD’s albums from the 1970s and in fact, one can hear the influence of those bands in the music. ”Lady Macbeth” is of course one of Shakespeare’s more infamous characters. In the story, set in medieval Scotland, she urges her husband to seize the throne by murdering the king. Initially, he is reluctant to go through with it, but she plays on their mutual ambition to rule the kingdom. Then, once they are in power, the roles are reversed. She begins to suffer pangs of guilt. She walks in her sleep, dreaming that her hands are drenched in blood, which she can never wash away. Macbeth himself becomes steadily more ruthless. Having seized power by assassination, the only way he can maintain it is by force. In the end, facing the loss of his kingdom and the death of his beloved wife, Macbeth nonetheless refuses to surrender, and fights to the last. Shakespeare based the story on actual events, although he took quite a few liberties with history. Macbeth was an actual king who ruled Scotland from 1040 to 1057. He did accede to power by murdering his cousin, King Duncan. But in the eleventh century, political assassination was an accepted way of taking power. Apparently, Duncan was viewed as ineffectual, the assassination was seen as justified, and Macbeth was widely supported by the feudal barons of Scotland. He was eventually overthrown by his successor Malcolm, but only after three years of bitter fighting, and then only because Malcolm had the support of England. But Shakespeare and his audiences were less interested in historical accuracy than in a good story, about ambition, murder, guilt and revenge. It makes a good theme for the CD. Like some of Lana’s earlier releases, the CD was recorded both in the United States and abroad, using a rather diverse group of musicians. Despite all the difficulties entailed by the complex song structures, the production is absolutely seamless. Guitar solos that were recorded at different times and locations merge so smoothly that the CD sounds as though it was laid down in a few sessions. Musically, this CD lies somewhere between the heavier sound of “Secrets Of Astrology” (2000) and the mellower “Queen Of The Ocean” (1998). The main innovation here is the use of double-time drums and more prominent bass on the faster tracks, while the keyboards are kept more in the background. The instrumental sections are dominated by the dual lead guitars of Canadian Neil Citron, who has worked with Lana pretty much from the beginning, and newcomer Peer Verschuren, from the Netherlands. The CD opens with “The Dream Never Ends”, the most powerful track, a fast song reminiscent of DEEP PURPLE. This is followed by two mid-tempo tracks, “Someone To Believe” and “Summon The Devil”, both of which feature some heavy guitar riffs, and one ballad, “Our Time Now”. Midway through the CD, two tracks run together, “Shine On”, which segues into “The Vision”, a four-minute instrumental with complex interplay between the guitars and keyboards. “Keeper Of The Flame” picks up the pace again. It’s a fast song with angular guitar riffs and energetic solos. The CD ends on a quiet note, with a wistful ballad. On the whole, this is a good CD, consistently well-written and well-produced. Copies are available from Lana’s production company, and should also be available at major internet retailers. For more information, go to www.lanalane.com or Think Tank Media: http://www.thetank.com [8 points] (Gordon Richards)

LOCHINVAR-Fire Eyes (Bladewalker Records)
Opener “Heart Of Stone” makes me realise how much I’ve missed this ‘simple’ hard rock sound of the eighties. No soprano vocals, death growls or opera like instrumentation, just plain hard rock songs, which will remind you of earlier HEART, VIXEN or WITNESS. In “Fire Eyes” Paula Blades vocals sound very much like early Ann Wilson, which is a big compliment indeed. But the band shows its own face as well. “Beyond The Stars” is a beautiful ballad for example, while “Lasher” is a cool headbanger. “Enchanted Moon” sounds very much like “Voyager” of GAMMA, and again Paula sounds like Ann Wilson on this one. In “Sahara”, we hear the spirit of Ritchie Blackmore and DEEP PURPLE wander around, while the song onviously also bears some Eastern influences. Officially, LOCHINVAR consists of only two musicians being Paula Blade on vocals and John Walker plays guitars, bass, drums and keyboards. For the album, the additional keyboards were done by Jeff McMullen. In “Midnight Woman”, I almost started to sing “Turbo Lover”. This song definitely has got this JUDAS PRIEST feel over it. “A Poet, A Dreamer” closes this strong album, which shows us a band that stands with both feet in the eighties. And they can be proud of that, because I liked their album a lot. It shows a lot of variety and some great musicianship. It took them three years to complete the album, but it was worth the wait. It would have been a shame, if they had decided to release it earlier, and they had to cut down on the quality. Now they took the time to do things right, and we must give them credit for that. “Fire Eyes” is a must for every devoted hard rock fan who longs back to the sound of the eighties! http://www.lochinvar.net. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MAXINE-Titania (Angelina Records)
What would happen, if you’d add together Maxine Petrucci of MADAM X, Billy Sheehan of MR. BIG, DAVID LEE ROTH, VAI, NIACIN and TALAS, Roxy Petrucci of VIXEN and MADAM X, Mike Pisculli (bass) and Paul Petrucci (bass). You’d get a new band called MAXINE, and they really surprised me a lot with their superduper debut album “Titania”. It contains ten songs and has a total length of about thirty-five minutes. The short running time of this CD is the only disadvantage, but otherwise I can only say that this was one of the best hard rock CDs, I’ve heard in ages. There is a lot of variation in the different songs, I hear a lot of good guitarsolos and you can hear that you’re listening to some experienced musicians, who still know to impress people with their craftmanship. Fast rockers like opener, title track “Titania”, are mixed with songs that are a bit easier on the ear like “Love Test”. But there’s always something in the music, that makes you realise that you’re listening to something special. There’s never a dull moment on the CD, and they even saved the best part for last. And I’m referring to the guitar explosion, which is called “Max Attacks”. Some of the magazines out there might say that this is old fashioned, and not of this time, but I think that our neighbours will remember this guitar masturbation from the beginning until the end, when they hear it. Every time that “Max Attacks” is there, we turn up the volume real loud and we wait until the windows start cracking. Remember “Eruption” of VAN HALEN? Well, this is indeed ‘part II’, and I love it. Well done MAXINE, and both thumbs up for this great debut album! It’s refreshing to hear that some bands still dare to play some decent hard rock without pretension. The best arena rock comes from MAXINE. Hail to the Petrucci family, because they showed us that rock ain’t dead yet. Even Jenny Petrucci contributed to the album, because she made the beautiful drawing on the front cover, that caught our eye immediately. MAXINE is a must have for every devoted hard rock fan out there. And I still believe, that it’s better to hear thirty-five minutes of high quality music, than a full hour of garbage (not the band!). Check out http://www.maxattacks.com. for all the latest information about this great new band! [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MEGABABE-Speak Japanese Or Die! (Babystar)
Fourteen songs are on this thirty minutes rock explosion by MEGABABE. The band has developed themselves a lot over the years and their punky hardcore songs are right in your face. I think about THE LUNACHICKS for a moment, when I listen to a great fast punk song like “Oneday”. “Speak Japanese Or Die” is SHONEN KNIFE, played like THE RAMONES would have done it. Old school punk with a touch of melody. MEGABABE consists of Miyu on vocals and guitars, Ako on bass and vocals and Mihu on drums and vocals. “Dive” is very loud, it almost sounds like NUCLEAR ASSAULT. It’s ubelievable how three little girls can make so much noise! And this Japanese whirlwind just doesn’t stop, and continues at full speed through fast punkers like “Run Run Ru Ru Run”, “Shut The….” and “Trick”. In “Trash” I hear touches of L7, it’s the most experime(n)tal song on this first full length album of these Japanese babes, because with “Miss Me?” we get yet another NUCLEAR ASSAULT like thrash attack, that only lasts a few seconds. “Da Na Na” closes the album and is a fast ska shuffle. I am glad, that the ladies warned us first before piericing our eardrums, so I'd better thank them for that in their own language. Domo Arigato MEGABABE for such a great debut album! For more info about these Japanese punk ladies you can go to the bands website at http://www.megababerocks.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MERCURY RAIN-St. Matthieu (Underclass Music/Rock Inc.)
MERCURY RAIN is a progressive metal band from England, with a female French singer. The album “St. Matthieu” contains nine songs and almost fifty minutes of interesting, progressive music. Think in the direction of WITHIN TEMPTA-TION with a more progressive sound. Just listen to a song like “Chimaera”, to get a good idea of their sound. The long instrumental parts are very well done and contain a lot of different layers. Highlight, next to this beautiful song “Chimaera”, is title track “St. Matthieu”, which lasts for over ten minutes and contains a lot of breaks and speed changes. It’s the crown jewel on this CD. Quick deciders can buy the limited version of this CD, which contains an extra DVD with the video clip for “Shadow’s Scent” and three live tracks like “The Chosen One”, “The Boat Of The Dead” and “Bride Of The Dark”, a photo gallery and the making of the video clip as a bonus. Another reason to buy this brilliant album. Still, it may sound like a weird combination to put a French singer in an English band. MERCURY RAIN proved that it can work out very well. MERCURY RAIN consists of Sonia Porzier on vocals (ex TEARS OF EA), Dion Smith on guitars, Jon Hoare on bass and keyboards (ex UNDERTAKER, ex CRISIS) and Andy Pester on drums (ex UNDERTAKER, ex CRISIS, ex BARKING SPIDER, ex PERCY TOPLIS). The band already toured with THERION and played at the Female Voices Of Metal Festival in Belgium. With “St. Matthieu”, they prove us their talents on a silver disc. Go to http://www.mercuryrain.com. for more information on the band. Please pay attention to the beautiful artwork of the CD as well. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THERESA MICHAELS-Do You Feel Lucky? (Seven Pines Music)
See if you remember them? Brian Haskin on guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, and Theresa Michaels on vocals, keyboards and piano. There might be a few people, who still remember our feature on the band ASHER. The link is made, and these people have just released a new album called “Do You Feel Lucky?” They created a good strategy plan, in myhumble opinion. They recorded the album under the name of Theresa Michaels, which is a very good idea, if I may say so. Why? Just have a look at some pictures of this lady, and listen to her great voice. She shouldn’t be part of a band, she just has to release an album under her own name. Don’t get me wrong. Brian is a very talented musician. He plays some impressive guitar parts and his input is of great importance to the album. But Theresa is the big eye-catcher here. All the songs are A.O.R. classics, ranging from soft and a bit poppy ballads to very heavy, melodic rockers. Opener “Do You Feel Lucky?” gets the ball rolling. Listen to the guitar solo, the beat and the drive, it’s a great opener. “Get Down Tonight” is a cover of KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND, in a slightly heavier version here. Away with the horns, Brian will strut his guitar, don’t worry. “This Life” is good too, while in “Find My Way”, we get another mix of beautiful vocals and great guitar work. In “Rock On”, they step on the gas. There are ten songs on this album, and the magic goes on for about thirty-five minutes. Listen to the opening riffs of “Call It What You Want”, you may call this whatever you want, I call it kick ass quality. No modesty or commercial bullshit, this is high quality A.O.R. It gets even more impressive, when you realise that this album is done by (only) two people. They lay down a power that I don’t even hear by some bands, that have five or six people in their line up. And so “Call It What You Want” is definitely one of the highlights for me. The album wouldn’t be complete without a good ballad. “Wake Up” takes care of that. You can turn the lights down low for a couple of minutes. When the guitar sound of Brian introduces the next song “Tears Of Blood”, I realise how much I am enjoying the variation in the songs, and the high quality of each track. The album closes with “Without A Care” and “Give & Take”. ASHER was a perfect start for these two musicians, but to be quite honest with you, this album sounds so much better, completer and of such a high quality. I can highly recommend this piece of art to everybody, who likes melodic heavy rock with lots of variation. “Do You Feel Lucky”? Yes of course I do, after hearing this great new release. It receives the full score from me. Congratulations on this great masterpiece, Theresa and Brian, and our compliments for the perfect way of promoting this new work to us. This is really an outstanding way of doing business. Hopefully, more music fans will be positively surprised by this brilliant album! Website: http://www.theresa-michaels.com. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MIDNATTSOL-Where Twilight Dwells (Napalm Records)
MIDNATTSOL has two ladies in their line up. They consist of Chris Merzinsky on drums, Daniel Froste on guitars, Christian Hector on guitars and mouthharp, Daniel Fischer on keyboards and metal maidens Birgit Öllbrunner on bass and Carmen Elise Espenaes on vocals. That last name may sound familiar to you, because she is the sister of Liv Kristine Espenaes of LEAVES EYES and THEATRE OF TRAGEDY fame. The music of MIDNATTSOL is a mix of powerful gothic metal and folk metal. There is a lot of power, wild, loud riffing guitars, bombastic keyboards and fast galloping beats, but there’s also a folky background in almost every song, which is not done too much these days. Listening to the album, you get the feeling that everything is done very well, but a bit more variation would have been welcome. Although some songs like “Haunted” and “Tårefall” may contain too much folk influences, in general “Where Twilight Dwells” is a good album. It fits perfectly in the music world of today. On the album you can listen to eleven songs and about fifty minutes of gothic folk metal. http://www.midnattsol.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MISS BEHAVIOUR-Touch The Sky (EP) (independent)
There are only four songs on this indie released EP of MISS BEHAVIOUR. In opener and title track “Touch The Sky”, I hear touches of ANOUK, LIVING COLOUR, ALANIS MORISSETTE, to name but a few. So you know in which direction you should try to find the twenty minutes of solid power rock of this Dutch band. MISS BEHAVIOUR consists of Fons van der Velde on drums and vocals, Jack van Loenhout on bass and vocals, Jan Meesters on guitars and vocals and Fabiola Splinter on vocals and percussion. “Play Girl!” is a bit faster and again I hear a touch of ANOUK in the voice of Fabiola, but with a little more funk and a bit more power maybe. ANOUK old style, so to speak. The guitar solo at the end of this song lifts it up to a much higher level, because it’s done with a lot of passion and style. “Nothing Left To Say” is a very sensitive ballad, so it’s time to turn the lights down low. Although the song sounds pretty sensitive, the guitar solo gives it the right rock injection it needs, so thumbs up for that. Last song on this twenty minute CD is called “Dream On (Swansong)”, which is faster and much more funky. MISS BEHAVIOUR is a well-talented band with a good singer and a guitarplayer, that take the band to a higher level. I believe, they are very capable of rocking the house down with their live show. So if they play in a club near you, make sure that you don’t miss them. For more information on how you can order this four song EP, you’d better check out their website at http://www.missbehaviour.nl. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MORTAL LOVE-I Have Lost… (Massacre Records)
This is the second album by this Norwegian six piece gothic metal band. The album contains twelve tracks, and has a total length of almost a full hour. What caught my eye immediately is that all the song titles on the CD are only one word. They catch the essence of that particular song in just a few letters, which is very well done in my opinion. Cat’s voice is serene, beautiful, warm, sensitive and matches very well with the diverse sound of the rest of the band. The band consists of Damous on drums, Lev on bass, Rain6 on guitars, keyboards and backing vocals, Gabriah on guitars and Mulciber on keyboards, cello and programming. Their sound ranges from a full speed song, like “Senses” to a more sensitive ballad, like “Empathy”. Some songs are very compact, but at other times they put longer instrumental breaks into a song, which adds a little progressive touch to the overall sound. The darkness in their sound is typical Norwegian. Cat’s voice could be compared to Sharon den Adel of WITHIN TEMPTATION, because she uses the same intonation in the higher range of her voice. MORTAL LOVE…”I Have Lost…”, I don’t think so. These people are winners, for bringing out such a fine album, and they’re definitely a good addition to the rich gothic metal scene. Remember their name! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MOTORPSYCHOS-Piston Whipped (independent)
Kickstart your engines motherfuckers, because MOTORPSYCHOS just invented the sixth gear! The smell of burning rubber enters my room, when they start with “Primer”. In three minutes they kick out all your teeth, and the funny thing is that you don’t mind at all, ‘cause you’re stunned by the great sound of this first song. It’sNASHVILLE PUSSY at double speed. It’s raw, it’s unpolished, it’s high octane fueled, powerful ass kicking turbo rock. There has been a line up change since the release of their previous album. Rachel Cassady was replaced by a blonde vamp, called Abby Krizner, who pulls the strings and sings. The rest of the band consists of Pam Simmons on guitar and vocals, Amy Bianco on bass and vocals and Dennis Brown on drums. Their music remained the same, too. Twelve kick ass songs in thirty-five minutes. Make sure you have the oxygen ready to get a new boost of fuel, because you’ll need it after this wild ride. When they take back speed, you might hear some influences of L7 here and there (For example “Necrotina”). Most of the time though, they press the pedal to the metal and leave their competitors far behind. Morons, who still have their doubts about the power of this new album, must ignore this review, they’ll have to find out for themselves. You have been warned! Website: http://www.motorpsychosrock.com. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE ORGAN-Grab That Gun (Mint Records)
The organ is an instrument, that makes THE ORGAN’s music sound different from other bands. Jenny Smith can play it with the guitars or carry the tune by herself. It might remind you of the new wave sound. Deborah Cohen on guitar and Ashley Webber on bass play clear, crisp notes. Along with that, there are a few chord progressions. Shelby Stocks doesn't try to overpower them on drums. While this is not a DJ mix, you could dance to it. Katie Sketch can portray hurt and sadness very well with her voice. That's an asset, since these songs are about unhappy times. “Brother” begins with a soft, clear introduction. It's about caring about each other in a personal rather than a romantic way. The lyrics includes "We have run to take cover" and "We’re warm and safe". There’s also a fear, that this won’t last. Most of the other songs are about the end of a relationship. It is looked upon as a failer. It's sad. It's regretful. The speaker is emotionally lost. Sometimes things don't seem too positive. Some people are depressed. That is what this CD is about. “Basement Band Song” is about a time in the past, when there was creativity and clarity. A time, when a band was starting. The members surprised each other with what they did know. For some people it's sad that it’s passed. Others will look back on it as a happy memory. The band do what they do well. I wouldn't want to live in it. Contact address: Mint Records, P.O. Box 3613, Main Post Office, Vancouver B.C., Canada V6B 3Y6. Website: http://www.theorgan.ca. [6 points] (Jack Little)

PRETTY IN STEREO-Ugly In Mono (EP) (independent)
PRETTY IN STEREO produce a very good sound. It travels at sufficient speed to be called rock. All the melodies can be enjoyed by rock fans. Christine Fullwood plays lead guitar. She does a lot to make these songs sound as good as they do. She is also the daughter of Fully Fullwood. He played with BOB MARLEY and PETER TOSH. Bassist Lynn Ellen supports the sound well. Jodi Joy is a steady, solid drummer. Individually, or as a group, they make a sound that is good listening. Natalie Pool's vocals convey the emotional lyrics. Relationships often disappoint them. “OCD” is about a man, who thinks he's more important and smarter than he is. She sees through him. She wants to holler "Stop the world, you’re spinning out of control". “Everything” has metal riffs and some nice note playing. It's a break up song. In the first half of the song everything reminds her of the man, she broke up with. In the second half, she says that she won the game by leaving him. “Okay” is the ballad of the set. He hasn't contacted her for awhile. She doesn't want the relationship to end. The song says “Just can't see myself getting better without you". This EP has four songs on it. I'd like to hear more of them. Maybe next time they will record more songs. Contact address: PRETTY IN STEREO, P.O. Box 1023, Placenta, CA 92871, USA. Email: info@prettyinstereo.com. Website: http://www.prettyinstereo.com [7 points] (Jack Little)

RYA-Starship (Fame Recordings)
Not everything, that we get to review is interesting. Without doing harm to the musical qualities of this lady called RYA, I’d just like to say that this was not really my cup of tea. There is no metal or rock of any kind on this fifty minutes and twelve songs CD. The cover already predicts, that this is not a rock or metal release. Again I would like to state here, that I do not doubt the musical qualities of RYA in other music styles, but for Metal Maidens this is definitely not interesting enough. I hear touches of BJÖRK, but hey who am I? The music contans a lot of dance beats, electronic soundscapes and beeps that I don’t hear on a regular base, when reviewing CDs for our magazine. RYA plays pop music, which may be okay for some of the new wave fans that ocassionally read our magazine. Metalheads, please leave this product for what it is. It’s for your own good. People who dig spacey pop, may enter the starship now and have a look at http://www.personalcosmos.com. for more information about RYA and her “Starship”. [4 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SHE WOLVES-5 Songs (with bonus video) (Art Monkey Records)
SHE WOLVES describe their music as punk-n-roll. They also throw in a little metal, too. This EP starts out strong with “Art Of War”. There's a slow introduction. Then Tony Mann bashes the cymbals. This is followed by fast punk music, stated vocals and a shouted second part. A lot of this song is instrumental. There’s a fast instrumental section, then a slower section. This is followed by another verse. The band say they are the masters of the art of war and undefeatable. After all of that, I am inclined to believe them. “Chupacabras” is about vampire sex. Laura Sativa casually tosses out the lead vocals. We hear phrases from the other two band members. Donna Nasr (formerly CYCLE SLUTS FROM HELL) plays some long guitar notes. This song includes the memorable lyric: "We’re not satanic. We just wanna suck ya". “Murder Engine” plods along. It could be slow metal. It's about impending doom. You can hear a lot of drums here, too. “Hundred Bucks” has a few words. They are repeated over and over. There are punk style chords, guitar fills and it has a nice guitar break. “Trash” says "Please don't ask me if I love you, ‘cos I don't know if I do". The second part is the band yelling "Trash"!! It sounds a lot like “Hundred Bucks”. The EP closes with a bonus video of their European tour in 2003. Those of you, who find all this exciting, will like SHE WOLVES. Contact address: Art Monkey Records, c/o Paul Kostabi, 166 Second Avenue #4-I, New York City, NY 10002, USA. Email: shewolves@shewolves.com; Website: http://www.shewolves.com [7 points] (Jack Little)

GWIN SPENCER-Addicted To The Motion (Good Foot Records)
GWIN SPENCER? Does that ring a bell to you? When I say, that she was part of THE MOTHER STATION, then the quarter will immediately drop, I think. The thirteen songs onthis solo album have the same atmosphere as the album of THE MOTHER STATION. They breathe this very relaxed sound, which will remind you of bands like THE BLACK CROWES, JANIS JOPLIN, SASS JORDAN, NIKKA COSTA, LED ZEPPELIN (The groove in "Slave" for example). It's the atmosphere of the late sixties, early seventies. Listen to the Hammond sound in "Black Or White", which creates that atmosphere even more. There’s also a lot of guitars on this album, which may sound less heavy than "Brand New Bag" of THE MOTHER STATION, but it's definitely a must for every music fan out there and gives you enough to enjoy here on the fifty minutes of catchy rock music. The band of Gwin consists of Gwin Spencer (of course) on vocals and guitars, Eddie Wohl on keyboards and programming, Jimmy Buhre on bass, and Tiger Love on drums. Sometimes some new fashioned influences pop up, like the slightly distorted vocal sound in the beginning of "I Can Feel It", but it's done with so much class and style, that it's not disturbing at all. "Ain't No Sunshine" of BILLY WHITHERS is a little piece of rest, at the end of the CD. A CD, that is great stuff for all the music fans, that go for high quality rock music. If you want to have more information about Gwin, better check out her website at: http://www.gwinspencer.com. It's good to know, that there's still life after THE MOTHER STATION. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

TORONTO-Looking For Trouble; Head On; Get It On Credit; The Greatest Hits (Solid Gold Records)
TORONTO was a Canadian band of the early 1980s, that played a blend of hard rock and power ballads. Their four studio albums have recently been reissued on remastered CDs. There is also a remastered edition of their “Greatest Hits” collection. The band was fronted by singer Anne Elizabeth Woods (better known by her stage name Holly Woods), who met guitarist Brian Allen in 1977. Linking up with some former members of Allen's band ROSE, and some studio musicians who had moved up from New York, the band was completed by the addition of British-born Sheron Alton. Originally known as SASS, the band had become so successful in Ontario, that producers suggested they change their name to that of their adopted home city. Their stage act brought them to the attention of the same management company that had promoted several other Canadian bands, and the group signed a recording contract with Solid Gold Records in 1979. The core of the band was Holly Woods (lead vocals), Sheron Alton (guitar, backing vocals), Brian Allen (lead guitar, backing vocals, main songwriter), Scott Kreyer (keyboards). On the first two CDs, the rhythm section consisted of two New York area musicians, Nick Costello (bass), Jimmy Fox (drums). The first album “Looking For Trouble” was released in late 1979 and was an instant hit. The band was actually taken aback by the cover art. They had intended a humorous cover, but the illustration seemed to depict a pre-adolescent prostitute. This led to accusations in the press, which however gave the band some much-needed publicity. The production on this album was handled by Brian McLeod, lead guitarist for CHILLIWACK and THE HEADPINS, who encouraged the band to play harder riffs, and by Bill Henderson, who favored catchy melodic lines. Along with the title track, the opener “Even The Score” set the tone: songs that were short, fast, and had a sort of wild energy about them. The smooth vocal harmonies gave the songs a radio-friendly quality, and the album got quite a bit of airplay. There were a few mistakes, such as having Brian Allen sing lead on the fifth track, but as debut albums go, this was a solid one. Following a successful tour in Canada, they recorded their second album with producer Terry Brown, who had worked extensively with RUSH. The band journeyed to Quebec to record at Le Studio, a secluded rural setting preferred by many accomplished rock stars, notably DAVID BOWIE and THE POLICE. The producer on this album was Terry Brown, who has worked almost continuously with RUSH. The songwriting here was more of a group effort, with Holly and Sheron contributing original contributions. While the band harbored fond reminiscences of the experience, which included boating and hiking in the Laurentians when they weren't recording, Terry Brown's production gave the album a very controlled quality. There were several notable tracks, three of which made it onto “The Greatest Hits” collection, but the album lacked the spontaneity of the debut. For the third album “Get It On Credit”, there were major changes. The original rhythm section left, to be replaced by two native Canadians, Barry Connors (drums) and Gary Lalonde (bass). The band hired producer Steve Smith who had worked with ROBERT PALMER, but their relationship was so strained that Brian Allen did much of the production himself. Despite all these tensions, the album proved to be one of their best. In contrast to their earlier preference for concise radio-oriented songs, the opener “Break Down The Barricades” was the band's longest and hardest track, with Brian trading heavy riffs against Holly's vocals. Arguably the band's single best song, this track was somehow omitted from “The Greatest Hits” collection. The album included two other popular tracks, including the memorable power ballad “Start Telling The Truth”. The title track was a bizarre, completely out-of-character song that featured some offbeat humor. But the album closed with some unheralded hard rock songs that showed the band's customary energy. The remastered CD includes two tracks omitted from the original album, the autobiographical “Across The Border” - about foreign-born musicians converging in Canada - and a song that HEART later made famous “What About Love”. The year 1984 spelled the end of TORONTO as a group. Although immensely popular in Canada, the band had failed to break through in the United States. Coupled with this, the individual members wanted to go in different directions. Brian and Sheron got married, and Brian went on to work as an executive at Attic Records, Canada's largest independent record label, which had just signed LEE AARON. Holly continued in the music world, but returned to the United States (she was a native of North Carolina) where she recorded two unsuccessful solo projects. Twenty years later, “Get It On Credit” stands up extremely well as a hard rock CD, and “Looking For Trouble” isn't bad either. “The Greatest Hits” collection includes a good selection of material from all their albums, along with “What About Love” and two other songs that were never included on an album, “Andrea” and “Me Generation” - both of which are quite good. The enhanced “Greatest Hits” CD also contains three videos. The best prices on the TORONTO CDs are available at the leading Canadian web stores: ABSound (http://www.absound.ca) and CDPlus (http://www.cdplus.com) at deeply discounted prices. The website for the record company is: http://www.solidgold- records.com. [9 points] (Gordon Richards)

TWYSTER-Xplode (Massacre Records)
The debut album “Lunatic Siren” by this German heavy metal band, already impressed me a lot by its power. Now we are ready to “Xplode”. Ralf Jahnel is back on the old nest, and Coco is still the singer in the band. The opener “The Fury” is wild, exciting and fast. Yes, the old sound has remained, so nothing can go wrong anymore. Raise your fists in the air and scream along with the thirteen songs on this second album. People, who dig the sound of JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, old SCORPIONS, WARLOCK, and old HELLOWEEN can take a bite on this new TWYSTER CD, they won’t be disappointed. Songs like “Dying Eyes” and “Sinister Grin” rock hard, and sometimes the band takes back some speed as well. “Xplode” has become a well-balanced album, but also one with no surprises. I don’t need any surprises, as long as the music is good and heavy. And that’s what you get, when listening to TWYSTER. Okay, “Follow The Storm” might be a little bit over the top, it’s far too mellow for the metalheads, but it’s a nice piece of rest between this fifty minute storm. Besides Coco and Ralf, the band consists of Oliver Emde on bass and Andres Vergara-Ruiz on drums. Highlights on the album were opener “The Fury”, title track “Xplode” and “Icon Of Steel”. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VANILLA NINJA-Blue Tattoo (Bros Music)
It’s really unbelievable how hard this band has been working to get their name recognised all over the world. This is their second full-length album, which is accompanied by a single, that came out before the album was actually released (“Blue Tattoo”), and two singles, that came out only recently. What a good strategy. The CD “Blue Tattoo” contains fourteen songs and a full hour of music, that has a lot of variety. A pulse of gothic, a part A.O.R., some pop music, a dose of rock, and it’s all done with a lot of feeling for quality and melody. I think about EUROPE, BON JOVI, WINGER, BRYAN ADAMS, WHITE LION to give you an idea, where their music is heading to. But there is more, because the band also added two video clips on the CD, for “Blue Tattoo” and “I Know”. VANILLA NINJA consists of Piret, Katrin, Lenna and Triinu, four charming young ladies that will steel your heart right away. This album is definitely a must for those of you, who don’t think the sound doesn’t have to be too heavy, and you want to sing along to songs, that cling to your mind pretty easily. In the CD booklet there’s an extra info sheet of all the merchandise that you can buy from this band, which ranges from mouse pads and posters to mugs, pens and cigarette lighters with the name of the band on. Website: http://www.vanilla-ninja.de. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VARIOUS-Armageddon Over Wacken - Live 2004 (Armageddon Music)
Over forty bands, more than three and an half hour of live music, divided over three CDs. That’s what you get with this beautiful package, which was recorded at last year’s Wacken Open Air festival. People who’ve been to this festival once, know that there is magic going on in the Northern part of Germany, when the festival is at hand. The streets are full with metalheads and the atmospere is perfect. It’s hardly impossible to capture this feeling on CD or DVD, but at Armageddon Music they always give their best shot and create some great packages, that are a ‘must have’ for all the Wacken Open Air fans and metal fans in general. At the time when we write this review, the DVD is not released yet. But we already had a great time by listening to the promos of two of the three live CDs, that were released. Of course there’s a lot to enjoy here. Not only bands with female members in their line up of course, but also from great metal bands like DIO, ANTHRAX, CATHEDRAL, DEATH ANGEL, MOTÖRHEAD, NEVERMORE, FEINSTEIN, HELLOWEEN, BAL SAGOTH and HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH. Try to beat that. And I haven’t even mentioned the names of bands, that are especially interesting for the readers of Metal Maidens. In our promo package we miss one CD, but that one doesn’t contain any female mayhem, so I can narrow my view to two CDs. On promo CD one, we can enjoy VANGUARD with a song called “Forgive”, but we can also have a listen to live recordings of bands like DESTRUCTION, ANTHRAX FEINSTEIN and BLAZE on this one. And the contribution of BLAZE is also very important here. Not only because he plays a great, long version of the IRON MAIDEN classic “Fear Of The Dark”, but also because he is accompanied by DORO this time. A must for all DORO fans, in my opinion. The second CD captures even more interesting stuff. Besides the female input, we are able to enjoy live stuff of metal generals like DIO, MOTÖRHEAD, NEVERMORE, BAL SAGOTH, CATHEDRAL and DEATH ANGEL, to name the most important ones. The female bands on this CD are DORO, ORPHANAGE and WEINHOLD. ORPHANAGE is going strong on “Five Crystals”, where George sounds like an evil devil, and Rosan takes care of the well-known angel like vocals. A nice piece of dynamite. WEINHOLD’s “Strike” is build upon a riff, that could very well have been on any CD of her days with ZED YAGO or VELVET VIPER. It’s the sound of Vikings, going to the fields of war, with Jutta Weinhold as the misstress of this evil war chant. After so many years she’s still ready to strike, which she proves in this song. Before ELEKÄLÄISET ends this CD with their German version of the VAN HALEN song “Jump”, which is now called “Humppa”, we will have another listen to DORO. This time with orchestra. She plays the song, which suits best for an orchestral makeover, and that’s the beautiful ballad “Für Immer”. Chris Caffery (SAVATAGE) plays the lead guitar on this song. Also check out the DVD when it comes out, because this is top notch material, from top notch bands, which are very enjoyable to every devoted metal head out there. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WITCHKRIEG-Dark My Way (Ride & Rite Records)
Witch metal is the new monnicker that the band gives themselves. That’s okay, because bands don’t want to be labelled. They don’t want to be boxed with other bands. They want to give themselves a label and be original. No other band will be able to match with their quality and originality, so they give their music a label or name of their own. And Witch Metal is a good name for great music. The music on this debut CD is doomy, dark and heavy. It contains a lot of great guitarwork and heavy riffs. However, I doubt it very much, if this isn’t done before, but what the hack, it’s great music to enjoy. Thirteen songs, worthy of nearly forty-five minutes, we hear the voice of Barb Ettridge, guitarplayer Andrew Old, who also plays drums, bass and vocals, and Rob Prado on guitar, bass, synths and vocals. In “Fallen Angel” we hear a mix of MANOWAR and MANILLA ROAD, to give you an idea of the sound of WITCHKRIEG. Yes, it’s that good! Barb is a witch for over eightteen years now, so you can imagine that her lyrics are not the ‘I love you so much and I can’t live without you’ type of thing. She sounds like Chrissie Hynde of THE PRETENDERS, but then with a far heavier band backing her up. Sometimes her voice is a bit too much the same tone. But what am I complaining about? Especially for a debut album, this is all very well done, and I am really looking forward to hearing more stuff from this remarkable Witch Metal band from Sydney, Australia. Brilliant name, by the way. We might be trying to get in touch with this band for an interview. And if we don’t succeed, and Barb has turned us into some mushrooms or strawberries, you can also check out the bands website at http://www.witchkrieg.com to get some more information about this great new Australian band. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WOLFEBLITZER-Metal From The Ashes (independent)
Yes, raise your fists in the air and shout your balls off. This is the new six tracker by the Texas metal band WOLFEBLITZER. In twenty-five minutes they present us their new material, which sounds like a good mix between VICIOUS RUMORS, LEATHERWOLF, old RIOT and CHASTAIN. I hear VICIOUS RUMORS in opener “Forgetta ‘Bout It” for example. Hear Val scream at the end of this song. This is f*cking brilliant! “Metal From The Ashes” opens like “Strangers On The Shore” of BITCHES SIN, again with high pitching vocals of Val Seals, and the sharp riffs of Lee Seals. “Matter Of Importance” is on next, and in my opinion it’s one of the better power ballads, I’ve heard these past few years. The driving beat that slowly gains speed during the song, and finally explodes into a guitar solo, is very well done. You don’t hear them like that too much anymore. “Day Of Reckoning (Shaking In Your Boots)” is another powerful song, which starts slowly and gains speed, when second guitarist Ajax Rodriquez hits the strings during the solo spot. “Chasing Souls”, with a PRIEST like intro, and “Savage In Despair” round off the six tracks on this strong CD. This is US metal to the max, and I would highly recommend this MCD to every devoted metal head out there that goes for high screaming vocals, great guitar explosions and solid, heavy riffs. It all sounds too good to be true, but as you can see there are still some bands, that not only say that they ‘keep the faith’, but who also keep their promises. WOLFEBLITZER is one of them, and their “Metal From The Ashes” is a killer album, buy, buy, buy!! Website: http://www.wolfeblitzer.com. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ANOUK-Lost (CD single) (Dino Music)
There are two songs on this new single release of Dutch rock diva ANOUK. First we get the song “Lost”, which is one of the ballads from the album “Hotel New York”. As an extra surprise, you’ll hear an acoustic live track called “Fading”, which was originally broadcasted on the Dutch radio on December 14th of last year. “Lost” is quite sensitive and beautiful. ANOUK always knows to pick her single releases, because the heavier “Jerusalem” will be the next single from this very successful album. “Fading” is a ballad too. Maybe it’s not a good choice, two ballads on one single, but at least the song is exclusive, which makes the buy of this single worth your while. Website: http://www.anouk.nl. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

AROARAH-Together Life Means So Much More (EP) (January Music Group)
AROARAH consists of Kenzie Knoester on drums, Morgan Knoester on guitar and vocals, Lydia Gavin on lead vocals and guitar and Chelsea Baker on bass and vocals. Yes, you’ve got that right, this band is an all-girl formation. And this EP consists of four songs and about thirteen minutes of hot steaming music. When you think about an all- female band, your thoughts might go out to the raw music of KITTIE, or to the punk rock of THE DONNAS. Now you may add AROARAH to the list, but they sound much different than the two bands, I mentioned earlier. I hear alternative metal mixed with a healthy dose of aggression. It’s like AVRIL LAVIGNE singing in PAPA ROACH, or GWEN STEFANI joining SYSTEM OF A DOWN. Think about these combinations. One minute they show you their sensitive side, while at other times they attack you with their claws. On this EP you can have a listen to “Open Eyed”, “Summer Lies”, “My Shoulder To Yours” and “In Dreams”. Catchy songs with a heavy undertone here and there. There might be a few international radio stations, who will pick this up, ‘cause it definitely has got potential. I’d go for the last song as my personal favorite. By putting the CD in your PC, you can download the bonus track “Red” from the bands website on MP3 format. Great idea by a very interesting outfit. Check them out! Website: http://www.aroarah.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BAD CANDY-Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (CD single) (EMI)
This is the first single of the all-female band BAD CANDY as a four piece. The band has changed to a more poppy style rather than being a rock band, after guitarist Ryanne left the band to join THE RIPLETS and singer Else-Merit started a solo career. New singer is the Scottish Natalie James, who already gained some musical experience before being discovered in a pub in London. Some people might recognize the song “Girls Just Wanna Have fun”, because it was a huge hit for CYNDI LAUPER in the mid-eighties. It’s a very cheerful, catchy pop tune from a highly sing-along calibre. Obviously, they are focussing on the young teenager generation nowadays. The band has its own reality soap on Nickelodeon television in the Netherlands, called “Bad Candy was here”, which features the band’s daily adventures and some other typical girl stuff. The first episode of this series was also included on this bonus enhanced CD. Have fun with the girls of BAD CANDY!!!! [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE DONNAS-I Don’t Want To Know (If You Don’t Want Me) (CD single) (Atlantic)
The first song on this single is the album version of “I Don’t Want To Know (If You Don’t Want Me)”. The second track on this seven minute single release is a non-album track called “Done With You”. THE DONNAS have matured since their debut release and their rock sounds pretty similar. It’s still catchy enough to sing along to, right after hearing it once. The non-album track would have suited very well on the album and it has a very nice but short guitar solo. If this would be the reason to buy this single, I don’t know. Some people think this music is too childish, but somehow I like it a lot. And if you compare the sound of THE DONNAS to the music of RAGGEDY ANNE, when they started their career, then you must admit they came a very long way and they are growing and growing. Not to be missed by the real fans of this band. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

JAYNE COUNTY MEETS THE SHE WOLVES- California Über Alles (7 inch) (Trash 2001 Records)
JAYNE COUNTY (or WAYNE COUNTY) was a late 1970's punk favorite. Best known for classics like "If You Don't Want To Fuck Me Baby Fuck Off". WAYNE AND THE CHAIRS recorded four albums and an EP, called “Blatantly Offensive”. The SHE WOLVES are part of today's New York punk scene. They hope to tour Europe in the spring. New bass player Gyda Gash will be with them. There are two songs on this single. One is a cover of “California Über Alles”. That's a DEAD KENNEDY's cover. The other one is “Shrink & Shrivel”. JAYNE COUNTY wrote it. The SHE WOLVES get the strong, but chaotic sound of the music right. All instruments are mixed equally. JAYNE COUNTY does the vocals. The words have been brought up to date. It's still a rant against conservatives. Still intended as a warning about what the effects of the right wing agenda could be. “Shrink & Shrivel” is equally political. On the surface, it could be a song intended to introduce a new dance. On closer listening it has a lot of unflattering things to say about government at the national level. If you lean to the right your not going to agree with this. There are lots of chords, some well-planned fills and even a little surf music. Listen to this, if you dare. Website: http://www.trash2001.de. [7 points] (Jack Little)

KREZIP-Out Of My Bed (CD single) (BMG/RCA)
This new KREZIP single is really a must for all the fans of the band. And it’s got another great commercial strategy as well. More about that later. “Out Of My Bed” is KREZIP pur sang. Catchy from the first moment on, mainly because of the great voice of Jacqueline Govaert. Now here’s the deal. Their previous single could only be downloaded from the band’s website for a few Euros. This song, “All I’m Asking For” is now added to this single release. The fans receive two massive hitsingles for the price of one. Die hard fans may have the previous single as an MP3 file somewhere, now they have it on CD, too. KREZIP is also featured on MTV in a real life soap now, and I think they really know how to deal with their talents and success very well. Besides their good commercial view, they still make some damn good music. Website: http://www.krezip.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MIMESIS-The Loved Music (CD single) (OSA)
This Czechian gothic metal band presents us their two song single. MIMESIS consists of Olík Vostrelova on vocals and acoustic guitar, Jarda Slonek on bass and vocals, Václav Kmonícek on guitar and Josef Svoboda on drums. The two songs have a total time of about eight and a half minute, and this sounds quite okay. “A Little Story” is a happy sing along tune with some nice guitar riffs. “Ad” sounds a bit heavier, and it has got the gothic vibe a little bit more. It’s definitely better than the opener, in my opinion. In Czechia, they definitely have another description of gothic metal than we have here in Western Europe. This doesn’t mean this music is not good, but it’s a bit more commercial sounding than the gothic metal as we know it. And it also doesn’t sound too dark, no it even brightens your day a bit. If you want to check this band out, you can have a look at their website, which you can find at www.mimesis.zde.cz. The band is also looking for a suitable label to release their music on. [6 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VANILLA NINJA-I Know (Unplugged) (CD single) (Bros Music)
Here’s my favorite Estonian all- female band again. They’ve just released a new full-length album, and they’ve found a new strategy to sell even more singles. For their new single “I Know”, they simply released two versions. The first version is the ‘unplugged’ version. On the single we can listen to the ‘unplugged’ version, the ‘classical’ version, the ‘radio edit’ and the ‘unplugged video’ version, and you can watch the ‘unplugged’ video version on your PC. Do you need anything else?? Keep playing the same song over and over again will make you familiar with the music in no time. By the last version, you can’t stop yourself to sing along to some of the lyrics. It’s so easy! The song is catchy and ready for radio airplay. I am waiting for the time, that somebody takes the opportunity to pick up this band and do something with them over here in the Western world. They’ve got the talent. And it’s not dull to hear three versions of the same song, because they all sound quite different. I cannot say this enough, VANILLA NINJA is hot and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world will discover the talent of these four young ladies. Total time of the single is approx. sixteen minutes. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VANILLA NINJA-I Know (CD single) (Bros Music)
The cover of the second version is slightly different. The song remains the same, the versions are again different from each other. On this other single, we hear the ‘radio edit’ version of “I Know”, the ‘unplugged’ version and the ‘extended’ version of this one song. And also on this single you can watch the video on your PC. On the inlay of both CD singles, you can read the tour schedule of their first European tour, which brought them to Germany, Switzerland and Luxemburg. The total time of this single is about thirteen minutes. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WITHIN TEMPTATION-Memories (CD single) (GUN Records)
“Memories” has proven to be an excellent choice for being the second single of WITHIN TEMPTATION from their album “The Silent Force”. This single has got an audio side and a DVD side. Let’s start with the audio part, which kicks off with “Memories” of course. It’s the sound of WITHIN TEMPTATION in three and a half minutes. The remarkable voice of Sharon, the gothic, orchestral sound of the band, and a lot of bombast to give it more strength and to make it more powerful. The extras are all the songs, that have never been released before. First up, there’s the unreleased demo track called “Destroyed”, which opens as a piano ballad. But soon we hear all the well-known ingredients, that the band likes to add to their music and the recognisable sound is set again. “Aquarius” is on next, in the ‘orchestral version’ this time. The single closes with a live version of “A Dangerous Mind”, recorded at Bataclan in Paris, in 2004. With that same song, they open the DVD side of this single. From that same gig we see “Memories” and some backstage features. It makes the single a real treat for all the WITHIN TEMPTATION fans. Website: http://www.within-temptation.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

[Updated: July 11, 2005]

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