Women in Metal review-Akris…Eyes Set to Kill-Masks…Ephel Duath-Hemmed by Light, Shaped by Darkness…Serpent Omega…Leaves’ Eyes-Symphonies of the Night

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cheyka bessid~Drums and vocals
Helena Goldberg~ Bass and vocals

Review-Akris debut record is something that caught me by complete shock. The best way to describe Helena Goldberg and this duo is unique. The sound comes across like grunge mixed with sludge and psychotic, and then the vocals come across as an angry hypnotic powerful voice that is almost daring you to go further into the song and cd. This is a band that is not afraid to experiment. Some songs start off slow and the bass just pounds so methodical, and other songs just come out of the gates with such fury that recall maybe a sludge Fear of God. The low-fi tone of this cd really works well with the vocals. The biggest positive to me about this band and this really good debut is that each song is different than the last. This band really set out to test the limits in their sound and what they can do, and it pays off for them. Helena has a vocal delivery that can be compared to so many, Dawn Crosby, Sleeter-Kinney, and V for Vendetta for starters. This is not the pop goth band that is out to follow the leader, this is a band that takes so many risks in terms of sounds and going outside of the box that fans of unique music will really dig this band. What a bold move for this band to have two songs on this cd that really showcase just how many facets their sound has, and give you two songs that go longer than 12 minutes and go in so many directions in terms of sound and even vocal delivery. Vomit Within goes 12 minutes and it is the light at the end of the tunnel that music needs these days. A song that is so long, but goes by so fast and makes you pay attention. All in all, this cd is a sonic orgasm of power and beauty that I really think this band have created a cd that should get them some attention.

9 out of 10

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Alexia- Vocals / Guitar/Keyboards
Anissa- Bass
Cisko-Screams / live only Guitar
Caleb – Drums / Samples

Review-Eyes Set to Kill latest release and their first for Century Media can almost be seen as a new dawn for them. They seem to try hard on this release to ditch the commercial feel their past record have had and try to go into a more heavy direction. Lost and Forgotten and True Colors are very good slabs of the band trying to up the amps and the anger. Killing in your Name is another example of a band that is trying to grow, this song borders the heaviness it is trying to convey but yet the catchy peppiness that have been their standard. Masks, I feel is a good attempt at this band trying to break out of their shell but yet still keep certain elements of their past on display. I mean the catchiness is still there in songs like Where I want to be and Surface among many other tracks but yet they seem like they are trying to incorporate more substance in the sound. They have the heavy guitars and the vocals seeming more structured and not just generic. The cd is heavy, melodic and very catchy. I feel in the year of bands like In This Moment, The Agonist, and that ilk still trying to pass off their new music as growth but feeling like a carbon copy of past releases, at least with Eyes they are trying to go outside of their comfort zone now that they have a major label. This is a catchy little record that I feel will attract them some new fans and may keep the old school fans happy that the band is maturing.

8 out of 10

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Davide Tiso – guitars
Karyn Crisis – vocals
Bryan Beller – bass
Marco Minemann – drums

Review-Crisis fans rejoiced last year that Karyn and Ephel Duath did an EP together, now it seems that this is the official line up and they have made a full length cd. Like the EP, if people are expecting the old Crisis screams and heaviness, you are going to be letdown. This is a very different animal, and one I feel that shows Karyn’s growth and maturity as a vocalist. The sound almost comes across as a jazz influenced black metal. The negatives right off the bat, I wish this cd was more diverse. It just seems with the vocals this whole cd is one dimensional. And I am the biggest Crisis fan, and I loved the 3 song EP. But I just feel that Karyn’s delivery just suffers at times with this sound, not enough to dislike this cd if you are a fan. Her vocals to me are more equipped for a heavier sound that will let her break loose. Now, I am not saying this is a bad record but I feel that this record really needs more elements to its sound to compliment her capabilities, which as the cd goes on does at least try. I am a fan of technical metal, but I feel that this record needed more structure to the songs and less of that slowed down feel that each song has. This is a record that feels like one long stream of thought that one song does not really stand out, but it just seems that the whole cd is one song broken down in parts. Now, I like what Karyn brings to music and I feel she has a great vibe with what her voice brings. But, I feel she is not equipped for this type of metal, that her vocals are more death metal or heavy metal. I feel I may be going more in depth about the vocals and style more than the actual songs, but that to me was what stood out to me. I felt while Tiso really has a great sound, he is just so stuck in his ways that he refuses to maybe go outside of his comfort zone and realize that this style of music, may be a great idea for a 3 song venture that goes for about 10 to 15 minutes, but really does not work as a full length cd. The songs on this cd are ok, if you are a Crisis fan you will be excited that she is working and creating music. And for me, songs like Through Flames I Shield and Hemmed by Darkness are really good and at least try to give us something that fans expect from Crisis. As a whole, the songs separate are ok enough to keep me happy, but as a whole and listening to this cd from start to finish is a different story.

7 out of 10

Ephel Duath band

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Brief – Bass,
Jonsson – Guitar
Pia – Vocals
Sakke – drums

Review-Serpent Omega is a band that infuses Doom/Sludge/Grunge and mixing it up in their own unique style. This is one of those affairs that what you feel going into it, you will completely feel different once it is over. Pia Hogberg has a vocal style that is so hard to describe but I can say this, you have to hear it to believe it. The band has this style that compliments her insanity and really makes everything she sings seem like epic. Smoke Ritual is one of those songs that I feel sum up why I am a music fan, and have been for so long. This is one of those songs that when it starts you have no idea what you are going towards, but when it all comes together just really makes you want to turn it up to ten and be excited about music. I compare this cd to how I felt when I first heard Soundgarden Louder than Love in 1989. The riffs on this cd are so heavy and hard hitting, that you feel like they are punching you in the face. This band has an odd catchiness, not so much with sing-along lyrics or soften pop chords, but with a sound that once the song ends it sticks with you till you get to the next song. This is a band that seems very comfortable with its sound and knows what their singer delivers and compliments her attack. This is a band that has a hard task among them, with a record this hard hitting and important, how can you possibly follow this up? In the world of metal where when you say female singer, you think of pin up dolls that sing like a church choir, you are not ready for what this band has to show you. They are out to break the stereotype and remodel it. This is a cd that has to be heard to be believed, this record really delivers a hard and heavy sonic attack that I feel could be compared to if early Voivod had a female vocalist. What an incredible record.

10 out of 10

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Liv Kristine – vocals
Alexander Krull – vocals
Thorsten Bauer – guitars
Sander van der Meer – guitars
Felix Born – drums

Review-Liv Kristine is back with the latest Leaves’ Eyes cd. If you are not familiar with this band or their sound, they are a female led symphonic metal band. Coming off her incredible solo record Libertine, Liv seems energized and also content with her place in music. Alexander Krull who is Liv’s husband and Atrocity’s frontman lends his vocals on a few tracks that really showcase the band trying to go in a heavier vein in some songs like the opening track Hell to the Heavens. Which Liv seems really ready to show fans that she is willing to add different elements to the music. Fading Earth the second track keeps the energy level going and Liv really gives us some of the best music in the history of this band. What makes this cd so impressive is that Liv still delivers and really keeps the fans captivated by what she offers. Where in the past this band flirted with folk, this time they seem to tone them down this time and went for a straight forward rock record which really works. I mean where bands like Within Temptation and Epica seems so lost in their past that they refuse to try to modernize their sound or at least open up to new ideas, Liv and Leaves’ Eyes seem open to new ideas and trying to improve and show that this band is more than a one trick pony. This is far from a masterpiece, but it is a step in the right direction for a band that needed to show people they are here to stay. This is a band that wants Liv to be in the forefront with her vocals, and the music they play complements her deliver. This is their best release to date by far.

8.5 out of 10

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