Orden Ogan To The End 2012

Dave Mustaine's remark in his twitter and thinks this band is pretty cool. Dave was not mistaken, Orden Ogan combined power metal, heavy metal and as the name suggest, folk metal into their music and wrap them nicely. Especially in their latest, To The End. As fellow Germany, the band come out with a regional metal that now get a familiar term as Teutonic Metal. Combining Blind Guardian, Helloween, and also resemble some of Freedom Call's choruses.

Three to four guitar intros done in canon arrangement is lifting up the mood, that is The Frozen Few. This quickly answered with To The End with its blazzing metal riff and let us enjoy the five minutes of Teutonic power. The Things We Believe In then switch to folk metal in spirit of Blind Guardian. Only then the choruses is happier, and made me compared this to some of Freedom Call stuff. Sure the power chorus is also Orden Ogan strong point, Land Of The Dead is full of them. The Ice Kings starts with a piano intro that I almost hear the galloping drum and riff to followed, but this is not the case, instead The Ice Kings is rather mellow ballad song. Till The Stars Cry Out is Helloween-ish intro and body. This World Of Ice suddenly heavier in guitar tone, build up on rather progressive groove. Dying Paradise is traditional metal feel, a rather Accept-ish, pentatonic riff all around. Mystic Symphony as the titled suggest is lift up symphonic metal elements. This is the song that combined many elements altogether. And the Blind Guardian's Bard Song feel in Angels War followed with extensive instrumentation to make this song also stand out in the last part of the album. Take This Light is the closing credit.  Two bonus tracks, Masks and The Battle Of Waterloo is worth to get. Masks is typical power metal , The Battle Of Waterloo is more interesting, full of folk dancing rhythm.

Guitar solos mostly done in extensive, spanning more that typical fill in solos rounds. Sebastian Levermann as the singer can sing in several mood, from power metal, folk feel and darker accentuation. Drum playing is not bad either of course, when most of the song is double beat at it beast speed. To The End offer variety of power and folk metal. Yes, this is done most of time, but Orden Ogan put more writing stuff to make the album will not passed  away without a 'wow'..Just as Dave Mustaine urged to tweet it.

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

Orden Ogan To The End 2012
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01. The Frozen Few
02. To The End
03. The Things We Believe In
04. Land Of The Dead
05. The Ice Kings
06. Till The Stars Cry Out
07. This World Of Ice
08. Dying Paradise
09. Mystic Symphony
10. Angels War
11. Take This Light
12. Masks [Limited Edition Digipack bonus]
13. The Battle Of Waterloo [Running Wild cover] [Limited Edition Digipack bonus]

Nils Weise - keyboards, vocals
Dirk Meyer-Berhorn - drums
Sebastian "Seeb" Levermann - vocals, guitar
Tobias "Tobi" Kersting - guitar
Niels Loffler / Spoony - bass


Black Country Communion - Afterglow 2012

Another hard rock supergroup here. Black Country Communion is like a three generations all stars musician going into jamming session. Glen Hughes and Jason Bonham of course belong to the elder generations, then Derek Sherinian in the middle and Joe Bonamassa, the million dollar guitarist, is the youngest. Afterglow is their third release. I will not brief more about the miss communication rumored between front members of this group, but just write in a listening notes for this excellent album.

The overall material is blues rock. Cry Freedom for example, a nice blues vocal duet between Joe and Glen with catchy rhythm in the background. Of more hard rock track is the starter, Big Train, Confessor and Common Man, which are going into late '70 nuances, like earlier Aerosmith mixed with Jeff Beck stuff. Guitar is dominant, riff and shred part is best sampled in The Giver. For those looking to spot Derek Sherinian stuff, he is mostly didn't participating in the solos, but more in the background. Of course Glen Hughes and Jason Bonham parts are excellent as well. The drum are fantastic in feel and also put in high technical when required to do the fill. There is also stuff that just 'heavier' in concept just like in Afterglow. For Dandelion, the song just written with Glen Hughes powerful singing approach, he claim to be in good form when tackling this album. Radio orientated song can be selected from This Is Your Time, for its easy listening chorus and groove.

Although the album seems perfect in instrumentation, the highligh is Glen's vocal as well. The vocals are well polished, with each song sounds extremely fit in, with enough improvisation, enough control of each notes. Expectation for album is high, but Afterglow is a simply prove of their music mastery. This will be album best heard in pair with Mike Portnoy's supergroup, Flying Colors.

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

Black Country Communion - Afterglow 2012
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1. Big Train
2. This Is Your Time
3. Midnight Sun
4. Confessor
5. Cry Freedom
6. Afterglow
7. Dandelion
8. The Circle
9. Common Man
10. The Giver
11. Crawl

Glenn Hughes – vocals, bass
Joe Bonamassa – guitars, backing vocals, co-lead vocals (track 5)
Jason Bonham – drums, percussion
Derek Sherinian – keyboards


FullForce Next Level (2012)

Following a strong debut in album One, FullForce is back with new recording simply called Next Level. Being an ensemble cast of notable musicians in European metal scenes consisct of ex-Hammerfall founder, I wait eagerly when they announced this project several months ago. Unfortunately the original line up with Carl Johann Grimmark is now replaced by Cloudscape's guitarist Stefan Rosqvist. This mean fans of CJ need to find him on another project to follow up his post-Narnia career. While enthusiast of Stefan Elmgren post-Hammerfall and Full Strike will find him ever stronger in this album. Notable different between Next Level and One is up in the air too. One is somewhat progressive and heavier, while Next Level lend to softer tunes and even hard rock, mix with power metal riff.

A two minutes Broken Dreams keep the moment hanging with a nice power metal starter, but in Break It, Crack It, Destroy It the direction is clearer. FullForce is exploring to heavy / hard rock territory now. The peak of this is an almost AOR song in A Night To Remember, which is good one with singer Michael Andersson voice in a Journey like mid tempo ballad. Then in Karma the power metal / heavy sounds back in full force. Then in Visions the trace of progressive infuence as Cloudscape members on board is there. There are thirteen songs altogether, spanning wide from AOR, power metal to heavy progressive song to guitar ballad. The last four songs gone to rather non standard feel that hard to put in a group, which mean simply called melodic metal. Strongest Thing Of All close the album in a beautiful arranged acoustic ballad song.

Of the guitar parts, expected beautiful solos among songs. Stefan Elmgren and Rosqvist sure a nice combo to paired, especially with an album with this great potential melody. Interesting licks exchanged, influence by Hammerfal era, suspect that acoustic ballads track, to Cloudscape. In Next Level, we get something like different side of FullForce, pretty much away from their debut which is heavier. On top of all, it is good to hear FullForce will remain working as a band, although the member looks like all hired gun, except Stefan Elmgren is now back to his musical passion.

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

FullForce Next Level 2012
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01. Broken Dreams (2:47)
02. Break It, Crack It, Destroy It (3:45)
03. Back To Life (3:08)
04. A Night To Remember (3:38)
05. Karma (4:43)
06. Whispers (3:14)
07. Smile At The World (3:44)
08. Hate...Love...Drop It! (4:37)
09. Visions (5:09)
10. Course Of Life (3:41)
11. Awesomeness (3:13)
12. Mysterious Ways (5:13)
13. Strongest Thing Of All (4:13) 

Line Up:
Stefan Elmgren - Guitars
(ex-Full Strike, ex-Cans, ex-HammerFall, ex-Lost Horizon ) 
Michael Andersson - Vocals
(Act 3, Cloudscape, Silent Memorial, Planet Alliance, ex-Zaninez) 
Anders Johansson - Drums
(HammerFall, Planet Alliance, ex-Johansson, ex-Silver Mountain, ex-Jens Johansson, ex-The Johansson Brothers, ex-Empire, ex-Yngwie J. Malmsteen, ex-Keegan) 
Stefan Rosqvist - Guitars
(Cloudscape, Dawn of Oblivion) 
Tommy Larsson - Bass
(ex-Heed, ex-Dream Evil, ex-Jaggernaut)


My Dying Bride - A Map to All Our Failures (2012)

When came to a good doom metal stuff, I just enjoy the relaxation and atmosphere the genre best done. My Dying Bride with A Map to All Our Failures is the album capable of doing that. From the first guitar notes, listener asked to carefully follow the flow, defined the atmospheric effect and synchronize the mind and body with the music. Lots of big words for describe the mood of AMtAOF.

You can spend eight minutes of stillness in track like Abandones as Christ, or adjust the heartbeat right to more dynamic song called Kneel Till Doomsday. The Poorest Waltz exploit the despair mood in their good song melody. Killer guitar riff that able to rise curiosity to listener to find out more, that is what's going on in this album. We also treated with acoustic violin line, something best in A Map to All Our Failures. Then we also have doom day sound effect in Hail Odysseus, a song that just beginning the climax with intense guitar riff and drumming.

Guitar tone are sounds great, literally singlehand build up the mood. Then the singer Aaron Stainthorpe is able to emotionally connect the song with listener. It's a comeback album in term of sounds more '90s UK doom metal compare to My Dying Bride done in previous two albums. It's a good album to catch up Paradise Lost this year in that sense.

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

My Dying Bride - A Map to All Our Failures (2012)

1. Kneel Till Doomsday 07:52
2. The Poorest Waltz 05:08
3. A Tapestry Scorned 08:00
4. Like a Perpetual Funeral 08:32
5. A Map of All Our Failures 07:52
6. Hail Odysseus 08:54
7. Within the Presence of Absence 08:50
8. Abandoned as Christ 08:36

Andrew Craighan ,Guitars
Aaron Stainthorpe ,Vocals
Hamish Hamilton Glencross, Guitars
Lena Abé, Bass
Shaun Macgowan, Keyboards, Violin
Shaun Taylor-Steels, Drums, Percussion


Mob Rules Cannibal Nation 2012

Actually I came across this band by accident while surfing for George's Lynch Mob. It turns out a good one, and find out they are actually exist back in late '90. Now, Cannibal Nation is Mob Rules' sixth studio album. Their previous album Radical Peace is nice, that not fall easily into cheesy power metal crowd. Cannibal Nation is also has its quality, most of songs are heavy in composition and not mean to just gallop and scream.

Serious and heavier nuance quickly arise in the first notes on Close My Eyes, the slow intro develop into epic melodic metal composition. They are in their own class just by this song alone. Another point of glory is in Ice And Fire. Seven minutes epic feel, something similar to Iron Maiden's Brave New World mid tempo feel. The song has keyboardist Michael “Miro” Rodenberg (Avantasi) touch. Lost is almost going as slow as Doom metal feel, but the following up riff is the most classic in metal, and the guitar tone is killer. Mob Rules didn't let listener fall deep into mid tempo songs, come The Sirens for lift up the moment by its horse galloping drum. There still Soldiers Of Fortune and Cannibal Nation, which both again very similar in Iron Maiden, only that Mob Rules has the power metal feel much more.

Some will complaint the album is too mid tempo and not much headbanging. This album mean to be listen in good mood for its complexity. Musicians are well performed, guitar tones sounds best for this genre. Singer Klaus Dirks can bring out the emotional parts of each lyric, which are well written. A good album with mixture of melodic metal.

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

Mob Rules Cannibal Nation 2012
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01. Close My Eyes
02. Lost
03. Tele Box Fool
04. Ice And Fire
05. Soldiers Of Fortune
06. The Sirens
07. Scream For The Sun (May 29th 1953)
08. Cannibal Nation
09. Sunrise
10. Children Of The Flames (live in Atlanta) (digipak bonus track)

Klaus Dirks – Vocals
Matthias Mineur – Guitar
Sven Lüdke – Guitar
Jan Christian Halfbrodt – Keyboards
Markus Brinkmann – Bass
Nikolas Fritz – Drums

Neal Schon The Calling 2012

In his endless port folio of guitar playing, Neal Schon added one more multi style instrumental album. The Calling is a mix of rock and light jazz instrumental works. With all his mastery on notes, this is the logical output rather than the common shredding rock album. Neal had been dealing with top AOR band, Journey for most of his career, with side project as in Hardline back in '90. Pulling out solo project among his busy schedule is a gift to us, guitar fans.

For bluesy rock listen to The Calling and True Emotions. Then there is Blue Rainbow Sky, also bluesy ballad dedicated for Ronnie James Dio. Carnival Jazz is thick in jazz especially the piano solo by Igor Len. We also have 3/4 meter in hard rock groove in Six String Waltz. Want a Pink Floyd unusual composition, here come Fifty Six. Of course a standard rock as in Back Smash is enjoyable intense guitar playing. There is a Neal Schon noted on each track down there.

The Calling come in very rich in colors and styles. Steve Smith provide drum for all, Neal is covering the bass also, then keyboard players Igor Len and Jan Hammer complete the line up. There isn't any much super speed thing, but all notes are well composed. This is a work about composition mastery rather than skill. This is an album that can stay quite long in my cd player.

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

Neal Schon The Calling 2012
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01 - The Calling
02 - Carnival jazz
03 - Six String Waltz
04 - Irish Field
05 - Back Smash
06 - Fifty Six
07 - True Emotion
08 - Tumbleweeds
09 - Primal Surge
10 - Blue Rainbow Sky
11 - Transonic Funk
12 - Song Of The Wind II

“The Calling” Album Track By Track By Neal Schon
1. The Calling
Neal Schon (guitar, bass), Steve Smith (drums), Igor Len (keyboards). This song has a cool mixture of blues, eastern melodies, rockin’ riffs, and some slammin’ solo improvisation.

2. Carnival Jazz
Neal Schon (guitar, bass), Steve Smith (drums), Igor Len (keyboards). Igor plays great acoustic piano on this track. To me it’s a cool mixture of rockin’ melody and jazz

3. Six String Waltz
Neal Schon (guitar, bass) Steve Smith (drums), Igor Len (keyboards, orchestration). This track has an old Journey feel to it.

4. Irish Field
This track features just two guitars and a little imagination of a beautiful open field. This one is for M:)

5. Back Smash
Neal Schon (guitar, bass), Steve Smith (drums), Igor Len (keyboards, synthesizer solo). I originally wanted to use a couple of vocalists on this track. It didn’t pan out so I turned it into an instrumental.

6. Fifty Six
Neal Schon (guitar, bass), Steve Smith (drums), Igor Len (piano, orchestration), Jan Hammer (Moog synthesizer solo). This track originally started out with a cool drum part that Steve Smith came up. The track has an eastern flavor to it that I love, featuring electric sitar. This has an early Journey prog rock vibe to it.

7. True Emotion
Neal Schon (guitar, bass), Steve Smith (drums), Igor Len (keyboards). This features a classical blues vibe with a cool Hendrix-type vibe in the middle.

8. Tumbleweeds
This track features me on guitars and bass, Igor Len (orchestration), Steve Smith (drums), plus special guest Jan Hammer playing Moog solos.

9. Primal Surge
This is a great song for sports channels! I play guitars and bass, Igor Len on keyboards and Steve Smith on drums. I love the embodied melody in the song.

10. Blue Rainbow Sky
This track is a dedication to Ronnie James Dio the night he died outside my house - the sky was blue and it’s that feeling that was the inspiration for the recording.

11. Transonic Funk
Just a cool funky jam with Steve Smith (drums) and Igor (keyboards).

12. Song Of The Wind II
This track was directly inspired by the first Song of the Wind off the first Santana Caravanseri record. I recorded this with the guys in the last 30 minutes of our sessions.


Kamelot Silverthorn 2012

Kamelot, one of leading band in power metal, is back with new album Silverthorn. Let's go to the real story, we want to hear Kamelot's new singer. Tommy Karevik is actually not new for me as I am also listener to Seventh Wonder, Tommy's ex band. And actually I'm a little soured when get the news Tommy going to leave Seventh Wonder and join Kamelot. Thinking that Kamelot already established and his last couple album maybe over their peak by now, while Seventh Wonder is growing hot. Fortunately, and again actually I'ved a prediction, Kamelot back in great form. Silverthorn is outstanding in Kamelot's standard. Not only that Tommy's performance that blend into Kamelot music smoothly, musically is also improved from album Poetry for the Poisoned.

After the Kamelot's typically good instrumental prelude Manus Dei, Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife) we got to listen Tommy's real deal with Kamelot style of metal. Melodic manuever in song writing , from low notes to high one is conquered sweet by the new singer that replace Roy Kahn. They also lost no momentum and bring full force of femme fatale to orchestrated this song. Elize Rod, Amanda Somerville and death metaller Alissa White-Gluz (the Agonist) are in, as well string quartet Eklipse. The album storyline is about siblings losing their sister, completely works for this album. Ashes to Ashes solely based on Kamelot scale riff, Thomas Youngblood is on fire by now and so do the song picked up from previous track very well. Torn comes with catchy orchestration, Kamelot's signature low notes singing is proved home playground for Tommy Karevik. Song for Jolee is another challenge song, for this I think Roy Kahn can do something completely different, but Tommy is the one who put his stamp here. Another good duet singing in Veritas. The last part of album decorated with Falling Like The Fahrenheit, a very specific Kamelot style. Then Prodigal Son as the closing gregorian soundtrack.

Kamelot music is about 90% utilizing strength of voice, understandable this make Roy Kahn one of leading voice in metal in last decade. Tommy Karevik pick up where Roy left incredibly, his voice in Silverthorn re-established the band who previously going into mental block phase. The rest of band is supportive, Thomas Youngblood did a balance between leading and backing the music, Kamelot is never fanatical shred, but the guitar solos on every song is sweet and emotional. I am all with other reviewer that this album kick ass.

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

Kamelot Silverthorn 2012
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1. Manus Dei
2. Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)
3. Ashes to Ashes
4. Torn
5. Song for Jolee
6. Veritas
7. My Confession
8. Silverthorn
9. Falling like the Fahrenheit
10. Solitaire
11. Prodigal Son
12. Continuum 

Thomas Youngblood - guitars
Casey Grillo - drums
Oliver Palotai - keyboards
Sean Tibbetts - bass
Tommy Karevik - vocals

Gothic artwork for cover

Tommy Karevik, Elize Rodd, Alissa White-Gluz (photo from social network)


Custard Infested by Anger (2012)

There must be too many bands in every corner of Germany that force this band using Custard as a power metal band name. Custard is well established but yet too well known arise from Herne, Germany. They are original to their sounds, already come out with about five albums including today's Infested by Anger. If you like a raw and classy sound, listen to their first album Kingdoms of Your Life as well. Olli Strasser is the vocalist, sing in high pitch in similar to Rob Halford hell high screaming. They also have female member, Anna Olejniczak is serving as guitarist, but not "too exploit" to provide vocals / backvocals in power metal band setting.

Album's overall feel is raw and fresh. The production is bit of demo-like crispy sounds. Don't take it wrong, the quality is crystal clear. Bass sounds also well exposed a la Iron Maiden. This setting sounds awesomely brutal in the second track Gods of War. The '80 signature screaming starts the military theme song, The Parachute Infantry. The other metal songs that can give big smile is Black Friday and 300. Endless Pain is a track with good bass leading to set up a sad mood.The band then starts the second part of album with By Fire and Sword, A Knight and other metal-dragon-knight theme songs. These are slightly less catch up with the first part of album. Not a big deal since this is an over 60 minutes album, adding extra fun tracks is very much welcome.

It's seems like every member get a good spot in final mixing, we can clearly listen to every instruments. The songs actually well composed with many additional backing chorus. Drummer Chris Klapper is noted as the only original founder. Guitar sounds setting is high end frequency, giving the classic speed metal distortion sounds. Many parts of the song has bass player coming out with interesting accentuation. A classic sound heavy / power metal album that will not upset fans of this genre.

Custard Infested by Anger (2012)
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1. Call of Ares 01:26
2. Gods of War 04:27
3. The Parachute Infantry 00:23
4. Death from Above 03:12
5. My Last Breath 03:19
6. Black Friday 05:25
7. Time to Bleed 06:10
8. 300 04:36
9. Endless Pain 05:41
10.By Fire and Sword 05:06
11.A Knight 04:55
12.Dead Shall Rise 05:31
13.Hellheart 05:45
14.Only Dust 04:48
15.Infested by Anger 01:41

Olli Strasser - vocals
Carsten Reichart - guitar
Anna Olejniczak - guitar
Markus Berghammer - bass
Chris Klapper - drums


Paul Gilbert Vibrato 2012

Guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert release his new album called Vibrato. Everything good, well shred and fast as hell chops. Only one concern, this is a vocalize album, Paul not only tapping, licking and sweeping, he sings also. Nevertheless, I interested only the guitar mastery part. If you already listen Burning Organ or Alligator Farm, this is not faraway from those stuff. In Vibrato Paul still give us light heart hard rock song, the song that literally can be sing with smiley face. The studio band is consist of Thomas Lang in drum.

Rain and Thunder and Lightning sounds so familiar with many reoccurring ideas typically Paul Gilbert's lick. But beside the Racer X-faster-than-light lick, there are also exist different style, as in Bivalve Blues. Blue Rondo Ala Turk although rising eye brow, Gilbert try cover Dave Brubeck is most fun to listen. Although the album is mostly humor at first, Paul Gilbert point out that in Vibrato the song writing get more attention than his past works. In the interview, Neal Morse with whom he work recently being mentioned as his inspiration. Most of song are recorded live, Enemis (in Jail) is claim as one take recording. Style are diverse here, AC/DC cover in Go Down  down to Emi Gilbert's exotic scale in I Want to be Loved (Muddy Water cover). Finally one instrumental track to satisfy our shred need in Roundabout (Yes cover).

Like many guitarist, doing a vocal song writing is big challenge for guitarist and temptating, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani both have that. But apart from listening the highlight solos, there left only Paul Gilbert voice to enjoy. If you avid fans of shredding hard rock , the album is fun to have.

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

Paul Gilbert Vibrato 2012
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1. Enemies (in Jail) (Gilbert)
2. Rain and Thunder and Lightning (Gilbert)
3. Vibrato (Gilbert)
4. Put It on the Char (Gilbert)
5. Bivalve Blues (Gilbert)
6. Blue Rondo a la Turk (Brubeck)
7. Atmosphere on the Moon (Gilbert)
8. The Pronghorn (Gilbert)
9. Roundabout (Anderson / Howe)
10. I Want to be Loved (Dixon)
11. Go Down (Young, Young, Scott)

Paul Gilbert – guitar, vocals
Emi Gilbert – keyboards, vocals
Kelly Lemieux – bass
Thomas Lang – drums

Enhancing the nice portrait color tones in cover artwork with Photoshop

Doro Raise Your Fist 2012

Doro Pesch, maybe the only '(un)official' Metal Queen in the world, give us her latest recording in album Raise Your Fist. Consistently provide raw heavy metal voice in Warlock and her solo stuff since '80s, this album will only extends our respect to our metal mama. The album covered almost all mood , from anthemic to melancholy to cheesy and light headbanging stuffs.

Our opening track Raise Your Fist in the Air is already released prior in the EP version. With a title as catchy and energetic as it is, the music itself is hell catching up as well. Not a bad stuff really, it is simple, expected chorus, yet fresh when sings by Doro. Coldhearted Lover come next with awesome AOR feel intro, a bit mid tempo hard rock stuff, Doro in her deep and raw voice is again fantastic in this song. Rock Till Death and Take No Prisoner is the best fast songs, enough guitar riff and blistering drumming to make it like AC/DC in female version. Grab The Bull (Last Man Standing) is notable for guest soloing by Gus G of Firewind, the song itself a simple single drum kick metal anthem. There also many ballads, in  It Still Hurts, Engel and the requiem for Ronnie Dio, song titled Hero.

No complicated songs from this album, all runs in the most simple, straightforward heavy metal form with Doro screaming over it.  Luca Princiotta of BLAZE (Bayley) band is in charge with Bas Maas (ex After Forever), both responsible for the riff and rhythm that made this recording interesting enough. A hard stuff to collect from the Queen of Metal.

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

Doro Raise Your Fist 2012
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01. Raise Your Fist in the Air
02. Coldhearted Lover
03. Rock Till Death
04. It Still Hurts (Featuring Lemmy)
05. Engel
06. Freiheit (Human Rights)
07. Little Headbanger (Nackenbrecher)
08. Revenge
09. Free My Heart
10. Victory
11. Hero

    Doro Pesch – Vocals
    Bas Maas – Guitar
    Luca Princiotta – Guitar & Keyboards
    Nick Douglas – Bass
    Johnny Dee – Drums


Wintersun Time I (2012)

The second Wintersun album finally released from Jari Maenpaa's kitchen. The total music is only about 40 minutes for an eight years of waiting time. For this, we got a full orchestrated power metal tracks as compensation. When Time Fades Away comes as the epic intro. The mood set to the cold winter night in the peak of Finland. This soon followed by Sons of Winter and Stars that break into four movements. In the most contrast between epic orchestration, if you think Dragonforce is the fastest double pedal drum, then Rain of Stars is something about that. Death metal singing voice sounds mature and full to fight the over epic string sounds.

Land of Snow and Sorrow is slower tempo folk metal. It is the most straightforward metal song in Time I without the zither like sounds and tribal drumming. This is important to break the synthesizer madness in our ears because, we still got extra round of instrumental track in Darkness and Frost, and yet another same theme in last track, Time.

So those end the story of Time part I. In this project Jari conquered his ambition to implement the most orchestration into this epic works. The orchestration is set the most mood in this album. The rather death metal singing in Wintersun first album is reduced and replace to more Sabaton style of power metal. One thing is, do not connect this to the expectation of eight years, it's not the holy grail of symphonic metal, but just another killer album from the maestro. Let's hope there will be a fast continuation to this series.

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

Wintersun Time I (2012)
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1. When Time Fades Away
2. Sons of Winter and Stars
....I Rain of Stars
....II Surrounded by Darkness
....III Journey Inside a Dream
....IV Sons of Winter and Stars
3. Land of Snow and Sorrow
4. Darkness and Frost
5. Time

Jari Mäenpää , Vocals and guitar
Kai Hahto, Drums
Jukka Koskinen, Bass
Teemu Mäntysaari, Guitar


Galneryus Angel of Salvation 2012

Japan frontline neo classical metal band Galneryus just released their 2012 album. For Asians artist, pulled out an album per year is the common pace of production. Year ago Galneryus gave us Phoenix Rising, a rather step away from their neo classical metal. In Angel of Salvation, our 2012 album, they are back.

Reach To The Sky is the opening act, an instrumental overture that equal to soundtrack of a film. The Promised Flag then followed up in full speed power metal. The song marked the very close comeback Galneryus to the neo classical platform. Lonely As A Stranger for a rather heavy metal feel and Hunting For Your Dream is a sample of Japanese power metal where the singing style completely different from European or USA counterpart.

Finally, Angel of Salvation is the main act. Fourteen minutes epic, the theme is directly borrowed from Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major op.35. Guitarist Syu transcribe the guitar solos using the same notes Tchaikovsky. The legend told, Tchaikovsky once asked the best violinist in time, Leopold Auer, but Leopold rejected it for a reason beyond human playable.

Masatoshi Ono the lead singer done his J-metal 'melancholy' style, perfectly required for Galneryus. Needless to say, all musicians in this band is all qualified to speed up the song whenever they need it. Although producing album in each coming year, Galneryus came with enough creativity and fireworks to compete with their European shred neo classical metal band. If you like shred material inside metal, and Tchaikovsky, this is a stunning album yet you need to collect.

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

Galneryus Angel of Salvation 2012
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1. Reach To The Sky
2. The Promised Flag
3. Temptation Through The Night
4. Lonely As A Stranger
5. Stand Up For The Right
6. Hunting For Your Dream
7. Lament
8. Infinity
9. Angel Of Salvation
10. Longing

Masatoshi Ono - Lead Vocals (ex-Fortbragg)
Syu - Guitars (Alieson, Spinalcord, Masaki Project, ex-Animetal, ex-Valkyr, ex-Aushvitz)
Taka - Bass
Yuhki - Keyboards (Alhambra, Ark Storm, Katsu Ohta, Yuhkinen, ex-Prophesia)
Junichi Sato - Drums (Katsu Ohta, Mephistopheles, Spinalcord, ex-Concerto Moon)

Angel of Salvation in Epic borrowed Tchaikovsky's theme

German Pascual A New Beginning 2012

German Pascual is the last who sings in the legendary Narnia band. As the band went into hibernation, the member scattered all around and so does German Pascual. In A New Beginning, German Pascual formed his own band comprises of guitarist Martin Hall, Pain of Salvation bassist Per Schleander and Almah bassist Raphael Dafras. Invited also Jani Stefanovic guitarist in DivineFire, the other band where German actually in pas de deux with Christian Lijegrean as singer. While ex Narnian vocalist Christian Lijegren pursuit into more neo-classical metal in Golden Resurrection, German choose to step into the heavier progressive metal approach.

Intro in Seek the Truth is a promising start. As do the song in a progressive metal intense riff and groove. However, all songs are limited to the straightforward song structure and not gone into too mind blowing twist ala Symphony X. The Wrath of God is showcase the aggressive style by the singer. Not much slowing his pace is the third incoming blazzing riff, If the Sky Would Fall. Very close reference to Narnia itself and Symphony X in this song. Mysty Dreams is again a familiar down tune guitar riff, this time some of higher pitch verse and chorus is the main challenge. Still the album give a consistent tasty guitar riff intro in each songs after this point. Listen to Fate of the Blind where Carl Johann Grimmark featuring in solo.

This is indeed solid solo works from the singer who also previously sing in Mind's Eye, and trivially in Soulspell metal opera. Guitarist in charge Martin Hall didn't let us down , and made this recording a mind blowing shredfest. Two fantastic bassist in charge, but the drum is listed as programmed. A thick line between progressive metal and a slightly metalcore groove. As in Narnia and Divinefire, Christianity is the main theme in all lyrics. A successful new beginning.

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

German Pascual A New Beginning 2012

01. Seek the Truth
02. The Wrath of God
03. If the Sky would Fall
04. Misty Dreams
05. Open Your Eyes
06. I Call for The One
07. Unbroken Wings
08. Come Ease the Pain
09. Fate of the Blind
10. Cancion Con Todos

Martin Hall,
Per Schleander, bass (ex Royal Hunt, Pain of Salvation)
Raphael Dafras, bass (Almah)
guest: CJ Grimmark, Jani Stefanovic


Magica - Center of the Great Unknown 2012

Magica, power metal band from Romania. Better known to me in their best album so far, The Lightseeker, trying to remember the song Bittersweet Nightshade. From The Lightseeker to our latest one, Center of The Great Unkown, spans eight years and three more albums. I didn't follow those, so Center of the Great Unkown is a "comeback" for me. Of course with that portfolio, the band step into the upper circle, of experience bands. Vocalist Ana Mladinovici is still the front power. A first impression is the band less orchestration things and keyboards, replaced by new additional guitar. Meaning the previous neo classical, symphonic forces from keyboardist "6fingers" now convert into shredding guitars forces.

Center of the Great Unknown is likely the strongest track here, it open well the album. Its strong lyrical and theme melody will quickly remembered. The other tracks remains heavier and strict to traditional twin guitar power metal setup. The Earth Is Young and No Horizon provide excellent power riff to bring Magica closer to Sonata Arctica rather than to Nightwish for now. There still have King Of the World that continue Magica previous style, with Ana singing fit nicely into this type of melancholy singing. One Angry Gaia is creative liner for the chorus, while the song is quite heavy here.

Replacing keyboard with guitar is a risky decision for established band, but it also add new dimension to the band. Magica is step away from their Lightseeker-symphonic metal sound. The new concept in Center of the Great Unknown is more straightforward guitars attack power metal album. Guitar works also serves enough for the need of band, Under the Auroras is good sample of guitar skill demonstrated by the band. Come to owned this ever dynamic band with power metal twist with excellent female vocalist.

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

Magica - Center of the Great Unknown 2012
buy it here at Amazon

1. Center of the Great Unknown 04:43
2. Masterspell 04:44
3. King of the World 04:09
4. Open 04:01
5. The Earth Is Young 04:07
6. Step Into the Night 04:02
7. No Horizon 05:21
8. One Angry Gaia 04:16
9. Mark of Cain 05:12
10.Under the Auroras 03:33
11.Daca 2012 (Bonus track)

Bogdan "Bat" Costea, Guitars
Ana Mladinovici, Vocals (lead)
Emilian, Guitars
Tibi,  Bass
Sebastian "Natas" Macovei, Drums
past member 6fingers, Studio Keyboards

Fantasy architecture structure artwork


Soulspell - Hollow's Gathering 2012

Soulspell is Latin America or to be precise, Brazil's answer to Avantasia. The project follow exact concept in doing a 'metal opera' project. The project leader is drummer Heleno Vale. Crowd of singers and musicians are invited to this project. If you like to snapshot the singers, Blaze Bayley, Mike Vescera, Amanda Somerville, Matt Smith or Tim "The Ripper" Owen, a new Soulspell album, Hollow's Gathering is a work to get them all in this concise. The album is the third chapter from Soulspell, after released two previous album since 2008. So embrace yourself to this exciting opera.

A clever way to start the album with haunting female singing in the intro of Hollow's Gathering. Then a nine minutes re-introduction to Soulspell storyline begin. The length is necessary to gathered singers in encoring the verses and chorus right from this track. The second act A Rescue Into The Storm is easier work to enjoy. Most of songs required a lyric in hand to fully enjoy, this is because the story telling song writing take priority in the composition. The other things is female singing parts are mostly the strong points. Favorite parts are To Crawl Or To Fly featuring Matt Smith / Amanda Somerville and Change The Tide that has Mike Vescera contributed the vocals. Heard the heavy metal groove in The Dead Tree as well.

Although in the spirit of Avantasia's metal opera, actually Soulspell is a more intense work to get into. Avantasia's approach with its anthemic and power choruses, but on Hollow's Gathering the song compositions is more difficult. This project come in between commercial Avantasia and technical Aina, the other notable metal opera project. So, runs the disc several times to get the best replay value. Cover artworks are directly by Felipe Machado Franco, the same original artist for Tobias Sammet. Strongly advised to not miss out this album.

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

Soulspell - Hollow's Gathering 2012
buy it here at Amazon

01. Hollow's Gathering
02. A Rescue Into The Storm
03. To Crawl Or To Fly
04. Anymore
05. Adrian's Call
06. Change The Tide
07. From Hell
08. The Keeper's Game
09. The Dead Tree
10. Whispers Inside You
Additional info
Mixed by Matt Smith
Cover art by Felipe Machado Franco

Amanda Somerville [Avantasia, Trillium]
Blaze Bayley [ex. Iron Maiden]
Carlos Zema  [ex. Outworld]
Daísa Munhoz [Vandroya]
Gui Antonioli
Iuri Sanson [Hibria]
Jefferson Albert [Vandroya]
Leandro Caçoilo [ex. Eterna]
Lígia Ishitani
Lucas Martins
Manuela Saggioro
Mário Pastore [Pastore]
Matt Smith [Theocracy]
Michel Souza
Michael Vescera [ex. Loudness, Yngwie Malmsteen, Animetal USA]
Nando Fernandes [ex. Hangar]
Pedro Campos
Tito Falaschi [Almah]
Tim "Ripper" Owens [ex. Judas Priest, Iced Earth]
Victor Emeka

Cleiton Carvalho – Guitar
Marco Lambert [Vandroya] – Guitar
Rodolfo Pagotto [Vandroya] – Guitar
Rollie Feldman [Circle II Circle] – Guitar
Thiago Amendola – Guitar
Leandro Erba – Guitar
Markus Grosskopf – Bass
Tito Falaschi [Almah] – Bass
Fernando Giovannetti – Bass
Fábio Laguna – Keyboards
Frank Tischer [Avantasia, Edguy] – Piano
Gabriel Magioni – Keyboards
Gabriel Viotto – Drums
Heleno Vale – Drums
Edu Santos – Drums

Metal Opera fantasy artwork Felipe Machado Franco


Axehammer - Marching On 2012

According to many accounts, and their official words, Axehammer established 30 years ago. That's in 1983 they released their first demo. It was the time where Maidens, Helloween and many others heavy and power metal giants were just pop out from their eggs. So, are Axehammer a legendary band that doing a "comeback"? Hard to defined, because their complete full album was only released in 2005. Today's Marching On is their officially second album. See the time gap? The effect for this is, Marching On sounds very likely a 30 years old metal album. Not just the style, but the mixing and mastering sounds actually "preserved" , or in better term, vintage.

Tune in the first song, Walk In The Fire, it is very raw as in '80s power metal. In some moments, also very NWOBHM galloping bass and sharp guitar riff. Singer Kleber Freitas is also able to mimic those '80 screamings. The Dragon Fly sounds something Iron Maiden open string riff. Not to get wrong, Axehammer is California based. Every song come with galloping bass as done by ,the later, Steve Harris. Then we also have Swing The Steel with a guitar tones that best doing this kind of Seek and Destroy riff. For a Judas Priest kinda singing is Midnight Train. Fire Away, a nice intro riff with full galloping drum, bringing a very classy power metal sample in this decade. The rest of album, Demon Killer, Cemetary and Flesh Machine also very hard to find the weakness. Making the assumption that these songs are well aging during their thirty years of journey.

Overall sound is Marching On a total raw and demo-like sound. Whether if this is consciously done, the audio did something high-end frequency tendency. The guitarist and bassist done enough vintage riff to make us thinking these are '80s party. A nicely done by the hard working band, solid works for '80 power metal tribute.

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

Axehammer - Marching On 2012
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1. Walk Into the Fire 04:06
2. The Dragons Fly 05:19
3. Swing the Steel 04:31
4. Midnight Train 04:00
5. Fire Away 05:20
6. Demon Killer 04:21
7. Cemetary 07:24
8. Flesh Machine 04:13

Kleber Freitas - Vocals
Jerry Watt - Guitar
Horacio Colmenares - Bass
Joe Aghassi - Drums


Seven Kingdoms - The Fire Is Mine 2012

The last album of Seven Kingdoms in 2010 was one that I enjoy a lot. The main feature to this power metal band is the singer Sabrina Valentine. She sings right in the balance that distinguished to the genre. Not too soft ala Epica, neither too sopranic as in Tarja. Her voice then powerful to carry on the epic power metal song that her band mates composed wonderfully. Now, Seven Kingdoms third released is up, The Fire Is Mine. This album continue very much what the 2010 album did. They are based in Florida, US.

After The Fall is their first work that being released via youtube earlier. Of course after the typical symphonic intro called Beyond The Wall. Just a few second in its verses the guitar fills give a great promising start. Guitar works are wonderful between guitarist Camden Cruz and Kevin Byrd, two rising star to the genre. Forever Brave coming up with more epic melody in the intro, song followed up with nice chord progression in the middle. Something like combining Hammerfall with Dragonforce. Flame Of Olympus is going US power metal feel, think this is the best work to describe Seven Kingdoms' sounds. The Fire Is Mine (Dark Wings, Dark Words - Pt.II) however is not spiced up enough to make it more memorable album title song. After this, is a mellow acoustic ballad Kardia. Sabrina bring us to listen her voice in full focus. The rest of awesome song is In The Twisted Twilight. The King In The North is last song in typical ending climax, achieved by giving enough chorus parts in its.

What fancy is the dual guitar solos that take larger portion in every songs. Production is clear, but a bit of input is Sabrina voices under power by the instrumental in several moments. The Fire Is Mine is a creative power metal works, most of times before the solos is a nice chord progression twist. Third album that marked top of Seven Kingdoms careers.

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

Seven Kingdoms The Fire Is Mine 2012
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01. Beyond The Wall
02. After The Fall
03. Forever Brave
04. Flame Of Olympus
05. Symphony Of Stars
06. The Fire Is Mine (Dark Wings, Dark Words - Pt. II)
07. Kardia
08. Fragile Minds Collapse
09. In The Twisted Twilight
10. A Debt Paid In Steel
11. The King In The North

Sabrina Valentine - vocals
Kevin Byrd - guitars
Camden Cruz - guitars
Keith Byrd - drums
Aaron Sluss - bass

Guest musicians
Matt Smith - vocals
Bryan Edwards - vocals
Chris Kinder - vocals
Jim Morris - vocals
Lindsay Vitola - vocals
Patrick "Hoyt" Parris - vocals
John Zambrotto – vocals

Cover artwork in fantasy style


Animetal USA - W - 2012

A combination of metal and Japanese anime? You bet that already has a long history on it. Japan culture is colonialism through Asia and went far to USA. For a mutual retaliation, USA export the music, included heavy metal to the rising sun islanders. The Animetal USA is direct tribute to Animetal Japan, band that specialist cover anime song into metal version. If you fans of anime, tokusatsu and other Japan craziness, Animetal is part of collectibles you should already aware. Just a tribute is not enough, forming the Animetal USA is none other than Chris Impellitteri , Mike Vescera and supported by Rudy Sarzo and Jon Dette (Testament, Slayer etc.). For Impellitteri, he is/was part of western shredder that linked very much to Japan fans. Same as Chris is Marty Friedman who was also part of Animetal doing the arrangements. For Mike Vescera, his years with Loudness should exposed him enough background knowledge on the materials. Both name is a good choice to aims both Japanese fans and non-Anime fans.

For all of the songs, the background knowledge is necessary for fully enjoy it. The songs that made the most interest to me is the anime / tokusatsu that I really familiar, to their original openings and soundtrack. Kamen Rider and Goranger in track 3 Hero Medley is completely killer. Goranger is the first Super Sentai show starting late '70s,. To get the picture of Goranger, it is a rainbow colors super hero team that literally franchised to USA in a name of Power Ranger, starting in early '90s. Dragon Ball Medley is part of teenage-hood memory. Then the real good stuff, that the original version also totally killing by Animetal, is Magic Knight Rayearth OP. Girl's Anime Medley is a fun part, considering how girly the material is for, but Mike Vescera singing Sailor Moon theme is totally awesome. Then the nostalgic Macross theme is also chilling, the series is part of outer space anime together with Gundam that form a sub-genre in anime. For Gundam, I hope get covered in the next project. For a recent soundtrack is Touch, One Piece and of course Naruto in Rock Lee's character theme.

Chris Impellitteri lead the guitar, together with the bassist and drummer nailed each his riff and solos into first class action of power / heavy metal. The solos in the Hero Medley was really Impellitteri standard of neo classical shred. In fact, Animetal USA is overdone most of the composition, turning them into more western power metal standard. Gone is the addition of brasses, old Japan style pumping bass line and the tenor singing that actually what memorable in the original versions. But again, this is totally awesome project, so much fun to dig in if you are anime literates fans. For non-anime / otaku , you lost half the excitements and the project will only serves you as regular power / heavy metal album. Specific market for Animetal USA but I bet the crowd are enough to make this project keep going.

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

Animetal USA - W - 2012
buy it here at Amazon

01. Touch (Touch OP)
02. CAT’S EYE” (Cat’s Eye OP)
03.Hero Medley
~Devilman no Uta (Devilman OP)
~Let’s go Rider Kick (Kamen Rider OP)
~Tatakae! Kamen Rider V3 (Kamen Rider V3 OP)
~Himitsu Sentai Goranger (Himitsu Sentai Goranger ED)
~Ultra Seven no Uta (Ultra Seven OP)
04. “Dragon Ball Medley”
~CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA (Dragon Ball Z 1st OP)
~WE GOTTA POWER (Dragon Ball Z 2nd OP)
05. Galaxy Express 999″(Galaxy Express 999 Theme Song)
06. We Are! (ONE PIECE 1st OP)
07. Yuzurenai Negai (Magic Knight Rayearth OP)
08. Girl’s Anime Medley”
~Moonlight Densetsu (Sailor Moon OP)
~Cutie Honey(Cutie Honey OP)
~Attack No. 1 theme (Attack No. 1 OP)
~Himitsu no Akko-chan (Himitsu no Akko-chan OP)
~Mahoutsukai Sally (Mahoutsukai Sally OP)
09. Ai Oboeteimasuka / Do You Remember Love?
~(Macross: Do You Remember Love Theme Song)
10. JAM Project Medley (~VANGUARD~MAX ON~SKILL)
11. Give Lee Give Lee Rock Lee (NARUTO Spin-Off: Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals OP)

Metal-Rider (Mike Vescera) - Vocals
Speed King (Chris Impellitteri) - Guitar
Storm Bringer (Rudy Sarzo) - Bass
Tank (Jon Dette) - Drums

KISS - Monster 2012

Whatever KISS doing in this age is a grace. Imagine that we still able to listen to their ideas, same as thirty or forty years ago. Not many bands can stay in same shape as what KISS doing. And in exactly same facial gestures.... For this week, here comes the 20th studio album of the legendary KISS, Monster. The album still has the same Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. Together with Eric Singer and guitarist in charge, Tommy Thayer, KISS is in full spirit to entertain the survivor of rock n' roll with their music.

Thick in blues and rock n' roll riff, Monster started with Hell or Hallelujah. A rather Rainbow's Lost in Hollywood riff intro? Just kidding. It's just a reference to give an idea that the '80s party is on. The singing here, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons is the main things to enjoy. Wall Of Sound and Freak delivered that hard rock spirit with both singers take turns to make this a KISS legacy. Back To The Stone Age is tight rock n' roll groove with back to '70s feel. There is also Eat Your Heart Out that its chorus intro and its elaborate riff are just design for KISS to explore on the big arena. Similar to the provoking All For The Love Of Rock & Roll, that bring back memory by it verses and choruses, best to enjoy with buddies in your late 40s.  My favorite track. Take Me Down Below in its killer groove bring us to the last parts of the album.

And there you go, the continuation of king of rock n' roll. Monster is just plain simple KISS album and actually sounds very familiar most of times. Of course because there lay the forty years experiences of making music. Last word on this album is mature and bold. With support of veteran axeman Tommy Thayer, replacing the legend Ace Frehley , the guitar sounds are root in '70s rock n' roll riff. Never too late to get into KISS if you ever a young fans of rock.

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

KISS - Monster 2012
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01. Hell Or Hallelujah
02. Wall Of Sound
03. Freak
04. Back To The Stone Age
05. Shout Mercy
06. Long Way Down
07. Eat Your Heart Out
08. The Devil Is Me
09. Outta This World
10. All For The Love Of Rock & Roll
11. Take Me Down Below
12. Last Chance
13. Right Here Right Now

Paul Stanley – rhythm guitar, lead vocals
Gene Simmons – bass guitar, lead vocals
Tommy Thayer – lead guitar, vocals
Eric Singer – drums, percussion, vocals

the 2012 KISS artworks


Obsession - Order of Chaos (2012)

For metal fans, the name Mike / Michael Vescera is bringing many nostalgic moments. He was singer to Loudness in late '80 era as Akira Takasaki's voices for Soldier of Fortune album and several stuff afterward. Then recruited by Yngwie in his late "golden" years, singing in The Seventh Sign and Magnum Opus album. After the heavy / power metal scenes seems diminished in late '90, Mike got to jam with ex Helloween Roland Grapow and helped him did the proper singing in Roland's second solo album Kaleidoscope. Then moves to Brazil to voice Dr.Sin in early 2000. Jump for current time, Mike already releases two major albums exactly in 2012. First was helping shredder Torben Enevoldsen in Fatal Force, then join with Chris Impellitteri to franchise Animetal USA the W album. In his large port folio, there is a band that started it all, it's called Obsession. It is Mike's first homeband that believe responsible where the legend born. Home base in New Haven, Connecticut, Obsession was there since 1982. Releasing three albums before the departure of Mike Vescera, this year Obsession continue their journey with a release of 2012 album, Order of Chaos.

Come to listen this old school power metal, USA power metal. Order of Chaos is the first track and it is platform for Mike Vescera vocal clinic. The style of very high pitch screaming bring us back to Loudness / Yngwie era. Twist of the Knife is actually the small twist of story here. Being worked with many shredding axeman, Mike Vescera Obsession is now join by two phenomenon guitarist. They are John Bruno and Scott Boland. Both are capable of Yngwie's guitar solos. For these features the album got another point of interest to listen on. Most songs are in a typical structures, check License to Kill for killer riff and double harmony guitar of the 80s. Jump to Mercy Killing for another epic guitar riff of the kind. Only When the Smoke Clears starts slightly different with acoustic guitar and fancy bass line.

For most parts, the album will remind Loudness and especially Yngwie Malmsteen featuring Mike Vescera times. Most song of Order of Chaos are coming with two or three layered of chorus line, designated for Mike Vescera voices. Definitely qualify as power metal text book that has enough shredding parts in its. Considering the background information where Mike already presented rather different style in Fatal Force and Animetal USA, Order of Chaos is back to basic in the 80s spirit of metal. Check this out, especially fans of power vocalist Mike Vescera.

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

Obsession featuring Mike Vescera - Order of Chaos 2012
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1. Order of Chaos   
2. Twist of the Knife   
3. Forbidden Desire   
4. When the Smoke Clears   
5. License to Kill   
6. Wages of Sin   
7. Cold Day in Hell   
8. Act of God   
9. Mercy Killing   
10. Dark Shadows   
11. The Damned

Chris McCarvill Bass 
B.J. Zampa Drums 
John Bruno Guitars (X Factor X)
Michael Vescera Vocals 
Scott Boland Guitars

Album cover


Crucified Barbara - The Midnight Chase 2012

The ladies are getting better and better in doing rock n' roll by their own. One of them is Crucified Barbara, the all girls hard rock/metal band hailed from Sweden. They were a quartet, already giving the world three studio albums since 2005. Their latest album The Midnight Chase release in 2012 and pushing hard on the boundary between hard rock and heavy metal.

Almost all songs are build up on a catchy, crispy, crunchy and raw guitar riff then followed up with raw  vocals by Mia Coldheart, their frontwoman and guitarist. Just a couple seconds of the first track The Crucifier, we fell the raw energy in hard rock erupted almost spontaneously. Shut Your Mouth is remind us to the glam metal of the early 90s with its thick leading riff and beat. For something different we have Rules And Bones, with its dictating bass line and drumming introduction. The girls also good at aiming commercial tricks, hyper-commercial as mentioned by many actually. For this, listen to song Rock Me Like The Devil that just released as video clip recently. The rest of album are Kid From the Upperclass and The Midnight Chase, all good ones. The ballad is only on Count Me In, where they do a pop rock type of song.

Good album that bring out many fresh idea on a simple hard rock / '90s metal platform. They are obviously talented musicians. Perhaps not too fireworks guitar solos in there but all the simple fill in solos are perfectly done the job. Must say the present of female voices is giving that sexy aspect and able to bring fresh dimension to the songs. Mia Coldheart is sound like Lita Ford in a slightly metal form. The production also nice with all the bass and drumming bring out clean. Only the cover album can be done better, I think. This is a good album that are easy listening, commercial, enough fiery to head bang with the music.
Metalharem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Crucified Barbara - The Midnight Chase 2012
buy it here at Amazon

01.The Crucifier
02. Shut Your Mouth
03. Into The Fire
04. Rules And Bones
05. Everything We Need
06. If I Hide
07. Rock Me Like The Devil
08. Kid From The Upperclass
09. The Midnight Chase
10. Count Me In
11. Rise And Shine

Mia Coldheart - vocals, guitar
Klara Force - guitars
Ida Evileye - bass
Nicky Wicked - drums


Therion Les Fleurs Du Mal 2012

The mega Therion is back. Symphonic power metal band from French is long time player in the genre. They keep doing innovative music in the last few years. Up to the last album Sitra Ahra, Therion is gone through complexes symphonic metal with its many exotic instrument as well lyric put together. It is then not surprising if Therion continue their experimental and give us a full operatic cover album in French language. When it's say operatic cover it's literally mean Therion just having fun covering notes per notes of the French songs, or to be rather technical, a French chansons. The album titled Les Fleurs Du Mal or The Flower of Evil and it's also the in between album for the next Therion project, the big ones as some sources informed.

The best part of this album is Therion doing it straightaway the cover, just put the symphonic metal music, the riff, the double pedal and the chansons. It's surprisingly natural fit in some of the songs. Lori Lewis and the tenor voices are best to enjoy. Songs as in Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son, Mon Amour, Mon Ami, Dis-moi Poupee are the natural mixed between galloping metal drumming and operatic voices. When come to slow song, Une Fleur Dans Le Cœur or Polichinelle is simply a light soprano voices to enjoy with a cup of coffee. Then we also have Wahala Manitou that's 3/4 beat waltzing in nicely. The heaviest track is in Je N'ai Besoin Que De Tendresse, where soprano and tenor duet is likely give you a big smile and give you an idea to send a youtube video to your opera fans. Some are very simple and cheesy, Les Sucettes fo example.

I must say I enjoy this album. The average songs last only two or three minutes, mean Therion is just giving a 'bonuses' limited edition album to the fans. Do not take the album in complicated manner. If you can't appreciated the beautiful Lori Lewis and her tenor cast, then don't even try. This is also a good gift to your Sarah Brightman girl friend.

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

Therion Les Fleurs Du Mal 2012
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01.Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son
02. Une Fleur Dans Le Cœur
03. Initials B.B.
04. Mon Amour, Mon Ami
05. Polichinelle
06. La Maritza
07. Sœur Angelique
08. Dis-moi Poupée
09. Lilith
10. En Alabama
11. Wahala Manitou
12. Je N'ai Besoin Que De Tendresse
13. La Licorne D'or
14. J'ai Le Mal De Toi
15. Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son
16. Les Sucettes [bonus]

Thomas Vikström - vocals
Lori Lewis - vocals
Christian Vidal - guitars
Christofer Johnsson - guitar, keyboards, programming, vocals
Johan Koleberg - drums
Nalle "Grizzly" Påhlsson - bass

Session musicians
Tommie "Snowy Shaw" Helgesson - vocals

Guest musicians
Linnéa Vikström – vocals

A French Opera artwork for Therion Cover Album


Nightwish Parted Ways with Anette Olzon and list of Nightwish new singers

It is not April 1st but October 1st, so the news is very much as a truth, Nightwish just parted away with Anette Olzon. The full statement from official web:

 "Another chapter of the Nightwish story has ended today. Nightwish and Anette Olzon have decided to part company, in mutual understanding, for the good of all parties involved.

In recent times it has become increasingly obvious that the direction and the needs of the band were in conflict, and this has led to a division from which we cannot recover.

Nightwish has no intention of cancelling any upcoming shows, and as a result we have decided to bring in a substitute vocalist starting in Seattle 1.10.2012. Her name is Floor Jansen from The Netherlands (ex-After Forever, ReVamp), and she has graciously stepped in to help us complete the Imaginaerum world tour.

We are all strongly committed to this journey, this vehicle of spirit, and we are sure that this will lead to a brighter future for everyone. We forever remain excited about the adventures to come, and we are extremely proud of the two beautiful albums and the wonderful shows we shared together."

A breakheart from Anette Olzon in her personal blog:

Dear blog readers:
With this I say farewell to you and this blog. This blog was a way for me, as the singer in NW, to keep more in touch with you NW fans. Now when this chapter has ended, there is no more need for me to do this blog and from today I close it. 
I want to thank you all for being my readers for so many years, for your loving support and I wish you all a happy and healthy life! Stay kind to others and live life easy!
Lots of love,
Anette Olzon (from now on just Anette Olsson;=)

a goodbye from the Imaginaerum vocalist, Anette Olsson

So, before Floor Jansen, Nightwish already hired Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) and Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist) stepped in for Anette this past Friday night (September 28th) at the Ogden Theatre, Denver. We will now eagerly wait for the big news for the permanent replacement for Anette. Will a worldwide audition take the away. Here singers that has similarity to Nightwish, shall be their third singer? It's only for fun comparison.

Floor Jansen - After Forever, official tour singer

The day of the first show we also did a long soundcheck to rehearse the songs. That was the only possibility… You cannot imagine how nervous I was before that first show started!!! Next to nerves my voice was battered by a cold due to all the travels, lack of sleep and airco’s.

The intro started…..I ran on stage….and all nerves were gone! The music and the guys took me in and so did the audience. What an experience! The excitement lasted the entire show, and way after. When I went to my tour bus bed that night I still had a smile on my face. I felt so happy and satisfied I fell asleep instantly.

Elize Ryd - Amaranthe , official tour singer, Kamelot and Dragonland guest singers

Alissa White-Gluz - The Agonist, official tour singer, she was famous for her deathmetal scream, but actually can perform operatic voice with Kamelot

Manuela Kraller - Xandria, performing almost Tarja's style in Xandria's newest album

Lori Lewis - Therion, the latest 2012 Therion album is full of operatic metal voices. ex Aesma Daeva

Melissa Ferlaak - Vision of Atlantis, ex Aesma Daeva, Echoterra

Charlotte Wessels - Delain

Sabine Edelsbacher - Edenbridge

Amanda Somerville - guest vocalist for many bands, Trillium, Avantasia, Ayreon, Aina

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