Review by Vard Aman
Excalibur come from the fairly small city of Orel (Орёл – pronounced Oryol) about 400km South of Moscow, which is just next door in Russian distance. With a name like “Excalibur”, you might be able to guess what kind of music they play. Yep, they play Symphonic Power Metal. And in the world of Symphonic Power Metal they certainly live up to their name in the superb quality of their craftsmanship, but not, unfortunately, when in comes to the international fame that they so rightfully deserve. Hopefully that will change.
So, what can you expect from this band and this album? You can expect some of the best material this genre has to offer – a vast dramatic sound full of intricate orchestration; heavy guitars, bass and drumming; excellent vocals (provided by Valeria Nikiforova); plenty of catchy melodies; and of course a few mellow ballad-type songs as well. “Душа” is the third offering from Excalibur, and their second full length album. The album kicks off with an orchestral instrumental and from then up to and including the sixth track the dramatic power of this band is almost relentless – particularly the songs “Дочь Вампира” (“Daughter of the Vampire”); “Душа” (“Soul”); and “ЭВОЭ” (“EVOE”) – a powerful and catchy instrumental. Continue reading »
Label : Ravenheart Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Malta is not known as a metal hotbed. In fact, the only band I can think of that hails from there is the gothic, doom metal band Weeping Silence. The band formed in 1998 and released their debut album “End of an Era” in 2008. They followed that up with “Theatre of Life” in 2011 and have now returned with their new album “For the Unsung”. Weeping Silence utilizes the tried-and-true method of beauty and the beast vocals to a huge degree of success.
The majority of the songs on “For the Unsung” have a melancholic vibe to them. The female vocals are excellent, strong and powerful and have a bit of Floor Jansen vibe to them. The male vocals are pretty much your basic beast styled death grunts. “For the Unsung” moves along at a rapid pace, awash with massive guitar riffs, great musical performances and some great vocalizing by the duo. Continue reading »
Label : Laser’s Edge
Review by Tony Cannella
Impressive! Utterly impressive and unexpectedly so, that is my first impression of the Chicago based progressive rock/metal outfit District 97 and their second album “Trouble With Machines”. The band is fronted by Leslie Hunt who was a top 10 American Idol finalist in 2007. You would never expect a contestant from that show to be playing in such an adventurous and progressive band, but that is indeed the case.
First off, vocalist Leslie Hunt is a revelation and the musicians that make up District 97 are virtuosos to say the least. The band mixes long, epic, intricately played numbers with shorter 4-5 minute more accessible songs throughout the 7-song, 55-minute disc. The almost 9-minute “Back and Forth” is the first track and a fantastic song. A couple of shorter ones follow “Open Your Eyes” and “The Actual Color” both can appeal to wide audience. Next is the 10-minute track “The Perfect Young Man”. Continue reading »
Label : Rock Candy Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Back in the late 80s, it was impossible to pick up a copy of the (then) legendary U.K. magazine Kerrang!, without there being something in there about the British AOR rock outfit Romeo’s Daughter, particularly their gorgeous singer Leigh Matty who seemed to be in every issue (or just about). Before ever hearing them, if you were a reader of this magazine you already knew who they were. Their song “Heaven in the Backseat” was included on the soundtrack to the movie “A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 5″ and later covered by Eddie Money. The band released two albums in the late 80s/early 90s and have just recently re-formed. To commemorate their reformation, their two albums have received the re-issue, re-master treatment and both feature previously unreleased bonus material.
Much of the album is produced by Mutt Lange (along with John Parr) and that much is obvious on the opening track “Heaven in the Backseat”. It has that slick “Hysteria” style sound and background vocals that sound like they could have been performed by Def Leppard. Beyond that, Romeo’s Daughter’s debut is chock full of pop flavored AOR tunes like “Don’t Break My Heart”, “I Cry Myself to Sleep At Night”, “Wild Child” (which was covered by Heart on their “Brigade” album) and “Hymn (Look Through Golden Eyes)”. The re-issue includes three bonus live recordings of “Heaven in the Backseat”, “Velvet Tongue” and “I Cry Myself to Sleep at Night”. Mutt Lange produced so many of the 80s biggest albums that we forget that some bands just didn’t go on to global success, and Romeo’s Daughter is one of those bands that fell through the cracks, which is a shame, because I think based on the material on their two albums they should have been bigger than they were, but that’s only my opinion. Their slick pop AOR sound will not be for everyone, especially die-hard metal heads.
I have always liked Romeo’s Daughter and I am psyched that the band has decided to get back together. More importantly it is a great thing that their (small) catalogue has been made available once again. Sure their music may be on the pop side of things, but the songs are just so damn infectious and besides, you can’t bang your head all of the time, can you? Supposedly, Romeo’s Daughter is working on new material, which is good news for fans of melodic AOR rock. Continue reading »
Label : Scarlett Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Very few authors lends themselves to the metal treatment more than the great Edgar Allan Poe (Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft also comes to mind). On their second album, the San Francisco based band WildeStarr have turned to Edgar Allen Poe for inspiration, the title (“A Tell Tale Heart”) and the songs are inspired by his works.
From the opening Judas Priest style riff of “Immortal”, WildeStarr is simply not fooling around as they come charging out of the gates hard. Lead vocalist London Wilde just dominates with her powerful vocal presence – this isn’t operatic stuff, it’s straight for the jugular, full on metal, more akin to the likes of Rob Halford, Ripper Owens or Ronnie James Dio. The addition of new drummer Josh Foster also packs a huge presence. Following the metal assault of the opening song, WildeStarr follows that up with the equally heavy but slower in tempo and more grinding track “Transformis Ligea”. “A Perfect Storm” features a substantial riff and more excellent singing from London Wilde. “Last Holy King” begins as a ballad, but quickly transforms itself into a Dio-era Black Sabbath style metal track. Other highlights include: “Not Sane” and “The Pit or the Pendulum”. Also not to be overlooked is the work put in by Dave Starr who pulls double duty of guitar and bass, his riffs are huge and heavy as hell.
Following their 2009 debut “Arrival”, WildeStarr has brought up the intensity a few notches and created an albums worth of songs, which are both heavy and intelligent. “A Tell Tale Heart” is utterly impressive. Continue reading »
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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