CD REVIEWS


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


MM#39/March 2005:

THE AERIUM-Song For The Dead King (Black Lotus Records/Rock Inc)
We’ve had a few Russian bands in our magazine before, and this time we’d like to ask your attention for another band from Russia, namely THE AERIUM. The band consists of Veronika Sevostjanova on vocals, Kirill Novikov on guitars, Andrey Grishin on keyboards, Igor Reshetnikov on bass and Alexander Gubko on drums and percussion. Veronika is what they call a soprano vocalist. Her voice is dark, and it sounds like it’s classically trained somehow. Their gothic, atmospheric metal contains some really strong, heavy riffs, and also there’s a dark glow over the whole album. The Russian music scene can be proud of this band, that definitely could be seen as the Russian version of bands like NIGHTWISH and EPICA. A very good debut album, that plays for forty minutes and contains eight good gothic metal tunes. Internet: http://www.theaerium.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

A NEW DAWN-The Wisdom Of Hindsight (independent)
A NEW DAWN is a Dutch band, that presents us their five track EP here. The total time of this silver disc is about twenty-one minutes. The music is a good mix of powerful riffs, female vocals, and innovative breaks. The female vocals are done by three different singers, which is quite new I think. We hear Sanne Kluiters of the band SLANDER, Monica Jansen of IMP and Josta Kluiters, the sister of Sanne. The rest of the band consists of Mark Barth (SLANDER) on guitar, Gijsbert Spek (MENTAL CAPTIVITY) on drums and Elberet de Hoog (MENTAL CAPTIVITY) on guitar and keyboards. Title track “The Wisdom Of Hindsight” contains a lot of SAVATAGE influences. The song structure and especially the instrumental breaks remind me of this great US metal band. Try to think of this band with female soprano vocals, and you’ll come close to the sound of the band. “Kissed Goodbye” has a bit more experimental atmosphere. Again the combination of the different female vocals is very well done. I was surprised to hear the ABBA cover “Eagle” next. The band stayed very close to the original version, but I hear some nice guitar riffs now and I really liked the darker vocals, that gives the song a new face. The metalic version of ABBA. I was not surprised to hear a short tribute to Criss Oliva after this. “Last Dawn” is an honest tribute to a man, that died much too early. The EP closes with “Victimless Tragedy”. I’m not really a grunt fan, but here it fitted pretty well, next to the already existing sorprano vocal lines. The guitar solo comes right from the heart in this song. A NEW DAWN has a lot of potential, which they proved in these five songs. For more information about this band from Oud Beijerland, I’d like to direct you to their website at: http://www.anewdawn.tk. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ANNICA-Badly Dreaming (re-issue) (MTM Music)
Finnish singer Annica Wiklund released the album “Badly Dreaming” in 1988. Since both the album as well as the CD version are very hard to find, people at record fairs were asking over a hundred Euros for a mint copy. That’s probably one of the reasons, why record company MTM has decided to re-release the album for their classic CD series. To make the CD even more interesting, they also added five bonus tracks to it. Many close Finnish musician friends of ANNICA helped out on the album. While she wrote the greater part of the songs. Her voice sounds rough and is somewhat a mix between LEE AARON and LITA FORD. For example listen to songs like “Dreaming” and “Divine” and you’ll agree with me that both songs would have fitted very well on the first LEE AARON albums. Some other songs are a bit more melodic and go in the direction of BON JOVI during their “Slippery When Wet” time. The song “Badly’ on the other hand has a very LITA FORD-like approach, comparable to “When I Close My Eyes Forever”. Very striking is a rock ballad, called “To Another Shore”, which is totally in the style of HEART. Unfortunately, this album didn’t get the attention it deserved back in 1988, so hopefully people are willing to give it another try in 2005. Musically, it has easily stood the test of time. The bonus tracks are songs by ANNICA’s band PINK FLAMINGO, with whom she recorded a full-length album in the nineties. They sound a bit more commercial and very much in the style of HEART, except “Give Me Love”, which has some real Southern rock influences. Apparently, a re-release of this album is to be expected soon, too. [8 points] (Marcel van Santen)

ANOUK-Hotel New York (Dino Music)
The title of the new ANOUK CD was named after an hotel in Rotterdam, where the biggest part of the album has been written. The album contains twelve brand new tracks and forty-five minutes of good solid rock music. The hype around ANOUK is still there, and the musical skills are huge, too. Her shows are constantly sold out. Besides that, she is pregnant again from her third child. And she has opened the doors to New York, and I’m talking about the Big Apple now. She even got a giant tattoo on one of her arms, so there’s enough to talk about. But we will stricktly focus on her new album here. An album, that I predicted would become a little bit heavier than it actually turned out to be. I guess, I’d expected too much after the birth of her second baby. “Heaven Knows” is a catchy, reggae like tune, while opener “Girl” (her massive hit single at the moment) is a true killer! However, there are some weaker moments on this CD as well. Songs, that could have better left out the album. For example “More Than You Deserve” sounds like a remake of one of her earlier hits. But ANOUK wouldn’t be ANOUK, when she didn’t build a good twist to the song, making it sound much different in the end. She also used a new concept on this CD. It’s called the ‘Opendisc Technology’. It works as follows. You buy the CD, listen to it, then put it in your PC. On the disc is information that brings you to a secured part on ANOUK’s website. There you can enjoy some very interesting extras, like a nine minute version of ‘the making of the video clip’ of “Girl” for example. “Jerusalem” is the one of the highlights, next to “Girl”, for me. The song is so different from the rest, that it constantly keeps your attention. ANOUK has still got it, and her band consists of Hans Eijkenaar on drums, Michel van Schie on bass, Martijn van Agt on guitar, Leendert Haaksma on guitar and Ronald Kool on keyboards. Check out http://www.anouk.com. Or even better, put this new CD in your PC and enjoy even more of the hidden stuff, that’s on there! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

AURALAST-The Voices (independent)
Ten short but very groovy, catchy songs are on this AURALAST album, which has a running time of about thirty-five minutes. AURALAST consists of Michael Anast on guitars, male voice and keyboards, Tim Rooen on bass and Donna on vocals. Donna’s voice is clear, a bit dark and she’s definitely not of the screaming kind. Something you might expect, when you hear the groovy riffs of the band. A nice contrast, which gives the band a face of their own. “The Voices” is the debut album by this band from Phoenix, Arizona, and I must admit, that I like it a lot. It’s a short blast, which comes straight at your face and it definitely has enough potential and groove to become a hit. The riffs are sometimes PANTERA like. For example, listen to the beginning of “Secrets”. This fills a nice gap now Dimebag Darrell has died (R.I.P. mate!). The rhythm is tight, the beat is dancable. It’s heavy, though open for the clear voice of blonde vixen Donna, to do her thing. I strongly recommend you to listen to AURALAST. I believe in this band, that presented us their debut album in a good looking press map. So go to: http://www.auralast.com and buy the damn album!! Oh, and before I forget. The band is also looking for a suitable label and a management. Even more reason to check out their website or send an email to auralast@auralast.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BABES IN TOYLAND-The Best Of Babes In Toyland & Kat Bjelland (Warner Music)
My princess is a genius. And you will never say from a princess, that she is totally insane. So you give her insaneness a certain twist. You tell the people that she is a genius, and almost every genius comes to a certain point that they’re not having control of the whole situation anymore and then become insane. Lots of people will think the same about Kat Bjelland. Her music is great, energetic, powerful, but you can’t deny, that it’s a bit peculiar to play your guitar with a knife sometimes. Where did she go wrong?? Well, she never did, my dear friends. She is actually still the genius that she always was. In BABES IN TOYLAND and in KATASTROPHY WIFE. This is not a normal compilation CD either. As the title suggests already, this is a very good ‘best of’ album. It doesn’t only contain BABES IN TOYLAND and KATASTROPHY WIFE classics, but there are also some songs that you may not be too familiar with. Songs that Kat recorded with THE ITALIAN WHORENUNNS, CRUNT and with COURTNEY LOVE. Twenty-six songs, good for almost eighty (!!!) minutes of the best ‘man could get his hands on’ riot grrrl, punk, garage rock, indie rock music. Call it noise, call it alternative rock. Give it any name you like, but I like to call it the musical outings of a genius, who is never really understood by the big public. The thick booklet contains liner notes from people like Lydia Lunch, Kathleen Hanna and Kurt-Pagan Davies to name a few, plus a lot of great pics of this lady with the beautiful eyes. Her eyes, that always tell me that she’s naughty, she is hot, ready to freak out and rock, and more important: ready to kick some serious ass. How? You can witness that on the DVD, that comes with the CD. The review is in our DVD review section on page 29. My princess is a genius, soon to become the one and only queen in Toyland, and her name is Kat Bjelland. Go to: http://www.katbjelland.com or http:// www.katastrophywife.com for more information! [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BOOBIE TRAP-Look Inside (independent)
What we have here is a 1970's type punk band. Like the SEX PISTOLS or maybe VICE SQUAD. Their singer or shouter is Kelly Hill. Brenda Martinez and Danny Camerford play guitar. They play it fast. They play it well enough, that you can hear each chord. Jason McComs bashes the drums. Dave Daeberick comes through on bass. BOOBIE TRAP make an exciting sound together. There are several instrumental breaks, that the band charge through. “Look Inside” has fifteen songs on it. Two minutes is about average in length. They don't repeat verses. Rather when BOOBIE TRAP finish saying what they want to, than they stop. The title track says, that the answers you are trying to find are inside you. What you find there is right for you. “Walk” is played faster, than I usually walk. The point of the words is to take your time. Don't rush your life. There's a drum intro on “Life Review”. The vocals are spoken. Then suddenly the speed picks up. It's told to someone, who has hurt them. "I hope you like youself, when you see your life review." BOOBIE TRAP do a good job of charging out of your speakers and shout what they think at you. Reports that punk is dead are premature. Website: http://www.boobietrapoc.com. Contact address: BOOBIE TRAP, c/o 2269 Papaya Dr., Lahabra Hts, CA 90631, USA. [8 points] (Jack Little)

BURNING SAGE-Purification (FireBand Records)
BURNING SAGE combine goth like vocals and metal style instrumentals to make an effective sound. Lin Sanders contributes the emotive vocals. She writes the lyrics too. They are serious and frightening. Songs go from one fear to another. The world is a mysterious place for this band. Melodies are routed in metal. Lin strengthens a thought with a chord. Lucy Marquez plays haunting, but melodic bass grooves. The definitive drum strokes come from Sue Balaschak. The last two people write all the music. The group makes a sound that slow metal fans will like. All of the eight songs are over three minutes long. “Pandora's Box” weaves around for nine and a half minutes. Lin use a soft, thin voice on this one. The speaker warns of involvement with a beautiful lady. On the other hand, the passionate lady has a lot of power over him. He's going to go ahead and let her evil out. The speaker can only stand by, watching the mistake happen. The spoken part says "You get what you want. And you get what you deserve." “Burn” has a nice instrumental introduction. There's a good instrumental break later on. “Burn” happens in her mind before sex. She goes through several fears. Then she summons her strength to participate and even conquer. All of this makes sense, when heard together, This is very well done. Website: http://www.burning sage.net; Email: burningsagemusic@juno.com. Contact address: BURNING SAGE, c/o P.O. box 110053, Cleveland, Ohio 44111, USA. [8 points] (Jack Little)

DARNA-Darna (La Bruja Producciones)
My Spanish is not that good, unfortunately. But what I do know is that I liked the two albums of this band from Spain very much. They make a brilliant type of melodic heavy metal with great female vocals. The first album contains ten songs, all together worthy of almost fifty minutes of high quality melodic heavy metal. From the spoken intro on (which is in fact a short mini play), it becomes quite clear, that this must be a very special band. You really don’t know what to expect, after such an impressive introduction. The drawings on the CD sleeve predict something very brutal. But the well-played melodic heavy metal from the band is different and very well done. The band was already founded in 1998, and this debut release saw the light in 2002. DARNA consists of Dani Sevillano on guitar, Rafa Yugueros on bass, Silvia on guitar and Ruth on vocals. Yes, you’ve got that right! There are two metal maidens in the line up of this promising Spanish metal band. “Sheela” is a ballad like song, in which you can enjoy the emotional and beautiful vocals of Ruth at full force. After that, the band explodes in “El Oráculo”. Their music contains some nice heavy riffs, but they never tend to get brutal. “Darna” is a great debut album. The review below is of the most recent album by this Spanish metal band. If you already know enough by now, you can obtain additional information from the bands website at: http://www.darnametal.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DARNA-Darna II (La Bruja Producciones)
This is the second, 2003 release of this Spanish band, containing nine new tracks and fifty-five minutes of great heavy metal. The band has added a new bass player, called Alfonso Carrera. Although the debut album already contained some heavy riffs, this album is definitely stronger and shows us that the band has booked a lot of progression. Just listen to one of the highlights on the album “Sueños Rotos” (“Broken Dreams”), which is quite a speed monster and above all, a true headbanger. The only ‘negative’ thing is that the songs are all in Spanish. Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t bother me or something like that, but I just don’t have the slightest idea what the lyrics are about. “Realidad Virtual” must be “Virtual Reality” in English, but that’s as far as my knowledge goes. The music of DARNA is a mix of the progressive older DREAM THEATER material, mixed with the aggression of ANNIHILATOR and the (choir) vocals and song structures of many German power metal bands. Add to this the nice female vocals of Ruth and you’ll get the music of DARNA. We hope, that we’ll be able to introduce this band closer to you in our final issue. Let’s prey, that they speak good English, otherwise you’d better wish me luck! Website: http://www.darnametal.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DELUZION-Fractured Dimension (MCD) (TMR Europe)
DELUZION is a new thrash metal band from Holland, consisting of Wouter on vocals, Jaap on drums, Hrödger on bass and vocals, Jeroen on lead gitar and Marloes on guitar and vocals. The first intention of Jeroen was to set up a doom metal band, next to his other band IZEGRIM. But after a few rehearsals, they created DELUZION - a brutal thrash metal band, that reminds me of ARCH ENEMY a lot. The three songs on this mini album are brutal, contain a lot of groovy riffs and the screaming vocals of Wouter blend very well with it all. After twenty minutes, they pull out the plug and leave the listener behind, dazed and confused of the power and the brutality in these five songs. The fact, that the band doesn’t sink into ultra brutal pounding alone, is captured very well in these five songs. Just listen to the subtle guitars at the end of “The Fragile Mind”, or the more melodic guitar riff in the middle of “Reflections//Insanity”. Maybe I have to add a band like IN FLAMES to my list of influences here, to give you a good idea of what DELUZION is all about. A promise for the future, my dear friends! Go to: http://www.deluzion.nl. for more information. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DOL AMMAD-Star Tales (Black Lotus Records/Rock Inc.)
The description about their music was very well chosen in their biography, to my opinion. They like to call it electronica art metal. And how this exactly sounds, you can witness in the twelve songs, that play on your stereo set for over a full hour. The use of a giant choir, consisting of twelve young Greek singers, make the music very bombastic. It is based on riffs and electronic sounds, mixed with classical music. An odd combination. Add to this the energetic, fast and furious beats, and you’ll get an album full of power and energy, which seldom leaves space for a moment of rest. If the music isn’t speeding and riffing its way through your speakers, then the choir vocals will ask for your attention. You’ll never have a moment to dream away for a couple of seconds. The electronic beeps may sound a bit weird sometimes, but they’re not overruling the normal sound of the band. The band consists of Thanasis Lightbridge, former bandmember and synthesizer player, Jimmy Wicked on guitar, Nick Terry on bass and Alex Holzwarth (SIEGES EVEN, RHAPSODY) on drums. If you think, this classical based orchestral metal might be something for you, then I’d suggest to have a listen to these “Star Tales”, the band wants to tell you. If you think, this only sounds like a cacophony of sounds, then you’d better leave it for what it is. http://www.dolammad.com. [6 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE DOLLYROTS-Eat My Heart Out (Lookout Records)
THE DOLLYROTS are from Los Angeles, CA. This is their debut album containing thirteen tracks and about thirty-five minutes of intense, energetic, punk rock music. The band consists of two guys and frontlady Kelly Ogden. Their punk rock music finds its roots in the sixties, but contains some punky edges as well, which gives it an energetic feel. Opener “Kick Me To The Curb” is the bands first single, which is an excellent choice. “Jackie Chan” is a fast and good song to let some sweat out of your body. The fact, that their music has been used for some independent movies and many compilation albums, shows us that they must have potential. The music of THE DOLLYROTS is definitely catchy, and it has some variation, too. Besides faster songs like “Jackie Chan”, also be prepared for a ballad like song called “Goodnight Tonight” for example, and a riot grrrl tune like “Feed Me, Pet Me”. THE DOLLYROTS is a band well worth checking out. Just take a look at the CD cover and you will get the idea that there’s something for everyone. Because the rabbit may look cute in her short skirt, but she will easily rip out your heart and eat it. Talk about the combination of sweet innocence and brutal violence here! Mix the innocence and sweetness of THE DONNAS with the brutality of VICE SQUAD, and THE DOLLYROTS are what you get. http://www.dollyrots.com. is the website where you can find more information about the band. The CD closes with “Be My Baby” of THE RONETTES. Last details, I will reveal to you is that Rodney Bingenheimer is on the thanks list…again, and that the rabbit was shot in the heart on the print of the CD. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE DONNAS-Gold Medal (Atlantic)
Little girls grow up, and the same happened to THE DONNAS. Their new album, which has eleven tracks and runs for thirty-five minutes, contains some very mature rock music. No screaming and yelling punk rock songs anymore, but rock with balls. They have got a different look in their eyes too, and their lyrics are more down to earth. They’re closer to reality and have a more serious approach now. It all happened between their previous album and this “Gold Medal” release. Their sound is a bit darker, although musically it’s much better of course. Whether you like it or not, the childish sounds and looks of this band are gone. The girls have grown up and became young women with a good musical experience, that they use very well. Quick deciders may find the double CD of this new album, which contains an extra disc with the video clip for “Fall Behind Me” and the ‘making of the video’. Long term fans of THE DONNAS will like this stuff a lot, because they’ve grown up too after all these years, and they’ve found out that they’ve become young women as well now. This CD may not score a golden medal here, but silver is pretty good too, I think! http://www.thedonnas.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ELIS-Dark Clouds In A Perfect Sky (Napalm Records)
"Dark Clouds In A Perfect Sky" is the title of the latest outing from the Liechtenstein based band ELIS. As with their previous effort, "Dark Clouds In A Perfect Sky" was produced by Alexander Krull of ATROCITY. The band - which features female lead singer Sabine Dunser - has produced another excellent album, that should make fans very happy. Joining Sabine in ELIS are Pete Streit (guitar), Jurgen Broger (guitar), Tom Saxer (bass/vocals) and Rene Marxer (drums). The German language track "Der Letze Tag" get things off to an excellent start, as Sabine’s seductive voice draws you in from the get-go. Next we have "Anger", which has a nice, catchy melody and cool guitar solos. "Lost Soul" is perhaps one of the heavier tracks on display and features some death grunts courtesy of bass player Tom Saxer. His hellish vocals mix quite well with Sabine’s sweet sounding vocals. In fact, the death vox is used in moderation here and doesn’t overwhelm the music and song. Next we have "Perfect Love", which starts off with a ballady piano intro, but quickly develops into a mid-tempo rocker. "Heart In Chains" is another heavy one, that once again feature the death grunts. Other highlights include "Die Zeit", "Black Angel", "Devil Inside You" and "Rebirth" (which features drums by Martin Schmidt of ATROCITY). The limited edition digi-pack includes a bonus track of a song, called "Show Me Heaven", which is a cover of a Maria McKee song, I believe. I was a big fan of the last ELIS album "God’s Silence, Devil’s Temptation", but in my humble opinion "Dark Clouds In A Perfect Sky" leaves it in the dust. The band has produced a mighty fine follow-up. Great production, great songs and great vocals by Sabine Dunser. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

MELISSA ETHERIDGE-Lucky Live (Island Records)
This is a very interesting release for every fan of MELISSA ETHERIDGE. Especially, if you liked her recent album “Lucky”, than this is definitely a ‘must have’ for you. It contains a live registration of the whole album, fourteen songs in total, worthy of about sixty-five minutes. In addition to this all, the live show contains an exclusive new song called “Good Girls And Boys”. How’s that for a change?? But wait, it gets even better. There’s also a second disc in this package, which contains the whole gig on DVD. An evening full of energy, power and sweat, but also a lot of emotions and deep feelings. Don’t forget, that Melissa went through some very bad times lately, but things seem to shine for her again, and it shows. She sparkles and sounds happier than ever before. “Giant” is the best song on this CD for me, while the crowd goes for “If You Want To”, judging by the reactions, I hear on this disc. Anyway, there’s a lot of good pop rock songs on this live album. Website: http://www.melissaetheridge.com. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EVANESCENCE-Anywhere But Home (Wind-up/Sony Music)
2003 and 2004 were very successful years for EVANESCENCE. They toured the world in support of their hugely successful debut album "Fallen" and played to sold out venues everywhere. With their new release "Anywhere But Home", EVANESCENCE has chronicled their success in a nice little package. This set contains a live CD recorded in Paris. It is a high energy performance and the band really prove, that they can deliver the goods live. Ten of the eleven tracks from the mega-selling "Fallen" debut are on display here. The band deliver stand-out performances of "Haunted", "Going Under", "My Last Breath", "Whisper", "My Immortal" (this is a truly powerful performance) and the song that started it all; "Bring Me To Life". "Farther Away", "Breath No More" and "Thoughtless" are among some of the newer songs, that are performed. The set ends with a new studio track, called "Missing", which is along the same lines as "My Immortal". A wistful ballad, that showcases Amy Lee’s strong vocal skills. Also part of this package is a DVD, that features the Paris gig live and a collection of their video clips. And you will find a collection of backstage nonsense (and it really is nonsense I could have done without) as well. Perhaps the most enjoyable stuff on the DVD are the video clips. VH1 & MTV in the States played the clips for "Bring Me To Life" and "My Immortal" to death, but the promos for "Going Under" and "Everybody’s Fool" were barely ever shown. All-in-all, not a bad collection of material here. It is a nice account of the first chapter of EVANESCENCE. Hopefully there will be many more chapters to come. If you liked "Fallen", this is a worthy addition to your collection. [7 points] (Tony Cannella)

THE FIRE UPS-Untitled And Unmastered (independent)
THE FIRE UPS remind me of the first two JANIS JOPLIN albums. Katy Petty sings in a style, that Janis or BILLIE HOLIDAY would appreciate. The band rocks. THE FIRE UPS might be a little faster than BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY. This is clearest on the last two songs. THE FIRE UPS is a good name for this band. Their music will get you all excited. We start with “Delta Ess”. This is not Mississippi river delta blues. The words compare a girls situation to the blues. The band sets a fast pace. Shayne Ivy adds a lot on drums. On “Les”, a woman observes a man. He makes a good impression on her. She finds him quite attractive. She knows what she wants. She wants him. David Bucci's guitar playing is featured. His guitar solo is good listening. The instrumental work makes this song even better. “Born Sick” is about someone, who rejects conventional morality. She lives like it has nothing to do with her. She likes being a slut and has no interest in changing. This song rocks even more. Cami Boyd lays down a fast and certain bass line. I’m not sure where the line between the blues and hard rock is. THE FIRE UPS are doing their best to erase it. I could get fired up about this band. Contact address: Stunt Company, 70 Washington # 811, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA. Email: thefireups@yahoo.com. Web-site: http://www.geocities.com/thefireups. [9 points] (Jack Little)

FREE VERSE-Generator (Buttermilk Records)
Jenni (guitar), Lisa (bass) and M (drums) did it again. With their band FREE VERSE, they show us that a band consisting of three women can sound louder, more energetic and powerful than a band consisting of five people. Especially when you hear the psycho screams of the vocalists. Indie rock, combined with riot grrrl rock, punk, metal, hardcore and other aggressive musical outings. If it’s loud, it’s FREE VERSE. In ‘No Strings Attached”, they perfectly blend the psycho screams with clear vocals, a mighty fine combination, but a little bit odd when you’re not used to it. I would like to use BABES IN TOYLAND as a reference to describe the music of FREE VERSE, but there is a lot more happening in this band. They use a lot of mood and speed changes, and constantly give you the idea that the songs go into a different direction. There are no musical borders. The front cover of the CD already shows you, that you’re not dealing with an average down to earth rock band here. Better fasten your seatbelts, when you’re about to listen to this album, because it’s gonna be a wild ride. I am just warning you. Website: http://www.freeverse.tv. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GO LIKE HELL-Hell Bent For Rock N Roll (Buttermilk Records)
GO LIKE HELL does what their name predicts already. In opener “Lucky Me”, I hear the riffs of “Let There Be Rock” of AC/DC. While “Los Bastardos” is the GO LIKE HELL’s version of “Overkill” (MOTÖRHEAD). Check out the CD sleeve, and hold it next to the sleeve of “Coupe D’Etat” and “Beyond The Valley Of 1984” of THE PLASMATICS and you’ll definitely see some resemblance. One of the male band members even wears a dress, like main lunatic Ritchie Stotts did on their album “New Hope For The Wretched”. High octane fueled rock and roll is their motto. Think about the aforementioned bands, and add to this the names of NASHVILLE PUSSY and THE MISFITS and you’ll get the idea of what this band is all about. Consisting of Alexi Void on vocals (ex-GENITORTURERS), Rev Spike Hell on bass and vocals, Elvis Christ on lead guitar and vocals, Luvleggs on guitar/vocals and Dick Whiskey on drums, they ramble through thirteen rock songs on this thirty-five minute tornado, leaving behind the will to push the ‘play’ button again. With a little bit more input from themselves, this band will definitely be a big improvement for the future of kick ass rock and roll, because they GO LIKE HELL and deliver “Hell Bent Rock N Roll”. Website: http://www.golikehell.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

G-SPOT-Come Here, Go Away (Revolutionairy Records)
G-SPOT presents us their second full length album, containing thirteen songs and over fifty minutes of mighty fine punk rock music. The album has got two sides, like the title already suggests. One side tells you to 'Come Here', it's the sensitive side of G-SPOT. Listen to "Beautiful Face" for example. The other side tells you to 'Go Away', it's the punky side of the band, telling you to bugger off and leave the band alone. The two sides are also very well presented in the CD booklet. But hey, is this only my imagination? Is this really a drawing of two different vaginas???? With a bandname like that, I wouldn't be surprised. The 'red' vagina asks you to 'come here', while the dark blue/green vagina tells you to 'go away'. Anyway, I am drifting away a bit from what I am supposed to do here, and that is to describe the music of G-SPOT to you. Think about NO DOUBT, with Nina Hagen on vocals. Yep, the band has got two sides in their music as well. Sometimes it's soft and sensitive, while at other times, they really steam away at full force (f.e. in "Revolutionairy"). Although, the CD contains much more. Put the CD in your vagina…….oops sorry… I mean PC of course, and you'll see some nice pictures and an explanation and instruction for using 'triple mantra'. A "Triple Mantra Meditation" of over thirteen minutes closes the CD. G-SPOT consists of Gail Silverman on vocals and acoustic guitar, Donald Dixon on bass, Dennis Winge on guitar and Phil Bloom on drums. "Believe In Us" is the quadruplicated version of BABES IN TOYLAND, while "Call On You" brings us back in the real world again. Think about it how you want to, bottom line is that this New York City based band shows a lot of variation. The packaging of the promotional stuff was very well taken care of by the way, and the fortune cookies tasted very well! Most of the G-spots are very well hidden, this one is wide open for you, but don't come too close!!! Website: http://www.gspotband.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE HUFF RALLY-Sewer Rose Symphony (Tantrum Hooker Music)
THE HUFF RALLY play hard rock very well. There are attention holding riffs, nice solos, and well done instrumental breaks. There's a lot of energy in their playing. Most of the songs are under three minutes. They are about life as lived. Several are from the point of view of an independent girl. If the world doesn't always except her, that's alright. She doesn't go along with the rest of the world either. The first of fourteen tracks on this CD is called “The Misadventures”. It's a lively song. You can hear both Jimmy and Stephanie on guitar. Jenn's bass line keeps the sound from becoming too high pitched. Freddie sets a fast pace on drums. The song is about a time past. It was fun, if not always right. It's a happy memory, not a regret. After that, there's “Legend Of VGB”. VGB stands for video game boys. She thinks, they’re cool. The way their eyes light up, when they’re in front of a television. She'd like to hold his hand. He's using it to play video games. The drums stand out on this track. So do the electric sounds, I remember from playing video games. There's a good observation in “Pills And Youth”. She says "If I’m a deviant, then who are you?". I agree. If you’re listening to the same band I am, in the same club, don't tell others like you there's something wrong with them. This is fun and it rocks. Contact address: THE HUFF RALLY, 1805 Ryon Cove, Austin, TX 78082 USA. Email: huffrally@yahoo.com; Website: http://www.huffrally.com. [10 points] (Jack Little)

IF ONLY-Destiny (Outlaw Recordings)
This is quite interesting, ladies and gents! If you have the “No Bed Of Roses” CD of IF ONLY, then you don’t have the original version, sung by Jackie Bodimead. If you want to change this, now’s your chance. The original version is released on CD, compiled with three live songs, two demo songs and a two song BBC session from 1990. All together worthy of seventy minutes of heavenly melodic rock music, fronted by the voice of Jackie Bodimead, who we all know from her contributions in GIRLSCHOOL, SHE and CANIS MAJOR. Hear the original versions of the songs that were reproduced by Tina Egan, when Jackie had to leave the band due to personal problems. From the MORITZ cover “Hearts On The Line” (demo version), to “Man Against The World”, which is their tribute to QUEEN vocalist Freddy Mercury, this album is full of classics. IF ONLY consisted of Andy Stewarton on keyboards, Andy Elphick on drums, Ian Edwards on bass, Greg Hart on guitar and Martin Chaisson on guitar. “Destiny” can be seen as a classic album in the melodic rock/A.O.R. genre. Not in the last place for the addition of Jackie’s vocals. Now you know the whole story in a nutshell, it’s time to enjoy the beautiful music on this CD! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KARYN KUHL-The Beautiful Glow (independent)
The former frontwoman/lead guitar of hard rocking SEXPOD returns with this EP of dark, aching (but still rocking) tunes, made beautiful by her innate romanticism. If there’s ever a musician, who sold her soul for rock and roll, it’s Kühl, with her high, haunting voice and guitar work, that can be both solidly crunchy and incredibly nuanced. With production by Barb Morrison (a musician of similar worldview) and Charles Neiland, the sound is deeper and more mature than Kühl’s previous solo effort “Little Demon Girl” and SEXPOD’s funky “Goddess Blues”. Surrounded by Kurt Ritta on bass, and Tom Costagliola on drums (with Morrison and Neiland contributing on vocals, sax, and keyboards), Kühl gives them all a workout on tunes like the title track, and the wailing “Do You Remember”. Order the CD from her website: http://www.karynkuhl. com. [8 points] (Kathleen Warnock)

THE LULABELLES-As The World Turns (I Scream Records)
“As The World Turns” is the name of the longest running soap series in America, which started in the early sixties already. It’s also the name of the new CD of THE LULABELLES. We’re gonna write about this band, if you don’t mind! THE LULABELLES pushes you eleven songs down your throat in thirty-five minutes and all you have to do is swallow it. The fact, that the band has signed a record deal with I Scream Records, indicates that they want to take distance from the ‘punk rock’ label, that they regularly received from some of the magazines. The band has become a real punk band from now on, and prove is given in the fast and furious songs on this CD. Short, catchy statements, tied up in a steady rhythm, is what you get. Plus a punky version of THE BANGLES cover “Manic Monday”. The band consists of Mary-Ann on vocals and guitar, Ann Alcoholic on guitar and Ann Artistic on bass and backing vocals. The only male member in the band is called Speechless and he plays the drums and shuts his mouth! Don’t forget to check out the loud and short punk explosion, which they added as a hidden bonus track!! There’s no denying, that THE LULABELLES sound more mature than ever before, and I hope that they can survive as long as this soap serie, that I mentioned in the beginning of this review. Website: http://www.the-lulabelles.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LUNATICA-Fables & Dreams (Frontiers Records)
You gotta love a label like Frontiers from Italy. They have managed to sign a solid roster of bands/musicians, that would be deemed too heavy for some of the mainstream labels and not heavy enough for some of the metal labels. They have become a breeding ground for great musicians, who write great songs. LUNATICA is another example of this. The band features Andrea (lead vocals), Alex (keyboards), Sandro (guitars), Andy (guitars) and Ermes (drums) - no last names were given in CD booklet. LUNATICA plays a majestic sounding symphonic, power metal. "Fables & Dreams" is actually LUNATICA’s second album following their debut "Atlantis", but this is the one that should garner the band significant acclaim and respect as a great new hopeful in the realm of symphonic rock/metal. "Fables & Dreams" contains ten songs and nearly fifty-two minutes worth of well written and well-crafted material, that should be some music lovers dream. The intro track "The Search Goes On" kicks things off. At just over four minutes long, it is not a usual intro. It is part instrumental and part narration, as it has a male voice speaking over the music, setting the stage for what is to come. From there, the band launch into "Avalon" - a track that shows the bands talent on full display. The lead vocals of Andrea help the music soar to great heights. Next we have perhaps my favorite track, "Elements" a mid-tempo big rock song. From there, we have the ballad "Fable Of Dreams", which features male vocals that mix well with Andrea’s. Other highlights include "Still Believe", "The Spell" and "The Never-Ending Story". In 2005, it is refreshing to hear a band such as LUNATICA. Musicianship and songs come first with this outfit. Musicianship... songs... What a concept! It’s a winning combination. Website: http://www.lunatica.ch. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

MISDEMEANOR-High Crimes And Misdemeanor (GMR Music Group)
Shotgun Mia (Möllberg) on drums, Crowbar Jempa (Jenny Lindahl) on bass, Sara Hammer (Fredriksson) on guitar, Jenny The Axe (Möllberg) on guitar and Revolver Vera (Olofsson) on vocals, the five of them together they form the Swedish rock and roll band MISDEMEANOR. There are twelve criminal new tracks on this new album, including a cover of the SCORPIONS classic “Robot Man” and with classic, I really mean classic! Forty-five minutes of rock music, from a band, that shared the stage with bands like FU MANCHU, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, ENTOMBED and SPIRITUAL BEGGARS. I’d call their music stoner rock and roll (watch the addition of ‘and roll’ to the description!). It has got a certain groove, that I usually hear in stoner rock bands, but it’s much more catchy and sweeter, if you want to. The band already recorded a video clip for the song “Man On The Wall”, so I expect that this will be the first single of the album. In “Hate Your Face”, they really pull out a good stoner rock standard. Pounding drums, an ultra heavy bass sound at slow speed are the best points of recognition here, and for me, it’s definitely one of the highlights on this album. The aforementioned cover of THE SCORPIONS could have been skipped, in my opinion. Not that they did not try real hard to make a good version of this song, but the original tune just stays untouchable to me, I am sorry. Still, the band delivered a good album with “High Crimes And Misdemeanor”. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

NAKED BEGGARS-Naked Beggars (SMA Records)
The NAKED BEGGARS are a sleazy rock band from the city of the heart of the country music Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Right now, they consist of six members, two ladies and four men. But on the album we don’t hear the new member Kristine Brasuell, who plays the violin and the piano. But the five piece band on this debut CD consists of Eric Brittingham on bass, percussion and vocals, Dustin Carpenter on drums, Kris Casamento on guitars, David ‘Doc’ Holladay on guitars and vocals and Inga Brittingham on vocals. And yes, folks, Eric Brittingham was once a member of CINDERELLA, next to the manager of this brand new band, Jeff La Bar. They sold millions of records and played the huge arenas. Now they return to the sweaty clubs with NAKED BEGGARS, but this band has definitely got the potential to grow big too. I must confess though, that not every song on this album is as strong. The opening of this eleven track, forty-five minute silver disc, is good. But with the song “Got Me Running”, they become a bit too mellow. This would be a nice song for a band like SANTANA maybe, but not for NAKED BEGGARS. For the rest, the songs have a very catchy feel and they are ready for radio airplay. At the end of the CD you hear a remix of their song “Bitch”. NAKED BEGGARS are a promise for the future. Highlight on this CD for me was “Kind Of Girl”. Why? Just listen to the guitar piece in the middle, that’s why! Check it out, and yes CINDERELLA fans may like this too. It’s sleazy, and it rocks, that’s for sure!! Website: http:// www.naked beggars.net. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

NEMESEA-Mana (Ebony Records)
Make room, because there’s an up and coming star on the horizon. Holland already has a lot of bands with a great reputation, like EPICA, AFTER FOREVER, THE GATHERING, WITHIN TEMPTATION, AUTUMN and now we can add NEMESEA to this impressive list. The band seems to come from nowhere, and they put themselves in the premier league, next to all the impressive names of the aforementioned bands. And if there is still someone, who has his doubt about the skills of this band, they will be proved otherwise by listening to their great debut album, called “Mana”. It contains thirteen songs, and forty-five minutes of energetic gothic metal. Sometimes hard and heavy, like “Empress” for example, and at other times full of emotion and sweetness like “Angel In The Dark-Mortalitas”. What do all these bands have in common? Yes, the great vocals of their frontlady. Well, here’s another great example of an impressive frontlady. Her name is Manda Ophuis and her vocals are really the cream on top of this cake. The other members in the band are Hendrik Jan de Jong on guitars, Martijn Pronk on guitars, Berto Booijink on keyboards, Sonny Onderwater on bass and Chris Postma on drums. The opening of “The Taker” makes my skin crawl. Is it that good? Well, judge for yourself. Add to this the great sound of the band, a choir consisting of six people, a violin, cello and viola player, and you’ll get the bombastic sound that we know so well from bands like EPICA and the bands biggest example AFTER FOREVER. “Mana” is a good debut album and I am sure that we will hear more from them in the near future. I also want to ask some special attention to the beautiful drawings in the CD booklet. They’re really very special and give an extra dimension to the already good first impression of their music! In this issue, we also introduce the band closer to you by means of an interview. More information about this band can be obtained from their website at http://www.nemesea.com. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ONMYO-ZA-Mugenhoyo (Miva Records)
ONMYO-ZA presents us their brand new album, which contains ten songs and forty five minutes of groovy rock. The band constantly switches from male vocals to female vocals, both clear vocals by the way, which sounds very refreshing. After the intro “Mugen”, they directly collapse into the speedy “Jami No Hoyo”. There is some kind of a mystical atmosphere around this band, that consists of members, dressed up in Japanese kimonos. But their music is pretty straight forward and can be seen as a sort of Japanese version of IRON MAIDEN. ONMYO-ZA consists of Matatabi on bass and vocals, Maneki on guitar, Karukan on guitar, Tora on drums and Kuroneko on (female) vocals. Although I can not read the CD booklet, it’s very clear to me that this is certainly one of Japan’s best hard rock bands of today. Don’t get fooled by the elegance of their beautiful costumes, because there is more to meet the eye. Check this band out, and you will be positively surprised. That’s for sure. The highlights for me on the album are “Wanyudo”, and CD closer “Kapa Odori”, by the way. Their website, which can be found at http://www.onmyo-za.net has a good English section, where you can find more information about this very promising band from the land of the rising sun! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

PECULIAR BOOGIE-Pay Toll To The Troll (independent)
Rebekah Coltman and Lisa Marshall wrote and produced this CD. Lisa sings. She might remind you of ARETHA FRANKLIN or BESSIE SMITH. Most of these are slow bluesy songs. Once in a while the pace picks up. Lisa has a wonderful voice for this kind of music. The CD includes a live version of “Silver Ghost”. It sounds better than some studio recordings, I've heard. Rebekah Coltman plays slow, careful guitar. Her note playing is mixed with slides and bends. While her solos are short, they make good listening. Susan Joyner adds depth to the songs on keyboards. Not that spooky sound goth bands use. On some songs, she plays saxophone. Saxophone is an instrument, that fits with this type of music. The drum part is not too loud nor too soft. This is provided by John Knecht. His experience with jazz and African music benefits these songs. The bass line is played by William Clinton Calton III. He provides the right amount of drive for these melodies. Boogie describes the music well. At times it's slow and sad and meaningful. “Silver Ghost” has a faster last verse. “Reason Away” has more rhythm to it. The guitar part shines through. I’m giving this CD full score for quality, because it deserves it. [10 points: quality / 6 points: rock] (Jack Little)

SUZI QUATRO-A’s, B’s & Rarities (RAK Records)
The title explains itself. Twenty A-sides, B-sides and rarities are on this seventy-five minutes compilation album by the first female rock artist SUZI QUATRO. Armed with her heavy bass guitar, she used to fascinate me in the early seventies, and I’ve bought many of her singles back in those days, like “48 Crash” and “Devil Gate Drive”. They’re both on this album as well. But you can also hear four previously unreleased songs like “Ain’t Got No Home”, “Tear Me Apart (alternate version)”, “Kids Of Tragedy” and “Angel Flight”. In the seventies, Suzi was very much part of the glam rock scene, together with THE SWEET, SLADE, MUD and GARY GLITTER. Remarkable trademark were the bashing drums, captured in almost every song, which was also done by GARY GLITTER, and catchy chorusses that invited you to sing along from the first moment you heard the song. And especially, there was this sexy lady in leather, carrying that bass guitar, twice her size, AMAZING! But the strange thing is, that Suzi came from Detroit, while all the other bands were based in the UK. But because of her cooperation with Chinn and Chapman, she operated from England. Suzi is now a living legend for me, and when I listen to the great songs on this sampler again, I realise what she has done for the rock music in general. Let alone the role of the female rock musicians, that came after her. Last but not least, I want to ask some extra attention to the last song on the album called “Angel Flight”. It’s a ten minute (!!!) epic, which sounds very different from the average SUZI QUATRO stuff that you will hear on this CD. It’s a mix of Suzi like rock music, mixed with almost new age like sounds. It’s very diverse, exciting and surprising. Do yourself a favour and get this nice compilation CD in your collection. Her brand new album, which will hopefully be released later on this year, will contain the guitarwork of Andy Scott of THE SWEET! For more information about this legendary rock lady, I suggest to visit her website at http://www.suziquatro.com. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

RECKLESS TIDE-Repent Or Seal Your Fate (Armageddon Music)
RECKLESS TIDE is Kai Swillus on drums, Oliver Jaath on guitar, Henning Pfeiffer on bass, Andrew Troth on vocals and Susanne Swillus on guitar. Remarkable thing is that the band added a second vocalist to their ranks at the end of 2002. His name is Kjell Hallgreen, and the two vocalists together make this band from Hamburg sound different than the average thrash band. This debut album contains fourteen tracks and has a running time of about fifty-five minutes. But people who want to have more, must definitely go for the digipack version of the album, which contains an extra DVD with footage of Wacken Open Air, the metal quiz in which they took place and a studio report and tour diary. But what about the music on “Repent Or Seal Your Fate”? It’s brutal and it captures a good dose of melody as well. I hear TESTAMENT, SLAYER, ANNIHILATOR, MEGADETH, old METALLICA, EXODUS and lots of other Bay Area thrash metal bands. Not strange, when you know that Jeff Waters (ANNIHILATOR) and Sabina Classen (HOLY MOSES) are guesting on this album. Cool riffs, high speed, sharp guitar solos and brutal vocals, it’s all there. A debut album to be proud of! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SCARY BITCHES-Creepy Crawlies (Resurrection Records)
Alma Geddon on vocals, guitar, bass guitar and synths, Deadri Ransiid on vocals, keyboards and saxophone, Haley Chopper on percussion and vocals, Claire Thomas as dancer and Bet The Lincher on percussion and dancer in this remarkable band. That’s the line up of SCARY BITCHES, that mixes horror themes with new wave-laden music. Add to this the remarkable clothes and stage decoration the band uses, and you’ve got a great concept. The twelve songs on this new album sound even more away from the rock and metal, that we tend to review in this section. The obscurity of their image, mixed with the sometimes funny, horror lyrics, still make this band highly enjoyable to all the open-minded rock fans. Especially with the gothic scene reviving in the last few years, it’s a nice album to check out. Although the term gothic metal must be replaced by gothic wave or gothic rock maybe. Twelve songs with a total running time of a full hour will make sure, that you won’t sleep tight tonight. Highlight on this CD is definitely title track “Creepy Crawlies”. The reggae like cover of the classic “Ghost Riders In The Sky” is a bit too much for me, to tell you the truth. Don’t play this scary release, before you want to go to sleep. Website: http://www.scary bitches.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SHAKIN’ STREET-Solid As Rock – Live & Raw (Bad Reputation)
SHAKIN’ STREET was the band, in which Ross The Boss of MANOWAR played, before he went to this ultimate heavy metal outfit. The band hailed from France, and who is not familiar with their album “Shaking Street”? This album is re-released right now on CD. Who cares, I hear you think! Allright, but when you know that the live album “Live & Raw” is added to this CD as a bonus, then it’s getting much more interesting. Especially, when two of the live tracks have guest appearances by well-known rock giants like Buck Dharma of BLUE OYSTER CULT in “Vampire Rock” and LED ZEPPELIN guitar hero Jimmy Page in “Mome Des Villes”. But that’s on the live part of this CD. First let’s have a short, closer look at the studio album. It contains the nine tracks that are also on the LP version of the album, nothing more and nothing less. “Generation X” is the highlight of the album, together with “I Want To Box You” for the great guitar solo in it. An album, that is full of ‘easy on the ear’ rock music with loud guitars. SHAKIN’ STREET consisted of Ross The Boss on guitars, Eric Lewy on rhythm guitar, Mike Winter on bass, Jean-Lou Kalinowski on drums and Fabienne Shine on vocals. The same band line up can be heard on the live album, added to this CD as a bonus, which was recorded on two tracks during the bands North American Tour of 1980. While the song, they recorded with Jimmy Page, was recorded at a studio in Paris, France. It brings the total running time of this eighteen song CD to over seventy-five minutes, which is very good value for your money indeed. The intro tape for their live set is “Die Wahlkühre” of Richard Wagner, the same one that MICHAEL SCHENKER used during his earlier live gigs. Live we hear the same sound, maybe a bit more solid and heavier than on the studio album. The greater value of this disc definitely is the live material, and therefor I added an extra point to their score. Great stuff! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SIRENIA-Sirenian Shores (MCD) (Napalm Records)
SIRENIA consists of Morten Veland on male growls and all other instruments, Kristian Gundersen on clear male vocals, Henriette Bordvik on female vocals, Fabienne Gondamin on female vocals in the acoustic song “Meridian”, and Emmanuelle Zoldan on female vocals in “First We Take Manhattan”. There are still some links from this band to TRISTANIA. The male growls next to the softer voiced female parts, and the brutal guitar riffs are very much alike. But SIRENIA does do things, that might be a bit different. Opener “Sirenian Shores” is very much like TRISTANIA. But the remix of “Save Me For Myself” sounds very static and is full of weird electronic sounds. In “Meridian”, the band even goes acoustic. They’ve added a choir to this acoustic song. It sounds fine, but it’s definitely not what you would have expected from SIRENIA. Then we get the song “First We Take Manhattan”, which is a cover of LEONARD COHEN. He is a poet, singer and songwriter from the seventies. And this song was one of the hitsingles by this man. But it is not really something, that I would cover as a metal band. Sure, you can like the man’s work in your private life. So, I think, that this is a rather odd choice for a band like SIRENIA. With “Obire Mortem”, we have come to an end of this five track mini CD, that runs for about twenty minutes. This short track could be used for the soundtrack of any horror movie. “The Omen” would be a good choice perhaps. And then it’s over. I’ve counted one good song, and that’s the opener. As you can read, I am not too positive about this new SIRENIA mini CD. I hope that the new full length CD will sound much better than this. A weird thing is, that this release comes right now when TRISTANIA is presenting their new full length album. Please check out the review of this album under the letter T, in this CD review section. Then you’ll know the winner of this uneven battle. This is an unnecessary release, which adds nothing really interesting to your collection, in my opinion. Website:http://www.sirenia.no. [5 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SUSAN & THE SURFTONES-Night In Old Town (Acme Brothers Records)
Susan L. Yasinski's guitar playing has gotten better. When you consider how good the last CD sounded, I didn't think that was possible. Susan has her guitar tuned to produce a sound, that was popular in the early 1960's. Some of the most popular songs of the day had to do with surf, sand and sun. There are ten songs on “Night In Old Town”. Each composition sounds different from the next. None of the songs are long. All of them are cool. You won’t get surf-bored with this CD. I won’t critique the vocals. That's because there are none. Instead of forcing words where they don't belong, Susan and the band go ahead and play. I think it's better this way. They open with “Vincent”. At first, I thought it had a long introduction. Then I realized, that Susan had found a groove, then played a variation of it, then came back to the groove again. There's an electric organ part. You can hear the drums carrying the rhythm along. It's a good example of the rest of the album. Two of the songs are covers. One is “For Your Love”. THE YARDBIRDS had a hit with it. This is a new take on a recognizable tune. The guitar tone is different than the original. I don't miss the words. Put this in your CD player for some cheerful background music. Contact address: SUSAN & THE SURF TONES, 12390 NW Barnes Rd # 294, Portland, OR 97229, USA. [10 points] (Jack Little)

SYRENS CALL-Emoceans (Brennus Records)
After “Fantasea”, we get “Emoceans”. What a great titles! Very well thought of. I was very positive about the bands debut release, and the first tones of this second release give me the feeling that I’ve got nothing to fear about this one as well. SYRENS CALL is a French progressive metal band. The voice of Valerie Paul matches very well with the great music of the band. A band consisting of Frank Manier on keyboards, Stephane Thuriot on rhythm guitar, Thibaut Coisne on lead guitar, Eric Serre on bass and Sebastien Paul on drums. The emotions on “Emoceans” are very much upfront in the singing of Valerie. But also their music seems to spread some emotions around. Listen to the well-conducted, almost modest guitar solo in “The Druidesses Of Oya”, to know what I mean. Most of the songs are lengthy and contain many speed changes. There are four instrumental tracks on the CD, of which three are short songs. (intro “The World Of Emoceans”, “In The Abyss Of Sorrow” and CD closer “The Other Kingdom”). In general, I think that the music of SYRENS CALL has become a bit darker. Maybe it’s a part of the ‘concept’ of this album. Take a look at the world exploding, on the back of the CD cover. Is the band warning us for an apocalypse to come? Better find out for yourself on this seventy minute, thirteen song release. You won’t regret it. The last news, that I have heard is that singer Valerie is no longer a member of the band. The band is now looking for a new female singer. I hope that they succeed, it would be a shame if this would be the end for SYRENS CALL. Website: http://www.syrenscall.fr.fm. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THEA K-Species Closeout (independent)
Just like her good friend JANA PERI, THEA K hails from New York City. If your name reaches our office fromthis giant city, you must be something special, because there are zillions of bands in this metropole. JANA PERI and THEA K were special enough for us to be chosen out of this huge pile of bands. The music of THEA K shows some resemblance to the music of JANA PERI. It has a lot of variation, it’s very well done, and it’s suitable for radio airplay. It never gets real heavy maybe, but the singer/song-writer qualities of THEA K are very good indeed. And her guitar playing is okay too. Listen to the solo in “Marion”, and you will know that it‘s done with style and it has got some class as well. Her music could appeal to many people, while it has so much variation. And the lyrics are very well thought of, too. They are not the usual fantasy crap, but deal with topics that really matter to people. Thea’s band consists of Thea Kearney on guitar and vocals, Peter Sampson on bass and Pam Arnold on drums. The eleven songs on “Species Closeout” have a total length of about forty-five minutes. Most heavy song, and therefor maybe the highlight of this album, is “Thirty Dollars An Ounce”, but I guess you might find more songs on this album, that sound like a favorite to you. Last but not least, I want you to think about the topic used in the first song and title track of this album. Thea has a good point here. Because if we don’t change something about the behaviour of us people against our environment, we might be living in a world without elephants, tigers, gorillas and pandas in a couple of years. And that is something, that simply may not happen ever! http://www.theamusic.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

3 KISSES-Wings (independent)
3 KISSES consists of Tish Meeks on vocals and guitar, Tony Meeks on guitar, synths and vocals, Ed Hale on bass and Jennie Rutherford on drums. The band sounds pretty alternative and hails from Brenham, Texas. This is their debut album and I think that the band is good in what they’re doing. My taste in music is different, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t hear that we’re dealing with talented musicians here. Their music is rooted in the sixties. When you keep in mind, that the band only exists for a full year now, we must conclude that they write some very nice and catchy songs, with clear vocals. Sometimes I miss a little bit of power, but the potential is there. The lyrics are about the things of every day. Something that may also appeal to a lot of our readers, because these things are also happening in your life. People, who like the more poppy side of bands like THE BANGLES or THE 4 NON BLONDES may want to check this out. In the writers world, a kiss is represented by the letter X. 3 KISSES makes three XXX’s, and that’s what they get from me as a score for this debut CD. http://www.3kisses.com. [6 points] (Toine van Poorten)

TIGER CULT-Cold And Terrible (Die Hard Records)
The CD cover already looks ‘cold and terrible’. One bonus point for this Brazilian heavy metal band. The music of this band is brutal, aggressive and shows a lot of potential. So the CD title is not relevant at all to the music of these metalheads. It’s quite hard to describe their music style. I hear some ACCEPT, CARCASS (vocal wise), IRON MAIDEN, TESTAMENT, GRAVE DIGGER, METAL CHURCH, WITCHERY and WASP back in the music. The growling vocals may add a more thrashy side, but it may also show you to expect a lot of variation here. The eleven tracks on this album are good for forty-five minutes of heavy metal. So please be ready to bang your head on this one. TIGER CULT (Good name, by the way!) consists of Eric Piccelli on vocals, Renato Armani on guitar, Vinnie Kuhlmann on bass, Eric Claros on drums and Marina Takahashi on guitar. And it is good to hear a female guitar player for a change, that can come up with some really flashing guitar solos, like in one of the highlights on this good metal album “Angry Angel”. This was the first name of this band, by the way, before they canged it into TIGER CULT. Another highlight for me was “The Watcher”, because of the great guitar leads of Marina. Right now, Vinnie Kuhlmann and Eric Claros have left the band, and they are being replaced by Daniel Costa on bass and Rodrigo Alonso on drums. If you like the sound of the above mentioned bands, then I’d suggest to buy this album, because TIGER CULT is definitely a name to remember! Website: http://www.tigercult.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

TRANCE OF MINE-Reflections (Gaia Disk)
Coming from Canada is TRANCE OF MINE. Their band line up consists of Isabel Plant (vocals & piano), Phil Roberts (guitars) and Phil Laroche (bass). Drums were played by Francis Fillion. The band have just released their album "Reflections" and is an enjoyable listen through the ten songs that are on offer. TRANCE OF MINE play atmospheric, progressive metal that is sure to please fans of EVANESCENCE and LACUNA COIL. The album begins with "Distant Ground" and the band immediately grabs your attention. Lead vocalist Isabel Plant is sure to draw comparisons to Amy Lee of EVANESCENCE. Next we have "Inmost", a heavy rocker that keeps things going full speed ahead. After that is "Ascend", which starts of slow with a kind of tribal drums beat as Isabel’s seductive voice joins in. Other highlights include "Reality", "Blindside", "Awakening" and "Asleep". Perhaps the shining moment on "Reflections" is the albums final track. The fifteen plus minute "Daedalus" is certainly an ambitious song and a great way to bring this disc to a close. "Daedalus" is divided into five parts: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It really does leave the listener wanting more. "Reflections" is a damn fine album. The band has loads of talent and Isabel Plant has a strong voice the immediately pulls the listener in. This band could go a long way. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

TRIPLE SIX-Triple Six (Gestalt Records)
TRIPLE SIX consists of Wilmar Taal on vocals, bass and keyboards, Michael Eijk on guitar, Marc Luttik on guitar and Jolanda Koning on drums. The music, that this Dutch band plays is very diverse and shows lots of variation in each song. They rock in “Nobody Knows The Truth”, and in “Neverlasting”. I hear a mix of some industrial beeps mixed with a rock beat that could come from PRIMUS. It’s groovy and the lyrics are based on human emotions and reality and not on fantasy stories. “Gestalt” sounds darker and has a nice guitar part in the middle. It’s alternative, but still catchy. I am surprised about the next song “Newton’s Apple”, which has a very nice guitarsolo at the end of the song. “Catharsis” opens with the drum part of “Run To The Hills” of IRON MAIDEN, but then it continues as an alternative rock song, making it very suitable for radio airplay. It wouldn’t look bad between the releases of MAROON 5, THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS or any other band that tops the charts nowadays. “Friedrich” and “Retrograde” close this seven track, twenty-seven minutes debut CD. It’s good to see that the alternative rock scene has got a suitable Dutch representation now. And it’s also good to hear a woman bash out the drums, like she has no male competitors at all. I bet you must be getting interested by now. For more information about TRIPLE SIX, I direct you to their website at http://www.triplesix-rock.nl. Oh and by the way, the devlish name of the band has got nothing at all to do with the horned king with the cloven hoofs. We’re dealing with some sober Dutchies, not with Norwegian angelrippers! [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

TRISTANIA-Ashes (SPV/Steamhammer)
After hearing the mini disaster of SIRENIA, I was very interested in this new release by gothic metal gods TRISTANIA. Not in the least for the beautiful vocals of Vibeke Stene, who has got one of the most impressive voices in the rich scene of gothic metal for me. The seven songs have a total length of about forty-five minutes. So you can expect long epic songs, in which a lot of things are happening. Opener “Libre” shows us that the band didn’t change their style too much. The brutal, screaming, aggressive vocals come from Kjetil Ingebrethsen, while Vibeke knows to hit a soft spot with her soft, almost romantic voice. But the instrumental parts in this song are less aggressive and a bit more modest maybe. I think that the music has become a bit more open for the average listener. “Equilibrium” is again a song, that is more modest than you’d expect from TRISTANIA. The instrumental opener of “The Wretched” could have been done by DREAM THEATER, but when Kjetil opens his mouth, you know that he is the ‘wretched’ one. The ambient, almost PINK FLOYD like “Cure” is beautiful, but it’s not a song that you’d expect from TRISTANIA in the first place. The duet in “Shadowman” is another prove, that the band has taken a bigger distance from the style they used to play on their previous albums. It’s all more modest, and open now. The band has already done an impressive tour throughout Europe with THERION, another band which constantly changes styles. A good combination, in my eyes. “Ashes” is definitely not TRISTANIA’s strongest album, but it’s an album that could appeal to much more listeners than “Widow’s Weed” for example, which will remain the ultimate TRISTANIA CD for me. The band now consists of seven members, and next to Vibeke and Kjetil on vocals, you can hear Østen Bergøy on melodic vocals, Einar Moen on keyboards, Kenneth Olsson on drums, Rune Østerhus on bass and Anders Høyvik Hidle on guitar. CD closer “Endogenisis” was one of the highlights for me, next to opener “Libre” and the beautiful “Cure”. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VALKIJA-Avengers Of Steel (Sonic Age Records/Rock Inc.)
From the very first tones on, this album grabs you by the throath, and it doesn’t let loose after fifty minutes of true heavy metal. VALKIJA hails from Italy and Zoraija is the female sister of Rob Halford (JUDAS PRIEST, HALFORD) or Eric Adams (MANOWAR). True metal to the core, for the full fifty minutes, all nine songs of the album. Their sound will take you back to the days of female metal mayhem like WARLOCK, ICE AGE, BITCH, HELLION, ZED YAGO and CHASTAIN. Riffs, sharp as a dagger. Flashing solos, like the sword of Zorro, and a feeling of being united with your fellow metalheads like only The Three Musketeers could create. VALKIJA are the classic example of how a good true metal band can sound, even in 2005. They bring back the spirit of those highlight days in their music. The CD cover already shows you, that they are the new ‘avengers of steel’, and with great song titles like “Sign Of The Hammer”, “Son Of Thunder”, “Steel Avenger” and “Hatchet Blade”, you know what to expect. Besides female siren Zoraija, the band consists of Jhon Turturro on guitars, Nikoll Hamm on bass and Sebastian Hamm on drums. All the ins and outs of this great, new and very promising true metal band are in the interview, that we did with Zoraija, which can be found in this issue of Metal Maidens. VALKIJA rules, so raise your fist for Zoraija and her warriors. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VELVET FURY-Drama (independent)
What happens when you mix Spanish speaking Americans and punk rock? The answer is VELVET FURY. Of the eight songs here, four are sung in English, two in Spanish, one is half each and the other one has no words. The music is up tempo. Introduc-tions catch the listeners attention. Some songs have more than one instrumental break. All the instruments are mixed equally. Dahlia DeathStrike sets a fast, but not thrash pace. Good use is made of the bass guitar. La Tigressa plays some of the intros and is heard easily on bass. She also sings. While Tuka on guitar plays all the necessary chords for punk music. The instrumental is called “Stalking Bebecino”. It might remind you of surf music. It lasts less than two minutes. I wish, they had gone on longer. There's some dramatic tension in the song. Maybe that's the stalking part. On the songs I do understand often the girls are the active ones. They’re out cursing on “Cha Cha”. They like Cha Cha boys. The girls are out looking for them. She's the sexual aggressor on “Punketa”. “Boot-Z” has a good intro. It's about her boyfriend. He's a musician. He's also a cool guy. She's drawn to his boots as well. She has him and the other girls don't. Those who like girl punks will like this. http://www.velvetfuryrockz.com. [8 points] (Jack Little)

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS-Cast Away (Napalm Records)
From Austria comes VISIONS OF ATLANTIS. In 2002 this six person band released their debut "Eternal Endless Infinity", which hinted at a lot of promise. Now with their sophomore effort "Cast Away", the band seems poised to ascend to the next level. They have endured several line up changes, but they seemed to have emerged from this turmoil a better band and "Cast Away" is proof of this. "Send Me A Light" starts things off and the band offer a good brand of NIGHTWISH-esque songs and melody. Female soprano Nicole Bogner is in fine voice, that will undoubtedly draw comparisons to a certain singer for a certain Finnish super group. This time out Nicole is joined by male vocalist Mario Plank. He adds a different dimension and the two work well together. His vocals aren’t the usual death grunts that one would come to expect of a band of this nature. Next is the title track "Cast Away", as the band offer up plenty of melody. "Lost" is the first single and was a solid choice. Other highlights include "Realm Of Fantasy", "Pharaohs Repentance", "Winter-night" and "State Of Suspense" (which features narration by Alex Krull of ATROCITY & LEAVES’ EYES). "Last Shut Of Your Eyes" brings this thing to a close after nine songs and only forty minutes worth of great symphonic metal. The CD also comes with a bonus video clip for the song "Lost". Well worth a few views, I would say. VISIONS OF ATLANTIS has released a solid album, that is filled with symphonic beauty and it is sure to gain this band some recognition that they so rightly deserve. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

VOYAGER-Element V (DVS Records)
VOYAGER consists of Emanuel Rudnicki (ex-BLACK STEEL) on guitar, Geoff Callaghan on drums, Daniel Estrin on vocals and keyboards, Mark de Vattima on guitar and Melissa Fiocco on bass. The band hails from Australia and present us their fourteen track, fifty-five minutes debut album here, called “Element V”. The music of VOYAGER shows a lot of variation, ranging from progressive rock to melodic rock with influences of DREAM THEATER, mixed with ERIK NORLANDER, JEAN MICHEL JARRE, EDGUY and QUEENSRYCHE. However, their music has got too much a style of its own. Sometimes, it sounds a bit dark, while at other times it’s catchy and maybe a bit overdone (like the ‘hey, hey, hey’ chorus during the intro “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”). The keyboards are very much upfront in the mix, and seems to be the key element, on which the music of VOYAGER is based. The band supported STEVE VAI in Australia, in front of 1500 people, which was a good move, if you’d ask my opinion. Obviously, their music sounds more melodic than the music of this musical genius, but the basic principles are the same. In “Cosmic Armageddon Part I”, we also hear (next to the exploding guitar parts) some vocal parts that may even link to a more melodic black metal style. However, in general, the vocals are clear and they mix very well with the musical voyage, that you experience while listening to the album. Sometimes the drums sound a bit static (“Towards Uncertainty”), but I definitely can say that VOYAGER might be a promise for the future. I am very curious, how they will develop on their upcoming albums. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WAPPA GAPPA-Gappa (Inter Music)
This album has been on our search list for quite some time now. Recently, the album has been re-released by the French label Musea, and we finally got the chance to write about this Japanese symphonic rock band. The band consists of Keizo Endo on bass, Hideaki Nagaike on keyboards, Hiroshi Mineo on drums, Yasuhiro Tachibana on guitar and Tamami Yamomoto on vocals. The eight songs have a total running time of almost seventy minutes. There are a lot of musical ideas, that the band will show you on this CD. Sometimes the songs are fast, like in opener “Souk” or sometimes really laid back like in “Ranja”. The voice of Tamami fits perfectly to their music, which is not too excentric that it goes beyond all borders. It’s very progressive and you can enjoy the very long instrumental parts a lot. But their music is not simple either. After all, we’re dealing with some good progressive musicians here. A good example of their musical skills can be heard in the long epical tune “The Golden Apples Of The Sun”. Especially at the beginning of this song, their sound can not be described as average or simple. References would be bands like EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER, LANA LANE, ERIK NORLANDER and DREAM THEATER. People, who like the sound of these bands, may do themselves a favour by searching for this beautiful Japanese prog rock album of WAPPA GAPPA. More information can be found on the website of the band at http://www31.ocn.ne.jp/~wappagappa/ [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WITHIN TEMPTATION-The Silent Force (BMG/Gun Records)
WITHIN TEMPTATION are fast becoming one of my favorite bands and one of the most successful heavy rock bands to emerge from Holland these days. One listen to their brand spankin’ new album "The Silent Force" and it’s easy to see why. This album features fifty-five minutes worth of outstanding material from Sharon den Adel and the boys. The album opens with a brief intro track and goes into the opening cut "See Who I Am" and it is very apparent that this band means business. Next we have "Jillian (I’d Give My Heart)", followed by the first single "Stand My Ground", which I believe could be a big hit worldwide given the proper support. "The Silent Force" is loaded with plenty of melody and great songs. Sharon gives possibly the finest vocal performance of her career and the band sound as great as ever. Other highlights include "Pale", "Forsaken" and "Memories", but I could go on and on. "The Silent Force" has many strengths and very few (if any) weaknesses. The limited edition digi pack comes with two bonus tracks and a multi media section with assorted goodies, such as: the awesome video for "Stand My Ground", behind the scenes footage and more. WITHIN TEMPTATION have come a long way, since they gave us their "Enter" debut. The band just keeps growing and growing and (not coincidently) so does their popularity. It’s been a steady build-up and "The Silent Force" seems poised to put them over-the-top. [10 points] (Tony Cannella)

XENOBIA-Live (2004) (independent)
This Dutch band started in 2000 under the name of KOELIN. They consist of Collin Hoeve (guitar/vocals), Tessa Freeke (electric violin), Ewout Rotteveel (bass) and Koen Herfst (drums). Since they play a lot of instrumental songs, the band was compared to PLANET X a lot. But because they use the electric violin instead of the keyboards, XENOBIA knows to create a sound of its own. This independent release includes five live and three studio tracks. The live songs give a good overview of what the band has to offer when playing live. When you listen to songs like "Trio", "Put Some Cream On It" and "Stiff One Eye", you’ll notice, that they were influenced a lot by bands like DREAM THEATER, RUSH, etc. The great technical guitar playing of Collin Hoeve and the violin of Tessa Freeke often defeat eachother in a musical fight. While the drummer does his very best to fill up every empty space, so there’s not much left for the bassplayer. The typical oriental influences give the songs an additional touch. Except the instrumental tunes, you can hear two songs sung by Collin Hoeve; "Shadow Of The Sun", which was played live, and studio track "Desillusions". However, I am not really convinced by his voice and my advice would be to search for a good male (or female) singer in the near future, if they want to write more vocal songs. The other two studio tracks are both instrumental, but they well-match the live songs. And I think the studio songs sound much better than the live ones. All in all, XENOBIA can be proud of their first product and we will keep you updated on further developments. For now, you can visit their website at: http://www.xenobia.tk. You can order this CD for 8 Euros. Send an email to: xenobia_music@hotmail.com. [7 points] (Marcel van Santen)

ANOUK-Girl (CD single)(Dino Music)
The single “Girl” of ANOUK is high in the charts right now, and it’s one of the highlights on the new album of this excentric talent. The single contains two versions of this song, namely the normal single version and a remix of the same song. The remix is much more experimental and can be described as a sort of ‘dance mix’. No special bonus tracks are added, which makes this single only interesting for the diehard fans of this well-talented lady, who will soon become a mother for the third time again. The song “Girl” has got some riffs that remind me of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and although the vocals are different of course, the music may also appeal to the fans of this famous stoner rock band. Although the single doesn’t contain any extras, I will still give it a high score, because of the catchiness and strength of the song. Both songs have a total running time of about seven minutes, by the way. http://www.anouk.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ASRAI-Pale Light (CD single) (Transmission Records)
This is the first single taken from the ASRAI album “Touch In The Dark”. It contains four songs and eightteen minutes of gothic metal music. Opener “Pale Light” is taken from the album, and so is the last track of this single called “Touch In The Dark”. The other two tracks are the most important ones, the extras. We can hear the long, previously unreleased track “Recall” and the acoustic version of “Shadows” on this single. “Recall” is a long, dark, plain song, perfect for the cold and long winter evenings. “Shadows” is an acoustic version of the song, that’s on the debut album of this promising new band. http://www.asrai.net. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ASRAI-In Front Of Me (CD Single) (Transmission Records)
This is the second single of ASRAI, that comes from the album “Touch In The Dark”. It opens with the title track “In Front Of Me”, and continues with the previously unreleased track “Eyes In The Light Of Fire”. Again we’re dealing with a song, that is a bit darker than the songs that landed on the album. Though it still matches very well with the other material of ASRAI. The Sascha Paeth remix of “Child-Playing In A Ring Of Roses” is included on the single here. The single closes with a song from the album, called “Restless”. The most interesting part however is the video clip, that you can watch when you put the CD in your PC. This is the video clip for the song “In Front Of Me”. And it’s so well done, that you’d buy this single for the video clip alone. The almost four minute cartoon, with the two headed Mol sisters is absolutely brilliant and it adds a very special touch to the eightteen minutes of music on this disc. Very well done! http://www.asrai.net. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

NIGHTWISH-Wish I Had An Angel (CD single) (Nuclear Blast)
Releasing a regular single is not enough anymore. Everything has to be longer, better, more exclusive and so on, and so on. Take the new NIGHTWISH single, which is in fact a double CD set. The first CD contains four songs and twenty-three minutes of music. While the DVD part contains the video clip for “Wish I Had An Angel”, “Ghost Love Score” in stereo and dolby digital 5.1 (audio track), the making of the video clip and another version of the video clip which is called the ‘performance version’. The bonus material contains interviews, a photo gallery and a screensaver, it’s all good for twenty-five minutes of TV fun (or PC fun, if you like). I’ll restrict this review to the audio part on CD one. It starts with the single, taken from the album “Once”. It’s followed by an instru-mental version of “Ghost Love Score”. Why bothering, I should almost say, ‘cause the success of NIGHTWISH stands or falls with the beautiful voice of Tarja Turunen. Nobody seems to care about the band, playing the songs, or am I too sceptical here? But the ten minute version of the song, complete with the London Session Orchestra And Choir, is still something special here. “Where Were You Last Night” is a new song, a must to hear for all the fans of the band! Last song on this twenty-three minutes single is the demo version of “Wish I Had An Angel”. There is a strong value for money concept lying underneath the whole single business. And I think it is good for the fans that a successful band like NIGHTWISH want to give them as much goods as possible for their money. I know bands that make full length CDs, that are not much longer than this single release, especially when you add the twenty-five minute bonus DVD footage to it. For the fans of the band, a great investment for their money. http://www.nightwish.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VANILLA NINJA-When The Indians Cry (CD single)(Bros Music)
Every time I heard this song in the past few weeks, I must think about the WHITE LION song “When The Children Cry”. It has the same structure, the same beat, and the idea just keeps haunting me. Not that I want to say that they have nicked the song from WHITE LION, but I just hear a lot of resemblance. Anyway, the story of this band from Estonia goes on and on. In this issue of Metal Maidens, you can read about the live DVD and the two new singles, that the band released. This single contains three versions of this remarkable ballad. The radio edit, the unplugged version and the extended version. And of course you can also have a look at the video clip for the same song. I still like what these ladies are doing! The audio part of the single runs for fifteen minutes. http://www.vanilla-ninja.de. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VANILLA NINJA-Blue Tattoo(CD single)(Bros Music)
And there’s yet another CD single of this band. I just can’t keep track of all the releases anymore. This song is completely new. And it seems that VANILLA NINJA has discovered gothic metal as well. The song is a good gothic metal song, complete with male choir parts. The single contains three songs, the radio edit, the unplugged version and the almost ten minute extended version of the song “Blue Tattoo”. And we also can have a look at the new video of the ladies. The disc is printed on a cobalt blue disc, instead of the ordinairy silver. Almost eightteen minutes of new material of this band, a band that really knows how to built a career. And all the releases are definitely not overdone. It’s good material and I think that the real fans will love it. Check out the website of the band at: http:// www.vanila-ninja.de. The only negative thing about this song maybe, is the fact that the ladies have chosen another ballad after “When The Indians Cry”, which is also a ballad. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WITHIN TEMPTATION-Stand My Ground (CD single) (BMG/Gun Records)
WITHIN TEMPTATION changed labels and are now available through GUN Records. Their single “Stand My Ground” is the first release from their new album. It is high in the charts already, and while I type this review the new single “Memories” has been released as well. Things can go really quickly, when you’re successful. The single contains an audio side, on which you can find four songs, good for almost eightteen minutes of heavenly WITHIN TEMPTATION music. The video side contains the video for “Stand My Ground”, the making of the video, studio impressions, an ‘on tour’ part and a photo gallery. It’s a must have for the fans of the band. Again I will restrict myself to the audio part of the single. After the single version of “Stand My Ground” you will hear “Overcome” and a new track called “Forsaken”. The single closes with the album version of “Stand My Ground”, which is half a minute longer than the single version of the same song. A nice release for every WITHIN TEMPTATION fan out there. http://www.within-temptation.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

[Updated: April 12, 2005]

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