CD REVIEWS


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


MM#38/Dec. 2004:

AUTUMN TEARS-Eclipse (Dark Symponies)
This will not end up in the category of loudest metal CD of the year. However, in the category of most beautiful albums, it would definitely receive a high score. The new CD of AUTUMN TEARS is again a beauty of its own. It creates an atmosphere, which can only exist in your mind. Everybody, who hears the music by this band, will immediately create their own fantasy, I guess. A vision that will always be surrounded by bitterness, sadness and lots of emotions, because the music of AUTUMN TEARS is dark and black as the night itself. The perfect CD to get through the upcoming winter months. Vocalist Erika Swinnich has just left the band, to join the Texas based heavy metal outfit IGNITOR. A great move perhaps, but I also like her soft whispering voice on this album a lot. It will be her last appearance on an AUTUMN TEARS album, because she has now been replaced by Lauri Ann Haus (ex-RAIN FELL WITHIN and EPHEMERAL SUN). The die-hard metalhead in me tells you to leave this release for what it is. It’s dark, it’s neoclassical music with no heavy beats or riffs whatsoever. The music lover and romanticus in me tells you to cherish the forty beautiful minutes of absolutely splendid musicianship. And with the success of the gothic metal and rock in mind, I’ll rate this CD with a rather high score, but the metalheads are warned that this is not a rating for heaviness. Fans of ENYA and DEAD CAN DANCE may want to check this out. Website: http://www.darksymphonies.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BLACKMORE’S NIGHT-Beyond The Sunset: The Romantic Collection (SPV/Steamhammer)
Again I must give a warning for the rating of this CD. Like the title suggests already, it’s not really heavy. “Beyond the Sunset” is a collection of romantic songs, that Ritchie and Candice sometimes played at wedding parties for some of their friends. And it contains mostly medieval, acoustic driven love songs taken from their previous albums. Exceptions are “Ghost Of A Rose”, which is a re- recorded version and opener “Once In A Million”, which is a previously unreleased song, originally written by Angelika Milster. So again, I would like to say, that this CD is very suitable for the long winter evenings, but it does not contain any heavy guitar work or whatsoever. On one hand, I am getting sick and tired of all the romantic emotions of Mr. Blackmore, but on the other hand I will always remember his days with RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE. This is just the other side of ‘the man in black’, and the music is very beautiful indeed. With “Diamonds And Rust” I suddenly wake up. This JUDAS PRIEST/JOAN BAEZ cover brings back some fine memories to me and good memories will never die. A nice collection of fourteen romantic songs with a total length of fifty-five minutes, recommended to the fans of the romantic Ritchie Blackmore and his beautiful wife and vocalist Candice Night. The limited edition package also contains three romantic Christmas songs and a five track DVD filmed live at Schloss Burg in Solingen, Germany. The review of this medieval piece of art can be found in our DVD section of this issue of MM. Website: http://www.blackmoresnight.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE BOBBYTEENS-Crusin’ For A Bruisin’ (Estrus Records)
“Cruisin’ For A Bruisin’“ is the latest album by the San Francisco four piece THE BOBBYTEENS. It was recorded by Erin McDermott at Coast Studios, San Francisco and produced by the band itself. Consisting of Tina Lucchesi on vocals, Lisa Schenberg on guitar, Dannielle Dickerson on bass and (the only male band member) Russell Quan on drums and harmonica, this is yet another great party of thirteen sticky garage bad girl bubblegum rock’n’roll tunes! Think about THE RAMONES, THE DONNAS, SUZI QUATRO and THE RUNAWAYS and you’ll know, what I’m talkin’ about! So get your dancing shoes and move to the beat of songs like “Jenny”, “Hot Sweet ‘N’ Sticky”, “All In The Kiss”, “Good Thing Going”, “He’s So Dull”, “Be My Baby”, “Sweet Nothins” (BRENDA LEE), “One Night Stand” and “No Time” (THE MONKEES). If you want to have a good time, buy this CD or contact THE BOBBYTEENS at: tippyteen@ yahoo.com. Visit their website at: http://www.bobbyteens.com. [8 points] (Rita van Poorten)

BROADBAND-All Girls Do The Math (independent)
A lot of things on this CD have meaning. BROADBAND has at least two meanings. A wide electromagnetic wave is known as broad band. A slang word for a woman is broad. A band made up of three girls calls itself BROADBAND. The title has girls doing the math. Some would call this progressive music, while others name it math rock. The band excepts this and see it as girls doing the math. Jen Emma Hertel's vocals (who’s being replaced by Tia Vincent in February 2004) are art like. It sounds more like a poetry reading than singing at times. She is able to portray aggravation and uncertainty. It might have been better, if the vocals were more up front in the mix. You would have to listen to these songs. They’re about trying to find your way, what the way forward is and what reality is. I'd call this music soft rock. The musicianship of BROADBAND is quite good. The instrumental lams bring to mind jazz. As they ramble on repeating measures whenever they feel like it. BROADBAND’s first song is “History Repeats?” It raises fundamental questions about the individual and fixed events. There are short instrumentals, followed by periods of words. There's a second part too. Jen Emma plays both notes and chords well. It sways around for four and a half minutes. Some people will be bored with this after a while. Others will get caught up in it. If you’re in the last group, tune in to BROADBAND. Website: www.brooklynbroadband.com. [7 points] (Jack Little)

CHASTAIN-In An Outrage (Leviathan Records/Massacre)
It has been seven years since CHASTAIN released their last album, "In Dementia" and since that time David T. Chastain went about the business of running his record label and recording with various other projects (SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN, etc.). Now the band that bears his name has returned with a new line-up and a killer new album. Returning to work her vocal magic is Kate French. The band is completed by the new rhythm section Larry Howe on drums and Dave Starr on bass, both formerly of the Bay area power metal outfit VICIOUS RUMORS. "In An Outrage" is ten songs and fifty-two minutes of metal that fits in nicely with some of the classic CHASTAIN works of the past. For those fans of guitar virtuosity, David T. Chastain does not disappoint. He’s on top of his game. Just check out the tracks "In An Outrage", "Malicious Pigs" and "Lucky To Be Alive" and you will be convinced, that David T. deserves to be among the upper echelon of guitar heroes. Kate French also shines on vocals as she delivers a gritty, heavy sounding performance. Seven years off has not diminished her talent. She still sounds a bit like Leather here and there, but she is also starting to forge her own identity. Her talent really shows through on the tracks "Bullet From A Gun", "Tortured Love" and "New Beginnings". She also wrote the lyrics and came up with some mean and angry stuff. With the future of CHASTAIN in doubt, it would be nice to see her branch-off with her own project. After seven long years, I would say that "In An Outrage" was well worth the wait. I hope, we won’t have to wait another seven, before we hear from this great band again. But for now, they are back with a vengeance. Check this out, if you love heavy, guitar driven metal with great female vocals. You won’t be disappointed. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

THE COLOR GUARD-Dark Pop (Suziblade Music)
I was already impressed by their previous album, which was called “Speech For Heated Hearts”. Categorise this band as ‘rock’ and you’ll be safe. There are lots of guitars on “Dark Pop”. And that’s what I really liked on their previous album. ‘Dark pop’ and nice rock songs are filling up the forty-five minutes on this silver disc. THE COLOR GUARD consists of Jeanne Gilliand on bass and vocals. She plays the flute as well on this album. Caryn Havlik is on drums. She does the latin prayers on the last song “The Woman Behind The Woman” (“Oh Mary Magdalene”). Then there’s Josh Zisman on guitar and vocals and ex- HISSYFITS founder member Lalena Fissure on vocals, guitar, triangle and music box. So two out of four members are new. We hear former drummer Jake Alrich play on two songs and and Norie Manigault plays the drums on two other songs on this album. An album, that will please many people, because it contains a lot of nice music. Ballsy rock songs with touches of punk, pop and new wave, blending together in a well-structured sound that remembered me of SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES and JEFFERSON AIRPLANE here and there. The latter being a big compliment. Website: http://www.thecolorguard.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CRISIS-Like Sheep Led To The Slaughter (Blackend/Plastic Head Records)
Karyn Crisis is angry again, so you’d better start shiffering. The appocalypse is aproaching, and Karyn wrote the soundtrack of this event already. Lots of anger, brutality and insane vocals are pushing me back in my chair again, forcing me to undergo the flow of dark SABBATH likeriffs linked with hardcore like splashes. Do I hear someone mention OTEP? Yes, I think that OTEP fans and people, who like MY RUIN, may like this whirlwind of heavy riffs and aggressive screams. CRISIS impressed me with their live shows in Holland, after the relase of “The Howling”, and I think they’ve matured a lot since these events. Their music is not based on constantly brutal screaming and hatred. There are several beautiful songs on this album and in “Rats In A Maze”, we can hear a different side of Karyn. It proves this album can be categorised as ‘dark art’ and that it’s more than dark aggressive brutality only. It’s a short interlude, which brings us to “Secret Of The Prison House”, which simply kicks ass again. CRISIS consists of Karyn Crisis on growls, screams and other oral outings, Afzaal Nasirudeen on guitar, Gia Chaung Wang on bass, Jwyanza Hobson on guitar and Josh Florian on drums. The latest news however is that drummer Josh Florian has recently left the band. I hope this will not cause a crisis in the band and effect the future of CRISIS or any touring schedules. In “Study In Cancer”, you can hear the sick voice of Daniel Dismal of CREMATORIUM, by the way, in case you wondered. While “The Fate” is another little piece of rest at the end of the CD. It creates an oriental atmosphere. A good closer, to clean up your room after the terrible mess caused by the other songs on this CD. CRISIS is back, and these twelve new tracks are a forty-five minutes attack on your eardrums and to those of your neigbours. Play it extremely loud!!!!! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DORO-Classic Diamonds (AFM Records)
With her latest release "Classic Diamonds", Germany’s leading metal queen DORO PESCH has released an album of older classics, that have been given a classical re-working by her and the Metal Classic Night Orchestra. DORO has played some shows and done some touring with the orchestra (to fantastic reviews), so this album has been a long while in the making. Was it worth the wait? I can say most definitely, yes it was. "Classic Diamonds" includes fifteen songs, nine classics re-recorded, five brand new songs and one cover version. A duo of classics get things off to a rousing good start as "I Rule The Ruins" and "Metal Tango" kick things off. Next, we have a cover version of the older JUDAS PRIEST classic "Breaking The Law". It starts off slow, then slowly begins to pick up steam and it is one of the surprises on this disc. Legendary vocalist Udo Dirkshneider (ACCEPT) is along to lend his metal chops on this track. The two work very well together on this duet. Next is perhaps the most well known of WARLOCK tunes (if not the most well-known, then definitely their signature track) "All We Are" which is followed by "Für Immer". "Fur Immer" is a song, that definitely lends itself quite well to the orchestra setting and it is a definite highlight. "Let Love Rain On Me" (the first single) is the first of the new songs on display and it is a big power ballad number, that really sends quite a chill up your spine. Other highlights include "Burn It Up", "Tausend Mal Gelebt", "I’m In Love With You", "Undying", "Love Me In Black", "She’s Like Thunder" and "The Last Goodbye". "Classic Diamonds" is a good record. I am not sure, if it will be embraced by the die-hard DORO fan base since one might view the re-working of many of the older classics as sacrilegious. However, we have heard those songs about a million times and it is interesting to hear them in a different setting. I will leave it up to the listener to decide if that is a good or bad thing. The biggest selling point for me on this album is the inclusion of the newer songs. DORO has always been able to write a great song and she continues that trend with "Classic Diamonds". This is a release that is good for what it is. An attempt at doing something a little different and on that level it is mostly successful. Still, I can’t wait for a full album of new material from Germany’s metal queen. Until then, this will do. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

EDENBRIDGE-Shine (Massacre Records)
This is the fifth album by EDENBRIDGE, if we add the live CD (reviewed in this issue as well) to this list of releases. And to be quite frankly, I really like this new release. At first I thought that the band would be copycats of themselves over and over again, because that’s what happens many times, when a band brings out their fourth or fifth album. Not that this album is totally different from “Arcana” and “Aphelion”, but it really sparkles and it’s a pleasure to listen to it until the end. It sounds as fresh as their debut album. Especially, lengthy opener and title track of this album “Shine” is one of the many highlights on this new album. The speed is quite high, and we can hear a few remarkable and well done speed and mood changes here. “Move Along Home” is a fast, happy song as well, and with “Centennial Legend”, we hear the first ballad on the album, which contains some impressive guitarwork of Lanvall. In “Wild Chase” we even hear some folk influences. There’s enough variation, as you can see. The best part is yet to come though and was saved for last. I am talking about “The Canterville Prophecy” and “The Canterville Ghost”. The first song being an introduction to the second, which is a long, epical tune, and can be seen as one of the best EDENBRIDGE songs ever. The CD closes with “On Sacred Ground”, which is also a good and quite lengthy song. However, my choice would have been to close the CD with the two aforementioned songs, which would be the ultimate closing for a very good album. EDENBRIDGE impressed me very much with this fourth studio release, and it would be nice to see them live one day in Holland. “Shine” is a major step forward, if you compare it to their previous two albums, and an absolute must for all the fans of progressive music. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EDENBRIDGE-A Livetime In Eden (Massacre Records)
“A Livetime In Eden” is, like the title suggests already, a live recording of EDENBRIDGE. It was recorded during various shows this year and shows us, that EDENBRIDGE can deliver the goods live as well. They prove this in thirteen melodic metal songs, worthy of about seventy-five minutes. Besides this live registration, the package also contains a six track live DVD, with five bonus live video clips. A must have for every devoted EDENBRIDGE fan, I would say. The songs are a good overview of the three albums this Austrian band have released so far. It shows a band, that is happy to be on stage and this enthusiasm is captured very well. The same goes for the musical qualities of EDENBRIDGE. Lanvall’s solos are as sharp as a knife or more laid back and romantical, where applicable. Same goes for Sabines voice, which is warm and sensitive at times, but can also be very powerful. I like this. If you’re interested in an honest reflection of an EDENBRIDGE live performance, then this is your chance to hear and see with your own eyes how talented this band is. I liked the way, they designed the CD cover, by the way. They also did a nice job with the CD booklet, which is full of nice live pix. An essential buy for people who like this band, who have just released a brilliant new studio album as well. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EPICA-We Will Take You With Us (Transmission Records)
After the release of their debut album, “The Phantom Agony”, EPICA got invited very quickly at the “2 Meter Sessions”, which is a Dutch TV program presented by Jan Douwe Kroeske. Only the very best artists are being selected to play an acoustic set in the studio. In the case of EPICA, they even hired a complete orchestra and a choir of well-known male and female singers (for example Amanda Sommervile of the band AINA being one of them) to make them sound as great as possible. The choir is the same, they’ve been using on the album “The Phantom Agony”. And to be quite honest with you, EPICA should be proud of this “2 Meter Session”. Everything sounds just perfect! The first part on the CD (which is called “The Works”, by the way) consists of six songs taken off the album “The Phantom Agony”, namely “Facade Of Reality”, “Sensorium”, “Illusive Consensus”, “Cry For The Moon”, title track “The Phantom Agony” and last but not least “Seif Al Din”. All of these songs were played electric, so they don’t differ much from the original versions, except that they are played ‘live’ now. After this, we can listen to two acoustic songs; “Feint” and “Run For A Fall”, that obviously sound much different than the original (album) versions. They’ve saved the best for last: the song “Memory”, taken from the musical Cats and which became a huge hit for BARBRA STREISAND. Simone Simons shows us, what a great voice she’s got and especially to make it last a long way. This CD is a really nice ‘quickie’ for all the EPICA fans, since we have to wait at least ‘til March 2005 for their new album to be released. Website: http://www.epica.nl. [9 points] (Marcel van Santen)

FABULOUS DISASTER-I’m A Mess (EP) (Rodent Popsicle Records)
This CD is not a mess. It’s the brand new six track CD of riot punksters FABULOUS DISASTER. There have been a lot of changes in their line up lately, but more about that later on, because this CD is over before you know it. Six short punches on the face, worthy of twelve minutes of punk rock mayhem. Titles like “Suck It Up”, “I’m A Mess”, “Viva La Prozac!” and “Black Eye” predict us, that we’re not about to listen to any love songs here. The CD starts off at RAMONES speed. “Viva La Prozac!” is a happy song, while “I’m A Mess” is pretty catchy. You can scream the lyrics out really loud during their gigs. The line up changes didn’t change the sound or attitude of the band, which is good of course. They still play some cool San Francisco wild punk. In the fourth track, I got a “Black Eye”, while pogoing up to my wife. She will hate me forever, I think! “Dead End” and “Got The Time” close this EP at full speed. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, “Got The Time” is the same song as the one that was released by this slimy JOE JACKSON, but FAB D. chose to record it the ANTHRAX way, thank goodness. A great song to cover, which suits the band really well. Okay, here’s the rest of the deal. Mr Nancy has left the band already in March, and she was replaced by April Fresh (ex-AGGRO TOMMY). Squeaky, who comes from GIRLUSH FIGURE, is the new guitarplayer/ vocalist. Her former band disbanded almost right after she left. Their CD however is reviewed in this very issue of Metal Maidens. Sally ‘Disaster’ Gess hits the drums (real hard), and Lynda ‘Mess’ Mandolyn is the lead vocalist (and bassplayer on this MCD). This is a great foretaste of their new album, due early 2005. I’m looking forward to this already, although my room keeps saying: ”Clean me up, I’m A Mess”, ever since I listened to this great six track!! http://www.fabulous-disaster.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

FACES OF BLACK-Faces Of Black (independent)
A black CD cover with a screaming face, which matches perfectly with the name of this band and its first release. Eight songs, good for thirty minutes of groovy metal. The band FACES OF BLACK hails from Victoria, British Columbia in Canada and consists of Christine Apro on lead vocals and bass, Norm Apro on lead guitar and Adam Hancock on drums. Their sound can be described as dark and heavy. They’ve got that right in their biography. I think, they won’t kill me for mentioning BLACK SABBATH as a reference to their sound, but actually it’s more MY RUIN, because of the female vocals of Christine. Not that they’re a copycat of these masters of heavy metal, although there is some resemblance. FACES OF BLACK’s sound is more airy and thinner, but it has the same groove actually. It’s definitely sleazy, and the screaming voice of Christine has a perfect blend with all this heaviness. One of the highlights on the album is a fast headbanger, called “The Lull”. Christine also knows to play some groovy bass notes. Just listen to the beginning of “The Gooch”, which has some splendid groovy bass parts. “Glutton” has those well known PANTERA like riffs. Yes, they’re that heavy sometimes! So, if MY RUIN with a screaming, sometimes even punky sounding, female vocalist is what you want to hear, then I’d suggest to order this eight track CD of FACES OF BLACK. In my opinion they could be a very promising band for the future, and they would definitely fit perfectly on the bill of Ozzfest this summer. http://www.facesofblack.tk. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

FLEETWOOD MAC-Live In Boston (Reprise Records)
One full hour of FLEETWOOD MAC, recorded live at their most recent USA tour in Boston, as a matter of fact. That’s what you get when you buy this new release of this supermega rockdinosaur. The package also contains a double DVD, with the video footage of the same concert. One very remarkable change with the FLEETWOOD MAC, that was responsible for all these big hits, is the departure of Christine McVie (keyboards/vocals). She released a solo album a short while ago, and is sadly missed on this live registration. But John McVie is still playing the bass, Lindsey Buckingham plays some mean guitar parts, Mick Fleetwood is still the conductor behind his drum kit, and Stevie Nicks’…sigh…huge sigh…voice is sooo beautiful, that words can’t describe it. Besides that, she’s still a very pretty woman, considering all the things she has been through all these past years. She still has got the magic, many ladies are missing. Her voice is so remarkable, that every tone hits a soft spot with me. The song choice is good, but I would have chosen for a double CD/DVD package, because now you miss out on a lot of great songs like “Gold Dust Woman”, “Don’t Stop”, “The Chain” and “Tusk”, to name but a few. But don’t worry, they’re included on the DVD (also reviewed in this issue!). The package is very well taken care of. All I am hoping for right now, is that they will visit Holland soon. The full score is the least, I can give to this great package! http://www.fleetwoodmac.com. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LITA FORD-The Best Of Lita Ford – The Platinum & Gold Collection (RCA)
I was hoping to hear some new stuff as a bonus to the twelve tracks, that are on this ‘best of’ album. But therefore you’ll have to buy the “Edgeplay (A Film About The Runaways)” soundtrack album, I’m afraid. LITA FORD’s ‘best of’ album captures all the songs, that became a hit in the wild career of this blonde super gitarist and vocalist. The songs are remastered and the booklet contains some interesting liner notes. For fifty minutes your memories will go back to the eighties, when Lita was top of the bill, in almost every poll. And songs like “Kiss Me Deadly”, “Close My Eyes Forever” (together with OZZY OSBOURNE), “Shot Of Poison”, “Back To The Cave”, “Can’t Catch Me”, “Hellraiser” (SWEET cover) and the ALICE COOPER cover “Only Women Bleed” became a huge success. And that’s what this lady deserved: nothing more, nothing less. She slammed the door wide open for many female guitar players, that followed her footsteps. She had it all and that’s why it’s good to see, there’s a ‘best of’ release, that shows the youngsters, who she was and what she did. After her marriage with Jim Gillette (NITRO), she became a mum of two beautiful children. That’s the way the story goes sometimes. But as METALLICA already sang, ‘the memory remains’. We will always love you Lita, for what you did for the women in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. You can be proud of what you’ve accomplished over the years, and I think this great ‘platinum & gold collection’ proves that once and for all. Now go and buy this disc, and crank it up LOUD!!! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

FORGOTTEN TALES-All The Sinners (Union Metal)
This is the second album of the Canadian fantasy power metal band, consisting of Pat Vir on bass, Martin Desharnais on guitars, Cédrick Prévost on drums, Frédérick Desroches on keyboards and Sonia Pineault on vocals. Robyn Roy provides the backing vocals on this strong album, that contains ten new songs, with a total length of about fifty minutes. Opener “The Hideaway” is a great bombastic, short intro. It gives you the feeling, that something is about to happen. And then in a flash, we hear the first notes of “Lady Of The Forrest”. A very catching song with lots of double bass drum beats and fast guitarwork. Their sound can be described as a mix of bands like BLIND GUARDIAN, NIGHTWISH (because of the female vocals) and GAMMA RAY. “All The Sinners” is another uptempo song, and “Wind Oh Wind” is the first powerful ballad of the album. “The Message” is an ultrafast, instrumental track and although there are no vocals, it’s still one of the highlights on the CD for me. Next to the rather lengthy “Three Wishes”, which is also very exciting. Again we’re really impressed by the new album, so now it’s your time to become part of the tale. I hope, that they will broaden their horizons soon, because there’s a huge market for bands sounding like this, over here. I also would like to mention the great CD cover. Actually, the whole story of the CD was compressed into one drawing here, which was very well done indeed. My compliments! For more info about the band, you can go to: http://www.forgottentales.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GATJA-Paradox (independent)
GATJA hails from central California, and consists of Greg Willard on guitar and vocals, Jerome Zawolkow on drums and vocals, Allen Willard on guitar and vocals, and the two metal maidens of the band; Angela Wilder on vocals and Tiffany Hamlet on bass and vocals. Catchy songs, that could very well be played on national radio, if it was up to me. You hear many loud guitars, but when you listen to some of the more alternative bands, you’d hear them as well. The music of GATJA is very hard to describe. It’s catchy, yet not commercial. It’s loud, but with a feeling for melody as well. It’s alternative without being experimental. It’s groovy, it contains guitar solos, so maybe we don’t have to be too difficult here and label it as ‘ROCK’, with a capital R. It’s the kind of music, that will appeal to many music lovers, because of its catchiness. It’s nowhere over the top, and it stays between every border imaginable. It never gets too loud, too mellow or too alternative. A safe choice maybe, but this can only be done by bands that are good in what they’re doing. And that’s the case with GATJA. They certainly knew to keep me focussed for forty minutes and eleven songs, without getting bored. And that’s very well done, I think. I can hear some ANOUK in Angela’s voice, but I know that Angela could never have listened to this Dutch wildebeest. So, if you want to hear a CD full of exciting rock music, then I suggest to have a listen to “Paradox” of GATJA. Bet you’ll be positively surprised! Playing tips (read: highlights) for me are: “Set Me Free”, the heavy “Never”, that contains some marvellous guitarwork, and CD closer “Ragdoll”. Website: http://www.gatja.rocks.it. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GIRLSCHOOL-Demolition (Castle Music)
In front of me are the “Demolition” and “Hit And Run” re-releases by GIRLSCHOOL. Both CDs contain many bonus songs, next to the original, classic studio album. A mustfor every devoted heavy metal fan. “Demolition” contains nine bonus tracks, worthy of sixty-five minutes of all-female mayhem. I will restrict myself to the bonus material, ‘cause if you don’t know how the album sounds you’re simply reading the wrong magazine. And the extras are really the cream on top of the cake. Single versions of “Take It All Away” and “It Could Be Better”; demo versions of “Nothing To Lose” and “Not For Sale”; “Furniture Fire (the B-side of “Emergency”), and the BBC sessions recorded on August, 1st 1980 containing “Take It All Away”, “Breakdown”, “Demolition Boys” and “Nothing To Lose”. Can you ask for a completer overview than this?? I really don’t think so. The CD booklet looks very nice. It contains a story of the band, that will continue in the CDs released hereafter. “Demolition” and “Hit And Rund” were only the beginning. But to me they are definitely the most interesting CDs. “Screaming Blue Murder” and “Play Dirty” will be released soon too and we will keep you posted of course. http://www.girlschool.co.uk. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GIRLSCHOOL-Hit And Run (Castle Music)
The second GIRLSCHOOL album is also released with many bonus tracks. This one contains twenty songs and it has a playing time of a bit over one hour. Again I would like to restrict this review to the extras. Starting with the two songs, that were a result of the cooperation with MOTÖRHEAD under the banner of HEADGIRL or MOTÖRHEADGIRLSCHOOL, na-mely “Please Don’t Touch” and the MOTÖRHEAD cover “Bomber”. “Tonight” is also included on this CD, a song that has always been one of my favorite GIRLSCHOOL songs. I never did understand why this great song wasn’t on any GIRLSCHOOL album. Then we get “Demolition Boys” and “Tonight” in a live version. And last but not least, we hear a second BBC session, recorded on January, 26th 1981, containing “Yeah Right”, “The Hunter”, “Kick It Down” and “Watch Your Step”. These re-releases simply catch the two very best albums by one of the most important heavy metal bands in history. And I am not talking about all-female bands here, but heavy metal bands in general. Hopefully, we will be able to continue our reviews with “Screaming Blue Murder” and “Play Dirty” in the next issue of Metal Maidens, because their story sure ain’t over yet. Website: www.girlschool. co.uk. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GIRLUSH FIGURE-Rotten To The Core (Rodent Popsicle Records)
GIRLUSH FIGURE consisted of Squeaky on vocals and guitar, Pigpen on bass and vocals and Rita Mae on drums and keyboards. Yes, you read that right. It says consisted, meaning that the band broke up. Reason for that is, Squeaky joined FABULOUS DISASTER almost right after the release of their debut CD, which was released on the same label as the new FABULOUS DISASTER EP. So the future of Squeaky looks very bright, if she’s able to stay in this successful punkrock band. The consequences were, that GIRLUSH FIGURE was past tense from then on. Because of the fact, that Squeaky was part of this band, we wanted to tell you about their CD. And I can imagine, that people who like this style of music, are very interested in the previous band of this new FABULOUS DISASTER guitar player. The album contains ten riot grrrl punk songs and has a total playing time of about thirty powerful punk minutes. Their sound leans more towards the riot grrrl punk, instead of the RAMONES like sound of FABULOUS DISASTER. It’s much rawer with a garage sound attitude and it’s definitely less polished. Now hear me out on this. FABULOUS DISASTER and a ‘polished sound’. No, they’re not DREAM THEATER or RUSH either maybe, but you can hear a certain difference between those two bands. Squeaky is angry, and we can witness that on this CD, which is a reflection of her anger on this silver disc, so to speak. “Factory” is a little, instrumental piece of rest on the album, which gives you a short moment to breath. You’ll need it! Watch out for a ‘hidden track’ at the end of the CD. On my CD player, it was track sixty-nine. It may be short and not really interesting, but now you know it’s there, anyway. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HAVANHA BROWN-Take It ‘Or’ Leave It (independent)
This is the new CD of HAVANHA BROWN, that contains some old stuff as well. Ten songs with a sleazy attitude and a punky background. A slam in the face of people, who like a more polished sound, but a must for those who like it greasy and dirty. MOTÖRHEAD, ROSE TATTOO, NASHVILLE PUSSY, L7 and AC/DC fans will have to check this out, ‘cause it rocks like hell. However, it’s not only dirty, sleazy rock and roll what we hear. Just listen to “Stalker”, which is hot on your heels and attacking you from behind. It’s a rock song with a great middle part, sounding like a bit more bluesy southern rock in the better LYNYRD SKYNYRD style. After that, it returns to the better rock and roll stomper. Innovative parts, that you won’t expect and which I enjoy most, when they’re there. The band has gone through some line up changes, and now cosnsists of Brandi Bryant on vocals and guitar, Vanessa Kaylor on bass and vocals and Darin Holmes on drums. I suppose, the band is quite spectacular on stage as well, because they have that ‘rock until you drop’ attitude. And they already shared the stage with interresting names like BLAIR BITCH PROJECT and DUANE PETERS & THE HUNNS (reviewed in this issue of MM!). There is some great guitar work at the end of “Killing Time”, and “Over You” has got a great AC/DC like riff in the beginning. Forty minutes of sleaziness will kill the dull moments in your life. There are still things in life that are highly enjoyable. You have to search for them, but once you’ve found them, they will grab you by the balls and never let go. This album is such a treasure. Take it or leave it, it’s as simple as that. I suggest that you take this chance and enjoy it! Website: http://www.havanhabrown.com. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HEKATE-Goddess (Auerbach Tonträger)
Eleven myths recorded on music, that would be my short description of this new album by German classic folk rock band HEKATE. Think about BLACKMORE’S NIGHT, ENYA and HAGALAZ RUNEDANCE to give you an idea of what to expect from this one hour event. Eleven myths, wrapped up in medieval sounding music, that are well known in different countries all over Europe. A trip through ancient times with female vocalist Susanne Grosche and musician Axel Menz, who also sings ocassionally. Don’t expect any loud explosions or heavy riffs. Everything is really laid back, and might even appeal to the fans of new age music here and there.The fact, they sing in the German and French language makes it a lot more authentic. It would have been a nice idea to show the myths as different video clips, then the overview would have been complete, and the stories would speak even more. Now, if you don’t speak any German or French, it’s only the music that will catch your attention. A missed opportunity maybe. If you buy the limited edition version, you get a bonus CD with remixed songs of HEKATE performed by bands like ARCANA, EQUILIBRIO, FLAT-LINE and several other names. Highlight on this CD was the ‘most heavy’ song “Moritori E Salutant’. Only for die-hard fans! [5 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE HUNNS-Long Leggs Die Hunns (Disaster Records)
It came as a shock to us, when Corey Parks left NASHVILLE PUSSY. This female fire spitting, big breasted, long legged rock and roll animal was the perfect match to the ‘no nonsense, shut up and play your freaking guitar’ attitude of this band. But I am glad she has continued her musical career together with Duane Peter (US BOMBS, EXPLODING FUCK-DOLLS) in a band called DIE HUNNS. Their debut album contains fifteen songs and has a total running time of forty dirty minutes. Original songs alternate with covers like “Time Has Come Today” (CHAMBER BROS), “You Got My Number” (THE UNDERTONES), “Tragedy” (WIPERS), and “Did You No Wrong” (SEX PISTOLS). The sound of DIE HUNNS is a mix of THE RAMONES (“Burn In Hell” even has a short ‘hey ho, let’s go’ part!! and a short part of the JOAN JETT classic “Roadrunner”), ‘oi punk, SEX PISTOLS, NASHVILLE PUSSY, Lemmy like vocals and loads of sweat. In “Dead Man”, they put in a short part of “This Is Not A Love Song” of Johnny Rotten’s solo project P.I.L. Besides Corey and Duane, the band consists of Joey Ronamoe on drums, Rob Milucky (THE GRABBERS, THE PUSHERS) on guitars and Jimmy Disco (THE DISCONTENT) on guitars. I am afraid, there is no time to breathe, because this album is like a steamtrain of fast punk rock songs. It’s good to hear, that Corey has found herself a new band to express her musical talent. By the way: if you put this CD in your PC, you can have a look at the video clip, the band made for “Hate & Love”. Check it out, and turn up the sound full blast! Website: http://www.diehunns.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

IMPERIA-The Ancient Dance Of Qetesh (Ebony Tears)
This band was originaly called HELENA IREN MICHAELSEN’s IMPERIA, but IMPERIA was much shorter. We had to wait a while, but it was definitely worth it. The blonde goddess did a fine job with the thirteen songs on this fifty minutes plus disc. The whole album breathes out an Egyptian atmosphere, which explodes after the short intro of “Awakening”. There’s a lot of variation on the album. It doesn’t only contain some good progressive, gothic metal, but it also has some very fine acoustic songs to slow things down a bit. This emphasizes the heavier and faster songs on the album. The central figure here is of course Helena, who has a great opera like voice and can be seen as the brain behind the album. An album, which has become an outstanding outing of her musical abilities, ranging from high opera like chants to soft serene vocals. Try to find this diversity in another vocalist, and I bet that you won’t succeed easily. Even someone like Tarja Turunen (NIGHTWISH) is limited in her vocal abilities. Whereas Helena seems to have no limits at all, except for death grunts maybe, but we can do without it. Another great aspect of the album is the great bombastic sound. You definitely need this, when you want to impress your listeners and that’s what happened here. The great backing band takes care of it all the way. A band that contains of some high skilled musicians, consisting of Gerry Verstreken on bass, John Stam on guitars, Audun Gronnestad on orchestrations, Ariën van Weesenbeek who is the session drummer of the band, and Henri Sattler, who’s the session guitarist on this album. Helena made her dream come true with this album, and I believe she did a marvellous job. I hope, she can keep up with the high quality on this debut album, which sets a new standard in progresive gothic metal. Website: http://www.helena-michaelsen.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE IRISES-Not Good In Bed (independent)
Roxanne Heichert wrote and sings THE IRISES songs. Stephen Quinn wrote the music and plays a pleasant guitar part. It sounds like it could have been some of HEART’s softer songs. The songs all are about ideas. Roxanne writes about the usual relational issues plus a few other things. All this is from a girls point of view. There's “Perfect Boyfriend”. It's about an other girls boyfriend. She likes to tell the other girls about him. The speaker is jealous and hopes he drops her. Then there's “Lo-Fi Girl”. She likes uncomplicated, but rocking music. She and her friends have a good time at shows. She hopes one of the musicians will notice her. Pat Steward (drums) and Doug Elliott (bass) set a quicker pace for this song. Perhaps the heaviest tune here is “If I Were A Boy”. A girl is waiting for a man to call. She imagines being a boy. She sees advantages in being a guy. The best description of girls today I've heard is called “Betty's On Parade”. You've seen them. They have straight blonde hair. Their shirt doesn't quite meet their pants. The song is about how they look and act. A memorable lyric is "Momma’s little queen is a peroxide blonde." The tune has an up tempo sound, that goes with the subject. THE IRISES are better than the usual pop band. Website: http://www.theirises.com. Email: info@theirises.com. Contact address: The Irises, 3081 Graveley St., Vancouver B.C., V5K 3K5, Canada. [7 points] (Jack Little)

KATASTROPHY WIFE-All Kneel (Integrity Records)
Kat Bjelland is back with a new album. And she asks us to ‘all kneel’. Well, I will kneel for this lady, who can be seen as the ‘queen of noise music’. She always knows to come up with certain structures in her music, that are catchy and definitely not commercial at the same time. Her voice is recognisable from the first tones on and I am very sorry for her guitar, because she really hurts the poor thing constantly. Her band is now consisting of Andrew Parker on bass and Darren Donovan on drums. Opener “Liberty Belle” is what I had expected already, and the psychotic screams in “Money Shot” could have been on any previous BABES IN TOYLAND album. The distorted stuttering guitars in “Sweetheart” let you know, there’s another classic tune coming at you. Again, Kat simply knows to impress me with her power and schizophrenic musical outings. Just listen to the great distorted vocals in that same song. “Blue Vallent” is done together with Carina Round and the vocals in this song sound a bit childish. “Emit Time” (Emit is Time spelled backwards!) is another great uptempo rocker with a punky background. While “Icecream & Cigarettes” could easily have been on a RAMONES album. “Babydoll” is one of the highlights on the album. It’s Kat Bjelland at her very best with mentally insane vocals. But wait, it gets even more insane in “Asstroglide” (great title, by the way). Kat has managed to escape from her strait-waistcoat. It’s like a trip on a rollercoaster with no breaks. The CD closes with “No Thing”, “Layne To Rest” and “Suffrage” (another great schizo song!). Kat shows the world, that she’s still the most insane genius in the world of rocking ladies, and not Courtney Love or Brody Dalle. Website: http://www.katastrophywife.com. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KITTIE-Until The End (Artemis Records)
KITTIE is back to being an all-female outfit. And they’re still kicking ass. Although there are some more melodic songs on this new album as well. An album, that contains eleven tracks with a total time of about forty minutes. The opener is brutal, and “Career Suicide” is even more brutal. It’s the KITTIE, that we’d expected to hear. But in title track “Until The End”, we hear a more melodic and darker sound in the style of TYPE O NEGATIVE. It’s heavy, though not brutal or aggressive. KITTIE now consists of Mercedes Lander on drums, Morgan Lander on vocals and guitars, Jennifer Arroyo on bass and Lisa Marx on guitar. However, the CD was recorded as a three piece band. The CD cover and booklet already predicted a darker and more sober sound. Just listen to “Red Flag”. It’s heavy, but only in a certain way. The aggression is gone, and has made room for a darker sound. On the other hand, there are some uptempo songs too on the album with loads of aggression. For example, there’s “Sugar”, which has some great staccato riffs reminding me of the good old PANTERA stuff. It’s definitely one of the highlights on this new album. An album, that has to grow on you, I guess. Be honest, a song like “In Dreams” for example is far too average to call it a great KITTIE tune! KITTIE has become much more accessible to a broader audience, hoping to gain some popularity and maybe being able to score a hitsingle. I won’t be surprised if they would be able to do so, with one of the songs on this album. So the conclusion would be that KITTIE delivered a good album, but it’s not spectacular or ultra heavy anymore. Their fans will possibly like the more darker sound, but it made me a bit sceptical about their ‘bad reputation’! The remaining of the KITTIE tour has been cancelled, by the way, because of a virus infection of drummer Mercedes. Website: http://www.kittierocks.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LADY UNLUCK-Lady Unluck (Massive Sound)
LADY UNLUCK are wild punk chicks. They’re having fun, even if you don't approve of them. The six songs on this CD are about two minutes long each. The girls demonstrate, that they can deliver the necessary sound. It begins with “Be My Slut”. It’s about a girl getting dressed to go out. She intentionally looks like a slut. She likes looking that way and attracting attention. I’ve always thought that this was the case. It's nice to have girls confirm it. Suzy Hotrod and Lizzie Boredom do a good job of punk guitar playing. Next is “Mans Ruin”. The song is about girls, who have a good time at the expense of men. While she's having a good time, he's also being ruined. This song uses a different chord progression, a shouted second part and a well played instrumental break. Cheetarah plays drums. She plays well and fast enough to keep things moving. “Hey Tom” starts slowly. It speeds up. Anyone who can be described as liking baseball and T-REX is alright with me. LADY UNLUCK describe themselves as a "bunch of hot twenty year olds". Vikki Voltages vocals go well with this kind of music. There are three more songs like this on the CD. LADY UNLUCK set out to do two things, rock and be sluts. They accomplish both. Visit their website at: http://www.ladyunluck.com. Email: ladyunluck@ladyunluck.com. [8 points] (Jack Little)

MISERIA-Silence Within (MCD) (independent)
Five songs are on this mini CD, that runs for almost twenty-five minutes. MISERIA consists of Joni Kantoniemi on vocals, Virpi Loukkola on vocals and guitar, Päivi Korpi-Käkelä on keyboards, Minja Loukkola on bass, and Anssi Kaunismäki on drums. What we can hear is melodic gothic metal with a certain catchiness, that makes it accessible to many listeners. Not that long ago, Anssi, their drummer, left the band and is replaced by Ville Karhu. Most of their songs are joyful, although it would be nice to slow things down a bit from time to time. There’s a lot of power in their songs, but less speed and a bit more darkness would suit their music even more. As a first official introduction to a bigger audience, this is definitely very well done. Highlight for me (and the band might expected this after my comments earlier) is the song “Into Despair”, which fits just fine with the description, the band gives in their biography. Besides that, it matches perfectly with the name of the band. MISERIA is not a sunny name. It’s dark, depressing and ‘negative’ in a certain way. “Into Despair” was the music, that I’d expected to hear, when reading the name of the band. The sixth track (which is not mentioned on the CD, by the way) includes some brutal male vocals. It’s totally different to what we’ve heard before, but it sounds pretty good. It’s what I would call ‘the grunt version’ of “Whispering Cry”, which is also on this CD with ‘normal vocals’. MISERIA could grow in many different directions and I’m curious what their next step will be. Getting interested? For more information, go to their website at: http://www.turn.to/miseria. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE NAME-Remedy (independent)
This band hails from Haarlem, in the northern part of our country. The band consists of Roland on drums, Mike on bass, Silas on guitar and vocals and Denise on vocals. Their music is powerful and the vocals are sensitive where needed, but also capture a lot of power. I can certainly agree with some of the names that they mention in their biography, like EVANESCENCE, ANOUK and GUANO APES. They mix a lot of styles with each other, ranging from good powerful rock songs to sensitive ballads. Most of these songs have the potential to get radio airplay. The eight songs on this album give you a good view of a band, that can grow into an act of international success. The variation of music styles makes it even easier for them to fit in most categories. The fact, that they don’t jump on the mighty gothic metal bandwagon, is definitely in their advantage. If the above mentioned bands appeal to you, you might want to get in touch with the band. For this, you can drop a line to info@thename.nl or take a look at their website at: http://www.thename. nl. THE NAME is a promise for the future, if they do things right and not sink into this deep well of musical differences and line up changes. Never change a winning team, and believe in what you’re doing would be my only advise. The last two songs, are the most heavy ones, by the way. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

NICE CAT-S/T (EP) (independent)
In 1997 three friends decided to stop gawking at rock bands and start one. The result is NICE CAT. The music is slow and heavy. We hear both notes and chords. Caitlin plays guitar, Carol handles guitar and vocals. They add some sounds that I would guess come from a foot peddle. I'd like to see them play. I would watch to see who does what when. Nicole plays a muddy sounding bass. This sets the trippy, lingering tone of several songs. Jim is uniform in his drumming. Carols vocals are more spoken than sung. In a way, it’s rap. Just not as harsh. If you fuse slow metal and rap, you get NICE CAT. All the songs linger around for about four minutes. “Bulldozer” is slow and strong, as its name suggests. The guitar part is easy to listen to. The words tell about the man, who she was with. She states "He didn't know, I was serious". She states: "I didn't know he was a salesman. I didn't know about him". There's a drum intro and a nice guitar solo on “Sugar daddy”. She doesn't care. She wants to be with him. She wants to timelessly drift off with him. The last song is totally instrumental. Since vocals take up only so much of each song, that seems right. The band plays well together. NICE CAT produce the sound they want to. Contact address: C. Webster, 52 St. Lawrence St. #320, Toronto, Ontario N5A 3NL, Canada. Email: vayda@interlog.com. Website: http://www.nicecatrock.com. [9 points] (Jack Little)

OHM POWAH-Live From Mars Hall (independent)
I must admit, that I had never heard of the OHM POWAH before. That’s not strange, if you see how many bands there are on this planet. And only the good bands deserve our interest. That’s why you’re reading these lines right now, because OHM POWAH is definitely a name to remember. The band hails from Northern California and consists of Lovie A. Ward on drums and vocals, B. Race Smith on bass and vocals, C. Elliot Easterly on guitar, C.D. Poward on guitar and vocals and metal maiden Boudeeka on vocals. Musically, we hear a mix of funk and metal. 24-7-SPYZ is a good comparison of what they sound like. Boudeeka is no newcomer. She once was the vocalist of an heavy metal band called ARIAH, who opened for great names like DORO, QUIET RIOT, VICIOUS RUMORS and KING DIAMOND. How’s that for a second? The nine songs on this live CD have a total time of about thirty-five swinging, funky rock minutes. The catchy sound of the band is easy to comprehend, but sometimes Boudeeka unleashes the beast in herself and shows that the band can also sound really powerful. Hearing this CD, you already get an idea of what to expect, when seeing a live show of this band. Songs, that invite you to sing along in some cases (“Wanna Know”), and guarantee an energetic presentation and execution of the different songs. “Scoobie” opens like HENDRIX, and it’s one of the personal faves of the band. If you like energetic funky, rock music, then you definitely got to check this one out. Highlights on this CD for me are the short but heavy “Perfect Doll” and “Gotta Do”, by the way. For more information about the band, check out http://ohmpowah.com and http://www.boudeeka.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

PAATOS-Kallocain (Inside Out)
PAATOS is the name of a musically adventurous band from Stockholm, Sweden. Their line up is Stefan Dimle (bass), Johan Wallen (keyboards), Peter Nylander (guitars), Anders Bertgman (violin) and Petronella Nettermalm (lead vocals and cello). They have just released their debut album, called "Kallocain", which is quite an interesting listen. They are on the largely progressive Inside Out label, but they are definitely different from many of the bands on that labels roster. The first song begins with a brief violin intro, that kicks off the dreamy vibe of "Gasoline". Next up is the very laid-back "Holding On". The lead vocals of Petronella can be described as laid-back at times. To describe this band’s music would be very difficult, which isn’t always a bad thing. They do their own thing and I guess in that regard they are very unique. Musically, their talent is very apparent and it definitely shows through on other songs, such as "Happiness" (this song features a very catchy chorus), "Absinth Minded", "Reality" (at nearly eight minutes this is the longest track) and "Won’t Be Coming Back". Overall, I have really grown to like this disc. It is not immediate and it may take some time to grow. I am still curious, how they ever hooked up with a label like that. Musically, this band is fantastic, but I think they have more in common with a band like THE 3RD AND THE MORTAL than any of the super prog-metal bands that are currently housed on the Inside Out label. The limited edition version comes with a live bonus DVD, that is well worth the extra cash and gives the fans a glimpse into PAATOS’ live presentation. For more info check out: http://www.paatos.com. [7 points] (Tony Cannella)

POWDER-Powder (Continental Entertainment Inc.)
We have to go back to the year 2000, when singer Ninette Terhart was asked to sing the live tracks for the movie JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS. Shortly afterwards, she formed the band POWDER and got awarded as ‘Best Live Band’ and ‘Best Rock Pop Artist’ in 2001. Being the only unsigned band here, POWDER was included on the A&M compilation album “A Very Special Christmas” with the song “Christmas Don't Be Late”. And in 2002, they released their debut album “Sonic Machine”. The other band members of POWDER are guitarist Phil X (formerly METHODS OF MAYHEM, ALICE COOPER and ROB ZOMBIE), bassplayer Allan Heam and drummer J-BO Dynamite. The music on their new “S/T” album reminds me very much of REPUBLICA, but this comes as no surprise, as they have the same co-producer, John Vitale. Especially songs like “Go” and “Tarnished” have that special REPUBLICA touch. Also I hear influences of bands like KILLER BARBIES and JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS in their music and they like to use samples. Ninette is not a great singer, but she stands her ground very well in the pop/rock/punk style (the band likes to call it ‘turbo pop’) with her soft and bright voice. Most songs are short, yet powerful. The choruses are easy on the ear and they have a nice guitar sound (for example “Fly On The Wall” and “Seat Of My Pants”). I guess “Up Here” may be the single, as this is the radio version of the song. It’s quite heavy and the guitars are very up front in the mix. As a bonus track, they’ve also included the extended version on the CD. It’s not much different though and only last about one minute longer. The CD has some breaks too, namely the acoustic song “Bite My Tongue” and the balladesque “Monger”, which leads to a rather heavy closure. While a song like “I” could have easily been on one of the albums by ALANIS MORISSETTE. The most striking song however would be “Take A Pill”. It’s characterized by the many tempo changes. “Sonic Machine”, which reminds me of ATARI TEENAGE RIOT because of the many noise sounds, closes the CD. All in all, I conclude that the band has the ability to write good and catchy songs, suitable for a large audience. If things work out the way as planned, the band will possibly tour Europe this December or early January (2005). Don’t miss it!!! For more info, visit their website at: http://www.powdermusic.com. [8 points] (Marcel van Santen)

THE RUNAWAYS-Flaming Schoolgirls (Cherry Red Records)
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Ironically, this is done the same way as the original RUNAWAYS albums. The vinyl album “Flaming Schoolgirls” was released in 1980, one year after the band officially broke up. And history repeats itself now. The other albums were released on CD already for a longer period of time, and now it’s time for the encore “Flaming Schoolgirls”. Before they open with the BEATLES cover “Strawberry Fields Forever”, the band is introduced in the intro. Okay, THE BEATLES might be a big influence of the band, but was it wise to record such a mellow song, when having the image of being a wild bunch of rock girls? Maybe not, but it also shows that the girls are competent enough to play a song like this, in case some reviewers or criticizers didn’t know that already. Prove of this was given in three minutes here. We already know “C’mon” from their live album recorded in the far east, which sounds even heavier now. “Hollywood Cruisin” is some kind of radio play on music. Showing that the girls are more of the fastidious kind, when they go out on a Saturday night. But you can’t blame them for that. Everybody wants to go out with such nice girls like these ladies and raise your hand, if you wouldn’t! “Blackmail” is one of my all time favorite songs. Just listen to the guitar solo, that Mrs. Ford cranks out and you’ll know why. “Is It Day Or Night” was recorded live. However, no source or date was given in the booklet, which contains a nice story and many great pictures in the well-known fold out structure again. As I didn’t hear any cuts after “Blackmail”, I guess it was recorded in Japan as well, for those of you who want to keep their records straight. Then another BEATLES song comes along. “Here Comes The Sun” is another example of a somewhat odd choice perhaps. This ballad, written by the late GEORGE HARRISON, shows us the other ‘sensitive’ side of THE RUNAWAYS. Next up is “Hollywood Dream”, which puts Cherie Currie back in the spotlight. When the people, who don’t dig their slower songs, almost fall asleep, JOAN JETT ripps out a few chords that must have been very special to her. It’s a short, heavy rocker, called “Don’t Abuse Me”, which will later appear on her debut album in ’80, recorded with two former members of the SEX PISTOLS. She also used the song on the flipside of “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got”. Joan also wrote the next song; “I Love Playing With Fire”, which is captured here as a live version. The CD closes with “Secrets”. Our RUNAWAYS CD collection is complete now, but the releases keep flowing. Recently, we heard that “Born To Be Bad - The Demos” was reissued again by a different record company. Releases will come and go, until the box is totally empty. The only negative thing is that the fans will have to empty their purse again, without getting any bonus material, except of a few nice pics and a different story on the inner sleeve. I won’t be very much surprised, if this whole series will be re-released again after a year or two with some bonus tracks included. So the fans will have to open their purse again and spend their hard earned money for something they have for ninety-five percent already. Why don’t do it right the first time, would be my only remark here? But I know that all the die-hard RUNAWAYS fans out there (hello Rita, Carla and Karin - they’re your very own ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry bombs - I know that!!) will be delighted to have the official releases on CD now. I hope, the time will come to obtain some bonus material now! Official website: http://www.therunaways.com. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE SADDERDAYS-The Sadderdays (independent)
THE SADDERDAYS consist of Mandy on vocals and rhythm guitar, Erin on lead guitar, Annelie on drums and the bass player of the moment. Mandy has a good voice for these songs. The guitar part is mostly power chords. It's not complicated, yet it’s effective. Annelie's drumming is strong enough to be easily heard. There’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm for life in THE SADDERDAYS’ songs. The instrumental breaks are well placed and attention grabbing. The songs are from the point of view of girls. They tell about what their thoughts are and what's going on in their lives. First on this six song CD is “Don't Call Me”. He wants to get together with her, but she doesn't like him. She finally sings don't call me anymore. The music makes the whole things seem exciting, not frightening. This is the longest song clocking in at three minutes. Later on, there's “Mistake”. She's determined to make him hers. She also knows, that it will have negative results. It will be her mistake. The drums sound different. The rhythm part keeps “Mistake” moving along. “The Ache” is slower and heavier. There is both disappointment and strength in this song. On one hand, she sounds heartbroken. On the other, the speaker isn't going to pieces either. THE SADDERDAYS make all this sound like so much fun. The band play well and held my interest. Those who like girl-centered rock will like this. Contact address: Ben Keeney, 4100 Wade St. # 6, Los Angeles, CA 90066, USA. Email: info@thesadderdays.com. Website: www.thesadderdays.com [10 points] (Jack Little)

SAHARA HOTNIGHTS-Kiss & Tell (RCA)
SAHARA HOTNIGHTS have written eleven new very compact rock songs and released them on their new album “Kiss & Tell”. For thirty-five minutes, your mood is turning into happiness, because of the catching songs. For a moment, we thought that they would move into a more punky direction, but we were wrong. Instead, they decided to use a more poppy approach on this new album. Never mind, the songs are easy to listen to and you’ll understand that the sun will also shine for you, after listening to them. There still are a few heavy songs on the album, but one way or another it sounds like they have disguised them a little and put them between the pop rock songs. However, a song like “Walk On The Wire” for example, is definitely a step back to the older days of the band. Signing to a larger label like RCA may have forced them to sound a bit more commercial, but this change won’t do them any harm, I guess. As long as it’s not a one hundred and eighty degree turn of course. The band consists of Maria Andersson on vocals and guitar, Jennie Asplund on guitar, Johanna Asplund on bass and Josephine Forsman on drums. If the average metal band is too loud for you, but you still like some good guitar rock, then “Kiss & Tell” would be a safe buy. Website: http://www.saharahotnights.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SHEVEL KNIEVEL-Bull Wevel (Awful Knawful Productions)
SHEVEL KNIEVEL's press kit says they escaped from an (not to be named) asylum. They say, that they formed a band, that would change rock forever. Into what? We still don't know. I've listened to their CD and I’m still not sure. Jenny Reb is an excellent guitar player. She plays several styles well. Sometimes, it seems like all at once. SHEVEL KNIEVEL make generous use of the bass lines. This puts “Princess Darlin” out in the front of the mix. The drummer is Shine Louise Houston. She can be heard easily. Shine plays a variety of rhythms and uses all of the drum kit. Jenny does what vocals there are. They are stated rather than sung. “Bull Wevel” starts off with “Trinity”. It’s one of the two instrumental songs. It's heavier than instrumental rock of the early 1960's. It's not heavy metal either. “Pho” has a lot of bass in it. The chords are deep. This is closer to metal. There are periodic words. Mostly angry ones like "I have issues too" and "shut up". The use of words is more art than rock. It gets heavier as it goes on. “Oddsizedmindfuck” is plodding, almost doomy. The last song is “3PC”. It’s somewhere between goth and rock. The vocals are uninspired. There's lots of guitar and variation. The musicianship on this CD is quite good. Whatever this is, SHEVEL KNIEVEL do it well. Contact: SHEVEL KNIEVEL, 4735 Foothill Blvd., Oakland, CA 94601, USA. Website: http://www.shevelknievel. net. Email: info@shevelknievel.net. [9 points] (Jack Little)

THE SHOCKER-Up Your Ass Tray (Oglio Records)
What a great CD title! Does humor belong to music as FRANK ZAPPA once asked himself? Yes would be the answer, especially if you can come up with great titles like this. But who the hell are THE SHOCKER? Well, the band consists of Scott Quist on drums, Leah Casper on bass and vocals, Davy Lin on lead guitar and vocals and Jennifer Precious ‘L7’ Finch on guitar and lead vocals. The album contains seven tracks and fifteen minutes of alternative, punk rock music. On the album, we still hear the old line up consisting of Jennifer and Lura Jones on vocals and guitars, Claudia Rossi on the drums and Arye Shine on vocals and lead guitar. “Smoke Rings” (Up Your Ass Tray) is a good opener. It sets the mood for the rest of the album, that contains one cover namely “Angel In The Morning”, which is a duet with T.C. Conroy and was originally written by CHIP TAYLOR. “Bad Brains Good Head” (another well thought title!) invites you to shout along, which is a great song for their live shows. Okay, now the main question is of course if L7 fans can buy this album without getting the shock of their lives. I think the answer to that question is “yes”. THE SHOCKER is definitely no L7 rip off, but there is some resemblance in their sound, that’s undeniable. A full length album is the next step for this band, and that’s a good move next to an upcoming European tour. If this happens, you’ll be the first one to know, so check out the bands website at http://www.shockersite.com on a regular base. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SKYCLAD-A Semblance Of Normality (Demolition Records)
A new SKYCLAD album. We’ve waited a long time for that to happen, after all the trouble the band has gone through lately. Martin Walkyier’s remarkable vocals have disappeared. What remains is the old SKYCLAD sound with the great guitar sound of Steve Ramsey right up front. Their overall sound might be a little bit darker than before, but I think that a lot of the long term SKYCLAD fans will love this sound. The ending of “A Survival Campaign” reminded me of “Lady In Black” by URIAH HEEP. In general, the original folk metal sound of the band is back again. Besides Ramsey, we hear Graeme English on bass, Kevin Riddley on vocals, Arron Walton on drums and George Biddle as the jolly fiddler on the violin. The band was also helped out by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, to create a more pompous and bombastic sound sometimes. I liked this new album a lot, although you must try to think away from the time that Walkyier was still part of the band. Besides his remarkable vocals, the sound stayed the same, which made it quite easy to listen to this great new album. Website: http://www.skyclad.co.uk. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SPELLGATE-Exodus (independent)
SPELLGATE consists of only two members, namely Darynlard and Dosashlia Trevni. They’re from Canada, and they mix beautiful fantasy lyrics with computerised synthesizer music. Their CD could well be the soundtrack for a new fantasy movie. Their sound is not bad, although very static. Darynlard knows how to play his synthesizers, and Dosashlia has a beautiful voice. But if it was up to me, I would search for more band members and add other instruments to give it a little bit more power. The ten different songs have a running time of about fifty minutes. I like the sound effects, like the rolling thunder in “Curse Of Malgei”. But the dance like rhythms used in the beginning of “Najaeti Star” are not really my cup of tea. As you can see, I have my doubts with some parts of this CD. But I cannot say, it’s done badly. The dark beginning in “Dawn Of The Drochsid” is more what I like, and the speed goes up a little later in this one, too. Think in the direction of LORDIAN GUARD (without guitars) and you’ll get close to the sound of SPELLGATE. In the folky “Heroes To Be” however, the band sounds more like BLACKMORE’S NIGHT. If fantasy is your thing, and you don’t care if the music doesn’t contain any guitars, then this one is definitely for you. Check out the bands website at: http://www.spellgate.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SUFFERAGE-Raw Meat Experience (independent)
SUFFERAGE is a German death metal band, who are out for some raw meat. Jesus freaking christ, what a power! Think about MORBID ANGEL and other death metal disciples from the coast of Florida. The only difference with these bands is, that SUFFERAGE is fronted by the hydrochloric acid drinking frontlady Jasmin Dusan. She’s another step higher on the ladder of brutality, that stopped with Angela Gossow of ARCH ENEMY for me, until I heard this brutal attack. Besides Jasmin, the band consists of Olli on bass, Ole on drums and Lasse on guitar. “Raw Meat Experience” is their debut album and it contains thirteen songs with a total playing time of about forty minutes. In these thirteen songs I’ve also added the intro “Dinner For One”, and the outro with the title “The Extraordinairy Unexciting Adventures Of Mr. Schlschinski”. After that, you can enjoy two live tracks called “Neurotic” and “Necromantic”. If you’re into uncomplished, death metal with drums that sound like a machine gun fire, then I’d suggest you take a bite of this “Raw Meat Experience”. One of the most peculiar songs on the album is “I Hate My Cunt”, for which they didn’t print the lyrics in the booklet. Talk about raw meat here. Better have a listen to this album and call for an ambulance, if you are a vegetarian. You’re definitely gonna need it. More information can be obtained from the bands website at http://www.suffe rage.de. Pass me the hot sauce, will you? Our thanks go out to Sheree Hesse of I.C.S. promotions for making this review possible! [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SUMMERZ EVE-Feminine Hi-Jinx (Daddy’s Friend Records)
First there were the LUNACHICKS. Then there were THE DONNAS. Now we have SUMMERZ EVE. The music rocks and they are enthusiastic about being sassy girls. They’re having fun at their gigs, going to parties and living dangerously. The band aren't afraid to talk about their sexuality. In fact, they’re happy about it. You might recognize your youth or someone elses in SUMMERZ EVE’s songs. It's all presented in good humor. “Feminine Hi-Jinx” starts off with “Theme From Summerz Eve”. The song is about life from a girl bands perspective. It observes "We do as we please, because we’re Summerz Eve and we’re a bunch of hotties." There are lots of chords and uptempo sounds. “Party Down The Street” is about an underage drinking party. The vocals are easy to hear. Sometimes they alternate with the chords. The second part is cute. She observes "I mostly want you. Your friends are alright". In country music we often hear songs about pure women, who are heartbroken. SUMMERZ EVE give us a country sounding song with the unlikely name of “My Vagina's Not Broken, It's My Heart That Aches”. A doubtfull relationship ended suddenly. She's decided to be a slut about it. If this sounds like fun, you'll like the rest of the CD. Contact: SUMMERZ EVE, 1136 N. Lanabee St., Los Angeles CA 90060, USA. Email: summerzeverock @aol.com. Website: http://www.sum merzeve.com [8 points] (Jack Little)

TEXAS TERRI BOMB-Your Lips….My Ass (TKO Records)
This CD is definitely not a bomb, it’s a dirty, sleazyrock attack by TEXAS TERRI BOMB. Fourteen songs hitting you right in the face. It’s a knock out in forty minutes, if you ask me. Terri is definitely not a newcomer in this scene and on this CD, she delivers the finest goods ever. Let her astonish you in a great song like “Dirty Action”. The beginning of the career of this wild lady, began in Austin, Texas, as her name already suggests. However, she relocated to Hollywood, California, where all the action is. And there’s a lot of action on this CD! JOAN JETT, MC5, IGGY POP, NASHVILLE PUSSY, ROLLING STONES, and a legal dose of punk rock comes together in fourteen nutcrackers. We even hear Wayne Kramer (MC5) and Ryan Roxie (ALICE COOPER) in a guest role on the album. Ryan plays on a song called “Strike 3”, that I would like to categorise as the TEXAS TERRI version of the PLASMATICS classic “Butcher Baby”. “I Got A Right” is an IGGY POP cover, at the end of this CD, followed by another very cool cover. And rather surprisingly, she choose to do “The Rocker” of THIN LIZZY. Not that this song doesn’t suit TEXAS TERRI, but THIN LIZZY is far more heavy metal than the overall punk hardcore sound of Terri. “The Rocker” became a duet with Cherie Currie of THE RUNAWAYS. They could easily change their name into TEXAS TERRI CHERRY BOMB for this one!! It’s definitely one of the highlights of this CD for me, next to the absolute hilarious “Turn It Off!”. Listen for yourself, where this one goes, but it’s a great closure of this nine pound hammer!! After forty minutes, the party is over and you’ll move your finger directly to the replay button, that’s for sure. Punk was never that raw and uncomplished. TEXAS TERRI and her friends made this one helluva album. And Terri herself is a lean, mean, motherf*cking rock and roll machine, who deserves tonz of respect. I hope, this review will show her, that we still very much appreciate rock and roll animals like her. Visit her website at: http://www.texasterri.com for more dirt and sleaziness. A must have for every devoted rock fan out there!! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THERION-Sirius B / Lemuria (Nuclear Blast)
The Swedish band THERION constantly knows to surprise us. This time with two CDs at once, namely “Sirius B” and “Lemuria”. The CDs are sold seperately and together in one digipack for the price of one CD. Let’s start with “Sirius B”. The first song “The Blood Of Kingu” sounds like good power metal, due to the guest appearance of singer Mats Leven (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, SWEDISH EROTICA, ABSTRAKT ALGEBRA). We hear his voice in several other songs as well. Besides him, we also hear another, more unknown guest singer, that goes by the name of Piotr Wawrzeniuk. What strikes us the most, is that this CD sounds a lot heavier than you would expect from THERION, knowing their previous material. The well-known choirs are still there, and we also enjoy the female input of the high sopranos, but something has changed in their music. I think, the band has listened to NIGHTWISH lately, since a song like "Son Of The Sun" contains a lot of NIGHTWISH influences. But there are some doom influences as well, as you can hear in "Kali Yuga Part 2". And in a quiet song like "The Wondrous World Of Punt", we are able to enjoy the acoustic and classical instruments. While "Call Of The Dragon" sounds like a war song like in “Lord Of The Rings”. Then we go to “Lemuria”. This CD sounds more in the old THERION style, as you can hear in "Uthark Runa" and the epic "Three Ships Of Berik". The songs are very complex and thanks to the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, it gets this nice bombastic feeling from which we know THERION so well. On this CD we also hear both guest singers again. And here and there there are some NIGHTWISH influences again. In the song "The Dreams Of Swedenborg", singer Piotr Wawrzeniuk sounds like he has stepped into OZZY OSBOURNE’s shoes. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to invite the man himself to sing this song?!?? CD closer "Feuer Overture/Prometheus Entfesselt" reminded me of RAMMSTEIN, because of the German lyrics. All in all, “Lemuria” is obviously the successor of their previous album, rather than “Sirius B”, which probably will more appeal to all the metal fans out there. THERION must have thought that they could satisfy their fans both ways, and with this second CD, they give you a bonus as well. It’s difficult for me to chose which CD I would prefer most of these two. It depends on my mood. But it certainly has its advantage, that you can choose out of two CDs to listen to. Although, with twenty-one new songs, it will become much more difficult to come up with a good balanced live set, I think. [9 points] (Marcel van Santen)

VANILLA NINJA-Traces Of Sadness (Bros/Sony Music)
Readers, who pay attention to every word that we write, must remember the name of VANILLA NINJA from Estonia. The band has now released their debut album, and this might become a hit in the charts. Why?? Because if they know how to promote this well to the audience, it has all the potential to become a huge success. Catchy songs, four good looking, fresh, young girls, who know how to sing good songs. The CD contains two video clips at the end, and I think their music will appeal to both sexes. Even old farts, like myself, can listen to the album until the end. No, it’s not blasphemous death or black metal with lots of low growls or rhythms that will make you bang your head. No, these are just fourteen catchy rock songs with a total running time of almost a full hour. I hear touches of gothic rock, guitar riffs, melodic keyboard sounds, the beat of a drum computer, but also girls that sing very well. People, who are into the mellow and softer side of bands like EUROPE, BON JOVI, WHITE LION or BRYAN ADAMS may like this. Me and Rita both agreed that VANILLA NINJA is the Estonian version of BAD CANDY. Only BAD CANDY still has to come up with their debut album. So it’s 1-0 for these Estonian ladies, who surprised us with their fresh, catchy music. At the end of the CD, you get an extended version of title track “Traces Of Sadness” and the song “Heartless”. Although they are not super heavy, this CD is still very well done and it might appeal to some of the readers of MM. Website: http://www.vanilla-ninja.de. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

V/A – EDGEPLAY:A Film About The Runaways (Hip-O/Universal Music)
The controversial move by Joan Jett and her hindering manager Kenny Laguna to stop any RUNAWAYS music featuring in “Edgeplay: A Film About The Runaways” brought about the re-edited version of the movie. Since the films completion, the opportunity for the use of a handful of songs came about via a legal loophole thus an accompaning soundtrack of best loved RUNAWAYS tracks are featured on this fourteen song CD along with unreleased SUZI QUATRO and LITA FORD tracks. Kicking it off with Suzi Q's ultra impressive “Back To The Drive” written by Mike Chapman, has Suzi rocking it like in the old days with gutsy guitar and catchy chants and melody. The highlight of the disc and I consider it one of the best songs I've heard in years. “Kids Of Tragedy” is a left over from the 70s and is very accessible and fitting to this project, when you consider the lyrics. “Glyercine Queen” also gets a re-run here and a treat to hear again. Lita contributes “Black Leather Heart” and the demo version of “War Of The Angels” (the original version was on her last studio release “Black”). The later mentioned has a haunting guitar solo near the end and “Black Leather Heart” is typical LITA FORD with growling guitars and attitude. “Stiletto”, the title track from her 1988 album is also featured. New live versions of THE RUNAWAYS “Rock ‘N’ Roll” and “Secrets” with a brief tease of “Neon Angels” compliment the other RUNAWAYS tracks included like “Cherry Bomb”, “Waitin' For The Night”, “School Days” and bonus track “Dead End Justice”. Packaging wise there are also new photos (including Kari Krome) and informative liner notes penned by Jackie Fox (RUNAWAYS first bass player) makes it all the more a worthwhile investment and is released worldwide. Signed copies by Victory Tischler Blue can also be purchased at: http://www.sacred dogs.com. [10 points] (Debbie Jordan)

WEINHOLD-From Heaven…To Hell (Armageddon Music/Rock Inc)
Ex-ZED YAGO singer Jutta Weinhold has returned to her roots with a great new band named WEINHOLD and a terrific new album, that will remind fans how much we missed ZED YAGO and how truly underrated they were. With her new album "From Heaven To Hell", Jutta is in phenomenal voice (she hasn’t lost it) and she has assembled a solid band. The opener "Strike" immediately snaps you to attention with a very cool metal riff and when Jutta starts singing the opening lines, you are instantly drawn in. Next we have "Metamorphosis", this is one of two songs that clock-in at over nine minutes long. The musicianship is very intricate and sophisticated. This is one of the highlights with its choir-like back-ground vocals and Jutta’s great vocals. Next we have the intro track, which leads us into the nine minute track "Macbeth". Another definite favorite. Other highlights include "Heaven", "My Own Sister" and "Wounded Pioneer". The limited edition features a live version of the old ZED YAGO classic, "Black Bone Song". Recorded live in Hannover, Germany, this version sounds as fresh as ever. "From Heaven..." is a pure metal record. Just like the old days, except it’s new again. It’s good to have Jutta Weinhold back again. She can definitely teach some of these pretenders a thing or two. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

13 WINTERS-Where The Souls Wander (Dark Valley Records)
13 WINTERS are Mike Webb on drums, Roy Addams on bass, keyboards and violin, Matthue Schildroth on guitar and Die Winters on brutal female vocals. I had a lot of trouble finding the right words to describe their dark, death metal like sound. To me, this CD would sound like the ideal soundtrack to satanic rites. The brutal voice of Die screams, growls and cries like she has slaughtered somebody. And some-times it looks like she’s been searching for a victim in a dark cellar. Think about Karen Crisis here for example. But it’s the music that actually makes it spooky. It’s doomy, it’s dark with a touch of gothic and sometimes it’s fast and furious. The stuffy sound production didn’t give me anything to go on. I had to focus real hard to hear the songs, to be able to concentrate myself on all the details. However, I do believe that the band has got some very nice ideas and with the right production, they might come up with a very interesting album next time. The CD also contains the video clip for “The Dead” and some other bonus material. What I didn’t get was, why they used a naked lady on the back of the CD cover? It sure is nice to see, but in which context do I have to put this? In the CD booklet I also read that the band raises their middle finger to THE DARKNESS and TWISTED SISTER’s Dee Snider. Maybe they’d better try to sell as much albums as THE DARKNESS and TWISTED SISTER, before slagging them down. Reason enough for me to distract one point from their total score. And I really hope their next album will sound less dusty as this one. I mean it seriously. This band can make a good album if they want to, but this one definitely won’t lasts for 13 WINTERS. Website: http://www.13winters.com. [4 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE WITCHING-The Witching (All Night Records)
THE WITCHING are from Ithaca, NY. I think they’re from the wrong end of the country. They sound like a Los Angeles band: GUNS’N’ROSES or L.A.GUNS for example. The subjects of the songs and some of the music have a lot in common. None of it has to do with witchcraft. The sound of the instruments together is quite good. Meryl Bursic on lead guitar and Maco Rodriguez on rhythm guitar are a good team. It allows both note playing and (different sets of) chords at the same time. It gives the music a stronger and heavier sound. The rhythms are varied. This is due to the ability of Eva Revesz on bass and Barb Dybwad on drums. Ruby Beil can change the vocals to suit the song. Some go ahead and rock, while others are strained or sultry. The CD starts with “Got Me Running”. It’s good listening, if you like hard rock. It has a strong intro and the band rocks together. The guitar pace is fast, but not too fast. Ruby's vocals can be sultry, but have strength.”Bad Mofos” asks where all the bad boys and girls have gone. “Rock ‘N’ Roll” allows the band to stretch out and play. It says "I don't need a DJ or your digits, all I need is rock and roll". There's a lot to recommend THE WITCHING. Internet: http://www.thewitching.com. Email: contact@thewitching.com. Contact address: Barb Dybwad, c/o All Night Records, P.O. Box 662, Ithaca NY14851-0662, USA. [10 points] (Jack Little)

AFTER FOREVER-Digital Deceit (CD single)(Transmission Records)
AFTER FOREVER singles are always exciting, and they give you value for your money. I know punk rock bands that make shorter full length albums than this twenty-seven minutes single release. “Digital Deceit” is AFTER FOREVER at its best. Powerful and aggressive, yet also melodic and bombastic. This is the previously unreleased single and video clip version of this song. Followed by “Excentric”, which you can enjoy in the orchestral version. It’s rather bombastic and contains some very fine string arrangements. “Sins Of Idealism” is on next in the single version, in which we hear Floor Jansen at her very best. Her great soprano voice is the highlight of this song. The musical part of this single ends with the ‘aggressive version’ of “Blind Pain”. So you’d better get ready for some death grunts as well in this one! The rest of the time is filled with a ten minutes interview that Irene Jansen (Floor’s sister) had with guitar player Sander and drummer Andre. A very interesting release for all the fans of the band out there, because all the versions on this single were previously unreleased. http://www.afterforever.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LULLACRY-Fire Within (EP) (Century Media)
"Fire Within" is a pre-cursor to the Finnish band LULLACRY’s upcoming 2005 release, "Killer". It is just a taster to get fans excited for the release and it does a great job in wetting the appetite in anticipation. "Fire Within" is five songs and twenty minutes worth of high quality material that sees the band continue its natural progression and these songs just plain rock! The title track "Fire Within" gets things started on the right note. This is a straight-up rocker, that has plenty of energy and attitude. Next up we have a cover of the W.A.S.P. classic "L.O.V.E. Machine", an interesting choice for sure as Tanja’s voice could not be any more different than Blackie Lawless’, but it works quite well and it is a huge surprise. Next we have a re-working of an older song. "Be My God (Tribal Reprise)" is a different take on the song originally recorded by the bands first vocalist Tanya. The new version features tribal sounding drums and a slower tempo with a great vocal performance from Tanja. Next is another brand-new song called "The #1 Rebel" which starts of slow, but then develops into a catchy rocker with a great chorus. "Crucify My Heart pt. II (piano version)" brings this MCD to a close. This is a slower piano dominated version of the title track from their last album and it concludes "Fire Within" in perfect style. LULLACRY has remained consistent throughout their career which has spanned three full-length albums and this EP. I expect that trend to continue, when their next long player is released in early 2005. I can’t wait! Website: http://www.lullacry.com. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

[Updated: Febr. 15, 2005]

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