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

MM#35/March 2004:

THE ADVERTS-Anthology (The Devils Own Jukebox)
THE ADVERTS (who mostly came from Devon in the UK) were formed shortly after the first SEX PISTOLS show in 1976. Their line up comprised of T.V. Smith (Tim Smith, vocals), Howard Pickup (guitar), Gaye Advert (Gaye Atlas, bass – she’s the female JOAN JETT lookalike in this band!) and Laurie Driver (drums), who quit in February ’78. Replacements were found in respectively, John Towe (one of the founders of CHELSEA and GENERATION X) and Rod Latter (ex-MANIACS drummer). THE ADVERTS made their live debut at the Roxy in London on January 15, 1977 and from there on, things were happening really fast for them. This “Anthology” two discs package, tells you the complete story of THE ADVERTS in twenty-six songs, stretched out over a period of three years, that they were together as a band. CD 1 starts off with their first single “One Chord Wonders”, which is definitely one their finest songs ever. Followed by “Quickstep” and their second (and biggest hit); “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”. Next up are “Bored Teenagers”, “Safety In Numbers”, “We Who Wait” and “No Time To Be 21”. Should I go on? There’s “New Day Dawning”, “Drowning Man”, “On The Roof”, “Newboys”, “On Wheels”, “Bombsite Boy”, “New Church”, “Great British Mistake”, “Television’s Over”, “Cast Of Thousands” and many other punk rock classics. CD2 contains a bonus live disc of THE ADVERTS “Live At The Roxy” in 1977, which brings back many more fine memories of this great (and very promising) band. The CD booklet contains lots of never before seen photos, and the liner notes are written by T.V. Smith. He also wrote comments to each of the songs. For those of you, who’d like to know what Smith is doing nowadays, check out his website at: In closing, I would highly recommend this compilation package to all punk rock fans of the new generation (and old, too). Well done!!! [8 points] (Rita van Poorten)

AFTER THE SILENCE-Final Fantasy (independent)
In our previous issue, we reviewed the rehearsal CD of AFTER THE SILENCE and introduced the band to you. This time you’ll hear the real deal on their first four track mini CD, which is called "Final Fantasy". I decided not to look back at my other review, because that was not an official release. The four songs on this official debut CD have a playing time of almost twenty-five minutes, which means that you’ll definitely get value for your money. Then the music. My goodness, this is really great, dear readers. The songs are long, and full of nice breaks and speed changes. The production, which was done with the help of Edwin den Haag (bass player of HIGHWAY CHILE!) is very good indeed and the sound is full and warm. Ingrid van den Hof-van den Berg has got a very nice voice and the rest of the band is responsible for a lot of instrumental variation. Joop de Rooij on keyboards forms the foundation here. The rhythm section consists of Edward van Galen on the drums and Marcel van Rooij on bass guitar and vocals (who does some excellent bass playing in "Weary Angels Heart"!). The cream on top comes from the two guitarplayers Andy van Breemen and Willem van der Hof. At the end of "Weary Angels Heart", they even come close to the sound of good old David Gilmour of PINK FLOYD. But that's the only comparision I can make here. The band creates a sound of their own, which is a good blend of rock, progressive rock and pop rock music, although the cover of the CD (with two white angels on it) may suggest that you are about to listen to another gothic metal band. The four songs you get to hear are title track "Final Fantasy", "Weary Angels Heart", "C'est La Vie" and "Ressurrection". I can write a lot of positive things about this very promising band, but I think you'll have to check them out for yourself. The CD costs 7 Euro and 50 cents, which is a very good price for so much quality. Check out or send an email to: [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

AINA-Days Of The Rising Doom – The Metal Opera (Transmission Records)
AINA is the name of the latest metal opera from Transmission Records and the array of musicians, who lend their talents is very impressive. It’s a very impressive list indeed. This opus begins with the intro track “Aina Overture” which leads us into “Revelations”, which features the vocal talents of Sebastian Thomson, Michael Kiske (good to hear him singing metal again) and Damian Wilson. Next up we have “Silver Maiden” which features the enchanting voice of Amanda Somerville. She’s an artist, who does not have a background in metal and I am not at all familiar with her but she is quite impressive. She plays a big part in the concept of this album as she wrote all of the lyrics and came up with the story, she also supplies many vocal parts throughout. She is obviously a very talented lady. Other highlights include: “Flight Of Torek”, “The Siege Of Aina” (with Candice Night on vocals), “Rape Of Oria” (once again with Candice Night) and SASS JORDAN even turns up playing the part of Orianna on “Orianna’s Wrath”. This is very different than what she is accustomed to singing on, but she does an excellent job, as does everyone who lend their talents to this release. When “Restoration” (featuring Simone Simons of EPICA) brings “Days Of Rising Doom” to an end you know that you have just listened to something pretty special. Also included is a second disc featuring instrumentals, alternate, single and demo versions of some of the songs. But that’s not all, the limited edition comes with a DVD called “Beyond Borders” that includes: “The Best Within” (single version), the making of Aina, the story of Aina (with a moving story board), a slide show, art work, audio settings and credits. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

AMARAN-Pristine In Bondage (Listenable Records)
“Atropine” opens on this excellent second album of the Swedish band AMARAN, “Pristine In Bondage”. Their previous debut CD called “A World Depraved” was already very surprisingly indeed. Inbetween they changed bass players. Mikael Andersson decided to leave the band for personal reasons, and he was replaced by Ronnie Bergstål. Mikael still plays the bass parts on this album however. Besides Ronnie, the band consists of Kari Kainulainen on guitar, Ronnie Backlund on guitar, Robin Bergh on drums and Johanna DePierre on vocals. This new album of AMARAN sounds more brutal than their debut album and that’s why I like it a bit more, I think. Heavy, PANTERA and MACHINE HEAD like riffs, IRON MAIDEN like song structures, and the great voice of Johanna give the eleven songs (among which “As We Fly” is a bonus track and will be only available on the limited edition slipcage package) a good heavy metal atmosphere. The band also did a video clip for the song “Inflict”. They toured with SUN CAGED at the end of 2003 and more recently, this Swedish band supported AFTER FOREVER on a huge European tour with DARK MOOR & NIGHTMARE. If you are looking for a band that could be categorised as an heavier Swedish brother (or sister) of EVANESENCE, then you might want to check out this release of AMARAN. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

AMAZOMBIES-Bitches & Stitches (independent)
Twelve songs are on this debut album by THE AMAZOMBIES. Is that JOAN JETT, I hear on vocals? No, but she surely sounds like her. The punky sound of the band is catchy, and has a touch of melody in it. I would like to compare them to the BLITZ BABIEZ, or a faster and much heavier version of THE LUNACHICKS. Kim’s vocals will also remind you of Joanne of the BLITZ BABIEZ, maybe even more than of JOAN JETT. The twelve songs sound rebellious, and have a playing time of about thirty, intense and dynamic minutes. Besides Kim Kelly, who also plays the guitar, we hear Noriko Kaji on bass and Josh Kramer on drums. Great music for a good punk rock party. There’s one cover on the CD and that’s “Riot In Cell Block #9”, a true classic which suits just fine with the punk rock attitude of this band from Seattle. Kick ass punk rock music, leaving behind a huge sweating mass, when playing live. The band is also to be seen in the independent movie “Prey For Rock & Roll”. Come on old school punkers, take a giant lick of gel and create a nice mohawk, because there’s a party going on! THE AMAZOMBIES are back in town, and their new album is called “Bitches & Stitches”! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ANOUK-Update (Dino Music)
ANOUK gives a quick update here after her latest album. She also did the same on “Lost Tracks”, and so it could very well be named “Lost Tracks Part Two”, but that would have been too easy, I guess. What we have here are thirteen live, acoustic and alternative versions of songs that we know already from previous releases. We start with seven acoustic tracks, like “Who Cares”, “Everything”, “Too Long”, “Searching”, “Stop Thinking”, “Wait And See” and “Margarita Chum”. Sometimes the compositions are a little different, so it’s quite interesting to hear what they turned into. After this unplugged piece, we get three live songs. Two of them were recorded at the Oosterpoort in Groningen (“It Wasn’t Me” and the awful REM cover “Losing My Religion”- I really hate this song!), while “Michel” was recorded at Pinkpop in Landgraaf. Then it’s back to an acoustic version of “Between These Walls”. Last but not least, we hear two songs recorded for the famous radio show of Henk Westbroek (Denk Aan Henk) over here in Holland, where she played “Hail” and “Searching”. It’s a nice way to build a bridge to the new album for all the fans. It’ll definitely bring in some money for the napkins she’ll have to buy, now she has become a mother of her second child. I’m curious what the new album will sound like, because the album she made after the birth of her first child was pretty heavy and really took me by surprise. Hopefully, it won’t contain any acoustic material, ‘cause we have heard enough of that on this release. It doesn’t make the album sound bad of course, but ANOUK is brutal and should sound that way too, if you ask my honest opinion. The review of the DVD “Close Up”, that was released simultaneously with this CD, can be found in our next issue! All the information that I didn’t give you can be found on Copying the CD is useless, because it’s copy protected, but I think a lot of fans will buy an original copy, ‘cause ANOUK is still HOT! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ATROX-Orgasm (SPV/Code 666)
Devoted readers of this magazine will remember the previous albums by this band from Norway really well, I think. KATE BUSH on crack, tied in a strait-waistcoat, locked up in a 100 feet high tower with no stairs and no windows, drowning herself in her own vomit while listening to the sound of a metal glove scratching over a blackboard and a water valve dripping at night, sounds exactly like this lady. Weird might be another word for this long description. The music is pretty much straight forward, if you compare it to the vocal masturbations of Monika Edvardsen, who also made the excentric but excellent drawings for this new album. Just have a look at the hilarious drawing on the back of the album: drawings of Atrox, Hatrox, Ratrox, Flatrox, Batrox and Fatrox. It’s amazing, how they presented this funny interpretation of their own band name. I hear influences of CYNIC, PSYCHOTIK WALTZ, DEAD SOUL TRIBE, VOI VOD, IN THE WOODS, MESHUGGAH, THE GATHERING and DEVIL DOLL. The eight songs take about fifty minutes, which is rather long, especially if you don’t have any experience with the music of this Norwegian band. They give us soundscapes that have never been seen or heard before. In comparision to their previous album, this is a giant step forward. Although I didn’t get an ‘orgasm’, while listening to it. I did get an ‘eargasm’ though, which is a state of mind that can only be given to you by musical geniusses like Monika on vocals and synths, Eivind on guitar, Ole Marius on guitar, Tor Arne on drums and Peter on bass and vocals. Schizo’s should also check out the website of the band at: http:// People, looking for musical clichées, should leave this band alone. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

AUF DER MAUR-S/T (Capitol Records)
This is the first solo album of Melissa Auf Der Maur, the female bass player from Montreal in Canada, who is well known for her work with HOLE and SMASHING PUMPKINS. The PUMPKINS were never my thing, but in HOLE she proved to be a good musician, especially when you know she had to deal with femme fatale Courtney Love. She started her musical career however in a band called TINKER and Steve Durand and Jordan Zadorozny, who both play on this album, were her bandmates from that period. Besides Jordan and Steve, we also hear James Iha (SMASHING PUMPKINS), Eric Erlandson (HOLE), Josh Homme (QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, KYUSS) and Brandt Bjork (KYUSS). The twelve songs on the album have a total running time of about fifty minutes. In that time we hear a musician at work, who feels like a fish in the water. Touches of her former bands are still there, when listening to the album very carefully. Nice detail is that she used the opening sentence of BLACK SABBATH’s “Paranoid”, at the very end of “I’ll Be Anything You Want”, but she changed the last words. AUF DER MAUR has definitely developped a style of her own on this first solo album. You must be open-minded to love the alternative sound, but I’m sure HOLE fans will love the album of this lady, who once was the bass player of HOLE. Watch out for the hilarious yodel track at the end of the CD, which is a funny bonus here. Website: http:// [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE BANGLES-Doll Revolution (Down Kittie Records/Koch Records)
“Walk Like An Egyptian”. I think, everybody will associate this song with the name of THE BANGLES, the band of Susanna Hoffs on guitars and vocals, Debbi Peterson on drums, acoustic guitar and vocals, Vicki Peterson on guitar, mandolin and vocals and Michael Steele on bass, guitars and vocals. But didn’t they split up a long time ago? Nope, they’re back together again after thirteen long years and they prove this with a new album, and some extensive touring in America. The pop music of this all-female band is still very intense in this new millennium. It’s not really heavy though, but the intenseness makes up for that in a certain way. It’s a CD to listen to after a hard days work and a long walk through the rain after that. When you finally come home and put this CD in your stereo and push the ‘play’ button, you’ll get a warm feeling at once. It’ll bring peace in your house, and after a few songs, you will be able to relax yourself completely. Fifteen songs are on this new album, and after a full hour of music, the whole trip is over. A trip that sounds like THE BANGLES should sound. Good mainstream pop songs, nothing more and nothing less. There’s a limited edition available (import only), which contains a bonus DVD, and that’s the version I am listening to right now. It shows you a picture gallery with some nice photos (old and new), the video clip of “Something That You Said” and a short update interview, in which the band comments on their comeback album. You can also watch some live footage from their show at the House Of Blues. “Doll Revolution” has become a nice comeback album. However, it doesn’t contain any big hit singles like “Walk Like An Egyptian”, “Eternal Flame” or “Manic Monday”. And to be quite honest with you, I don’t think the band is aiming for the big hit success anymore. They are beyond that stage right now. It’s also nice to mention that Dave Grohl of THE FOO FIGHTERS did some choir vocals on the album. Visit their website at: Warning: Not interesting for metalheads with studs on their arms that run up to their armpits! [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BEHIND ENEMY LINES-The Global Cannibal (Antagony Media)
Holy Mother, what a power! What is it, the new SLAYER album? It sure sounds like it! No, it’s a band called BEHIND ENEMY LINES, and they shred like hell!!! Their lyrics are very explicit, and they spit on the American governement, religious matters and the war in Iraq. Let’s focus on the music here, because if SLAYER should ever stop playing, their successors will be standing right at the sideline already, laughing their asses of. BEHIND ENEMY LINES is brutal!!! They play short powerful songs, and they sound like a steamtrain rolling in the best thrash metal tradition imaginable. The band consists of Matt Garabedian on drums and vocals, Bill Chamberlain on guitar and vocals, Matt Tuite on guitar and vocals, Dave Trenga on vocals and ‘metal maiden’ Mary Bielich on bass and vocals. If you don’t know Mary, then I’d suggest you have a good look at our previous issue, in which we introduced this musical ‘jack-of-all-trades’ to you. The twelve songs have a running time of only thirty minutes, but hey “Reign In Blood” didn’t last longer for God sake, so why complain now! As long as the songs are intense, and I don’t have any doubts here, you still get value for money. You just can’t handle any more brutality after hearing this, that’s for sure too. Please spend some time looking at the excellent drawings of Jarrod Russell and Matt Garabedian. The posters, that fit really well with the lyrics, were chosen by singer Dave Trenga. And they definitely need some special attention, while listening to this superheavy outfit that moves along BEHIND ENEMY LINES! Website: http://www.wearebehindenemylines. com. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BINKY-Kiss The Mall Goodbye (Amoebe Records SF/Berkeley)
I get sick and tired of the danceable pop music I hear on the radio. When that happens I need something like “Kiss The Mall Goodbye”. The first song is called “Carney”. It starts at full force. There’s a long, heavy long intro. The drumming is by Windy Wild. It is thunderous throughout. I don’t know, if ‘Wild’ is her real name. It sure fits her drum style though. Then there’s a trumpet. Yes, a trumpet. Erwin Luther plays it. I realize you will get thrown out of most heavy metal bands for even suggesting a little bit of trumpet sound. It works well for BINKY and it makes the music spookier. The vocal lines are distorted, to the point that the words aren’t easy to understand. A lyric sheet would have helped. Even without words it’s scary stuff. Thrash fanciers will like “Doomsday Loser”. You can hear Tijana Eaton on bass, alternating with the drums. Klara Lux plays a surprisingly number of guitar chords in a short period of time. This song is intense, to say the least. I’m not sure whose death grunt that is though. There’s a slow passage at the end, then “Doomsday Loser” grinds itself to a halt. There are three other songs on this CD. If you like music that charges at you like a train, you’ll like this. Not recommended for the weak. [Note: BINKY are currently recording their brandnew CD!!] Email: or surf to: You can also drop a line to: BINKY, 17 Harriet, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA. [8 points] (Jack Little)

BLACK WIDOW-Satan's Playground (JAB productions)
Does anybody still remember a band called ICRI’S WITCH? Well, a few people probably will, and they will also cherish some good memories about their album “In For The Kill”. BLACK WIDOW reminds me a lot of this band, because the voice of singer Cat shows a lot of resemblance with good old Stacey Adler on that album. Musically, both bands lean into the same direction. Heavy metal, with a certain old good spirit, that you just can’t deny. This debut album is a must for every devoted old school metalhead, that is into bands like Y&T, SAXON, GREAT WHITE, DOKKEN and DIO. The four spiders on this very promising debut album are Dean Meredith on bass, Tommy Azzinaro on drums, John Anthony on guitar and piano and Cat on vocals. For example just listen to the thundering drums in “The Unknown”. You won’t hear this on any other so called ‘heavy metal album’ nowadays anymore. This band however still produces these pure heavy metal riffs, that I want to hear so badly. BLACK WIDOW also knows that they should reward the old school metal fans with value for their money. Twelve great songs with a running time of about sixty-five minutes will get you strangled in the web of this venomenous spider. When you’ve finally worked yourself out of their web, you’ll find out soon that you’ve landed on “Satan’s Playground”. In other words, you cannot escape the claws of this mighty new heavy metal monster from Baltimore, Maryland. Spiders have always been my biggest nightmare, but I am willing to sacrifice myself and get in touch with the band to find out everything there’s to know about Cat and her BLACK WIDOWS. Highlight on this album is definitely the last song “Heavy Metal Warrior”, that can easily become a real heavy metal anthem in all the clubs of the Maryland area and far beyond that, too!! It won’t come as a big surprise, that I rate this CD with the full score. BLACK WIDOW, P.O. Box 455, Burtonsville MD 20866-0455, USA, or check out [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CADAVERIA-Far Away From Comformity (Scarlet Records)
CADAVERIA released another dark doomy death metal album. Raw meat grinders will know what this means already. Fourty-five minutes of raw power, lots of heavy riffs, the brutal voice of Cadaveria herself, and a slow doomy sound that forms the base of the explicit lyrics of Mrs Cadaveria. A great contrast is build up by the normal voice of Cadaveria, that is also used a lot on this album. A beautiful voice, if I may say so. The real death metal obeyers will swear by the screaming voice of this lady of course, but it’s cool to hear she knows to use her normal voice as well in these powerful songs. It gives the songs a different angle. And I must admit, that I liked this album already more than the debut album “The Shadows’ Madame”. The line up of the band remained the same, except for Baron Hakonnen (synthesizers), who actually left the band. So we can enjoy the splendid guitar work of Frank Booth, the grinding bass of Killer Bob and the drumming of Marçelo Santos, and on top of that there’s of course the ice cold screams of Cadaveria. After surviving brutal attacks like “The Divine Rapture” and “Omen Of Delirium”, you are in for a nice surprise in my opinion. Cadaveria going back to her roots with an industrial like cover of BLONDIE’s hitsingle “Call Me”, completely with distorted vocals. The gruelsome pictures on the CD cover make this album complete, and for me they can launch this product in the top of the underground charts right away, because this is really cool shit! Highlights for me are “Out Body Experience” and “Prayer Of Sorrow”. Website: [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DARK:30-Fatalism (independent)
DARK: 30 consists of Bridgett Wells, who has a terse voice that works well for doomy songs. She wrote the words with Kelly. He plays guitar and bass, both very well. Kelly also wrote the music. Cheryl Homen thumps the drums, in a simple but worthwhile manner. The songs start with an instrumental section. It sets a dark tone for the songs. Then Bridgett takes us through the disturbing subject. Then there’s an instrumental seclusion. It includes a guitar solo. These are uniformly well done. The songs themselves are mysterious, to say the least. Often the main characters are women. First on this ten song CD is “Pandora’s Box”. It tells and comments on the legend about the release of evil. Together with the music, it sounds more frightening than when someone just tells you the story without the music. “Black Dahlia” is based on a gruesome murder of over fifty years ago. In these days it was quite a sensation, now that I think of it. It’s a good subject for a death metal song. The CD is called “Fatalism”. It’s fixed in advance that there is high quality, very heavy music on it. You have no power to change that. DARK: 30, c/o Well, 924 Oakdale Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73127, USA, or email to: [10 points] (Jack Little)

ILSE DELANGE-Here I Am: 1998-2003 (WEA)
ILSE DELANGE can’t do any wrong with me. She ain’t heavy, but her voice just has that magic touch, I guess. This compilation CD is the ultimate choice of hitsingles, with a few live songs added to it. And finally Ilse decided to put “All The Answers” on this album. In a studio version, and in the well known live version. This song can easily move me into tears, through the deep emotions in Ilse’s voice. Same goes for the beautiful gospel like “I Almost Believed”, that is on this compilation album as well. The CD has become a good overview of all the hitsingles of this talented singer from the Eastern part of our country, that started her career as a country singer. Later on, she developed more into a pop singer and hit the Dutch charts many times with her great songs. We are also remembered to the fact, that Ilse released an album full of JOHN HIATT covers, resulting in the addition of a live version of “Have A Little Faith In Me”. The duet with KANE, “Before You Let Me Go” is also to be found on this compilation album of course. Briefly, the album captures the finest moments in Ilse’s five year career from 1998 to 2003. And I hope, we’ll be able to enjoy her talents many more years to come, ‘cause although this isn’t real heavy, it always knows to touch me in a certain way. That’s what they call ‘quality’ music. Sixteen songs with a playing time of almost seventy minutes proving that quality does not need to sound ultra heavy all the time. Website: http:// [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DERKETA-Goddess Of Death (Necroharmonic)
We unfolded the complete story of DERKETA in MM#28. On this CD we hear the brutal doomy death metal sound of this band, that really caused a stir in the underground scene, because there were female members in the line up, which is in fact a rare situation in the death metal scene. Well, there might be a handful of bands that have female members, but it’s not too common. The music of DERKETA is brutal and dark, and if you listen to the dark death grunt of Sharon, it is hard to believe that this grinding growl is coming from the lungs of a woman. Songs like “Premature Burial” and “Begotten Son” can be seen as real DERKETA classics. And I absolutely love songs like “Time Of Awakening”, “The Unholy Ground” or the wonderful “Crypts Of Darkness”. They give you a creepy, ominous feeling that something terrible is about to happen soon. It sounds like being burried alive, and being put away in a deep dark grave, from which no one will hear you scream again. “Your Rotting Flesh” (bon appetite!) was originally released on the “The Impaler Of Trendies” compilation CD, and “Spirits In The Morgue” was originally part of a split 7” with GRAVEWURM, SADO-MANIAC and WITCHBURNER. These songs were a little hard to find before, but with the release of this twelve track compilation CD of all the DERKETA stuff, you can finally enjoy it. Their website: contains all the latest information about this brutal death metal machine. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE DISTILLERS-Coral Fang (Sire Records)
They already call her ‘the new Courtney Love’! Her name is Brody Armstrong, ex wife of Tim Armstrong of the American punk band RANCID. Ex-wife, because she has a relation with Josh Homme of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE now. But this is not the only reason, why a lot of people know Brody. She also plays brutal punk rock music, and the crowd seems to like it. Now HOLE is put on the back burner, people are searching for the next big thing, and all the noses are pointed at the Australian Brody and her DISTILLERS. The rest of the band consists of Andy Granelli on drums, Ryan Sinn on bass guitar and vocals, and Tony Bradley on guitar and vocals. The fourty-five minutes of powerful punk rock are overwhelming on this new album. The cover of the album is banned in some parts of the world, and can be seen as another good promotional stunt for the band. But also the music will raise some eyebrows here and there. The music of Brody and her guys is a real kick in the face, and all these segments together give her the right, that people are calling her the new Courtney Love. The last song of the album, which is called “Death Sex” is totally over the top. It’s a great song to close their live set and smash the amps like Courtney and her husband Kurt Cobain did several times. I think that Courtney will strike back, later on this year, to prove that she’s the ultimate femme fatale in the punk rock scene. I hope that Brody will survive this attack, because there’s finally something happening again in the punk rock scene. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EARTHCUBED-The Dark And The Devine (independent)
Wow! What do we have here? The band EARTHCUBED hails from England, and the two most important people in the band are frontlady, singer & violin player Kristin Lamb and guitar wizard Anrew W Bordoni. The rest of the band consists of Matt Konfirst on guitar, Roman Nizolek on bass and Greg Rapp on drums. The music of the band can be described as melodic powermetal with a progressive touch. The structure of the songs is based upon a stunning rhythm, completed with powerful riffs, the clear vocals of Kristin and the flashing guitarwork of Andrew. The six songs on this CD have a total length of about an half an hour, and it’s the second release of this very promising band. The first release was a full length CD, which is called “Earth 3”. The promo kit of the band is very well taken care of, and so is the music. Reason enough to be very positive about these newcomers, who started their career in the beginning of 2003. The CD breaths out a ‘live atmosphere’, and I think that’s exactly the intention of Andrew, if I got the info in their bio right. “The Rising” and “Redemption” are uptempo songs, which remind me of BRAZEN ABBOT and YNGWIE MALMSTEEN (musically). With “Avalon”, which is in fact a bit slower and more modest, I am thinking more in the direction of BLACKMORE’S NIGHT. During “The Spirit Within”, the speed goes up again. My thoughts go out to an older version of THE GATHERING here. As you can see, there’s a lot of variation in EARTHCUBED, and together with a good record label, this could be a very succesful band for the near future. The band is still searching for a good record label or manager to take on these duties, that are now in the band’s hands at the moment. When that happens, they can fully concentrate theemselves on making more good music. For more info, just go to: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ERIKA-Cold Winter Night (MTM Music)
This is a re-release of ERIKA’s album from 1990. This album was the ultimate breakthrough of Swedens hottest rock singer ERIKA. She already had quite some reputation in the beginning of her career, and she was voted as the ‘worst dressed woman’ several times. But this album changed everything. The single “Together We’re Lost” reached the number one position in her own country very easily. But the albums she made after this one, never reached the status of this album. The lady was married several times, and her first marriage was to Swedish guitar juggler YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN, who also plays a lead guitar solo on the song "Emergancy” on this album. In 1999, ERIKA decides to quit her singing career, and she became a journalist. She made some fine melodic poprock albums, think about a style similar to BON JOVI here, and now MTM has re-released her finest piece of art “Cold Winter Night” on CD. Which is good for the people who don’t want to spend a large amount of money on the vinyl version of this album. The music is still very good, and we get some bonus material on this CD version, too. First there’s a track called “Super Sonic City”, and we also hear the ‘remixed extended version/club mix’ of ERIKA’s biggest hitsingle “Together We’re Lost”. If this isn’t enough, you can also enjoy an extended dance version of the same song. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

FANCY-Wild Thing/Turn You On (Angel Air)
Now this is really interesting, if you’re into English rock music of the early seventies. Those were the highlight days of this band called FANCY. They started out with a singer called Helen Caunt, who was a Penthouse model. The first hitsingle was a sexy version of the old classic “Wild Thing”. But the career of Helen as a singer didn’t last long, and she was eventually replaced by a girl called Annie Kavanagh. The music of the band sounds a bit like old English bands like FANNY and BIRTHA, and it contains funk, rock, soul and pop influences all in one. The rest of the band consists of well known names like Mo Foster on bass (PHIL COLLINS, JEFF BECK), Les Binks on drums (later JUDAS PRIEST) and Ray Fenwick on guitar (IAN GILLAN BAND, FORCEFIELD). Annie had already gained some experience, singing with STEELY DAN for a short time. The horns on the songs are maybe a bit odd and they give the songs some soul. But the voice of Annie is really kinda rocking and therefore, it’s quite interesting to check out this twenty song compilation album, which last for about seventy-five minutes and contains the two albums they’ve released and three songs that were only released on single. The first album of the band was called “Wild Thing”, while the second one was called “Turns You On”, but in England they also know this album as “Something To Remember”. The band shared the stage with names like THE GUESS WHO, WISHBONE ASH, STEPPENWOLF, 10 CC and even KISS, but I think that hardly no one has ever heard about this great band, that had a short but flashing career in the mid-seventies. Check it out now, while you can. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

FLEETWOOD MAC-Say You Will (Reprise Records)
“Say You Will” is the title of the new FLEETWOOD MAC album and I was really curious what they would sound like without Christine McVie. Well, as long as I hear the beautiful voice of STEVIE NICKS, nothing can go wrong with this band. Their tour in Great Britain was completely sold out, and I wondered why they didn’t play over here on the continent. Anyway, the new album contains eighteen new songs, and shows a lot of variation. You can't easily pin FLEETWOOD MAC down to one style of music, and that's the way it will always be. The quality of their records is high, but they are growing on you over the years, most of the time. I think the same will happen with this album. It has got some very fine moments already, but I think it will become better and better once you’ve heard it a couple of times more. Lindsay Buckingham’s guitarwork is sometimes very fast and very much upfront in the mix. I like it a lot. There’s a kind of magic taking place between Buckingham and Nicks, that was there before on their earlier albums. It’s something they call chemistry, I guess. Put two people together in a band, and things work out fine, it’s as simple as that. And with a song like “Come”, they proved that their music is still very fashionable in 2004. What power, and what an exceptional high quality! I am very positive about the result of this new album, and I only hope that they will play in Holland very soon again. On the album we also hear two female guest musicians that need to be mentioned here, namely Christine McVie (who else?!) and SHERYL CROW. Highly recommended for everyone, who loves the varied styles of FLEETWOOD MAC. “Say You Will” - yes I do!! Website: [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

4 STAR RADAR-S/T (EP) (independent)
If someone asked me “Where are the new bands coming from?”, I wouldn’t have said “Barberton, Ohio”. Having heard 4 STAR RADAR, that might change. The six songs on this CD are varied. It starts off with “Secret”. This sounds more like alternative music. Drummer Scott Christoff lays down a nice steady beat. He’s not a flashing drummer. Scott does keep the music moving along though. The song is about someone who is getting back at someone else, by not telling what they know. Two songs rock more. They are “Every Other Second” and “Never Said”. Vocals alternate with instrumental breaks. It holds your attention. April Vawn is easy to hear on bass. All instruments are mixed about equally. Scott Sanders supplies the guitar chords. He’s also the vocalist, whose voice works well for these songs. They would fit into a rock radio format. The last song is “Persuaded Glory”. It rocks even more. There’s an electrical sound on the intro, then 4 STAR RADAR takes off. I wonder if the band plays their songs in the same order when they play live?! The pace would build, as they went on. By the end everyone would be sure they had a good time. My computer says it’s playing ‘Unknown Artist’. If 4 STAR RADAR keep this up, they won’t be unknown for long. or email at: (Snail) mail can be send to: 4 STAR RADAR, 1015 Wooster Road West #9, Barberton, OH 44203, USA. [8 points] (Jack Little)

THE GATHERING-Sleepy Buildings: A Semi Acoustic Evening (Century Media)
Personally, I never thought THE GATHERING would release an album like this, but I must say, I am pleasantly surprised by “Sleepy Buildings”. This album was recorded during the two shows the band did in Nijmegen and is, as the title says, semi acoustic. THE GATHERING played songs from the first six albums. No songs from “Black Light District” and their last album “Souvenirs” and this suits me just fine, ‘cause in my opinion the first couple of albums were their best. The albums starts with a great version of “Locked Away”. Anneke sings brilliantly as always and the sound is magnificent. Many of the songs sound a lot different than the originals and sometimes they sound even better than the original version. A lot of the songs have a spacy sound. It really sounds dynamic, yet it is very transparent. This deserves a compliment. The guitars sound great and the piano parts sound overwhelming. There are two tracks from THE GATHERING’s first release “Always“ and they sound fantastic! Anneke changed the vocal melodies completely and I must say that especially “Stonegarden” sounds super. Also they've put a new song on this album. “Sleepy Buildings” is a nice piano ballad, which goes perfect with the other songs. A big surprise for everyone is that this album also contains a song from “Almost A Dance”, I think THE GATHERING's least succesful album. “Like Fountains” became a totally different sounding song, but in my opinion it's very cool. My favourite tracks are “Marooned”, “My Electricity” and the great “In Motion Part II” with its great chorus. THE GATHERING will do a complete ‘Sleepy Buildings’tour, so if you like this album be sure to catch them on tour. A cool album! [8 points] (Ricard van Oudheusden)

GUANO APES are ‘big in Japan’. At least, that’s what they’re singing in one of their songs. They play what I would like to call heavy rock of the new millennium. Riff oriented songs, with a lot of power and energy. When I hear the voice of Sandra Nasic, my thoughts go out to ANOUK almost right away. The same intonation, the same groove and the same language, only another name. For almost eighty minutes we can enjoy twenty, catchy, heavy rock songs, including their hit single “Open Your Eyes”. And if you hurry, you can buy this album as a limited edition, including an eighty minutes bonus DVD containing the whole live gig. The show was recorded live at the Palladium in Cologne, Germany on May 2nd, 2003. It sounds fresh and very cool and I think that a lot of today’s rock and metal fans will like the stuff, that is played on this honest reflection of GUANO APES live. Website: [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HEAVEN FALLS-Ethereal Dreams (Hellion Records, Brazil)
HEAVEN FALLS was formed in 1999 and hails from Brazil. Their music is a good mix of progressive rock and power metal. The band consists of Sabrina Carrión on vocals, Victor Montalvão on guitars, Davis Vasconcellos on guitars, Daniel ‘Ferra’ White on bass, Fabio Rogers on drums and Walber Assis on keyboards. To be honest with you, I wasn’t impressed by the monotonous and almost emotionless vocals of Sabrina on this nine track album. I believe, she really does her very best to do the job right, but it’s hard for her to bring over the emotion in the songs. The music however makes up for that, although the piano and keyboard parts are very much upfront in the compositions. Some of the musical ideas are quite good, but it takes much more to make an album, that is completely interesting for the fans. This doesn’t make it a bad album, but I believe it could have been more. Forty-five minutes of average progressive rock can be yours, if yo buy this “Ethereal Dreams” album. More information about the band can be obtained from their website at: [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS-Jett Rock-Greatest Hits (Victor Entertainment, Japan)
Whaaaaaaaat?!??? A new CD by JOAN JETT??? Uhhh, almost right, but let me not be the one to disappoint you. This “Greatest Hits” collection contains twenty-two tracks, including two previously unreleased songs (now, there you have it!): “Water Sign” (from ’99, written by JETT in collaboration with Kathleen Hanna of BIKINI KILL) and “Science Fiction” (’01, from the Broadway musical The Rocky Horror Show, in which the rocker plays Columbia). The CD starts off with “Cherry Bomb” (RUNAWAYS anthem), followed by “Backlash” (THE REPLACE-MENTS), “I Hate Myself For Loving You”, “Love Is All Around” (theme song from the Mary Tyler Moore show), “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” (CCR), “I Love Rock N’Roll” (ARROWS; who doesn’t know her biggest hit single ever???), “You Can’t Get Me” (acoustic version), “Bad Reputation”, “Everyday People” (SLY & THE FAMILY STONE), “I Want You”, “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)” (GARY GLITTER), “Let’s Do It” (BAD RELIGION), “Light Of Day” (THE BARBUSTERS; from the movie “Light Of Day”), “Talkin’ ‘Bout My Baby”, “Good Music”, “I Need Someone” (BELMONTS), “Fetish”, “Spinster”, “Crimson And Clover” (TOMMY JAMES AND THE SHONDELLS) and “This Means War” (THE BARBUSTERS; from the movie “Light Of Day”). It’s all there, but I do wonder why they left out songs like “The French Song”, “Little Liar”, “Dirty Deeds”, “Fake Friends” or “Roadrunner” (all were huge hits) and put in “You Can’t Get Me” and “I Want You” from the “1979” fan club release, that the average music fan doesn’t even know. This special package was released in addition to her recent Japanese shows last October and it’s available through JETT’s official fan club ( or you can order it at: Please note, that it’s very limited and when gone, it’s gone. [8 points] (Rita van Poorten)

LANA LANE/ERIC NORLANDER-European Tour 2003 Souvenir CD(Transmission)
Remember, that LANA LANE released a special tour CD during her first European trip? This is another one from her most recent tour in 2003, and for the fans it has really become a most interesting piece of art. The fifty-five minutes compilation CD contains fourteen tracks, and most of the songs are previously unreleased or taken from the high priced Japanese releases. And so we can listen to live versions of “Escher’s Staircase”, and “Autumn Leaves”, recorded live in Japan in 2002. Or what do you think of a song, called “Phantom’s Theme”? Originally written by Paul Williams in 1976 and released as a promotional track for the “2002 Shangri-La Tour” CD. But there’s more to enjoy… What about covers like “No Quarter” (LED ZEPPELIN) and “I Believe In You” (JOHN WETTON). Don Schiff, the man who plays the Chapman Stick on Lana’s albums, is also put in the spotlight on this marvellous album, with a (previously unreleased) song, taken from his new solo album. It’s called “The Eight Wonder”, and it shows you how great a song can sound, even when you write the music completely by yourself. The last song on this CD is a live track of the ROCKET SCIENTISTS, recorded at The Troubadour in Hollywood, 2000. What a great initiation to release an album full of heavenly goodies! It makes the wait for the next official LANA LANE album (also reviewed in this very issue of MM) surely worth the wait!! or [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LANA LANE-Winter Sessions (Think Tank Media)
Great timing! The nights are cold, sometimes it snows, and the storm makes it difficult to rush from one place to another. It’s time to light a fire, or poke up the central heating, and have a listen to the music on another fabulous prog rock album of LANA LANE. The music will already warm up the place a little. Long epic songs, with extended instrumental parts, and the warm voice of Lana herself, make the sound of this new CD complete. This time Lana was helped out by Mark McCrite on guitars, Neil Citron on guitars, Peer Verschuren on guitars, David Schiff on flute, oboe and saxophones, Don Schiff on N/S Stick and Gregg Bissonette on drums. Needless to say, that all the keyboard parts were handled by Lana’s husband Erik Norlander. The use of the saxophone gives the music a more laid back (and sometimes even jazzy) atmosphere. This phenomenon is well used in some jazz standards like “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “I’ll Wind”, which are jazz classics, given a sort of LANA LANE makeover for this record. We can also enjoy a great cover of the PROCOL HARUM classic “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”, which fits perfectly to the rest of the songs on this album, in my opinion. An album that runs for almost a full hour, and contains eleven songs. It will drag you through the cold winter days a lot easier. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MIGHTY D.-The Last Rise (Iron Glory Records)
No, this is not a new hip hop or rap CD. The name of the band might suggest that you’re about to listen to a rapper from New York, or something like that. This band however comes from Germany, and presents us their second album since their formation in 1990. And I think you must give the band a fair chance. The roots of their music are in the death metal, but the soprano voice of Carmen R. Schäfer is a nice equivalent to the deathgrunts of Erik Mosoni. But there’s more, because Carmen doesn’t only sing very beautiful, she also plays the guitar, which is pretty remarkable in my opinion. In the line up of MIGHTY D. we also find back the ex bass player of ATROCITY Rene Tometschek, next to Gerd Stangenberg, who is the new guitar player of the band, and Tom G. on drums. The death metal may not be the screaming kind of metal that you might expect. It’s a more subtle and has more technical variation that can also be enjoyed by people who don’t really like this music style at all. And in “Misanthropist” you may even recognise some IRON MAIDEN like guitar riffs at the end. I think, we can speak of a very nice release here by a band, we will watch very closely in the near future. As you can see, nothing really is what it seems to be, sometimes you can be positively surprised, like in the case with this release for example. Website: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HONJOH MISAKO-Twin Very Best Collection ‘84-‘90 (Teichiku Entertainment, Inc.)
CARMEN MAKI, HAMADA MARI, HONJOH MISAKO, these are all names that remind you of the eighties when these Japanese metal ladies released great albums. This double CD captured the best material of HONJOH MISAKO, after she released brilliant albums like “The Cruiser”, “Messiah’s Blessing” and “13th”. After this period, she still made some very fine albums, that were definitely not as heavy as the ones mentioned here. But they are still highly enjoyable, if you like the voice of Honjoh. On the first album we can hear seventeen songs, with a total length of about seventy-five mintues. While the second CD also contains seventeen songs and has a running time of about seventy-five minutes. So there you have it, about two and a half hours of solid rock music with sometimes influences of pop music here and there. Honjoh sings a lot of own penned material, but she also gives her very own vision on rock classics like “House Of The Rising Sun” (THE ANIMALS), “All Right Now” (THE FREE) (complete with horns!), “All The Young Dudes” (MOTT THE HOOPLE) and as a bonus track she even recorded a new version of THE RUNAWAYS classic “Cherry Bomb”. Which sounds quite different than the original version. But in my opinion, it is nice to hear the result when an artist changes such a classic song entirely. HAMADA MARI will always stay the ultimate Japanese rock or metal singer for me, next to KEIKO TERRADA of SHOW YA of course, but HONJOH MISAKO is definitely second best, and she proves that with this remarkable nice compilation album. I am afraid though, that you’ll have to pay a high Japanese import price for this album, if you’ll be able to find it. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MOON OF STEEL-Insignificant Details (Steelheart Records)
This is the second full length CD of the Italian prog metal formation MOON OF STEEL. And I must admit that I had a great time, sitting out the eleven songs that are on this forty-five minute disc. MOON OF STEEL consists of Andrea ‘Zingro’ Zingrillo on drums, Marco ‘Moon’ Vaccaro on bass, Gianlucca ‘JJ’ Oliveri on guitars and metal maiden Sarah Bonetti on vocals. The musicians use a lot of variation in their compositions. The short opener “What Will Remain?” makes you think that you’re about to listen to a gothic metal band. But the first notes of “I Am” already prove, that we are dealing with a band here, that is so much more than the average gothic metal band. Okay, there might be some gothic parts in a few of the songs, but I would like to speak of a progressive metal band here instead. METALLICA like riffs are switched with the warm vocals of Sarah, with a laid back plume of the newer QUEENSRYCHE surrounding the whole. If you have to compare them to other bands with female members, then you’d come close to THE GATHERING or LACUNA COIL. I could give you much more information about this band, but I am afraid that I will slowly be silting up in giving you ‘insignificant details’. The only thing I’d still like to mention is, that the highlights on this CD are "I Am” and “Forced (Your Way)”. More information about this band can be obtained from their website at: [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MOTO-LITAS-S/T (independent)
THE MOTO-LITAS were founded in 1999, and they come from Atlanta, Georgia. The band consists of Mary Collins on guitars, Courtney King on vocals and guitar, Justin McNeight on drums and Ryder Ramirez on bass guitar. There are six tracks on this album, and from what I hear, I really like the raw, unpolished sound of this band. They remind me a bit of BLACK SABBATH (especially opener “Job 15”), mixed with some groovy, garage punk. Courtney’s vocals sometimes reminded me of STEVIE NICKS. Can you dig that, STEVIE NICKS singing in a groovy punk rock band? No? Check out THE MOTO-LITAS then. They bring the rock as pure as it can be brought, right from their garage into your living room. What you hear is what you get. The only negative thing that I can mention here is that the EP only lasts for about twenty minutes, therefore it’s a good thing, that they designed the ‘replay’/‘repeat’ button. Check them out, ‘cause this band is HOT! Website: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

NOTRE DAME-Demi Monde Bizarros (Osmose Prod.)
We just loved the previous albums of this bizarre metal combo. Vampirella and Snowy Shaw are the creators of this album, which is full of ‘songs about sex, satan and sado masochism’, so the CD sleeve tells us. And again they know how to astonish me with their weird, black, sex and satan fantasies on music. Just listen to the enormous power in songs like “Munsters!” and “My Ride Into Afterlife”, which are just fantastic! In “The Stripper”, Vampirella is the female master of ceremonies again. There are fourteen songs on the album, but some of them are only a few seconds long. “The Master, The Servant And The Slave” is “Black Sabbath” in a genius NOTRE DAME make over. I think that some people will get the creeps, when they listen to this lazy, slow, doomy song, which drags itself along like a tired grim reaper, who is hunting in the night for his victims in dark, empty, deserted alley ways. You can feel the beat of “Hitmusic For Hitmen” in your throat, after you’ve survived the spooky intro in which Snowy ‘kindly’ introduces himself to some playing children. I think, that they’ll be scared for life after this. The last two songs on the CD are live songs, which were recorded in Göthenborg. Listen to freaky live versions of “These Boots Are Made For Walking” and “The World Is Sick, And So Are We”. It’s a shame maybe that Vampirella is a bit quiet on this album. I think that she was sucking blood out of some innocent non metal believers, to feed Snowy with his daily portion of warm, red liquified food. But I am sure, that she will be right in front the stage when this band is playing live at a club nearby. Until that time, I’ll turn the lights down low and enjoy this album over and over again! Website: [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ONMYOZA-Live 2003 (Nexus, Japan)
Of course, you’ve never heard of this band before! That’s the strength of our magazine, to give you as much information we possibly can about bands you will never read about in any other (so called) metal magazines. This band hails from Japan, and this is their first live CD, which contains fourteen songs with a total length of about seventy minutes. The band is called ONMYOZA (which means as much as ‘the fusion of shadow and light’) and consists of Matatabi on bass and vocals, Maneki on guitar, Karukan on guitar, Tora on drums and Kuroneko on vocals. The music can easily be described as good metal with some links to bands like DREAM THEATER, IRON MAIDEN and SHOW-YA (vocal wise!) Dressed up in kimonos and long Japanese dresses, they really know to impress me with their fast metal songs and flashy guitar work. Sometimes they take back speed, and what remains is a BLACK SABBATH like approach, mixed with some newer METALLICA influences. Well, there you have it! This is great Japanese heavy metal. The CD is very hard to find, but it’s very much worth to go and search for it. The CD booklet is full of nice color pics, and the extra booklet that you get with the CD contains even more pics of this band, that will possibly only stay famous in the Japanese metal scene. We will not be able to change that I guess, but I know for sure they can count on our support, because of the great music they play here. They've already released some more albums, and in one of the next issues of Metal Maidens we will also review their DVD and latest album. Simply because this bands needs all the attention, they can get from us. Great stuff from the land of the rising sun! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

PENANCE-SpiritualNatural (Martyr Music Group)
Slowly I open the CD box, insert the CD in my stereo and push the play button. The readout tells me, that I can dream away on a doomy cloud of SABBATH like riffs for about seventy minutes. The opener is just fine and they sound like I expected them to do. But then there’s a song called “The River Ara”, which is nice as an artistic expression, but on this album it really sounds like the odd one out. What does a song, full with the sound of bagpipes, do on an ultra heavy album of doom metal that sounds like the great ones on earth in this style like COUNT RAVEN, BLACK SABBATH, WITCHFYNDER GENERAL, SAINT VITUS, CANDLEMASS, THE OBSESSED, PLACE OF SKULLS and CATHEDRAL?!?? I really don’t get it. But when I listen to great anthems like “Regret”, “Casting Long Shadows”, “Longsuffering” and “Lost My Way”, I forgive them this small misstep right away. The hidden twelfth track is nothing more than a silly German, acoustic version of “La Bamba”, in case you wondered. All these songs are of such an intense (black) beauty (not the horse!), that you can definitely speak of a real classic here. The guitars cry like weeping willows in the wind. The bass makes the sound of a tank ploughing through an unpaved road. And the drums roll along like thunder on the rainy night. The singer cries a river, and slowly everything turns black. And hey, I didn’t touch any mushrooms, while writing this review. PENANCE is cool. No PENANCE is the frosty breath of King Winter himself, and also a more airy song like the “Iron Curtain Blues” can’t change my mind here. Thank you Mike Smail on drums, Brian J Balich on vocals, Matt Tuite on guitar, Dave Roman on guitar and (Metal) Mary Bielich on bass for taking away the sun in my life and for colouring my world black with this “SpiritualNatural” CD. Website: [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

RAJAS-Play The Game (re-issue) (Emotion Music/Swax 313, Japan)
In the eighties, sometimes the essential releases from America or Japan didn’t even reach our country. But thanks to the CD re-releases we still get the chance to listen to all this nice stuff, that still have this authentic eighties metal feeling. Just listen to the two re-releases of these RAJAS items and you’ll know what I am talking about. This first mini CD contains five tracks and has a running time of about twenty-five minutes. It’s the re-relase of an EP called “Play The Game”. The EP contained a live side, which opens with “Lonely Dancer”, continues with “Lady” and ends with “Sexy Noise”. On the studio side, we hear “Shadow Night” and “Shock!”, with its rather weird ending! The people, who know the music of RAJAS already know that these Japanese metallians play their metal fast, loud and heavy! The female vocals fit very well to the sound of the band, and it’s great that we’re finally able to listen to this piece of art now RAJAS consists of Kuniko ‘Sen’ Morikawa on vocals, Akihiro ‘Akkun’ Goto on guitar and keyboards, Koichi Yamamoto on guitar, Noriko ‘Non’ Kawauchi on bass (female also) and Takashi ‘Baba-Chan’ Fukumura on drums. It’s unclear, where these live songs were recorded. All I know is, that this really sounds great and it’s an essential buy for all the people, who are into Japanese metal of the eighties. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

RAJAS-Turn It Up (re-issue) (Emotion Music/Swax 313, Japan)
This is the full length album, that was recorded a few months before they released the “Play The Game” EP, reviewed in this issue of Metal Maidens. It’s recorded with the same line up and contains nine songs with a total length of about forty minutes. Again we can enjoy the great heavy sound of this Japanese metal band. But the keyboards are a bit more upfront in the mix on this album, and I think it’s a bit more accessible for the more average metal fan. Still, the album is like a rough diamond, and it’s a must for every dedicated fan of melodic heavy metal. The three songs that are on the ‘live side’ of the EP, come from this album. The two studio tracks on the EP were bonus tracks from the sessions, recorded for this album. I don’t want to spend too much words on these releases, just buy them and enjoy them, that’s my message here! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ROYAL ANGUISH-Mysterion (SOTD Records)
"One Last Time", the first song by ROYAL ANGUISH, blows from your speakers right away. It’s also the heaviest song on “Mysterion”. The male grunt vocals mixed with the angel like voice of guest vocalist Courtney Chadwick, lead the way to the rest of the CD. The main man behind ROYAL ANGUISH is called Matt Knowles. Besides producing the album, he played most of the instruments, except for the drums, that were done by Anthony Smith. Furthermore, he called in the help of a few other guest musicians, like the female singers Melody Dove and Katy Decker (who’s a professionally trained opera singer). ROYAL ANGUISH started in 1991, released an EP in 1992, recorded an unreleased CD in 1995 (which might be released in the near future) and appeared on a split album. This is their first full length CD. It’s a mix of death/doom metal and gothic metal, in which we hear grunt vocals next to the normal male and female vocals. The band refers to their music as hybrid metal. Musically, I would like to compare it to DARK TRANQUILITY and SENTENCED. But I also see a connection to the Dutch band ORPHANAGE in some ways. Songs like "Atmosphere" and "My Own Despair" wouldn’t be out of place on an ORPHANAGE album. The melodic metal from the eighties returns in a song like "Come With Me". However, there are also a few songs with a leading role for the violin, which makes them sound a bit different. "Autumn Sorrow" would be a good example here, which gives the longest song (with its calm and loud parts) exactly the right atmosphere. There’s no real ballad on this album, or you must chose a song like "Homeland" as the ballad here. "I Close My Eyes" reminds me of the very popular gothic metal band EVANESCENCE. This song was also added as a bonustrack, but than in a very sphereful, instrumental version accompanied by the violin. ROYAL ANGUISH has a style of their own, and uses elements of different styles of music. I think, we will hear more from this band in the near future. Those of you, who like to know more about this band, should check out their website at: [8 points] (Marcel van Santen)

THE RUNAWAYS-S/T; Queens Of Noise; Live In Japan; Waitin’ For The Night (Cherry Red Music)
I was asked to review all these four re-issues in one review. That’s rather hard for me, because I want to say so much here. But I know it’s impossible to review these four albums track by track, although I could make an exception for a band like THE RUNAWAYS. Next to ROCK GODDESS, FANNY and GIRLSCHOOL, they will always be one the most important all-female metal bands in the history of heavy metal music. Let’s take a closer look at these re-issues here. Starting with their debut album “The Runaways”. This album contains ten songs, and among them are two of my all-time fave songs of the band, namely “Blackmail” and “You Drive Me Wild”. The band was a quintet at that particular time and with this album they made a flashing start to their career, that lasted much too short. The liner notes contain some phrases that make you think, that the RUNAWAYS were just an image. They speak of other people playing the bass parts on some of the albums. (Nigel Harrison of BLONDIE would play Jackie Fox’s bass parts for example). But besides some unraveled rumours, we are also treated to some nice, rare pics of the different band members on the inlays of the various CDs here. “The Runaways” also contains the song “Cherry Bomb”, which was the ultimate RUNAWAYS song of course. The album opens with this mighty anthem. The sleeve of each album is printed on the CD, which looks great actually. “Queens Of Noise” contains my faves like the title track “Queens Of Noise”, “Born To Be Bad” and “Neon Angels On The Road To Ruin”. The inside booklet contains more nice pics, and makes us come up with even more questions. The mud throwing is about Lita this time, ‘cause she is mentioned as the one who would be against a RUNAWAYS reunion, two times in a row. The music on the album shows us that THE RUNAWAYS were the blueprint for many bands after them, including the likes of L7 and THE DONNAS being the more successful ones. “Waiting For The Night” is something special again. It captures the band at its very best. Fox has left the band and is followed up by Vicki Blue. The whole albums bears the ingredients for the ultimate metal album. Great vocals of Joan, the driving beat of Sandy, the solid rhythm base of Vicki and the biting guitar solos of Lita. It’s all there. The liner notes were made by Kim Fowley himself this time, who saw his name misspelled as ‘Kin Fowley’ with the songwriters names on the inlay of this album. I think he won’t be too happy about that. But on the other hand, the fans of THE RUNAWAYS won’t be too pleased by reading, that the bass parts on this album were actually done by Sal Maida of ROXY MUSIC and VENUS AND THE RAZORBLADES fame. Vicki only played on the title track of the album. Another example of mud throwing practices here, or the hard truth??!? I think nobody will ever know, but it doesn’t matter anyway. Only die hard RUNAWAYS fans will have another topic to argue about, while listening to this fine album, which also contains the song “Thrash Can Murders” instead of the STEVIE NICKS song “Gold Dust Woman”, if we may believe all the information that is given here. Last but not least, we have one of the ultimate live albums of the seventies on CD here, simply entitled “Live In Japan”. It contains ‘the hits’ in a stunning live version, and it also contains some nice covers, like “Rock ‘N Roll” (LOU REED), “Wild Thing” (THE TROGGS/JIMI HENDRIX), and “I Wanna Be Where The Boys Are” (VENUS AND THE RAZORBLADES). The album proves us, that the band was DAMN HOT in Japan, where they headlined shows that were supported by bands like CHEAP TRICK and VAN HALEN. These four CD are a good flashback in time, and a great prove of the musical abilities of THE RUNAWAYS. Will there ever be a reunion of this great band? When will their long awaited movie “Edgeplay” finally be released? Will there eventually be a release of a box set with unreleased material? So many other questions remain unanswered unfortunately. But this won’t change the fact, that there’s a remarkable rich legacy of the band, and an important part of that legacy is out on CD now. At the moment there’s not much more to ask for I guess, especially since Joan released a good, two DVD set, and Lita also released a new compilation DVD. And with all this material coming out, the fans will definitely be pleased for a while. But a lot of fans are still waiting for the unreleased stuff, the never been seen video footage of the band and the rare recordings. That’s what makes this all so interesting, and that’s what I miss a bit in these releases. They could have contained bonus tracks from the same time area maybe. And I miss the comment of the band members on some of the rumours, that were mentioned here. My conclusion is that I really loved this remixed, re-released stuff. The booklets are very well taken care of, and the investment of money on these releases is very much worth it. After all, we’re talking about the most important all-female metal band ever here!! The absolute ‘Queens Of Noise’. Look at their official website: for all the latest rumours and facts about this essential all-female metal band from the late seventees. [10 points - for all albums] (Toine van Poorten)

SCHUGAR/SCHENKER-Construction (independent)
AMY SCHUGAR teamed up with MICHAEL SCHENKER and this is the result of their hard work together. If you’re a fan of wild guitar playing and good melodic rock songs, then this one is definitely something for you. AMY SCHUGAR is a guitarplayer, singer, songwriter from Arizona, and on this CD she shows that she has the ability to write good rock songs. Songs that stick to your mind real easy, and the great guitarwork of Michael and Amy herself, make this CD to something really special. Finally Michael is away from the average riffs he constantly repeats on his new solo albums. Here he gets the chance to impress the listener again with some ultra fast soloing, which was his trademark for many years. Amy’s voice is clear, and they fit really well together with the melodic rock songs on this thirty minute CD. Every reader of any other magazine will be probably interested in Michaels input mostly. But I can tell you that this lady is definitely worth checking out. Okay, MICHAEL SCHENKER has got the name, for his impressive career so far. But AMY SCHUGAR is HOT too, and prove of that is given on this eight song CD, she has completed. It seems, the cooperation between Amy and Michael ended after this release, but nobody can take away this great experience. I think it will be time to write some new material for a solo album of this talented lady, who impressed me a lot. Not only for her guitar playing, singing and her song writing. But also for the fact that she seems to be accepted in the hard world of guitarplayers, that is normally only granted to male string pullers. Amy pulls the strings herself, and she’s damn good at it. Better check her out at or wait for the interview, that we are about to do with this multi-talented lady. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SEVENTH SEAL-The Black Dragon’s Eyes (Steelheart Records)
SEVENTH SEAL hails from Italy, the land of DOMINE, RHAPSODY and LABYRINTH, but also the land of WHITE SKULL, who started out as a female fronted power metal band in the beginning. This is also a female fronted band and they sound really great! Fast, furious rhythms, provided by Andrea Mati on bass and Mark Napolitano on drums. The guitar work was done by Francesco Fanciullotti. The dark haired front lady, pointing her spear towards the black dragon, and singing the lyrics of SEVENTH SEAL is Chiara Luci. There is a lot of melody in the power metal of SEVENTH SEAL, and you won’t be surprised that their main influences come from bands like IRON MAIDEN, HELLOWEEN, BLIND GUARDIAN and the Italian bands, that I mentioned earlier. Sometimes you get the idea, that you are hearing the same rhythms and riffs, but they do know how to impress me too. Especially when they start their songs slowly, and then explode into another warrior hymn. One of the best examples here is “Living For Honour”, which develops from a slow ballad like song, into a powerful tune with lots of great guitar work. The album contains eight tracks and two cover songs as bonus tracks, namely RIOT’s “Thundersteel” and HELLOWEEN’s “I’m Alive”. Fifty minutes of great power metal. Don’t forget to pay some special attention to the beautiful artwork on the CD cover as well. It’s a magnificent eye-catcher, if I may say so. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SHIVA-Desert Dreams (MTM Music)
No, this is not the English SHIVA….unfortunately. Nothing bad about this SHIVA, but the English band SHIVA were true heroes in the NWOBHM scene, in my opinion. But that was about twenty-five years ago. Time flies, when you’re having fun! This SHIVA is based in Sweden, and consists of Mats Edström on keyboards, guitar and vocals, and Anette Johansson on vocals. Mats supported EUROPE and MOTÖRHEAD with his first band ARROW. Anette played in bands like ANGELEZ and YANKEE HEAVEN. I hear touches of JUDAS PRIEST, but also some groovy, powerful, new fashioned metal sounds are in their music as well. Just listen to a great song like “Unjustify The Truth”, which could have been on almost every PRIEST album of the nineties. The beats are fast, and heavy. However, sometimes they grab back to some strange sounds like distorted vocals, which bring in the newer aspect of their metal sound. You can hear this very clearly in a song like “Strangers”, in which we hear the distorted voice of Anette. “Losing My Child” could have been a HEART ballad. It sounds emotional and is very well sung here. In “Crucified” we hear Anette’s voice sound a bit more like ANOUK, but the heavy beats and riffs, make this song to a more metal oriented track. As you can read, there’s a lot of variation on “Desert Dreams” and there is definitely a lot of talent in this band from Sweden! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SILENT FATE-Bonus Edition (
I’ve heard the term ‘art rock’ before. How about ‘art metal’? SILENT FATE from Westbury, New York play slow careful music. It might remind you of QUEENSRYCHE. The CD was recorded at a studio called The Mess Studio. In contrary to the name, it has a clean sound. Lyrics are included on the insert. A lot of them have got something to do with identity and emotional pain. They took the journey. They don’t like where they are. Anthony’s vocals range from crooner to expressions of pain to death grunt. He doesn’t overplay the guitar parts. What he does play, fits well. Veronica can play drums with enough restraint to make this work. Jamie rounds out the sound on keyboards. Dave plays bass and adds some percussion sounds. The CD, I have here is the version. It includes demo versions of three songs and a promotional announcement for the CD. There are fifteen tracks here, of which one is an introduction. Another one is a short track. “Struck” is an instrumental track. It gives the band the opportunity to show how well they can play. A more typical SILENT FATE song is “Behind The Eyes”. The speaker feels the effects of bad experiences in the past. It’s carried along by steady drumming. There is a nice guitar solo too. It includes a short death grunt passage. If this is what you want floating through your house, get SILENT FATE. Email them at: or check their website: [8 points] (Jack Little)

SOULSLIDE-Dreamshade (MCD)(independent)
SOULSLIDE are hailing from Germany, and they prove to be a good sounding gothic fairytale metal band. The soprano voice of Sandra Schleret (ex SIEGFRIED, DREAMS OF SANITY) is very much upfront in the mix. But the instrumental input of the rest of the band is very important for the completeness of their sound. Especially the second lady in the line up, keyboard player Simone Dyllong, has an essential part in the bombastic sound of the band. The instrumental parts are rather exciting in opener “Nightmare”. “The Dreamer” has got some choir vocals, that fit very well to the sound of SOULSLIDE. Think about bands like WITHIN TEMPTATION in this context. The constant use of triggered bass drums gives the songs a lot of power. I hope that the band will survive, because there is really an overkill of bands that sound alike nowadays. To me, they prove that they really have the potential to rise above the average level. If this line up will maintain, then the future looks very bright for SOULSLIDE. The mini CD ends with a big explosion, and I hope with this explosion the band will launch themselves to the top of this overcrowded style of music. Website: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SPOOKY PIE-Audios (Boo Records)
SPOOKY PIE don’t play spooky sounding music. They do sing threatening, intentional on the edge of violence, lyrics. There are thirteen tracks on the CD. Three of them are instrumentals. They have more in common with surf music. Will Spectre is listed as lead guitar. I assume he’s the one who does the guitar tricks. The other layers of guitar are provided by Kim Ono and Li’l Tracy. Princess stands out on bass guitar. “Girls Will Save The World” has no other lyrics than repeating the title. The other nine are about malicious, intentional people who have little respect for others. Phyllis Teen does the smooth, unassuming vocals. One of the noteable songs is “I Ruined Him”. A woman tells about how she humiliated or killed her past boyfriends. She has no remorse. The lyrics catalog the results of her spooky mind. In a simile vein is “I Got Your Number”. He thinks the relationship is going okay. She’s preparing to cause trouble. She knows more than you would think, and she likes it that way. On the other side of the equation is “Forget Everything”. Will Spectre sings this one. He does things that upset her. He’s getting enough of her complaining. He wants to forget everything and start all over again. All songs are well played. If this is what you think songs should be like, you’ll want to taste a piece of this SPOOKY PIE. SPOOKY PIE, 203 N. Lincoln Street, Burbank, CA 91506, USA. Email them at: spookypie@ or check out: [8 points] (Jack Little)

THE TEMPER TANTRUMS-Drummer Girl (Red Tag Records)
THE TEMPER TANTRUMS play energetic, uptempo music. It sounds like punk music much of the time. They can adopt surf music if necessary. Often there’s a verse or two, repeated chorusses and an instrumental break at the end. The rhythms are catchy, you could pogo to them. All this sound is generated by three people. Leanne Tantrum plays a variety of guitar parts, all very well. She handles the vocal parts too. Effie Tantrum plays bass guitar. She adds a second vocal part to a couple of the songs. They had hoped to recruit a female drummer. Until then the drumsticks are in the capable hands of Tim T. He can set a fast pace. A lot of the lyrics are an appreciation of everyday life. “Thrift Store Boy” is easy to listen to. The girls spot a cute boy. They haven’t met him yet. But they have a good time, thinking about him, anyway. “Do What You Say” sounds exciting. As she sees it, he doesn’t do what he says. It hurts her and their relationship. It would be easier if people do what they say. Surf music is the model for “Summertime”. There’s a nice drum intro here. The guitar part is surf rock too. “Not Yet” is about wanting to look and be grown up, but at the same time not being ready for it. It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s THE TEMPER TANTRUMS. Website: [8 points] (Jack Little)

KEIKO TERADA-Wonderground (MidZel House)
KEIKO TERADA was once the frontlady of the wonderful, Japanese all-female heavy metal band SHOW-YA. Her new album contains eleven songs, that sound a lot less powerful than the songs she did with this band. Her voice is still very beautiful, that’s definitely not part of the discussion here. But the music is more pop than rock. Track three, the Japanese signs don’t give me a clue of how it’s called, is a very nice song indeed. But the average songs are too poppy to be even called rock. You will get the same idea, when listening to the ‘best of’ album of HONJOH MISAKO. It’s all very high quality music, but it misses the power that you are expecting to hear, when listening to an album of KEIKO TERADA. Some songs sound a bit like MELISSA ETHERIDGE, to give you an idea of what direction the sound of this new KEIKO TERADA album goes. “Flower” has a pretty heavy riff again though. I wonder, if she is ever thinking about doing a reunion with SHOW-YA. Until that time, we can still enjoy the nice voice of this Japanese wonderlady, who regularly pops up in Japanese metal projects, which she can’t do enough in my opinion. On you may find some more information about this great Japanese singer. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VARIOUS-Motörmorphösis (Remedy Records/Rock Inc.)
This is the second edition of a tribute to the ‘loudest band on earth’, MOTÖRHEAD. There are quite some bands here with girls in their line up, so I took the opportunity to spend a few words to this release instead of mentioning it in our ‘short reviews’ section only. I love STORMWARRIOR’s version of “Built For Speed”, but I was not really impressed by TORMENT’s “No Voices In The Sky”. V8 WANKER’s “Bomber” is too slow, but they prove that they are ‘built for speed’ too, at then end of the song. HOLY MOSES vocals may be a little bit over the top in “The Hammer”, but the speed and the aggression Sabina screams her lyrics into the microphone is quite impressive. I also like the TWISTED TOWER DIRE version of “Shoot You In The Back”. And after five songs you have heard five different MOTÖRHEAD tributes already in five different styles. There are twenty three impressions of MOTÖRHEAD classics on this CD, which is good for almost eighty (!!!) minutes of nice motormetal music. I must say though, that I didn’t really like every cover on this album (KICKHUNTER and FYREDOGS are very boring for example), but some of the versions sounded almost as good as the originals. Writing that they would sound better would be blasphemy. UPPERCUT is also a band on this compilation CD, who have a female member in their line up. They play a good version of “Sex And Outrage” here. And Dutch true metal outfit GODDESS OF DESIRE crank out “Death Or Glory” here. HOLY MOSES returns after a while with another ultra heavy song called “I’m The Doctor”. It was cool to hear such a broad collection of different bands performing songs of one and the same heavy metal band. The variety of interpretations will almost scare you, because the metal scene has created so much sub genres and they all have got their own talents. Fact is, that they all paid tribute to the uncrowed kings of heavy metal here. About some bands I would like to say, that they have “No Class” (covered by NOISE FORREST), and about some songs covered I would like to say “Please Don’t Touch” (covered by THE TRACEELORDS), but that’s all “Too Late, Too Late” (covered by DIVISION) now, so I better enjoy what I hear on this fantastic sampler. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VARIOUS-Armageddon Over Wacken (Armageddon Products)
It’s time to look back at the fourteenth edition of Wacken Open Air, by means of this great double live album. It comes in a beautiful fold out CD box, and contains twenty-six live songs, worthy of two full hours of pure metal mayhem. The two CDs give you a good overview of the ‘dark and black’ line up of the 2003 version of this great metal festival. The female input is quite okay, if I may say so. We can enjoy bands like SUBWAY TO SALLY, GRAVEWORM, LORDI and HOLY MOSES, each with one live track. But besides them, you can also hear bands like SINNER, METALIUM, PRIMAL FEAR, VICTORY, TWISTED TOWER DIRE and CIRCLE II CIRCLE, to name the most impressive renditions here. Okay, let’s have a closer look at the female input. On CD one we hear SUBWAY TO SALLY with a song called “Falscher Heiland”. And if you have to judge the song by the reactions of the hungry metal heads, then you can see that this band is very popular indeed in their ‘heimat’. GRAVEWORM is one of these black, dark bands, that has a female keyboard player in their line up. She may be drowning into the heavy sound of “Abhorence” a bit, but she’s there. The other two bands open CD two. LORDI plays “Biomechanic Man”, and HOLY MOSES, who replaced SINISTER, can be heard with “Current Of Death”. The CD booklet is very well taken care of and it is full of nice live pics of the bands. Later on this year a DVD of last years festival will appear. It’s a shame, that we won’t be able to go to this years edition of this mighty happening, but we will definitely keep supporting it. Website: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WÜLF GANG-Unleash The Beast (Tbar Elite Publishing)
The sleeve of this album already suggests, that we might be dealing with an interesting band here. WÜLF GANG hails from North Carolina, USA, and consists of Stephen Stixx on drums, Vee Patrick on guitar, James Johnson on bass and JoAnna Brooks on vocals. The eleven tracks on the album, worthy of almost fifty minutes, proves us that we're dealing with an interesting and very powerful heavy metal band. At the beginning of the CD, you already find one of the highlights on this album, namely the fast rock song "Selfish Needs", which is completed with a flashing guitarsolo of Patrick. "Within" continues with a great SAXON like riff. The balladesque "Mother, Maiden, Crone" captures more great guitar parts of Patrick. While "Walls Of Sanity" is a bit more uptempo, containing some breathtaking guitarwork of Mr. Patrick. JoAnne's vocals are normal and clear, so don't expect any high, pitching screaming vocals. Her vocals are low and mid toned, but they fit really well to the great music of WÜLF GANG. People, who loved the new CDs of bands like BLACK WIDOW and MYSTERY BLUE, will have to search for this one as well. I think, they will be positively surprised by "Unleash The Beast". I think, I am going to try and get in contact with this band, because they really deserve all the attention in our magazine! Internet: [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE YEAH YEAH YEAHS-Fever To Tell (Universal)
THE YEAH YEAH YEAHS are hot. Their new album contains twelve punk rock songs, that are raving like a steam engine for about forty minutes. This band can be seen as the New York version of THE WHITE STRIPES, to give you an idea. Their music is a bit weirder, more alternative and less catchy than the music of THE STRIPES, but I definately hear some resemblance. But above all, the band is almost as popular as the THE WHITE STRIPES, and that is rather remarkably because who doesn’t know these videoclips with the red and white striped drumkits? THE YEAH YEAH YEAHS have a more underground attitude, which may come close to an earlier version of let’s say THE PRETENDERS. Karen O. is the dark haired frontlady, who sings the catchy lyrics of their punk rock anthems. Songs that are sometimes easy to sing along to, just listen to “Tick” for example. A song like opener “Rich” however, is not that catchy and just these two examples illustrate that we’re dealing with quite some diversity on this new album. Karen’s partners in crime are called Nick Zinner on guitar, and Karen’s old college pal Brian Chase on drums. Remarkable fact here is that the band officially has no bass player in their line up. But they have catchy garage punk rock songs in their reportoire and they beat their competitors with a knock out. Their tour in England in 2002 with the JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION must have done them good, because I saw them play at the TV show of JOOLS HOLLAND the other day, so they went there again. I think, that this debut album of THE YEAH YEAH YEAHS will become the definitive breakthrough of the band. A move from the garage to the big stadiums. Besides the twelve songs, this limited edition version of “Fever To Tell” also contains the video clip for “Yeah New York” and “Date With The Night”. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

AFTER FOREVER (EP/CDsingle)-Exordium (Transmission Records)
“Exordium” is the title of the new MCD from Holland’s gothic metal band AFTER FOREVER. What we get here is six songs and twenty-six minutes worth of high quality symphonic power metal. “Line Of Thoughts” the two-minute intro track sets the mood and segues into “Beneath” a nice opener that leads into the next tune - single - “My Choice”, another good track that showcases the fine talents of the band. Next we have “Glorifying Means” a song, that sees Floor Jansen sharing vocal duties with Sander Gommans who provides death grunts here. Next is a cool rendition of the IRON MAIDEN classic “The Evil That Men Do”. Musically, it is a faithful version of the song, but Floor’s vocals add a different touch to it and I am pleased to say that it works quite well. “One Day I’ll Fly Away” (RANDY CRAWFORD) - a ballad - brings this collection to a close. Also, included in this package is a DVD called “Insights” which features the video for “My Choice”, the making of “My Choice”, a bootleg live version of “The Evil That Men Do” and more. The packaging is excellent and you get first-rate value for money. The band, hopefully will finally issue their next full-length soon. If this MCD is any indication what the new music will be like, than I am sure it’ll be worth the wait. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

AFTER FOREVER (CDsingle)-My Choice/The Evil That Men Do (Transmission Records)
I absolutely love these ‘goodies’ EPs or CD singles. This one has a running time of about thirty-five loooooooong minutes. Value for your money, which is a very positive thing in these hard days where your money seems to lose its value almost each day. But let’s focus ourselves on the great music on this EP. First, we can enjoy a nice new song called “My Choice”. It could well have been on the album, because it has got the same strength. Very well done is the next song, which is a cover of the IRON MAIDEN song “ The Evil That Men Do”. Uptempo, a little less heavy than the original version. It received some kind of AFTER FOREVER makeover, which makes it sound more bombastic. Add to this the beautiful sound of Floor’s clear voice, and you can speak of a good cover song, and a remarkable choice, which turns out to be the right choice. Then we return to the song “My Choice”, which we can hear now in an ‘acoustic version’. Last song is called “My Pledge Of Allegiance #1”. I know that you won’t fill thirty-five minutes with these four songs. But the last track makes up for that missing time, because Irene Jansen decided to do an interview with her sister, and they captured this conversation on CD here for almost seventeen minutes. There you have it, thirty-five minutes of pleasure. This will make the wait for the new album a bit more bearable. But after hearing this, the curiosity starts to grow. What will the new album sound like? I think, it will become a great success. The band is doing a big tour in Holland already, and they are also added to the bill of Pinkpop already. Before this happens, you can give this EP some extra spins, so you can sing the lyrics with the band, when they’ll hit the stages. Go to: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EPICA (CDsingle)-The Phantom Agony (Transmission Records)
We can easily talk about a shooting star situation here. EPICA is definitely the next big thing in this scene, and the band really knows how to handle this situation really well. Just look at the marketing strategy they pulled out with the release of this new single and the one thereafter! They are actually brilliant ideas, and I think they will work as well. Just have a listen to this twenty minute single release for example. We hear the single version of “The Phantom Agony”, which is the obvious choice to be the first single taken from the album with the same name. The single contains three more songs; first there’s an unreleased track called “Veniality”, a dark sober epic song, with the beautiful voice of Simone Simons as definite highlight. Then we get a long track from the album, namely “Façade Of Reality”, a point of recognition during listening to this single release. Finally, the CD closes with the ‘orchestral version’ of the previously unreleased track “Veniality”. It’s the second time you’ll hear this song, and it will make sure that it clings to your mind (if it didn’t the first time around!). The marketing strategy they used here is, that they released this single with two different sleeves. Fans will have to buy the normal version, and the ‘limited edition’, very smart thinking. The music is cool, bombastic and it’s perfect for the metal fan of today. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EVANESCENCE (CDsingle)-My Immortal (Epic/Wind Up Records)
I don’t really get the hype around this band. Amy Lee has got a great voice, but what’s so special that makes this band ‘immortal’ after two good hitsingles and a handful of successful live gigs? A successful third single maybe? Well, I think that they will succeed in this with this third relase, which is called “My Immortal”. The weeping voice of Amy is the biggest eye-catcher again here, and I must mention the nice bombastic ‘explosion of sound’ at the end of the song, that makes this song so special and therefore a good choice for a single release. The single contains a ‘band version’ and an ‘album version’ of the same song. The fact, that Ben Moody has left the band recently will hopefully not effect the flashing career of this band that once operated in the Christian music scene. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

JUNKIE XL FEATURING ANOUK (CDsingle)-Between These Walls (Roadrunner Records)
Mind you, this is NOT the new single of ANOUK!! It’s the new single of JUNKIE XL which features ANOUK. That’s why we’ve put it under the J, instead of the A here. But let’s do a little less conversation, and a little more action here (JUNKIE XL fans will know what I mean). This song is ANOUK mixed with a little dance and trance, provided by JUNKIE XL. It has become an interesting cooperation between the two of them, but nothing more than that. It’s nice to hear the result of their working together, and the single contains two versions of the title track namely the ‘single edit’ and the ‘acoustic version’. A nice addition to your ANOUK collection, but nothing more… Website: http:// [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MY RUIN (EP/CDsingle)-The Shape Of Things To Come... (Century Media)
This single has got nothing at all to do with the old YARDBIRDS classic of the same title. That’s warning one that I want to give you here. Warning two is that this single contains some ULTRA HEAVY SHIT, so don’t blow your speakers with this silver disc. It may damage your ears forever! Let this be a huge warning, that this single is NOT for the faint hearted. The mini CD contains five songs, and has a running time of twenty minutes. It starts with the actual single choice of the new album, which is “Made To Measure”. Then we get “Grotesque” and “Unmanageable”, two songs that have the same great heavy sound as the mighty opener of this EP. Take the doomy sound of BLACK SABBATH, mix it with some newer SABBATH like sounding bands like CATHEDRAL for example. Then mix it with the schizo screams of the paranoid war pig and iron woman Tairrie B, and you’ll get close to the sound of this new MY RUIN material. After this first atack, the people who are not on their knees yet, will be slaughtered by a manic version of the PLASMATIC song “Sex Junkie”. All others will be stabbed to death by the ‘radio edit’ of “Made To Measure”. As you can see, this shit kills everything. And the more I hear it, the more I start to like it. Especially after seeing the thirteen minute video stuff that they added to this EP. A must for every metal fan of today, but also very recommendable for those who only dig the old shit! Website: [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

[Updated: May 11, 2004]


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