Threshold March of Progress 2012

Already two decades in business is Threshold, progressive metal band formed in South of England late ’80. They are, according to some sources, longest progressive metal band in service in UK. This month the band will released their already ninth album, March of Progress. This is yet another first encounter for me, never heard them before, so I will not having knowledge on their previous music and solely comment on this album alone. Which is enough to enjoy the depth of their attraction here. The official website said, “..combined the influences of heavy metal and progressive rock to craft their own unique sound which was a far cry from the commercial sound of the time…” , under the examiner table this is quite true. The whole album sound like an intelligent version of progressive metal, not much speed in practise and the band emphasizes on diligent work in putting creative notes in one pieces together.

The singer sing out each songs with characteristic of Ian Gillan if you asked me. This is captured from the first song Ashes which has opening verse as in the light of Deep Purple lately tunes. Darker and slower song follow next in the second song Return Of the Thought Police. Again another six minutes did not passed away unworthy, this song has many memorable verses , bridge and choruses. Staring At The Sun follow next with intense intro opening. Boys, there are really well composed progressive metal dishes in the next line. If the references are to Dream Theater, I think Threshold did not match too many similarity. I think progressive rock of YES combined with heavy metal is more likely associations.  My next favourite are The Hours, Coda (started with nice riff), and The Rubicon , the last is the longest tracks, ten minutes duration.

In the band bits of history, this album marked return of singer Damian Wilson, must be something there but be sure he delivered very characteristic voices. Musicians of this genre will have no doubt on their technical skills and Threshold executed each required notes without flaws. In fact, Threshold is really technical, their music did not rely on double speed double pedal drum, or overly kills shred, but a simply “soft” progressive metal / rock approach. March of Progress also provided good replay value, the songs can be dig again and again and find something new in each listening sessions. Recommended released by a band in their ninth grade life cycle.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Threshold March of Progress 2012
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01. Ashes
02. Return Of The Thought Police
03. Staring At The Sun
04. Liberty Complacency Dependency
05. Colophon
06. The Hours
07. That's Why We Came
08. Don't Look Down
09. Coda
10. Rubicon
11. Divinity [digipak bonus]

Damian Wilson - vocals
Karl Groom - guitar
Richard West - keyboards
Johanne James - drums
Steve Anderson - bass
Pete Morten - guitar

Green environmentalism artwork for cover album


Darktribe Mysticeti Victoria 2012

Darktribe is French newest answer to the world of power metal. Formed in 2009 by Agnello brothers, they success in signing to German Massacre Records then pulled out debut album Mysticeti Victoria in 2012. Strictly and straight on the track of traditional power metal, Darktribe give us one more power metal madness.

They wouldn’t missed their debut opening without an orchestra overture, Genesis. After that, Taiji is honoured as the band’s first song. A power metal in pure form, epic intro and in the interlude has a very nice melodic guitar solos. Roma XXI is generally very satisfying composition, from Stratovarius like melodic intro to middle solos, the guitarist is understand how exactly tune up a power metal song. Black Meteor started with moments of bass intro then come in power chord riff and layered with keyboards meteoric showers. Lightning Guide comes as serenity point in the middle of storm, it is a ballad metal tracks. They also have fun in Dragonforce-ian speed demonstrated in Poison of Life. Up to the last tracks, Life, Love and Death, Darktribe close this album with high feeling. So that’s all their menus, end notes, this is another outstanding debut album.

Kick to the side about originality issue in this genre, Darktribe put in a skilful power metal performances here. Rhythm and lead guitars are well performed, the distortion tunes also best produce in the right catchy feel. Additional backed up orchestration are fill in the most correct spot. Vocalist Anthony Agnello sounds like a universal style of power metal voice. Bassist Bruno Caprani also giving enough point to highlight his lower frequency instrument. Will not disappoint fans of power metal.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Darktribe Mysticeti Victoria 2012
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1. Genesis 00:50
2. Taiji 06:12
3. Roma XXI 05:39
4. Black Meteor 05:30
5. Lightning Guide 05:08
6. Lost 05:35
7. Poison of Life 06:25
8. Eyes Have You 05:11
9. Beware the God 05:14
10. From Us 00:38
11. Life, Love & Death 07:19

Anthony Agnello - Vocals
Loïc Manuello - Guitars
Bruno Caprani - Bass
Julien Agnello - Drums

Darktribe Cover Artwork


Wind Rose Shadows Over Lothadruin 2012

Italy, the Holy Land of power metal, born now Wind Rose. Initially as a trio, Wind Rose now is a complete quintet formation band playing in the style of Rhapsody of Fire. Their debut album, Shadows Over Lothadruin is once again based on detail story of legendary land Lothadruin, invented by guitarist Claudio Falconcini.

So of course the story need a Prelude,  to prepare yourself embrace into the storyline of Lothadruin. First Endless Prophecy, come in as thunderous opening symphonic power metal combined with element of progressive metal. The vocals are generally divided into two voices, mid and higher tenor voice. Siderion is a nice folk metal introduction going into progressive directions, and there comes things to praise, the duet of keyboards and guitars solos. In between song, Wind Rose inserted soundtrack effects, which titled as song and make up over a dozens of song titled in the list. Son of a Thousand Nights come in as early slow song, necessary to respond to the storyline. The Fourth Vanguard is back to progressive composition. Majesty in the next line follow with over two minutes of overture intro, to make up nine minutes of epic song, providing the highpoint in the middle of the album. Two song next, Led By Light is enough to convince me that this album is consistently great. Close to the End is finale ala Rhapsody of Fire, where ten minutes of epilogue is needed to close the chapter with a triumphant feeling.

Historically, the band listed themselves as cover band to Symphony X, Dream Theater and Blind Guardian. This is exactly the three bands need to associated to them and their output in this debut album can be narrowed into these three band style. Clearly the band skills are competent enough to composed and executed them, potentially a very interesting band to watch in the future.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Wind rose Shadows Over Lothadruin 2012
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1. Prelude
2. Endless Prophecy
3. (The Tournament)
4. Siderion
5. (The Grand March)
6. Son of a Thousand Nights
7. The Fourth Vanguard
8. (Dark Horizon)
9. Majesty
10. (The Havoc)
11. Oath to Betray
12. Led by Light
13. (Sacred Fount)
14. Moontear Sanctuary
15. (Vererath)
16. Close to the End

Francesco Cavalieri – Vocals
Daniele Visconti – Drums
Alessio Consani – Bass
Claudio Falconcini – Guitars
Federico Meranda – Keyboards

Fantasy artwork for Wind Rose


Andre Matos - The Turn of The Lights 2012

It’s good to hear from Andre Matos again. His latest voice was probably in the project Symfonia just a year ago 2011, now here he comes with his third solo album, The Turn of The Lights, released August 2012. Following his team are Angra’s ex guitarist Andre Zaza Hernandes, Viper’s guitarist  Hugo Mariutti and Aclla’s bassist Bruno Ladislau. Andre back to his melodic metal expertise with strong symphonic feel as in Angra and Sha(a)man.

The first song Liberty bring in the minor mood ala power metal, drummer Rodrigo Silveira guide the guitar intro licks and red carpeting Andre Matos to join with his singing. We are now in the body of melodic metal song with Andre’s voice as main object of pleasure. Course of Life is marked with grandeur orchestral intro melody to open a fast power metal song. The song has sweet guitar interlude , twisting the middle song into slow and epic break, before continuing to fast track again. Titled song, The Turn of The Lights is change of mood into darker and heavier metal. Which is also marks the album into wider style other than a galloping power metal feel. First, Gaza comes as ballad surrounded by strings and piano. Jump to On Your Own is a brave experimental, rather progressive composition.  Same thing to Unreplaceable which showcase guitarists in service their latest shred invention. Several power and heavy tracks then album close with another ballad, Sometimes. For bonus is Angra cover song Wings of Reality, and I think fans are going to buy the album for the existence of this tracks alone.

My favourite Andre Matos project is in his Shaman years. This album although not in the same context, and same power metal level as Shaman, but compare to two previous solo albums, this one got positive improvements. Andre now not only rely his composition to his magic voice, but allowed the team's musicians to help in development as well, resulting in more intrusion into non power metal area. Half of the album are going into this directions and for me it’s a positive move from him. Musicians supports this album in great details, drummer and bassist are enjoy diverse style of rhythm and highlights. A strong release by the maestro of metal voice.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Andre Matos The Turn of The Lights 2012
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01. Liberty
02. Course Of Life
03. The Turn Of The Lights
04. Gaza
05. Stop!
06. On Your Own
07. Unreplaceable
08. Oversoul
09. White Summit
10. Light-Years
11. Sometimes
12. Wings Of Reality [Angra cover]

Andre Matos vocals
Hugo Mariutti guitars
Andre ‘Zaza’ Hernandes guitars
Bruno Ladislau bass
Rodrigo Silveira drum

CD box and cover artwork


For All Eternity - Beyond the Gates 2012

For All Eternity is Australian premiere metal act, precisely a Christian Metal band in metalcore community. In this first studio album debut, the band seems immediately jump into the fire of Australian metal scenes and perhaps a bit further to the rest of the world in a short coming. Their social network official site is hits by 40k likes which mean this band is hot. The album titled Beyond the Gates is packed with twelve metalcore offerings. Mostly in the standard formula of groove metal rhythm + growling vocal + leading melodic line + clean vocal chorus.

Born is the introduction here leading to song Vacant Room. A short groove and panning guitar riff intro bring in the song. The chorus is done nicely in answering the growling verse with the “My mind, an empty room with no windows to see through…..”. Broken Hands is start with awesome acoustic guitar, give the song a memorable introduction. Layered leading guitar runs side by side within the verses and choruses. The song’s structure are well developed especially in the clean vocal break in “..What could I do, what could I say, that could make this pain go away…”. The Wide Path is the song best demonstrated the usage of guitar line as backed up melody to the growling vocal. Solid Ground comes with close resembling of (early) Avenged Sevenfold things, with lead vocalist and drummer sing a duet right from the beginning and with such thunderous outcome, understandable their top song in chart so far. The song flow slightly altered with coming up tracks, Renewer, which is start with wet chorus guitar licks and creative drumming. Then the real round up was done by instrumental track Bright Eyes. Once again the guitar didn’t go beyond shredding area but simply just done the leading melody line in ambient metal feel. In the second round of disc, Beyond the Gates is total worship ballad piano song, done in clear vocal. And the finale Victory end the album in great feel, concluded well thematical and musical with its closing chorus and piano epilogue.

For All Eternity sure success in bringing triumphant smile to the genre, more to come the metalcore is now a step closer to the believer crowd. For those who didn’t mind, actually in this genre , the themed sung is rarely an obstacle to enjoy the music, so why matter. Singer Shane Carroll performed the song in powerful voice , break in all necessary shattering screams layered by drummer Michael Buckley wet reverb soaring clean voice. Guitars doing fantastic groove riff in places with guitar melody back the vocal line. No pure guitar solos in this album, which defined their metalcore style. Finale words, of course this is another worthy album to pick for metalcore fans, especially for fans of connected faith.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

For All Eternity Beyond the Gates 2012
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2.Vacant Room
3.Broken Hands
4.The Wide Path
5.Solid Ground
7.Bright Eyes (Instrumental)
8.Awake To The Sound
10.All That Awaits
11.Beyond The Gates

Shane Carroll - Vocals
Michael Buckley - Drums/Vocals
Jeremy Mosiejczuk - Guitar
Nicholas Page - Guitar

Album cover artworks


Crow7 Symphony of Souls 2012

This is another case where the band’s images take preemptive assumption. Multiply with the album cover , Crow 7 and album Symphony of Souls looks dark and heavier indicated a visual advise that this may be for extreme metal consumption. A deeper research tells the band campaign themselves as Promero, Progressive metal rock band. Something must be up there to give the band members, all hailed from Germany, the slightest idea to invent their new style. We then introduced to band’s brain member Corbin Eved which handle the guitar and vocals. Starting as Corbin’s solo project, Crow7 evolved into quartet and this is their third studio release.

The album starts with Symphony of Souls. It is not a bang start, but rather dark hard rock / progressive rock in a slow build up. As for metal progression, none are really technically fantastic ala Dream Theater or Symphony X. Addition of female backing vocal try to raise the atmosphere into epic and symphonic.  Street of Slaver still with us in the progressive rock territory, some good moment in the middle of song where speech effect comes nicely with a little bass line. Shiva Sigh is got more metal than the first two songs, even included the growling backing vocal there. The Guide is good song to explain the progressive metal rock invention, the song is progressive rock with metal riffing and drumming in the body. So, that’s first four introduction tracks from the album. We still giving sample of 15 items to careful examine the band’s unique style. Symphonic metal intro is also the band’s favourite way to begin the songs, listen to Spawn of Evil and Breed of Crime. Winner of the Quest is ‘80s Queensryche feel although then development to melodic metal pieces.

And that’s all the exhausting 75 minutes on Crow7. Must say the band rather serious in proclaiming new term as they mixed up many elements of metal. From power metal and rather brief shoot of symphonic feel, all experimented. What still less involved here is the present of super shredder to give each song killer moments. Corbin Eved singing style is toward the hard rock / AOR feel,which defined most of song into blur territory of the two combined style. So, read carefully and sample the songs prior so that you not jump into conclusion , especially with the band’s name as heavier as Crow7 and the album cover as dark as Archangel in apocalypse style.

Crow 7 Symphony of Souls 2012 
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01. Symphony of Souls
02. Street of Slaver
03. Shiva Sigh
04. The Guide
05. Kingdom of Calm
06. Spawn of Evil
07. Dirty Lies
08. Virtual Reality
09. Great Spirit
10. Winter Breeze
11. Breed of Crime
12. Ocean of Fire
13. Winner of the Quest
14. The Final Ride
15. Where Do We Go Now

Corbin Eved – Leadvox & Guitar
Seth Aban – Guitar & Backingvox
Gideon Vanth – Bass & Screamings
Janus Mantus – Drums


Tacere - At World's End 2012

Tacere is quite new female fronted symphonic  metal from Finland. The very distinguished on the band is the singer singing style. This is sounds like symphonic metal with Gwen Stefani /No Doubt in front of the microphone. Putting all best into their second album, At World’s End, Tacere bringing new bloods into the female fronted band galore.

All three first songs, Break Me, The Storm Inside and Absolute Power, display the band’s unique blend between heavy side to singer Taiya feminism singing. Absolute Power is doing the contrast between male and female exchanging line duet. This is something like Epica, Within Temptation and No Doubt combined. Especially when song Tears (You Don’t Know Me) come in, a very dynamic in singing required to respond the unique beat there. Song writing are something strong area in Tacere, with most of songs well composed. Drowning In Myself is example where the combination of male and female duet done well by song writing. The instrumental solos giving only brief spot light. Usually in this style the instrumentation are less demanding, mostly song passed without solos and such as Let Me Go, only given a brief intro. One song, The Artist, are pure piano and vocal track worth to listen in admiring the singer’s style.

With many crowd of similar band on this female fronted style metal, Tacere is able to pull out herself. The singer Taiya contributed in bringing more dynamic, strong characteristic vocal into Tacere. Guitars are mostly additional rhythm element with piano and synth take care the music interlude. Drumming is fine as many songs required technical difficult speed and groove. Tacere  hopefully able to develop into respectable female fronted band in the future, this album gives much hope upon that.

Metalharem class: ****** seven stars out of ten

Tacere At World’s End 2012 
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1. Break Me 04:03
2. The Storm Inside 03:22
3. Absolute Power 03:55
4. Tears (You Don't Know Me) 03:50
5. Your Game, My Pain 06:13
6. Let Me Go 03:53
7. Without My Soul 04:05
8. The Last Change 04:08
9. Downing in Myself 05:48
10. At World's End 04:20
11. The Artist 04:26

Pekka Pyrhönen, Bass
Jarno "Jake" Vanhanen, Drums
Karri Knuutila, Vocals, Guitars, Programming
Veli-Matti Kananen, Keyboards
Taiya R., Vocals (female)

Holy Knights - Between Daylight and Pain 2012

Behold, newest line up from the Italian power metal hordes. Their flag is none other than “Holy Knights”. Expecting something bombastic is logical thinking here, and I must add some of the material are close reaching what Rhapsody of Fire done. The band consist officially three core members and this is only their second album despite being formed in around 1998. Band’s member were previously involved in other projects such as Thy Majestic and Crimsonwind. So please enjoy another screaming epic power metal album, Between Daylight and Pain.

Formulaic the first track should be epic orchestration, but in this album Mistery only provided second ticks of “strings” and then enter the singer and full scale bombastic drumming power metal song. Choruses are there and the direction of melody are close clone of Rhapsody of Fire. Frozen Paradise is one of best point in the album, with careful song writing, starting epic ballad, then progressively reach the development and really technical demanding instrumental interlude in the middle. Beyond the Mist then started as standard riff leading song. Until this point the singer Dario Di Matteo bring us Italian school of high tenor singing. 11 September then bring down the mood to dark and emotional theme but it is a full scale power metal tune in the main body. Glass Room is another point of interest with its neo classical and church organ layered. So then in this high point why Wasted Time with inferior track filler. Doesn’t matter because Awake is there acting as the album final madness. The real ending , The Turning to the Madness is a synth orchestration experimental track, which is an okay composition after fifty minutes of drumming attacks.

So please included Holy Knights into this month power metal line up. Very similar to Rhapsody of Fire, but more straightforward, without too epic or too technical. Holy Knights is bringing elements of the genre in the normal path and will not surprise fans of power metal, neither upsetting. The guitars, drumming and keyboards are completely fine in service to the genre’s technical demanding. Singing are fine and even able to performed in foreign language (the bonus track if you wonder). Give the disc a try if you keen listener to the genre.

Metalharem class: ******* seven stars out of ten

Holy Knights Between Daylight and Pain 2012 
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1. Mistery 05:10
2. Frozen Paradise 05:38
3. Beyond the Mist 05:40
4. 11 September 05:01
5. Glass Room 05:18
6. Wasted Time 04:50
7. Awake 04:15
8. The Turning to the Madness 06:01

Simone Campione (Nexus/Thy Majestie/Ex-Irencors): Guitars, Bass
Claudio Florio (Crimson Wind/Trinakrius/Ex-Synthesys): Drums
Dario Di Matteo: Keyboards/Vocals

Fantasy genre in cover artwork:


Lykaion Nothing But Death 2012

There’re several things I missed about this band and album. First the band’s name, Lykaion is somehow epic sounding, giving me a pre assumption that this may be a power metal band. Secondly, the album cover is a landscape artwork, bring in progressive theme in my mind. Then the band’s native land is Italian, where power metal and neo classical rule more often. These clues didn’t works at all. Lykaion is different altogether regardless all the things above. In this debut album, Nothing But Death, they are actually hard for me to define. The general style is still heavy metal, but without that epic riff and solos. It’s also zero outcome when I try to find similar band, maybe this is really not my area of comfort. The (slightly) growling and harsh vocal is close more to the land of America’s metalcore style but Lykaion still lack the needed groove in this area. So, in short Lykaion seems playing something unique, modern heavy metal style.

The first three songs all played in same feel, with metalcore simplicity structure and harsh vocal in it, Nothing But Death is modern sounding with acoustic guitar licks calmly bring introduce the band, very US for me than European. Then there is Empty , a song that contained gothic and doom metal elements in its. The opposite are The Dance and Passion Kills, which are heavy tunes and now move to thrash metal thing. Fuck You (I Love Myself) is again back to metalcore feel with its groovy elements. Last part of album fill by three rather “standard” heavy metal songs, Sick Love, Together and Dimenticherai.

Lykaion need examination to understand their roots, mostly they are more US modern heavy metal which depends to their simplicity, groove and harsh singing. Musicians are clean and professional for the fact that this is their official debut album, although claimed to played music since 2003. Solos guitar are keep simple and sometimes skip altogether. Singer are sounds professional and fit into each songs. The only issue about this album is to find suitable fans for the band unique style. Praise still need to be addressed to the band because in this album, is nowhere sophomore materials.

Lykaion Nothing But Death 2012
Buy it here

1. Nothing But Death
2. A Cold Summer Day
3. Free from all your fears
4. Empty
5. The Dance
6. Fuck you (I love myself)
7. Passion kills
8. Sick love
9. Together
10. Dimenticherai

Alessandro Sforza- Guitar, vocals
Fabio Valentini- Guitar
Alessandro Esposito- Bass
Andrea Alberati- Drums
Record Label: Bakerteam Records
artwork was handled by Sergio Monfrinotti


Golden Resurrection - Man With A Mission 2011

In the light of my introduction to ReinXeed come in the project band Golden Resurrection. In this band, Tommy ReinXeed collaboration with Christian Liljegren, a singer behind Narnia and Divinefire. And if you deep enough on this scene you are right, this is Christian based team. The album Man With A Mission was released in year 2011 and simply words the spiritual idea behind the gospel. The style sung by the band still roots in power metal, and as Tommy grab the guitar as his main duty, the neo classical shred is in bigger rule here.

As in many ReinXeed involved projects, The Light Overture is tranquillity to the album. Man With A Mission begin then with raining keyboard notes backing a guitar riff, the song serves hundred percent on the message of the gospel. Christian Liljegren heavy voice is the standard in this business. Orchestration are heavily done. Identity in Chris, Finally Free and Flaming Youth are example of neo classical influences, with Tommy doing licks in harmony with harpsichord sound done by keyboardist Kenneth Lillqvist. This is pen ultimate in the instrumental track Metal Opus 1 in C#m. There also different mood, a rather heavy metal feel used in Golden Times, Standing On the Rock and live Are You Ready for The Power.

Golden Resurrection power metal in pretty similar course to ReinXeed’s symphonic approach rather than to Divinefire or Narnia. Christian’s voice conquered all notes with his standard and main feature on this album. Lyrics are heavily in gospel theme that required precaution for listener of different faith, but fans of Christian metal should celebrated this wholehearted. As their social site indicated, the band are staring recording new material as per July 2012. We shall expected fresh blood from the duo late 2012.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Golden Resurrection – Man With A Mission 2012
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The Light Overture
2. Man With A Mission
3. Identity In Christ
4. Golden Times
5. Finally Free
6. Generation Of The Brave
7. Standing On The Rock
8. Metal Opus 1 in C# Minor
9. Flaming Youth
10. Are You Ready For The Power
11. Point Of Know Return (Kansas tribute) [digital release bonus track]
12. The End Of The World (Gary Moore tribute) [digital release bonus track]

Christian Liljegren - Lead & backing vocals
Tommy ReinXeed - Guitars,vocals, keyboards & orchestration
Steven K - Bass & Backing vocals
Rickard Gustafsson - Drums & backing vocals
Kenneth Lillqvist - Keyboards & backing vocals


ReinXeed Welcome to The Theater 2012

It’s seems that every corner of power metal sub genre already explored by metalers of Earth. In the sub genre of symphonic power metal, here comes a more specific approach on this style, the cinematic or theatrical power metal. Done by a Swedish band, ReinXeed, the style is actually already patented by Rhapsody of Fire. But there is different feel here, Rhapsody of Fire theatrical mood are more into fantasy / epic and sad tune, with many wars, swords and secrets theme. ReinXeed version of theatrical featured more in the overture mood, happier and suit more in Superman  rather than Knight and Dragon theme. A project previously done by one man, Tommy “ReinXeed” Johansson, the band is in the third instalment of score in album titled “Welcome to the Theater” and featuring bandmates to delivered the music.

A full score of orchestral overture Welcome us in the beginning of the album. This is high wind lifting melodious composition which followed by first power metal song, Life Will Find A Way. The theme is tribute to Jurassic Park story line. We also introduced to excellent voices by main man Tommy. His voice is clean traditional power metal style. Although the background orchestral are dominant than other genre but the metal part is loud and seriously done. Second score, Follow Me begin with flying high Lydian scale orchestra part. Another point of full score track is Freedom. Enjoy the bombastic eight minutes of symphonic power metal present here. As usual the song interlude by nice orchestral part and majestic choruses. Vocalist Ronny Hemlin (Steel Attack) featured here. ReinXeed also included a nice tribute to Indiana Jones theme in Temple of the Skull. Then beside all highlighted tracks, the other songs are all enjoyable power metal with orchestra flavour all inside. Listen to Save Us which featuring female singer Frida Viberg in Spiderman theme. Or rather enjoy Pirate of the Carribean atmosphere in Stranger Tides.

While Rhapsody of Fire already introduced the idea of bombastic Hollywood metal, ReinXeed done something slightly different with the same spirit. ReinXeed indeed less folk metal tune ala Luca Turilli but done the orchestra as in soundtrack movie feel. Guitar playing and solos expected in high quality as the standard of this genre required. Singing quality also top notch with many confident high pitch screamings, which all excellently well reverb . If you into symphonic metal, this is really enjoyable project.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

ReinXeed Welcome To The Theater 2012
Buy it here

01. Welcome (Intro)
02. Life Will Find A Way
03. Follow Me
04. Save Us
05. Stranger Tides
06. Somewhere In Time
07. Freedom
08. No Fate
09. Temple Of The Crystal Skulls
10. Welcome To The Theather

Calle Sundberg Guitars
Tommy Johansson Vocals, Guitars, Keyboard
Alfred Fridhagen Drummer
Nic Steel Bass


Steelwing Zone of Alienation 2012

With a name as stellar as Steelwing, this band did not let us down. Here comes kick ass young talents from Sweden. I am half year late to this album, Zone of Alienation, released around January 2012. Their style roots in heavy metal, tunes are close reference to Iron Maiden and the NWOBHM. They were winner of 2009 Rock the Nation award, secured their studio deal from this achievement and already released a debut in 2010. As the album title  Zone of Alienation suggested, Steelwing choose the future timeline as background story.

This mean the date need to bring forward as far as 2097 A.D. The introduction done in synth loop ended in rather under sound drum fill. Luckily the guitar riff on the intro motive immediately bring in the metal mood. The song faithful in heavy metal ala Powerslave era of Iron Maiden, especially the guitar solo interlude. Full Speed Ahead! is nice song done in speed metal feel and fit in the chorus Full Speed Ahead. The interlude again quote more from Iron Maiden with a twist in minor scale around 2:00, then followed by twin guitars leading melody. Breathless is the standard power chord riff make it easier tune to enjoy. Lyric wise the three songs provided good integration between the mood of music and its lyric. They are rather not in serious follow the story mode, but rather relax and easy. In a rather curiously titled song, Tokkotai (Wind of Fury) Steelwing success once again sneak in groove of Iron Maiden as their decorations.

The album title song, Zone of Alienation focus more into the vocal singing, where the singer demonstrated his agility and dynamic voice. And if you missed Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra), the next track They Came From The Skies is there for you. Then as many great metal album is, the closing track is epic 10 minutes composition Lunacy Rising. This is rather conceptual arrangement serves as epilogue to the album.

There were many reasons for the band to be proud on this album. This is a Steel gone Iron melting pots in many many ways. Running bass line is dominant and close to Steve Harris things. Guitars solos are ready whenever it needed. Then the singer is the upper voice singing beast, able to fill in the gap with its screaming licks. Make sure do not missed this album in the next occasion.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Steelwing Zone of Alienation 2012
Buy it here

01. 2097 A.D.
02. Solar Wind Riders
03. Full Speed Ahead!
04. Breathless
05. Tokkotai (Wind of Fury)
06. Zone of Alienation
07. The Running Man
08. They Came From The Skies
09. Lunacy Rising

Oscar Astedt– Drums
Alex Vega– Guitar
Robby Rockbag– Guitar
Riley – Vocals
Nic Savage– Bass
Artwork by Dimitar Nikolov


Steve Vai The Story Of Light 2012

One of 21st century most influential hard rock guitarist, maestro Steve Vai down the mountain with pocket of new songs. The Story of Light was package of 12 new songs, released as his eight studio album. In the background knowledge, this album is the second part of his new spiritual musical visionary of concept album in trilogy form, about essence of life .. or whatever it is. Continuation of previous “ Real Illusions: Reflections”. As for listener of Stevie’s music, they seems to divided into two groups of fans. First is the one who care about the meaning and found Steve Vai’s exploration into new territory, new obscured experimental and mind blowing guitar trick are above all. This is the fans who prefer Steve Vai as the Zappa’s most successful disciple and expect music can process into new phase of evolution through his guitar playing.

The second group however, are fans expecting Steve to go straightforward into shredding. Those who prefer the live version of Steve, where guitar plugged in to just pleased the crowd with his awesome heavenly technique without the needed to include complication and bizarre engineered sounds. I’m big half majority prefer to this group.

In this album, fans of the second group can breathe freely since, Steve gone into less abstract sound and play the guitar in better proportion in shredding and soloing. Of course there are big rooms in his song where unthinkable thing still happening, we shall take a look.

The opening song, The Story of Light began with spoken female voice. This feature is the background soundtrack of the music here later. Vocalize line incorporated nicely and stay much in the memory and become part of the music. Guitar playing itself started with slow two minutes building up the intro, before arrived the first licks, and yes, it is straightforward shredding tunes we waiting for. Velorum followed, this is heavier riff opening song. We quickly need to mentioned supporting cast here, faithful disciple Dave Weiner appointed again as supporting guitarist. Veteran Philip Bynoe in bass and drummer Jeremy Colson. The moment of shock need to appear in Vai music, and the third song, John The Revelator. This is gospel theme vocal song, something that not really preferred from Steve Vai. Interesting point is, Blind Willie Johnson vocal engineered into this song, from the canonical movie, “Crossroad”. This song then medley into Book of the Seven Seals, still using the theme of Revelation Books by John the Patmos from the Bible. This song is catchy Walt Disney’s feel. It remind you exactly the soundtrack of Hercules.

Creamsicle Sunset is clean chorus acoustic guitar composition. It’s rather a filler, but the setup sound already part of Steve Vai album in many occasion. We then bring back to shredding in Gravity Storm which will pleased everybody. Then the seventh song, Mullach A’tsi is the reserved ballad track. The song play much in sliding tunes emulating the fretless folk string instrumental. The Moon And I is again vocal song, seven minutes long as we force to wait until Steve Vai concentrate to hi fretboard again. Weeping China Doll as titled, is weeping and sweeping guitar tune from Vai. Last parts of the album contained only one more Steve Vai singing track, No More Amsterdam and then we get two more instrumental tracks.

So, The Story Of Light, contained more instrumental tracks and much will pleased the crowd. This is rather light experimental album than previous “Real Illusions: Reflections”. The first two vocal song, John The Revelator and Book of the Seven Seal actually enjoyable vocal track, whenever possible we need to praise Steve Vai to encourage him hired more singers rather than doing himself. Big word in music by the guitar maestro of 21st century. Spiritual influence, new age and oriental illusions are his background concept. We still listen to Steve Vai sounds, Steve Vai licks and madness, in very consistent way since the previous twenty years. Each song is inspirational and writing review on this album flow easily just by listening to his music.

Metalharem class: ********* nine stars out of ten

Steve Vai The Story Of Light
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1."The Story Of Light"  6:15
2."Velorum"  6:09
3."John The Revelator"  3:40
4."Book Of The Seven Seals"  3:56
5."Creamsicle Sunset"  3:30
6."Gravity Storm"  5:33
7."Mullach A'tSi"  3:56
8."The Moon And I"  7:18
9."Weeping China Doll"  6:11
10."Racing The World"  3:45
11."No More Amsterdam"  4:15
12."Sunshine Electric Raindrops"  4:15

•Steve Vai - guitar (all tracks) and vocals (tracks 8, 11)
•Dave Weiner - guitar
•Philip Bynoe - bass
•Jeremy Colson - drums
•Deborah Henson-Conant - harp
•Beverly McClellan - vocals (track 3)
•Aimee Mann - vocals (track 11)
•Bernie Grundman – mastering

Artwork cover that resembling previous artwork, together with future release to form trilogy of concept album.


Scelerata The Sniper (2012)

The band Scelerata might be alien to you, but two guest singers Paul Di’Anno and Andi Deris,this should get your attention well. Home base in Brazil, Scelerata already gone through ten years of history of heavy metal music, as mentioned on their website. Before the release of today’s album “The Sniper” the band already pulled out two discs. They are rather all around heavy metal with majority fall in power metal feel. As heard straightaway on first track Rising Sun, Scelerata storm the audients with blazing double drumming and shredding melodious guitars attack. In My Blood which followed next, received bit of Helloween influence and the song gone half foot into power metal. Both song featured Paul Di’Anno of earlier Iron Maiden fame. We also introduced to singer Fabio Juan who sing very clean tenor range. The guitar solos diminished any doubt on the band’s capability to produced technically difficult aesthetic music.

Road To Death opened with thrash feel chromatic licks ala Megadeth. It’s unavoidable to listen bits of  Megadeth and Metallica influence in the middle of song’s interlude, so Scelerata actually travel far into thrash feel too. What blended to this concept is the vocal still in clean high pitch screaming voice. Breaking the Chains offer another interesting traditional heavy metal feel. The song rely much on Fabio Juan’s power vibrato and emulated the ‘80s era, something like Rob Rock character. For Unmasking Lies, Scelerata provide power metal open string licks and the song gone straight to the style’s minor mood. Not forget is the epic feel chorus ala Avantasia here.

Turn of the event is Andy Deris’ guest song, Must Be Dreaming, which is… very Helloween scale. I must say this song favourite to me for its almost Master of the Ring feel. Not stopped there, Drowned in Madness , is neo classical intro, Welcome Home, Till The Day We Day all gone bits of Helloween feel. The last piece of Scelerata music closed with nine minutes epic The Sniper. As the length suggested this song required progressive structural composition to survive, this is Scelerata last job in providing us awesome package of one hour music.

Produced, mixed and mastered by Charlie Bauerfiend  who, unsurprisingly also Helloween’s partner, we will much at home with the quality of sound. Scelerata seems put brave decision to sounds their music closed to their influences. Notable is the singer who perform fantastic job in bringing clean metallic voices. The band did not bring in important usage of keyboard (except in The Sniper) , neither influenced of Brazilian music as in Angra. So, we still saved from folk metal here. To close this review, it’s a recommended album for Helloween fans as well general melodic metal crowd.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Scelerata The Sniper 2012
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01. Rising Sun [feat. Paul Di'Anno]
02. In My Blood [feat. Paul Di'Anno]
03. Road To Death
04. Breaking The Chains
05. Unmasking Lies
06. Must Be Dreaming [feat. Andi Deris]
07. Drowned In Madness
08. Welcome Home
09. 'Til The Day We Die
10. Money Painted Red
11. The Sniper
12. Leave Me Alone [live] [Japanese bonus]
13. The Spell of Time [live] [Japanese bonus]

Fabio Juan - vocals
Magnus Wichmann - guitar
Renato Osorio - guitar
Francis Cassol - drums
Gustavo Strapazon - bass

Guest musicians
Andi Deris - vocals
Paul Di'Anno - vocals

Additional info
Produced by Charlie Bauerfiend (Motörhead, Helloween, Blind Guardian, Halford, Angra, Rage) and Renato Osorio.

Graphical artwork for cover album:


Frank Hannon - Six String Soldiers 2012

I’m a fans of Tesla’s music. Back in the 90s their album Psychotic Supper was one of my favourite package. Nowadays Tesla is in less aggressive status, but Frank Hannon, the guitarist, give us new album to remember him as guitar hero from that great band. Frank Hannon released Six String Soldier earlier this month,  an album performing edgy blues rock guitar playing. This album sounds not much like Tesla, but more hard rock with thick blues vocal line in each songs.

The album started with I’m Alive , an crunchy opening riff which then layered by another leading riff. This is a multiple layered guitar rhythms with excellent vocal line. Guest legend guitarist Pat Travers performed on this song. Set Me Free started with harmonica licks which bring to thick Southern blues feel. Then come an instrumental guitar track called Six String Soldiers. Again, Frank Hannon created energetic rock n’ roll licks performed by multi layered guitars here. Lipstick, Smoke and Gasoline give a very memorable chorus in a more groove driven bass song. Invinsible is the only song stayed away from the root and rather play in modern hard rock style. We also enjoy an acoustic ballad Cross Your Mind in the light of glam rock style. This, together with Love, Life and Beauty make up two of most gospelic emotional tracks on the album. There still two tracks featuring guest guitarist , Touch the Ground with Dickey Betts and To The Light featuring Rick Derringer.

We again reach the nice conclusion on recommended this very guitar orientated hard rock album to hard rock fans. Most of the song reminiscence very close the the 80-90 era. Phrases and vocal line sound familiar to the ear. I’m thinking album of Poison’s late era. This is excellent solo effort by Frank. Not forget supporting guitarist Mike Araiza who performed tremendous rock n roll feel licks every elsewhere. Singer Jeff Sandoval as mentioned before, sing in faithful ’80 feel style.

Metalharem class: ******* seven stars out of ten

Frank Hannon - Six String Soldiers 2012
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1. I’m Alive (feat. Pat Travers)
2. Set Me Free
3. Six String Soldiers
4. Lipstick, Smoke and Gasoline (feat. Dave Meniketti)
5. Invincible
6. Cross Your Mind
7. Touch the Ground (feat. Dickey Betts)
8. I’m Just Sayin’
9. Love, Life and Beauty
10. To the Light (feat. Rick Derringer)
11. Redemption
12. 12.21

Frank Hannon – guitar
Jeff Sandoval – vocals
Mike Araiza – guitar


Striker - Armed To The Teeth 2012

The huge land of Canada continued bring us new player in metal. Coming from Alberta, Striker is the band what we called speed metal, but they are very in between. They are build up from 80s spirit, so get the mind of NWOBHM, speed metal and Canadian influence such as Exciter, Anvil altogether in Striker menu. In this 2012 album, Armed To The Teeth, they strike well in combining all those elements in one album.

The first song, Forever is done in the spirit of double guitar attack and uncompromised ‘80s vocal tones. We quickly understand that their mixing actually try to recreate the ’80 sound as well. Musically, they discard most of complication in song structure and instead focus on their singing and guitar playing. Those songs that wrap naked without much make up can be heard in Let in Burn, Fight For Your Life, Feed My Fire, and All The Way. These are fresh speed metal music we can expected these year. In some song, Striker actually able to sneak in bits of interesting moment, such as intro in Lethal Force that build up into songs only after rounds of riff development. In Wolf Gang, we also get the neo classical licks incorporated into speed metal song. No slow tracks in this album, instead most of the songs are speed madness playground for the drummer.

Of course there are plenty of guitar solos recorded and suit for each song. Crunchy rhythm and vintage out of dated distortion are main frequency in harmonizing the song. Singer Dan Cleary put in effort in bringing the nostalgic speed metal scream. So, simply saying, Armed To The Teeth able to bring attention back to this seemingly unpopular genre back to life. Although majority done in straight forward three minutes songs, Striker also eager to try out another style that suitable to the composition.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Striker Armed To The Teeth 2012
Buy it here

2.Let It Burn
3.Lethal Force
4.It Could Be Worse
5.Fight for Your Life
6.Land of the Lost
7.Wolf Gang
8.Feed My Fire
9.All the Way
10.Can't Stop the Rush

Dan Cleary - Lead Vocals
Ian Sandercock - Lead, Rhythm Guitar
Chris Segger - Lead, Rhythm Guitar
Dave Arnold - Bass
Adam Brown - Drums

Cover Artwork


Dragony - Legends 2012

When I put the word "Dragony" to Google it is surprisingly amusing, how less people using that as a band name. Good news, because I’m in search for the new band stand brave on this name and found them easily. Let’s enjoy another fantasy power metal project, Dragony, a band, hailed from Switzerland Vienna, Austria. is our next storyteller. They were first started out as a side project, code name ‘The Dragonslayer Project’ but then decided to upgrade it as a full job. Legends is their debut release, this is 100% our familiar power metal with fantasy lyric and dragonslaying story.

To started everything, an overture “Of Legends…” are a nice shoot. Burning Skies come shortly, opened with riff, keyboards layered and screaming, this is promising starts for the next sixty minutes fantasy. Song are nicely composed, the dark voice , screaming and harmony chorus allocated correctly in their best place. Additional help from Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear is good strategy to get this album to the crowd. The  band also seems directly quote themselves with ancestor of the genre, such as Helloween, in their second song Land of the Broken Dreams and its “Save Us ….” Quote.  Dragonslayer is basic of power metal, galloping drum, fill in brass and dragon slaying choruses.

Vaults of Heaven is one of the highlight of the album, minor scale chorus executed nicely in harmonious vocal. Perfect solos by both guitarist and keyboardist. The song singlehand-ly stand Dragony away from just a generic band. The breaking ice here is track The Longest Night. Open with concept intro , this is eight minutes epic symphonic metal , included choir and female singer. Climax mood are stronger in the last part of the album, where three songs completed the finale section.

What we just gone through is up standard power metal formula. Dragony surely will survive the ocean of this genre. Singer Siefried Samer is clean and high screamer, his characteristic is in Tobias Sammet vibes. Their musicians also success in combining all the fundamental aspect of symphonic and power metal. Finale song, Alcador actually sums up all their potential, from excellent composition of music, to the ability to composed something as in Avantasia project, with many guest singer performing. Serious newcomer in the business by Dragony.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Dragony Legends (2012)
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1. Of Legends… (Intro)
2. Burning Skies
3. Land Of Broken Dreams
4. Dragonslayer
5. Wings Of The Nights
6. The Vaults Of Heaven
7. The Longest Night
8. The Hero's Return
9. The Ride
10. Alcador

Siegfried Samer - Vocals
Georg Lorenz - Keyboards
Daniel Stockinger - Guitars
Andreas Poppernitsch - Guitars
Frederic Brünner - Drums
Herbert Glos - Bass

Ralf Scheepers (Primar Fear) guest-sings in the fast “Burning Skies”.
Tom Tieber (ECLIPTICA)
Katarina Bilak (SIREN'S CRY)
Thomas Buchberger (SERENITY)
Phil Porter (SIREN'S CRY)
Sergio Tallo Torres


Daniele Liverani - Eleven Mysteries 2012

Although Daniele Liverani already burst out with several high profile metal projects, such as Genius The Rock Opera series, Khymera, Twin Spirit and Cosmic, he seems to be still unknown outside. Perhaps his exceptional skill as composer get more luck in the instrumental shredding genre, where this new album Eleven Mysteries took out the attention of shredding fans. In this eleven tracks of guitar composition, we again blow out by his music.

Daniele Liverani is following the Italian shredding school, fundamental in neo classical licks. His first song Mysterious Impulse take the intro high with blitzkrieg alternate picking licks. Right after that the sweeping, arpeggios, and diminished scale continue to be part of the song composition as the neo classical shredding famous at. On the next track Inspiration, Daniele incorporated more progressive structure and tempo. The song has outstanding musicianship with keyboard and drumming part all required higher specification of skill. Nervous Forces switch the mood to heavier and darker. Not only fast song we have, Supreme Gladness is a piano introduction followed by bluesy composition. After a more light rock feel All Is Pure, come Giving, which is Yanni influenced piano and guitar takes.

Then come Humiliation that start with killer groove. Regeneration is a generic neo classical lick exploitation. Freedom is more heavy metal riff thing, Survive try to get some Mike Portnoy lick drum into the standard heavy metal and a twist of jazz thumbing bass here. Then the album closed with last track Eternal, which is longest composition at seven minutes with darker, heavier and fastest shred.

This is no mean a standard neo classical shred album. It has all aspect required to be your CD permanent resident, if you are shredding fans. Musicianship are top scale, all bassist, keyboard and drummer is in his own class when performing Daniele’ composition, and they very talented. That mean you got to aware keyboardist Marco Zago, bassist Tony Dickinson, and drumer Paco Barilla for their next endeavor in music. One of top album in guitar this year.

Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Daniele Liverani – Eleven Mysteries 2012
Buy it here

01. Mysterious Impulse (4:33)
02. Inspiration (3:33)
03. Nervous Forces (4:58)
04. Supreme Gladness (4:19)
05. All Is Pure (4:00)
06. Giving (5:27)
07. Humiliation (4:13)
08. Regeneration (4:31)
09. Freedom (3:55)
10. Survive (5:29)
11. Eternal (7:09)

keyboards by MARCO ZAGO

All songs written by DANIELE LIVERANI except "Giving" written by MARCO ZAGO

Original photo "Winter Street" by JOSEPH PETREK
All background textures and images by BRENDA CLARKE
Label: Lion Music

Cloudscape New Era 2012

Playing in the progressive metal territory, Cloudscape is that another kind of band hailed from Sweden. In this album, New Era, Cloudscape seems to reconstruct themselves with new personals due to half of the team’s mutation. Their vocalist Mike Andersen is most active, already shown us some bloods in his project with Stefan Elmgren’s Fullforce. Cloudscape is doing in between progressive and power metal in spirit as Queensryche, with modern metal Narnia or Pagan’s Mind.

Several songs that play in this safe hybrid of two famous genres, are opening tracks Silver Ending, an chorus feel Share Your Energy and Your Desire. In Kingdom of Sand, Cloudscape play with eclectic middle eastern theme. There also experimental jungle feel as in Before Your Eyes. In the last theme, Heroes, Cloudscape also goes as far as far Eastern theme. The instrumentation setup goes with two guitars and also include plenty of synth pre recorded loops. This create a rich connection mood from power metal to outer space feel. For similarity to outer space theme ala Queensryche we got the melodic metal Voyager 9. So, this album is really something, span the feel from 80s band to modern sound.

As can listen, the singer Mike Anderssen carefully finish the composition with its charismatic voices. Guitarist Patrik Svard and Stefan Rosqvist enable the team for dual melody scene most of time. Stefan Rosqvist is also playing in previously mentioned, Fullforce. If you like Circus Maximus, Pagan’s Mind, Narnia and Symphony X, this is another album that will satisfy your brain with its complicated and groovy songs.

Metalharem class: ******* seven stars out of ten

Cloudscape New Era 2012
buy it here

1. Silver Ending
2. Share Your Energy
3. Kingdom Of Sand
4. Pull The Brake
5. Seen It All Before
6. Your Desire
7. Voyager 9
8. Simplicity…Huh…
9. Before Your Eyes
10. Violet Eye
11. Into The Unknown
12. Heroes

Mike Andersson : Lead & backing vocals
Patrik Svärd : Guitars
Stefan Rosqvist : Guitars
Håkan Nyander : Bass
Fredrik Joakimsson : Drums & Percussion

Cover art design


Heaven Rain - Second Sun 2012

Heaven Rain is a symphonic power metal band, female fronted, hailed from Republic of Srpska (please Google it). The singer name Miona Graorac interestingly sings more in the lower alto territory. So this is not your high pitch power metal song. Instrumentation, Heaven Rain, especially this album we talking about, Second Sun, is thick in synth, generic power metal sounds, enough riff and solo guitars and slightly progressive structuring. Although they also called themselves progressive metal band, I think not much shown in Second Sun. Add in all elements described above, yes Heaven Rain is quite has its own sounds.

After the prelude, Heaven Rain is the self titled song built up from the synth beat combined with guitar riff. The song itself  in good power metal spirit, as mentioned prior, sing in lower pitch than average female voice we familiar with. Dreamless is more melodic approach, with song influence range from Lunatica to Amberian Dawn. Miona characteristic singing is best put in front in this song. One thing stand up also is their utilization of percussion beat as shown in song My Only Me. The album titled song Second Sun is very close with Angtoria’s songs. Face of Misery is rather fast tempo compare to others. The breaking point is on ballad song, Nowhere, then we have four other fast tracks, including a cover song sing in native language, Veijte Snegori.

Fans of symphonic metal will find this easy to listen. Beside the singer unique voice, instrumentation are mostly standard. The characteristic of Miona’s voice led me to believe she can be great in hard rock territory as well. Keyboard are fully responsible for some of solos on these songs. Orchestrations are important in producing the right mood on most songs. Nice addition to your symphonic metal shelf.

Metalharem class: ******* seven stars out of ten

Heaven Rain – Second Sun 2012
Buy it here

1. Close To Dawn
2. Heaven Rain
3. Dreamless
4. My Only One
5. Second Sun
6. Face Of Misery
7. Nowhere
8. Raven In Heart
9. When Day Fades To Dark
10. At The End Of Time
11. Veijte Snegori

Miona Graorac - vocals
Goran Bastinac - keyboards
Igor Dragelj - guitars
Bojan Joksic - bass guitar
Nebojsa Lakic- drums

Heaven Rain Second Sun cover album artwork


Affector Harmagedon 2012

Armageddon is the final battle between good and evil in the apocalyptic setting as in the Book of Revelation. Take this tale word by word from the Bible, we got the most appropriated background to set another progressive metal concept album. If this overdone and you already heard the theme before then I’m sorry, you will need to relisten to this again in Affector’s debut Harmagedon. This is a new set up supergroup by Germany guitarist Daniel Fries and Dutch drummer Collin Leijenaar (Neal Morse/Dilemma). The other members are Mike LePond bassist of Symphony X and singer Ted Leonard (Spock Beard, Neal Morse). Not only this, but they show enough seriousness by hiring world foremost prog keyboardist Neal Morse, Derek Sherinian and Jordan Rudess, with one new talent we all need to keep now, Alex Argento.

We are welcomed to the setting with an overture played acoustically by real orchestra of Poland Sinfonietta Consunos. Theatrically give us enough hope that this album is real deal. As soon as the orchestra stop, we switch to the band intro. The five minutes overture instrumental set the progressive standard to Dream Theater and Symphony X level. It is clear that the band has enough chemistry together, guitarist Daniel Fries give in as many new shred with layered solos, and so on with the keyboard solos. First lyric songs Salvation entered with its eight minutes composition based on Isaiah 53. After only a brief prolog, we presented fantastic verse interlude here. An four bars of 1/16 unison of drum, bass and solos reminds us to Dream Theater, but I’m sorry this is yet another de javu and the drummer in charge is not Mike Portnoy, instead this is Collin Leijeneer. Put in consistently with the theme we enter the Rapture phase. Composition now escalated to fourteen minutes long with the whole band gone into very technical territory. Cry Song is tune to more requiem mood ballad. Falling Away and the Rise Of the Beast is a solid title that burden the composition to go on beasty. Then the titled song Harmagedon is an oriental scale feel epic song with strong hymn like chorus.  The last original composition is New Jerusalem, bring the mood to the ending.

With multiple talent on the band this is clear real deal on this year. We need to thanks them bringing Derek Sherinian  and Jordan Rudess in same studio album. Musically the instrumentation are very technical revolving around Dream Theater and Symphony X, while the song itself is more Symphony X and interestingly, Ayreon. This is due to the harmony chorus implemented in some of the songs. Singer Ted Leonard delivered all the Christian Bible verse with great character. Jordan Rudess maybe kicking himself for drummer Collin Leijeneer is maybe the missing contestant in Dream Theater search of drummer last year. Probably best project in progressive metal this year, this is must an have album.

Metalharem class: ********* nine stars out of ten

Affector Harmagedon 2012
buy it here @ Amazon

1. Overture pt.1: Introduction
2. Overture pt.2: Prologue (keys: Alex Argento)
3. Salvation
4. The Rapture (keys: Jordan Rudess)
5. Cry Song (keys: Neal Morse)
6. Falling Away & The Rise Of The Beast (keys: Derek Sherinian and Neal Morse)
7. Harmagedon
8. New Jerusalem
09. Harmagedon (Acoustic) (06:05)
10. New Jerusalem (Acoustic) (05:13)

Also released on Vinyl including 3 bonus tracks:
09. Harmagedon (Acoustic)
10. New Jerusalem (Acoustic)
11. HarmaSuite - Orchestral Outtakes

Mike LePond Bass
Collin Leijenaar Drums
Daniel Fries Guitars
Ted Leonard Vocals
Guest musicians:
Jordan Rudess – keyboards
Derek Sherinian – keyboards
Neal Morse – keyboards
Alex Argento – keyboards


Jack Blades - Rock N Roll Ride 2012

If you aren’t familiar with Night Ranger perhaps Damn Yankees will do. These are two bands where a singer/bassist Jack Blades hang around two decades ago. Also don’t forget his other big project with Tommy Shaw in Shaw/Blades. Being active player and composer Jack Blades continued delivering good hard rock music in his second solo album, Rock N Roll Ride. This is an album in between these bands, Night Ranger and Damn Yankees. Most of material didn’t really try to pulled out the head with heavy riff, but simply this is enjoyable rock music close to AOR territory.

Heavy songs are Born For This and Don’t Give Up, with notable solos from fellow Night Ranger guitarist Joel Hoekstra. Then followed are slightly slow but still hard rocking songs as in opening track Back In The Game, Rock N Roll Ride. Then AOR feeling similar to Journey songs as in Love Life. It is pretty solid menu with many different feel. Of course we get some of ballads and acoustic as in Anything for You and Hey Now.

It is an enjoyable album, songs are mostly creative connected between the lyric and mood to the music. Song like Anything For You explore different singing style by Jack, remind me to REM in the middle ‘90s era. This is a good album to bring along with a ride and enjoyable to non hard rock fellow.

Metalharem class: ******* seven stars out of ten

Jack Blades - Rock N Roll Ride 2012
buy it here

1. Back In The Game
2. Rock ‘N’ Roll Ride
3. Born For This
4. Hardest Word To Say
5. Anything For You
6. Love Life
7. West Hollywood
8. Don't Give Up
9. Say You Will
10. Rise And Shine
11. Hey Now

Jack Blades: Bass, guitar, acoustic guitar, lead and background vocals
Joel Hoekstra: Guitars and solos
Will Evankovich: Acoustic guitars, mandolin, add. guitars, Coral Sitar guitar, background vocals
Kelly Keagy and Brian Tichy: Drums
Eric Levy and Christian Matthew Cullen: Keyboards

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