CD REVIEWS


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


MM#32/June 2003:

ANGELHEART-Wild Heart Of Allison (Blue Martin Records)
The first CD, that I listened to for this issue of Metal Maidens is the second release by ANGELHEART. The band comes from Switzerland and consists of Paul Etterlin on vocals and guitar, Mihaly Horvath on organ, Walter Keiser on drums, Tosho Yakkatokuo on drums, Marco Meniconi on bass and Janet La Rose on vocals and percussion (formerly ALLISON). These people also play on this studio album. However, the musicians, you will get to see on stage are Janet and Paul, together with Danny Kirchhofer on bass and vocals, Thomas “Fätze” Küng on keyboards and vocals and Urs Furrer on drums. This second album is a lot heavier than the first release of ANGELHEART, which was called “If Ever”. On that album, the band sounded like a mix between ERIKA and ROXETTE. Now the music slowly moves towards the heavier tracks of SHANIA TWAIN, ALANNAH MYLES (“Don’t Make Me” could be the ANGELHEART interpretation of “Black Velvet”) or any HEART ballad. You can still hear some ROXETTE influences: the songs are very catchy and would fit very well in the national charts. The seventeen songs, which come in a beautiful digipack cover, have a playing time of about seventy minutes. ANGELHEART also do a nice cover of “Mister Sandman” (EMMYLOU HARRIS) and the last two songs are dedicated to (and written by) John Dowland [Irish lutenist, who lived from 1563-1626]. If you like AOR and pop rock, with SHANIA TWAIN as most important reference than this one is definitely for you. Watch out for a hidden ‘mono’ version of “Mister Sandman” at the end of the CD! Internet: http://www.angelheart.ch [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BACKSLASH-Princess Of Disharmony (TTS Media Music)
Many people have been waiting for this release a long time. But finally it’s out, the new BACKSLASH CD. It contains twelve new songs and will be available as a limited two CD set for a short while. The second CD contains the album in a 5.1 surround sound, next to the original version. Your waiting will be rewarded with fifty minutes of strong, powerful heavy metal songs, exploding right in your face after the short intro. I like the powerful beats in combination with the melodic touch, that they add to their music. It keeps the music traditional, and far away from the ‘so called’ heavy metal sound of the bands of today. A solid metal sound is what we get by this German band, led by frontwoman Heike Grebita on vocals. Touches of IRON MAIDEN, ANNIHILATOR and OVERKILL-like riffs are completed with the warm, melodic yet powerful voice of Heike. Besides Heike, BACKSLASH consists of Frank Exner on guitar, Jens Mein on guitar, Wolfgang Scheler on bass and Jens Koehn on drums. BACKSLASH also shows some variation on this CD. The openers (“Pricess Of Disharmony”, “Summer In Your Hair”) are catchy and fast. A song like “Waiting Till The End” is darker and slower, but it has a beautiful guitar solo. It reminded me of some of the slower QUEENSRYCHE songs, which they can see as a big compliment! “Wake Me” will definitely wake you up. It’s one of the heaviest songs on this beautiful new album and therefore one of the highlights in my opinion, next to “Rising Like A Shadow”. “Das Licht Der Nacht” is the only song, sung in their native tongue German. “Princess Of Disharmony” is a giant step forward, comparing to the also great album “Insanity”. We want to thank Heike for making this review possible. You rule!! Internet: http://www.backslash-metal.de [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE BLUE SEASON-Cold (Greyfall Records)
If you have ever wondered, what bands such as ENTWINE or TO DIE FOR, would sound like, with more, female vocals, then look no further than Germany's THE BLUE SEASON. A relatively unknown entity in gothic music circles, they have graced my ears with their sophomore release entitled "Cold". Their debut album "Secede" (2001), went virtually unnoticed amid all of the other outstanding efforts by bands of this genre, in that fantastic year. But wait a minute! If this album doesn't put the band into a higher space, then I don't know what they have to do to be noticed. The album represents the perfect balance between male and female vocals any release in this genre could accomplish. The stunning vocals of Natalie Pereira Dos Santos (female) and Oliver Zillich (male, absolutely no growls), are a testament to that statement. They do solo and duet throughout these ten tracks, which alternate from gothic metal to gothic rock. But no matter how you slice it. It's gothic in the same vein as the aforementioned bands. Natalie’s voice is beautiful to listen to. If you like voices such as Christina Scabbia's of LACUNA COIL or Kemi Vita of THE DREAMSIDE or of newcomer Cat from MORTAL LOVE, then you won't be disappointed. No, I am not saying she is anywhere in the class of the other's, just using them as point of reference. Trust me, she has a nice voice. As for the other side of this vocal tandem, Oliver Zillich has a normal sounding gothic voice, not too deep. Let's just say mid tone and he and Natalie were made to be together. The rest of the players are an admirable back up to all the wonderful vocal arrangements. Beginning with guitar and piano player, Jochen Laser, whose riffs really drive the songs to their crescendo. Bernd Konig supplies the heavy beats on the bass. Oliver Wiabel and Christoph Semmelrodt make it groove with percussion (and congas) and drums, respectively. Where the music on the debut album "Secede" was a bit restrained, on "Cold" the band seem more at ease and the music is more up-beat and confident. Let's say, the band sound more mature and diverse on the new album. For instance, with the opening track "Forever Torn" and the following track "Release", you'll immediately hear the differences from "Secede". They have a more up-beat and melodic style for these two rocking tunes. They are followed by a nice gothic ballad, "Forsaken" which has a nice melodic and memorable chorus that you'll will be singing to yourself hours after hearing it. At this point in the album, I am suddenly reminded of that other German goth rock band, THE GALLERY (What ever happened to them?), not as heavy, but with a similar melodic path and style, although Oliver's voice is not as deep as Gunnar Mothes. And also, Natalie has somewhat of a similar vocal style with Anje Mothes, now that I think of it, but much more on the emotional side. Anyway, from this point on, I am hearing some very nice gothic melodies and interacting vocals. With some inspired tracks such as "Autumn", "My Own Spring", and the title track, "Cold", the listener is treated to some beautiful music comparable to anything by bands of this genre. Anyone, who is into the aforemen-tioned bands plus THE CREST, BLOODFLOWERZ or even CHARON, will simply fall in love with this effort by THE BLUE SEASON. Don't forget the name. Their going to be BIG! Internet: http://www.theblueseason.com/ http://www.monsters-of-light.de/ html/the_blue_season.html [8 points] (Dennis Arancio)

THE BOOTY OLYMPICS-Boystyle (independent)
There's little question this CD rocks. It may not be metal or even very heavy. THE BOOTY OLYMPICS play strong enough. They take a few lessons from surf music and the early 1960's. The rhythms are effective though not complicated. There's tasteful use of distorted sounds, too. Mitzi Dodge and Betty Todd can sing. They hit the needed notes. There are two part harmonies also. The result is pleasant and listenable. Palmyra Delran doesn't overpower things on drums. All instruments, including vocals, are mixed about equally. All the songs are from a girls point of view. The title track is “Boystyle”. It's about something I have suspected, but not heard a woman say. Sometimes girls like to dress like boys. BOOTY OLYMPICS describe it as "employing boy style". It's a conscious act to be comfortable. Guitars are in overdrive though not played too fast. There's a nice instrumental bit in the song, too. Back-up songs aren't original. “Already Said Goodbye” is about what goes through your mind after you say it's over. “Don't” has a good blend of Mitzi on guitar and Betsy on bass. It's from someone, who wants to enjoy the moment. Don't bring up anything unpleasant. Don't spoil the mood. This is very well done. Give THE BOOTY OLYMPIC a listen. Internet: http://www.booty-olympics.com; Email: mitzididge@ aol.com. [10 points] (Jack Little)

CLOSTERKELLER-Graphite (Metal Mind/Pitchfork Promotions)
OK people, you’re going to have to bear with me on this one. Reason? I do not speak, nor do I understand the Polish language, even though, I am half of that heritage, myself. CLOSTERKELLER are one of the oldest known female fronted bands from Poland. Having begun their career somewhere in the late eighties. As far as their album “Graphite" - their latest endeavor - goes, I will only be able to tell you about the music I hear and give you a perspective into the bands history. The lyrics don't mean a thing to me, for this review. It appears to be mid- tempo gothic rock with a bit of heaviness and radio pop thrown in, for good measure. I say pop, because most of the twelve songs on this album have enough melody and catchy choruses to label it with. Their are also some elements of techno in the music, enough to keep you wondering. All of CLOSTERKELLER’s albums in their discography, which is a rather long one in years, deal with colors. Yes, you read right. Colors. Beginning with the debut album, "Purple", way back in 1988, right down to this present day release. They have managed to cover some of the colors of the spectrum with their six full length albums culminating with a best of release "Pastel" in 2001. So, for your knowledge, and for this review, it goes something like this in their fifteen year career. "Purple" (’88); "Blue" (’90); "Violet" (’93); "Scarlet" (’95); “Cyan” (’96); "Graphite" (’99) and "Pastel" (’01). Their are also a couple of live releases and an EP to round it all out. Yes, a fine looking discography they have, and the band has stood the test of time over the years. But, who are these Poles, who have graced us with this fine music over these years? Well, I guess for all of you female rock enthusiasts, we'll have to start with the lead singer, Anja Orthodox. Anja has quite the expressive and emotional voice to rival Mizz Medeah of ARTROSIS. Her style is very much rock orientated, and very upbeat for this album. There are some nice goth ballads also, that she so is very convincing on. I could very well hear in her voice, where a lot of female singers from Poland may have gotten their influence from. Ala Paulina of DELIGHT or Maja of MOONLIGHT. Their are even some similarities with Decoy's voice from FADING COLOURS. Yes, as you have surmised, they are all cousins of sorts. Very much like one another. And the music is similar in style to all of the other Polish femme fronted bands. No, nothing groundbreaking, just some very good Polish gothic rock, which deserves to be heard. The rest of the band, are male. Another similarity to all of the other Polish bands I've mentioned here. Michael Rollinger-keyboards, Gerard Klawe-‘the very young drummer’, Freddie-guitar and Pucek-bass. They are all very accomplished rock musicians and are fine back-up to the heavenly vocals of Anja. For a track by track description of this album, would be as for the lyrics. I have trouble typing in Polish, also. All I will say here is, tracks 1, and 2 have very memorable choruses, and are in the gothic rock vein. Tracks 5, 7 and 9 are mid tempo ballads. And tracks 10 and 11 are rocking tunes. Anyway, fans of all of the Polish bands I have mentioned for this review, will not be disappointed to discover CLOSTERKELLER. They are definitely in a class with all of them, if not in the top 5. If you read and speak Polish, you can get a better insight into the band with the URL I have supplied in this review. There are also some very good videos and MP3s at the abbreviated English site. For new fans of the band, "Graphite" would be a perfect place to start, although, their "best of" album, "Pastel", would be an even better choice. Its up to you. Internet: http://www.anja.pl/ [7 points] (Dennis Arancio)

CONCRETE BLONDE-Live In Brazil (Ark 21)
What we have her is the first official live release by rock veterans CONCRETE BLONDE featuring Johnette Napolitano (bass & vocals), James Mankey (guitars) and new drummer Gabriel Ramirez-Quezada from the Spanish band LOS ILLEGOS, who cut a forgettable album with Johnette a few years ago. "Live In Brazil" features two CDs and eighteen tracks worth of BLONDE favorites old and new. Disc one begins with crowd pleasing set-opener "God Is A Bullet". A timeless classic, that is sure to get even the lamest of audience up and moving. But alas, the band can't build upon the opening momentum, as they follow that up with two songs from their mediocre "Group Therapy" come back release "Valentine" and Tonight". Next, the band play "Everybody Knows", which is always a great song, live or studio. Next is "Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)" - an undeniable classic. It's back to "Group Therapy" with the next song "Take Me Home". A trio of crowd favorites "Little Conversations", "Caroline" and "Joey" (still the bands biggest hit) brings disc one to a close. Disc two begins with another oldie from the bands archives "Days & Days". Disc two is more of the same a mixture of old and new tunes. The highlights include: "Someday", "Scene Of A Perfect Crime", "Mexican Moon" and "Tomorrow Wendy". One of the better songs from "Group Therapy", called "Violent" is ruined due to Johnette's non-sensical drunken rant about US president George Bush. Why do artists always feel like they need to impart their political wisdom upon us the record buying public? I find it pretty insulting, that apparently they don't think enough of us to let us form our own opinions. I feel sorry for anyone, who looks to Johnette Napolitano (or any other musician/actor) for political guidance. Well, that's it. As far as live albums go "Live In Brazil" is good. Nothing more, nothing less. With its mixture of old an new songs, it shows how great the band used to be and how average they are today. [6 points] (Tony Cannella)

DARK MOOR-Between Light And Darkness (Arise Records)
This might be the last release, we will review of this well-talented epic metal band from Spain. Albert, Jorge and female vocalist Elisa have recently left the band to pursue their musical career elsewhere. DARK MOOR will continue as a band though, but up until now it’s uncertain if the new line-up will consist of any female members. So this is really the farewell CD with Elisa, who has put an important mark on the great sound of DARK MOOR. “Between Light And Darkness” sounds more folky than ever and the help of several guest musicians created a very nice album indeed. Just listen to opener “Memories” for example. I would definately like to point out though, that this new album is not as heavy as its predecessor “The Gates Of Oblivion” and three (out of eight) songs were already on Japanese and Korean releases. Those who like BLACKMORE’s NIGHT and think the sound of MAGO DE OZ is too heavy, must really check out this beautiful album “Between Light And Darkness”. People, who expect the old fast HELLOWEEN like sound, better think again (or listen to it first) before buying it. The last three songs being the most interesting for them. DARK MOOR has split up in two different camps now, and I’m sure we will hear something more of Elisa and her new band. If the new DARK MOOR line-up will contain a female member, you’ll read more about them in MM of course. Website: http://www.dark-moor.com [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DARZAMAT-Oniriad (Metal Mind/Pitchfork Promotions)
The mysterious DARZAMAT have returned with their third release, called "Oniriad". An obscure gothic/avantgarde metal band from Poland, unlike anything else we've been treated to lately, from that country. They are the only band I know of from Poland, who do not have their female singer as the prime lead, in their music, like say DELIGHT or MOONLIGHT. They use the duel vocal male/female format. Although some may not care for the male vocals, they do not bother these ears at all. His name is Rafal ‘Flauros’ Gorel, and has to me, a very normal sounding male voice. No growling, just singing in a normal octave. He reminds me a bit of the singer for ASGAARD, not as dramatic, if you've ever had the pleasure of hearing that Polish band. But for those put off by the male voice, there is the heavenly vocals of one Katarzyna Banaszak to wet the pallet of us lovers of female voices in our music. She too, has a normal type singing voice which is a bit childlike at times. Her voice is not varied and she sings with the same style consistently. She is not the best of the femme singers, but not the worst either. The voices fit the music perfectly. Their music used to be more black metal than what I'm hearing on this new effort. Their other two releases "In The Flame Of The Black Art" and "In The Opium Of The Black Veil" have recently been re-released and remastered by Polish label Metal Mind and I thought them to be more on the black metal side in style. "Oniriad" borders on being some sort of gothic medieval type of music, which even the band itself, has a hard time classifying into a genre. Let’s just say, it’s pretty complicated music, hey? That’s why I give it the Avantgarde label. I cannot lump them together with any of the other Polish bands with female singers. They are different, very different. And as I've stated at the beginning, mysterious. But you don't have to go crazy trying to figure out the music. Any one of their albums is a worthwhile purchase and a good listen. Their instrumentation consists of vocals by the two I have mentioned previously, and midi programming by Szymon Stutzek, guitars by Krzysztof Michalak and drums by Pawel Chudzicki. The production and sound level are very good for this release as was the case with their remastered previous albums. There are nine tracks and the album seems a lot shorter than the forty plus minutes, it actually is. Standout tracks are the opener "Into The Abyss Of Forgotten Woods", "The Longest Journey", "Time" and "Moon Has Imprisoned Me In Her Shrine". For fans of the band, "Oniriad" will be a fine addition to their collection. It shows a new direction for the band in their musical talents. It would be hard to give references, such as bands they may sound like. They definitely have a style all their own. Maybe somewhat like a Polish BLACKMORE’S NIGHT, with all the medievalness on this album. Katarzyna, does not sound anything like any of the other singers of metal, that I know of. Unfortunately though, Katarzyna, has left the band after the recording of this album. In the biography at the website it says, she's gone to the USA, whatever that means. She has been replaced by a singer, who goes by the name of Karolina Widera. Stay tuned! Internet: http://www.darzamat.art.pl/ [7 points] (Dennis Arancio)

DELPHINES-Cosmic Speed (Conspiracy Music)
The member of this band you're most likely to have heard of is Kathy Valentine. She was in THE GOGOS. Happily, Kathy is back in the music scene. Her co-conspirator is Dominique Davalos. Dominique plays bass, sings and writes the songs with Kathy. They've settled on Kristy McInnis on drums. She's one of the four drummers you hear on this CD. Denny Freeman broadens the arrangements by adding six string bass, keyboards and second guitar. The music on “Cosmic Speed” is guitar based. There aren't a lot of amplifier effects. It might remind you of 1960's rock. Several of the songs are about men DELPHINES find attractive. They’re living fun lives. The girls want to join them. The CD opens with “Car Boy”. The song has lots of chords and soft vocals. The girls find a guy and his car sexy. On another track a girl has a chance meeting with a musician. She is mesmerized by him. She says “I wanna be your chick”, so it's called “Chick”. Furthermore, there's “Trip”. It’s about an exciting, but risky way to live. She doesn't want the feeling to end. The DELPHINES cover “I Idolize You”. Dominique sings the TINA TURNER part. It sounds blue and desperate. Kathy handles the vocal fills. If this is your idea of fun get up to “Cosmic Speed”. Contact address: DELPHINES, 11333 Moorpark St., PMB#94 Los Angeles, CA 91602, USA. Internet: http://www.delphines.com. Email: delphines rock@yahoo.com. [8 points] (Jack Little)

DESDEMONA-s.u.p.e.r.N.o.v.a.(Metal Mind/Pitchfork Promotions)
"Grand Death Opening" is the debut album from German black metal band SIEBENBURGEN's vocalist, Marcus Ehlin. I hope, I phrased that right! But let's not even try and confuse one with the other. The music and format has absolutely nothing to do with the corpse painted black metal band I mention. Yes, there are some similarities, but they only appear when Marcus opens his mouth, and not in the music itself. This album is purely gothic rock with some black metal influences, mostly in the vocals by Ehlin, which are few and far between. But, wait a minute. There is also something very special going on here. Marcus, has recruited the services of a sexy, twenty-four year old female singer with blonde hair (dyed), by the name of Lexi. For Marcus, though, and for those of us who like our music with females in the lead, this is where he made his grand opening. Lexi, whom I presume is German, is the lead singer of DEVLIN, and has a very clear distinguishable voice with no apparent accent at all. She almost reminds me of an American pop rock singer. Maybe along the lines of a German MADONNA. But before we get carried away here, Lexi is no MADONNA, yet. But she is in my estimation, a very talented entity within this project. She is not a screamer at all, and has subtle way of putting forth Marcus' lyrical talents. Actually, the band is a twosome similar to a lot of gothic bands around the world, for the liner notes only list Lexi and Marcus as the bands mainstays. Also listed are some names as guest vocalists (male) on a few songs. Most notably Martin Schirenc on the song "Divinity". But the male voices are mostly back up to Lexi, who is the real star, along with Marcus' song writing talents. It's hard to believe that a black metaller such as Marcus, could come up with such melodic gothic rock, but here it is. The music, as I've stated, is mostly gothic rock with metal influences. Short, mid paced gothic ballads, almost akin to club rock, with Lexi's voice being the thing that you'll remember most about the music. Marcus plays all of the stringed instruments and keyboards. He proves to be a very talented musician and songwriter for this debut. The sound production is also good and proves that Marcus is no newcomer to the music scene. The lyrics seem to deal mostly with what goth (sadness and distress) is all about. There is also a cover of BILLY IDOL's "White Wedding", which thankfully is not the best track on the album, but is not unbearably done, as are most covers. And Lexi sounds nothing like Billy. Thank God for both of them. Standout track for these ears is definitely the opener "Underworld", which is also the longest one clocking in at over 5:00. Rest of the tracks are under that time level. But, if you enjoy the first track, you will also dig tracks such as "Death Is Our Kingdom", "Fade" and "Divinity", which also have that gothic rock flavor. Similar bands to reference DEVLIN, may be, a mix of DAYLIGHT TORN ("New Skin" era), THE DREAMSIDE or possibly even BLOODFLOWERZ...... If you’re looking for a similarity to SIEBENBURGEN, then forget it. This is not black metal and it's definitely not for you. Internet: http://www.devlinworld.com/start. htm [7 points] (Dennis Arancio)

DITZ-Near Life Experience (Stupid Good Music)
A ditz, in common speech, is a woman who blunders happily if unintelligently through life. DITZ, the band, play harder rock than you'd think. It's up tempo positive sounding music. The songs are about women who experience an exciting and flusterating life. Of the twelve songs on the CD “Near Life Experience”, four are about wanting a particular man. It opens with “Figure It Out”. She's been campaigning for his attention. So far she's been unsuccessful. But, she's not giving up. There's a catchy rhythm to this song. You could say that about most of their other songs, too. Dawn uses both symbols and drums effectively. “Blee” emphasizes bass guitar. Nora plays bass and sings. It also emphasizes forget romance I need submission. There's lots of guitar from Lisa and Kelly. They stand out on most of the songs. “Control Freak” is heavier. It uses lots of chords and there's a rocking musical break. It's about standing your ground against someone, who fits the description. Something should be said for the rocking “Fruit Loop”. There's a relationship, but it’s not true. She says "All you'll get without me is syphilis." DITZ close by covering “Good Girls Don't”. Their version is hard rock rather than the punk original. There is something blunt and genuine about a female vocalist singing "Good girls don't. Good girls don't. But I dooooooo”. This is a band, I find easy to like. Website: http://www.glitch-milwaukee.com. [9 points] (Jack Little)

EVANESCENCE-Fallen (Wind-Up)
From Little Rock, Arkansas, USA comes EVANESCENCE. The band consists of: Ben Moody (guitars), Dave Hodges (piano/keyboards), Francesco DiCosmo (bass), Josh Freese (drums) and twenty year old powerhouse vocalist Amy Lee. The band present us their stunning debut release on Wind-Up records, called "Fallen". It is a damn fine effort and one that will certainly get the band some much deserved attention."Going Under" gets this forty-four minute eleven track release off to a rousing start, that draws the listener in from the opening chords. Next up we have the albums shining moment and first single "Bring Me To Life". This song has already received massive amounts of airplay in The States and after one listen, it is easy to see why. It has a great riff, great lyrics and stunning vocals by Amy Lee. Next up, would be my choice for the second single "Everybody's Fool". With another great vocal performance by Amy Lee this is another definite highlight. The band slow it down a notch with the piano-laden next song "My Immortal". A sweet heartbreaking ballad, which I imagine will probably be released as a single as well. The band follow that up with "Haunted" which has a dark, more goth vibe. In fact, the band has been labeled goth, which is ridiculous in my opinion. The band has so much to offer and such a label is a severe injustice. Other highlights include: "Tourniquet", "Imaginary", "Taking Over Me", "Hello", "My Last Breath" and "Whisper" brings this enjoyable listening experience to a happy, satisfying conclusion. "Fallen" features some intelligent, thoughtful lyrics, haunting melodies, a darker, ethereal vibe (but don't call them goth!) and the tremendous vocals of Amy Lee. What more could you ask for? Check out http://www.evanescence.com for more info. [10 points] (Tony Cannella)

EVEN VAST-Outsleeping (Mausoleum Records)
This sounds like the new STEVIE NICKS album, it’s only slightly heavier. EVEN VAST can be categorised as gothic doom metal, and female singer Antonietta Scilipoti sounds like a mix between STEVIE NICKS and ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN of THE GATHERING. In 1997, Antonietta and guitar player Luca Martello leave their previous band CHAOS AND TECHNOCRACY. They stayed together however and teamed up with several other musicians to form EVEN VAST. Diego Maniscalo was their new bass player, and the line-up was completed by Remy Cuntaz on drums. Michel Pennazio is their recent drummer though. The dark epic music of EVEN VAST can not be seen as yet another gothic doom metal band. They sound slightly different than all these other bands, and I think that the warm voice of Antonietta makes this happen. She sings differently than all her female collegues, which makes this band a little special. Their first album was called “Where The Trees Still Speak”. “Outsleeping” is their second release, and a damn good one. It contains nine songs, including instrumental closer “Outsleeper”, and one video clip, worthy of about forty minutes of some of the most beautiful music. The CD cover reminded me ex-RUNAWAYS lead singer Cherie Currie, in her cameo in “Twilight Zone - The Movie”, where her mouth was stitched up. It has got nothing to do with this album however, but the resemblance was so striking, that I just needed to mention it. Good album by a very promising Italian gothic-doom metal band. Internet: http://www.even-vast.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EYELASH-Eat Your Makeup (3rd Eye Records)
Pascale Jean Louis had a sister who was a metal fan. From her, Pascale learned about heavy, riff oriented music. A lot of these songs are, and some border on doom. A few have well-placed guitar notes. Doug Walker plays these. A good rhythm section keeps these songs plodding along. Chris De Rosa drums definitely. Pascale plays bass and sings. We hear her on bass introductions, that set the tone for these songs. Pascale doesn't sing as much as she states or speaks the words. Often they are critical of peoples perceptions and misconceptions about each other. EYELASH’s songs make a clear, cold attempt to describe a situation. Pascale Jean Louis says: "If circumstances change, maybe I'll start writing about flowers and clouds and puppies. But not now”. The second song on the CD is called “Ambition To Go”. There’s enough rhythm to hold your attention. The spoken words tell of a woman, who has ‘Places to go, people to see, people to screw over’. “Mad Girls Love Song” has a confused sound. It's about the false reality that fashion creates. I gather that Pascale believes that it's unrealistic and unobtainable. These songs are either alert and aware or gloomy and depressing. Contact address: Pascale Jean-Louis c/o EYELASH, 669 Beck Street, Uniondale, New York 11553, USA. Internet: http://www.eyelash.biz; Email: eyelashmusic@excite.com. [6 points] (Jack Little)

FABULOUS DISASTER-Panty Raid! (Pink & Black Records)
Fourteen punk attacks in (only) thirty three minutes!! It’s time to start a f*cking party with FABULOUS DISASTER. “Put Out Or get Out” was already a steaming hot punk rock album, but this one is even better. It’s a joy to hear this band play some cool, fast, melodic punk rock songs that could have been written by bands like THE RAMONES, NOFX, BAMBIX or THE OFFSPRING. Linda Mandolyn still cranks out the fast guitar riffs, while Mr Nancy plunders her bass guitar. Sally Gess beats the sh*t out of her drumkit and Laura Litter spits all her lyrics in the mike. While their audience can’t do anything else than form an enormous slam pit in front of the stage. It’s impossible to stand still, because every muscle wants to move when they start playing songs like “Next Big Joyride”, “Nightliner” and “Short Fuse”. It’s a shame however, that someone like AVRIL LAVIGNE can make a hitsingle with “Skater Boy”, while a band like FABULOUS DISASTER will probably never get their name in the charts. If it was up to me, they would score a hitsingle with every song on this awesome punk album. Watch out for the short, spoken word, hidden track at the end of their CD! Internet: http://www.fabulous-disaster.com [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

FADING COLOURS-Black Horse (re-release)(Metal Mind/Pitchfork Promotions)
I will call this band, the last of the great gothic bands from Poland, to finally, hit the shores of America. (Thanks to Sonic Cathedral [www.soniccathedral.com] and Metal Mind). First, there was ARTROSIS with the astounding vocals of Medeah. Then I was treated to the enchanting voice of Maja from MOONLIGHT; rocked by Anja of CLOSTERKELLAR and to top that off, I was totally blown away, when I heard Paulina of DELIGHT for the first time. Now (does it ever end?) I am totally confused with the name De Coy (Katarzyna Ziemek) of this new import called FADING COLOURS. De Coy is the new siren from the land of kielbasa and plotski's. And what a siren she is! They are not new. Been around since the late eighties making enchanting gothic rock. Nothing doomy here, this is just plain old up-beat gothic rock with the flair of De Coy's beautiful voice surrounding everything. Her voice is not soprano or opera, just mid-range normal singing. The music, as I said, is gothic rock. Think GENITORTURERS without the dirt, ARTROSIS without the doom, or DELIGHT without the power. More or less up-beat dance floor music, but not dancing music. But this is not a criticism, by any means. They are good, very good, at what they do. This album "Black Horse" was originally recorded in 1995 and released by Dion Fortune Records and re-released by Metal Mind, who are trying to get the word to the West, that they have some really talented people in Poland, too. And they are really making their case with me. With a couple of EPs and two full-length albums under their belts, FADING COLOURS are fast becoming a force to be reckoned with, and competition for the already wide array of Polish bands, that have been hitting these shores of late. The twelve tracks on "Black Horse" are all a good listen and you will be hard pressed not to go back for more. Mostly, as I said, gothic rock, but there are also hints of gothic metal at times. They just don't stick to any one mold. Backing up De Coy are Tytus de Ville- guitars & keys, Leszek Rakowski- bass and Pawel Nowak- drums. Just a note, before I conclude. Don't want to keep comparing FADING COLOURS to their label mates only. Fans of American gothic bands such as THIS ASCENSION or FAITH AND THE MUSE for instance, may also like them. Internet: http://www.fading-colours.mtl.pl/ [7 points] (Dennis Arancio)

THE FIGHT-Home Is Where The Hate Is (Fat Wreck Records)
THE FIGHT is a very young, no-nonsense, right-in-your-face punk band from England. The oldest member is only eightteen years old, but this doesn’t mean we’re not dealing with a well-talented band here. THE FIGHT remembered me of a band like BLITZ BABIEZ from Oz, because of their raw and fast riffs and the vocal sound of frontlady K8 (Kate), who also plays guitar. A name like THE AVENGERS may also come in mind, when referring to the sound of THE FIGHT. Besides K8, THE FIGHT consists of Link on guitar, Matty V on bass and Jack on drums. The seven fast songs have a playing time of about twenty minutes, but they are intense as hell. This cool punk act was picked up by Fat Wreck Records, and that’s where they belong. Check them out, when they tour near your town. It’s ‘mohawk-time’ again!! Internet: http://www.the-fight.co.uk. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

F-MINUS-Wake Up Screaming (Hellcat Records)
Brad Logan on guitar and vocals, Joe Steinbrick on bass, Adam Zuckert on drums and Erica Daking on guitar and vocals; these four people form the band F-MINUS. Their music reminds me of BLITZ BABIEZ again (the screaming, noisy female vocals of Erica) and their straight forward punk sound is definitely not sounding like all those happy punk bands like THE OFFSPRING or GREEN DAY. This band screams out their pain and agony, because ‘it hurts to live’, so they say. After thirty-five minutes and fifteen songs, the raging storm is over. This true punk explosion leaves the room, and slowly life is turning back to normal. I wrote ‘true’ punk explosion, because this band doesn’t bother about a few mistakes. They simply left them on the album, to show the world their real expression and not an overdub of ‘what once was real’. It didn’t harm the sound of the band too much, just to enjoy the powerful, old MOTÖRHEAD like no-nonsense aproach of this band, that knows how to record a true punk sound. Internet: http://www.f-minus.com. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GLITTER MINI 9-Kiss The Liberator (independent)
Rock and roll is hard to define. It covers a lot of different music. If you like THE BREEDERS or SLEATER KINNEY, you will think this rocks. If your taste runs more to IRON MAIDEN or JUDAS PRIEST, you'll get bored with this quickly. The first two songs have to do with guns. “Kiss The Liberator” talks about empowerment and gun ownership. It has much the same rhythm and chords as all the other songs on this CD. They’re not unpleasant to listen to. They are much the same. “Last Man Standing” is stated very matter of factly. It shows that things are different, when someone is killed. There’s a nice soft rock intro on this song. Bass guitar and some of the vocals are contributed by Lesley Poirier. She once auditioned for HOLE. I don't know if she and Mauri Skinfill (guitar and the rest of the vocals) wrote “Death To The Post-rock Elite” before or after the audition. The song shows alternative music heroes, pretending to be anti-heroes but, being only false. “Leasure West” is about realizing what home is, letting troubles go and accepting who you are. Chavaughan Levias lends strong, but not overpowering drum beats to these tunes. If this rocks, you check out GLITTER MINI 9. Contact: GM9, 336 Duncan St. #4, San Francisco, CA 94131, USA. Website: http://www.glittermini.com; Email: gm9@pacbell.net. Note: the band broke up in January 2003!![6 points] (Jack Little)

GUANO APES-Walking On A Thin Line (Gun Records/BMG)
To be absolutely honest with you: I’m not that familiar with GUANO APES. Of course I knew some of their hit songs like the smash hit “Proud Like A God”, but I never heard a full-length album. This new effort sounds really great to me. It’s pretty tough to describe the sound of GUANO APES, because it’s so diverse. I can clearly hear some hip hop influences in a song like “Diokhan”. This song is very groovy and has fantastic rhythms. Female vocalist Sandra Nasic makes a wonderful impression on me in just about every single song on this album. She switches from very aggressive singing to very melodic and she always manages to sound convincing. Musically, GUANO APES are a very talented band. They don’t pin themselves to one style, but they mix several styles and always manage to make it sound like one. When you listen to “Quietly”, you’ll know what I mean. This song starts like a ballad, beautifully sung by Sandra, while the next song “High” is very funky with great melodies. ”Storm” starts real melodic with great guitar playing and has a heavy interlude which sounds original. On many songs GUANO APES sound real experimental. They combine weird guitars with choir-like singing and very groovy bass-playing in a way, I never heard before. And I must say, that I am very positive about that. There are no bad songs on this album only good songs with (sometimes) hit potential. My favourite tracks are “Quietly”, ”Storm” and “Sugar Skin”, which ends this album in a fantastic way. A great experimental heavy song suitable to close concerts with. “Walking On A Thin Line” is a great album with a great production, great musicians and a fantastic singer who deliver good songs. Do you need another reason to buy this album? [8 points] (Richard van Oudheusden)

HEADLINE-Duality (NTS)
Ten songs fill a full hour of progressive rock music on the new HEADLINE album, which is called “Duality”. The CD comes in a (limited) two CD set, where the first CD contains the full album. The second CD contains a bonus track, two video clips and a photo gallery. HEADLINE hails from France, as you might know already, and their music shows some comparision with bands like VANDENPLAS and DREAM THEATER. The band consists of Dirk Verbeuren on drums, Aymeric Ribot on keyboards, Christophe Babin on bass, Didier Chesneau on guitar and Sylvie Grare on vocals. Backing vocals were done by special guest Deborah Lee. The (rather lengthy) songs show a lot of variation and I think the band made a lot of progression since their previous album. The complex song structures are more accessible now, yet the progressive sound of the band remained intact. The heaviness also remained, unlike some other bands who seem to drown in their own complexicity and progressivity. They just need to be complex and experimental, and forget to write catchy hooklines that made their music so interesting in the first place. This did not happen with the new HEADLINE album, the album is happily enough still heavy despite the complex and progressive character of the songs. The extras make the album even more interesting for the fans of the bands, that I named in this review. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

JARRA-Live From Phoenix (The Karma Records Group)
This is the long awaited live album from Kathie Jarra and her band JARRA, recorded live in Phoenix, Arizona on October 6, 2001. The album contains seven lengthy songs with a total running time of forty-five minutes. The first five songs were taken from Kathie’s debut album “Test Of Faith”, while the last two songs are from her upcoming solo album “Bleed”. JARRA consists of Johnny Russian on guitar, David Lynn Chaney on bass, Shane Diaz on drums and Kathie herself on vocals and guitar. They have this solid line up for three years now, which is a good thing. The music of JARRA can best be compared to early DIO, early SCORPIONS and early BLACK SABBATH (just listen to the opening riffs of “Pain” for example). Traditional heavy metal, so to speak. Which is cool, because there aren’t too many traditional metal bands around anymore in the scene. JARRA will keep the spirit alive though on this great live CD, that is released on Kathie’s own record label Karma Records Group. Kathie’s solo album “Bleed” should be out soon too. Until that time, we can enjoy this “Live From Phoenix” release. Internet: http://www.karma recordsgroup.com [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LACRIMOSA-Echos (Nuclear Blast)
Tilo Wolff and Anne Nurmi are the big names behind LACRIMOSA. In the gothic rock scene, they are one of the most popular bands. Their double live album was definitely one of the highlights of their long and impressive career. In our March issue, we could already review the first single of this new album, and now it’s time to introduce you to “Echos” - the next full length album of LACRIMOSA. Every album of LACRIMOSA could be the soundtrack of a movie. Their music is so bombastic and dark, that it will give you a melancholic feeling from the very first notes on. Same thing happened to me, when I heard opener “Kyrie”, a song full of string arrangements, choirs and orchestral parts, that lasts for almost thirteen minutes. Tilo Wolff is the storyteller here, the narrator. He is the performer, who gives a voice to the characters in the story on “Echos”. Anne is the ‘tenderness’, and forms the balance between the many moods of Tilo. She will always bring the sound back to earth, whereas Tilo wants to lift it up in complexicity and bombast. Only professionals can create such a great atmosphere. When you close your eyes you can see the play in front of you, that could be on the screen of the cinemas. I must warn you however. Despite the fact, I am so lyrical about the music of LACRIMOSA, the distance between metal and the music of LACRIMOSA seems to become bigger and bigger on every album. Meaning, that you must be open minded to dig their sound in some ways. I had a great time again with “Echos”. Internet: http://www.lacrimosa.de. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LANA LANE-The Covers Collection (Think Tank Media/Transmission)
"Covers Collection" is the latest recorded output from LANA LANE. As the title suggests, this is a collection of cover songs, that is both a happy walk down memory lane and a welcome edition to the ever expanding LANA LANE musical library. This collection features eleven songs and sixty minutes worth of great material. The songs on display range from the well known to the obscure and to the surprising. It makes for an interesting compilation and one worth owning. This opus kicks off with LANA's great remake of the KANSAS track "The Wall" from that bands seminal "Leftoverture" release. In my opinion, this is a brilliant track and LANA does a magnificent job with it. It sets the stage for what is to come. Next up, we have LANA's interpretation of the LED ZEPPELIN song "Kashmir". The next track is called "Soaring" and was originally performed by a band called AVIARY. Haven't heard of 'em? Me neither. I told ya, there was some obscure stuff on here. This is followed by the more familiar "Hold Your Head Up", originally performed by ARGENT. LANA does another great interpretation here. Other highlights include: "Don't Try So Hard" (QUEEN), "Northern Lights" (TNT), "Weep In Silence" (URIAH HEEP) and a cover of the classic SCORPIONS ballad "Still Loving You". And last, I forget two of the other surprise covers "Innocence" by ENUF Z'NUFF and "I'll See You In My Dreams" by GIANT are slices of AOR heaven. Perhaps the biggest highlight for me on this offering is the final track - a brilliant take on the RAINBOW classic "Stargazer". I love the original and LANA does a great version on this track. As always LANA is joined by a stellar array of musicians: Mark McCrite, Tony Franklin, Greg Bissonette and of course keyboardist & producer Erik Norlander to name just a few. It is obviously that a lot of time and thought went into picking the tunes for this covers CD. It is refreshing that - for the most part - LANA stayed away from the most obvious songs from certain bands. This collection has a lot of heart and character and is one of the best cover albums out there today. It serves as an homage to some great music of the past. A job well done! [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

THE LAUNDERETTES-Shaken And Disturbed (Big Dipper Records)
This LP is released as a limited edition of five hundred copies only. The CD will be released in a quantity of a thousand copies. The music of THE LAUNDERETTES is sixties garage punk rock. The band consists of four lovely ladies from Norway and a male guitar player from Greece. They already did an extensive tour with THE ULTRA BIMBOOS, BRANDED WOMEN and THE VOLADORAS, and now they released this full-length album, containing ten songs and thirty-five minutes worth of punk rock music, taking you back to the sixties. The first two singles of THE LAUNDERETTES are also on the album, namely “Rebel Love” and “I Wanna Jump Your Bones”. Sometimes they speed things up a bit and make their sound a little meaner. That’s where it gets interesting. I am talking about songs like “Rebel Love” and “Let’s Go”, which could be seen as the highlights on this album. THE LAUNDERETTES consist of Lucy Gone Wayward on vocals and tambourine, Candy Cadillac on bass, Dandy Brandy on organ, Jimmy The Greek on guitar and Bambi Bazooka on drums. Internet: http://www.launderettes.net. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LULLACRY-Crucify My Heart (Century Media/Suburban)
Finland's LULLACRY is back with their long awaited, much anticipated third release titled "Crucify My Heart". This is - of course - their first output featuring new singer Tanja. It sees the band heading in a bit of a more commercial direction, but it still features some good quality songs. The band comes from the country that also gave us NIGHTWISH, but that is where the similarities end. "Alright Tonight" gets this eleven song forty-three minute opus started in less then spectacular fashion. It is not one of the better moments on "Crucify My Heart". It is not a bad song, but not indicative of what "CMH" has to offer. Thankfully, things get better on the next track "Crucify My Heart". Immediately, the listener will notice the bands more commercial approach. It is a catchy song with a great chorus and appeal. Next, we have the first single, "Don't Touch The Flame". This song has a very catchy chorus and was a good choice for the single and it is representative of what "Crucify My Heart" is all about. "Every Single Day" and "Pitch Black Emotions" (probably my favorite track) keep things going full-steam ahead. The next track "Unchain" slows things down a bit and allows the listener to catch his or her breath for a few minutes. Part ballad, part heavy rocker, this song has single written all over it and Tanja really delivers the goods here. This girl can sing! "Nothing To Lose" is back to basics for the band, a great riff and chorus. Other highlights include "Heart Of Darkness", "This Time", "Over Me" and "Better Days". Tanja really delivers an impressive vocal performance on every song and the band are very good at what they do. They keep it simple and put the focus on good songs. "Crucify My Heart" is a release that may be hard to grasp for long-time fans, but it is an effort that is well worth the listen. All-in-all, a strong third release and an impressive debut for new vocalist Tanja. Hopefully, we will hear a lot more from this band for a long time to come. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

MANDRAGORA SCREAM-A Whisper Of Dew (Nuclear Blast)
Outside the sun shines brightly, and the temperature is rising fast. The summer is on its way. What a contradiction, if you’ll have to review the new CD of MANDRAGORA SCREAM. Their music is dark and it would do justice when the rain is falling dawn. No, maybe even the first snow flakes would be better. Gothic rock, mixed with a touch of doom, pop and wave, topped with the beautiful voice of frontlady Morgan Lacroix. The music is not always that dark however, because in “A Vision They Shared” we can hear the first guitar attacks. The wind blows (literally, on the CD!) already, soon the rain will start pouring down on the Italian landscape. Besides Morgan, we can hear Terry Horn on guitar and bass, Jack Lowell Halleyn on keyboards and LABYRINTH drummer Mat Stanciou, who helped out as a session musician this time. They also called in the help of a violin player and a female opera singer to complete the sometimes bombastic sound on “A Whisper Of Dew”. Each song tells us another story based upon different theories about vampires, which is a fascination of Morgan. These stories fit very well with the dark music of MANDRAGORA SCREAM. For sixty-five minutes they’ll turn the beautiful blue skies into black, but after that the sun will shine again. The only thing you’ll remember then is a soft whisper of dew. A very pleasant prospect. Internet: http://www.mandragorascream.it. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MOTORPSYCHOS-Motorpsychos (independent)
What we have here are fourteen heavy songs bursting with energy and aggression. Metal jams you could listen to just for the sound. Yes, it's simple. These songs are also intense and powerful. MOTORPSYCHOS observe all of the metal conventions. There’s good loud rhythm. Rachel Cassady sings well in the low part of her range. It's not a death grunt, but it is just as strong. She formed MOTORPSYCHOS “to inspire others and broaden people's perspective of a woman's place in rock and roll”. She was in the punk band GO TO HELEN with Pamela Simmons. Pamela's somewhat distorted guitar playing is forceful. She says "I like what happens when you mix girls, Gibsons, Marshalls, and too much eyeliner." Amy Bianco is the bass shredder. She shows a mastery of chords. Dennis Brown was chosen to bash the drums, because they would rather have someone good. There is no missing his playing. “Insane” lives up to its name. It has a strong beat. This is serious metal. It's told to a man. The woman he's fallen for is sucking the life out of him. “Just Push” tells us not to just walk away. Rather take action and "watch the shit go down". Excuse me now, my neck is tired. Website: http://www.motorpsychosrock.com or (snail)mail to: MOTORPSYCHOS, P.O. Box 10787, Pittsburgh, PA 15203, USA. You can order their CD for US$12.00 (send checks or MO’s only). [10 points] (Jack Little)

THE N.Y. REL-X-She’s Got A Gun/Paranoia (TKO Records)
This eleven track CD runs for just over twenty-five minutes and it contains the ten inch “Paranoia” and the twelve inch “She’s Got A Gun” of THE N.Y. REL-X. The band consists of Erika on vocals, Murat on guitar, Jon on drums and Adi on bass. They play a kind of happy punk rock music, that reminds me of BLITZ BABIEZ, THE AVENGERS and VICE SQUAD. No wonder, they played THE AVENGERS cover “Open Your Eyes” on the “Paranoia” EP. In 2000, the band became a fact, and after that, they recorded a demo, and released their first ten inch. Only recently, they recorded their second EP. So this ‘compilation’ is a sum of these two releases. Melodic punk rock at its best, from a band that sees CBGB’s as their second home. I don’t think you can get a band, that is more true punk than this one. Highlights for me were the last two songs, which both came from the “She’s Got A Gun” twelve inch, called “ “Pop Queen” (which has got nothing at all to do with pop music!) and the ultra fast “Fuad’s Delight”. This band reaches far above the average punk rock band, that we hear sometime. For more information about this ‘hard to find’ underground release, you may want to check out the website of this well talented melodic punk rock band from New Jersey. Internet: http://www.nyrelx.com [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE PROVENANCE-Still At Arms Length (Scarlet Records)
I’d like to think, in my own fantasy, that I discovered this band, long before all of the CD vendors in this country. Keep fantasizing, D.A! Anyway, they are called THE PROVENANCE from Sweden and this is their second full length album and it comes hot on the heels of their fantastic debut "25th Hour Bleeding". They play symphonic, bombastic, emotionally charged progressive, gothic/doom metal. THE PROVENANCE are Emma Hellstrom (vocals, keyboards and flute), Tobias Martinsson (vocals and guitars), Joel Lindell (drums and additional vocals), Joakim Rosen (lead guitars) and Jonnie Tall (bass). They all play outstanding metal as good as anyone in this genre. They have been together since 1996 and are getting better with time. But, as it is with a lot of bands these days, how can they out-due themselves from their first album? Which in my estimation was one of the top five albums of 2001. Unfortunately, "Still At Arms Length" is not as good as "25th Hour Bleeding" but is still a fantastic effort, in its own right. People, there is a lot going on here! Especially in the vocal department, which range from black to death to clean to angelic. The latter being the strong emotional voice of Emma, who hits those high notes as good as anyone out there. She is simply put, ‘a joy to listen to’. Absolutely nothing in common with Floor or Tarja or Anneke or even Vibeke. Emma is in a class by herself and until you behold this voice from heaven, your life will be empty and longing for, whatever it is your longing for. And she doesn't play a bad flute either. But, that's not just it. The boys in this band are all on a par with Emma, and just as talented. All the vocals flow together seamlessly to create what I’d like to call progression singing or harmonizing. Just as if there were time and chord changes for vocals as it is with instruments. As you all know, already, after reading my reviews, I do not like to go into a track by track synopsis of albums. I'll just pick out standout tracks. Instead, I usually like to describe what I hear, on the album, as a whole, to the reader, and he or she can make their decision based on that. In this music, I hear a lot of progression not only in the vocals, but the music as well. And the use of the flute by Emma, only adds to this conclusion. As a lot of progressive bands incorporate it into their music as well. There are also a few Eastern European bands who incorporate it into their music such as DYING PASSION or THALARION. As gothic metal goes, I think the flute, admirably replaces the violin in this genre. As where TRISTANIA will make use of the violin in their music, THE PROVENANCE use a lot of flute solos. Another point of reference would be TRAIL OF TEARS. But I think THE PROVENANCE are on a level with these bands as well and are one of the top five bands playing gothic and/or doom. So favorite tracks for me would be the opener "Climbing Ideals", next track "Tearful, Bitter, Broken", the very intense "Mimic", and the ender "At Arms Length". But everything in between is also worth your time, again and again, and this is one of those albums that must be appreciated as a whole entity. Song breakdowns don't apply. THE PROVENANCE are one of the more creative bands to come out in the last five years. As you can tell, I like them a lot, and so will you, trust me. If you like bands such as TRISTANIA or TRAIL OF TEARS or are a fan of some of the Eastern European bands to come out, as of late, you cannot go wrong with THE PROVENANCE. Where "25th Hour Bleeding" was a ten, "Still At Arms Length" is a mere eight. Internet: http://www.theprovenance.com/ [8 points] (Dennis Arancio)

THE RIPLETS-Rock ‘N Roll Beat (MFSW Recordings)
THE RIPLETS are f*cking hot! Sorry for that expression and I know I may have to watch my language sometimes, but I have to tell you the true facts about this band, and this first sentence came right out of my heart. They prove it on this full length album, which contains thirteen shredding melodic punk rock songs, that will make your body want to rock. The first two openers “Riplets Rock ‘N Roll Beat” and “Bugs” will already knock you off your feet. Heavier than THE DONNAS, meaner than THE DEVOTCHKAS and definitely more sexy than their male influences THE RAMONES. In “Sick Of You”, I even hear some resemblance to a band like GIRLSCHOOL. “Just like You” is a cover of THE MILKSHAKES, and in “Wanna Be Your Man” (THE BEATLES), they added a second cover to this album. They transformed this song into “Wanna Be Your Girl” of course. The thirty minutes of punk rock music convinced me, that THE RIPLETS are ready to launch themselves into the first division of the (inter)national punk rock scene. Let “Rock ‘N Roll Beat” also win you over. THE RIPLETS are Janneke Riplet on vocals and bass, Valesca Riplet on drums and backing vocals and L.A. Sun on guitar and backing vocals. Internet: http://www.theriplets.com [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SENGIR-Guilty Water (Buzzville Records)
It has been pretty quiet on the South side of our borders. But I think that SENGIR will change that soon. Founded in 1995, the band started their career as a death/doom metal band. In 1997, they decided to drop the grunt vocals and to continue with female vocals only. After some line-up changes, they're now a part of the successful gothic metal scene, next to bands like AFTER FOREVER, WITHIN TEMPTATION and AUTUMN. SENGIR consists of Filip Vinck on drums, Olivier Roelandt on bass, Wim Schockaert on keyboards, Kris Scheerlinck on guitar, Pieter de Lannoy on guitar and Ellen Schutyser on vocals. Some of the songs on "Guilty Water" are very suitable for radio airplay. I'd like to mention a catchy song like "Moonlight Reflections" here for example. Other songs like "Time Of Change", are much too experimental for this commercial medium and they prove us the strength of SENGIR to write a good song without this catchy character as well. Besides the nine songs, the CD starts with a short 'Intro' and is closed with an 'Outro'. SENGIR already opened for bands like DOG EAT DOG, DEICIDE, IMMORTAL, MARDUK and THE GATHERING, but I think they will soon be able to be headlining their own shows. SENGIR is a name to remember. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

STAR OF ASH-Iter. Viator (Jester Records)
STAR OF ASH is the new project of Heidi S. Tveitan (she is also known as Ihriel the female voice of the band PECCATUM). With the help of her husband and former EMPEROR vocalist and visionary Vegard Tveitan (aka Ihsahn), she has put together an ethereal journey that should please fans of PECCATUM and avant-garde music in general. Her debut - titled "Iter.Viator" - features seven songs and almost forty-three minutes worth of classically influenced avant-garde music. The two minute intro track "Chasm Blue" kicks things off and segues into the epic seven minute song, "Sanies". It's a pretty, melancholic type of song that features violin and a passionate vocal delivery from Mrs. Tveitan. Next up, we have "Beautiful As Torment". In fact, melancholy would be a good way to describe the overall vibe of "Iter.Viator". Other highlights include: "Death Salutes Atropis", "The Nudity Of Light" and "Odi Et Amo". "In The Throws Of Guilt" bring this opus to a strong conclusion. With "Iter.Viator" Heidi has proven what a talented individual she is. In addition to producing a large part of the album herself, she has also written every track and delivers a great vocal performance.The title "Iter.Viator" is Latin for "The journey. The traveler". This release is indeed a journey. If you are a fan of ambient, avant-garde and experimental music, then check this out. It is a journey, that I am sure you will enjoy taking. For more info go to: http://www.starofash.com. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

SEPTIC FLESH-Sumerian Daemons (Hammerheart Records)
We didn’t review the last couple of CDs by SEPTIC FLESH, because female singer Natalie Rassoulis left the band for a moment. Natalie is back however on this new brutal attack of Greek monster metal band SEPTIC FLESH. This album is not for the faint hearted, because it’s brutal, fast and ultra heavy. The female choir vocals give a bombastic atmosphere to the aggressive outbursts of this black metal outfit. “Behold…The Land Of Promise” is a nice opener and nothing strange happens in this short intro. In “Unbeliever” however, they unleash the wild battering rams. There’s no escape here! This is one of the most brutal openers, I’ve ever heard! In “Virtues Of The Beast”, the band takes back speed, but only for a little while. In “Faust”, they’re pumping up to full volume again. In the background we hear the female ‘angels’ sing, when raging bull Set<’h> has stopped spitting his black metal tirades into the microphone. Sometimes the band creates some space for bombastic, and maybe even some classical and more melodic moments. Most of the time however they rage at full speed, like in “Red Code Cult”. This new SEPTIC FLESH release is ultra heavy, and the female input may be not as big as in many of the other bands, that we review in this magazine. But it’s for those people, who like their music louder, extremer and heavier than anything else. They can stay until the end of this one hour black metal attack, which is split into thirteen songs, and which is called “Sumerian Daemons”. We try to please as many readers as possible, ya know?!! Internet: http://www.septicflesh.com or http://www.blackmetal.com/~mega/SF [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SINISTER-Savage Or Grace (Nuclear Blast)
SINISTER is back with a new album called “Savage Or Grace”. Usually, the most intense albums, that we get to hear, don’t last too long. This album lasts for only thirty minutes and contains nine songs. So I fastened my seat belts, when I started writing this review and slowly pushed the ‘play’ button. The first two minutes is an intro called “Rise Of The Predator”. I survived this pretty easy. Then the band started with “Savage Or Grace”, and I knew this was the monster with the killer sound, that I expected already. I liked their previous album, “Creative Killings”, on which Rachel growled in the microphone for the first time. This time she even sounds more brutal than ever. The band made a switch from Hammerheart to Nuclear Blast, and they also replaced guitar player Bart by Pascal. But the fast and aggressive, SLAYER like guitar attacks stayed the same. “The Age Of Murder” begins slowly, in an almost classical way, but don’t be afraid because this moment doesn’t last too long. SINISTER plays death metal at the highest possible level. After the release of this album, which is in the beginning of May, the band will do some promotion shows in Mexico and Columbia. After that, they will do a two week tour in Europe with CANNIBAL CORPSE. SINISTER will also play at the Wacken Open Air festival this year. I guess, we’ll see them there. Internet: http://www.sinistercentral.cjb.net [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

TRIBAL CLOWN-Despise (independent)
There are lots of cool bands coming out of Australia these days. Maybe someday we'll be talking about NWOAHMB (New Wave of Australian Heavy Metal Bands). Not surprisingly, they have women metalists, too. TRIBAL CLOWN are out with an EP called “Despise”. It has six songs with a good balance of brutality and melody. The first song is called “High & Dry”. It's slow metal. There's a long chord heavy introduction. The vocals alternate between understandable words and death grunt. That's a good idea. I loose interest, when I can't understand any of the song. The song is about vacancy and the desire for something genuine. “Despise This Hate” has a nice introduction, too. Breathy vocals take turns with the death grunts. Bronwyns drums steadily, guitars come in and out. The sound is tense. TRIBAL CLOWN play fast enough to be effective. Next is “Watching Eyes”. Those, who are afraid of the dark, may want to skip this one. It's about a presence that is watching them. It's stalking them constantly. There are small tempo changes. “Screwed Up” is a little faster. The vocals are confused and concerned. They include a few screams. This could lead to head banging. TRIBAL CLOWNs CD is a good first recording. I'm not surprised, record labels have noticed them. The band consist of: Megan Bird (vocals/guitars), Bronwyn Bird (drums), Matthew Carver (guitars) and Amber Ford (bass). Internet: http://www.tribalclown.com; Email: tribalclown@hotmail.com [10 points] (Jack Little]

VARIOUS-How Many Bands Does It Take To Screw Up A BLONDIE Tribute? (Sympathy For The Devil Records)
This is a great BLONDIE tribute double LP, that contains twenty-four BLONDIE covers done by a dito amount of great bands. There are liner notes from Chris Stein and Deborah Harry on the sleeve, and also Long Gone John (label boss) may have his say on the inside of this gatefold sleeve. Some of the bands are totally new to me, and some are rather well known, so to speak. SQUATWEILER kicks off and they come up with a kinda heavy version of “Call Me”, that has lots of guitars. Especially comparing it to the original. From some songs I don’t know the original version, shame on me maybe, but I must say that most of the songs on this compilation sound very nice indeed. Like THE FRIGGS that play “Little Girl Lies”. With the handclaps, this could have been an early JOAN JETT song. THE KIRBY GRIPS from San Francisco are “Hanging On The Telephone”. They made the song a bit faster. I like the raunchy sound of FUR, that pull out a powerful version of “X-Offender” here. THE PHENOBARBIDOLS play their version of the flipside of “Heart Of Glass”, which was called “11:59”. A song, that completely changed the life of vocalist Betsy. THE EXCESSORIES play “In The Flesh”, which became BLONDIE’s first number one hitsingle.....in Australia. Side one rounds off with L’ALOUETTE, who “Look Good In Blue”. Another BLONDIE song, that I am not familiar with. This sounded a bit too mellow to me. It’s great to see though, that BLONDIE has been a huge influence for so many new pop, rock and punk bands in the scene. In the meantime, we’ve come to side two that starts with TUULI, who are sure that “Accidents Never Happen”. We know TUULI of course, and it’s nice to hear them play on this BLONDIE tribute album. COME ONS really surprised me with a version of “Rip Her To Shreds”, which really shredded, just like the title already suggests. TRINKET added “In The Sun” to this compilation, a song that was originally used as a soundtrack for a Powerpuff Girls cartoon. They make it sound like the song was already recorded in the sixties. THE SPACE SURFERS come from Italy and they turn up the volume, when they play “Heart Of Glass” (‘the disco song’). THIRD GRADE TEACHER play “Atomic”, a song that was categorised by Deborah Harry herself as a ‘throwaway’. Nonetheless, it sounds like a pretty cool song for a ‘throwaway’ to me, and I remember that it got quite some airplay back in those days. Maybe it didn’t give BLONDIE the success they thought it would give them, but a lot of people will still remember this one. It’s time to play the second album now, where we start with a more recent hitsingle called “Maria”. The ultimate comeback single of BLONDIE, done by THE SHORT FUSES here. I think this one doesn’t need any further explanation. SKRAP is “Dreaming”, dreaming that Deborah Harry would become the new singer of THE RAMONES. At least this band makes us believe this, with their stunning version of this song. HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS are “Living In The Real World”. Again the cover version sounds much heavier than the original version. That’s alright with me, you know that I like my rock hard. In the meantime I realise, that after hearing more than half of the bands on this compilation, that none of the bands vocalist tries to sound like an imitation of Deborah Harry. They all give their own vision on these BLONDIE ‘classics’ in their own style, which makes it even nicer to listen to all these songs. We move on with BUCK, who are doing their version of “Kung-Fu Girls”. They are followed by 4GAZM, who do their version of “Walk Like Me”. The third side is completed by THE HISSYFITS, who play “Attack Of The Giant Ants”. The original version is much longer, but for this compilation album, they kinda cut it in half, so it could be used much easier. It’s a pretty experimental approach for a BLONDIE tune. The last side of the four is opened by YELLOW SCAB with “One Way Or Another”. Great song, great sound, one of the highlights for me. The ending of the song is simply too hilarious for words! THE KOWALSKIS got away with a song, that was high on the list of many bands, when they were asked to contribute to this album namely “Detroit 442”. Simply because it’s such a f*cking heavy song!! SCOOTER SKIRTS play a cover of the RANDY AND THE RAINBOWS song “Denise”. Yes, even BLONDIE played covers once in a while, and with this one they scored a major hitsingle and Deborah Harry launched herself as ‘the new sex symbol of the punk scene’. At least she did, in my remembrance. SCOOTER SKIRTS consists of Scott Kempner of THE DICTATORS and Betsy Palmer on vocals. THE CHUBBIES are also a well-known band for the readers of Metal Maidens. They play “The Tide Is High”, which was a reaggae like tune in its original BLONDIE version, but there’s definitely no reggae sound in this version. THE BEARDS is a new band consisting of Kim Shattuck of THE MUFFS and Lisa Marr of BUCK (who are also on this album!) They present themselves with “(I Am Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear”. Their debut album should be out pretty soon. Their rendition wasn’t particularly world-shattering though, to tell you the truth. The last song on this tribute album is brought by JHENNE D’ARCFLOWER with “Fade Away And Radiate”. This is definitely a nice way of looking at the different BLONDIE songs, which are performed a little bit different because the originals are untouchable of course. The only hitsingle that I missed here was “I’m Gonna Love You Too”, one of my favorite BLONDIE tunes. The original band BLONDIE may still be in a perfect shape, but the twenty-four follow ups to this poppy punk rock outfit have presented themselves very well on this great compilation album. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VARIOUS-Ladyfest South (independent)
It’s time to present you another compilation album with some bands, that are interesting because of their female input. Most of these bands were still unknown to us, but I am sure that you will hear much more about them in the future. Thirty-two bands ae lined up, so fasten your seat belts and let’s get this party started. Starting with MICHELLE MALONE. Her song “Superball” is a nice little, easy-listening ballad. A melodic rock song with a great guitar solo. (www.michellemalone. com) VERA TAKES THE CAKE, maybe an od name for a band, but it definitely fits really well with the “Food Song” that they added to this compilation album. It’s a nice M.O.R song, with a nice guitar solo at the end. (www.veratakesthecake.com) THE MOTOLITAS then, who are “Cheated”. Touches of surf and sixties rock fill my room. At the end, they turn it into a more CREADENCE CLEAR WATER REVIVAL-like song for a couple of seconds, but finish the song the same way they started it. (www.daemon records.com) SHADE THE BAND sings about the ‘black gold’ that I need so much, and that’s “Coffee”. It could be a ballad of ANOUK. Acoustic guitars and a slow rhythm makes this to a nice piece of rest inbetween. (www.shadetheband. com) And we will need it, because after that ZE BOND ROCKS explodes into “Your Smile”. You can read more about this rock band from Florida in this CD review section. Here they put the pedal to the metal once again in this great rock song. (www.zebondrocks.com) SNAKES-N-ANGELS let us know that “Love’s Hard To Find”. A true fact, I could write a book about it. This long ballad is beautiful and slow, like a good ballad should be. The guitar solo is good also. Many melodic rock and A.O.R. fans will definitely love this. (www.snakes-n-angels.com) EDEN AUTOMATIC is on next with their song “Point”. Their funky rock sound is very refreshing. Think about a good mix between the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, LIVING COLOUR and FISHBONE, with GRACE SLICK on vocals. Hope you can dig it. (www.edenautomatic.com) DA-NIELLE HOWLE comes with “High School Dance”, a song that has this well known, laid back, lazy, sixties atmosphere of BOB DYLAN and/or NEIL YOUNG. (www.danielle howle.com) MYSHKIN plays good mix of ska and rock music. “The Last Year” is a nice shuffle, a great song to invite your girlfriend to dance with you (www.myshkinruby warblers.com). DAWN BARHAM is really something else. She surprised me in a very positive way with her “Sunday Morning Blues”, a fast rhythm and blues track with mouth organ solo and guitar solo in it. (www.dawnbarham.com) TAMI HART is one of the very few artists, that added a live track to this compilation. The song is called “Drunken Love Song”, and it’s an acoustic ballad. The sound quality isn’t too well in my opinion. (www.mrlady.com) As you can see, this CD is full of variation. The ladies are represented in every music style imaginable. MELINDA BROWN’s music is comparable to the acoustic ballad of TAMI HART, although I hear some JANIS JOPLIN or ANOUK influences back in this little song, called “Release Then Retreat”. Surprisingly enough, the next song of SEXFRESH opens also acoustic, but it’s definitely different than the previous two renditions, we’ve heard. The love song, they play is called “Near Me”, and it is full of emotions. (www.mothersdis contentmusic.com) MISS JULY plays bubble gum pop music. “Myopic Little Me” is nice to listen to, as a contrast between all the other styles, but it’s pretty poppy and maybe even a bit childish. (www.geocities.com/missjulyrock) STB is alternative, with low tuned guitars in the background. “River” is a nice steaming presentation with a touch of alternative. (www.stbrocks.com) The first one hour attack is closed by someone who needs no introduction at all. KATASTROPHY WIFE plays “Pretty Car”, one of the many classics from their debut album “Amusia”. (www.katbjelland.com) And these were only just the first sixteen bands on the first CD. The second CD kicks off with KITTY SNYDER, singing “Floating”. A ballad - what more can I say? (www.kittysnyder.com) Then we get song two from the first CD. VERA TAKES THE CAKE with “Food Song”. AMANDA GREEN is on next with “I Don’t Want That”, a song in which I heard back some CINDY LAUPER. Nothing special, but not bad either. (www. amandagreen.com) LINDSAY SMITH sings “My Mother Is A Christian”. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. Same goes for her music, which is straight forward rock and roll. (www.lindsay-smith.com) Then it’s time for another live track, recorded by THE BUTCHIES. It’s a song called “Mandy”. Again the sound quality is a bit poor. The song is an ordinairy pop song, nothing more nothing less. (www.mrlady. com) STELLA MARIE is “Covered” here in her own poppy style. Pop music that is enjoyable for many people. It’s nice however, that Stella added a guitar solo to this song, which makes it just a little bit special. (www.fsfrecords.com) DORIA ROBERTS is the last one on this two CD set with a live song. The song is called “Black Pearl”, and this time the sound quality is just fine. The song is a normal rock song. (www.doriaroberts.com) CLITERATI adds a short part of spoken word to this compilation. Which is an essential part of the Ladyfest happenings. (www.cliterationline. com) After that we go “Six Feet Under” with MARY DELANEY. Her voice shows a little bit resemblance to STEVIE NICKS here and there, but the disco beat makes this song to something I’d like to forget as quickly as possible. (www.marydelaney.com) Maybe HALCYON can take me back to the world of the living with their song “Somewhere Else”? An acoustic pop song, with the addition of some percussion instruments like tambourine and bongos. I always think, these kinds of songs are perfect by a campfire on the beach. And although it’s not mentioned on the CD inlay, the song was recorded live somewhere. (www.halcyon music.com) ELIZABETH WHITE’s song is called “Make This Bird Fly”. It would be strange to compare this song to an acoustic ANOUK tune, so I was more thinking about JOAN BAEZ, who some of us may still remember from the “Woodstock” movie. (www.elizabethwhite.com) The real rock level on this album is not too high maybe, but fact is that there are a lot of well-talented female singer/songwriters in America. Another example would be KATE SIMPKINS, with her song “Largo”. Lounge music, so chill out. (www.katesimpkins.com) JAMIE ANDERSON would be the equivalent to a mix of ALANIS MORISSETTE and STEVIE NICKS, and “I Wanna Drive” is definately worth checking out, although it’s ballad number so many already. Jamie’s voice however, gives a possitive touch to the song. (www.jamieanderson.com) LATONYA PEOPLES give us a taste of the “Forbidden Fruit”. Remember a voice juggler like AL JARREAU? Well, this sounds a little bit like it. The violin fits perfect to this excentric piece of music, and the guitar parts are perfect. (www.latonyapeoples.com) ANGELA MOTTER is the next in line with “My Mama Told Me”. Play that funky soul music and swing it out. And then we’ve reached the last two songs on this interesting compilation album. Two songs of ALIX OLSON, which are called “Daughter” and “The Compliment” The first song is a narration of music (bass and clarinet), while the second song is not a real song. It’s actually a live compliment, just listen to it when you buy this double CD. It was nice to be introduced to the many bands, that support the diverse Ladyfest events over the world. If you want to get more information about these happenings, then you’d better tune into their website at www.ladyfestsouth.org. I must warn some of our readers that a lot of these songs may sound much too poppy, but some of the readers, who have an open mind for the ladies in the music scene will have a world of varied styles open up, when they have a listen to this compilation. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS-Eternal Endless Infinity (GOI Music)
It’s only natural, that such great bands as NIGHTWISH, ORATORY, and DARK MOOR would spawn clones such as newcomer, VISIONS OF ATLANTIS. Hailing from Austria and distributed by Russian label Irond, I have come upon, just such a band. I only refer to them as clone, because this is their debut album and most bands, first releases have to be considered just that. A clone of someone else's style, influence and such. This particular band, has some very talented musicians, but have not found or perfected their own style, as of yet. I do believe, though, that VISIONS OF ATLANTIS has a very long and bright future ahead of them. If they stay on the path of their debut, "Eternal Endless Infinity", they may just replace, number one NIGHTWISH in the category of great symphonic power metal bands, someday. On lead female vocals, we find new artist Nicole Bogner. Very much in the style of Tarja Turunen of NIGHTWISH, but let’s not get carried away. At this point, Nicole, is no Tarja. She has got a nice operatic style, but her voice has no where's near the emotion or intensity that we have come to know from Tarja. I do believe wholeheartedly, with time, she will be just as good, if not better. Only if she can unleash her emotions. On most of the ten tracks found on the album, she does duet with Christian Stani, lead male vocalist. He too has an operatic style about him, and their duets are very coordinated, but I feel Nicole is a talent that should be more alone and upfront in the delivery. This reminds me a lot of the Portuguese band ORATORY. It is very similar to their first album, "Illusions Dimensions", where Ana Lara was background vocalist to Marco Alves. That didn't last, Marco left the band and Ana became lead vocalist and anyone who has heard their latest album, "Beyond Earth", knows how that worked. The music is in the style of all of the aforementioned bands. Symphonic power metal with a touch of speed, here and there. The keys are very much upfront in the mix. Also there are some very good guitar riffs, but nothing groundbreaking or over the top. The keyboards really rule their sound. Aside from Nicole and Chritian on vocals the rest of the band goes like this: Werner Fiedler-guitars, Kris Kampex-synthesizer, Mike Koren-bass and Thomas Caser-drums. I may also mention, that the CD insert and booklet is very artistic and designed by their drummer, Caser. And, also smacks very much of NIGHTWISH influence. The cover reminds allot of "Oceanborn". Anyway, you get the idea, and, if you are a big fan of symphonic power metal, you’re going nuts over this band. If you’re looking for some kind of rating (and I don't rate debuts very high, unless their groundbreaking and different from the norm), then I can tell you that this album musically and talentwise, is a 6, on a scale of 10. Let's see how they mature for a second release, before I go giving them any higher than that. Visit their website at: http://www.visionsofatlantis.at.tf [6 points] (Dennis Arancio)

ZE BOND ROCKS-Burnin’ Hot (independent)
ZE BOND ROCKS started their career already in the late eighties, as a female fronted heavy southern rock band. In 1990, the band was called ZE BOND, and back then they were an all-female band. In 2000, ZE BOND released their debut album called “Rocks”. In 2002, their song “Your Smile” was captured on the “Ladyfest South” compilation (reviewed in this issue of MM). And now, they release their new album “Burnin’ Hot”. And I can tell you, that this band is steamin’ hot. (To use another word than ‘burnin’) Lyn Ze Bond is the fantastic guitar player of this twosome. While RC Drummergirl (Rachel) provides a solid rhythm. The opener “Slam It” reminded me of JOAN JETT (early solo material) and early LITA FORD. Quite an opener, if you ask me! I think this is mainly because of the vocal sound of Lyn. “Metal Horse” is an heavy instrumental song. It really explodes out of your speakers after “I Don’t Know”. No, not the OZZY classic! Although this could happen in the future, because besides their own material, they also play a lot of covers during their live shows. A few of them are captured on this CD as well. But first we get a few originals to enjoy like “On With The Show”, another great, catchy song that JOAN JETT refused to write. ZE BOND ROCKS already shared the stage with bands like CINDERELLA, BILLY IDOL and good old STEPPENWOLF, and I think, they must have kicked their asses! “Fear Not” and “Better Off” (with a great drum intro of Rachel!) are the last two originals on this thirty minutes, nine tracker. After that it’s time for a cover of THE BEATLES (“Revolution”) and OZZY OSBOURNE (“Crazy Train”). Watch out for an interview in the future with this all female band that rocks the chalk of the walls, if you let them. Internet: http://www.zebondrocks.com [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ANOUK (CD single)-I Live For You (Dino Music)
The second single taken from her “Graduated Fool” album, is “I Live For You”. It’s another rock song from the album that launched ANOUK back into the charts after a long absence. The bonus live track on this eight minutes single was recorded at the Oosterpoort in Groningen, some years ago. It’s the live version of the R.E.M. cover “Losing My Religion”, which was already broadcasted on the radio by Radio 3 FM. Although ANOUK hits every note right, I cannot help thinking this is the most terrible song that has ever been written. I hate every second of it, and even the fact ANOUK is singing it, doesn’t change my hatred against this terrible song. For all the die-hard ANOUK fans amongst us, it’s a very cool bonus track of course. “I Live For You” was also used during the ads for the Lion candy bars, over here in Holland. So if this single may sound familiar to you, you probably heard it in the TV commercial. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BAD CANDY (CD single)-Spin Around (Dino Music)
In this issue of MM, you will read the full story about how BAD CANDY was formed. This is the bands first single, “Spin Around”. I think it’s a great catchy song, ready to be launched into the charts. And if some of you readers think, they know this song already, they may be right. “Spin Around” was also used for the soundtrack movie “Josie And The Pussycats”, that deals about an all-female rock band. Listen to it once, and you’ll sing along with the lyrics any other time. “Sweet Revenge” is the second song on this six minutes single, which has got the same catchy approach as “Spin Around”. It even has a nice guitar solo in the middle. I hope there lies a long future ahead of these ladies, because these songs definately have the right spirit. Internet: http://www.badcandy.com [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE DONNAS (7" picture disc)-Take It Off (Atlantic)
This is a real nice, very limited, one song picture disc single by THE DONNAS. It contains the three minutes ‘in your face’ rock song “Take It Off”, which is exactly the same version as on the album. A nice catchy song. But I think you’d better buy the album, which is full of great punk rock songs by this well-talented band. This 7” picture disc is only very nice for the die-hard fans of THE DONNAS. It looks very nice on your bedroom wall though, and therefore it’s nice collectible. The music lovers will be wiser to buy the full length CD. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LULLACRY (CD single)-Don’t Touch The Flame (Spinefarm)
With the release of their new two song single release, the Finnish band LULLACRY are ready to introduce the world to their lead vocalist Tanja who replaced their previous singer Tanya following the completion of their "Be My God" tour several years ago. This lineup change shocked and disappointed many fans since the band was on the verge of gaining worldwide notoriety. Other fans - such as myself - took on a wait and see attitude. So now the time is here to see if the new Tanja can deliver the goods. Upon my first few listens, I would have to say yes. Comparisons to the previous front lady are inevitable, but the new Tanja brings her own vitality, energy and charm to the proceedings. The single track "Don't Touch The Flame" is extremely catchy and infectious. In fact, it would not be a stretch to say that with the right kind of promotion this song could end up with radio airplay in the States. We'll have to see how this gets marketed. Yes, I would have to say that if the single is any indication the new LULLACRY sees the band headed in a more commercial direction. The slight distortion on the vocals give it a bit of an industrial edge, but it is still guitar driven hard rock/metal, they haven't abandoned their roots, but they have gone on to create something beyond just plain metal. It will be interesting to see how their ever widening (and demanding) fan base reacts to the musical evolution. The other song to be found here is a cover of the NINE INCH NAILS track "Head Like A Hole". I have to admit that I have always liked the original and the band deliver a competent and faithful rendition of this tune. With the release of the new album "Crucify My Heart" on the horizon, I am anxious to hear the full result. [8 points] (Tony Cannella)

[Updated: Aug. 13, 2003]

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