DEMO REVIEWS

[updated: June 29, 2014]

AXXION-
Axxion

CAN Promo CD 2012
6 TRACKS: Savage Avenger – The Rite – Crazy Nights – Stallion - Voyager – Highway Rider

When SKULL FIST parted ways with drummer Alison Thunderland, we knew for sure that we would meet up again with this heavy metal vixen from Canada. This lady breaths heavy metal! Not long after the break up, we heard from her new band AXXION. So let the axxion fall with this five track promo, that the band released before their debut album “Wild Racer” came out. The six songs run for twenty-five minutes and the artwork in yellow and black shows that we’re dealing with a true metal outfit. A tiger is attacking a warrior with a giant sized axe. Who won the battle is not clear, but I think that in the end AXXION is the real winner here. Just listen to the opener “Savage Avenger”, which opens in the best IRON MAIDEN tradition. The thunderous drums of Alison are very recognizable and the high pitched vocals of singer D.D. Kerr match very well with their old school metal sound. These five songs can’t be found on the debut album, so fans really must check out the early work of this marvelous band. “Savage Avenger” contains a nice speed change, after which the solo is being launched. Finally, Alison grabs a chance to show her skills . She also kicks it off with some innovative drum rolls in “The Rite”, which contains more high screams by D.D. Vocally, I would categorize this song US metal, especially because of the choir gang vocals. The great axe work completes this furious and fast metal tune. “Crazy Nights” is a straight forward steady rocker, in which Alison adds some vocals as well. It’s really easy. Just try it and shout it out on ‘crazy nights’. You’ll get a lot of chances to test it here. “Stallion” opens with the sound of a motorcycle, loud drum rolls and fast riffs. This fast rocker has some high pitched vocal lines again. The catchy vibe makes it easy to comprehend. It’s a combination of NWOBHM and US metal and those are my two favorite music styles. The solos are great and I think that any self-respecting metal fan will definitely dig this. On we go with “Voyager”, which captures a bit of YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN’s guitar sound. The fast repeating notes made me think of this comparison. Furthermore, this is steaming fast forward heavy metal, like the other two songs. The change of speed towards a more bluesy end is a bit unexpected and therefore quite adventurous. “Highway Rider” closes this promo disc, which contains more IRON MAIDEN influences. It’s a short yet catchy metal tune, that will definitely please a lot of true metal heads out there. Go where the AXXION is, I should almost say, because this band will make your head shake up and down and from the first notes on, your mind will be gone. A good pre taste for their long awaited debut album, which is also reviewed somewhere on these pages. Both thumbs up for AXXION!

LINE UP: Alison Thunderland (d), D.D. Kerr (v), Chris Rhiley (b), Shred (g).
WEBSITE: www.facebook.com/AXXIONCANADA
EMAIL: axxioncanada@gmail.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: June 2014)

MIST-
Demo 2013

SLO Demo CD 2013
2 TRACKS: Phobia – The Living Dead

MIST plays doom metal on their two song demo, that makes you feel dark for eight slow minutes. This is actually the kind of doom metal, that I really like. It’s slow and has normal vocals. The fact, that they use female vocals is not important, as long as there are no grunts or growls there, I’m fine with it. The Tony Iommi-like guitar solo in “Phobia” pleases me a lot. The sound of MIST could be compared with names like TROUBLE, SAINT VITUS, PENTAGRAM, BLACK SABBATH, CANDLEMASS and most recently MOUNT SALEM, who also have a female vocalist in their line-up. But MIST goes a bit further, because MIST is an all-female doom metal band. And they deliver the goods just like I want it. The artwork of this demo looks great too with its cow head skull and two venomous snakes surrounding it. It fits well with the doomy sound of the band. The speed goes up a little bit during “The Living Dead”, which captures some nice speed changes during the guitar solo. Another great doom metal anthem has been born. I could do with a full-length album by these ladies and my ears are ready for it. It’s a shame, that we only have to make a verdict on just eight minutes of music, but if they don’t change their line-up and their music style, they can easily catapult themselves into the highest ranks of the doom metal scene.

LINE UP: Nina Spruk (v), Ema Babošek (rg), Nina Griznonič (lg), Neža Pečan (b), Mihaela Žtko (d)
WEBSITE: http://www.facebook.com/mist.doom
EMAIL: mist.doom@gmail.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: June 2014)

TRAINING ICARUS-
Training Icarus

UK Demo CD 2012
8 TRACKS: Nightmares – Taking What’s Mine – Inamorato – Now Or Never – No Chance For Life – Try – Stand Aside – Judgement Day

What we have here are eight demo tracks by the UK based band TRAINING ICARUS with a female singer. The music is catchy but powerful and shows elements from newer melodic outfits like NIGHTWISH to the more old school metal bands such as IRON MAIDEN. A good balance between these two million sellers reveals itself in opener “Nightmares”, that captures the rawness of MAIDEN and the melodic and bombastic orchestration of NIGHTWISH. Vocalist Leigh Turner is not an operatic singer with a soprano voice like Tarja Turunen for example, but she has a very crafty rock voice. Think about LITA FORD for instance. This song also shows, that the band is capable of playing some good solid rock songs. “Taking What’s Mine” shows more heavy riffs and some nice mood changes as well. The melodic voice of Leigh is a real treat to your ears and it sounds quite exciting in my opinion. Just take a listen to the high pull outs of Leigh in this song and you’ll be convinced of her strength right away. “Inamorato” could be categorized as a ballad. It starts with an orchestral, instrumental intro, before Leigh takes off in a very emotional way. You must admit, that you can almost feel the emotion from deep down inside. This is the way, that a ballad is supposed to sound like. It’s not just slowing down for a moment, but a way to let your emotions set free in one song. That’s what TRAINING ICARUS does very well here. Same goes for the sensitive way, that the guitarist handles the solo in this track. “Now Or Never” is on next. It starts with a very mystical instrumental intro. After a somewhat slow start, the band explodes with a powerful chunk of rock music, where the guitarist gets some room to play another nice guitar solo. “No Chance For Life” starts the same way. It really urges people to listen to the rest of the song. Or at least, it will make you curious about things to come. Which is in fact a solid melodic rock song with some great guitar work by Martin Eldon, who is the brother of drummer Richard Eldon. But there are more family members in the band, because Leigh’s brother Jayson Turner also plays bass guitar. In the meantime, we have arrived at a song, called “Try”, which has a slightly Eastern atmosphere to it. The pace is tempered to a more mid-tempo range and the orchestration sounds rather sober. A slower version of VENGEANCE “Arabia” comes to mind, when you’re looking for a way to describe the song. Once again, it shows the diversity of the band. Sometimes it’s heavy and fast, at other times it’s sober and emotional yet always with a good sense for class and style. “Stand Aside” starts with some great guitar riffs and a more angry sounding Leigh. Not that she starts screaming or something like that, but her voice is more aggressive. Like they say: the best is saved for last and that’s a true fact. The lengthy “Judgement Day” shows what the band is capable of. They manage to build up a tension in this song, which eventually comes to a nice climax. Both thumbs up for the magnificent guitar solo in this song! What a blast! This really is such an awesome song!! You must hear it to believe it! TRAINING ICARUS is definitely not your every day straight forward heavy metal band. On the contrary, they go far above that description in my opinion. The band stays melodic in each song and they are never cross their limitations as far as heaviness is concerned, which is good. If you like the best of both worlds in melodic and heavy rock, then take a chance with TRAINING ICARUS, because they are well worth your attention and prove is given on this fifty minutes demo CD. I am already looking forward to listen to their ‘yet to be recorded’ debut album, which will be called “Stand Aside”. For demos, we don’t use ratings, but this release would definitely score between eight and nine on a ten scale! Stay tuned for more to come.

LINE UP: Leigh Turner (v), Martin Eldon (g, synths), Jayson Turner (b), Richard Eldon (d)
WEBSITE: http://www.trainingicarus.com
EMAIL: trainingicarus@googlemail.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: June 2012)

INSTIGATOR-
Future Shock

ITA Rehearsal/Promo CD 2010
5 TRACKS: Submit To Satan - Fuck Me (When I’m Dead)- Pestered By Maggots - Incubator - L’Inferno Sulla Terra

At this year’s edition of the Keep It True festival we ran into Brigida, the front lady of the Italian band INSTIGATOR. She handed out their rehearsal tape on CD, called “Future Shock”. The only “Future Shock” that I’m familiar with is the album of GILLAN with that same title. Obviously, this has got nothing at all to do with this rehearsal tape of INSTIGATOR. The sleeve of the CD looks very old school and it has got a nice logo, in which the last T of the band name represents a cross, that is turned upside down. Looking at the song titles, there’s a big chance these four Italian thrash metallers will blow me out of my chair. “Submit To Satan” is a short spoken word intro, after which the drums start at a fast pace. Singer Bri Waste cries her lungs out demanding to ‘submit to Satan’. “Fuck Me (When I’m Dead)” continues at full speed. Their sound isn’t as ultra brutal as I’d expect it to be, but the lyrics certainly are. I’m not the necrophilia kind, but I must admit that I really liked what I heard. Let’s face it, the band sounds very underground and what you see is what you get. I like that a lot. In “Pestered By Maggots”, you will hear Bri Waste in a screaming mode. The speed goes up and the brutality too. She sounds much more confident than in “Fuck Me (When I’m Dead”. Besides the brutal no nonsense thrash sound that this band plays, I also hear the love for the more old school thrash metal. Just listen to the beginning of “Incubator”, with its great guitar intro. Bri Waste sounds like KING DIAMOND at times with her high pull outs. This is surely the highlight on this rehearsal demo for me. Obviously, this is good food for the old school thrash and speed metal fan out here, but the younger metal fans may like the aggressive and brutal impression, that INSTIGATOR is spitting out here as well. The CD closes with “L’Inferno Sulla Terra”, that has a short spoken word intro. More old school metal riffs are unleashed and before you know, a big mosh pit could be created to the fast speedy beats that we get to chew on. Some parts in this song slightly reminded me of IRON MAIDEN’s “Transylvania” (first album), only much more brutal of course and with vocals. Indeed, INSTIGATOR is not for the faint hearted or posers among us. That’s my conclusion after hearing these five songs, that run for almost fifteen minutes. Responsible for this thrash noise attack are Bri Waste on vocals, who we have to thank for giving us a copy of this rehearsal/promo CD, Amedeo on drums, G. Retaliator on guitar and Persecutioner on bass(turbation). My thanks also goes out to the Heavy Metal Maniacs in Holland, of which I am a very proud member for almost fifteen years now. Interested in this CDR?? Just drop a line to the e-mail address below. The additional warning is to play this ultra loud, when your neighbors are not at home, for the best effect. Buy or die, you motherfuckers and necrophilias!

LINE UP: Bri Waste (v), Retaliator (g), Persecutioner (b), Amedeo (d)
WEBSITE: unknown
EMAIL: goregasmatron@yahoo.it
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Autumn 2011)

AFTER THE SILENCE-
Tower Of Souls

NL Demo CD 2010
4 TRACKS: Passage To Eternity – Alter Course – The Tower – Final Fantasy

We know this Dutch symphonic prog rock formation for quite some time and this is their latest four track demo. Right from the start, prove is given, that the band is providing a high standard mix of progressive rock with links to heavy metal and symphonic metal. The keyboard sound is important in opener “Passage To Eternity”, which is topped by the clear voice of Ingrid. Think about FATES WARNING and SAGA to get some idea of what AFTER THE SILENCE is all about. The drummer really puts the pedal to the metal and surprised me with his heavy style and firm drum beats. A great, up-tempo opener, in which the band shows its skills. When the speed goes up in the middle of the song, they also reach the speed metal status for a little while. Great stuff! “Alter Course” is on next and it’s there that the bass player profiles himself in the beginning of the song. Everybody gets an equal share within AFTER THE SILENCE. The keyboards however are very much upfront in the mix, which gives the band the symphonic sound, that I wrote about earlier. “Alter Course” is again an up tempo song. “The Tower” is a short track. It contains some very nice speed changes, where the instruments do the talking for a while. An exciting trip, but far too short in a way. And once again we reach the fastness, where speed metal bands would be proud of. The progressive side of AFTER THE SILENCE shows up well in this song. “Final Fantasy” closes this demo CD. For me, this is by far the best track on this four track demo, mainly because of the instrumental mid-piece, where the band shows its skills as musicians that are eager to sound exciting and adventurous. With the keyboard sound provided, the name of SAGA comes to mind again. “Tower Of Souls” proves, that AFTER THE SILENCE is ready to leave the demo status. With songs like that, the band will definately appeal to many prog and sympho fans out there. AFTER THE SILENCE is very much willing to play live too, so if you are still searching for a decent symphonic prog rock band, then this is your chance to dig in. You won’t regret it!

LINE UP: Ingrid van den Hof – van den Berg (v), Willem van den Hof (g), Ardy van Breemen (g), Ron Vielvoye (d), Eddie van den Boogaard (keys), Hans van Iersel (b)
WEBSITE: http://www.afterthesilence.nl or http://www.myspace.com/afterthesilencenl
EMAIL: info@afterthesilence.nl; bookings@afterthesilence.nl
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Winter 2010)

FRANTIC AMBER-
Wrath Of Judgement

SWE Demo CD 2010
5 TRACKS: Bloodlust – Doomed To Walk This Earth – The Awakening – Unbreakable – Wrath Of Judgement

All-female metal bands are always two steps ahead of their male colleagues. FRANTIC AMBER is such a band. Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, their star is rising very fast lately. All because of their incredible musical talent, which they proudly live up on this five track demo CD, that has a playing time of approx. seventeen minutes. The music of FRANTIC AMBER could very well be categorized as (melodic) black metal, because of the brutal growls, although the label of ‘heavy metal’ would probably suit them much more. Not that I like to put a label on things. It’s just to give you an idea of what to expect from this band. Opener “Bloodlust” contains some dark growls. It doesn’t sound really angry or screaming and the exciting instrumental parts and low tuned guitars are a treat to your ears. “Doomed To Walk This Earth” contains more dark growls, but also some angry riffs and a nice guitar solo at the end of the song. “The Awakening” on the other hand leans much more towards black metal. The vocals are a bit more corrosive and aggressive and the double bass drum beats like hell. However, it also contains a short (clear) vocal part, that breaks the song in half and shows an almost gothic side of the band. Very surprising indeed! Next song is called “Unbreakable”, which contains more female black and death metal growls. The speed goes up in the final track “Wrath Of Judgement”, which displays some great musical ideas and a lot of brutality. Sweden was already quite famous for bands like HYSTERICA, ICE AGE and CRUCIFIED BARBARA, as far as all-female heavy metal bands are concerned. We can now add FRANTIC AMBER to this list for sure. They are by far one the most heavy bands of them all and I think that many people will agree with me and like what they see and hear. A tour with HYSTERICA through Russia (of all places!) is in the making early March, which is a giant step forward to the big success, that every new band is aiming for. Not only because playing live in different countries is good for the band, but also the fact that two all-female bands helping each other is a good cause. FRANTIC AMBER is surely a name to remember. You can read an in-depth interview with the band on our website and get more information about this very promising international all-female metal band.
[Note: the band has decided to release the songs from this demo on their first EP, in order to keep to the waiting for their first full-length album more pleasant!!]

LINE UP: Elizabeth (v), Mary (g), Sandra (b), Emlee (d), Mio (g)
WEBSITE: http://www.franticamber.com
EMAIL: info@franticamber.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Winter 2010)


PHANTOM ISLE-
Demos

US Online Demo CD 2008-2010
6 TRACKS: Misfortune – Exhortation Of The Heights – Mythloria – The Stranger – Empress Of Dreams – Polaris

Our journey to the USA a couple of years ago, led us to New York City. It was there, that we met Ben Asaro and P.J. Berlinghof, both members of TWILIGHT ODYSSEY. Their debut album was really a killer and impressed us both very much. It was the metal sound, that we wanted to hear. Now a couple of years later, we’d like to give you an update of what these musical geniuses are up to nowadays. Don’t worry, TWILIGHT ODYSSEY still exists, but they are temporarily on hold, so to speak.
Ben told us about his new band, which is called PHANTOM ISLE. This band turns the clock back another five to ten years and puts us right back in the seventies. It’s amazing how they always know to impress us time after time with their musical visions and their high quality rock music. Try to forget TWILIGHT ODYSSEY for a moment and step into a time machine, that will bring you back to the days where it all began. Bands like THIN LIZZY, UFO, DEEP PURPLE, URIAH HEEP, BLACK SABBATH, JETHRO TULL and LED ZEPPELIN are ruling the scene and nobody has ever heard about death, black, doom or nu-metal whatsoever. The music scene was compact and musicians were still able to play their instruments, instead of computers doing their work. When you enter that world in your imagination, only then you will relive the magic called real music and the impact it had on you, after hearing it for the first time. Music is still pure and even commercialism is a word you’ve never heard of before. It’s a virtual world, where virtuosity rules and music still has got the power to take you to a whole new dimension. A dimension, where you can almost feel the music and your body starts moving to the beautiful sounds. Your flesh starts to crawl and you know that this is a good sign.
It’s a safe world, when you start playing the first song I’ve selected here and that’s “Misfortune”. The great riffs, the recognizable siren by P.J. and the catchy sound already tells you, that you are going like what you hear. That’s why I took you there, dear readers. After a very powerful intro, the improvising starts, the drive changes and the guitar and bass parts are in the centre of attention. This could lead to an amazing jam, when the band plays this song live. Bands like URIAH HEEP, THIN LIZZY and UFO were quite famous for making those changes too in their music and in the case of PHANTOM ISLE it sounds like a giant musical adventure.
“Exhortation Of The Heights” will directly lead the way to the days of BLACK SABBATH, when listening to the first riffs… The slow march sounds doomy, but hey we are in a time zone where this word didn’t exist, how come? Well, the music already existed but the word ‘doom’ wasn’t invented yet. BLACK SABBATH, PENTAGRAM, COVEN, WITCHFINDER GENERAL or QUARTZ could be categorized as doom metal, but in fact they were hard rock as well and would later on be labeled as heavy metal. The instrumental mid-piece still reminds me of BLACK SABBATH. The hypnotizing guitar work of Ben being the highlight here, which later on gets a bit fuzzy and slightly freaky to make it sound more authentic. There is no link to the world of today. This is the sound of the rocking seventies, man!
“Mythloria” continues our ride through memory lane. Looking at the playing time of this one, it might be getting very spectacular. Sit down and relax for fifteen minutes and just wait and hear what PHANTOM ISLE has in mind for you. The bombastic intro could very well be of SAVATAGE in their heydays, but I also hear a lot of UFO (“Love To Love”) back in these first chords. After this, P.J. opens in a kind of folky way, like Ian Anderson would grab you by the throat and take you away into his own created world, that only existed, when being receptive to this. When the song accelerates the spirit of the Tull spreading his wings, a new masterpiece unfolds itself. Rapidly, another instrumental part comes up and my thoughts immediately go out to “2112” of RUSH. In the meantime, Ben is showing his muscles with another guitar solo, that sounds absolutely flabbergasting! The second part, where P.J. shows her skills, does remind me of THIN LIZZY’s “Bad Reputation” in a way and another hard rock classic comes to mind, when listening to PHANTOM ISLE’s amazing sound of classic rock tunes. Here and there, the guitars will also remind you of FRANK MARINO, yet another icon from these days that only a few connoisseurs will remember.
“The Stranger” is a foot stomper right from the start. Easy on the ears, so open your car window and let the wind blow your hair, while driving long distant highways. A little bit later, you feel astonished that you’re still listening to the same song, which has changed into a freaky jam with leading roles for guitar and drums. So much diversity and never a dull moment. The instrumental parts are constantly open for improvisation, when playing in a live setting. You can easily pull five minute songs out to ten minutes or more by turning the instrumental parts into one big jam, which has sometimes been done by bands like PURPLE or ZEPPELIN.
“Empress Of Dreams” is next on my list, a song that starts off with raw some unpolished edges. But PHANTOM ISLE wouldn’t be PHANTOM ISLE, when they’re not implementing different layers and turning the song into an epical sonic landscape with many different faces. The guitars roar, the drums beat fast and the bass guitar sounds as steady as a heartbeat. The instrumental part sounds very exciting.
“Polaris” starts off with some THIN LIZZY influences, but that will change very soon. P.J. took care of all the lyrics, that will take you back to ancient times. Her words implicate that particular time frame, which fulfills me with the anxious desire to hear more. The song has an instrumental part in the middle, that might remember you of “Dazed And Confused” of the mighty ZEP. At least, it has the same impact on me, after hearing it the first time. The guitar part after that is another freaky Iommi-like guitar solo, that could well be taken from the lengthy “Wicked World”, off the “Live At Last” BLACK SABBATH album. If the names in this musical roller coaster ride appeal to you, then you should definitely check out PHANTOM ISLE, because they relive that magical sound of the seventies in 2010. This is amazing and for a moment you see yourself back as a young boy, who is discovering all this wonderful music. Nowadays I seldom raise my eyebrows when I hear something new, but this grabbed me by the balls and it actually really meant something to me. I listened to it over and over again, while most of the time I’d like to listen to reviewed CD’s once or twice and then they are stocked with the rest of the collection. When you know the musicians of PHANTOM ISLE, like we do for years now, you can tell that these people have a good feeling for music running through their veins. That love for music can be heard back in the class, they’ve put together in these different songs. Besides P.J. and Ben of TWILIGHT ODYSSEY, we can also enjoy the skills of Erik Mowry on bass, who actually also played the bass guitar in the last known line-up of TWILIGHT ODYSSEY. The drummer of PHANTOM ISLE is called Luigi Gennaro, who completes the line-up of this marvelous sounding band, that brings back the time when music was music and musicians played from their hearts. If you don’t check them out by now, you’re reading the wrong review. If demos could receive a rating, this would receive the full score, plus one! Coming back into the real world on planet earth might be hard sometimes. But when I need to get away from this fake world full of wars and hatred, I go to my PC and log in on their Facebook page, mentioned below and take a flight to PHANTOM ISLE. See you there!

LINE UP: Ben Asaro (g, synths), P.J. Berlinghof (v), Erik Mowry (b), Luigi Gennaro (dr)
WEBSITE: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Phantom-Isle/125758337460988#!/pages/Phantom-Isle/125758337460988?v=app_178091127385
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Autumn 2010)

ALANTIA-
Alantia

NL Demo CD 2010
6 TRACKS: Solitary Life – To Your Demise – Echoes Of Perdition – Pictures Of My Past – The Watcher – Deceit

The Netherlands has a very rich and successful gothic metal scene with bombastic orchestrations. ALANTIA consists since 2006, but only since last year they have a stable line-up. With this line-up, they recorded this demo CD, that plays for about thirty minutes. Their sound is very recognizable, but I wouldn’t categorize this band as gothic metal. Although the soprano like vocals of Yvette might push you in this direction. The riffs are cool and loud and provide a little contrast to the melodic feel, that sounds quite nice to me. The guitar solo is the most inspiring part of the first track “Solitary Life”. A joyful sound develops in this first song. Judging by the cover, I would rather think of a black metal band or maybe a darker and more doomy music style. The artwork is very stylish though and was done by the drummer of the band. The songs are quite melodic and the surprising keyboard solo in “To Your Demise” sounds very inspiring. It breaks up the song nicely and immediately draws your attention. “Echoes Of Perdition” is the longest track here, which contains some brutal male vocals. Sometimes the vocals of Yvette sound a bit boring, but the male vocals make up for this minor detail. The song contains a lot of variation and leans a bit towards the black metal, because of the male interruptions. “Pictures Of My Past” opens with guitars and a NIGHTWISH-like song unfolds itself. This time with some very strong vocal parts by Yvette. “The Watcher” is a longer track, introduced by keyboards. The instrumental part definitely asks for some special attention. The last (and fast) song is called “Deceit”, which could be marked as the absolute highlight on this demo CD. The Dutch metal scene may already contain a lot of well-talented bands, but there is always room for one more and ALANTIA is ready to fill up this space.

LINE UP: Yvette (v), Tom (g), Mark (g), Nicky (b), Nan (dr), Erik (keys)
WEBSITE: http://www.alantia.nl or http://www.myspace.com/alantiamusic
EMAIL: alantia@live.nl
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Summer 2010)

DRAWZZNIKK-
Drawzznikk

A Demo CD 2010
5 TRACKS: All Through The Night – I Am The Wild – Our Ways – Maybe – The Age Of Innocence

DRAWZZNIKK hails from Austria and the five songs on this demo CD prove this band, that only exists for one year, has got a lot to offer. “All Through The Night” already shows, that guitarplayer Martin Traussnigg is enormously influenced by the late OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist Randy Rhoads. The intro for this song sounds very much like the opening riff for “ I Don’t Know” of the madman. The riff repeats itself and the whole song structure sounds very similar to this classic tune in a way, but I don’t give a f*ck, because I like what I hear! A tiny touch of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN can be heard in the guitar solo as well. “I Am The Wild” continues with more breathtaking guitars and some great riffs. Maybe not as impressive as the opener, but still a killer song. If you like ballads, then “Our Ways” is for you. I would like to ask some special attention though for the guitar solo in this song. It’s fast and aggressive and will remind you of Randy once again. “Maybe” sounds a bit like “Goodbye To Romance”, while the guitars have a certain BLACK SABBATH / Tony Iommi feel to it. To me, this song isn’t very special or exciting. Still, the best is yet to come. “The Age Of Innocence” has been written with some influences of Randy Rhoads in mind. I even hear some “Diary Of A Madman” in the mysterious beginning of this instrumental track. Besides the many OZZY references, the band also contributed to a WHITESNAKE tribute CD, called “Shredding Skin” with their version of “Victim Of Love”. Although not every song on this twenty-five minute demo CD sounds as convincing, my overall impression is, that DRAWZZNIKK (what’s in a name??) is a real good band. The search for a professional label will hopefully be over soon. If people listen very, very carefully, they will hear a band, that is quite talented and who are some skillful musicians.

LINE UP: Nina Traussnigg (v), Martin Traussnigg (g), Thomas Hassler (b), Andreas Gartler (dr)
WEBSITE: http://www.myspace.com/drawzznikk
EMAIL: drawzznikk@gmail.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Summer 2010)

NEPHTHYS-
Nephthys

NL Demo CD 2009
3 TRACKS: Reign In Sanity – Drowning In Despair – Closure

While we are waiting for their full-length CD to come out, we would like to introduce you to the Dutch melodic doomsters of NEPHTHYS. The demo starts off with some brutal growls and furious rhythms, but then the band surprises us with ‘normal’ female vocals in a slower part. A nice change-over of speed. After that, the brutal growls and riffs return. “Drowning In Despair”, as the title already suggests, is a more slower and very doomy track. Not really a song to enjoy, when you already have a rope in your hands and you are thinking what to do with it, while searching for a good place: the attic or the cellar. I suggest not to do it and take this song for what it is: a great doomy outing of pain and despair. “Closure” is the pièce de resistance here and shows the more melodic side of NEPHTHYS. It’s good to know, that the Dutch doom scene has got another branch on the tree. And I am very curious, what the band will sound like nowadays. But we definitely didn’t want to spoil this opportunity to write something about this well-talented doom outfit.

LINE UP: Geertje Martens (v), Loes Bayens (g,bv), Sil Derks (v,b), Remco Janssen (dr)
MY SPACE SITE: http://www.myspace.com/nephthysmusic
EMAIL: nephthysmusic@live.nl
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: December 2009)

SARIOLA-
Deathfrozen Silence

GER Demo CD 2009
4 TRACKS: Selene In Seven Mirrors – Deathfrozen Silence – Crystal Fracture – The Weaver Of Storms

SARIOLA must get credit for their guts to add blast beats in their melodic gothic power metal. This combination may seem a bit odd on paper, but it sounds surprisingly well in opener “Selene In Seven Mirrors”. One time the music is dreamy, and gothic-like, while at other times the blast beats will take you by surprise. The title track opens with some amazing fast blast beats. This is ordinary old school black, death or thrash metal. Even NAPALM DEATH couldn’t possibly top this. After a few moments though, the soprano voice of Lorely Mrs V. von Rhein takes the music to a more powerful gothic metal kind of height. As soon as the vocalist backs up to take some breath, the blast beats take over. It sounds weird, extraordinary and yet unique maybe. If this combination will appeal to many readers out there remains to be seen, but it’s kind of surprising to listen to. In “Crystal Fracture”, they leave this combination for what it is and show that they are also capable of writing a slow and balladesque song. But if you think, that this will last, you are not familiar enough with the sound of SARIOLA, so it seems. The blast beats in this song doesn’t match the rest of the song at all. And it looks like, they just put it in there to be in harmony with eachother. To me, this sounds even more odd than the previous two songs. Anyhow, the thirty minute demo closes with “The Weaver Of Storms” - a fast song with ultrafast drum parts. In fact, I think that this is the absolute highlight on the demo for me. The question remains, if our listeners can cope with these extreme changes in music. We know, that some bands will do everything to become unique and I think that no one has ever tried this combination of dreamy gothic music and ultrafast and brutal blast beats so brotherly together in one song. Only the future will tell, if SARIOLA has found the chicken with the golden eggs. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for them. Keyboards, vocals and bass are done by female band members, by the way.

LINE UP: Lorely (v), Morgan Le Faye (keys), E.Konny (g), Anagnorisis (g), Ablaz (b), Farokh (dr)
WEBSITE: http://www.sariola.padlo.de
MY SPACE SITE: http://www.myspace.com/sariolaofficial
EMAIL: sariolateam@yahoo.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: December 2009)

VANADIS-
Osiris Rising

NL Demo CD 2009
4 TRACKS: Osiris Rising – 012 – March Of Storms – Fooled

These four new demo songs by VANADIS sound more convincing than any of their previous work. The band has definitely grown a lot in the past few months. To give you a good idea of what VANADIS sounds like today, just start listening to opener “Osiris Rising” and you’ll be positively surprised. “012” proceeds and the band even gains some speed here. The voice of Lucy has become so much better and I think she has gained some self-confidence as well. The band sounds so much tighter than the first time we saw them in Lelystad. The music style of the band remains unchanged, but the songs sound really mature and well-thought-out. In “March Of Storm”, Lucy uses a soprano voice and the name of Tarja Turunen comes to mind. Undoubtedly, the highlight on this demo must be “Fooled”. Listen how this band creates a serious and very emotional ballad, that only lasts about four minutes. But it’s so complete and well-done, that it’s simply the best song on this demo for me. It sounds a bit like EVANESCENCE’s “My Immortal” without being called a copy cat or a rip-off. VANADIS takes a huge step forward on “Osiris Rising”, so make room for another huge discovery in the land of Dutch gothic metal bands!

LINE UP: Lucy (v), Ruben (synths), Jonathan (g), Peter (b), Sascha (dr)
WEBSITE: http://www.vanadisband.com
MY SPACE SITE: http://www.myspace.com/vanadismusic
EMAIL: mail@vanadisband.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Autumn 2009)

ALERION-
Turn Of Fate

NL Demo CD 2009
2 TRACKS: Turn Of Fate – Clash With Eternity

ALERION has found a new female singer and this two song demo CD is our first introduction with Maaike Siegerist. The two songs are worthy of almost twelve minutes of ambient gothic metal. The first track is also the title track. The vocals of Maaike are floating and high and the music sounds ambient and modest. However, at the end of the song, the speed goes up a little and the instrumental part gets a rather progressive twist. The keyboards are very much upfront in the mix. The second song, "Clash With Eternity" sounds very well-arranged and it even has some choir vocals here and there. Beautiful music for the late summer evening! The drums are a bit jazzy in this song. Finally, I have to point out, that this demo CD will probably only appeal to those, who like to listen to more modest, high class gothic or ambient music. People, who like their music loud (or ultra loud!) should leave this for what it is. Though the bottom line is, that the musicians in ALERION play their instruments well and the songs are very well-arranged. Some people might want to add some pepper to this sound, while others may think this will be tasteful enough.

LINE UP 2009: Maaike Siegerist (v), Bas Willemsen (g), Bart Lubbers (lg), Paul Bouman (keys), Ronald van Schaik (b), Lennert Stap (dr)
WEBSITE: http://www.alerion.nl
EMAIL: info[at]alerion.nl
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Spring/Summer 2009)

DIABULUS IN MUSICA-
Secrets

ESP Demo CD 2009
4 TRACKS: St. Michael’s Nightmare – Nocturnal Flowers – Lies In Your Eyes - Ishtar

DIABULUS IN MUSICA hails from Spain and right now they’re working on a full-length debut album. As a pre-taster, some of the ‘secrets’ are made available on this demo EP. It contains four songs and plays about twenty minutes. The demo opens with some operatic voices and tons of bombastic orchestration in “St. Michael’s Nightmare”, but the metal influences will soon appear on the horizon . I hear gothic metal and also a touch of doom in this opener. The speaking voice in the first song is very sensual and gently done, together with the slow doomy rhythm it is very nice to listen to. When female singer Zuberoa Aznárez starts singing, she really knows to impress me. She has a very warm voice. In the instrumental part, right after the vocal soprano outings by a guest vocalist, I hear some great keyboard parts and a very progressive DREAM THEATER kind of sound. As you’ll see, they’ve put a lot of variation in here. “Nocturnal Flowers” is on next, which has a more natural flow. Whereas a song like “Lies In Your Eyes” is definitely more uptempo and even contains some brutal rhythms and riffs. Last but not least, CD closer “Ishtar” opens with some violins. Talk about variation. The songs were produced by Ad Sluijter, also known as the former guitarplayer of the Dutch metallers EPICA. And if you like the sound by this particular band, you may want to lend your ear to this four tracker by DIABULUS IN MUSICA. They sure surprised me in a very positively way, proving that there is more to Pamplona than just the horrible bull fights!

LINE UP: Zuberoa Aznárez (v), Adrián M. Vallejo (g/screams), Gorka Elso (keys/grunts), Xabier Jareño (dr)
WEBSITE: http://www.diabulusinmusica.com
EMAIL: dim@diabulusinmusica.com (management)
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Spring/Summer 2009)

ANABANTHA-
Romoiendo El Silencio Sus Alas

MEX Demo CD 2008
6 TRACKS: Penitencia – El Altar De Las Pasiones Desoladoras – Condena – Esclavo Del Misterio – Poema No. 20 (En Directo) – Plegarias

ANABANTHA likes to call their music gothic doom metal. However, in opener “Penitencia”, I only hear a bit of the gothic influences in this song. It’s fast and sounds very happy, so obviously the doom aspect is not there. Wrong description? On the contrary, I think this song has been a nice sidestep for the band. The second track off the 2008 demo sounds a bit more doomy, although you may also add the guitar influences of a band like PINK FLOYD to that description. ANABANTHA already has eight full-length CDs to their name, including one live CD. No wonder, they sound so professional. “Condena” is another uptempo tune with some bombastic elements in it. The vocal parts of Duan Marie mix very well to the uptempo and steady beats. Sometimes she even adds some soprano-like vocal parts, making her sound like a real Mexican angel. “Esclavo Del Misterio” sounds very mysterious and dark indeed. The addition of ‘en directo’ means, that there also is a live track on this six tracker. It’s a song called “Poema No. 20”. It’s in the gothic metal style with some bombastic influences. “Plegarias” closes this twenty-five minute demo CD, which is again an uptempo song. If you like dark gothic metal mixed with some thrash and doom influences, then ANABANTHA would be a good listen. And as I mentioned earlier, the band consists for over ten years now and they really know their skills very well.

LINE UP: Duan Marie (v), Siegfried (g), Daebonarch (b), Vlad Landeros (dr/v)
WEBSITE: http://www.myspace.com/anabantha
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Autumn/Winter 2008-2009)

ARTEP-
Black War

CAN Promo CD 2008
3 TRACKS: Black War – Antichrist – Eye Of The Serpent / Oko Hada

With title track “Black War”, we slowly enter the magic world of ARTEP. A world, covered with spikes, leather, fire, corpse paint and symphonic black metal. The vocals are a combination of wild screams and brutal growls. The black metal sound of ARTEP is mixed with some bombastic orchestration, which creates a dark and sober atmosphere. That’s just the way I like it! I don’t like the sound of endless screaming frontmen or women, creating a cacophony of wild sounds. I like to be able to listen to the sound of the individual instruments. While “Antichrist” sounds much wilder, it’s still a good mix, where each individual musician can be heard seperately. Listen to the great guitar sound in the middle of the song, to catch my drift. At the end of the song, there is a short interlude, which gives it some kind of soundtrack like atmosphere. The kind you would expect from those black and white horror movies from the fifties or sixties. The applies to the spoken word part in the last song, which is called “Eye Of The Serpent / Oko Hada”. This promo has become another bombastic masterpiece. People, who are into bands such as EMPEROR and MAYHEM may want to check this one out. Besides the fact, that the music of ARTEP sounds very brutal and bombastic, their live show seems to be very spectacular, including costumes, blood and fire breathing, so it’s definitely worth checking out this band live on stage as well. A full-length CD of ARTEP is in the making and will be titled “Thy Will Be Done On Earth As Is Done In Hell”. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t want to argue with these brutal Canadian antichrists, because before you know it they start a “Black War”. And we don’t want that, do we?

LINE UP: Jaron ‘Vultyrous’ Good (v/g), Petra ‘Artep’ Sobotka (g/v), Sean ‘Dark’ Rickerd (b), Spencer Prewett (session drums)
ADDRESS: Petra Sobotka, 5138 Sidley Street, Burnaby, BC V5J1T5, Canada.
WEBSITE: http://www.myspace.com/artepmetal
EMAIL: artep@live.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Autumn/Winter 2008-2009)

BLACKTHORN-
The Prologue Of Eschaton

RUS Demo CD 2007
3 TRACKS: Blackthorn Winter – Edenbeast – Will-O’- The-Whisp

The heart of this Russian band is all-female. Only drummer Max is a male member here. The gothic metal of BLACKTHORN sounds very much uptempo in opener “Blackthorn Winter”. Vocalist Aina sings with her normal singing voice as well as her soprano voice. The spoken word parts in this song sound dark and rather mysterious. The instrumentation is powerful, uptempo and wild. This demo is the very first release by these dark, gothic nymphs. And I must admit, that it’s a rather pleasant first experience. In “Edenheart”, we enjoy the soprano voice of Aina once again. It’s a bombastic segment, that will probably be liked by a lot of gothic metal adepts out there. Next song “Will-O’-The –Wisp” sounds rather dark and doomy and shows more variation in styles. I very much like the dark and rather doomy element in the eleven minutes, that past by. BLACKTHORN was founded in 2004 and I think that they have a long, bright future ahead of them. If Celtic sounding gothic metal is your thing, then you defintiely must give these ladies a chance.

LINE UP: Aina (v), Verbena (b), Elvira Alchemida (g), Max (d), Freya (keys)
WEBSITE: http://www.blackthornian.com or http://www.myspace.com/blackthornian
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Autumn/Winter 2008-2009)

EAR DANGER-
Shock & Awe

NL Demo CD 2007
4 TRACKS: Hellish Wings – Assassin – Bound By The Law – City On Fire

Hands up, who still remembers EAR DANGER from Holland. Well, a few die hard metalheads will probably remember them from early demos around nineteen eighty or something. But not too many people would have guessed, that they’re back with a mighty fine demo CD right now. The line up has changed a little, but it’s still the same EAR DANGER. Now consisting of Matt Verschoor on bass, Dick Vijgen on drums, Ivo Metz on rhythm guitar, Leon lehman on vocals and metal maiden Karina Wolf on lead guitar. The four songs, that you’ll hear on this disc, have a total playing time of fifteen minutes. They start their new adventure with “Hellish Wings”. After some aircraft noise, they press the pedal to the metal with some great eighties guitar riffs. The pace is set, and if this song won’t bring your mind back to the good ol’ days of heavy metal, then I’ll eat my hat! Karina’s guitar solo hits the target right away. A marvellous opener. “Assassin” is another fine metal anthem. Try to avoid screaming the word “Assassin” during this song. You won’t succeed. The guitar solo is again amazing. “Bound By The Law (Of Heavy Metal)” will definitely become a crowd pleaser at their live gigs. Once again, it will invite you to scream out your lungs during the chorus lines. Needless to say, that the guitar solo is another highlight here. Is Karina that good? Yep, she hits the nail right on the head in every song and she can be damn proud of it. Just listen to those sharp screaming guitar sounds in the uptempo “City On Fire” to catch my drift. Wow, this really sounds truly amazing! It’s over twenty-five years ago, since I first heard of the band EAR DANGER. Then they simply drowned away in the huge pile of Dutch heavy metal bands. Now the pile of good Dutch HM bands has become even bigger. But a band like EAR DANGER, that is eagerly to strike back this hard, is destined to become huge. At least in my book, they will be known as a legendary band, especially after listening to these four songs. EAR DANGER is back and I hope, their success will be much bigger than it ever was. Maybe the time is right for good old traditional heavy metal. Hopefully, “Shock & Awe” will be just the beginning of a great comeback for this band. Check it out and buy this goddamn ‘must have’ four tracker by getting in touch with the band (see the info below) and be amazed!

LINE UP: Leon Lohman (v), Karina Wolf (lg), Matt Verschoor (b), Ivo Metz (rg), Dick Vijgen (dr)
WEBSITE: http://www.eardanger.com and http://www.myspace.com/eardangermetal
EMAIL: info@eardanger.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Autumn/Winter 2008-2009)

MAGION-
Promo 2009

NL Promo CD 2009
3 TRACKS: Greed - Forever Mine - War Of Hearts

This promo CD of MAGION consists of three songs, which is worthy of a little over twenty minutes of heavenly metal. With the demise of AFTER FOREVER, MAGION seems to be the right candidate to fill in the gap, that has been created. Mix a solid dose of NIGHTWISH and AFTER FOREVER and you’ll come close to what the sound of MAGION is all about. A few positive remarks, that makes this band outstanding from so many other bands, who try to create a sound, based on heavy music with female soprano vocals. Myrthe van Beest, the frontlady of MAGION, can actually sing, while many other female singers try to, but never really come close. The production is crystal clear, which is a must, when you play this type of music, because you want to hear all the different details within the sound. The band knows to play their instruments, so you don’t have to listen some music in the background. These musicians play a guitarsolo and heavy riffs based upon a solid rhythm section and with the addition of a keyboard, they also create a slightly symphonic motion on top. Do you need more reasons? The songs maybe? I can tell you, that the three songs presented here are filled with exciting breaks and innovative speed and mood changes. As a listener, you’ll always be anxious to hear what will be on next. The band succeeds in making you cling to your seat and actually hear this promo CD out. And if you’re looking for the male grunter, which has been done a thousand times before, I can already tell you upfront, that you won’t find one here. There are some male and slightly brutal sounding vocals, but no annoying grunters here. All these things make MAGION’s sound very special and these three songs come very close to perfection, which would have been a suitable title for this promo, by the way. But I guess, that no band would dare to call their first promo ‘close to perfection’. Anyway, just buy yourself a copy of this promo and let the songs do the talking. You’ll be positively amazed!

LINE UP 2009: Myrthe van Beest (v), Chris Vrij (g), Arjen van der Toorn (g), Walter Romberg (keys), David de Waal (dr), Menno Bruggeling (b)
WEBSITE: http://www.magionband.com
MY SPACE: http://www.myspace.com/magionband
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Spring/Summer 2009)

TACERE-
Demo 2008

FIN Demo CD 2008
6 TRACKS: The Storm Of The Century – Absolute Power – Without My Soul – Let Go! – The Last Chance – Your Game: My Pain

Metal from Finland is quite hot nowadays, and not only because of the climate change. TACERE from Finland is no exception. The six songs on this 2008 demo are a good example of how fresh this new line up sounds. The fast steady beat will make your adrenaline flush down your vains. Great steady riffs and mixed vocals of a male singer, who also grunts, and a female singer, make the picture complete here. Taiya R. is the new female voice of TACERE. These songs however are recorded with former vocalist Helena Haaparanta. The songs on this six track demo have a catchy character and at least the first two songs may have enough potential to become hits. Although “Without My Soul” sounds a bit darker and contains more emotion. The ultrafast MALMSTEEN-like guitar solo is really breathtaking on this one! While “Let It Go!” sounds very much uptempo and groovy. However, the wildest and loudest riffs are on “The Last Chance”. A song, that also has some bombastic parts, next to the exciting metal riffs. It is absolutely one of the highlights here. The longest track is saved for last. It’s an emotional duet between band leader Karri Knuuttila and Helena. TACERE definitely has the potential to become very huge and in 2009 their new album will see the light of day. Until then, we will be able to enjoy the twenty-five minutes of powerful metal on this demo.

LINE UP: Helena Haaparanta (v), Karri Knuuttila (v,g), Pekka Pyrhönen (b), Janne Salminen (keys), Jarne ‘Jake’ Valhanen (d)
WEBSITE: http://www.tacere.net or http://www.myspace.com/tacere
EMAIL: karri.knuuttila@gmail.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Autumn/Winter 2008-2009)

TANTALUM-
Tantalum

AUS Demo CD 2008
2 TRACKS: Get You Hot – Sign Up

TANTALUM is a five piece all-girl band from Melbourne, Australia. And that is what we want to hear and share with you. It’s a shame, that I can only listen to two songs, but this disc a great foretaste for all the great things that are about to happen with this band. The first song “Get You Hot” is very catchy and captures a nice and raw guitar sound. Think about early GIRLSCHOOL or later DONNAS to get the idea. The band was founded in 2002 and it’s great to hear, that the ladies still rock until they drop. The second song we hear is called “Sign Up”. The choir vocal at the beginning of the song are some kind of an intro, before the ladies step into this ballsy rocker. The harmony vocals and dirty guitars fit very well together. These ladies can easily create a rock and roll party on stage with songs like this. They also have good looks and in combination with a great rock sound, they could become very successful. I am longing to hear more, because these ladies really rocked my world with these two songs. I want to thank Dumpy Dunnell of DUMPY’S RUSTY NUTS for pointing us in the right direction with this band. Thanks mate and please visit Holland again soon and keep informing us about more well-talented lady bands!!

LINE UP: Elysia Bee (v), Myska (g), Anthea (d), Kristel (g), Kassie (b)
WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/tantalum
EMAIL: melbee@bigpond.net.au or elysiaagus@hotmail.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Autumn/Winter 2008-2009)

VERNICIOUS KNID-
The Great Battle Within

US Demo CD 2008
10 TRACKS: Feel That Way – Finniansantics_Walkaway Mirror – March Of The Madmen – Runestone – All The Same – Believe In Yourself – Fields Of Love – Heart In Mine – I Remember – In This World

I am a big fan of VERNICIOUS KNID and their music. And the band very regularly add new songs to their website. This is their most recent work until now, worthy of almost forty minutes of awesome heavy metal. The band plays classic metal with a slight touch of folk in the background. At least the second song “Finniansantics_Walkaway Mirror” contains the sound of the flute. “March Of The Madmen” will surely appeal to the fans of epic metal and bands such as WARLORD. But you will also hear many influences of LED ZEPPELIN, IRON MAIDEN, MANILLA ROAD or VIRGIN STEELE in their music. The songs have been created by Cory and Amber Brown from Salt Lake City, Utah, who are brother and sister. Both musicians are responsible for the lead vocals and the guitar parts. To complete the band, they recruited Yancy Turner on drums and Kyle Despain on bass. The guitar solo in “Runestone” sounds truly mindblowing! The only minor factor here (something that could be corrigible in the near future) would be the poor production of the material. But I think, this is irrelevant to the fantastic songs, that they make. Just listen to the great riffs in “All The Same”. I don’t care about a perfect production, when I hear a good metal song. One of my faves on this ten track demo is “Fields Of Love”. The further we get into these ten tracks, the better the production, but also the more melodic the songs get. These songs would receive a very high rating, when they would be released on CD. So, it’s both thumbs up for VERNICIOUS KNID here. The last song, which is called “In This World” is another highlight for me and sounds like epic metal in the best MANILLA ROAD tradition. I think, I will visit the band’s website more often from now on, because I don’t want to miss a thing about VERNICIOUS KNID. Please continue like you do now, we love your work!

LINE UP: Amber Brown (v,g), Cory Brown (g, v), Yancy Turner (d), Kyle Despain (b)
WEBSITE: http://www.verniciousknid.com
EMAIL: vernicious_knid@hotmail.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Autumn/Winter 2008-2009)

ARVEN-
Arven

GER Demo CD 2008
5 TRACKS: Intro – Ruined Castle – Music Of Light – On Flaming Wings – A Strangers Story

Now this is what I'd like to call an interesting demo! The band is called ARVEN and they are five female members and a male drummer. The CD contains five songs and has a playing time of about twenty minutes. The forty-four seconds intro makes me think that we're dealing with a gothic metal band here. However, their sound is much more powerful, although the vocals are very suitable for gothic metal. Judging by the first minutes of "Ruined Castle", I would rather go for a description like melodic progressive power metal. What really strikes me is, that the ladies are all dressed up in beautiful dresses, which is why I made the connection to gothic metal in the first place. "Music Of Light" sounds a little bit modest. But not for long. Hear the loud and fast thundering drums at the end of the song, which sounds like magic. Six members in one band means six different influences, and all these influences seem to melt together in one song. A song, that opens with a sweet violin sound and closes with a thrashy rhythm. "On Flaming Wings" captures the nice opera voice of Carine, next to the very powerful sound of the band. They almost sound like SAXON with a female opera singer. Try to imagine that. Another band, that comes to mind frequently is SKYCLAD. Probably because their music is also very joyful and has a very folky atmosphere. Last song on this magnificent release is a song, called "A Strangers Story". A lengthy track with many mood changes, that surprised me big time. This is great stuff! I can highly recommend this demo CD to everyone, who likes a bit of power in their music. Okay, the opera voice of Carina might remind you of NIGHTWISH in a way, but it doesn't sound annoying at all. Fact is, that these ladies know how to rock, and their male drummer does, too. They also know to fascinate me with these great songs, containing tonz of power. A great demo and well worth to check it out!

LINE UP: Lena Yatsula (keys), Eva Kreuzer (b,v), Ines Thome (g), Anastasia Schmidt (g), Carina Hanselmann (v), Till Felden (d)
WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/arvenband
EMAIL: arvenguitar@email.de
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Spring/Summer 2008)

KILLSET-
Fake Surrounding

POL Promo CD 2006
4 TRACKS: Blood On My Back – Evidence Of Life – Point Of No Return – Fake Surrounding

KILLSET is an all-female band from the south of Poland. And somehow these bands always get my special attention. The band was born out of love for heavy metal, which is a good start in the first place. And you will definitely hear that passion back on these four songs and fifteen minutes of music. The CD opens with "Blood On My Back", which contains some fiery guitars, a steady drum beat and black metal like vocals. The atmosphere sounds right, the guitar solo is entertaining and they sure know to convince me, that they like their music very loud. Okay, this four track promo does have the sound of a home recording, but these four ladies have the right attitude and that's what counts here. "Evidence Of Life" is on next, which has got another great guitar solo. The guitars sound more laid back, comparing to the music, but that's okay. The fact, that there are guitar solos is already great! And the wild screaming vocals by Julie and Ms Vindice are very convincing indeed. The band already played live with Polish acts like FACE OF REALITY, TOTEM and DELIGHT. "Point Of No Return" starts off with the driving bass guitar of Ms. Vince. A threatening sound leaves our speakers, creating a very doomy atmosphere. "Fake Surrounding" - the very powerful title track - closes our introduction with KILLSET. I think, that people who are into OTEP, ARCH ENEMY, MY RUIN, KITTIE and HOLY MOSES will definitely have a great listen to the four songs on this promo CD. We are very curious, what the future has in store for these tough ladies and we'll keep an eye out, that's for sure!

LINE UP: Ms Vindice (b,v), Julie (g,v), Ola K. (g), Luiza (d, bv). WEBSITE: www.killset.hardzone.pl
MYSPACE: www.myspace.com/killset
EMAIL: dokax@wp.pl
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Spring/Summer 2008)

PRYM-
Prym

ROM Demo CD 2007
5 TRACKS: Intro – Dreams Of The One – Prym – Watching The Void - ....Of Lead

PRYM originally started their career in 2004 under the name of CRADLE MY DARLING. With this band, they created a cover CD called "Stolen", which is a good tongue-in-cheeck title for a cover CD. Three years later, after a name change and a few line up changes, they release this five track demo. The short instrumental intro doesn't give you any clue at all, in which direction the sound of PRYM is heading. "Dreams Of The One" gives the first hint. It's heavy, slightly doomy, progressive and maybe even a bit psychedelic. The dark voice of Muresan gives away the secret, that we're dealing with an Eastern European band here. And also the way, that Sulyok and Csiszár pluck their strings, make you think in that direction. Title track "Prym" starts modest and laid back. A short eruption follows, but soon they return to the modest state of mind in this song. While "Watching The Void" is a steady rock song with dreamy vocals and a fiery guitar solo at the end of the song. "... Of Lead" closes this demo in a rocking kind of way with a psychedelic edge. PRYM may not be a loud metal band, but they sure know to create a sound of their own, for which I have to give them full credit. Especially because this band comes from Romania, it is very important that we give some special attention to PRYM. Fans of OPETH or PSYCHOTIK WALTZ might dig this.

LINE UP: Muresan Réka (v), Sulyok Csaba (g), Csiszár Gellért (g), Kántor Zoltán (b), Csapó Huba (d)
WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/prymband
EMAIL: endre.sch@gmail.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Spring/Summer 2008)

SCATHA-
Keep Thrashing

BRA Demo CD 2007
5 TRACKS: The Unknown Man – No Mercy – Odd Being ..... Off Conception – Movido Pela Raiva – Own War

Thrash metal from Brazil. SCATHA was formed in 2005 in Rio de Janeiro, well-known for the calypso, salsa and rumba and the well-known carnival. Not for SCATHA, they rather unleash their fury in their loud music: old school thrash metal, that will probably remind you of bands like TESTAMENT and SLAYER. The melodic streak makes their sound very easy to enjoy. The fact, that this is another all-female band makes this demo very interesting to us. The five songs have a total playing time of about nineteen minutes. Opener "The Unknown Man" sounds fast and furious, but the speed goes down a little at the beginning of "No Mercy". Touches of "Reigning Blood" are present here, while later on the song gains more speed. "Odd Being ... Off Conception" contains some brutal growling of Angélica, who sounds darker than Tom Araya or Chuck Billy. The great guitar solos add a hot ingredient to the music of SCATHA. "Movido Pela Riva" enters your room like a storm. It's over before you know it, but it has a helluva impact on you. "Own War" is the final track, which contains a lot of melody. I think, the sound of SCATHA is really fascinating. Mind you, this is just a demo recording by a band, that hopefully has a long and successful future ahead of them. Both thumbs go up for SCATHA.

LINE UP: Angélica Burns (v), Julia Pombo (g), Cínthia Ventania (b), Paula Leão (g), Cynthia Tsai Yuen (d)
WEBSITE: www.scatha.net
EMAIL: bandascatha@gmail.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Spring/Summer 2008)

VANADIS-
Vanadis

NL Demo CD 2007
4 TRACKS: Ad Midjum – Fooled – Ride With The Northern Lights – Mortal Prison

This demo CD comes in a rather exclusive package. Next to the normal, four track, sixteen minute audio CD, you also get a forty minute live DVD (which is reviewed in our DVD section). A good way to present yourself to the public. VANADIS was formed in 2006 and they create a sound, that mixes progressive rock with gothic metal and symphonic rock. Especially in the instrumental parts, the symphonic side of the band reveals. Opener "Ad Midjum" is a good example of what this band is all about. They create a rather uncommon mix of styles and create a style of their own. Maybe the sound of a band like MORNING comes close to it. "Fooled" is definitely one of the highlights here. It opens with some moody keyboard playing by Ruben, topped with the voice of Manalys. Slowly, the song builds itself up to a duet with the keyboard player. The addition of the flute playing by David Macro, who also plays bass guitar in VANADIS, completes this romantic atmosphere. I regret to say, that this song is not really heavy metal or hard rock, but it's very beautiful indeed. WITHIN TEMPTATION and NIGHTWISH already know to score a hit single with a song like this and hopefully VANADIS will follow their footsteps. "Ride With The Northern Lights" is a short bombastic instrumental intro to demo closer "Mortal Prison", in which the band presses the pedal to the metal for the last time. Here, they show that a mix of different music styles can sound very exciting. VANADIS left behind a good impression with this four track audio sample. These four songs make sure, that VANADIS is another branch on the well growing Dutch music tree.

LINE UP: Manalis (v), Nathan Michaels (g), Ruben Marrenga (keys/v), David Macro (b/fl)
WEBSITE: http://www.vanadisnusic.com
EMAIL: info@vanadismusic.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Spring/Summer 2008)

ALERION-
Fledgling

NL Demo CD 2007
5 TRACKS: Hindsight (1976) – Estrangement – Ruins – Dragnipur – She-wolf

After some line up changes, the storm has finally cleared for ALERION. It’s time to introduce this band to you by means of this five track demo, called “Fledgling”. I must say, that I really like their sound. It’s not the standard gothic, female-fronted cup of tea, that you get served in front of you. Instead, this band adds more power and speed to their sound and provide us with some juicy tunes. The production may not all be that perfect, but it’s the music that counts here. Listen to opener “Hindsight (1976) to get an idea. Fiery riffs and a powerful beat are captured in this song. The guitar solos at the end are flashing and more than remarkable. A very good start for this Dutch band. “Estrangement” is a short instrumental tune, which starts as an introduction to the next song “Ruins”. Again the band is not afraid to beef up this one with an excellent guitar solo. “Dragnipur” opens with some cool riffs. And after four songs I know, that ALERION is something different and maybe even special in a way. It’s hard to compare them to any other band in the overfloaded metal scene. Which is good and it means that they’re one of a kind. Mix heavy metal with prog metal and add some female vocals to it. Shake this very well and add some chili for the powerful flavour. Voila, the ALERION taste is ready. “She-Wolf” is the last song on this five track, twenty minutes demo. It’s a cover by MEGADETH and played a bit faster. I should say, played in the way IRON MAIDEN would have done it. Just listen to the closing chords to catch my drift. ALERION is a good band, but they have to find a stable line up, before they can get any further than the demo phase. Note: While writing this review, we found out that singer Romy Muste is about to leave the band. What a shame after such a good start! It has also come to our attention, that despite Romy's departure, she will still sing on three gigs in February 2008 (see our concert page). These will be the final gigs Romy does with the band, after which she will truly leave ALERION. The band will announce a new singer early March....

LINE UP: Romy Muste (v), Bas Willemsen (lg,bv), Ronald van Schaik (b), Lennert Stap (d), Joey Klerkx (lg)
WEBSITE: www.alerion.nl
EMAIL: info -at- alerion.nl
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Winter 2007-2008)

ARTEP-
Fires Of Mortal Deception

CAN Demo CD 2007
4 TRACKS: Birth Of Anti-Christ – Anti-Christ – Eruption – Desolate Land

With Wagnerian bombastic sounds, ARTEP opens this four track demo with a short instrumental song called “Birth Of Anti-Christ”. No idea yet of what to come, I slowly put the volume up a bit. The “Anti-Christ” is a black metal explosion right in your face. Fast and furious drum rolls of Lord Goatesque, and his hellish screams will turn your bedroom into a pit of destruction and blasphemy. At the end of the song, there’s another bombastic piece, the way Wagner would have done it in his time. ARTEP is definitely not suitable for Christians and the faint-hearted. This band still uses corpse paint and loves their gruesome black metal outings as brutal as possible. The icely scream, that opens “Eruption” is about to hurt your eardrum. It’s the sound, you will hear, when your firstborn child doesn’t have any hands or feet, but a cloven hoof and claws. And a giant tail, which ends in a sort of spear point. “Eruption” is a brutal attack of black metal madness. Those unbelievable screams and the bass drums are so fast! It’s like the drummer has been haunted and followed by Pinhead of Hellraiser for years. The band looks very smashing indeed in their outfit, including giant leather wristbands, upside down crosses, corpse paint and a true black metal spirit, that comes together with it all. They also seem to have a wonderful live show. So both thumbs up for this brutal black metal experience from Canada. Guitarplayer ARTEP comes from Pilsen in Czechoslovakia and her musical skills lift this demo to a higher level. I like this piece of music a lot and if you like black metal that comes close to the sound of EMPEROR, you’ll have to check out this magnificent demo for Christ sake...oh, I mean for Satans sake of course.

LINE UP: Artep (g,v,b,synths), Lord Goatesque (v,d)
WEBSITE: www.artepmetalcom and www.myspace.com/artepmetal
EMAIL: msobotka@shaw.ca
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Winter 2007-2008)

GWYLLION-
Awekening The Dream

BEL Demo CD 2007
8 TRACKS: Trinity – Strings Of Fate – Curse Of The Wise – Forever Me (You Are) – Once Upon A Lifetime – Running Together – Lost In A Dream – Helpless

Listening to the first song of this demo CD by GWYLLION, I thought I would bump into yet another gothic metal band, only this time with a bit more power maybe. I must admit, that I was absolutely wrong. The second song “Strings Of Fate” sounds so much different (read: better) than opener “Trinity” and it felt like lightning struck me. The opening riffs and progressive speed changes easily caught my attention and fullfilled me with great excitement. And it is there, when you start to listen to their music with different eyes. “Curse Of The Wise” has a sphereful opening and contains a powerful riff. “Forever Me (You Are)” is a ballad-type of song, starting with the sound of piano strings. “Once Upon A Lifetime” is the perfect turnover to power and craziness at headbang speed. What an immense adrenaline kick! Their powerful songs are the absolute prove, that GWYLLION sounds very different than all the average bands, that you hear in general. And if you’re not convinced yet, just listen to the total musical madness, that the band spreads in a song called “Running Together”. Just perfect! It’s simply impossible to compare them to other bands. It’s the madness of MAJESTY, before they became DREAM THEATER. The lunatic input could very well come from musical geniusses like STEVE VAI or FRANK ZAPPA. It’s by far the best song for me, next to “Once Upon A Lifetime”. “Lost In A Dream” contains a spoken part in the midst of the song. These words were taken from poems by Edgar Allen Poe. Yes, GWYLLION know their classics, as you can see. The sudden mood change is unexpected and therefore very exciting. Slowly, it takes this song to a beautiful climax. The demo closes with a song called “Helpless”, which is more in the gothic metal style with some progressive parts to it and a little more power. GWYLLION has opened my eyes, what a magnificent band!

LINE UP: Annelore Vantomme (v), Martijn DeBonnet (g,bv), Steve Deleu (g), Thomas Halsberghe (b), Joris DeBonnet (keys,bv) and Wouter DeBonnet (d,perc, fl)
WEBSITE: www.gwyllion.com
EMAIL: info@gwyllion.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Winter 2007-2008)

AETHERIUM-
Circle With The End

BEL Demo CD 2006
4 TRACKS: The Fallen Prince – Visions Of (Dis)Illusion – Drifting – Circle With The Hand

We see, that Kristel has returned to the line up of the Belgian death doom metal band AETERIUM, after an absence of nearly four long years. Her maniacal growls add something special to the death doom music of this fivesome, which was founded in 1994. The music of AETHERIUM sounds a bit more complex than the average doom death metal band. They try to add more speed and mood changes in their sound. “Visions Of (Dis)Illusion” is a real brutal killer attack to your pittyful ears. It sounds sludgier and more brutal than ever. Thick riffs and a bulldozer rhythm enters my room and the growls are really sick. In “Drifiting”, their sound gets darker and more doomy. The slow grinding bassguitar might even drop down the temperature in your house, and the sun slowly hides behind raven black clouds. Maybe to never appear again. At least that’s the feeling I get, while listening to this doom metal monster. Title track “Circle With The End” is an odd duet of Kristel together with Luciver of WITCHSMELLER PURSUIVANT. This demo may not be easy on the ears for those, who want to discover AETHERIUM for the first time. You must be patient to discover the beauty of this band, especially because AETHERIUM doesn’t follow the long paved path, that is already there. They choose to follow the more difficult, steep, rocky road, which also leads to the top. It will possibly take them a bit longer to get there though.

LINE UP: Kristel (v), Bie (g), Jannick (g), Dave (d) and Joël (b,v)
ADDRESS: Labo Records, De Reiger 3, 2980 Zoersel, Belgium
WEBSITE: www.aetherium.be
EMAIL: laborec@pandora.be
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Summer 2007)

BUTCHERBABY-
2007 Demo

NL Demo CD 2005
4 TRACKS: Choking Her – Alarm Station – Boys Like You – Average Girl

Seeing the name BUTCHERBABY, my thoughts directly go out to THE PLASMATICS and WENDY O’ WILLIAMS. What a shock it was, when they launched this single and they were banned in almost every country. This band however comes from Holland and present us their four track demo, worthy of ten minutes of grungy punkrock noisemetal. They open with “Choking Her”, showing us that they really can play and not only crank out some useless noise alone. Strong riffs, a thundering bass and a drummer, who sometimes plays very innovative fills. And let’s not forget their singer, who does not scream for a change but really sings, which is a good thing if you want your fans to understand your lyrics and statements. “Alarm Station” is a short, but sweet punk rock song with a nice groove. Basje, their vocalist, puts a lot of emotion and power into her singing at the end of the song, which makes it highly enjoyable. In “Boys Like You”, the band gains some speed, which makes their music a little bit more punky. For me, this is the absolute highlight on the demo. Don’t forget to listen to “Average Girl” too, because this is really worth checking out as well. It proves, that BUTCHERBABY are not just a bunch of average girls. They’re some fine young musicians, who are ready to invade the rock scene of today. And although the band has nothing to do with the old PLASMATICS classic, I’m not disappointed at all after hearing these four songs. Rock on ladies, we know you can do it!

LINE UP: Sharon (d), Pamela (g), Kristel (b), Basje (v)
WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/butcherbabysucksass
EMAIL: butcherbaby@gmail.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Summer 2007)

CHAMBER 7-
untitled

US Promo CD 2007
4 TRACKS: The Evil I’d Do – Every Day – Across Your Skin – Naked

We know Jill Kuechle and CHAMBER 7 for a long, long time already, and it’s good to hear that the band is still around. High energy thrash metal enters my room, after an industrial intro. Jill’s bass sound is very prominent in the mix, like she’s ready to explode. Luckily, their vocalist is not a wild screamer. He never gets to the point, that you can’t hear what he’s singing about. That’s what I like. You need to be able to understand the message, that the band is spreading. “The Evil I’d Do” is very energetic and has some exciting breaks in the middle. In “Every Day”, we hear Jill’s bassguitar pounding again. And what about the other bandmembers? Well, they sound like SLIPKNOT, with the difference that the amount of noise is now coming from four people instead of nine clowns. The lyrics of “Every Day” are very recognisable. The beginning of “Across Your Skin” is dominated by the wild riffs of Dirty ‘Willy’ Edwards and Christopher Hernandez. Then, the speed is turned down a bit and turns into a solid power ballad. “Naked” will possibly become a crowd pleaser during the band’s live gigs, because the chorus is very easy to sing along to. When the song gains speed, it will create some crazy moves by their fans, I guess. CHAMBER 7 takes another step forward on their way to success. Their new album is in the making and I’m really looking forward to hearing the follow up to “Bacteria”, released in 1998. I’m delighted to know, that the Bay Area scene is kept alive by bands like CHAMBER 7.

LINE UP: Jon Hernandez (d), Dirty ‘Willy’Edwards (g), Jill Kuechle (b), Christopher Hernandez (v,g)
ADDRESS: CHAMBER 7, 1055 W. Washington Ave. #4, Sunnyvale, CA 94086, USA
WEBSITE: www.chamber7.com
EMAIL: chamber7@chamber7.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Summer 2007)

EMPTY DREAMS-
Solar Waltz

RO Demo CD 2007
3 TRACKS: Bad Moon Rising – Solar Waltz – End Of My Dreams

EMPTY DREAMS is a melodic gothic metal band from Romania. And I must admit, that it’s a rather good one, too. Next to the melodic gothic metal elements that are mentioned in their bio, we also hear some exciting progressive outings and tasteful breaks, which makes their music very adventurous. I like the dark voice of new keyboard player Emese Kiss. It fits well to the music of this Rumanian band. Already in opener “Bad Moon Rising”, you’ll get a perfect idea of what their music sounds like. It goes far beyond the thousand and one gothic metal clones. This band adds another dimension (or two) to the well-known gothic metal sound with angel-like female voices and brutal growling male vocals. The instrumental parts show a lot more variation and the vocals are much darker. Here and there, you can hear an occasional short male growl, but when I concentrate myself on the music alone in “Solar Waltz”, I can tell you that we’re dealing with some very highly skilled musicians here. EMPTY DREAMS sounds like a real revelation to me. The demo closes with a ballad, called “End Of My Dreams”. My conclusion is, that Emese’s voice is very suitable to sing ballads as well. And again we hear some male vocals here, too. The band consists for seven years now, and vocalist, keyboard player Emese is the newest member in the band, who joined EMPTY DREAMS one year ago. I don’t know any of their previous music before this demo, but what know for sure is that Emese is a perfect new recruit, who can lift this band to a higher level, maybe even on international grounds. So get ready for a Romanian invasion, which will start with EMPTY DREAMS. Very well done, my friends! Latest news is, that EMPTY DREAMS has added a new guitarplayer in Csaba Kellner, who is one of the founding members of the band, after Trebor Gombos has left earlier.

LINE UP: Tibor Türke (d), Trebor ‘R.S.’ Gombos (g,v), Levente ‘Levi’ Schindler (b), Emese Kiss (v,keys)
ADDRESS: EMPTY DREAMS c/o Str. Viorelelor Nr.16, 545300 Reghin, Jud.Mures, ROMANIA/EU
WEBSITE: www.emptydreams.net
EMAIL: emptydreams_band@yahoo.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Summer 2007)

INVERSUS-
2006 Demo

UKR Demo CD 2006
4 TRACKS: The Call Of The Dark Forrest – Keep On Running – The Land Of The Fallen Sun – Lord Of Demons (2004 version - bonus)

Many Eastern European bands are crying for attention nowadays. INVERSUS is one of these bands, who come from Ukraine. Do they play metal over there? Yes, they sure do and this band really impressed me with their four track demo. Their influences come from bands like EVANESCENCE, WITHIN TEMPTATION and more of these female-fronted gothic metal outfits. But once again this band adds something special to their sound giving it a little bit exclusivity. Otherwise they would simply drown in the pool of new releases. The very sphereful flute playing is such an enrichment to their sound. The guitar riffs are a bit wilder too maybe. And the male voice is not a grunter. Instead, he uses his talking voice rather than some wild screaming you might expect. The production is perfect for a demo and I think that, after hearing these songs, their debut album “The First Lightning” definitely will become a hit. The bonus track shows a more traditional approach of gothic metal. The male vocals are screaming now and the band also adds some Ukrainian lyrics to the song. To be honest with you, I like the newer songs better, although this is definitely not bad at all and it shows their Ukrainian roots. The demo plays for about nineteen minutes.

LINE UP: Natalya 'Bast' Kramorenko (v), Ruslan Drozd (g), Aleksandr ‘Alein’ Zinye (keys), Demitri Oleynik (b), Yuliya Zlemlynya (fl), Igor ‘CacoDem0n’ Grabin (dr)
WEBSITE: www.inversus.kiev.ua/
EMAIL: band@inversus.kiev.ua
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Summer 2007)

KANYBL KAOW-
Demos

US Demo CD 2007
5 TRACKS: Angel – Lies – Plastic Peephole – The Pickle Song – The Wrong Song

This is a five track compilation of demo recordings by the American all-female band KANYBL KAOW. When I take a look at the painted faces of all bandmembers, my thoughts directly go out to TORMENTULA (the brainchild of drummer Alice Bludgeon), who looked very much alike in their early days. But I am quite curious to hear what KANYBL KAOW sounds like. In “Angel”, the band starts off with a riff, that could either come from SLADE or QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. It’s a catchy song with a rocking attitude. While “Lies” shows the more brutal side of the band, including some brutal growls. Alternative rock meets aggression in this song. “Plastic Peephole” also sounds very alternative with some touches of NIRVANA in a way. The darker atmosphere makes me draw this comparison. “The Pickle Song” sounds very aggressive and “The Wrong Song” is not so wrong as the title might suggest. Here and there, you’ll hear some mean growls, that are highly enjoyable. Sure, this band has still got a long road to go, before they’ll reach their destination. But their positive attitude and their will to become successful counts a lot more than becoming a big hit right away. If you see cows grinding meat instead of grass, hold a microphone to their mouth. Maybe you’re lucky and they start to sing, instead of saying ‘Booh’. Watch out though, because possibly you’re eye to eye with a cannibal cow then!

LINE UP: Rain (v), Snow (g), Silvermoon (d) Whitefeather (b)
WEBSITE: www.kanybl-kaow.com or www.myspace.com/kanyblkaow
EMAIL: snow_on_guitar@kanybl-kaow.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Summer 2007)

TULAR-
Witch

ITA Demo CD 2007
3 TRACKS + 1 BONUS TRACK VIDEOCLIP: Witch! (Radio Edit) – Witch! (Album Edit) – We Rule The Night – Bonus: random cut of outcoming video clip

This three track demo contains some hot riffing, next to the witchy vocals of Francesca Martini. The epic metal of TULAR sounds quite powerful and it has some very fine moments. For example listen to the great guitarsolo in “Witch!” to get an idea. Together with the ‘TORI AMOS goes metal’-like vocals of Francesca, this surely is a very powerful and inspiring combination. In “We Rule The Night”, we hear the soprano vocals of Francesca, showing the more epical side by this Italian band. In the enhanced video clip we see, that Francesca looks a lot like Sharon den Adel of WITHIN TEMPTATION, but their music definitely sounds much more metal. An interesting release and I’m very curious to hear their upcoming debut album “The Truth Beneath The Mask”. I believe, that I’m not overrating the band, considering the fact that they only consist for a couple of months now. TULAR is definitely a name to watch out for in the future and I wish them all the luck in the world!

LINE UP: Francesca Martini (v), Emanuelle Palmieri (g), David Folchitto (session drummer from STORMLORD), Alessandro Iacobellis (rhythm guitar) and Michele Raspanti (b)
ADDRESS: TULAR c/o Via del Fringuello 119, 00169 Roma, ITALY.
WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/tularofficial
EMAIL: tular@eutmused.com. or manager@euterpemusica.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Summer 2007)

TWILIGHT ODYSSEY-
Promo three track

US Promo CD 2007
3 TRACKS: Squadron – Long Day’s Journey Into Night - Outlanders

With the full-length CD still fresh in mind, we received the new promo three tracker of New York City metalheads TWILIGHT ODYSSEY. The three songs have a total running time of about seventeen minutes. The disc opens with wailing sirens, before “Squadron” takes off faster than the speed of light. Great speedy riffs and the amazing siren voice of P.J. make me feel very happy, that TWILIGHT ODYSSEY didn’t change too much in their overall sound. The song is a mix of the old IRON MAIDEN sound and the great power metal sound of today. However, TWILIGHT ODYSSEY wouldn’t be the same, if they didn’t add some surprisingly speed changes in this song (listen to the great instrumental part for example). The CD continues with “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”, which obviously has more IRON MAIDEN influences (“The Trooper” era), especially when you listen to the sound of the guitars. The warm voice of P.J. fits just perfectly to this song. Also, there’s room for some great guitarsolos from both Ben and Jimmy. And I can tell you, that their guitarsolos even go far beyond the ability of the IRON MAIDEN threesome. The song closes with a wild scream of P.J, which sounds like a grunt. “Outlanders” is the longest track here, which contains some Eastern influences here and there. After the intro, we will enjoy some marvellous guitarwork of newcomer Jimmy, before this epic metaltrack really starts off. I really like the dubbed vocals of P.J. here, who sings the choir parts, as well as the refrain. Then suddenly the song stops. What follows after this short interruption, sounds too good to be true for any metalhead on this globe. The band pulls up in fifth gear and sounds exactly like one of the good speed changes, that the old NWOBHM bands used to put into their music. They really took me by surprise here and the very powerful drumming of Sal Pellerito sounded like magic. All in all, you can say that this song “Outlanders”, and especially in the last part where they speed up things so suddenly and unexpectedly, they stole my heart again, like on their first demo. TWILIGHT ODYSSEY still sounds like magic to me and if they will continue making songs like this, they will always have our full support. It’s a shame though, that this three track promo is not for sale, but it gives me a fairly good idea of what their follow-up CD will sound like. Besides singer and siren P.J, guitar shredders Ben Asaro and Jimmy Pena, the band consists of octopus drummer Sal Pellerito and Erik Mowry on bass. I deeply bow for TWILIGHT ODYSSEY for keeping the metal spirit allive. Thanks very much to Ben and P.J. for sending us this promo CD to review on Metal Maidens.

LINE UP: Pamela ‘P.J.’ Berlinghof (v), Ben Asaro (g, synth), Jimmy Pena (g), Erik Mowry (b) and Sal Pellerito (d, perc)
WEBSITE: www.twilightodyssey.com or www.myspace.com/twilightodyssey
EMAIL: rocktropolis@optonline.net
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: Summer 2007)

BELLE GUNNESS-
Promo 2007

NL Promo CD 2007
2 TRACKS: Defend Yourself – Everywhere

Call your band after a female Norwegian serial killer, and your name becomes well-known pretty easily. But that’s not the only reason, why this band will gain interest in the near future. They’re one of the very few all-female death metal / thrash bands in this scene, which is quite remarkable in Europe. Try to find five ladies with the same interest for extreme death metal music, and I guess you’ll be pretty lucky already. This time, they even play together in a band for crying out loud. What’s the next step? That they play some good music maybe?? The answer is a heartfelt ‘yes’! It’s difficult to judge a band by only two songs, but I really liked what I heard here. The band consists of former members of DELETERIOUS, SOULREAVER and IZEGRIM, so they already have gained quite some experience in playing bone hard death metal tunes. The songs on this demo CD are called “Defend Yourself” and “Everywhere”. The recordings took place in July 2006 under the guidance of sound enigeer Frank Klein Douwel, who worked with THE MONOLITH DEATHCULT and BORN FROM PAIN amongst others. Singer Anita shows, that women are able to grunt in a very brutal way, and the other ladies know how to play some energetic rhythms. They also use some speed changes in their music to put in some excitement. Fans of the latter DEATH might like this style. Brutal, yet technical death metal. “Everywhere” starts with a spoken intro, When the ‘slayerian’ riffs starts, there is no escape anymore. They are f*cking everywhere. When the drummer starts playing contrary rhythms, it sounds like they’re making a few mistakes. But I can assure you, that it only would sound strange to use contrary rhythms, if you’re not used to playing them. If you like technical death metal, then you’d better bow for the ladies of BELLE GUNNESS, otherwise they’ll send the Norwegian serial slayer to your home. In closing, here’s one latest addition to get everything right. Recent drummer Gerdien (who didn’t play on this demo, by the way) left the band early May and bassist Martine took over her duties. The band is currently looking for a new motivated (female) bassplayer.

(CURRENT) LINE UP: Anita Borst (v), Petra Guijt (g), Marjolein van Diggelen (g), Martine Sipma (dr)
WEBSITE: www.bellegunness.nl/ or www.myspace.com/bellegunnessmetal
EMAIL: petra.guijt@hotmail.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: June 2007)

DELUGE MASTER-
Down Of Death

BRA Demo CD 2005
6 TRACKS: The Beginning (Intro) – Master Of War – Soldiers Of Steel – Down Of Death – Dark World – Screams Of Crowd

We know that Brazil has got a lot of great heavy metal bands. And we regularly find out about new well-talented bands from this country. This band was brought to our attention by our good friend Rainer Krukenberg from Berlin. We want to thank him very much for making this demo review possible. What we hear are six songs with a total playing time of about twenty minutes. The intro or “The Beginning”, as they call it, is very short and an instrumental track. “Master Of War” sounds like IRON MAIDEN in their early days. Good guitarwork, powerful vocals and a steady rhythm. “Soldiers Of Steel” sounds more epical and the swords are held high on this one! Titletrack “Down Of Death” is fast and it contains some flashing axework. The IRON MAIDEN influences are gone here. I hear a band, that tries to create a sound of their own. Melodic, yet still quite heavy. While “Dark World” may sound a bit more melodic, the guitarsolos are really great. CD closer “Screams Of Crowd” is again fast and possibly the best song on this six track demo. I really like the speed change in the middle of this song, showing that we’re dealing with a very promising band, that exists for five years now.

LINE UP: Sérgio Gomes (g), Pedro Bianchie (g), Sidhia Najara (v), Elson Monteiro (b) and Rafael Ramos (dr)
ADDRESS: Sérgio Gomes, Rua dos Pioneiros, 889 Loteamento Novo Horizonte – Natal/RN Cep: 59125-340, Brazil
WEBSITE: www.myspace.com/delugemaster
EMAIL: delugemaster@yahoo.com.br
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: April 2007)

HYSTERICA-
Demo 2006 + song 2005

SWE Demo CD 2006
6 TRACKS: Heavy Metal Man (2005) - Louder - Pain In The Ass - The Bitch Is Back - God Damn Evil - Wild Child

Jesus, how they blew me off my socks! This band from Sweden is ultrahot and one of the best metal bands, I’ve heard in ages. Sometimes lightning strikes you, and you’ll hear the sound that you’re desperately searching for. But every new band predicts to be the new metal sensation and all they can come up with are heavy beats, gothic shit or death grunts. This is not the case with HYSTERICA, because these six Swedish vixens deliver the goods to the max. If “Heavy Metal Man” was about me, I would be as proud as a horse with seven cocks! This song was released in 2005. In my imagination, I see ten thousands of fans throwing their fists in the air, while singing the lyrics. But the song I fell in love with is called “Louder”. What power!!! In my fascination to scream out ‘L-O-U-D-E-R-!!! and throwing my fist in the air, I fell off my chair, flat on my back. This is the real shit! From that moment on, I knew we are dealing with a very special all-female true heavy metal band here. And then I hadn’t even heard the double bass drums and the ACCEPT-like guitarsound of “Pain In The Ass”. This is what heavy metal is all about! JUDAS PRIEST-like gallopping riffs, a thundering double bass sound of a drummer, that sounds like she has four legs instead of two, plus a vocalist who knows to scream the lungs out of her beautiful body. I just needed to review this, although the stuff we created is not official. The first song “Heavy Metal Man” is from the band’s 2005 demo. The second song is a mix of five songs from their 2006 five track demo. These songs are ready for download on the bands official website. “Louder” comes as a full version, and the other four songs cut after about two minutes. “God Damn Evil” sounds as evil as the title already predicts, and “Wild Child” could be autobiographical, because this band is ultrahotwildevilsexymetalloud and in particularly, they stand proud and show no mercy for their victims. And one of these victims is trying to find the right words to show his appreciation for their true metal sound. I am not worthy to speak to these six new goddesses of heavy metal, but I want them to know that their humble servants of Metal Maidens raise their swords for RockZilla, Hell’n, Xotica, Sinderella, Bitchie and Electra. We all become HYSTERICAL, when we have to live one day without the music of this band. Hopefully, more music will follow soon, because HYSTERICA has put the heavy f*cking metal back on the map for everyone. Thanks a zillion for that, this is absolute killer stuff!!! Warning: only listen to these majestic songs, when you’re a real metalhead, otherwise these girls will eat you alive!

LINE UP: RockZilla (g), Hell’n (d), Xotica (b), Sinderella (v), Bitchie (g) and Electra (keys)
WEBSITE: www.hysterica.se/ or www.myspace.com/hystericaswe
EMAIL: femetal@hysterica.se
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: April 2007)

IMP-
The Telescopic Microscope

NL Demo CD 2007
3 TRACKS: Megalomania – Mathematician – Particles

Wow, what a great sound! It’s like a steam engine rolls out of your speakers. The three songs have a total playing time of almost twenty minutes. I hear a lot of different influences, but most of all, I hear that the band has put in a lot more metal and power in their music. In “Megalomania” we hear a mix of many styles, which makes their music almost undefinable. IMP simply doesn’t want to be put in a box with a zillion of other bands. Create a complex style of your own, and nobody will be able to put a label on you. Good thinking. Their sound is sometimes brutal and thrashy and at other times even progressive and with a mathematic precision for rhythms. In this context, they choose the right title for the next song. In “Mathematician”, I hear some TESTAMENT and SACRED REICH influences and a great guitar solo. Whereas “Megalomania” has a more complex structure (some touches of WATCHTOWER here and there), the “Mathematician” shows a bit more brutality, power and speed. But I L-O-V-E both songs!! They sound absolutely f*cking fabulous to me. “Particles” is another long track, which sounds completely different than the other two songs. It starts off very jazzy, showing a different side of this very well-talented Dutch band. Don’t expect the well-known ‘thirteen a dozen’ songs from IMP, because this comes much deeper. And in the complex structures of these three rough diamonds, you can almost touch the heart and soul of this band. Their songs may not be easy to listen to, but it gives their sound that special touch, I am searching for in hard rock and heavy metal music. Great stuff, and recommended by yours truly to everyone with ears on their head.

LINE UP: Monica Janssen (v), Fred Koot (g), Elbert de Hoog (g), Gerard Ras (b) abd Matthijs Krijnen (dr)
WEBSITE: www.imp-web.nl/ or www.myspace.com/impmetal
EMAIL: management@imp-web.nl
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: May 2007)

POSEIDON-
Demo 2006

ITA Demo CD 2006
3 TRACKS: The Fugitive – Untied – Holy War

POSEIDON from Italy presents us their three track demo CD here. They exist for almost three years now and these three songs prove, that this band has got a lot of power. It’s a shame, that this demo doesn’t sound too well. However, their musical ideas are very interesting indeed. “The Fugutive” starts off with some good riffs. Halfway through the song, I hear some surprisingly progressive instrumental parts, showing that the band is able to play more than only the straight forward stuff. “Untied” is a lengthy ballad, which slowly transforms into a more uptempo rock song with a very good guitar solo. The voice of Valek, the female frontlady of the band, sounds a bit shrill, but this might be the result of the bad sound quality of this demo. In “Holy War” she sounds too far away in the mix, while the drums sound very much upfront. Again, the song is good, but that sound quality needs much more attention. Especially today, when technology is so much better than in the eighties, when all demos sounded like this. When the band will be able to record these songs in a much better quality, we can finally judge them on their positive aspects. I surely recognise some good ideas, but with a sound as shitty as this, it’s really impossible to find people to discover the strength of this band. Despite this critical review, I definitely would love to hear more from this band in the near future under (hopefully) better circumstances, because underneath this dusty sound, I hear a very powerful metal band with some nice musical ideas.

LINE UP: Valek (v), Wulb (g), Fede (g), Ben (d), Vlad (b, not on the demo)
ADDRESS: POSEIDON c/o Visintin, Via Vergiate 3, 20151, Milano, Italy
WEBSITE: www.poseidon-official.com or www.myspace.com/poseidonofficial
EMAIL: poseidon@poseidon-official.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: April 2007)

A NEW DAWN-
Promo 2006

NL Promo CD 2006
3 TRACKS: Ascension – Victimless Tragedy – Darkness Falls

A NEW DAWN consists of Sanne Kluiters on vocals, Monica Janssen on bass, vocals and grunts (IMP / X-TINXTION), Gijsbert Spek on drums (who is recently replaced by Peter van Toren; X-TINXTION), Josta Kluiters (Sanne’s sister) on vocals, Willem Cremer on guitar and Elbert de Hoog (MENTAL CAPTIVITY) on guitar. Wow, three female singers! And Monica Janssen is even one the best female grunters in Holland, reaching a second place in the Dutch Grunt Championsship 2006. The band started out as a project, but due to the success the band gained afterwards, they decided to take this project further on the road and become a real band. To promote their upcoming new album, they recorded three songs on this promo CD; two completely new songs and one re-recorded track. The grunts of Monica are brutal and many male singers can kiss her boots, for her aggressiveness and cruelty. The grunts are interchanged with melodic vocals, and in “Ascension”, we even hear an impressive canon vocal piece in the middle. The music of the band reminds me in a way of the good ol’ sound of IRON MAIDEN, and that’s a huge compliment, as far as I’m concerned. Monica already impressed us before, when still playing in IMP, but in A NEW DAWN, she shows that her talents have grown a lot since. “Victimless Tragedy” captures some nice instrumental moments, mixed with great emotional singing. This version is a re-recording of the version, which was on their EP “The Wisdom Of Hindsight”. This goes far beyond the ordinairy gothic metal sound of the many bands we have heard before. This sounds like art metal. “Darkness Falls” is another new song again and it shows the diversity in styles, this band has to offer. It also has a slightly more melodic approach. This promo is the perfect pre-taster of what to expect from their new album.

LINE UP: Sanne Kluiters (v), Monica Janssen (b,v,grunts), Josta Kluiters (v), Willem Cremer (g), Peter van Toren (dr), Elbert de Hoog (g).
WEBSITE: www.anewdawnband.nl/
EMAIL: management@anewdawnband.nl
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: November/December 2006)

GRAYCEON-
Demo

US Demo CD 2006
2 TRACKS: Love Is – Into The Deep

How can you possible say something interesting, when you’ve only heard two songs by a certain band? Well, I will give it a try. GRAYCEON is a melting pot of various styles, blended into a style of their own. The dark sounds are topped with some lazy kind of singing, which actually fits quite well to their progressive rock sound. When you record songs, that last over twelve minutes, you would at least have to mention the term ‘progressive’ in your review once. However, to call their music progressive (oops I did it again) rock or metal, goes a bit over the top though. Therefore it’s much too different. The first song starts off like a regular rock song, but when it slowly goes on, you will discover that this band wants to stay away from the usual ways of writing a song. Add to this the use of the electric cello by female vocalist Jackie Perez Gratz, and you’ll get a blend of rock music that is very hard to describe, but which contains a high grade of innovation. At the end, there’s a nice instrumental break, which sounds like it’s not a part of the original song. It’s those small, magic twists in the music of GRAYCEON, which makes it interesting to listen to this band. They put a lot of creativity into their music. If this is easy to comprehend for the average metalfan is something I am not too sure about. But if you like the prog heroes from the past like YES and KING CRIMSON, then GRAYCEON’s demo will be well worth the try. The second song “Into The Deep” starts with a very lengthy instrumental part, in which we hear the talent of these gifted musicians again. Most part of this song is instrumental, by the way, and perhaps that’s why it sounds very exciting to me. Besides Jackie, the band consists of Max Doyle on guitar and vocals and Zack Farwell on drums. This demo is especially interesting for those, who like music that goes further than loud metalriffs alone.

LINE UP: Jackie Perez Gratz (electric cello, v), Max Doyle (g,v), Zack Farwell (d).
ADDRESS: GRAYCEON, c/o 3238A Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.
EMAIL: jackie@grayceon.com
WEBSITE: http://www.grayceon.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: November/December 2006)

SCARLET DEW-
Concrete Maze

BEL Demo CD 2006
6 TRACKS: Spoken Intro - Concrete Maze – Abstain From Solace – Hibernation – Follow The Blind – Sentinels Of Malady

A spoken intro always creates some kind of mysterious atmosphere. SCARLET DEW hails from Belgium, and their demo starts with such a spoken intro. “Concrete Maze” opens this demo CD with a powerful hard rock sound. It connects seemlessly to the more doomy “Abstain From Solace”. And that’s when we’ve explained the music style of these Belgian metalheads to you. Traditional hardrock with a touch of doom. Peggy Meesussen’s voice sometimes reminds me a of Skin (SKUNK ANANSIE, SKIN), especially in the short, higher notes. And she can take this as a compliment for sure! “Hibernation” is a more dense song, which contains some nice guitarwork. The two guitarplayers Arne Pinto de Carvalho and Jan Degeeter really understand, what fans expect from a good guitarist. “Follow The Blind” is the most exciting and innovative song on this demo CD. It starts off with a doomy, slow sound, but the sphere and mood changes in the middle of the song are a real surprise. Then the band slowly works to a much more powerful climax, including some flashing guitarwork. The demo closes with “Sentinels Of Malady”, which completes this nice thirty minutes CD. It’s a lengthy track, which opens with some stunning heavy, doomy guitar riffs and basically builds up to a similar kind of climax, like in the previous song. An absolute highlight, as far as I’m concerned. Again my compliments for the guitarplayers and the tight rhythm section. Fact is, that they saved the best for last on this demo CD. SCARLET DEW is definitely a name to remember. And although the band only exists for two years, they showed us that they are capable of playing some outstanding songs already. The band is a possible promise in the dark world of doomy metal, in our opinion. A band, that also knows to present their demo in a different (and nice) way, because it came wrapped in a DVD box with a transparent cover and the drawing of a maze on the front. A real eye-catcher, next to the dull CD covers, we sometimes get to see. Our compliments for this as well.

LINE UP: Senne Mannaers (d), Arne Pinto de Carvalho (g), Jan Degeeter (g), Wim Boey (b), Peggy Meeussen (v).
EMAIL: info@scarletdew.be
WEBSITE: http://www.scarletdew.be
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: November/December 2006)

SEASONS OF SORROW-
The Awakening Demo

CAN Demo CD 2006
3 TRACKS: Across Bleeding Seas – The Forsaken Prophecies – Penance In Black

I really like the three songs, that I hear here. The epic metal of SEASONS OF SORROW sounds exciting enough and contains a lot of fast guitarwork and speed and mood changes. I hear some fairytale kind of music, such as in opener “Across Bleeding Seas”, but “The Forsaken Prophecies” sounds like more traditional metal, including MANOWAR like epic chants. It’s more brutal and I dare to raise my sword for the epic warrior metal sound of this band. SEASONS OF SORROW have already shared the stage with MEATLOCKER 7, ALLFATHER and the almighty INFERNAL MAJESTY, which is a good start for a young metal band on their way to fortune and fame. The use of a violin may draw a comparision with SKYCLAD in a way, but the music of this Vancouver based band is much more brutal than the folky metal of SKYCLAD. The lengthy song “Penance In Black” (the shortest track is longer than five minutes) gives you a good idea of what this band is all about. A massive mix of black metal, epic metal and traditional power metal with great guitarwork. The female input comes from female singer Myah Rogerson with her beautiful soprano voice. I am really looking forward to hearing a full-length album by this very promising band from Canada. And thumbs up for their CD sleeve design, by the way!

LINE UP: Jesse Day (g), Jaron Evil (g), Adrian Miles (v), Myah Rogerson (v), Evan Rogerson (d), Julian Kenchenten (b).
ADDRESS: SEASON OF SORROW, c/o Adrian Miles, 104-2523 Wark Street, Victoria BC V8T 467, Canada
EMAIL: akylore@gmail.com
WEBSITE: http://www.seasonsofsorrow.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: November/December 2006)

DAGGER-
Summer Demo

MEX Demo CD 2005
3 TRACKS: Black River – Keep Running – Potential Destruction

When people still have their doubts about the metal scene in Mexico, then they have to check out this three track demo. DAGGER surprised me a lot with these three magnificent songs, that sound like they were written and played by an obscure NWOBHM band from the eighties. “Black River” will give you this feeling already. Fast, sober riffs, like WITCHFINDER GENERAL used to play them. Only a little bit faster maybe. And the dark vocals match perfectly with them. This is the description of the sound of the band in a nutshell. They continue with “Keep Running”, opening with an old PRIEST riff. This time without the high pinching vocals of Mr. Halford, but with the darker and lower voice of Gaby de la O. It definitely has the same brute power though. The demo CD closes with another magnificent metal song, called “Potential Destruction”. It’s a shame, that the vocals are a bit monotonous, but that’s just a minor detail. The songs are perfect and have this great underground metal atmosphere. They sound raw and unpolished and that’s the way I like it. Not as technical as MEANSTREAK or ICE AGE, but surely heavier than PHANTOM BLUE. DAGGER shows us, that there’s still room for heavy metal in Mexico. And they could easily be a good example of how a good heavy metal band should sound. Thumbs up for this band, who do not care about commercialism or fame. All they want to do is playing heavy metal, and that’s why we highly recommend this demo to you all!

LINE UP: Gaby de la O. (v,g), Eliza Rodríguez (b,bv), Mireya Vázquez (dr), Pablo Petrova (g).
ADDRESS: DAGGER, Rio Mixcoac 45 – 303, Insurgentes Mixcoac, Mexico D.F. 03920, Mexico.
WEBSITE: www.daggerband.com
EMAIL: contacto@daggerband.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: January/February 2006)

KARRAS-
Demo

GER Demo CD 2005
4 TRACKS: Forever War – Doom Armada – Utopia – Conquer The World

Okay, the neighbours are gone away for the weekend. It’s time to listen to the demo of KARRAS from Berlin. Doomy, death thrash metal is what we get on this four song demo CD. I like the PANTERA-like riffs in opener “Forever War”. The vocals are very brutal. Next on, is “Doom Armada”. Hear Devrim scream like a mad man in the beginning of this song. I like this one very much, because of the many speed changes, that they put in the song. A galopping beat, which easily changes into a slower doomy rhythm. The end of the song even has a short classical part. In “Utopia”, we hear the angry Devrim again, being chased by a devilish fast rhythm. The vocals in this song range from screaming to grunting. You can add angry growling to this list as well. For a band, that was founded at the end of 2004, they sound remarkably tight. They played their first gig, when they existed for almost one year and supported HATESPHERE at the famous Knaack club. Now that must have been a wild party! So far, so good. “Utopia” also has these well-known PANTERA-like riffs, patented by Dimebag Darrell, but used by many other brutal thrash metal bands. “Conquer The World” closes this fifteen minute demo. In my imagination, I see tonz of fists and hair flying through the air. Conclusion would be that this band, consisting of three wild ladies and one, even wilder, singer sure know to write some good brutal material. They know to implement speed changes in their songs and they play damn good riffs. A good demo, and a very important step forward on their way to the thrash throne. Latest news is, that the band is currently recording their debut CD, which will be released in April/May 2006. I’ll keep an eye out for it!

LINE UP: Devrim (v), Corinne (b), Ela (g), Sabine (dr).
WEBSITE: http://www.myspace.com/karrasberlin & http://www.karrasmusic.com
EMAIL: info@karrasmusic.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: January/February 2006)

NASU BLUE-
Fashionable Late

US Demo CD 2005
3 TRACKS: Blakamore – Dirty Thursday – Slower The Breath Of Thee

These two ladies are from a band called DIZEAZED, based in Indianapolis. The three songs on this demo CD have a total running time of a bit more than seven minutes. They play dark atmospheric music, which is not that easy to comprehend. People, who dig gothic rock might want to check this out. It’s rather experimental and contains some vocals and very sober instrumentation. The songs derive from the usual songs you might hear, when listening to gothic like music. I would call this an experimental mix of PINK FLOYD (Syd Barrett era) and gothic rock. “Dirty Thursday” would fit this description best, and it easily became the highlight of this three track demo for me. The music never becomes really heavy, but it’s remains dark, sober, moody, though sphereful. If this doesn’t frighten you off, feel free and check out this band. Metalheads better leave this for what it is, but if you like the more experimental side of KATE BUSH and/or PINK FLOYD, then this might be something for you.

LINE UP: Macey Blue & Dannie Lee (all instr.).
WEBSITE: nasublue.tripod.com
EMAIL: naublue@lycos.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: January/February 2006)

ANGTORIA-
Angtoria

NOR Demo CD 2005
5 TRACKS: Six Feet Under’s Not Deep Enough – Confide In Me – Suicide On My Mind – Decity Of Disgust – A Child That Walks The Path Of A Man

ANGTORIA consists of Tommy Rehn (MOAHNI MOAHNA), Chris Rehn (ABYSSOS) and Sarah Jezebel Deva (CRADLE OF FILTH, THERION, MORTIIS), and we can listen to the first five outings of their new band here. The monicker is epic orchestral music and it is no surprise, that Sarah is the chain on this release with her beautiful voice. Dry riffs and bombastic orchestral arrangements accompany this metal diva on this demo, which will give you a very good idea of what ANGTORIA is all about. No ultraloud blast beats, but pure rock music with an orchestral feel and clear vocals as biggest eye-catcher. The second song is quite a big surprise in this context, because how could people that have their roots in the metal, create a metal rock version of “Confide In Me”, which was originally done by KYLIE MINOGUE? It opens with guitar riffs that reminded me of “The Hellion” of JUDAS PRIEST in a certain way, but when the orchestra starts playing their thing, they seem to fade away into a mist of violins and horns. I am not familiar with the original version of this song, but this sounds not bad at all. The music on this five track demo CD never gets extreme though. And people searching for grunts or blast beats should stay away from this product. But if you like the sweet voice of Sarah Jezebel Deva in a different set up, than the extreme metal outings, that she’s known for, then you must definitely check this one out. “Deity Of Disgust” is maybe the most heavy song here, but the rhythm slows down a bit, when Sarah starts her singing. However, for all the metalheads amongst us, it might be one of the highlights on this good demo CD. For more info, visit their website at: http://www.angtoria.com. The latest news, that reached us is that the band has signed a deal with Listenable Records, and that their album “God Has A Plan For Us All” will be released around April 2006.

LINE UP: Sarah Jezebel Deva (v), Chris Rehn (orchestration), Tommy Rehn (orchestration).
WEBSITE: http://www.angtoria.com
EMAIL: info@angtoria.com, or tommyrehn@angtoria.com or chris.rehn@angtoria.com.
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: November/December 2005)

BACKSLASH-
Backslash

GER Demo CD 2004
4 TRACKS: Horrorscope – Enter The Night – Fairy Tales – The Gambler Wins The Game

After the first seconds, I thought that BACKSLASH would have changed their sound and become one of the many NIGHTWISH clones out there. But I withdraw this feeling right away, when the double bass drum sound enters my room. Sometimes Heike’s vocals sound like she’s ready to become the successor of Tarja Turunen of NIGHTWISH, but in general, we get to hear her more rocking side. The NIGHTWISH-like operatic sound returns in the second song on this four track, twenty minute demo. But again, it sounds a lot more heavy than the gothic metal by this Finnish band. BACKSLASH are still in charge of delivering a good piece of heavy metal and they are as yet one of the very few bands, that didn’t turn their backs on their original sound. Newcomer Benjamin on guitar, shows us that he’s a good replacement for Holgi, who left the band after eight long years. You may think what you want about this German band, but I still do believe that their music sounds very fresh. It’s about time other people start to realize, that we are dealing with a bunch of well-talented musicians here, that have some good thoughts of how to write a catchy, though inventive metal song. The latest news, that we have about BACKSLASH is, that their fourth album will be released somewhere in 2006. After hearing these four tracks, I will be looking forward to it very much already.

LINE UP: Bum Bum Wolfgang (b), Heike Grebita (v), Frank Exner (g), Benjamin (g) and Jens Koehn (dr).
ADDRESS: Norbert Gareis, Obere Sandstrasse 4, 96049 Bamberg, Germany.
WEBSITE: http://www.backslash.de.cx
EMAIL: backslash@freenet.de
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: November/December 2005)

FOR SELENA AND SIN-
Draining

FIN Demo CD 2005
3 TRACKS: Heal – Jubileum Of My Sorrow – Draining

FOR SELENA AND SIN hail from Finland and they exist since 2004. The three songs on this demo CD are a good reflection of what this band is all about. They mix dreamy female vocals with nice sphereful orchestra and wrap it up in a warm, cosy sound. Not too heavy, not too modest, but very easy on the ear. The female vocals of Sini brings some point of rest in the trip that you are making, while listening to the three songs on this sixteen minutes demo. Although this is just the start of a hopefully long career, we can clearly say that this band bears a lot of talent. Think about AMORPHIS without the grunts. Or a heavier version of TORI AMOS. The guitars sound loud in the instrumental parts, and they also turn back the volume knob a few times, when Sini sings her choruses. You can float away with your thoughts on their music, which is very good thing indeed, because mostly I only get this feeling with great names like KATE BUSH (although their music has got nothing to do with this multi-talented lady!!!). Best song for me was the title track and CD closer “Draining”, which also switches the powerful guitars with the more modest parts.

LINE UP: Pasi (g), Teemu (b), Sini (v), Kuha (d), Teme (keys) and Mika (g)
ADDRESS: Teemu Turkia, Pääskysentie 2 A 40, FI-48220 Kotka, Finland.
WEBSITE: http://www.forselena.net.
EMAIL: band@forselena.net.
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: November/December 2005)

WINGS OF FURY-
Everlasting Emptiness....

NL Demo CD 2005
3 TRACKS: The Storyteller – Heaven’s Gate Of Freedom – (The Whispering Of) A Nameless Fear

We have introduced this band to you already a bit closer, and now we finally get to hear more music from them. And when I listen very carefully to these three songs here, I must admit that I am listening to a band that deserves to be signed by a good record label, because this is the best I’ve heard of WINGS OF FURY so far. The balance of progressive and orchestral music on one side and loud brutal riffs on the other side has received a good place in the sound of the band. Add to this the great voice of frontlady Miriam Dammers, and we can speak of a very fast rising star on the horizon of the Dutch heavy metal scene. And I do hope, that other people will finally discover the talent of this band, too. Gosh, there must be an awful lot of deaf people in the music scene, sitting behind their desk, while being clinically dead already. Otherwise they would have picked up their trendy cell phones to get in touch with this band, after hearing the first notes of opener “The Storyteller”. A song with some great musical ideas, that are not just good ideas, but are also performed very well by a band, that has matured a lot, since their last demo stuff. And if this song won’t do the trick, then “Heaven’s Gate Of Freedom” should do it. Wild grunts are mixed with the opera voice of Miriam, and the band easily switches from orchestral parts to loud and wild gallopping beats without any hesitation. The production of this demo is so good, it could easily be transferred directly to the bands’ new CD. Listen to the wild drum beats of Pascal at the end of this song. It’s like he has to run for his life, because he is chased by a four-headed dragon. Okay, you can say that these record label guys are overwhelmed with music all day long. But if I’d receive a demo like this under my nose, and I hear a song like CD closer “(The Whispering Of) A Nameless Fear”, I would remember again what my task exactly is. And that is to sign well-talented bands like WINGS OF FURY. The message will be clear by now, I hope. This is top notch material of a band, that is just one step away to becoming rich and famous like the EPICA’s, AFTER FOREVER’s and the WITHIN TEMPTATION’s in this scene. Or am I the only one here with a good pair of ears on my head, because all that remained after the music stopped was an ‘everlasting emptiness....’ MAGNIFICENT STUFF!!!!

LINE UP: Miriam Dammers (v), Tim Oehlen (g/v), Aryan Wever (b), Pascal Wilbers (d), Erno Noorlander (g,v), Marc Wassen (synths)
WEBSITE: http://www.wingsoffury.nl
EMAIL: wings_of_fury@hotmail.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: November/December 2005)

X-BOW-
Warzone

SWE Demo CD 2005
3 TRACKS: Warzone – The Bastard Child Of Eve – Welcome Home

Get ready, set and go! Listen very quick to these three war songs, because they only last about eight minutes totally. X-BOW (read: CROSSBOW) present us their second demo CD, and they show us that they like their metal loud. No grunts or death metal like stuff, as you may expect from this rather violent CD cover. Instead, we get to hear some of the finest traditional heavy metal. “Warzone” is already a good opener, in which the chorus is easy to sing along to. The second song is good and it contains a certain JUDAS PRIEST feel, that I like a lot. Lena Goreguts vocals shows some resemblance to Kate from ACID, but the music of X-BOW is a bit more melodic. The true metal feeling explodes right in your face though, when listening to these three demo songs. Besides Lena, we hear a band that is quite good in putting away the musical ballast, they don’t need. It’s basically heavy metal with drums, bass and guitar, nothing more and nothing less. No keyboards, orchestration or whatsoever. Just basic heavy metal, and I must say that it’s damn fine to find such band, that is good in these things. Who needs more, when you can do it with less?? Not me. X-BOW is back with a new line up, a solid metal sound and some great songs. I hope to hear more from these Swedish metalheads in the future. When you go to war, don’t forget to bring your CROSSBOW!!!

LINE UP: Restless (b), Lena Goreguts (v), Malte (g) and Saigittarius (d)
ADDRESS: Peter Svensson, Bergsgatan 30, SE-214 22 Malmö, Sweden.
WEBSITE: http://www.crossbow.se
EMAIL: cultofthefox@monsternation.se
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: November/December 2005)

EVERGLOW-
Turn Back Time

BEL Demo CD 2005
5 TRACKS: Loneliness – Forever – Turn Back Time – Mystery – The Escape

There have been a lot of line up changes in EVERGLOW, since I reviewed their demo CD in the Dec. 2001 print issue of our magazine. The addition of different musicians did have some impact on the musical direction of the band. Their sound is still quite powerful, but there’s more melody in the songs. In opener “Loneliness” we hear a very powerful EVERGLOW and the beautiful voice of Cindy, who has a crystal clear voice. The keyboards are also a little bit more upfront in some of the songs. They are played by Jan Wagemans, by the way. In “Forever”, the speed goes up again and the many mood changes show us the progressive side of the band. While in “Turn Back Time”, the band returns to their old style including some stunning guitar riffs upfront. “Mystery” is an uptempo rock song with nice guitarwork by Guy and Alain. This five track, twenty-five minute demo closes with “The Escape”. The band definitely saved the best for last. The song is fast and loud, and still has this catchy vibe. And with the nice sound effects, it easily becomes the highlight on this demo CD to me. EVERGLOW has become a bit more melodic, but they are still a name to remember, because the high quality is absolutely there.

LINE UP: Cindy Baert (v), Alain de Block (g), Dominic Heynderickx (b), Guy van Campenhout (g), Stephan Noens (d)
ADDRESS: EVERGLOW, c/o Cindy Baert, Bijlstraat 34, B-9120 Beveren, Belgium.
WEBSITE: http://www.everglow.be
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: September/October 2005)

INFLUENCE-
Shadows In The Night

NL Demo CD 2005
4 TRACKS: The Fallen – Black Shadow – Steel Angels – The End Of Distance

From the first notes on, this four track CD will immediately grab you by the balls. Listen to “The Fallen” and hear old school metal influences of bands like QUEENSRCHE, IRON MAIDEN and JAG PANZER. The high pinching vocals of Bas are backed up by a wall of solid steel. “Black Shadow” is another great song, showing us that the band is also capable of writing some real mature epical tunes. Bands, that only like to focus on fast songs with flashing guitars will have a problem after two albums, because they will definitely run out of ideas after a while. INFLUENCE shows us there’s a lot more to this and they have written a great example of how a good metal song can sound as well. It contains a nice, mysterious intro, some mood and speed changes and a few fabulous guitar solos. And if I write solos, I mean solos, and not just one guitar riff for Christs sake! The title “Steel Angels” may sound cliché, but the music on this metal anthem is definitely not cliché at all. It may well become an audience favorite in the near future, because I can hear the crowd sing the words “Steel Angels” already in my head. The twenty-two minute demo closes with “The End Of Distance”, which starts as a beautiful ballad. The speed goes up after the intro, and these heads all start banging!! Very impressive!! Just listen to the great guitar work, AAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!! INFLUENCE is for me one of the best true heavy metal bands in the Dutch metal scene, and I am already looking forward to their upcoming full-length album. And if you don’t believe me, just convince yourself with this four track demo CD.
LATEST NEWS: Bassplayer Chantal van ‘t Wout has recently left the band. Her replacement is already found in Paul van Zoolingen. Welcome!!

LINE UP: Bas Assenbroek (v), Erwin van Egmond (g), Martijn de Vries (g), Fabian de Bakker (d), Chantal van ‘t Wout (b).
EMAIL: info@influence.nu or erwin@influence.nu
WEBSITE: http://www.influence.nu
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: September/October 2005)

TO-MERA-
S/T

UK Demo CD 2005
2 TRACKS: Dreadful Angel – Born Of Ashes

The music of TO-MERA is not that easy to describe. Just when you think, you’ve heard it all, the band makes some interesting sidesteps to experimental jazz-like parts, and dark gothic-like pieces. Progressive goth jazz, or something like that might be a suitable monnicker to describe the music style, that Julie Kiss and her boys present here. The two songs have a total length of about fourteen minutes, which means that they’ve put a lot of nice musical ideas into those two compositions here. After “Dreadful Angel” has slowly faded away, the next track full of experimental sounds is pulled out. TO-MERA is certainly not like all the average metal bands around. They move themselves far beyond the paved paths, and their progressive ideas are far above average. They constantly know to trick you. “Born From Ashes” starts as an emotional ballad, but when the band spreads their wings, they fly away from this balladesque style as far as possible. You constantly have to listen very carefully to follow all the moves of this band. TO-MERA is definitely a very promising band that has some great musical ideas. Check them out!

LINE UP: Julie Kiss (v), Tom MacLean (g,k), Akos Pirisi (d) and Lee Barrett (b). (Brett Caldas-Lima (additional keys), Josh (violin).
EMAIL: band@to-mera.com
WEBSITE: http://www.to-mera.com
by: Toine van Poorten (Reviewed: September/October 2005)

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