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

MM#31/March 2003:

AEMEN-Fooly Dressed (Bee & Bee Records)
I will only do a short review, because there are no females in this band. Why bother? Well, there are a few female guest appearances on this CD. In “Time” we hear the voice of Sharon Den Adel of WITHIN TEMPTATION. She will also make an appearance during a song, called “Waltz”. Sharons vocals are a welcome change from the rather annoying voice of AEMEN singer Toine van der Meijden. AEMEN’s music can be categorised as alternative rock, but definitily not as heavy metal or hard rock, as far as I am concerned. The string arrangements that were used for this album are mainly done by female musicians like Carolijn van der Sanden on alt violin and Laura van der Stoep on the first violin. Another special guest on this second album of AEMEN is FAY LOVSKY, who plays theremin on “Havelock” and the singing saw on “Waltz”. Last but not least, we hear LANA LANE on a song, called “Noble Man”. How she got involved here is not really clear to me. I am convinced that AEMEN is a very dull band, that only used the help of some interesting artists on this album. An album, that contains fourteen tracks and has a playing time of about fifty-five minutes. Highlight is the GUNS ‘N’ ROSES alike song “The World”, that captures a decent guitar solo at the end. The last song on this CD is called “Sorry!”. Well, so am I guys, for the low score. The girl on the CD cover explains the album title, by the way. [5 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ANDRA (feat. VII SINS)-Circle Of Fire (Dark Eden Records)
Some of you might remember the band VII SINS. They sounded very interesting indeed on their debut album “Victim Of Sins”, reviewed in MM#22. We are very proud to present you the solo CD of female frontlady Andrea Münster, who calls herself ANDRA right now. Her band consists of George Palm on guitars and Guido Breidt on drums. Uli Kusch (HELLOWEEN) played the bass parts, as well as the keyboards. (Obviously, Tom Sevenich left the band!). Uli also co-produced this ten track solo CD, which spins around for forty-five minutes. There’s a lot of power in the riffs. The vocals of Andrea are strong, proving that she is ready to proceed a career of her own. If this will be a continiously situation, is not really clear at the moment. Will this be the end of VII SINS, or is this solo record just a bonus? We will update you, as soon as we get more information. Fact is, there’s a lot to enjoy on this powerful solo disc of the beautiful and well talented singer. “La Rosa Del Amor” (“The Rose Of Love”) is a song in the Spanish language. While “I Will Survive” (GLORIA GAYNOR cover) was already part of the setlist of VII SINS, as Andrea told us earlier in an interview in MM#23. Now we’ll find it back on her solo album as well, played in the best metal way possible. I think, she was made for that song. ANDRA will survive, especially when she continues making strong albums like “Circle Of Fire”, because this is great stuff! Website: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ANOUK-Graduated Fool (Dino Music)
We had to wait a long time for this. In the meantime, ANOUK has become a very proud mum, released a new album and she’s ready to tour again in March 2003. “Graduated Fool” contains eleven new songs and has a playing time of about forty-five minutes. And yes, people: it ROCKS like hell!!! Her band consists of Hans Eijkenaar on drums, Michel van Schie on bass, Lex Bolderdijk on guitar (on two songs), René van Barneveld on guitar, Leendert Haaksma on guitar and Anouk Teeuwe as the ultra sexy superblonde scream machine herself. No hip hop, or dance rhythms anymore, but every song can be categorised as rock. Next to this, ANOUK took care of the perfect metamorphosis: it’s like she started a brand new career. She sounds so fresh! This new CD just gotta be a huge success for the singer from The Hague, the Netherlands. Sometimes, I even discover riffs that are heavier than on the latest METALLICA record. There are also a few ballads on the album, which keeps it in perfect balance. Question is: will ANOUK manage to hit the charts with this album? If it was up to us, she certainly would. But I think she will have a hard time struggling against the one hit wonders and the no hopers, that rule the scene today. Her first single “Everything” however, was a great success. I really hope, more hits will follow soon, because she certainly deserves recognition for all her hard work. The CD comes in two versions: a ‘regular’ one with her new logo imprinted in silver and a beautiful (limited edition) black fold out box. The CD is also protected against copying. But why should you go for a copy, when you can buy the original of this great new release? Website: [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ARTROSIS-Melange (Metal Mind Productions)
ARTROSIS keeps releasing nice albums in the well known gothic rock style. Most of the time, they release their albums in a Polish version and an English (international) edition. We have the English release of “Melange”, which contains eleven songs and has a playing time of around forty-five minutes. The band is still led by the beautiful blonde nymph Medeah on vocals. She’s accompanied by Maciej Niedzielski on keyboards and Rafal ‘Grunthell’ Grunt on guitars. This already implicates that the drums come from a box and there’s no room for a bassplayer either. So there is no real rhythm section on this album. The album sounds pretty static because of it. In the opening tune “In A Daze”, the guitarplayer puts his best foot forward to make this song sound pretty heavy. Slowly, the music starts to sink into a pool of electronic bleeps and repetative industrial beats, and lots of static keyboard sounds. Sometimes they might pick up something that we could call metal or rock, but the gothic soundscapes are very much in front on this new ARTROSIS album. Bonus track “Impre Sjon” sounds like something Polish to me, but when you pronounce it very fast, you will get a good ‘impression’ of what the title suggests here. It is an orchestral piece of music by the way. Bombastic and majestic - definitely one of the highlights on this CD for me, next to opener “In A Daze”. I will give ARTROSIS the benefit of the doubt this time, but if the band will continue taking this more gothic direction, I believe this will be the last time I’ve given them a positive review. Website: [6 points] (Toine van Poorten)

(THE REVENGE OF) THE BAD APPLES-Never Tasted So Good (independent)
The apples, that I have in my basket for you are Sarah B on vocals, Rene on bass, Anna G on guitar (formerly THE REGRETTES) and Khattie Q on drums. The self-confidence already starts in the first sentence of “Rock Star”, when they sing “I’m gonna be a rock star”. In only fifteen minutes time, they prove us that they have the guts to become rock stars, because this CD rocks like a steamtrain. Okay, I hear a lot of influences from the mighty RAMONES in their songs and the whole atmosphere, but who didn’t call in the help of these mighty punk Gods? We will forgive them immediately. “Phone Sex” would almost suggest that these girls are sweet, but wait until you’ve heard “Shitty People” before you offer these ladies a drink. Don’t stab them in the back, because you’re dead meat. Well done girls, you’ve shown your teeth here with these seven punky rock songs. “All Over You” is a poppy song, in which they prove us how good it can be to throw in some variation here and there. THE BAD APPLES look very cute and sound really good on this mini CD. But I think everybody may know the fairytale of Snow White And The Seven Dwarves. The apples may look good, but they might be poisonous and bad for your health. So you’d better beware of these four BAD APPLES, before you take a bite! Website: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BAD SISTER-Heartbreaker (Explorer)
BAD SISTER hails from Germany, and they were so kind to provide us the three CDs, that they have released so far. The music of this band suits so well with this magazine, that we decided to review them all for you in this issue. The first release is called “Heartbreaker”, and it was released in 1989 already. One year after the band was originally founded. The line up consists of Jörn Saul on bass and vocals, Kai-Ove Kessler on drums, Kai Beyer on keyboards (who replaced the original keyboard player Werner Kaul), Sven Lange on guitars and Petra Degelow on vocals. Their music can be described as AOR, mixed with melodic rock. I am thinking of bands like STARSHIP, BON JOVI, CHER and SURVIVOR here. The ten songs show us a band with a lot of talent, that also knows how to use it. Their songs are very varied and they don’t forget that a good song needs to be catchy above everything else. “Catriona” is the ‘hitsingle’ from this album, and they toured with IAN GILLAN in 1990 during the ‘Naked Thunder’ tour. They also shot a video clip for “Catriona”. Not a bad start for a ‘bad sister’. I liked the song “Alligator” most on this debut CD, that runs for about forty minutes. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BAD SISTER-Out of The Business (Explorer)
The second release of this band is called “Out Of The Business”. There is a special guest on this album. His name is Alex Conti (LAKE, ATLANTIS), and he plays the lead guitar on two songs of this great melodic rock album. The line up of the band remains the same, which is a good sign of course. The songs have become a bit heavier maybe. Just listen to the force of a song like “S.O.S.” for example. The thirteen tracks have a total playing time of almost a full hour. The album means a big step forward on the ladder of success for BAD SISTER, and you can only guess, why it went wrong after this. If you like solid melodic rock songs with a touch of AOR., then you can’t pass by “Out Of The Business” that easily. Many melodic rock adepts will definately dig this album, and I can only join this group of people, because I can hear that the band has made a lot of progression in a very short period of time. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BAD SISTER-Live (Mini Mum Records)
This is a 2002 release of BAD SISTER. It’s a live CD of a gig they played in the Traumfabrik in Kiel in 1990. They supported IAN GILLAN in that very year, and you’ll hear that they really did their best to sound as professional as possible. They give a helluva performance during the twelve songs on this album. Songs that mostly come from their debut album and were written even before that album. Showing us, that we’re dealing with a very well-talented melodic rock band, that was able to write catchy rock songs. The live album possibly marks the start of the reformation of BAD SISTER. And if I listen to this CD very carefully, I would be very glad if this would happen. Mainly because there aren’t too many good melodic rock bands in the music scene anymore, and with BAD SISTER we could at least add one good band to this low number of talented melodic rock bands. If your heart is with bands like CHER, BON JOVI, SURVIVOR, STARSHIP and BOSTON, then this one cannot be missed in my humble opinion. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BLACK KNIGHT-Master Of Disaster (Cult Metal Classics Records)
We missed this one in our CD review section of MM#30. But I must write about this cult album, because you just need to know, that it has been re- released again by Cult Metal Classics Records in Greece. Not too many people may have the original version of this great heavy metal release. Now it’s the time to add this album to your collection for a reasonable price. Besides you’ll get six bonus tracks, which makes it even more interesting to buy yourself a copy of this album. The extensive BLACK KNIGHT story and liner notes alone make this re-release to a must for all the fans of good underground metal from the eighties. The original five tracks of the EP are on the A-side of this album. The B-side is reserved for the extras. Lori Wilde, who was called ‘The Scream Queen’ is not on every song on this album. But her screams make you long for more, and she’s definitely one of the female metal maidens of the early eighties. Her voice can be compared to Darby Mills of the HEADPINS. However, the music of BLACK KNIGHT is definitely more metal than the more melodic approach of the HEADPINS. This release is a must, and I can only give the highest rating possible. For more information about the availability of this great re-release, you can go to: www.cultmetal There are only 500 copies made of this album, so you’d better act fast. This is heavy metal at its best!!! [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BLACK WIDOWS-Sweet....The Hell (Recital Records)
A horror intro (“Falling Moon”) introduces us to the new album of the Portugese all-female metal band BLACK WIDOWS. The eleven songs on the album have a total length of about forty-five minutes. The sound of BLACK WIDOWS is still dark and gothic. Although they’re definitely heavier than the average gothic metal band. I really loved the inventive speed changes in a song like “In Dearing”, with the screams that pierces you through the very marrow. In “Life’s Wish” and “Awaken” they called in the help of ANCIENT RITES, DANCE MACABRE vocalist Gunther Theys from Belgium. Their sound reminded me of the old PARADISE LOST here and there, with this male input. BLACK WIDOWS still consists of Rute on vocals and guitar, Chris on drums, Marta on keyboards and Cláudia on bass. The use of sound effects on this album, made their music really done. What would sound like an ordinairy gothic, doom metal sound is lifted up to an album, that sounds far above average to me. We hear “Awaken” in two different versions. The original album version, and the CD closes with the so called ‘radio edit’ of the same song. “Sweet...The Hell” has become a nice metal album with lots of variation and good musiciansship of these four Portugese spiders. Their story is in MM#27, by the way. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

BOSTON-Corporate America (Artemis Records)
BOSTON are untouchable to me. Their records are so complete, that it’s very difficult for me to write something negative about them. From the day that I saw this band live in 1979, I fell in love with their great recognisable, bombastic sound. This sound was mainly created by the guitar of band leader Tom Scholz. A perfectionist, who takes his time to create a new CD. And also a man, who hates touring. I think, they never returned to Europe after 1979, while they made a few perfect albums after wards. On “Walk On”, we slowly see that BOSTON is keeping its distance from their previous work. Their compositions become a bit lighter and their recognisable sound disappears a bit. A direction, they’ll continue on “Corporate America”. They also added a female singer to the band, something that actually surprised me a lot. Her name is Kimberley Dahmen. Besides Kimberley, the band consists of Anthony Cosmo (son of Fran Cosmo) on vocals and guitar, Tom Scholz on guitars, Brad Delp on vocals, Fran Cosmo on vocals, Gary Pihl on keyboards. The songs became sweeter, more open and a lot less traditional BOSTON like. If that is what Tom Scholz wanted with this new album, he succeeded very well. There are still a few real old BOSTON like tunes on the album, but this is definitely a minority. Highlights for me were songs like opener “I Had A Good Time”, title track “Corporate America”, “Someone”, “Turn It Off” and “You Gave Up On Love”. “Living For You” was already on “Walk On”, but you can enjoy this song in the live version here. All the official news about this great AOR/melodic rock band can be read on their website at: Hopefully, the starship will also land in Holland this time after almost twenty-five years of absence. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

CHALLENGE-Spirit (Splash International)
It’s been quite some time since we wrote about this band for the first time. It was 1996, when we reviewed their CD “Accoustic Universe”, and did an interview with Allison Lindsay and Arno Verstappen. The title already tells you that this was an acoustic CD. Now they’ve got the amps plugged in and they surprise us even more with their new CD “Spirit”. Their catchy rock sound is ready for radio airplay. The horn section gives the songs a swinging mood, while Arno’s guitar puts the rock influences into the music. My thoughts directly went out to a band like TOTO. One minute, they really rock the hell out of you, while the next song will be a tender slow ballad. The same variation is on “Spirit”. Allisons voice is warm and she sings rock songs as easy as a tender ballad. “Lullaby” reminded me a bit of “Blue Bayou” of LINDA RONDSTADT, and it easily became one of the highlights to me. Next to the other ballad “Once Again”, that creates the same warm atmosphere. While “Too Late” is one of the most appealing rock songs on this album. An album, worthy of ten honest rock songs and forty-five minutes of great music. A giant step forward for a band, that already showed their talents on their debut CD. You can visit the website for all the latest news about this well- talented rock band. Just go to to find all the information you need. In the meantime I will give this disc another spin or two. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DELIGHT-Eternity (Metal Mind Records)
Poland has been a country of melody for a long time. Three albums into their history, which began somewhere around 1998, DELIGHT have slowly become a forerunner in Polish melodic metal. And with the recent opposite direction of ARTROSIS, they have become, in these eyes, the leader of fine bands from that country, that have a lovely female singer. Not only is Paulina beautiful, but she can sing and has a voice that is unrivalled in all of rock music. The new album "Eternity" does not veer off in a different direction completely, but stays the course with only slight hints of gothic rock in the verses. Actually, I like to refer to their music as mid-tempo power gothic metal akin to such bands as NIGHTWISH, newer WITHIN TEMPTATION, newcomer AMARAN, and a touch of earlier ARTROSIS in places. No growly stuff here folks, Paulina is the star of the show, plain and simple. There is also a lot of diversity in the new list of tracks on this album showing the bands maturity. They go from solid heavy rockers to melodic power with a tinge of goth, to some songs which could be lumped into AOR. There is not a bad track to be found out of the nine. All of the lyrics are sung in English, except for track 9, which is in their native tongue, Polish. Which I don't understand, but it’s still a good melodic song. The band has also stayed the course as far as members. They are all the same people making this beautiful music with the exception of keyboardist, Barbara Lasek, who joined the band on the previous album,"The Fading Tale", and is now a permanent member. She adds a fullness to their sound. Jaroslaw is still on guitars, as is Sebastian, all backed up by Tomasz on drums and Piotr on bass. For a detailed history of this fine outfit, see the link below for their website. For fans of DELIGHT, this album will be pure delight. Seems to me, there has only been one sore spot so far, in their career. That being the cover of GEORGE MICHAEL's "Careless Whisper", they did on "A Fading Tale". A lot of the critic's trashed that album, because of it. I was not one of them. I actually liked it and sing-along everytime I hear it. Well, everyone makes a mistake now and then, but shouldn't be held accountable for “Eternity”. Which brings me to the end of this review. A highly recommended referral for DELIGHT's new album "Eternity" from someone, who knows about females in rock! Enjoy! Visit their website at: ~delight/ or contact the band at: [9 points] (Dennis Arancio)

THE DISTILLERS-Sing Sing Death House (Hellcat Records)
They explode in your face like a neutron bomb, and nobody can stop them! Let me please introduce you to THE DISTILLERS, before it’s too late. Because when I look into my crystal ball, this band could launch themselves into the top of the punk scene every second. At least that is my opinion after I’ve heard the twelve punk attacks on this CD. Thirty minutes of full power, that gave me the same good feeling as the CDs of Australian punk, hardcore band THE BLITZ BABIEZ (R.I.P.). It’s certainly not a shame, if I compare them to the sound of THE BLITZ BABIEZ. And I think, that the JOAN JETT fans among us, should have to take a listen to this band, too. I guess, they will be positively surprised. Just listen to a song like “The Young Crazed Feeling” and you’ll know what I mean! THE DISTILLERS are Brody Armstrong on vocals and guitar, Andy Outbreak on drums, Ryan on bass and Casper on guitar and vocals. They have just toured with GARBAGE and NO DOUBT. Gwen and Shirley must have been flabbergasted, when they saw the power of Brody on stage. Their time is over now, so please clear the room for THE DISTILLERS. Their music will turn your room into a mess in no time and the neighbours will not be pleased. Get rid of them in only thirty minutes time! They simply won’t be able to resist the power that comes out of your speakers. It’s mohawk time again and if you don’t believe what I’m saying, just check out their website to be fully convinced. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE DONNAS-Spend The Night (Atlantic Records)
Will they ever grow up? This time the whole band wants to spend the night with me!! Well okay, I am ready for it. But first I want to have a listen to their new album. We have obtained a special limited two disc set here. The second CD contains a video clip, an interview and some nice behind the scene footage. Just put it in your DVD player and you’ll find out. The other CD contains the new album, thirteen songs with a total time of about forty minutes. Songs that are the perfect blend between rock, punk and metal music. They didn’t loose their power, nor their feeling for writing catchy rock songs. Their lyrics still contain all the facts of celebrating a good party, hanging out with the boys or making love in the backseat of a car. Allison still spits out another AC/DC riff or blasts another ACE FREHLEY like solo. Maya still slams the bass, while her partner-in-crime Torry beats up her equipment. My favorite Donna Brett went from over the top screaming to becoming a real frontwoman with a good singing voice. You can try to ignore them, but it’s just a formula that works for quite some time now. And even when they try to sound a bit more mature than before (the girls are already in their early twenties), they will also attract the attention of the young kids as well. And if they ask you in the future to spend the night with them, please think twice before you agree, because these gals are really HOT!!!! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EDENBRIDGE-Aphelion (Massacre Records)
This is the third album of EDENBRIDGE. A band that saw their star rising real fast. “Aphelion” will launch them into the premier league of melodic metal land. They will tour in Brazil with WITHIN TEMPTATION later this year. And if you think of the sound of WITHIN TEMPTATION, you may draw the comparison on this new album of EDENBRIDGE. Maybe a bit less bombastic and a bit heavier, but there is definitely some resemblance. EDENBRIDGE consists of Andreas Eibler on guitars, Roland Navratil on drums and guest bass player Stefan Model. The two key figures however are Sabine Edelsbacher on vocals and Lanvall on guitars. They form the centre part in this band, that creates some beautiful sounds here. Eleven tracks, including the bonus track “The Whispering Gallery”, take you away to a yet ‘undiscovered land’, so the title of the first song tells us. A trip that lasts for almost a full hour. At the end we are treated to a duet between Sabine and SILENT FORCE singer DC Cooper. It’s the cream on top of this new product and makes the whole album complete. A new album that will lead them into a new dimension, a dimension of worldwide success. Just mark my words. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ETHEREAL TRAVEL-The Mad Cartridge (Hammer Müzik)
ETHEREAL TRAVEL hails from Turkey and this album is called “The Mad Cartridge”. The band consists of Gizem Berk on vocals (she’s the metal maiden in the band), U ur Çetin on bass, Alp Bozkurt on drums, Taylan Cihan on guitars and vocals and Rem Bozkurt on violins. I can taste the Turkish atmosphere in the eight different songs. The use of violins gives a folkloric touch to the gothic like tracks. Gizem’s voice sounds dreamy and she sings too much at one tone level in my opinion. The guitar player plays some good guitar solos, but they are lost in the stream of sounds played at the same time. Good example is the great lead part of the guitarist in “Closed”. It simply drowns in the sound of the other band members. The ideas of the band are okay, but I think they need a bit more experience to convince me of their strength. The short drum solo/break in “Spanish Fly” is surprising, but you can’t sell records by putting a refreshing drum solo/break in one of your songs. Being average doesn’t mean that you’re bad, but in the music industry it’s just not good enough to make it to the top. If this was a demo recording, I would call it promising though. [6 points] (Toine van Poorten)

EVOL-Dies Irae (Beyond....Prod.)
EVOL from Italy. It’s a crying shame that they don’t exist anymore. You can doubt their musical abilities, but when you look at the complete presentation of the band, you must admit they were one of the finest underground bands in this scene. The artwork, the songs, the corpse paint, their CDs, everything was done on a low budget deal, but it still looked very professional. The band from Italy always created a dark underground sphere, which was very much appreciated by a few die hard underground freaks. This CD contains eleven tracks. The two demos “The Tale Of The Horned King” (1993) and “The Dark Dreamquest Part I” (1994) are on it plus two live tracks recorded in 1995. The opening of the first demo is spoken word with some dark background music. The second song is very short, while “The Return Of The Horned King” is the only ‘real’ song on this demo. “Sorrow Of The Witch” is no more than a short outtro. The second demo also opens with an instrumental. It’s the title track of this second demo. The music of EVOL doesn’t really sound extreme for a true black metal band. Their sound is doomy, slow and it could well be the soundtrack of one of the many black and white horror movies from the twenties or thirties. They look mean, but they don’t really sound mean. Nonetheless, I like the whole concept behind this band and I really enjoyed their music above all. On both demos, EVOL consists of Prince Of Agony on vocals, synthesizer, Lord Of Sorrow on bass, guitar and drums and Princess Of Disease on female vocals. It’s a great initiation to release these two demos with some bonus tracks on one CD. I think it’s a shame though, that EVOL didn’t get the attention and recognition they deserved so much! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LITA FORD-Greatest Hits Live! (re-release) (SPV/Steamhammer)
LITA FORD has taken a leave of absence for a number of years now. Actually, her studio album “Black” (released in ’94) was the last thing, we heard from her (music wise, I mean). In the meantime, she and her husband Jim Gillette (ex-NITRO) are living happily (ever afer) in the Caribbean and became the proud parents of two sons. This “Greatest Hits Live!” CD (released in the USA in 2000 and reviewed in MM#21) contains fourteen songs, worthy of over an hour of energetic hard rocking music. I think, the fans of Lita will be highly interested in the exclusive studio track opening the CD. It’s called “Nobody’s Child” and it’s certainly one of her best songs ever!! It has a great guitar solo and it shows, that Lita is still as hot and heavy as people like to remember her. The live set starts with “Larger Than Life”, which is the perfect song to get your audience going! The sound quality of the CD is great, too! I think, the CD is a good overview of LITA FORD’s hits singles plus …a few surprises. Songs like “Black Widow”, “Can’t Catch Me”, “Shot Of Poison”, “Close My Eyes Forever” (the duet she did with OZZY and which is introduced by Lita as “If I Close My Thighs Forever”) and “Kiss Me Deadly” just can’t go wrong. I was really surprised to hear Lita do her version of the MONTROSE classic “Rock Candy”. It’s not really clear where and when these songs were recorded, but it has to be somewhere in Southern California. Lita’s guitar playing is like a whirlewind of notes and she’s still one of the best female guitarplayers on this planet. Besides LITA FORD on guitar and vocals, we also need to mention her band, because without these guys this CD wasn’t possible. First there’s Joe Taylor on guitar & backing vocals, Glenn Burtnick (ex STYX) on guitars & backing vocals, Phil Chen on guitar and backing vocals, David Ezrin on keyboards & backing vocals and last but not least, Jimmy Degrasso on drums, who a few of you might remember from Y&T, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, ALICE COOPER, MAMMA’S BOYS and WHITE LION. An allround drummer, so to speak. The exclusive studio track really asks for more and the live songs finally give all the LITA FORD fans the chance to listen to a decent live show, instead of coming from a dusty bootleg recording. The latest news is that Lita and Jim contributed some unreleased LITA music to the soundtrack of THE RUNAWAYS film “Edgeplay”, to be released later this year on DVD. More info at: [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GALADRIEL-From Ashes To Dust (Metal Age Productions)
Hailing from Slovakia, we have the melodic doom metal band, GALADRIEL. Somewhat obscure, because not too many people have heard of them, but this is the fourth release by a band which has been with us since 1995. Just a short history, before I begin this review. Founded in 1995 by present members, Dodo Datel (bass and vocals) Dr. Victor (drums) and one, who is no longer in the band; Voloda Zadrapa (guitars). And the line-up has changed very much so over the years, with Dodo and Dr. Victor being mainstays. In 1996 along comes Sona "Witch" Kozakova (female vocalist and third permanent member) to round out what would become the rock on which GALADRIEL would stand, to this day. Their present discography stands at four albums, and it is a glorious one at that. Beginning in 1996 with the arrival of Sona, "Empire of Emptiness" (rating: 8 points) becomes their debut album, which was not released until 1997, is as fine a debut as any other band, that I can think of. In 1998, they released their sophomore effort, "Mirror of Ages" (6 points). 2000 sees the release of another gem, "Oblivion" (rating: 9 points) (my personal fave), with the 2002 effort being the review at hand. Over the years though, the line-up has changed, but the style of great music has stayed the same and true to form, which in my opinion is gothic doom metal. I liken their music style to that of bands like TRISTANIA, SINS OF THY BELOVED, DYING PASSION, and TRAIL OF TEARS. Others may differ on this assessment, but I have all their albums, and this is what I hear. Present day line-up goes this way: Dodo (bass and vocals), Sona "Witch" (female lead vocals), Dr. Victor (drums), Tomax Gabris (guitars) and Lubomir J.S.K. Kozak (keyboards). Guitar and keyboards have been the instruments that have notably changed over the years, and if you read their detailed history at the website, you will find this to be true. Beginning with the vocal portion of their music, Sona "Witch" Kozakova (and I don't know how she got that name, because she neither sings or looks like one) has a very distinguished vocal delivery and is very upfront in the mix. She can be likened to any number of femme singers in the genre, none really sticks out. She is neither operatic or too high pitched, just a normal femme voice, and a very good one at that. Dodo handles all the grunts, growls and occasional clean stuff. Yes, it is kind of the duet style beauty and beast. What sets them apart from the others is the music. Very melodic doom metal, probably because of the ever present keyboards. What also sets them apart, is the non use of string instruments such as the violin. This is straight ahead doom metal with heavy guitar and bass. On the 2002 effort "From Ashes To Dust" there is progression in their sound and production. Not to say that it was bad on previous releases. Just that now, they have become an established unit and are probably becoming more well known in metal circles. The new album also sees the band taking a more upbeat direction. Anyone of their albums to date can be a starting point for new fans, but I must caution on how hard their albums are to get a hold of. Probably because Slovakia is not your primary hotbed for metal music, but I see that changing in years to come. Is a matter of fact, since the breaking down of "The Wall", were finding that countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia are holding a new wealth of music and musicians who would have gone unnoticed, had it not occurred. I myself, am a big fan of these obscure metal bands from post communist era bands, and believe me, there are many. All I can say is "welcome to the fold, brilliant stuff". Website: http://galadriel. Email: [8 points] (Dennis Arancio)

THE GATHERING-Souvenirs (Psychonaut Records)
THE GATHERING launches a new music style, that they call 'triprock'. A style which 'explains' their music in one simple word. Don't expect any loud guitar riffs or rock explosions on this album, because that's simply not their thing anymore. Eight 'mental souvenirs', as Anneke likes to call it, are on this promo copy of the new album, which contains almost forty-five minutes of pure emotions. The original CD version will have two songs more, under which a duet Anneke does with TRICKSTER G., called "A Life All Mine" and a song entitled "Jelena", that Anneke wrote for a deceased friend of hers. The sound on "Souvenirs" is very electronic, but it's the sound of the new millenium, I think. Static though emotional. Electronic, alternative, psychedelic, experimental, new, trippy - something for the music fan of today. THE GATHERING takes a distance from the music, they once created. Many fans will have a problem with that, others will call it a normal evolution of a band, that can see themselves as one of the most successful bands from Holland. The CD creates an atmosphere of intimity, especially through the warm vocals of Anneke van Giersbergen, who still forms the centre of the music of THE GATHERING. Highlight for me on this new album is "You Learn About It", because it creates a feeling that's too beautiful to mention. Something I just can't explain. Sometimes, it may be difficult to understand the musical soundscapes the band invented, but when you try to discover the beauty of it, you will see why this band has become so successful over the years. THE GATHERING created a great "Souvenir"' for their fans. They will start the first half of their European tour on March 18th. And I am very honoured, that they choose my birthday for this event. They will also play at the Wave Gothic Treffen in Leipzig (D), and from May on, they will play in the Benelux. Be there!! [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

GENIUS-A Human Into Dreams’ World, A Rock Opera (Frontiers)
It’s cool to make a rock opera nowadays. However, the whole concept was done in the late sixties already by THE WHO, when they created “Tommy”. “Jesus Christ Superstar” is another nice example of a famous rock opera from that time. “Genius” contains almost eighty minutes of progressive rock music, created by Daniele Liverani (EMPTY TREMOR), who also played all the guitars, bass and keyboard parts on this CD. Helped out by drummer Dario Ciccioni, they both form the instrumental centre of GENIUS. The cream on top are the singers on this CD. A lot of super voices teamed up to make this rock opera to a success. People like Mark Boals, Daniel Gildenlow, Chris Boltendahl, Joe Vana, John Wetton, Steve Walsh, Oliver Hartmann, Philip Bynoe, Midnight and LANA LANE are definitely an impressive list. Lana’s input is not huge, but very impressive indeed. We can hear her as “The Doorkeeper” in the second song, that is called “The Right Place”. Here she does a duet with Mark Boals. You can read the details about the concept of the story of “Genius” in all the other metal magazines already. I will limit myself to the musical qualities on this CD, and I can be very briefly here, too. The CD is a must to all the progressive rock and traditional rock fans (MALMSTEEN, VAN HALEN, IRON MAIDEN, RAINBOW) out there and I really enjoyed it until the very last notes. The full eighty minutes are a magic ride, that will impress you song after song. This is only part one of the opera and there’s more to come in the (near) future. We’ve already heard, there’s a possibility that Skin of SKUNK ANANSIE will be one of the singers on the next part. [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

G-SPOT- Experience The Pleasure (Gailforce)
Gail Silverman is the focus on this recording. I know, you’re saying “Oh no, not another singer/songwriter!” Give Gail Silverman a chance. She wrote all of these songs. Musically, they vary between hard rock and soft rock. Her use of different rhythms and types of music to capture different moods works well. Gail's words require attention, too. She uses lots of metaphors and similes. Several songs deal with not being sure who she is. How about concluding that Gail Silverman is an expressive writer? The band plays the variety of styles well. Three of these nine songs have nice instrumental breaks. Lance Reich, Dennis Winge or Gail herself do some good note playing on guitar. Good things can be said about Donald Dixon on bass and Lonnie Bannister on bass also. The hardest rocking song is “Sweet Lies”. She wants to be blunt with a man. She wants men to be definate with her: “Cause I don't need pretty lies. All I need is you between my thighs." “True North” is slow and somewhat heavy. It’s about sorting out what you want in life. The instrumental work is good. You can hear the guitars clearly. There are a variety of other songs on the CD. It was good to find Gail Silverman's G-SPOT. Contact her at: G-SPOT c/o Gail Silverman , 200 W. 15 St. G7, New York, NY 10011, USA. Email:; Website: or Rating: quality [8 points]; heavyness [6 points] (Jack Little)

SAMMY HAGAR & THE WABORITAS-Not 4 Sale (Cabo Wabo Music)
SAMMY HAGAR is one of the many super rock heroes on this planet. And after his adventure with VAN HALEN, he has focussed himself totally on his solo career . Mona is the bassplayer of THE WABORITAS, Sammy’s solo band. Furthermore, the band consists of Jesse Harms on keyboards and vocals, Vic Johnson on guitar and vocals and David Lauser on drums. The opener is already the perfect SAMMY HAGAR tune. Bombastic driving drums sounds, the mighty voice of ‘the red rocker’, and a power, that can only be created by Mr HAGAR himself. “Things Have Changed” was originally written by Jesse, while “Whole Lotta Zep” is some kind of compilation of HAGAR’s interpretations of three LED ZEPPELIN classics like “Kashmir”, “Black Dog” and “Whole Lotta Love”. “Not 4 Sale” has become an honest (hard) rock album, which will appeal to many traditional hard rock fans out there. It contains ten songs with a total playing time of about forty-five minutes. Highlights were opener “Stand Up”, the balladish “The Big Nail”, title track “Not 4 Sale” and the fast rocker “The Big Square Inch”. SAMMY HAGAR also plays in a new supergroup nowadays which is called PLANET US, together with Michael Anthony (bass;VAN HALEN), Deen Castronovo (drums;JOURNEY) and Neal Schon (guitar;JOURNEY). For more information about the red rocker, you can go to or [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

HELLION-Will Not Go Quietly (Massacre Records)
HELLIONs comeback CD is finally there and it’s called “Will Not Go Quietly”. And if you listen to the great opener, it feels like time has stood still for this great US metal band. Ann Boleyn still sounds like the female version of Rob Halford, and her band plays the well known US metal style, we all loved so much. A constant driving beat, powerful riffs and dagger sharp guitar solos. Besides Ann, HELLION consists of Ray Schenck on guitar, Chris Kessler on guitar, Glenn Cannon on bass and Sean Scott on drums. There are a few modern aspects to the sound of HELLION in 2003 though. Sometimes we hear some industrial influences, but they never get disturbing. It makes the music fit better in this new millenium. But when I listen to the opening riff of “Welcome (To My Humble Home)”, I get the feeling, that it’s 1985 again. It’s like time stood still! Ann sounds like ALICE COOPER here and it’s a real horror rock anthem! More songs have this touch of ALICE COOPER, and I must admit, that it really sounds great! Just listen to the repetative chorus in “Dead And Gone”, to know what I mean. Maybe this new album sounds a bit darker than before. Nonetheless, it does sound as mean as the authentic sound of HELLION. And fans of the band will know that this album is an essential buy for all the die hard metal fans out there. Hope they will tour Europe soon!!! [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE HEROINES-Groupie (Wolverine Records)
E.V.E. on vocals, Chris Missile on bass, El Filipe on drums and Galactica on guitar and vocals, together they are THE HEROINES. This punk band was founded in 1999, and they already supported THE DICKIES on tour. THE HEROINES will make SLEATER KINNEY blush, because they just discovered their way out of E.V.E.’s garage. I hear MOTÖRHEAD, THE RAMONES, THE DONNAS and a lot of rock and roll on this album, which contains thirteen tracks and almost forty minutes of sleazy girl power punk rock and roll. The CD also contains the video clip of “A Million Kind Of Boys”. Their lyrics are about groupies, sex, drugs and rock and roll and the songs are short and catchy. The ultimate soundtrack for a highschool party. Maybe they sound a bit too clean sometimes, but the ideas of the band are crystal clear. They wanna start a riot, and I think they will succeed with “Groupie”. A few more raw edges would make this album to a true killer, but I realise this is only the beginning of a (hopefully) long career of this band. I will never get addicted to heroin, but I imagine that people will get addicted to THE HEROINES instead. Website: [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

IZEGRIM-Guidelines For Genocide (independent)
The promo was a pretty good pre-taster for this new full length album of IZEGRIM. Their mix of death metal and old school thrash metal sounds remarkably fresh, in this time of dull nu-metal bands and other (alternative sounding) so called metal outfits. They don’t drown into a puddle of sound, because of the well-thought of song structures that leave some space for melody as well. The guitar sound is breathtaking, female grunter Krisz is growling like a ravenous madwoman again, while the background vocals of Aaargh (who still plunders her bassguitar as well!) are almost invisibly mixed in the songs. “Persona Non Grata” easily became one of the highlights on this new release for me. It already was a highlight on their promo, especially because of the marvellous guitarwork of Goldiloxxx and Khasz. “The Final Solution” closes the CD in a slow, doomy way. It’s the ultimate soundtrack to your funeral. Wannes Gubbels (ASPHYX/PENTACLE) did some guest vocals, while ex-member (Lord) Arydon (now in GODDESS OF DESIRE) did the lead guitars on one of the songs. Hrödger also did some vocal contributions, which closes the circle. This new ‘terror thrash’ attack contains nine tracks with a total length of about forty minutes, which is just enough to survive this mean assault of fast riffs and war hymns. For more information, you can write to the band at: IZEGRIM, Nieuwstraat 62a, 7201 NS Zutphen, The Netherlands, or send an email to: Visit their website: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

JANE JENSEN-Burner (independent)
This CD isn't by a band. It was put together by a team headed by JANE JENSEN. Jane wrote the songs. She plays some of the guitar and keyboards. You could call her co-producer. Some of the production is done by Craig Kafton. He is heard on bass guitar and guitar, programs the many synthetic sounds, plays organ and some drums. Not all at once of course. Martin Bisi adds drums and backing vocals. A few other people make smaller contributions. Some of Jane's compositions alternate between musical styles. “Fast Girl U.S.A.” shifts from soft sexy vocals to guitars in overdrive and back a few times. The song concludes with the advice "Don't play dumb. Just get your own way." Others alternate or mix rock or hip hop. A couple are electronic dance music punctuated with metal sounding chords. There's something for everyone here. If you like all of these sounds, they’re all on this CD. Jane has a strong sense of who she is. Independent, in control, observant and intentional come to mind. JANE JENSEN is part of the Indiegirl Network. That sounds right to me. She's independent of one particular type of music. Yet she uses a little of several of them. In several senses JANE JENSEN is an independent girl. Internet:; Email: [7 points] (Jack Little)

KITTIE-Safe (Artemis Records)
KITTIE spoils their fans. Every single has become some kind of mini live CD so far. Same goes for this special release of “Safe”, that I haven’t seen in Europe yet. Internet is a great source to discover releases that will probably never cross the ocean. The single opens with the KMFDM remix of “Safe”, which has more electronic sounds than the original version could possibly bear. It’s followed by the radio edit of the same song. Next is the most interesting part of this CD: a set of five live tracks recorded at the House Of Blues in Anaheim, California on August 12th, 2002. But it’s not over yet. Just put the CD in your PC and push the ‘autorun’ icon. You’ll see some live video footage, they have added to this multimedia disc. The footage was recorded at the Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood California on August 13th, 2002. It’s the first time we hear new bassplayer Jennifer Aroyo, next to Mercedes and Mogan Lander. Jeff Philips completes the line up of the band. Let’s return to the live part on this CD for a moment though. The band starts with a very powerful version of “No Name”, followed by “Severed”. “What I Always Wanted”, “In Winter” and “Pain” are next, played without a single second of rest inbetween. It’s like a hurricane comes through your living room. After about thirty minutes (including the PC part), it’s over. This will keep the fans busy for a while, I presume. In the meantime KITTIE has started working on their next album. Although their music may not be perfect, they still prove to be loud, extreme, violent, groovy and aggressive. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Real fans can read all the news about this Canadian metal band at: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KREZIP-Days Like This (WEA)
KREZIP owe their success to their catchy songs and the unarming smile of frontlady Jacqueline Govaert. This new album contains twelve new examples of catchy rock songs that will create a great atmosphere during their many live gigs over here. Sometimes these songs rock, like their first hitsingle “Ÿou Can Say”, taken from this album. While other songs are balladesque piano tunes like “Promise” - their second hit single. There’s a lot of difference between these songs, still they both have this undeniable KREZIP sound. KREZIP consists of Jacqueline Govaert on vocals and piano, Annelies Kuijsters on keyboards and vocals, Anne Govaert on guitar, Thomas Holthuis on guitars, Joost van Haaren on bass and Thijs Romeijn on drums. Their songs are so subtle. Without realising, they stick to your mind, once you’ve heard them. Despite their huge success, the band doesn’t change their attitude. And I think this is part of their enormous success. They’re not pretentious or acting like they’re big rock stars. They just play music with a catchy groove, that is appealing to many fans. They keep it simple and pure, which isn’t easy in ‘days like this’, where everybody acts like they’re the next ‘wonder of the world’. High quality rock music from the low lands, that’s what KREZIP is all about. Nothing more, nothing less. What you see is what you get, which is a great way to please your fans. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MADDER MORTEM-Deadlands (Century Media)
It's been about a year and a half since we were astounded by their last album "All Flesh Is Grass". The Norwegians known as MADDER MORTEM, are back with their 2002 version of gothic death/doom style metal. For those of you, who are not familiar (and if you’re from another planet), MADDER MORTEM are Agnette Kirkevaag (lead vocals), Eirik Ulvo Langnes (guitars), Paul Mozart Biorke (bass), B.P. M. Kirkevaag (guitars/voices) and Mads Solas (drums). There are three new members on bass, drums and guitar, but the band have not lost a beat. The album begins in typical MADDER MORTEM fashion with a continuation of the style we have come to know from the first two albums, as the first track "Enter", fades out from the track "All Flesh Is Grass". Very clever! Like a Part II, if you will, with Agnette in the forefront with her mesmerizing style of singing. She has a voice, that is unrivaled in this type of music. No other femme vox can be compared. She is in a class by herself. And the band follows her with reckless abandon. This bands style is like no others that I can think of. Standout being the non stop riffage of Langnes. Also of special mention is the new bass player, Biorke. His deep bass goes perfect with Agnette's wailings. All the tracks on the album flow together seamlessly. If I had to pick standouts, they would have to be "Necropolit", "Rust Cleansing" (my favorite) "Silverspine" and "Jigsaw". For the future, we will never have to worry about getting a great album from this outstanding unit. They are among metals elite bands. Nothing flashy or groundbreaking. Just pure unadulterated death/doom rock with a gothic flair. For me, this is just another solid release for the band, which kind of took, a couple of listens to really appreciate. Nothing different there. All of their albums you cannot give just one listen to appreciate. MADDER MORTEM make the kind of music that has to be listened to with an open ear. To me, they are very progressive in that manner. But after that, you'll find the same MADDER MORTEM that made you a fan in the first place. Just a note. If you are not a fan, this is not the album to start with. This is the type of band that you'll have to go back to their beginning, that being the fantastic "Mercury" album. Website: http://www.madder mortem. com or email the band at: Contact address: MADDER MORTEM, c/o Kirkevaag, Kjonbergvn. 12, 2133 Gardvik, NORWAY. [8 points] (Dennis Arancio)

MOONLIGHT-Candra (Metal Mind Productions)
MOONLIGHT is a dark gothic wave band from Poland that presents us their new album “Candra” here. It contains eight songs with a total length of about forty-five minutes. MOONLIGHT consists of Maja Konarska on vocals, Daniel Potasz on keyboards, Andrzej Kutys on guitars, Michal Podciechowski on bass and Maciej Kazmierski on drums. Guest appearances are done by A. Ch. Hejne on vocals, Gienia on keyboards and Marcin Bors on guitar. They also use string arrangements in “Goodbye” by Malgorzata Kogut on violin, Pawel Brzychcy on viola and Agnieszka Zygadlo on cello. The songs create a dark, depressing atmosphere. Leaves are falling from the trees. They fall on the ground - a ground that is soaking wet by the rain, that has been falling for days now. On days like this you will ask yourself, if the sun will ever shine again. Sometimes, it starts to shine a little bit. For example in “Body Dialogue”. But it just ain’t enough. “Asuu” is a long dark epic with beautiful mood swings and the vocals of Maja, who reminds me of the early sound of Anneke van Giersbergen. “Asuu” is one of the highlights on this CD for me. Perfect CD for the long winter months. Don’t forget to turn the lights down low! [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

MORTAL LOVE-All The Beauty.... (Massacre Records)
Take a voice, that sounds pretty similar to KATE BUSH. Mix the lyrics with a gothic metal sound and you’ll end up with the sound of MORTAL LOVE. Next to fantasy metal, we’re now treated to romantic metal. It sounds very nice, but again we’re one step further away from what real heavy metal is all about. Flashing guitar solos, pounding drums, and a singer, that screams like he is slaughtered to death. MORTAL LOVE hails from Norway, and their music is really perfect to dream away. Long, romantic tunes are sung by the beautiful voice of Cat, the female singer of the band. The rest of the band consists of Gabriah on guitars, Lev on bass, Rain6 on guitars and Damous on drums. Eight songs with a total length of almost fifty minutes are on this debut album. The highlights occur, when the guitars start playing riffs, like in “Falling For You”. Fans of the old sound of THE GATHERING or MY DYING BRIDE and PARADISE LOST will like this new band from Norway. If you’re looking for speed, guitar solos and screaming vocals, then you’d better leave this for what it is. In the last song, “Mortally Beloved”, they’ve added some excerpts of “Carmina Burana” of Carl Orff. Gothic bats will come out of their dark caves for this, that’s for sure. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

NICODEMUS-The Supernatural Omnibus (Dark Symphonies)
We know Dark Symphonies for their great releases in the gothic metal style. Now they introduce us to NICODEMUS from California. A band, that already released one album, called “Tales Of The Lovelorn & Necromantic” on Dark Throne Music in 2000. I hear some resemblance to DIMMU BORGIR: dark black metal topped with symphonic, progressive keyboard sounds. And when you add the vocals of Tamar Yvonne to this, they sound like a band that has no boundaries. One time they’re metal, while a few seconds later, you’d think you’re listening to a dark gothic band or some kind of bombastic piece of sympho music. Don’t you think, that the band doesn’t know which direction to take. Their music is the perfect mix of several styles, blended together into one piece of music. Also, I am not into growlers and grunters at all, but in this case, it doesn’t do any harm. Let’s introduce the band a bit closer to you now. NICODEMUS consists of Christopher Morris on vocals, bass and keyboards, Tamar Yvonne on vocals, Mathew McGee on guitars and Andrew Greene on drums. They even added an instrumental segment, consisting of a short interlude called “Of Pride & Necessity” and a longer instrumental piece “The Lazarus Syndrome”. Although I like the rest of the CD (just listen to the beautiful “Harlot” and the long epic “Within The Glow Of Embers” for example!!), I must admit that these two songs together formed the absolute highlight on “The Supernatural Omnibus”. NICODE-MUS is a name to remember. They convinced me of their strength and their power. For more info, you can write to: Dark Symphonies, Box 547, Billerica, MA 01821, USA, or go to: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

OLETHRIO RIGMA-Kill All The Children, You Murderers (Black Lotus Records)
OLETHRIO RIGMA consists of Emmy on vocals and guitar, Nikos on vocals and guitar, Panagiotis on bass and vocals and Basilis (Bill) on drums and vocals. The ten songs on this fourth album by this Greek metal band have a total playing time of about fifty-five minutes. The band is a cooperation between OLETHROS and RIGMA, which they melted together as OLETHRIO RIGMA. The aggressive sound of the band is a mix of thrash, death and a touch of hardcore. Their brutal attacks are captured here in their seventh year of existence. They define their music as metal core. And I also noticed a description as ‘thrash-core holocaust’. PANTERA fans will like the riffs in “I Hate The Nation”. But it’s not as aggressive as the latter description makes us believe it is. I don’t think it’s wise to come up with a song called “Fucking America”. Before you know it, your country is bombed by George W. Bush and his army. Let’s keep peace on earth, even if it sounds stout to come up with a title like this. Let the music do the talking, that’s what I am focussing on. And I think that OLETHRIO RIGMA still has a long way to go. A bit more variation would be welcome for example. For the rest, they’re on the right track already. You can get in touch with the band by sending an email to: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

ORATORY- Beyond Earth (Limb Music)
All of a sudden, Portugal is becoming a hotbed of metal. Hot on the heels of their debut album "Illusion Dimensions", ORATORY smack us in the face with "Beyond Earth". I don't mean this as a harmful smack. This is a good smack. From the label, that brought us RHAPSODY, comes a band, who maybe likened to their labelmates, but are different in every way possible, starting with their outstanding lead vocalist Ana Lara. Though she was not the lead on their debut album, she has since taken over this portion of the bands line up. On their first album "Illusion Dimensions", Ana was simply the back up vocalist to Marco Alves, who has since left the band. Ana does all the vocals now, with the exception of some male backing vocals here and there, which seem out of place these days. Miss Lara stands just fine on her own. She has what I like to call, a pure metal voice with so much energy, that you'll be shocked. The music she sings to, can be likened to a mix of STRATOVARIUS meets RHAPSODY, with a bit more speed mixed in. Outstanding epic metal anthems. Trust me, this band is the real deal, vocally and musically. From track to track, Ana's voice and energy never ceases to amaze my ears. I think I'm in love! Another highlight of the music are the oustanding keyboards played by Antonio Silva, who fills the background to this music, making it sound very spacious. All of the instruments are played well, they are a very tight unit, and production level is very high. Rest of the band goes like this: Miguel Gomes (guitar), Joao Rodrigues (drums) and Rui Santos (bass). You can get an indepth history at their website. Even the packaging is top-notch. As a matter of fact, everything about this band is professional, right down to the art on their CD inserts. So, if you’re a fan of epic fantasy metal, akin to bands I have mentioned in this review, then you will certainly get into this band. Eleven tracks of pure speed metal mayhem, with your obligatory metal ballad, here and there, clocking in at around fifty minutes, with a voice that God himself would love. Band’s contact:; (for more info about the label, surf to: [9 points] (Dennis Arancio)

POWER SYMPHONY-Futurepast (Evillot)
This MCD contains five tracks of Italian power metal band POWER SYMPHONY. The band consists of Michela D’Orlando on vocals, Marco Cecconi on guitar, and a handful of additional performers as they like to call them: Massimo Del Po on bass, Lino Sistu on drums, Salvo Nicoloso on drums, Giorgio Costa on drums and Steve ‘Harris’ Balocco on bass. Some of the songs on “Futurepast” are re-released versions that landed on their first demo recordings. People kept asking, if they could buy the demo, but it has been sold out for many years already. Reason the more to re-record some of the songs and put them on this MCD. They also paid tribute to MANOWAR with the cover “Blood Of My Enemies”, which I think is very cool. People underrate the old MANOWAR stuff, but if you’re a real die hard metal fan like the members of POWER SYMPHONY, then you can give the right value to songs like this. Michela sings like a militant warrior, while the guitars create the great metal feeling on this twenty-five minutes of powerful metal music. Just listen to “Army Of Saints” which is a great example of a nice powerful metal songs. The sound of POWER SYMPHONY contains a touch of IRON MAIDEN, but has a lot of input of its own to avoid a term as ‘tribute’ or ‘cover’ band. Therefore their sound is too good to be true. And a song like “Army Of Saints” and the aforementioned MANOWAR cover prove this. For more information, you can visit the website of this band at This is only just a pretaster of things to come, my friends, because I already heard they’re gonna have more on their sleeves in the (near) future. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

QUEEN TANGERINE-S/T (Darling Stellar Records)
QUEEN TANGERINE play nice mid-paced songs. They last about three minutes each. The first four of these twelve songs rock. They don't rock real fast. Jeff Moxley (lead guitar), Alice Austin (guitar) and Jullia Austin (bass) play loud enough. They can fuzz their guitars and go into overdrive. Most of the other songs would be called alternative. But they held my attention anyway. There's a ballad or two also. One of them has a twangy sound that reminds me of country music. The lyrics are imaginative. Some will find them hard to follow. The CD starts off with “Weightless”. It’s mid-paced and guitar heavy. Like a couple of more songs, there's an instrumental section of the song. It’s about interplanitary romance. She's intrigued by a man, she met on another planet. She concludes "I'm never going back to earth boys again”. Is this a metaphor for meeting a cool guy? Science fiction? I don't know. Alice Austin sings in an easy to listen to voice. She wrote some or all of each of these songs. Maybe she knows what they mean. “I’d Hate To Be Me” has a thudding bass line. It’s about not wanting to be dull. QUEEN TANGERINE needn't be concerned. While this CD is well done, it sure is different. Contact address: QUEEN TANGERINE, 304 Newbury St. #346, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Website: [7 points] (Jack Little)

RIFF RANDELLS-Lethal Lipgloss (Alien Snatch Records)
If you fancy THE DONNAS, then this is a safe buy for you. The RIFF RANDELLS present us a seven track ten inch single. The songs are short, sweet, and full of rock and roll. They sound a bit sweeter than THE DONNAS, as they grab back to the sound of the first album of these four ladies and polished the sound a bit. That RAMONES fans might like this is the obvious conclusion here, but I don’t want to sound negative because the songs on this ten inch are just wonderful. Great background music for a teenage rock and roll party. Just listen to “Psycho Boyfriend” for example. RIFF RANDELLS consist of Kathy on guitar, Anne-Marie on drums and Justin on bass (although he’s mentioned as a temporary member only here!). The songs were recorded in 2001 already, but sometimes it’s really hard to find these nice releases. “Lethal Lipgloss” was issued on a German label, by the way. No pretentions here, just pressing the pedal to the metal and turn up the sound, that’s what it’s all about. Their upcoming full-length album will be called “Locomotions”, and I can’t wait to hear it! There’s a riot going on in Canada, and it’s created by the RIFF RANDELLS. Surf to: for more information. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SANTA-Reencarnacion (Zafiro/BMG)
Okay, die hard metal heads. This is what it’s all about. We have two of SANTA’s works of art re-released here. And as a die hard metal fan, you’ll know what to expect here. The original albums were released in the mid-eighties and contained a lot of high quality metal songs. “Reencarnacion”, which originally came out in 1984, contains nine songs and almost forty minutes of fast heavy metal. (no, not speed metal !). SANTA consists of Azucena on vocals, a woman with a high, pincing voice, a must for every metal band at that time. Sometimes she even sounds like Rob Halford, just listen to a rock metal anthem like “Mis Noches Tienen Rock And Roll”, to get the idea. The rhythm section consists of Bernardo Ballester on drums and Julio Diaz on bass and vocals. And the shredding guitar sound comes from Jeronimo Ramiro. His solo part is represented in the instrumental song “Santa”, in which he gives a great example of guitar excorsism. The keyboards were done by Javier Losado on this album. It’s a shame that the album only lasts so short. And it would have been nice, when they would have added some bonus tracks to the original recordings. All the same, these two re-releases are an essential buy for the metal fans amongst us. SANTA proves us that heavy metal in Spain wasn’t that bad after all, unless you are open for it. Read on for the review of “Templario”. [10 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SANTA-Templario (Zafiro/BMG)
This time the band consisted of Leonor Marchesi on vocals, Jeronimo Ramiro on guitar, Miguel A. Collado on keyboards and vocals, Bernardo Ballester on drums and Diego Jimenez on bass. The album is definitely more melodic, and the vocals don’t sound as mean as on “Reencernacion”. Nonetheless, “Templario” is an album that has its moments, like opener “Ven Hasta Mi”. A song like “Un Minuto Mas” however is a bit over the top, and far too melodic for the great metal sound that we know so well from the other album. But they make up for that in title track “Templario”, with its great keyboard/guitar battle in the middle of the song. This album contains ten songs that have a total length of about forty-five minutes. And once again, we don’t get any bonus tracks. The old SAXON like sound of these Spanish metal heads is more than enough though to keep me satisfied. I am glad, that Zafiro took the opportunity to re-release these great albums, so that the newcomers can enjoy the magic sound of SANTA, too. It’s not clear to me, if the label will also re-release their album “No Hay Piedad Para Los Condenados” in the future. If they will, you will definitely read more about it in Metal Maidens. (where else!!!???) [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SOULGRIND-Elixir Mystica (Holy Records)
SOULGRIND hails from the land of the thousand lakes; Finland. They consist of Lord Heikkinen on guitar and bass, Agathon on drums and vocals, Azhemin on vocals and keyboards, Caesar on vocals and Ms W Lilith on female vocals. If you look at the names of the band members, you will suspect to hear an extreme black metal CD. What you see is what you get. Although the term extreme might be a bit misplaced here. It’s more melodic black metal, comparable to DIMMU BORGIR. I think “Elixir Mystica” is a nice album, although I must admit that I still miss this one thing that makes this band special and different from the rest. Eleven songs with a playing time of about forty-five mintues are on this second release with Holy Records (and their fifth in a row already), that will appeal to many black metal fans that like the mix of a deep male grunt and an angel like female voice. The opener “Hekki” and closer “Ugri The Key” are both instrumental tracks. The bands latest album “Into The Dark Vales Of Death” (2002) was released a few months ago and ended up in our short review section. For all the information about this band, you can visit their website at: [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

STAR QUEEN-Faithbringer (Lion Music)
STAR QUEEN can be seen as an international band that consists of Stella ‘Star Queen’ Tormanoff on vocals, Thorbjorn Englund (WINTERLONG) on guitar, Erik Tornberg (WINTERLONG) on bass, Tony Eriksson on drums and Bob Katsionis (solo artist) on keyboards. Their album “Faithbringer” sounds like NIGHTWISH with YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN on lead guitar. It’s powerful and contains exciting, long instrumental battles between keyboards and guitar, and a touch of gothic and classical music (neo classical guitarsolos and Stella’s voice). Stella sometimes sounds like KATE BUSH. Not constantly, but here and there she draws out a tone that sounds like this English Queen of fairy tale music. The ten songs contain a lot of variation and are full of well thought of mood, speed and sphere changes. This and the catchy NIGHTWISH-like character of the band, make them ready for a great future. Stella originates from Yugoslavia, something I hear back in “The Myth” a little. I am glad, that Lion Music didn’t ignore her talent. They teamed her up with Swedish guitar wizard LARS ERIK MATT-SSON, who also produced this album. The cover artwork looks more than perfect, by the way, which makes the story behind the high rating for this album complete. Enjoy the forty-five minutes on this album, I’m sure you are gonna enjoy it!! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

SUGABOMB-Sugabomb (independent)
There are eight songs on this CD. The longest is a little over three minutes. It's too strong to call it surf music. Though that's definitely an influence. Whatever this is, it’s an improvement on the early 1960's. It’s somewhere between garage rock and NASHVILLE PUSSY. The CD blasts off with “Speedthrill Baby”. It’s fast, but not thrash. The song has fast guitars and it’s about a fast car and a fast life. Dee Stroy (destroy. Get it?) can turn out a lot of notes on guitar in a short period of time. “Titties” is from a girl, who gets caught in the rain. She's embarressed. Unexpectedly, her body has become an issue. She asks "Do you wanna touch my titties?" The rock behind it is good and steady. Vikki Sixx sings this with conviction, not anger. Dave Lomonico throws in a drum roll and keeps the action rolling. These songs are easy to listen to, because of bass work by Sandy Monticello. “Sewing Circle” has to do with conversation among girls. The subjects may be limited, it might be simple. It is necessary. A girl, who works on her car is called an “Eastie Greaseball”. She'd rather be a hot rod and doesn't care what anyone else thinks. What ever this is, it sounds like fun. Website: [8 points] (Jack Little)

SULLEN-10 Song Demos (independent)
NIRVANA are no more. BIKINI KILL aren't playing together much. Who's going to play music like that? The answer is SULLEN. They write about social situations, that make them uncomfortable. SULLEN face it with persistance. But, also knowing that things can be confusing and hurt. A lot of these songs start with a bass introduction. In the first phase, they tell about a situation. Punk chords carry the music. Then they go through more phases getting heavier as they go along. Justin Slazinik and Shanna Kiel do the singing. Sometimes seperately, sometimes in harmony. You don't come across cool song structures like this every day. Since no one in the band is twenty-five years old, experience can only teach them so much. SULLEN must be creative. Justin and Shanna also play guitars together and seperately. Perhaps a few examples from the ten song CD would help. “Fairy Tail” starts with deep tones. It’s not about a relationship that lives happily ever after. Rather it's a breakup song. The later verses dewel on the pain of doing it. Distorted guitars at the end show the emotion of the events. Shanna sings lead on “Cracked Code”. It could have been a NO DOUBT tune. As a matter of fact, she tosses out the observation that "I'm fuled on sex and vaseline." If this is how you observe the world, you really like SULLEN. Send US$10 (checks payable to Justin Slazinik) to: SULLEN, 178 Harvest Moon Ct. St. Charles, MO 63304, USA. Website: Email: [8 points] (Jack Little)

THALARION-Tunes Of Despondency (Mighty Music)
THALARION are from Slovakia and can only be described in my eyes as very progressive, let me explain. "Tunes Of Despondency" is the bands fourth release and most complex to date. I own their two previous releases, "Tales From The Wood....Thus Was Written" and "Four Elements Mysterium", and let me just say, both of these albums are metal masterpieces. Now back to why I say progressive. This band play a bold mixture of power, in spots, black, doom, death and gothic metal, with a lot of progression. Virtually unheard of in metal realms, they are like no other but are, at the same time, like every other metal band on the planet. Their music is very intricate. There is really no other way to explain. They cover it all in every one of the albums I have by them, right down to stunning instrumentals. To top that off, are the angelic vocals of Nela Horvathova, who is not, the only vocalist they use, but she is the one who drives this music to its crescendo. The male vocals are mostly a mixture of black and death with some clean. Very impressive! Their history trails back to the mid-eighties, but really came to fruition, when they released their debut MCD for Mighty Music back in 1996. For the year 1998, they released "Tales From The Wood... Thus Was Written" and it became the album that catapulted them into metal circles. They incorporated the services of Nela, who had sung for another Slovakian band at the time, DYSANCHELY (who are another fine Slovakian doom metal band in their own right). Along with another female singer, Slavka Tomayova, they formed a duet of sorts. Not really, because you never hear them singing together on the album, just separate. But that didn't last for the next release. For "Four Elements Myterium", Nela took over the female parts, herself. Nela has a beautiful sounding voice, but it is not overused in the music. She does duet, backing and solo vocals throughout. The band fit her in very timely with the flow of the songs. Male vocalist, Juraj Grezdo, who also handles the keys, is a metal vocalist of his own right. One of the most charismatic I have heard to date. Rest of the band has not changed much over the years, and present line up consists of the people I have mentioned so far, and the rest are: Juraj Schlosser on guitars, Peter Bartakovic, bass and Peter Schlosser, drums. To me, Nela and Grezdo are the center of the band and everything revolves around their talents. For the new album, "Tunes Of Despondency", they take off right where they left off on "Four Elements Mysterium". Beginning with the black metalish "911-As The War Raged", apparently a reference to the events in my country in 2001, we get to hear the musical talents of Grezdo right from the start, with Nela adding backing vocals in spots. A very good opener. "My Bitter Overstrain", continues in the same vein, with a bit of doom thrown in. About half way through this track, Nela has her first solo of the album and her voice fits right in the mix. The band are all over the place with this one. Title track, "Tunes Of Despondency" starts off rather doomy and then we hear the first duet by Nela and Grezdo. They sound so perfect together on this track, trading lines as the song builds to a climax. I'll stop here, for by now, hopefully, you get the idea, and will seek out this bands works immediately. Any three of their full length albums will leave you awestruck at their talents. If you enjoy different styles of metal all rolled into one band, then they are definatly a good choice. The only URL I can supply for the band [] is having some problems as I write this, but try: [9 points] (Dennis Arancio)

THIRD AND THE MORTAL-Memoirs (Prophecy Productions)
“Memoirs” has become an album which isn’t too easy to describe, when you’re not really into the music of today. Sometimes it’s very difficult to come up with an opinion about a CD, that is so much related to today’s music with all its styles and hypes. And when the album is a little bit heavy, you can relate to bands that you’ve heard on MTV or on your radio. On this album of THIRD AND THE MORTAL I hear things like drum & bass (or whatever they may call it) and chilly, insensible, emotionless music with electronic beeps, which I hate very much. THIRD AND THE MORTAL have always moved on the edge of acceptable and not acceptable. The thin line between reviewing a CD and ignoring it. With this review I want to make clear, this CD is not suitable for reviewing in MM, in my opinion. “But why did you review it?”, I hear you ask. A question as sharp as a dagger. We wanted to make sure that there is something like a musical evolution. Bands discover new side paths, that may seem very interesting to them, but make them drift apart from their original music style. When they do, you must give a warning to your readers. Please don’t buy or don’t listen to the new album of band X, because you won’t like what you’re about to hear. I can listen to a song like “Zeppoliner” or “Thin Dark Line”, which shows us a very experimental style, that might appeal to some fans of THE GATHERING. However, sometimes they’re losing track of their previous direction so much, I can’t believe that there are readers out there, who think this is an album they’d like to hear. I didn’t say the music of THIRD AND THE MORTAL has suddenly become very bad, but our rating is a reflection of the opinion of the average MM reader. Despite of that, I still want to thank our contributor Dennis, for making this review (read: warning) possible. [4 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THREE DOLLAR BILL-Insurrection (independent)
This is one of those bands that's hard to classify. They’re familiar with metal, punk and rock. THREE DOLLAR BILL use some of all of them on this self released CD, that came out in 2000. Jane Danger says "But we’re not really all that concerned. We make the music that comes naturally to us." The band member that stands out is Jenny Evil. She dominates on drums. Her sister CA Matteson plays bass guitar. Sometimes she contributes chords, others fills and introductions. Chris Piss and Jane Danger do vocals and guitars. On half of the songs one plays high notes, the other rhythm guitar. I think we hear Jane more often on vocals. “Conflict” is a theme in most of THREE DOLLAR BILL’s songs. They’re involved in various relationships. But none of them turn out very well. They’re as genuine as a three dollar bill. For example, there's “Nathaniel”. A woman desperately wants the attention of a certain man. He’s not attracted to her. She wonders, if he’s gay. “Femme Fatale” observes and characterizes a woman, who fits the discription. The speaker doesn't like her. It is mid-paced metal. Then there's the doomy “If You Were My Lady”. One female is out of the reach of another. Their feelings about each other aren't mutual. That hurts a lot. If you want a CD, that's built out of a lot of different things, you'll like this. [8 points] (Jack Little)

THREE DOLLAR BILL-American Dream EP (independent)
This is THREE DOLLAR BILL’s second effort. The first was good. This one is even better. It's heavier than the first. It’s harder rock, if not heavy metal. In between times, the band have been performing a lot. They appeared at Ladyfest Midwest in Chicago in 2001. THREE DOLLAR BILL also turn up on the “Matriarchs Of The Midwest” compilation CD. They came out of it all sounding tighter. Perhaps they have found their direction. This four song CD includes “Never Stop”. That's the bands advice to everyone "Never stop pushing endlessly." The chugging guitars are strong and repeated and endless. Chris handles the vocals here. The other three are sung by Jane Danger. Chris and Jane split the guitar attack. “American Dream” has a long slow introduction. It changes slowly, eventually moving up to hard rock. Then “American Dream” kicks into a long rocking jam. Jenny Evil has a good drum solo. She adds some well timed rolls. The music communicates excitement about their subject. There's lots of rock and rhythm on “Consolation Prize”. We are treated to more drums, guitar effects and a strong bass lines from CA Matteson. The last song is a slow dramatic ballad. It’s about a disappointing end to a relationship. “American Dream” is a good next step for THREE DOLLAR BILL. Address: Jane Danger c/o THREE DOLLAR BILL, P.O. Box 13167, Chicago Il 60613 USA. Email: threedollarbill@ Website: [8 points] (Jack Little)

TRAIL OF TEARS-A New Dimension Of Might (Napalm Records)
A most appropriate name for an awesome album. Where do I begin? Well, let me say first that the femme vocals are not as prominant as they use to be as on "Disclosure In Red" or "Profoundamonium". But don't let that sway any of you away from this groundbreaking gothic/black/power metal album. I call it genre bending. First of all, the voice of Helena Michelson, is gone. Left the band for brighter pastures, I guess. She took up with another band called, BLACK HORIZON (for future review). Her mistake, because in her place is the other side of what used to be a duel female line-up, the other half being Cathrine Paulsen. She doesn't really sing that much, about 20% of the album, but when she does, the music explodes in femme vox ecstacy. Her voice is that beautiful. The rest of the vocals are by growling Ronny Thorsen, who in his own right, is a master of the growl. One of the best voices I've heard of this style. And thats the biggest thing about this album, the vocals. They are very varied and out of this world. Growl, clean, femme, whichever they are, masterfull! There are even some black metal style vocals. The music is a mix of gothic, black, death and power metal, if you can believe it. Oh! And did I forget, choirs? By Damien Surien and Hubert Piazzola. This is definatly massive production, and has to be in the top 5 for 2002. The album starts off with "Ecstatic". A harbinger of what’s to come. Followed by "A Fate Sealed In Red". Very heavy openers for an ultra heavy album. Then it all comes "Crashing Down" with its dynamic lead guitar lines and spooky type synth, which is more appropriate for goth rock, but it’s here. On this song, we can really hear the vocal range of Cathrine. This is my favorite track. Great chorus! And that's where I end, with a track by track synopsis. Take my word for it, the rest of the album is just as good as the first three songs. Anyone, who loves music in general, will be astounded by this album. It’s that good. The rest of the album goes like this. "Obedience In The Absence Of Logic", "Liquid View", "Denial And Pride", "The Call Of Lust", "Slendid Coma Visions", "Bloodred Trance" and the last song, a cover of FAITH NO MORE’s "Caffeine". Fifty-four minutes of shear symphonia. Rest of the lineup: Runar Hansen (lead guitars), Terje Heiseldal (guitars), Frank Roland Hagen (synthesisers), Kjell Rune Hagen (bass) and Jonathan Alejandro Perez (drums). Nothing new there, they've all been together since the formation of this outstanding Finnish band. The album was recorded at Sound Suite Studio in France. I give it the perfect score, but I'm sure, there will be sceptics. Website: or their record label at: www. Email: [10 points] (Dennis Arancio)

SHANIA TWAIN-Up! (Mercury/Universal)
It's been a very long time since we've heard of this wonderful singer. Shania's last album "Come On Over" was extremely successful, and after a couple of tours, she decided it was time for a break. Now finally her new album “Up!” (not a real original title) has been released and it promises to be a huge success once again. Some people will think what is SHANIA TWAIN doing in a magazine like MM, but they'll be surprised when they hear “Up!”. It's a strong album. Shania started as a country singer, but now there are only some country influences in her music and it is mainly pop and sometimes a bit rocky. First single from this album, “I'm Gonna Getcha Good” is a nice example. A real nice song with another fantastic chorus. Almost every song from SHANIA TWAIN has a very catchy chorus which sounds familiar in about two seconds. There are nineteen songs on this album and the songs sound really varied. Like for instance “Juanita” is a fantastic latin song with influences from Mark Anthony. “Ka-ching” (her new single) is a very great song. It has a very catchy sound and has great lyrics. Most of the songs sound so diverse, that this album is hard to catagorise, but why should we? “Forever And For Always” is my favourite song. It has a fantastic country feeling to it and once again a fantastic chorus. Shania is a wonderful singer. That is no surprise of course. Just listen to ballads like “It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing”, “I'm Jealous” and “When You Kiss Me”, which closes the album in a fantastic way. Also the production deserves a compliment. Of course it was done by Shania's husband and co-writer Robert John 'Mutt’ Lange, a real icon in the business. As you’ve noticed I'm really fond of this album, but there is one thing that I don't understand. Shania has a great band, who have been with her for a long time, but why don't they play on this album? You see this a lot and personally I think this a pitty. If you loved Shania's previous efforts, you'll certainly have to get this album. And to everyone, who doesn't own a SHANIA TWAIN record yet, I would like to say: buy it and enjoy it. Absolutely one of these years' best albums. A nice gesture to the fans is that “Up!” is a double album. Besides the normal version, you’ll get the "blue version", which contains the whole album in a somewhat weird remix. Some songs have a real Arabic sound and others have a bit of a dance sound. Personally, I prefer the normal version. In the US and Canada, the album was released with the "green version" as bonus with every song in a country mix. (haven't heard this yet). Another good reason to buy “Up!”. [9 points] (Richard van Oudheusden)

VARIOUS-Cool Grrrls Kick Ass (Cool Grrrls)
This compilation contains sixteen cool female (fronted) punkrock bands that are ready to take control in the scene. Together they are good for a bit over forty minutes of cool kick ass punk rock music. Get ready, set and go!!!!! We start with TIRANY from Melbourne, Australia ( who present us their song “So Long”, that sounds a bit like AVRIL LAVIGNE. Catchy, melodic and ready for radio airplay. We move the camera to NYC now for LAVA BABY with “Sex Junkie” ( This bubble gum poppy opener may mislead you a bit. The song is a bit more commercial, but it’s not the regular pop sound that you might expect. It’s heavier, and that’s how we like it. THE KOWALSKIS also hail from NYC ( and they’re singing about a “Career Barbie”. I hope they don’t see themselves as Barbie dolls, because these dolls are so unnatural and ugly. This song might be a start of a flashing career though, melodic punk rock at its best, catchy, melodic and not too aggressive. MOLER ( comes from Melbourne, Australia. They open with a riff, that might be invented by THE WHO, while the song has got that well- known RAMONES structure. It’s called “Red And White Stripes”, by the way. ”The ending of the song is a bit JOAN JETT-like, but only just a little bit. We’ve already introduced THE HISSYFITS (www.thehissyfits. com) to you before. They’re on this compilation with a song called “Something Wrong 2001” The band hails from NYC, a tough city, but their music is a little bit sweet. Not bad though. GORE GORE GIRLS ( come from Detroit Rock City. Their story is in this very issue of MM, and on this compilation, you can listen to their song “Hot Rod Breakdown”. Rock until you drop, my friends. Turn back the clock to the sixties, and you know what to expect here. The sleazy guitar work may remind you of good old LINK WRAY maybe. THE DRIVE ( is from NYC again, and their rendition is called “Cursed”. It’s a simple punk rock song, that will groove during the many school parties in the garages in NYC. Then it’s time for MANDA AND THE MARBLES (www.manda from Columbus, Ohio. Their song “Dangerous” reminded me of JOAN JETT in her good old days, especially at the beginning of this song. It’s definitely a catchy tune, that will make many people snap their fingers. It may even move some people to dance. THE ORGAN ( is from Vancouver, Canada. “Sinking Hearts” is not as catchy as the rest of the songs maybe. I heard some BLONDIE influences back in their vocals, which might be a point of recognition for the interested readers here. RIFF RANDELLS ( randells) are also from Canada, but they come from Calgary. You can read the review of their full length album in this issue of MM Here they play another DONNAS-like tune from this album, and I must admit that I like their sound a lot. BARBEE KILLED KEN (What a relief!!) ( are from San Francisco and their song is simply called “Bitch”. Turn the volume down low, if you don’t want your windows to implode. The song is short, fast and catchy. What else would you expect with a song title like that.....a lullaby??? DADA STUNT GIRL ( plays “Fem-menstruation Liberation”. The band hails from Finland, and we’ve written about them before. I would describe this as a good Riot Grrrl band with a lot of potential. BOOBIE TRAP ( explodes in your face with “Drunk”. It’s a fast punksong, that can raise a huge slampit in front of the stage, whether you’re drunk or not. Get in the swing pals, BOOBIETRAP will set the mood for it!! They’re from Orange County in California, and sound very promising indeed!! SWITCHBLADE KITTENS (www.switchbladekittens. com) are from Los Angeles, California. And with this “Solar Plexus Kick”, we can continue this international party pretty easy. They go at full speed and they keep kicking until the party is over. Great stuff! Same goes for the punk sound of THE WAULKEES (www.thewaulkees. com), who know for sure that they’re “The Coolest Girl In Town”. That they are a cool band, they proved to us in less than two minutes. The band comes from Pisa in Italy. The last band on this great compilation comes from Orange County, California again. They’re called GET THE GIRL ( Their groovy song is called “Traffic Jam”, and I must say, that I liked it a lot. Just like any other band on this great compilaton. Cool grrrls kick ass. We knew this already, we started our magazine because of it, but it’s nice that it has been proved again to us on this nice compilation CD. For more information, go to: http://www.coolgrrrls. com or email to: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

VOLKANA/FLAMEA-Descent To Hell/First Scream (independent)
This is a very interesting underground release that captures two magic demos of two all-female metal bands from Brazil. First we get to hear the “Descent To Hell” demo of VOLKANA, which contains two fast metal songs “Descent To Hell” and “Hide”. VOLKANA consisted of Marielle on vocals, Karla on guitar, Debora on drums and Mila on bass during the recording of these sessions. The other seven songs are for FLAMEA, who present their “First Scream” demo tape on vinyl here. FLAMEA consisted of Ana Lima on drums, Sueli Mazuco on bass, Vania Parma on vocals, Roberto Jacoto on guitar and Neila Abrahao on guitar. Think about it: two all-female bands, that will tear the wallpaper down from your room with their fast, thrashy sound. The PAT BENATAR cover “Heartbreaker” gets the full FLAMEA treatment, making it sound like a heavy thrash metal song. Sometimes the vocals sounds a bit like a heavy version of Gigi Hangach of PHANTOM BLUE. Wonder what happened to Gigi, anyway?? But the guitar sound is much meaner and thrashier. The original VOLKANA demo was released in 1989, and the FLAMEA demo was released in 1993. And its super cool that some devoted metalheads made it possible to relive these old magic moments again, by releasing this on vinyl. Cult! [9 points] (Toine van Poorten)

DADDY’S DOLLS (EP)-Spoiled Punk (Panx 2000)
An Italian all-female punk band on a French record label, that’s what you get when you buy this five track EP. The ‘ dolls’ use the same concept in their names as the well known all-female band THE DONNAS. Their line up consists of Isa Doll on guitar and vocals, Alex Doll on guitar and vocals, Illa Doll on bass, Flo Doll on drums and vocals and Deboh Doll on vocals.The five tracks on this vinyl EP are fast and aggressive punk rock songs with a Riot Grrrl attitude. Think about BIKINI KILL mixed with the old L7 stuff, and you’ll come close to the sound of DADDY’S DOLLS. A bit noisier than the average, so called punk band in this scene, and therefore they definitely sound more like a real true punk band. “Moonsurf” however, grabs back to the well-known surf sound of the sixties. It’s the mellow side of DADDY’S DOLLS. I really liked what I heard here, and I think that we have to keep our eyes open for these girls, who let the music do the talking on this EP. On you might be able to get more information about this release. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE GLAMOUR PUSSIES (7 inch)-The Glamour Pussies (Thunderbaby Records)
Somehow we lost contact with Anouschka, from Thunderbaby Records. And that, while her releases were undeniable interesting for our magazine. It’s quite difficult to find the different releases of this label, because they’re often made in a very limited quantity. Nonetheless, we were able to find a copy of the yellow vinyl single of THE GLAMOUR PUSSIES from San Francisco, USA. Their screaming, rebellious punk sound will make you look pale from exhaustion. It will be extremely difficult to keep up with the speed of THE GLAMOUR PUSSIES, because they constantly press the pedal to the metal. I was ready, listening to the four songs on this single after five minutes or so. They just tried to break a speed record, without throwing in any RAMONES influences. And guess what??!! They succeeded as well. Highlight for me was the last song “ Gold Digger”, when the walls of our house came tumbling down. Great stuff. And for the girls, who buy this single, there is a nice bonus in the shape of a ring, that is in the sleeve of this single. The address of Thunderbaby Records is Hasselstrasse 120, 40599 Düsseldorf, Germany. You can also visit the website of this band by going to: http://www.glamour THE GLAMOUR PUSSIES consist of Tina Newcastle, Anita Cellaide, Wansum Poontang and Lucinda Cootchie. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

KREZIP (CD single)-Promise (WEA)
KREZIP’s new single is a piano ballad. They always switch from fast rock songs to ballads, when they choose their singles. This time, they don’t make an exception. “Promise” is a very catchy song, with that well-known KREZIP feel to it. Jacquelines vocals are so recognisable and beautiful, that it’s impossible to say anything negative about it. The fans will be treated to another short ‘non album track’ again, which is called “Everything Of Me”. Another piano ballad with Jacqueline in a leading role. I wonder when this well-talented frontlady will start a solo career? Right as we speak she’s still a member of KREZIP of course, and the single has reached a high place in the charts already. And they deserve it! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LACRIMOSA (CD single)-Durch Nacht Und Flut (Nuclear Blast/Hall Of Sermon)
Tilo Wolf and Anne Nurmi have done it again. They wrote some new songs for their new album and as a pretaster, they released this six track single. Five out of six songs are on this promo CD. We can enjoy the single version and the album version (which is two minutes longer!) of “Durch Nacht Und Flut”. Another melodramatic song, that fits really well with the well-known LACRIMOSA style. They left out the ZEROMANCER remix of the song, on the promo copy. Other songs we can enjoy here are “Und Du Fällst”, “Komet” (in the Secret Discovery Remix) and “Not Every Pain Hurts” (in the Sabotage Q.C.Q.C. Remix). The music is sometimes orchestral and bombastic, and at other times static and ice-cold (the beginning of “Und Du Fällst”). The unique sound of this band is protected in everyhting they do, and that’s the strong side of a band like LACRIMOSA. The remixes are full of drum and bass sounds and electronic bleeps, and if I hate anything in particular, it’s drum and bass sounds, and electronic bleeps. I never got the idea behind remixes either. I like the music of LACRIMOSA for what it is, it doesn’t need any ridiculous remixes! The new album of LACRIMOSA will be reviewed in MM#32, by the way. [7 points] (Toine van Poorten)

LOLA (7 inch)-Ecstasy Girl (Valentina Records - distributed by Gonna Puke Records)
This has got nothing to do with THE KINKS, but the vinyl single that we have here is very interesting indeed. All the members of LOLA have an impressive background in the Bloomingdale punk scene. LOLA consists of Gretchen Holtz on guitar and vocals (ex SMEARS, NEVERMORE (No, not the band of ex-SANCTUARY frontman Warrel Dane, but another NEVERMORE!), SUGARFREAK), Sophia Travis on organ and vocals (VULGAR BOATMEN, VIRGINA’S SCRAPINGS, PONY STARS, SQUASH BLOSSOM STRING PULLERS), Freda Love on drums and vocals (BLACK BABIES, ANTENNAE, MYSTERIES OF LIFE), Heidi Glück on bass and vocals (THE PIECES, JUNE PANIC) and Kathy Kolata on violin (VULGAR BOATMEN, MARY JANES). In the meantime, Freda and Heidi formed SOME GIRLS, together with Juliana Hatfield. That’s where our history lesson stops. The single that I have here was already made in 1998, but essential enough to mention in this review section. Reason one, because we’re dealing with an all-female band here with an impressive background in the punk scene. And number two, because the music is quite good. Three songs are on this self made single, which is limited to 500 copies only. The music is some kind of psychedelic sixties rock with a leading role for the organ, in some of the instrumental parts on the A-side “Ecstasy Girl”. On the B-side we hear “Pretty Girls” and “Soundcheck Song”. If you like the sound of the sixties, played by a band of the late nineties, then this single might be interesting for you. The continuing story of this band is called SOME GIRLS, and they will have their debut album ready somewhwere in April of this year. You can check out their website at: [6 points] (Toine van Poorten)

THE KOWALSKIS/THE LULABELLES (7 inch)- Fresh And Sweet (Splitbaby Records)
What a great initiation! Take two female fronted bands and let them record two songs each. Make a blue wax 7” from these songs and promote these two bands with a split 7”. The kickoff was done by THE KOWALSKIS from the USA on side A, and THE LULABELLES from Holland on side B. THE KOWALSKIS consist of Kitty Kowalski on guitar and vocals, Mike Hunt Kowalski on guitar, Mitzi Dodge on bass and vocals and Mighty Joe Vincent on drums. On these songs however, we hear Steve Boltz on guitar, Scott Moulaisson on drums and Chris Peiffer on bass, next to Kitty. THE KOWALSKIS play a very catchy type of punk rock music. They sound a bit melodic, like THE LULABELLES on side B, and I think it was a good choice to put these two bands on one split, because their sound is pretty much alike. The songs they play here are called “Depresssion Overdrive” and “I Love You Baby But I Hate Your Friends”. The website of THE KOWALSKIS can be found by going to On the B-side we continue with THE LULABELLES, consisting of May-Ann on guitar and vocals, Ann Alcoholic on guitar and vocals, Liz Lulabelle on bass and vocals and Speechless on drums (great name for a drummer who doesn’t sing, by the way!). THE LULABELLES play some great melodic punkrock, which is proved here with “Goddamn Attitude” and “No Meaning” A great band, who represent the Dutch punk scene in the best way possible. Find their website at: This first split single contains a free promotion sticker of these ‘female action’ 7” split single series! By the way, you’ll have to ignore the 45 rpm that is mentioned on the single, ‘cause it plays on 33 rpm at the right speed! [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

One day, Anouschka of Thunderbaby Records woke up and she thought of changing the concept of the first Splitbaby records seven inch. It was Christmas time and the snow was falling over Germany already. She decided to change the colour of the vinyl into bloodred, instead of blue. And because of the fact there are so many well-talented female fronted bands in the scene, she also decided to promote four bands instead of two. Santa’s red hat would be included as a special gift, because it was Christmas time. Oh, and it wouldn’t it be a very nice idea, if these bands would play a Christmas song as well? And so we can listen to THE BATTLEDYKES, consisting of Danny Domina on vocals, Miss Burning Biggi on guitar and vocals, Kerki 666 on guitar and vocals, Chrissy on bass and Joe on drums with “Kissin’ Santa Claus”. THE BATTLEDYKES are from Germany and their website can be found at THE LULABELLES were on the first split seven inch already, and now they come with a version of WHAM’s “Last Christmas”. What a surprise! The band consists of Mary-Ann on guitar and vocals, Ann Alcoholic on guitar and vocals, Ann Artistic on bass and vocals and Speechless on drums. On this song we hear Janneke Riplet (THE RIPLETS) play the bass, while the lead guitars were played by Speechless. You can visit their website at On the B-side we can enjoy a German band called CURLEE WURLEE, who play “Le Père Noël Aux Amphés”. They consist of Cécile Pestoonette Musy on vocals and organ, Michael Rodeo on guitar, Judy Jetson on bass and Armin Schwenke on drums. You can find their website at for more information about this band. The split seven inch is closed with a rendition of THE BOONARAAAS! from Germany. They want an “Alien For Christmas”. Well, why not? The band consists of Trich on vocals and bass, Veronika on guitar and organ, Christina on drums and vocals, Tine on guitar and vocals and Suse on guitar and vocals. The website can be found at I imagine that you’re not really interested in reading about a Christmas seven inch in March, but maybe you can buy this nice item at Ebay one day for the celebrating of Christmas 2003. [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

TWIGGY KILLERS (CD single)-Star Club (Thunderwoman Records)
This is not really a single. It’s more of an EP, that contains six short songs of TWIGGY KILLERS from Germany. TWIGGY KILLERS consists of Louella van Belle on vocals, Abrachnuida Fox on drums, Hermann Camilo Yupankee on guitar and Marla-June O’ Diamond on bass. In “Freaking Out!” I definitely hear some of the noise influences of BABES IN TOYLAND. And they continue doing this in more songs like “tba”, “Yeah Yeah Yeah”, “Boring”, “Bad One” and “I Wanna Know”. But I also hear back some surf guitar in “tba”, JOAN JETT riffs in “Yeah Yeah Yeah”, a punk attitude in “Boring”, a Riot Grrrl sound in “Bad One” and a good sleazy AC/DC like, old rock and roll vibe in “I Wanna Know”. Lots of variation on this new thirteen minute EP of THE TWIGGY KILLERS. Surf to: [8 points] (Toine van Poorten)

[Updated: May 19, 2003]


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