CD REVIEWS


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


MM#33/Oct 2003:

APHASIA-Labyrinth In My Heart (Nexus)
This is a new album of APHASIA, the all-female heavy metal band from Japan. When I first listened to the intro, I wasn’t really sure this would be the sound, I’d expected from them after their previous albums. But when I heard the first riff of “Thief In The Mirror”, I knew for sure this CD would be even better than “Wings Of Fire”. Eleven new songs are presented to us in about fourty-five minutes. APHASIA consists of Luka on vocals, Goe on guitar, Sho on bass and Jun on drums. Noriko Takahashi and Manabu Kokado play the keyboards on this album. An album, which proves again, that I have to search in Japan for good, melodic rock bands who are not afraid to play a good guitar solo. I hear some influences of IRON MAIDEN here. However, the rest of their music is much more melodic. People, who always liked the sound of Japanese superstars like MARI HAMADA and HONJOH MISAKO, can buy CD with their eyes closed. “Too Late” is a so-called ‘point of rest’ on this album. Time to reduce some speed. High quality hard rock from the land of the rising sun. [9 points) (Toine van Poorten)

ARMOR OF GOD-2 Face Reality (indie)
This is the second album of this white metal band from Alabama. Their first one was called “Out Of Egypt”. The twelve songs have a total running time of almost one hour. And if you think that white metal bands don’t rock, then the joke is on you, because they do!!! And ARMOR OF GOD is the living proof of that. They create a sound, that is comparable to DOKKEN, VIXEN and white metal fellows like BARREN CROSS and ARSENAL, to name but a few. The band is fronted by Donna Worsham on vocals and keyboards, her husband David Worsham on drums and bass and Kevin McElyea on guitars. The CD was mastered by GIANT member David Huff, which explains the great sound. He also mastered their first album. The positive thing about white metal bands is, that they stick to the traditional rock sound. No death metal grunts, nu-metal sounds, flirting with hip hop or other nonsense, but plain melodic rock with a solid guitar sound and lots of power. Nothing more and nothing less. And the fact, that they add a positive message to their music, won’t harm you. The world can do with some positive vibrations every now and then. The band likes to play with some great sound effects, like the ‘ghost vocals’ in opener “2 Face Reality”, the childrens laughing in “Mountain Of Thorns”, and the sound of an old blues record in the beginning of “Fallen Angel” for example. Which adds an extra dimension to their great sound. “I’ll Be With You” is the obligatory ballad on the album, which ends with a spoken word by Reverend Tim Parrish, which is called “See God”. You don’t have to be open-minded to listen to the album. It will surely catch you by surprise to never let go again! It will bring you to ‘heaven’ for a full hour or so. You can postpone your return to reality by pushing the ‘play’ button again. Website: http://www.armorofgodrock.com. [9 points) (Toine van Poorten)

ARS NOVA-Biogenesis (Transi Label)
ARS NOVA is always in for something special, and they never let their fans down. “Biogenesis” is a project that ARS NOVA did with some well-known collegues like Gianni Leone (IL BALETTO DI BRONZO), Masuhro Goto and Atsushi Hasegawa (GERARD), and our very own Arjen Lucassen of AYREON. Arjen suits very well in this story from outer space. The album was released as a very limited edition of fifty copies only and contains a bonus DVD with two video clips. The music on this CD sounds a bit more spacious than their well-known EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER-like sound. Reason of this could be the science fiction story line. However, they still play very complex symphonic, bombastic, progressive rock music. The seven songs on this CD are worthy of about forty-five minutes. Mika handles the female vocals here. Whereas their previous albums are a lot more accessible, this one is much harder to dig into. But once you’ve discovered the beauty of it, you will certainly like it. The masterpiece of this album is the fifteen minute CD closer “Trust To The Future”, for which they also made a video clip. For more information about this great Japanese band, I would like to direct you to their brandnew website: http://www.progconcepts.com/arsnova/ [8 points) (Toine van Poorten)

BATTLELORE-Sword's Song (Napalm Records)
I just love this stuff, because it's different and not your run of the mill Nordic metal. A band, that will not sit still. Hot on the heals of their outstanding and possibly groundbreaking debut "Where Shadows Lie", they smack me in the face with their sophomore effort called "Sword's Song". Epic Tolkien fantasy folk metal done like no other in metal today. BATTLELORE is a mix of BATHORY with female vocals, CRUACHAN - some folk/death metal and RHAPSODY-like epicness, with melody and bombast that will astound you. What is most amazing though, is how far this seven member unit, has come in just a short time. Founded by Jyri Vahvanen (guitar) and Miika Kokkola (bass) back in 1999, they have quickly taken hold of all the things that make metal, in my opinion, the top genre in the music scene, today. And what's truly amazing, to top it all off, is there are two woman members holding it all together. Maria (keyboards) and the unforgettable elvish voice of Kaisa Jouhki (female vocals), who will ricochet in and out of your brain, long after you have finished listening to this masterpiece of epic proportions. And the rest of the band are just as talented. Henri Vahvanen (drums; he’s Jyri's brother) lays down some thundering kickass doublebass drumlines and is at the top of his art. Add to all of that, Tommi Havo (raging vocals, guitar) and Patrik Mennander (clean male vocals) and you have the completion of a true Arctic fantasy metal orchestra. The music and story are all centered around the written text of J.R.R. Tolkien's tales of middle earth. Demons, trolls, and dragons fighting against armies of elves, dwarves and men. But you can read about all of that on their website. Let's just concentrate on "Swords Song". Firstly, where the debut album, "Where Shadows Lie", had Kaisa in a somewhat limited role as vocalist. On this album, she has taken more of the lead in that department. WSL had her more in a chorus type role, but here we can appreciate more, the talent she has become. In my opinion, she has become a true metal maiden! Such a sweet childlike voice amongst the demonic strains and Vikinglike heaviness of Tommi Havo. A real balance between good and evil in this vocal delivery. Kaisa triumph's over this evil at every twist and turn and comes out sounding as sweet as ever. Miles ahead of her performance on the debut album. And tons more emotional. Maria on keyboards is also all over the top here. Her speed on the ivories can be compared to some of the best around today. She is an accomplished talent. As also, are all the male members of this fine outfit, whom I think, are not finished making their mark in metal. I look for some great things from these Finns in the future. I can't see how it can get any better, but I'm certain, it will. I have faith in them. To get into a track by track synopsis, would do no justice to this work. It has to be heard, as a whole, to be believed. With track names such as "Sons Of Riddermark", "Mark Of The Bear", "Dragonslayer" (my favorite, wonderful chorus at the end) and "Horns Of Gondor", you know exactly what you’re in for. The band is also working on a DVD, called "The Journey" slated to be out sometime at the end of the summer 2003. Supposedly is going to have historical band content and some live stuff. Also of mention, is the album cover's artwork. Seems they only cover in digipack, ‘cause the first two albums are in that format. For "Swords Song" as it was for "Where Shadows Lie", the cover and booklet artwork are impeccable. And as for the production sound level. Flawless! In finishing off this review, I can only say, that I don't usually give any album a perfect, unless it is. Well, to my ears, perfect! Play it loud! Internet: http://www.battlelore.net/ [10 points) (Dennis Arancio)

BETTY BLOWTORCH-Last Call (Foodchain Records)
The success of this band has resulted into a real cult status of BETTY BLOWTORCH, right after the dead of Bianca Butthole. Listening to this ultra interesting release, I can understand why. Musically, they mix the filthy, dirty wild rawk and roll sound of NASHVILLE PUSSY with the all-female punk sound of THE LUNACHICKS. And they did it very well. This ‘tribute’ CD is a compilation of interview excerpts, live songs, unreleased tracks, demo tracks, BUTT TRUMPET songs and alternative versions of BETTY BLOWTORCH classics. The booklet is packed with great colour pics, which is a real treat for the fans of the band. Alltogether, this CD has become a good tribute to a band, that had to end their career much too soon. And even when some people say that the band was dead already, before Bianca got killed in that terrible car accident, it is still worth while to remember this band for what they were, in a way like on this CD. This is a very honest way to pay respect to a woman, who had an honest way of playing rock music. And there aren’t too many of these people around anymore. Twenty-nine songs (some of them are just a few seconds long, because these are small excerpts of interviews!) and a playing time of about sixty-five minutes, cover the whole story of BUTT TRUMPET and BETTY BLOWTORCH on one CD. “Rock the hell out of them over there Bianca, we will always remember you!” http://www.bettyblowtorch.info [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BLACKMORE'S NIGHT-Ghost Of A Rose (SPV/Steamhammer)
I won’t make a secret of it: BLACKMORE’S NIGHT is one of my all-time favorite bands, so I am not sure this will be my most objective review, but I simply just don’t care. This album rules!! All of BLACKMORE’S NIGHT previous albums have been spinning overtime in my CD player and I’m pretty sure that with the new album “Ghost Of A Rose”, this won’t change. Frontlady Candice Night is my absolute favorite female singer. She just can’t do wrong in my book. She is a talented singer and songwriter and she possesses a lot of charisma on stage, like I’ve never seen before. On “Ghost Of A Rose”, she delivers a fantastic performance again, like I knew she would. She really gets to me with her voice. She sings with her heart and soul and you can clearly hear it. The album starts wonderful with “Way To Mandalay”. Fans will recognize the intro from the live album “Past Times With Good Company”. It’s a great song to open concerts with. The music is still a mix of celtic/folk pop and rock, but sometimes I can clearly hear some new things. Just some little bits and pieces, but things that really complete BLACKMORE’S NIGHT’s sound. I absolutely love the medieval sound in the songs and there are a variety of musical instruments been used on this album. For instance “3 Black Crows” (written by Candice) sounds great with its variety of flutes and great lyrics. Of course I can’t let Ritchie’s fantastic guitarplaying left unmentioned. He’s a master on guitar and he shows it once again. On this album, he delivers a great performance and he still proves that he is a great songwriter. Listen to the instrumentals “Queen For A Day part 2”, “Nur Eine Minute” and “Mr. Peagrim’s Morris And Sword” and you’ll get the picture. There are two covers on the album, too. “Diamonds And Rust” (JOAN BAEZ) is a wonderful ballad with fantastic vocals. While “Rainbow Blues”, originally from JETHRO TULL, is a great uptempo song with live drums and a bit rocky feeling. Definitely something else but it suits them well. “All For One” is a bit of a party song in the vein of “Home Again” and it will be great when they’ll play this song live on stage. It has a great melody and chorus and you can instantly sing along. Also “Loreley” and “Cartouche” are great uptempo songs with a lot of joy in it. Especially “Cartouche” has oriental influences music and vocal wise and sounds fantastic to me. There are some beautiful ballads too of course. “Ivory Tower” (written by Candice) is an emotional song with choir singing and Renaissance drums and great sounding guitars. Title song “Ghost Of A Rose” and album closer “Dandelion Wine” are two favorites of mine. Two ballads, again with great singing and guitar playing. Both Ritchie and Candice play a variety of instruments and are lord and master in what they do. I hope they may never part and will continue to give us songs like these. “Ghost Of A Rose” will also be released as a digipack with two bonus tracks and great artwork. I hope this album will bring them a lot of success, because with “Ghost Of A Rose”, they’ve delivered a fantastic album and everyone who says otherwise, should have his head examined! Maybe it’s a bit early, but I think this will be on number one in my year list of 2003. Can’t tell you anything I don’t like on this album, so I can only give this album a full score. Buy “Ghost Of A Rose” now and give it a spin. I know you’ll like it! [10 points] (Richard van Oudheusden)

BLOODFLOWERZ-7 Benedictions/ 7 Maledictions (Silverdust Records)
The new BLOODFLOWERZ CD is a lot more accessible and much brighter than its predecessor “Diabolic Angel”, in my opinion. I noticed some resemblance to SKIN and SKUNK ANANSIE here and there, but the sound of BLOODFLOWERZ is definitely a lot more catchy. The voice of Kirsten really brings me to this comparision. I wouldn’t be surprised at all, if one of these songs would reach the charts one day. The fourteen songs on this album (and the title gives it away already) are based upon the seven benedictions and seven maledictions like lust, prudence, greed, wrath, love, pride and faith. Kirsten has a magic touch in her voice. The first album was a bit difficult to listen to, but I didn’t have a problem with this one. The riffs are quite heavy and form a nice contradiction with her warm voice. Another thing they have in common with a band like SKUNK ANANSIE or GUANO APES. Although the ballad “Heart Of Stone” is not really my cup of tea, there are a few very good songs here too, like the magnificent "Till The End” for example. In fifty-five minutes, we’ve gone through the seven benedictions and seven maledictions here. An unbearable release, if you’re into the rock of today! Internet: http://www.bloodflowerz.com [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CETI-Extasy ’93 Live (Oskar)
This is the ‘digitally remastered’ version of “Extasy ’93 Live”. And because of the fact, we didn’t review the ‘original version’ of this album, I’d love to introduce you a bit closer to this release of the Polish heavy metal band CETI. A legendary band with a legendary singer, called Gregorz Kupczyk. The ‘metal maiden’ in the band plays the keyboards, and her name is Marihuana. The other band members are called Andrzej Lysów on guitar, Maciej Przybylski on bass guitar and Marcin ‘Mucek’ Krystek on drums. The die-hard metal fans among us will definitily love this one hour live registration, which contains twelve audio tracks. Besides that, we’re also treated to four bonus video tracks, showing the strength of this great Polish metal band live on stage. In their guitar sound, you can hear touches of YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN, and the overall sound of CETI is comparable to bands like DIO, RAINBOW, MALMSTEEN (all three bands in their later stage) and HELLOWEEN. One of the highlights for me on this live registration, must be ‘speed devil’ “Sztuczne Oddychanie”. Here they let it all loose, and put the pedal to the metal. In the beginning of “Ogien I Izy”, we hear a short solo spot of Marihuana during the intro. But the most definite highlight of this live CD is the long “Satan’s Cavalery Part III”. This is the absolute prove, that we’re dealing with a bunch of great musicians and a great band. It’s really a shame, the international fame of this band is not too big yet. Maybe they will be discovered with their new album “Shadows Of The Angel”, which is also reviewed in this issue of MM. We would like to thank Oskar Productions for making this review possible. Internet: http://www.kup czyk.rockmetal.pl [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CETI-Shadow Of The Angel (Oskar)
Thanks to Oskar, we proudly present you the new album of CETI, called “Shadows Of The Angel”. The album contains twelve songs and four bonus tracks and has a running time of about seventy-five minutes. During the intro “Beyond The Time”, we hear female member Marihuana sing with her soprano voice. She already did some background vocals before, but now she takes the lead a couple of times, next to playing the keyboards of course. On the album we hear guest appearances by Steve Adams (MIRAGE; in the instrumental track “Time To Fly”) and Peter Wiwczarek (VADER; vocals in “Falcon’s Flight”). The intro is dark and mysterious, but in “Treason” we hear that recognisable sound again. Touches of the more recent RIOT sound and a guitar sound, that reminds me of YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN at times. Some of the songs are a bit more bombastic or melodic, which gives the CD more diversity. “Falcon’s Flight” (feat. Peter of VADER) has by far the most threatening and powerful riffs and on top of that, a beautiful guitar solo. While in “Shadow Of The Angel” (Life And The Throne), we even hear a short drum solo, which is very brave to do nowadays. This song is definitely another highlight for me. And doing two drumsolos (the second one in “Cien Aniola” (Zycie I Tron)!!) is even braver! No wonder that I can’t say anything negative about these Polish metalheads. The ballad “The Body And Blood” is also one of the better compositions on this new album, with again a splendid role for Marihuana. Check this album out if you can, because this is really the finest of the finest that you can get in the Polish metal scene. Internet: http://www.kupczyk.rockmetal.pl or http://www.ceti-online.cjb.net. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE COSH-Foxy (indie)
THE COSH are a rock blues band of Australian origin. Up until Nov. 2002 the band’s name was COLD SHOT. Performing as COLD SHOT, they made two CDs; "Messin' With The Kid" (’99) and "I've Been This Road Before", released in 2002. And now there’s their first CD as THE COSH. The band is a very young three-piece band. Guitarist/singer Clyde, aged seventeen, is the eldest. Followed by sister Jessica, who’s fifteen years old, on keyboards/bass/singing. The youngest brother of twelve years is the drummer. And to make it all complete, the parents are in charge of the management of the band. The first song "Who We Are" has a delicious groovy blues sound. In this song, guest musician Ian Jones plays saxofoon. Another guest musician, Chuck Ridler, plays the tambourin. Furthermore, Clyde’s guitar playing and solos shows off. You would not expect this for someone of the age of seventeen. The song "Don't Know What The Fuss Is About" has great guitar riffs and looks a bit like a band as COLD CHISEL. “Hey Baby” is a rock song with obviously some JIMI HENDRIX influences, and again the great guitar work shows off. Then there’s "Ain't Gonna Play No Top 40", which sounds more like the elder blues songs of somebody like B.B. KING, with a notable Hammond organ sound of Jessica. A real blues song, as you sometimes hear in a smokey café, is "I Sold Out To Rock And Roll". It’s a song with very emotional singing and whining guitar solos. "Castles" sung by Jessica is more or less a pop song and does not fit in with the other songs, I think. Jessica’s voice is very light, but it certainly will develop, when she grows older. The title for the funniest expression will be for "A Little Bit Of Something", add in the song "Is Better Than A Whole Lotta Nothing". Followed by "They Don't Care", which is a pounding rock song, like a train rumbling by. The guitar solo could easily be compared with a solo by Carlos Santana. Last but not least, there’s the JIMI HENDRIX cover "Foxy Lady". If Jimi only knew, that he still inspires young musicians to play his music, so many years after his death. The last song on the album is a piano solo of Jessica. It is a honky tonk blues lick, as you certainly will remember from Western movies. It’s a happy tune, which theme will repeat several times in the song. It reminds me a bit of the Dutch blues pianist ROB HOEKE. This is a good CD, and the band will improve in time, when they grow a little older. [7 points] (Marcel van Santen)

CRYPTIC WINTERMOON-A Coming Storm (Massacre Records)
The German black metal band CRYPTIC WINTERMOON exists for ten years now. Their new album opens like a musical raging storm called “Hate Revealed”. No wonder, they called their new album “A Coming Storm”, because their blasting speed will blow you away in a few seconds! “Nocturnal Whispers” is a short acoustic rest in its entirety and certainly one of the highlights for me. It may sound ominous to predict that a storm will be coming towards your city very soon. Another beautiful short acoustic piece is “Obsidian Fragments”, by the way. CRYPTIC WINTERMOON consists of Ronnie on vocals, Larsen on guitars, Michael on guitars, Gary on bass, Andreas on drums and Andrea on keyboards. They transformed the JUDAS PRIEST song “Nightcrawler” in a real fresh sounding black metal anthem. Only if you’re open-minded enough, you will discover the beauty, that lies ‘underneath’ these black metal explosions. Just for the record: the ‘storm’ will be over in exactly one hour and the album is divided into fourteen songs. However, the wind will start to blow again, as soon as you’ll push the ‘repeat’ button. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

COOKIES DOWNTOWN-S/T(EP) (indie)
This is an EP from an all-female band from NYC, who call themselves COOKIES DOWNTOWN. The three songs on this EP are worthy of ten minutes of very powerful rock, starting with a song called “Punk Bitch”. COOKIES DOWNTOWN is not really a punk rock band. I mean, they sound much meaner than THE DONNAS. They’re a very down to earth rock and roll band with some kind of sleaziness, that I sometimes hear back in a band like NASHVILLE PUSSY. Just listen to the wild guitar solo in “Bang Bang”, to get the idea. Mind you: the blasting intro of “The Key” sounds so f*cking heavy, that even MOTÖRHEAD comes in mind for a second. The rest of the song is ‘straight-to-the-point rock’ though. COOKIES DOWNTOWN consists of Rosanna Goodman on vocals, Anna Hovhanessian on lead guitar, Anoush Hovhanessioan on bass guitar, Shelly Rock on rhythmn guitar and Amy McLaughlin on drums. If this band shows up in a rock club near you, be sure not to miss them, ‘cause their live shows seem to be incredibly hot! This EP already convinced me of their strength and power, and we will introduce COOKIES DOWNTOWN a bit closer to you in our next issue. Visit their website at: http:// www.cookiesdowntown.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ILSE DELANGE-Clean Up (Warner)
After several years of success and two very good albums (I am not counting her JOHN HIATT tribute album here), Ilse decided it was time for a change. She went to Nashville to record “Clean Up”, her new album since three years. Ilse wrote the whole album herself and the lyrics are all about broken trust, so this album is very personal. Ilse's two previous records had a lot of country influences, but that has changed completely. Of course you can still hear the influences of country in her singing, but musical wise everything has changed. Some people will be surprised, when they hear the first song “All Alone”. This is a pretty heavy rock song and it’s totally the opposite of what you would expect from Ilse. The production is different too, but sounds very good. It's somewhat experimental and you can hear that they really wanted “Clean Up” to sound perfectly. Ilse's voice sounds the best in the many ballads on this album. She sings with all of her heart and even though it's a bit too much for me sometimes, there's no denying that Ilse is one of Holland's best female singers. Some songs on the album make a great impression on me, like “Follow”, which is dominated by Spanish sounding guitars (this sounds absolutely great). Some ballads like “Heavenless” or “Déjà Vu” sound transparent, yet very experimental with great emotional singing from Ilse. I must admit, that next to these few fantastic songs there are some very lame songs on this album too, like the earlier mentioned “All Alone” and the title track “Clean Up”. But overall, this is an album where Ilse can be proud off. I prefer “World Of Hurt” and “Livin On Love”, but “Clean Up” is an album that fans of good pop/rock music should check out. Also look for the limited edition version of this album. This includes an (almost free) DVD with the making of the recordings of this album. [7 points] (Richard van Oudheusden)

DEL CIELO-Wish And Wait (Eyeball Records)
At one time JONI MITCHELL and JUDY COLLINS were recognized as singer song writers. Their sound was comparable to soft rock, pop and folk. The lyrics had a good emotional tug. The singer poured it out. Often they were unhappy feelings. DEL CIELO have revised that kind of music. The sound is a little heavier than most girl pop. The lyrics are personal observations of a girl, who has had a lot of disappointments. Her relationships don't turn out, as she hoped. This results in break up songs, songs about trying to sort things out and songs about emotions. She has experienced a lot. It’s all documented here. DEL CIELO is composed of talented musicians. Andrea Lisi expresses this with her voice. She can be clear. She can hit notes, that only KATE BUSH can hear. Andrea also plays guitar. She fills with chords or plays notes as the situation requires. The bass guitar gives these songs some back bone. That's something songs like this often lack. It's supplied by Basla Andalsun. Katy Otto shows necessary restraint on drums. Katy can change tempos at a moments notice. Ok, maybe you don't expect to read this in a metal magazine. But we have three women, who are doing a new version of an established theme. They do it well. DEL CIELO deserve credit for that. Contact address: Eyeball Records, P.O. Box 16533, Peter Stuyvesant Station, New York, NY 10009, USA. Website: http://www.exoticfever.com/delcielo. Email: delcielorock@hotmail.com. [7 points] (Jack Little)

THE DISHES-1-2 (No. 89 Records)
Here’s another all-female band. This time they come from Chicago, and they call themselves THE DISHES. Their new album is called “1-2” and it’s absolutely fabultastic!! (contamination of fabulous and fantastic). The band shoves fourteen short punk attacks down your throat in about thirty minutes, leaving you behind with your jaws dropped down to the ground. What the hell was that???? Well, that was the new CD of THE DISHES. It’s over before you know it maybe, but it has the impression of the well-known slam in the face with a crowbar. Need I explain more here? I don’t think so. And if you still haven’t got the point, then I’d suggest you start listening to songs like “Fishnets” or “Feel It” (MOTORCYCLE BOY) to get the idea. THE DISHES consist of Kiki Yablon on guitar, Sharon Malloy on bass, Alianna Kalaba on drums and Sarah Staskauskas on guitar and vocals. On the CD however, we hear Graeme Gibson and JJ Klein as the drummers for most of the songs. It also seems, that Aliana has left the band, to be preplaced by Mike Tsoulous. But what’s in a name, when you’re making such catchy melodic punk songs like THE DISHES do. The kids won’t even notice, if the drummer is called Mike or JJ or Graeme or Alianna. As long as they’re having a good time. And I think, they will have a good time listening to this album. The band already played on several compilation albums, and I think this strong album will be a big step forward in their career. Website: http://www.thedishes.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DRASTIQUE-Pleasureligion (Beyond Productions)
I don't usually write reviews on one man project's, so this will be a new avenue for me. The ‘one man’ I speak of is Chris "One Soul Inferno" Buchman, writer, lyricist and instrumentalist of the Italian based band DRASTIQUE. He used to call it DRASTIC, but I guess that title was too passé for his tastes. Although their are two other members for this recording, this is Buchman's band. The others are just in it for the production of this release, ‘cause on his first release, "Thieves Of Kisses" (1998), the players were different. As a matter of fact, on the first album, Chris played all of the instruments, with the help of two female vocalists, neither of which appear here. For Chris, that's good. Not to say that the femme vocalists on the first production were bad. Just that the one he has found for "Pleasureligion" is better. Wayyyy better! Her name is Fay and she is listed as "The Temptress in Black", and for a good reason, as it is unusual to find females in black metal bands. Not anymore! And Fay fits in rather admirably in the gothic parts. But make no mistake, Chris Buchman's project is not gothic rock. The music is a mixture of black metal with big gothic overtones and avantgardesque meanderings. There are also a lot of electronics induced into the soundscapes by Buchman. Synthesizers, as he lists it, cover a wide spectrum of this music. At this point in the review, I would liken this style to that of the Australian band VIRGIN BLACK. Similar in style, but not as gothic. DRASTIQUE is more on the true metal side, than VB. The male vocals are a mix of a lot of styles. I hear black, death, operatic and for a a lot you squeamish people out there, clean. Fay, on her own, is simply outstanding. She, like this music, is all over the place with her frantic bellowings. Sometimes operatic, and sometimes rockish, but all together, simply fantastic. There is also a slight accent, which adds a sort of sultry sexiness to her voice. Of course though, she’s not the star here. She has an outstanding delivery, but Mr. Buchman is definately the star in the making. There’s one other member in the band, but it is unclear what he does. His name is simply, Mahavira and he is listed as "Thundering Echoes Of Silence". Whether this means he is a drummer, I'm not sure. On the first album, "Thieves Of Kisses", it is clear that a drum-machine was used. But on this album, if it is a drum-machine, it sounds much more life like to these ears. Although I really love this album, I hate the mysteriousness of the author. I wish he would just tell us who plays what, and stop leaving us all to figure it out. The sound and production level are top notch. The artwork is very enticing to those who see naked woman as art, and not something dirty. I see it for what it is. To sell! And I'm sure this album will sell more for its content than what's on the cover. To compare them to other bands would do no good. Outside of the brief comparison I made to VIRGIN BLACK. Yes, they sound like....all of the above. I even have no track this time that I can call.....favorite. The whole album is just one good track. Start to finish. Trust me. If you have a copy of "Thieves Of Kisses" and enjoyed it, then you will enjoy "Pleasureligion" even more. Internet: http://www.drastique. com/home.html [8 points] (Dennis Arancio)

DRIONIDE-Cruelty Detox (indie)
We were already positively surprised by the demo of DRIONIDE, the new band of Joan of FACEHUGGER. They bring a subtle mix of very different popular music styles of the new millennium like dance, industrial and transform it into their own style, which they call cybergothicindustrial metal. This new five track CD contains about twenty-five minutes of this style and although I am an old fashioned hard rock fan, as you all know by now, I really liked what they do here. The music gets inside your head like a virtual fishhook. When this has happened, thousands of tentacles clamp themselves to your brains and shake your nerves. You get the urge to dance and to move your body (mind you: I never dance), and this state of mind lasts until the CD stops turning. Then you slowly return to reality. I hate repeatable dance beats, but one way or another, they fit in this music really well. I think about bands like FEAR FACTORY, LACRIMOSA and especially the incredible NAILBOMB (who are slightly heavier maybe!), when I listen to these five new tracks. DRIONIDE already shared the stage with bands like CHRISTIAN DEATH, ANCIENT RITES and IN EXTREMO. Besides Joan, who plays the guitar, the band consists of Maldrion on vocals (MALOEHIA), The Haze on bass (SOPHYA), Lexander on guitars and Mantrax on keyboards. It seems that the band is planning a full-length album right now, and I think that every open-minded music fan must check this one out. I bet, you will be impressed by the intenseness of the sound this band offers. For bookings, call Erwin at 06-27046189 or Joost 06-55708609. Joan also plays in an all-female punk rock band called MINX. Maybe we can inform you about that band in one of our upcoming issues. Website: http://www.drionide.nl or e-mail to drionide @hotmail.nl [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EPICA-The Phantom Agony (Transmission Records)
When you’ve read the demo review of SAHARA DUST in our previous issue, you knew that there was something special coming up. We already told you about EPICA, a new well-talented Dutch band in the bombastic gothic metal scene. The band was named after one of the albums of KAMELOT, a band that they all adore very much. EPICA’s debut album is called “The Phantom Agony”, and if you’re into WITHIN TEMPTATION, AFTER FOREVER and NIGHTWISH, then this one is made for your ears. After the intro “Adyta” (The Last Embrace), the CD starts off with “Sensorium”. The roles are defined in the past already: a female soprano voice next to a growling male voice, bombastic choirs, fine orchestral arrangements and a band that shows their abilities in the instrumental parts. The songs could very well be used for a classical movie. By means of the massive use of choirs, I’d also like to compare them to ENYA, although they’re much heavier of course. Just listen to the beginning of “Cry For The Moon” (The Embrance That Smothers Part IV) for example. EPICA consists of Simone Simons on vocals, Mark Jansen (ex-AFTER FOREVER) on guitar and vocals, Ad Sluijter on guitars (ex-CASSIOPEIA), Coen Janssen on synths and piano, Yves Huts (ex-AXAMENTA) on bass and Jeroen Simons (ex-CASSIOPEIA) on drums. I think, the other bands mentioned in this review will scratch behind their ears, because EPICA means some serious competition for them. A band, that is hungry, ready and willing and still very young. Add to this the very high quality of music and you can talk about a new band, that directly launch themselves into the highest ranks of the gothic metal scene, coming from out of nowhere. Highlight for me is title track and CD closer “The Phantom Agony”. This song is so complete and it contains every aspect of the band in the best way possible. Nine rough diamonds pressed on a silver disc, containing fifty minutes of heavenly epic music. Need I say more? Website: http://www.epica.nl [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

FAIRYLAND-Of Wars In Osyrhia (Arise Records)
Let me make my apologies now. I hate to trash anyone's album, because I know they have worked long and hard to make it happen. But I can’t figure out, why Elisa Martin left DARK MOOR for this. Especially, on the heels of what was probably DARK MOOR's best release to date, "The Gates Of Oblivion". It's not all bad (except for the band name), I just thought she would throw her old band aside for something more special than this. Fans of RHAPSODY will be insulted by this rip-off, ‘cos that's what we have here. Right down to the operatic male choirs and narration. They even went as far a ripping off one of my favorite horror movies of all time, at the beginning of the album. Remember the movie from the '50s, about the giant ants, called "Them"? "And So Came The Storm" is the name of the first intro track. Do you remember the chirping sound the giant ants made in "Them"? Well, here it is, I warned you. Thank God, it's short at 1:25. I can't take anymore than that. Wonder, if they violated any copyright laws or just threw this in without consulting anyone. Horrible! From track two on, the listener is treated to some outstanding Rhapsodian metal. No need for a track by track description, the album must be experienced as a whole. Bombastic, symphonic, epic power metal, that will blow your doors off from start to finish. Center of attention are the vocals of star Elisa C. Martin. They made one slight mistake though. Elisa seems to be drowned out a bit by the instrumentation and backing male choirs, which are more upfront than her voice, for some reason. I guess the musicians didn't want to make this an Elisa type solo project, they wanted to be heard. And all are fine musicians at that. Nothing more needs to be said about Elisa. For all of you who are familiar with her vox, she does her part quite convincingly throughout this project. The rest of the band members. Let me begin with keyboardist Philippe Giordana, who also contributes backing vocals. His playing is at the forefront of this production. He is quite accomplished and began playing the ivories at the tender age of fourteen. He is ex-member of a band, called ABSURD. I have never heard of them, but they must have suffered a great loss, when Philippe left them. He is like a one man orchestra, adding a lot of atmospherics to the sound. Anthony Parker who plays all the guitars, is ex- member from the band HEAVENLY. He’s your average kind of power metal guitar player, nothing spectacular. Willdric Levin is the drummer and founder of the band, that used to be called FANTASY, according to the bands’ bio. Levin also contributes backing vocals. He is an accomplished skin pounder, make no mistake. Fast and furious with a lot of double bass, kick ass, drumming. They all have something in common, that they are all ex of some band, and are French. Except for Elisa, whom we all know, is from Spain. All kidding aside. If you are a fan of RHAPSODY, then you’re going to love this album. But I cannot give this album a high rating, because of its unoriginality. As far as I'm concerned, the band RHAPSODY are the true kings of epic fantasy power metal and all others are just pretenders and copiers. For the musicianship, though, I give a high recommendation. They just need to get more original with their songwriting and style. The talent is already there. http://www.fairyland metal.com/ [6 points] (Dennis Arancio)

THE FLIPSIDES-Clever One (Pink And Black Records)
In our latest issue, I promised you that I would review the debut CD of THE FLIPSIDES. Well, here it is. It has twelve songs and is worthy of about thirty minutes of powerful melodic punk rock. Think about ELVIS COSTELLO, teaming up with GREEN DAY or BAMBIX, crossed with an older version of THE PRETENDERS, and you’ll get my point. Short catchy songs, that create a great powerful atmosphere. Sabrina Stewart is the frontlady of this band, who has a clear voice (she’s not a screamer), and she also plays the guitar. The other band members are Mar Bradin on bass, keyboards and additional guitar, and Jim Lindsay on drums. One of the highlights for me is “Two Weeks” – the second track off the album and a very fast song. The album rocks from the beginning until the end. Just listen to a craftful explosion, like “Because I Can”, which proves that we’re dealing with a very well-talented band here. An interview with the band is coming up soon, in one of our next issues. For more information, check out the bands website at: http://www.theflipsides.com [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

FREE VERSE-Inventing An Archtype (Agitprop! & Demirep Records)
FREE VERSE is an all-female trio hailing from Seattle ‘grunge’ city. Their massive rock sound is somewhat comparable to the early sound of BABES IN TOYLAND. That was my first thought, when I heard opener “Surface”. Rock music that leans towards the noise (hardcore) side. Six songs with a total time of twenty minutes are on this strong album, which is called “Inventing An Archetype”. In the beginning of their second song “End Of Choice”, they drift away from the sound of the BABES, but in the middle of this song the vocals change back to the witchy sound of Kat Bjelland. Don’t be afraid, this actually means that I like what these ladies are doing. FREE VERSE consist of Machell on drums/vocals, Lisa on bass and Jenni on guitar. Their lyrics contain a political message and the structure of their songs isn’t that easy, too. The band simply refuses to ride the paved road, that everybody drives on nowadays. They avoid a traffic jam that way. Nobody sounds that excentric like these girls nowadays. Just listen to “Invisible Tomorrow” to get the idea, which is very good in my opinion. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Try to find this mini album of FREE VERSE. If you want to know more about the band or order their CD, check their website at: http://www.freeverse.tv or you can read the interview with FREEVERSE in this October issue of MM. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GRAVEWORM-Engraved In Black (Nuclear Blast)
“Engraved In Black” is the fourth release of this Italian melodic black metal band already again. The line up of the band is Stefan Fiori on vocals, Steve Unterpertinger on guitars, Eric Righi on guitar and bass, Martin Innerbichler on drums and metal maiden Sabine Mair on keyboards. GRAVEWORM’s music leans towards the early sound of a band like DIMMU BORGIR on this new album, that contains nine new tracks and has a playing time of about forty minutes. In “Thorns Of Desolation” we see the bombastic face of GRAVEWORM with a beautiful instrumental tune, that has even got the sound of bagpipes in it. A little surprise after all these brutal attacks, but also one that fits pretty well on the album. An album, that can be seen as one of the most brutal efforts of GRAVEWORM in their entire career. The band also chose to do a cover version of the patcher hit “Losing My Religion” of REM. They should forbid metal bands to play stupid songs like that. It’s one of the worst songs that has ever been written, and I turn off the radio every time, they play this awful tune. The rest of the album sounds okay, but I will distract one point from their total score because of this. If you want to be part of the heavy metal scene, then you don’t do a cover like that. You lose your dignity with that. Please take a good look at the beautiful front cover of this CD. GRAVEWORM is one of the bands that will play at this years edition of Wacken Open Air. Website: http://www.graveworm.de. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SAMMY HAGAR AND THE WABO’S-Live Hallelujah (Metal Is Records)
This is a sixteen track live CD of SAMMY HAGAR and his band THE WABORITA’S, who are now called THE WABO’S. His band consists of Jesse Harms on keyboards, Vic Johnson on guitar, David Lauser on drums and Mona on bass. Seventeen songs with a playing time of almost seventy-nine (!!!) minutes. The band was captured here at their best moments, when they toured with Diamond DAVID LEE ROTH, before the argueing started. They recorded songs from their shows in Boston, (incl. some ex-members of BOSTON in their background choir during “When It’s Love”), Fresno, Charlotte and Tampa. There are some guest appearances too by old VAN HALEN collegues. During “When It’s Love” (again), Gary Cherone (ex-VAN HALEN/ex-EXTREME vocalist) does some vocals together with Sammy, and in “Dreams” and “Right Now”, VAN HALEN bass player Michael Anthony appears on the stage. Alex and Eddie van Halen were not available, I guess. But Sammy doesn’t really need them anymore. He’s a quite successful solo artist, and this live CD proves that the ‘red rocker’ is still able to perform one helluva show. Just listen to great versions of classics like “Three Lock Box”, “Rock Candy”, “I Can’t Drive 55”, “Why Can’t This Be Love” and the metal anthem “Heavy Metal”. CD closer “Hallelujah” is the only studio recording on this live album, which was meant to be used as a hit single in the USA. Right now, Sammy is playing a few reunion gigs with his old band MONTROSE. Please come to Holland too!!! Although I think that’s wishful thinking, but they could at least make a nice DVD out of that! For all the other information you need about SAMMY HAGAR, go to his official website at: http://www.redrocker.com. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HAND OF DOOM-Live In Los Angeles – BLACK SABBATH tribute (Idaho Music)
Check this one out! HAND OF DOOM is a BLACK SABBATH tribute band with two female members playing seven SABBATH classics and an “Iron Intro”. The band consists of Crazy Train on percussion, Master Of Reality on drums, The Wizard on lead guitar, Iron man on vocals and Sweet Leaf on bass guitar. Sweet Leaf is also known as Molly R. Stern, the first female member of the band. The other one, Iron Man, we also know as Melissa Auf Der Maur (ex HOLE, SMASHING PUMPKINS). Is it any good? Well, it’s perfect! Even Jack Osbourne (OZZY’s son) gives them a compliment, which they deserve. They play the covers, and put a little bit of their own in the songs. Melissa doesn’t always reach the high notes perfectly, but OZZY has had the same problem for years, so nothing has changed really. The musicians are capable to create a great doomy, authentic SABBATH like atmosphere, and I must give them a huge compliment for that. On “The Mob Rules”, they get some help from Nick Ollivieri of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE on vocals. This is really great and it would be nice, if they would come on tour here in Europe, too. I believe, it would be really great to see the band live on stage. More, more, more!!! This review was made possible by the help of our good friend Tony Canella. Thank you very much for that, mate! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE HEROINES-Groupie (Thunderwoman Records)
No, I’m not getting senile here. We’ve reviewed this album already in MM #31. There we had the CD version, which was released on Wolverine Records. Well, the music on this LP has stayed the same of course, but the packaging looks so much different and better, I would like to spend a few words to this release as well. We know, that Anouschka of Thunderwoman Records is always preparing something special out of the releases, she brings out. And that’s also the case with “Groupie”. The beautiful gatefold sleeve contains many pictures inside. The album is pressed in blood red vinyl, and as a bonus, you get an authentic HEROINES guitar pick (first three hundred copies only!, which are already sold out, by the way). It’s a great initiation to re-release this album of this German steaming punk rock band. THE HEROINES consist of Galactica on vocals and guitar, Chris Missile on bass, El Filipe on drums and Electra on vocals. Kick ass rock and roll doesn’t need no further explanation, so you’d better read the review again, that we did in MM#31. I’ll give this re-release one point more, because of the superb packaging. Get addicted to THE HEROINES through: http://www.thunder- baby.de. You did it again Anouschka, great work!!! Website: http://www.the heroines.net [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HOWLING SYN-Forbearers Of Dusk (Galy Records)
Once in a while, a band with its debut, can be categorized, as a masterpiece. Such is the case with HOWLING SYN's debut, "Forbearers Of Dusk". Beginning in 1997 as a sort of a one man project by Patryk Pigeon, we get what can only be described as a perfect balance of songwriting and instrumental skills. You can tell from first listen, that a lot of work went into this release to make it as good a debut as possible. Mostly all of Patryk's work up until this release had been instrumental demos, with very limited vocal arrangement. Patryk's vision was to bring together a collection of talent that would make his music sing, as well as play. In the fall of 1999, he found a female vocalist named Sophie LeMay, do just that. She became an intrical part of what I consider, the perfect blend of male/female vocal meanderings. Sophie has a very soft style to her voice with a soprano attitude, which blends very well with the baritone (no growling) male style vocals, of Patryk. Rounding out the talent of this fine outfit is songwriter and drummer, Eric Mireault, who joined up in late 1999. Patryk undertakes all of the instrumentation such as bass, guitars and keys. Yes, he is an accomplished talent. For their live shows, they employ classically trained guitarist, Gilbert Riendeau. All hail from Montreal, Canada. The music is a mix of medieval folk and gothic with an array of progressive elements. The album plays as some kind of dark operetta about vampires, witches, fairies and elves, if you like. The arrangement of the songs are in the prog vein with Chapter One:"Dark Tales Of Rage And Romance" with the title track "Forbearers Of Dusk" beginning the opus. Then there are six more songs which lead into Chapter Two:"The War Of Avalon", which has five songs. And of course the final song Epilogue:"Emperors Of Tomorrow", which ends this outstanding work. Along the way, the listener is treated to some beautiful harmonizing vocals by Sophie and Patryk. The lyrics are also very poetic in nature and tell a story of dark pagan ideals. The music is in no sense depressing. Quite to the contrary. It has an upbeat air to it throughout. You'd think that music or a story such as this would bring you to the point of suicide. Not the case. Patryk has unleashed quite a debut on us all. The problem with that though, has he put all he's got into this album, with nothing left for the next time? Only time will tell, I guess. But they will be hard pressed to out-do this original masterpiece. It would be very hard to lump HOWLING SYN into any one category or genre of metal at this point. Best I could do is what I've already stated. As a matter of fact, I can't think of too many bands that may have been an influence outside of the band themselves. This type of songwriting and music is a sort of invention unto itself and requires a lot of thought. For those of you, who would need a band or bands to compare them with, I would try any number of Eastern European bands such as THALARION, GALADRIEL (not as doomy) or the Irish Celt band CRUACHAN (as folky as). A similar style, but not sounding like, at all. I will be impatiently awaiting a follow-up to "Forbearers Of Dusk". I can't see it getting any better than this. Please surprise me! Website: http://www.howlingsyn.net/ [9 points] (Dennis Arancio)

SAS JORDON-Hot Gossip (Aquarius)
This is not a typo. It’s the same lady that was formerly known as SASS JORDAN. Why she has changed her name is not clear to us. The only thing that is important to us right now is that we can review her new record here. It’s called “Hot Gossip” and in Canada and the US, it was released in 2001 already. This doesn’t predict much good, but hey better late than never! What happened to Sas in the meantime? She did a duet with JOE COCKER, that landed of the soundtrack for the movie “The Bodyguard”. The album became a real best seller. She was part of the ‘vagina-monologues’ in Toronto, an event that was done all over the world, with local performers talking about their vagina. In 2002, she did the Broadway musical “Love Janis”, in which she performed the role of JANIS JOPLIN. She even did two shows in Ontario, Canada at the end of June and the beginning of July. And what about this album then? Well, it contains ten new songs and forty minutes of music. Her band consists of Derek Sharp on guitars, bass and keyboards, Randy Cooke on drums and Richard Chycki on percussion and guitar. The music of Sas is sweeter than ever. No “Pissing Down”, “Make You A Believer”, “High Road Easy” or songs like that. It’s pop rock music, topped with the great vocals of Sas. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing less could only do damage to the thoughts we still have about this blonde Canadian singer. But nothing more would not be too promising also. I didn’t hear one song, that rocked more or was outstanding to the rest of the songs. This all together makes this album to just another average rock album, and there are already so much of them. I had expected a bit more of this release. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LO-BALL-The Demo Dears (The Talent House)
LO-BALL played fifty-two shows on fifty-two straight days on the Vans Warped Tour. They also played five United Service Organizations shows in Bosnia and Kosovo. You have to want to be in music a lot to do that. LO-BALL know who they are. They try to express it through their music. It’s not complicated, yet you can hear all five musicians. You'd call this rock or maybe even pop. What ever it is LO-BALL hold your interest with it. Some of the songs I would compare with ELVIS COSTELLO. It has that lilt to it, that his music has. Trina has learned how to use her voice in a similar way. For the song “Rock Star”, a girl pursues music and hopes to start a relationship with a boy at the same time. Claudia's drumming sets a mild but, interesting pace. “The Warped Song” is about going to hear music, being with friends and having a good time. Lissa gives us a good guitar solo. We hear J.C.'s guitar and Ginger’s bass on most of the songs. Chords or deeper notes divide verses and choruses. It's a rock style, that is accessible to a lot of people. The sound is bright. If you like light rock with some power chords, you'll like this. Contact: The Talent House (Staci Slater), P.O. Box 7336, Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046, USA. Internet: http://www.lo-ball.com. Email: Thetalenthouse@aol.com/ [8 points] (Jack Little)

LUNARCLICK-S/T (indie)
In the 1980's we had something called modern rock. It used a combination of synthetic and electric sounds to play a melody. Although they play the same notes as everyone else, it sounded a little different. For these reasons LUNARCLICKS’ music should be described as modern rock. The first song on this six song EP is called “Secret”. It's a good example of how these songs work. First we hear synth percussions. Evan plays those. Then a layer of electric keyboards sounds are added. Carlton programs those. From time to time, instruments join in. Carlton also plays guitar. His chords give “Secret” bursts of heaviness. Rayshele can do the same on bass. Above these well-composed melodies, we have Claudia. She sings or maybe states in rhythm the lyrics. They have a lot to do with emotion and fantasy. Some will say they’re indefinite, other will say they’re open to interpretation. Next comes “Lies”. It has a pulsating sound. Those who like to dance, could dance to this. It's about keeping people at a safe distance. Something should be said about “Smile”. Six short verses about an alluring woman float in and out of the song. There's melody to listen to between them. Each sound different because a different mix of instruments are used. If you like grooves and waves of sound, this one is for you. Contact: Eyeball Records, P.O. Box 16533, Peter Stuyvesant Station, New York NY 10009, USA. Internet: http://www.lunarclick.com. Email: info@lunarclick.com. Contact the band at: LUNARCLICK, 10061 Riverside Dr. #360, Touca Lake, CA 91602, USA. [7 points] (Jack Little)

MENSEN-Oslo City (Gearhead Records)
The second release of MENSEN is a fact. It contains thirteen songs and a bit over thirty minutes of solid rock. The line up is completely different to the one, we did an interview with in our magazine. Or they have changed their names. Didn’t they all have the names of the members of THE RUNAWAYS?? Well, I see a Mary Currie in their line up on vocals and lead guitar. The rest of the band consists of Christine Sixteen on lead guitar, Rambling Roy on bass guitar and Power Plingis on drums. As guest musicians they have Danny Young and Nicke Andersson on percussion. The songs on “Oslo City” have a very high rock and roll level, and some kind of a RAMONES level, which is not that high however than we sometimes hear of other punk rock bands reviewed in MM. Touches of THE DONNAS can be discovered in songs like “Start Over Again” and perhaps “One Way Street”. MENSEN was picked up by an American record label, that also signed bands like THE HELLACOPTERS, THE HIVES and the all-female band THE PINKZ. So if you start to think in that direction, you’ll get an idea of the sound of this band. MENSEN has recently toured Germany, Czechia and Slovakia. ‘kick in the face’ rock and roll from Oslo City. The fourteenth (instrumental) song on this CD (not mentioned anywhere) is a bonus of one and a half minute, which can be skipped immediately. Website: http://www.mensen-band.com [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MIDNIGHT CREEPS-Doomed From The Get Go (indie)
If you like wild punk bands, I've got one for you. They are the MIDNIGHT CREEPS and play songs about people living on the edge. If not over it. The music sounds chaotic. On further listening, it's more organized than you think. Jenny Hurricane comes on as her last name suggests. Most of the time with intense, angry shouts. Heather Mars plays guitar surprisingly well. She and James on bass play different parts. This adds to the sound. Jeff Creep can drum fast enough to set the pace. He's steady enough to keep it going. They’re good musicians. The MIDNIGHT CREEPS must want to play this kind of music. We meet some interesting characters in these songs. Not pleasant middle of the road types. For example there's “Menstrual Institution”. It's about being jealous of a sexier girl. She has a shorter mini skirt. She also has your boyfriends attention. But you can't do anything about it, because you’re in a menstrual institution. Another song is about a girl, who's described as a head case or psyco. It's like her brain is off the hook. There's a good description. She's behaving strangely, because she lacks medication or sex. The other songs are equally glam and trash. It all sounds exciting. Yet I wouldn't want to be any of those people. If you like bands that should be in an institution, you'll like this. Contact: Rodent Popsicle Records, P. O. Box 1143, Allston, MA 02134, USA. Internet: http://www.midnightcreeps.com. Email: mlkcreeps@aol.com [9 points] (Jack Little)

MORDIGGAN-Metamorphose (Brennus Records)
MORDIGGAN call themselves a progressive heavy metal band from France. They sing in their native tongue, and they have come up with ten good progressive metal songs on this album. MORDIGGAN consists of Sophie on vocals and flute, Jérôme on vocals, Serge on lead guitar, Matthieu on guitar, Sandro on drums, Pierrick on bass, Loïc on keyboards and Mike on background vocals. In opener “Prelude Au Crime”, we hear a death grunt, that doesn’t really fit to their music, in my opinion. However, after this song, it didn’t pop up again. What remains is the powerful sound of this band. It has a progressive character too, but it’s also very heavy. It makes it difficult to compare MORDIGGAN, who started their career in 1997 as STIGGMA, with any other band in the scene. One of the most outstanding songs on this album was “Peur Du Vide” for me. It starts with male vocals, then Sophie adds her vocals and at the end of the song a speed change appears, you don’t really expect anymore. In “Retour Du Mal” we hear Sophie play the flute, which fits really well with the music. They finish off the album with “Dieu Du Tonnere” - another highlight for me. It’s short, yet very fast with thunder and lightning at the end of the song. MORDIGGAN is still a very young band, that can develop their own style even more over the years. With “Metamorphose” they already convinced me of the fact, they are a very well-talented new band in the endless stream of new progressive metal bands. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

NEXX-Colours (Now And Then Records)
I think a lot of our readers will still remember this melodic rock band from Spain. We reviewed their demo CD in MM#30. Their sound reminded me a bit of EUROPE and TOTO at that point, and I believe that I can use these names again and add influences of BON JOVI and TYKETTO to it after hearing this first full-length release of these Spanish rockers. Some of the songs were also on the demo. I’m talking about opener “Arches Of Faith”, “Remember”, “Get There”, “After The Storm”, “In A Blue Moon”, “One More Day” and “If You Could Read My Mind”. The other five songs were new to me. The reviews of their first demo were so positive, that they were offered a record deal with Now And Then Records. This first album is another step forward for this band, that will surprise many readers by their strong sound. The band still consists of the same persons and you can enjoy the remarkable talents of José de la Banda on bass and vocals, Bernardo Llobregat on guitar and vocals, Oscar Pérez on drums, Francisco J. Rodriguez on keyboards and Patricia Tapia on vocals. They recently played an acoustic show in Madrid, as support to DANNY VAUGHN of TYKETTO, another step forward on their way to success. NEXX is definitely a name to remember! http://www.mejorsordos.com/nexx [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ORKRIST-Reginae Myterium (Forensick Music)
Another in a long line of great finds from Slovakia. Along with country mates THALARION and GALA-DRIEL, just to name a few, there seems to be no end in sight for the great music coming from this Eastern European land. Only thing different about these five musicians, is they’re not on the mighty music label as are the other two. But make no mistake, they are as highly talented as any out there. Basically, the line-up is the same as the two bands I mentioned at the beginning of this review. Five persons, four guys and one lady. Guitars, keyboards, drums, and flute (played admirably by Lydia). Nothing groundbreaking, just some more great music for us all to savor. There’s a long dark history to the woods of Eastern Europe, that is being brought to us by talents such as these. So much horror and despair is what I feel when I listen to all of this eerie music, I'm only sorry, it doesn't give me nightmares. Lydia Lacova becomes first and foremost in this writing. She sings and plays the flute. In her bio, she states that Tarja of NIGHTWISH is an influence. Seems most of the ladies singing today, either use the names Tarja or Anneke as an influence. Lydia though, has a voice not unlike either of them. She is as operatic as Tarja and as soulful as Anneke. Simply put, and I must have said this a thousand times already, she has a nice voice. This is a short album at 38:53, so you don't get as much of Lydia as you would like. But nevertheless, she is an intrical part of the music's flow. Rest of the players are first names only, for this review. Crom (synthesizers and vocals), Khayo (guitars), Kabi (bass-no longer a member) and Pyros (drums). All are pretty adept with their instruments. The music is hard to describe. It's kinda raw at times. I'll start with black metal that has a lot of elements of gothic and medieval folk in it. There are also a lot of references to vampirism. Most of the vocals on the album are black male voices with some clean male vocals here and there. The album begins with a short intro "Apron-LegioDiabolica" and fades right into the second track "Nocturnal Rite". On this track, we are introduced to the angelic voice of Lydia, amongst a backdrop of sinister voices, which I suppose are devils of some sort. Anyway, it is a mid tempo to fast song that gives you Lydia in both forms, voice and flute. A good beginning of what's to come. From this point on the album proceeds as some sort of strange ritual, dueling male sinister voices interspersed with female choir, background vocals, at times. The sinister vocals are not bad, as these types of vocals go. At this point in the album, I am reminded of bands such as THEATRES DES VAMPIRES, NOTRE DAME or even DARZAMAT with its medieval folk influences. The medieval folk is most evident on track five, "Sword And Sorcery", where Lydia is upfront and solo to express her emotions. In between the vocal songs, there are segues or instrumentals. Most notable songs, for us female enthusiasts would be the ones that Lydia is a vocal part of. So far, the tracks I have mentioned and for the rest of the album songs such as "Justice The Beauty", which is an example of the emotion in Lydia's voice. Also the final track "Epilogue" has to be a highlight of the album. So, if you are squeamish about sinister male vocals in your music, stay away. But if you like them with angelic female vocals, then by all means, this is for you. I, myself, am not squeamish about anything in music. Just another, in a long line of new stars that brighten my day, and night. Internet: http://orkrist.nfo.sk/ [7 points] (Dennis Arancio)

PARADIGM-Standing In Line (indie)
PARADIGM are from California and this is their first full-length release. They’re not another thrash band. They’re slower and much more dramatic. Shannon Curtis is the vocalist. She can be dramatic, when its called for. Throughout she sounds sincere about every word. True, she is the co-author of most of these songs. Maybe she has an intense emotional life. PARADIGM cover “Hazy Shade Of Winter”. That's a PAUL SIMON song from years ago (and later on, also recorded by THE BANGLES – ed). They give it an alternative spin. The guitar part adds something the original didn't have. Keith Ogden and Steve Stratton both play guitar. Often they play different parts, which adds something to these songs. Kyle Knowlton plays bass and then there’s Tony Edwards on drums. He has the good sense not to overpower the rest of the band. “Want To Be” is about being who you want to be. We see lots of examples of a middle class life style. Musicians and others have let that go and are who they are. They have to do things that aren't expected of them. The song is uptempo. PARADIGM seem to enjoy doing it. “You Are” has a hopeful sound to it. It could be about a relationship. My guess is it's a relationship with God. It has to do with excepting what we do know. Not demanding unobtainable answers. Yes, that is a lot to think about. Few CDs are more thoughtful. Contact: Shannon Curtis, 3924 J Street Upwest, Sacramento, CA 95819, USA. Internet: http://www.paradigm-music.com [6 points] (Jack Little)

MARY PRANKSTER-Tell Your Friends (Palace Coup Records)
Mary's vocals are clear. Her writing is thoughtful and self aware. She says things you might have wished you said. If I were creative enough to say them that way, I might. These songs don't set out to be grrrl core. They are from a conscious woman. The music is guitar based rock. When we hear the band, they are strong and uptempo. They don't use a lot of special effects. That doesn't harm the music any. Songs about a world gone crazy aren't rare. “Brave New Baby” uses descriptions like ‘meticulous and phoney’ and ‘waves of mass indifference’. Mary observes a world of move and counter move saying "When flame retardant books came out, they had to burn the readers". Believe it or not, this is a rock and roll song. The guitars are strong, the bass evident. I could listen to the band play the song with out the words. Considering the words, I wouldn't want to. For something more personal, there's “Arms Length”. It's about falling in love quickly. Not deciding to have a relationship. Mary observes "I'm telling you boy the pleasure is mine". She states, that she writes songs, that nice girls aren't supposed to write. There are eight more songs like this on MARY PRANKSTERs CD for you to listen to and figure out. Internet: http://www.maryprankster.com. Contact addres: Palace Coup Records, P.O. Box 50127, Baltimore, MD 21211, USA. [9 points] (Jack Little)

THE PURRS-S/T (Garage–Pop Records)
You could compare THE PURRS with THE LUNACHICKS. Both write about the lives of girls. Both write about experiences that are important to them. The music that is on this CD is a little heavier. This is partly because of a well-constructed bass part. It is played well by Rachel Sinesiou. Also because of the way Wade Rowley III thumps the drums. They open with “Got Kissed”. The speaker is happy to be a girl. Her relationship is off to a good start. Being young and living is fun. After all, she got kissed. The band play well as a group. “Boys” has a good introduction. It raises the question: Why can't I have two boy friends? From her point of view, she'd have more fun. She would get to go out more often. Another highlight is “Birthday Party”. There’s an enjoyable guitar part. Both Jen Davis and Sara Strusz play guitar. Sara also sings all of the songs. Her voice fits the rock beat of the material. Then there is “Evil”. It's slower and heavier. It sounds like the blues at times. “Evil” can appear attractive. She is very impressed with a man. She also judges that he is evil. If you like rock from girls, who write about being girls you'll like this. Contact: Garage-Pop Records, P.O. Box 88003, Rochester N.Y. 14618, USA. Internet: http://www.garagepoprecords.com Email: purrs@garagepoprecords.com. [8 points] (Jack Little)

RAJAS-Yougyou (+lim. edition live CD) (Song Bird Records)
It’s time for a short history lesson. RAJAS are from Japan, and we already introduced you to their ‘greatest hits’ release recently. At that point, I couldn’t tell you, the band is still alive and kicking. The best proof is this new release I think. There are six brand new songs on the new album “Yougyou”, and for the people who order the CD fast, they add a mini live CD to this package with four songs If you listen to opener “Yougyou”, you’ll be astonished. This sounds really fantastic! It’s like time stood still. The guitar solo can easily split your skull in half, it’s as sharp as a dagger. The song title contains some beautiful Japanese characters, that I couldn’t find on my computer, no matter how hard I tried. And that was not a lucky shot, ‘cause “Play The Game” is from the same calibre. Traditional old school heavy metal, with the nice voice of Kumiko ‘Sen’ Morikawa very much upfront. Besides this beautiful frontlady, the band consists of Akihiro ‘Akkun’ Goto on guitar, Koichi Yamamoto on guitar, Noriko ‘Non’ Kawauchi on bass and Takashi ‘Babachan’ Fukumura on drums. “Don’t Loose Your Cool” is a bit more rock and roll, with another heavenly guitar solo. How to name one of your songs “Je Suis Come Je Suis” (which is French for ‘I Am What I Am’) is a big question mark to me. Fact is, this six track RAJAS mini CD of twenty-five minutes doesn’t know any weak moments. Add to this the four tracks on the very limited live CD, which contains another twenty minutes of great Japanese metal and you’ll come to the normal running time of an average CD (about forty-five minutes). The live recordings are from two different shows. One in the Osaka Candy Hall, and one at the Tokyo Rokumeikan. You’ll hear great live versions of “Nice Lady”, “Shining Rain”, “Your Song” and “Take My Heart”. What a pleasure to see that this great band is still around in the scene. They didn’t lose any power and they still rock the hell out of you. It’s a shame, that this release may be very hard to find though. Internet: http://www.geocities.co.jp/ MusicStar-Keyboard/6704/ [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SATIRNINE-Void Of Value (White Jazz Records)
SATIRNINE are from Sweden, and they present us their debut album, which is called “Void Of Value”. These four ladies are rocking firmly during these twelve songs. Rock songs with a punky attitude, good for thirty minutes of Swedish rock mayhem. SATIRNINE consists of Canan Rosén on guitar, Hanna Engström on drums, Emma Söderberg on bass and Thilda Stendahl on vocals. The percussion parts were played by Johan Gustavsson. The sound of the band can be described as very early sound KREZIP, before they became ultra popular in Holland. Thilda’s vocals sound quite similar to the voice of Jacqueline Govaerts. But I also want to mention names like GARBAGE and THE DISTILLERS. The catchy sound of GARBAGE and the raw, unpolished punk attitude of THE DISTILLERS. Here you have it, twelve in your face punk rock songs from a young, Swedish, all-female band that recently toured in Europe with RANDY. Highlights on this album for me were “Temptations” and “Do I Know You?” Website: http://www.satirnine.com. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SCARY BITCHES-Lesbian Vampires From Outer Space (Island Of The Damned Records)
If you look at the name of this band, you know that you might be in for something special. Let me introduce you to Alma Geddon on vocals, guitar, bass and keyboards. This lady was born in 1763, and that is not a typing error. DEADri Ransiis sings, plays keyboards and saxophone and is believed to be at least five hundred years old! Hayle Chopper sings and plays the congas. He’s also the set designer of the band and an interesting fact is that his father was staked. Dead Boy plays the drums, he was born in 1902 and he died in 1932. He lives in a hole in Haley’s garden, because he was very fond of his grave and his ambition is to rest in peace. Don’t expect any metal from this band. I would rather call it gothic or wave, think about SIOUXIE SIOUX with an horror (read: vampire) image. The twelve songs on this album have a total length of about fifty minutes and hilarious titles as “You Always Eat The One You Love”, “Piss All Over Your Grave”, “Lesbian Vampires From Outer Space” and “You’ll End Up Like The Scairy Bitches”. If you like a bit of dark, horror like atmosphere and a gothic wave sound like in the eighties, than you must check out this album of SCARY BITCHES. After you’ve heard this album, you will definitely check under your matrass if there aren’t any hairy, scary monsters under your bed. They seem to like this music too, you know. Maybe we should try to get some facts on paper by means of an interview with this colourful horrror wave band. Website: http://www.scarybitches.com [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SIEGFRIED-Eisenwinter (Napalm Records)
Bruder Clé goes under the name of Hagen Von Tronje on the new album of SIEGFRIED this time. Besides him, the band exists of Moritz Neurer on drums, Hannes ‘Schattwan’ Krause on keyboards, Roland Wurzer on bass, Daniel ‘Ortwin’ Bachmaier on guitar, Werner Bialek on vocals and Sandra Schleret (DREAMS OF SANITY) on female vocals. The lyrics of the epic power metal songs on “Eisenwinter”, are based on “The Ring Of Nebelungen”, and these ten songs form a nice concept around the legendary historic stories. The songs are full with great, sometimes fast guitarsolos, and the battle hymns could have been written by early MANOWAR. You may think whatever you want about SIEGFRIED, but I think they made a great successor to “Drachenherz”. Sometimes, the music sounds heavy and fast and at other times bombastic like in “Die Treuewacht”. The German lyrics, add an extra dark atmosphere to these songs. The digipack version of “Eisenwinter” contains one bonus song, called “Du Und Ich”. I love these kind of heroic metal hymns, and I really believe that SIEGFRIED is a band that you must check out, because they deliver a high standard of heavy metal songs here. The voice of Sandra is very much upfront in the songs, and Bruder Clé is slowly developping himself to a real cult figure in the heavy metal scene. Swords up again for SIEGFRIED. It is believed to become a dark and really cold winter again this year. Website: http://www.siegfried.at.tf [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LEIGH SILVER-S/T (indie)
LEIGH SILVER is an up and coming singer in the Los Angeles scene. Her music is straight forward rock. Leigh has a good enough voice to make it happen. The songs can be sexy, sultry or even romantic. Often she is commenting on men - the men in the equation. Some will say that PAT BENATAR or Lorraine Lewis (FEMME FATALE) did that all ready. LEIGH SILVER revisits it and does her own version. “Find My Own” has a good rock sound to it. The song is about in control woman meeting guys. She keeps having chance meetings with the same man. She decides what the relationship can be. She will find her own. Guitars switch into overdrive for “Devil”. She finds an intriguing man. He turns out to be a devil. Something good should be said about the musicians on this CD. Guest artists include Tommy Stinson (THE REPLACEMENTS, GUNS ‘N ROSES), John Dalmayan (SYSTEM OF A DOWN), and Chris Vrenna (NIN). The current backing band of LEIGH SILVER is called the BITTER THINGS. It’s made up of Cordell Crockett on bass, Matt Fuller- lead guitar and T.M. Burr on drums. You certainly won’t get bored listening to this. Contact: LEIGH SILVER c/o P.O. Box 93273, Los Angeles, CA 90093, USA. Internet: http://www.leighsilver.com. Email: leighs@earthlink.net [8 points] (Jack Little)

SUPERFLOOR-Check! (Jacobiberg Records)
SUPERFLOOR is a Dutch band. They sounds like a good rock band should sound. Floor Kraaijvanger is the frontlady of this band, and she really deserves the title of frontlady. That’s why they called the band after her: SUPERFLOOR, got it?!?! Besides Floor, we have Frank van der Wiel on guitars, Thomas Calis on drums and Rob van der Broek on bass and backing vocals. The sound of SUPERFLOOR could be described like this: take some FREE, some LED ZEPPELIN, some CRY OF LOVE, some BLACK CROWES, some FRANKIE MILLER and add a voice to that sound, which is a mix of JANIS JOPLIN, old SASS JORDAN, Tineke Schoemaker of BARRELHOUSE and Joyce ‘Baby Jane’ Kenedy Murdock of MOTHERS FINEST. Steaming rock music opens the album with “Bad Alright”, a great rock song in optima forma. “Oh Lord” sounds a bit more funky, with a subtle guitar solo. While “Showdown Of Love” is very balladesque and relaxed. It brings back ‘the summer of love’ and will remind you of the flower power days in a certain way, except that this song is definitely more heavy. It has got balls now! “Change Me” has got soul, while “Last Drop” has the necessary influences of MOTHERS FINEST. The CD closes with “Yeah!”, something you would possibly yell out, after you’ve heard these six songs on “Check!”. Again I’d like to refer to MOTHERS FINEST, but now their newer work. The hilarious song at the very end of this CD is a superb version of the STATUS QUO classic “Whatever You Want”. Listen for yourself. Must have been something in the drink of Floor that evening! SUPERFLOOR is a very well-talented band, we will certainly introduce closer to you in one of our upcoming issues. You can order this CD through their website. SUPERFLOOR already played at the Arrow Classic Rock Festival earlier this year, which was a really great start for their flashing career. They really deserve it!! Website: http://www.superfloor.net. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

TWELFTH OF NEVER-Things That Were (Dark Symphonies)
I’d never heard of TWELFTH OF NEVER before, honestly I didn’t. But when I saw that the band was signed to Dark Symphonies, I was quite sure that we were dealing with a high quality band in the gothic metal or ambient black metal scene here. TWELFTH OF NEVER exists for about six years now, and this is their second release. And like we’re used from Dark Symphonies, we are listening to a product with a very high standard. The amount of bands seems to fall from the sky like rain in the neighbourhood of Billerica, where Dark Symphonies has got their office. TWELFTH OF NEVER rises from the ashes, that was left behind by other (never heard of) bands like SCATTERED REMNANTS and BLACKENED CHAPEL. The first release “Blowing Bubbles Through Broken Windows” of TWELFTH OF NEVER came out in 1999. In 2001 the band got signed by Dark Symphonies and this is their second release. Robin Tinker sings like an angel, backed by a band consisting of Dave Brocksmith on guitar and vocals, Matthew Davis on keyboards and digital drums, Keith Alan Landry on guitar and Ron Miles on bass. The twelve songs on “Things That Were” have a total running time of about an hour. The songs might never get really heavy, but they’re great to dream away, when you turn the lights down low. Knowing that you don’t have to bother to temper the volume of your stereo, you can just relax and listen to the new age like sound, that gives a massage to your brains after a long day of hard work. Watch out for the immense volume of the twelfth track though, or it will destroy your stereo set! It’s TWELFTH OF NEVER after a night of cocaine, I think. Nevertheless, you’ll feel reborn after hearing this, and that’s a promise. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VARIOUS-Soundtrack: Down & Out With The Dolls (Lakeshore Records)
This is another movie about an all-female rock band. And of course the soundtrack for this movie is very interesting for our magazine. It contains twelve songs with a total time of about thirty-five minutes. The CD opens with LO-BALL, who call their song “Rock Star”. A ballsy rock song and a great opener as well. BANGS is on next with a song called “He’s A Groupie”. I don’t know if this song is about Lemmy of MOTÖRHEAD, who also plays a little cameo in this movie. But the song definitely rocks, as we could have expected from a band like BANGS. THE ANGORAS perform their “Sick Dance” next, a sleazy rock song, sung by someone who sounds a bit like Kat Bjelland, when she screams. THE PAPER DOLLS, the band where this movie is all about, sing about their “One Night Stand”. A good JOAN JETT like song, with a soft production though. Like it was recorded in the garage of the girls. The production of their second rendition seems to be a little bit better. The song is called “Got Balls”, and it has got this unpolished RAMONES like sound in it. “Hot As Fuck” is recorded by a band called BOMBER. (Hello Lemmy!!! But there’s not even a shadow of the master of the Rickenbacker bass guitar in sight here!!). We can skip “Warm”, because it’s a soppy ballad, performed by a quartet consisting of Kinnie Star, Ray Garraway, Glen Reely and Jessie Zubot. “Be A Volunteer” is performed by FONDA. A duet of male and female vocals. Not anything like the kick ass stuff, that we heard until now. (besides “Warm”!). INGER LORRE cranks out “She’s Not Your Friend”, a strange song with strange sound effects. Kinda psychedelic at times. Then it’s time for THE PAPER DOLLS again. After all it’s their soundtrack we’re listening to. “Dig” has again a very sh*tty production. I don’t really know what happened there. FONDA returns for “Round & Square”, a nice bubble gum pop like song. The CD closes with a song by Zoe Poledouris, called “Taking It On”. The sticker on the CD says, ‘For Fans Of THE DONNAS & SAHARA HOTNIGHTS’. I can live with that, especially the first half of the CD. Then the flame slowly extinguishes itself. I would like to check out the movie, which was released last year, I believe. If the story is okay, it could be a nice movie to watch on a Saturday evening. At least you can enjoy some nice music on the soundtrack of it. For more information, you can check out: http://www.dolls-themovie.com or write to Lakeshore records, 5555 Melrose Avenue, Gloria Swanson Building, Hollywood, CA 90038, USA. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VARIOUS-Ladyfest Seattle 2003 (Tablet)
It’s Ladyfest time again, ladies and gentlemen. The event, where ladies climb the barricades and everyone can hear them. This is a compilation of the Seattle edition of this event, that took place in March this year. First I want to say thank you to Jenni Black of FREE VERSE for making this review possible. The CD contains twenty-one songs of female mayhem, spread out over about sixty-five minutes. Hang on to your seats, ‘cause here we go with THE WAGE OF SIN doing “First Born Against”, which was taken from their album “The Product Of Deceit And Lonliness”. Jesus f*ck, do they make some noise there!! Watch your windows, they may break when they meet the power of this death/black metal attack. (http://www.thewagesofsin.com). TO SEE YOU BROKEN (are they talking about my windows, that just left the window frames after the first song?) sing about “Taped Up Windows”. It all falls down like one big puzzle now. The band plays a noisy kind of punk, which I like a lot. It has a certain type of agression that is needed to let off steam sometimes. (http://www.toseeyou brokenhomestead.com). TART look a bit like tarts to me, but I think this will be part of their image. Their music is pretty weird though, which has the sound of a violin at the end. Their song is called “Behind The Riot”, taken from their upcoming release “Play It Loud” (http://www.tartmusic.com). ANDREA MAXAND is on next with “When God Shuts The Door” , which comes from her CD “Angel Hat”. It’s a pop song, that may appeal to fans of BJÖRK. (http://www.andreamaxand.com). MS LED started their career as LESLIWOOD, and they deliver a powerful punky sound with distorted vocals in their song “Buzzcut”. The song comes from their album “Afternoon In Central Park”. (http://www.lesliwood.com). OPERATION MAKEOUT bring a mix between punk and new wave, a sound that was used a lot in the eighties. Their song “Current Events” comes from their album “Hang Loose”. THE AMAZOMBIES (great name) come with a song called “Skirts And Scars” from their album “Bitches And Stitches”. Hardcore streetpunk with a reference to bands like GBH and THE EXPLOITED. VISQUEEN then, who sing about their “Zirconium Gun”. The band consists of former members of HALFACAT and THE FASTBACK. They play a fast punk song here, taken from their album “King Me”. (http://www.visqueenonline. com). FREE VERSE may be a well-known name by now in MM, after you’ve read about their recent release “Inventing An Archetype” in our CD review section. The song, they contributed to this compilation album, is called “Surface”, one of the highlights on their album for me. Watch out, Kat Bjelland, your successors may come from this band! (http://www.freeverse.tv) CHE:CHAPTER 127 (what’s in a name?!?) play a song, called “Choice Lessness Parade”, which is kinda difficult to describe for me. To store this song under the banner of ‘alternative guitar music’ would do the trick though, I guess. The song leans towards ‘noise’ at the end and it was taken from their album “Profit Prophet”. (http://www.chechapter127.com). MATES OF STATE are on next with their rendition “Quit Doin It”, which comes from the album “Our Constant Concern”. My only concern is that this is absolutely not my cup of tea, I’m sorry. (http://www.matesofstate.com). CARRIE AKRE sings the title track of her CD “Invitation” on this compilation album. She creates some kind of a ‘flower power’ sound, that was very popular in the seventies. It’s no shame to wear flowers in your hair. The only problem for me is, that I ain’t got hair anymore though. (http://www.carrieakre.com). HONEY TONGUE are on here with “The Alley Song”, taken from their album “Take Me Anywhere”. Yes, this is what I like to hear. This lady sounds a bit like Joyce ‘Baby Jane’ Kennedy Murdock of MOTHERS FINEST. Pretty heavy shit, with a great groove. Definitely one of the highlights here. Check them out!! (http://www.honeytongue.com). THE PINKOS have “Dirty Hands” and they decided to write a song about it. It’s on their album “The Pinkos”. Their music sounds like good streaming pop rock music, nothing more, but nothing less either. (http://www.thepinkos.com). THE SCHOOLYARD HEROES pump up the volume a bit with “Eagles Klaw”, a punk song with black metal screams. Why not? It sounds very refreshing to me. (http://www.schoolyardheroes.com). COOKIE come with “All You Got” from their album “Sweat, Soaked And Satisfied”. A punch right in your face, with lots of crazee guitarwork. Punk was never that hot before! (http://www.cookiefactory.com). Another great band name is reserved for THE APOCALIPSTICKS, did you get it? Okay, these ladies look wild and they sound wild on “Skank”, a song from their album “Drama Queen”. They punk, they rock, they roll, who could ask for more? So ‘skank’ it up, ladies! (www.apocalipsticks.com). VANDEMONIUM “Go Back To L.A.” here, which is only a two minute trip. A short punky song. (http://www.vandemonium.com). MIRAH’s on next with her addition, called “Make It Hot”, recorded live on KGRG. I’d rather forget about it though. (http://www.mirah.org). ARKADE sings about “Kate”. The band is being compared to LOW, but I don’t really think that the sound of this complex pop song will appeal to many of our readers. The CD closes with THE TAGGING SATELLITES and their song “Time On My Halo”, which is previously unreleased. The band is fronted by female vocalist Zera Marvel, and they play pop music with a dark aura. (http://www.recoverysounds.com). After twenty-one bands, it is entirely clear the ladies on this compilation cover a broad skoop of female based rock music. All together they form a solid base of the underground scene, which has always been a fruitful beginning for the real talents. For more information about the festival, visit their website at: http://www.ladyfestseattle.org [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VARIOUS-Mausoleum: The Official 20th Anniversary Concert Album (Mausoleum Records)
Mausoleum is back in business again, and last year they celebrated their twentieth anniversary with a show in the Belgian rock temple Biebob in Vosselaar. The bill consisted of NATIVE INSTINCT/CROSSFIRE, KILLER, DORO and OSTROGOTH that evening. Almost a year later, we can now relive this magic event on a fifty-five minute live registration divided in eleven pure metal anthems. The CD opens with stunning performances of OSTROGOTH with Marc De Brauwer on vocals. After which, you can enjoy KILLER, also one of my favorite metal bands from Belgium. Then it’s OSTROGOTH time again, but this time with Peter “Super Lungs” De Wint on vocals. The most important moment, for the readers of MM, are the last two songs though. Save the best for last, they must have thought while pressing the album on a silver disc. DORO closes the CD. Not with her WARLOCK guys unfortunately, but with a great replacement in KILLER backing her up. She sings “All We Are” and “Burning The Witches”. Nine magic minutes that make the album essential enough to review it in this section, if you ask me. The inlay of this awesome CD contains the whole story of Mausoleum in a nutshell, completed with never before seen pictures. A story, that features parts in which we see that Mausoleum was at the cradle of female-fronted bands like WARLOCK, BLACK LACE and McCOY. Hail to Alfie Falkenbach and everybody at Mausoleum Records for making this all happen. Here’s to the next twenty years, my friend! Website: http://www.mausoleum-records.com [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VIRGIN BLACK-Elegant…And Dying (Massacre Records)
The new album of VIRGIN BLACK from Australia is a fact now. They debuted in 2001 with their album “Sombre Romantic”, which was already covered with high quality gothic metal. The story continues on this CD, where they create some beautiful bombastic soundscapes again, full of doomy parts, epic-romantic layers and neo gothic arrangements. Samantha Escabre is the lead guitarist of VIRGIN BLACK, who also plays the cello parts here. The dark voice of Rowan London, who plays the piano and keyboards, tells you the nine opera like stories on “Elegant….And Dying”, that surround your room for seventy-five remarkable magic minutes. For a short moment, the names of Anne and Thilo of LACRIMOSA crossed my mind, when I listened to the heavenly sounds on this new album. But it’s a bit strange to compare two giants of that calibre with each other. Otherwise, I also could have mentioned PINK FLOYD here maybe. Besides Samantha and Rowan, we hear Ian Miller on bass and vocals, Dino Cielo on drums and Craig Edis on guitars and vocals. “The Everlasting” really pays tribute to its name with a total time of almost twenty minutes. It’s definitely one of the real highlights on this album. In this song, rock becomes art, which sounds really awesome. “Cult Of Crucifixion” is another long epic song, with the metronome sound in a guest role, as the hammer that bangs in the nails. A great discovery to do it this way! The other songs definitely sound like LACRIMOSA. I can’t no longer act like these acts have nothing in common with each other. But for whom this is the biggest compliment, is a big question mark - even to me. VIRGIN BLACK will tour Europe at the end of this year. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VIRGIN MEGA WHORE-Second Wave Feminists* & Everybody Else** (Pure Slut Productions)
At one time we had BIKINI KILL, BABES IN TOYLAND and 7 YEAR BITCH. There haven't been many bands like that lately. The best one I've heard is VIRGIN MEGA WHORE. There are three instruments in VMH. You can hear all of them. There are no altered sounds. They just go ahead and play them. The ideas in the songs are more complex. Last on this six song CD is “Screw Barbie”. It has a nice rock beat. Taly softly coos the vocals. The point of this is, she doesn't have to do all the things society expects of women to like her self. The list is long. I've met women, who would agree with this song, A band that is becoming better known fantasies about living life in the fast lane. They imagine it. They want it. Local bands dream of going on tour and never coming back. That's what “Sex, Drugs And Rock ‘N Roll” is all about. K.A’s bass notes stand out. Jules lays down enough drums to move songs forward. Still all instruments are mixed about equally. “I Saw Red” has a simple, easy to listen to sound. It’s about the world depicted on television. It's not much like the bands day to day life. That's not very attractive to VMW. Some people are going to like this. Others will say it doesn't rock. Contact address: Pure Slut Productions, 1388 Haight #249, San Francisco, CA 99117, USA. Internet: http://www.virginmegawhore.com. Email:vmwchickband@hotmail.com [9 points(*); 7 points(**)] (Jack Little)

ANOUK (CD single)-Hail (Dino Music)
“Hail” is not a bad choice for a single release. The song is catchy, slow and it creates a very peaceful atmosphere. Even the singles of ANOUK are copy controlled now. ANOUK will soon become a mother from her second child. Her next album will be more ballad like, because of that. This song may be a pre-taster of that sound. We hear the song in two different versions on this release, the album version and a live version, which was recorded during the “Graduated Fool” tour at the Dr. Anton Philipszaal in The Hague. The live version is about one minute longer than the album version, which brings the total time of this single to eight and a half minute. If you like the more modest side of ANOUK, then this is definitely something for you. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE APPLICATORS (CD single)-The Applicators (B-Unique Records)
Four songs are on this single by THE APPLICATORS. The band hails from Austin, Texas and consists of Erica on guitar, Stephanie on drums, Sabrina on vocals and Kristina on bass. The songs have a total length of about eleven minutes, and you can compare their music to a mix of THE RAMONES, SLEATER-KINNEY, VICE SQUAD and THE GOGO’S. The songs are catchy, they rock and have some raw edges. Still they’re polished enough to stay away from the dirty greasy, screaming street punk sound. They have a bad attitude and they look like girls who want to rock out, and sound as loud as they can. Their first album is called “What’s Your Excuse”. And these four punk rock songs will appeal to many readers of MM, I guess. You can listen to “U Got It All”, “Good Things”, “Bad Infection” and “I Don’t Bleed” on this four track CD. A good introduction to a very promising all female punk rock band. Website: http://www.cornerstoneras.com/bands/applicators. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CANDICE NIGHT (CD single)-Alone With Fate/Call It Love (indie)
This solo single of CANDICE NIGHT of BLACKMORE’S NIGHT fame contains two songs, that have got nothing at all to do with the band of old DEEP PURPLE axemaster Ritchie Blackmore. It contains two easy listening pop songs called “Alone With Fate” and Call it Love”, worthy of six minutes soft and very romantic music. The single was released last year already, but it was a bit difficult to find a copy. If you think that BLACKMORE’S NIGHT is much too soft and medieval, then you‘d better leave this release for what it is. If you’re open-minded enough though to dig the sound of this band, then you may like these two songs. A full-length album will be out at the end of this year. You can order this (very limited) single from their website: http://www.blackmoresnight.com or http://www.blackmoresnight.nl, but I warn you, these two poppy love songs are very soft for metal heads or hard rock fans. We only wanted to let you know, that it’s there. [6 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE DONNAS (CD single)- Who Invited You (Atlantic)
The album track “Who Invited You” might not be interesting at all for the average DONNAS fan, because you can find it already on their latest album “Spend The Night”. The other two songs on this eight minute single release however, are non album tracks, which makes it essential enough to buy this single in my opinion. We hear “Mama’s Boy” and “Backstage” here, and these songs rock like hell! Maybe they are a little bit less than the ones, who made it to the album eventually. Nonetheless, I think they’re still catchy and rocking enough to be heard. Great stuff! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HEMI CUDA (7 inch)-Thick ‘N’ Tasty (Thunderbaby Records)
Two new HEMI CUDA songs were pressed on snow white wax. Well, at least the first five hundred copies of this single are pressed on white vinyl. HEMI CUDA hails from Denver, and they consist of Anika Zappe on guitar and vocals, Keren Exley on bass and vocals and Devon Rogers on drums. The drums on this single were performed by Scott Padaver, however. The A-side contains the title track “Thick ‘N’ Tasty”, while on the B-side, you hear a song called “Vermin”. The band has already shared the stage with bands like THE DONNAS, ZEKE and GWAR, to name the most important names here. They have a certain fascination for MOTÖRHEAD, which you may find back in the stickers and the button that came with this seven inch single. Perhaps they’d better change their name into LEMMY CUDA, but what’s in a name? Let the music do the talking, and play this sucker loud. In their biography, HEMI CUDA is described as ‘the alpha bitches of gritty girl rock’, who play clit rock at it’s wettest. (?!?!?!) Don’t you dare to say, we didn’t warn you. The single comes in a sleeve, that folds itself out to a mini poster. On www.hemicudarocks.com, you can get more information about this band, and while you’re surfing I also want to direct you to: http://www.thunderbaby.de. You know why! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE NICE DEVICE (CD single)-Ghetto Recorders Demos-01.2003(indie)
This band was introduced to you by our American correspondent and contributor Michel Tilmant in this issue of MM. It’s a three track single, consisting of seven minutes of very powerful punk rock. I hear Gwen Stefani, THE GOGO’s, and a solid punky sound. It’s catchy and has some raw edges. The songs are called “Gotta Get it”, “Bittersweet” (which has a great guitar solo!) and “My Little Birdie”. The songs invite you to sing along with the ‘hey hey’ and the ‘wooh-oh-oh’ parts. THE NICE DEVICE consists of Alicia Gbur on vocals and guitar, Matt Lannoo on guitar and vocals, Zach Shipps on bass and vocals and Nick Gerhardt on drums. If you need to know more specific news about the band, then go to: http://www.thenicedevice.com or you better read the interview with the band in this issue of your most favorite magazine. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

PALE FORREST (CD single)-Anonymous Caesar (Listenable Records)
Five songs are on this CD single by the Norwegian band PALE FORREST. They open with title track “Anonymous Caesar”, which is followed by the PINK FLOYD cover “Welcome To The Machine”. That’s the main reason why we bought this single, just to see and hear what they made out of this progressive classic. They recorded some kind of a new millennium version out of it, in my opinion. The machine makes other sounds now, less mechanical and more computerised. Kristin Fjellseth’s vocals are much too sweet for this song though. They don’t bear the sadness, that you can almost see, when it’s performed by Roger Waters. Then you will hear two live tracks, called “Exit Mould” and “These Old Rags”. Both were recorded at Bar Ampfield on December 12th, 2002 in Norway. Kristin’s vocals are crystal clear, but sometimes she sounds a bit childish. Maybe because she wants to create a sound like KATE BUSH. You can also compare her voice to Anneke van Giersbergen of THE GATHERING in her early days here and there. The CD ends with the ‘broken instrumentals version’ of “Stigmata”. The band already toured with THE GATHERING, and I believe their ideas and compositions are not bad at all. I’m sure, we will hear more from this band in the future. Website: http://www.paleforrest.com [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

WITHIN TEMPTATION (CD single)-Running Up That Hill (BMG)
Things really have been going fantastic for WITHIN TEMPTATION. After releasing a couple of hit singles, like “Ice Queen” and “Mother Earth”, WT conquered the earth. I think we all agree that this is well-deserved and I hope that this single is going to bring them big success, too. “Running Up That Hill”, a cover from KATE BUSH of course, sounds a lot different than the original and has a slight Celtic approach. It's real heavy too and the pounding guitars sound great, next to the bombastic keyboards. Leadsinger Sharon den Adel sings a bit differently than what we are familiar with. Sometimes it's very positive, but there are some moments she doesn't sound that convincing to me. But still, Sharon is one of our finest metal maidens around of course. The song has a wonderful production and even though this is different from their previous songs, it suits them well. On this single you can also find a live version of “Running Up That Hill” and an orchestral version of “Mother Earth” played by the Metropole Orchestra. A trumpet that takes over the vocal melodies has replaced Sharon's voice and this sounds fantastic. The first 3500 copies of this single have a real nice DVD (for the same price as a regular single) containing the video from “Running Up That Hill”. A fantastic video with beautiful camera work and Sharon, who steals the show. We can also see a short making of, which is real nice to look at. Especially the shot with Sharon, who is a bit afraid of heights, who gets lifted up in the air and gets a little frightened. The live version of “Running...” sounds good too (only live singing) and was filmed at the Edison awards, where WT got an award for best DVD (well- deserved). The backstage tour report is also very nice. We see WT on tour supporting PARADISE LOST and clearly enjoying themselves. This footage looks a lot like the footage from the DVD,’cause they filmed it themselves and then you get to see the real candid moments like guitar player Ruud Jolie bare ass naked (something for the ladies) or a crew member walking round the bus totally naked. Real fun stuff. Too bad, it's so short. A beautiful photo galley completes this DVD. If you're a fan, you should get this single quickly. I hope we don't have to wait much longer for the new album. WT will hit the studio and hope to release a new silver disc before the end of the year. Can't wait to hear it! [8 points] (Richard van Oudheusden)

[Updated: Oct. 30, 2003]

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