Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Final Assault/Vengeance interview

Final Assault/Vengeance's rare stuff is out thanks to Texas Metal Underground and I couldn’t resist asking Alexander Robles III for a detailed interview. The charismatic singer replied at once and revealed many forgotten details concerning the band’s past! Texan Metal history unleashed!!
What was the reason that made you release your works? Are you satisfied with theresponse of the fans?
Alexander: Well The main push to release the CD was Scott,(Texas Metal Underground) he inspired me to get this out, mainly the Vengeance stuff. As you know we had a very limited life, I mean the band did. Scott informed me that he was getting a lot of e mails from Europe and I was getting the same responses myself, so I just happened to have a copy of the music from both Final Assault & Vengeance, when Scott said he could have his tech guys clean it up and we could release it over seas, Man I was all for it. The whole process started a couple of years ago, late 2007. Scott and I exchanged e mails daily, along with phone calls and pictures of the bands. I suggested to Scott to name the CD Final Vengeance, by using both bands names along with, well, the end of that era, it tied in nicely. The art work was also and idea I had, my lyrics have a religious theme to them, I use God and my faith to influence my decisions, it's work well for me. As for fan response, Man it's been great! all the reviews along with yours have been just overwhelming. I never thought we would ever get to show the world our music, I thank God for the blessings he has bestowed on us. I know some of the tunes on the CD may sound creepy, but that's just some of the experiences that are real, let us not be fooled there is good and bad out there.
Describe me the enthusiasm that was vivid through Texas, back in the middle 80’s, regarding all these youngsters who were starving to play metal.
Alexander: When I was around 18 I got introduced to some rock bands via 8 track, (ha,ha) my best friend at the time had a good selection of bands like Kansas, early Black Sabbath, Rainbow etc. One night he came over and brought Hell Bent for Leather (Judas Priest) over, that was it, I was hooked. I practiced every day, bought every album and from that point other big name bands came into my collection. Just like me others followed in the same way. I never knew really I could sing, I did have the high vocals and could carry low tones as well, in my mind I thought that's all I needed, I was wrong so wrong, with Final Assault #1, I think we were one of the first to original material after that all jumped on board. The younger fans took to us like we were stars, I mean autographs, pictures weird phone calls etc. Many young kids took up playing just to have a chance to play a show with us, man who would've thought it would explode from there.

Who were your musical idols and influences?
Alexander: Vocally as I said before Rob Halford started it all for me, then I diversified, I got into Dio, Geoff Tate, and others (my secret) you could probably tell when you listen to our songs. I never try to settle on one style vocally as you'll listen Final Assault material is quite different from the Vengeance stuff, I have been working on some new material that you'll soon be hearing in the months to come, just stay tuned.

Which Texan bands were you picks?
Alexander: Ah, wow what a large selection I have, well, I can truly say Helstar, Pantera, and............ I guess that's it, everyone else was good and I have a lot of respect for them and what they accomplished, I think now for me they were not as much an influence as the bigger bands were.

To my ears, Final Assault was more raw-sounding than the Vengeance material. Which are the differences between the two projects?
Alexander: Final Assault was a raw band to start with, we didn't find our legs until later, don't get me wrong some of the stuff we had was awesome, but it just wasn't refined enough I wanted things musically that weren't possible in FA, due to different personalities and music limitations. When you here Vengeance you hear what should have been all along. At least for me, I pretty much had control over lyrics and haunting the stuff up. I think if we had more funding we could have done it up big time.

Why Vengeance didn’t release any demo? Are there more songs recorded that didn’tappear on the CD?
Alexander: Vengeance never really had any backing, we scraped money together however we could, that meant some of us had to get jobs.. yuck!! The same went for studio work, if the owner hadn't worked with us, we would had never released even these songs. I can remember some other songs we wrote, I have some very rough recordings of our practice sessions. I think they were in the near completion stage. The ones you'll hear are the ones we kinda liked the most.

Tell me about the live track of the CD, “Awaken The Child”. To which era does it belong?
Alexander: “Awaken the child” came from the 1st FA project, we had many songs during that era, Izzy the guitar player was especially fond of that one so we dusted it off from time to time.

You always chose talented guitar players for your projects. Which one was the ideal to work with?
Alexander: I think both had a spark the other was lacking, let me explain Ruben Vela, was so melodic he had catchy riffs and was easy to play with, I mean the songs just came out ’cause they were not as technical. Izzy, well, he was a master guitarist, he new his stuff, technique, solos I can go on and on, I guess he was more difficult to work with ’cause everything had to be just right. I love them both very much. I really can’t choose between them. They helped me grow as much as I helped them, they pushed each other and that I think was FA's lethal weapon. When we parted ways it was rough I lost some real close friends, it's a shame we have to get old.

Describe me the atmosphere of your live shows. Did you play any covers? Is there any possibility to arrange a reunion or releasing any live concert on DVD?
Alexander: We never played any covers really, I can remember though on one occasion Vengeance did a cover from Black Sabbath's “Sign Of The Southern Cross”. It was fun but very professional, we planned out everything, of course we had some in put from our manager too. On some occasions we had some audio trouble, till this day I think someone did it on purpose. Ruben and I did speak about a get together, and he was all for it, me living in Georgia doesn't help much, all my brothers are in Texas. If I had the means to just take off for a few months and get ready, well then I think we would do it. I do have some early Final Assault on DVD, songs that were never recorded, it was a gig we had with Watch Tower on Thanksgiving Day, it was a huge success.

Do you listen to any new Metal bands? Name me any favourites of yours and anything you may want.
Alexander: Not really, once an awhile some will come my way via Myspace or email, but I'm not really looking out for anyone. I think the stuff that's out now lacks heart and soul, there are a few bands that still deliver, but for the most part the air waves are saturated with junk! I will always go back to my roots when it comes to metal, if you watch TV you'll see some early metal tunes are being used for car commercials and whatever, that goes to show metal will once again come back! I'm just waiting for all the garbage they play now to go out of style. It's just like the 70's stuff, clothes, music, language, all that has come back in style again, even my daughter wishes she was born in the 70's ha,ha. My ultimate favs are Queensryche, Judas Priest, Crimson Glory and you can throw some Dio in there also. I like to listen to early 70's stuff it takes me back when things were not so complicated. Some bands were really good back then, they played with a lot of feeling, that's me also. Let me say it's been a real pleasure doing this for you, I have a lot of love and respect for the people that helped me touch lives through our music and maybe through this interview. Please to anyone out there, were still here, and our music is still here, so if you want drop me an email or comment on our music by all means do so, only you the true metal fans will help keep it alive. Take care everyone, love ya and God Bless.

Dimitris Starakis

Friday, September 25, 2009

Final Vengeance - …Within The Realm CD review

Final Vengeance - …Within The Realm CD (TMU Records)
First of all and before I review this CD, credits must go to texasmetalunderground.com for being on of the most comprehensive web sites for the rich and endless Texan Metal legacy!
This is the anthology from one hell of a Texan Band named Final Assault which was formed in 1985, in Corpus Christi, Texas and released the four track demo “The first Warning” the same year. Azra Records contacted them after the buzz they created and two songs out of that demo were released on picture vinyl two years later. After lots of problems within the band, legendary vocalist Alex Robles (Alexander III), along with guitarist Ruben Vela found the courage to go on and, after recruiting a new line-up, they released the band’s second demo entitled “The Second Coming”. Unfortunately the demo had poor distribution and only a few copies were handed out to local fans.
1988 brought the rise of Vengeance out of the ashes of Final Assault. With a different line-up, but still with the vocal wizard Alexander III under their mark, the band recorded some songs that never came out on any formal official release…until today! “...Within The Realm” includes Final Assault’s “The Second Coming” demo along with five, never released Vengeance tracks and a live track titled “Awaken The Child”, taken from a sound check recording at Stardust Ballroom Ini Corpus Christi, Texas, back in 1989!
This is the true legacy of these two brilliant bands that delivered astonishing Metal, the Texan way! High-pitched vocals and US Power Metal with extended progressive elements, fiery guitar leads and blistering solos from true virtuosos complete the band’s style! I am totally under the Us Metal influence after the listening of songs like “Chemical Sin” and the unbelievable “M.G. III” (astonishing hymn!). The voice really sends you to Metal Heaven and makes you damn yourself for not being there when all the magic happened!
The Vengeance period showcases once again the bands talent and finds them in the Power Metal field, with the expected musical talent that includes killer riffs and, once again, grandiose vocal parts! To be honest, I prefer the Vengeance era, since all of the songs are exceptional! Even the live track “Awaken The Child” is simply a great musical experience! This release is “buy-or-die” for all those who dig deep in the vaults of Metal history. Don’t expect polished sound here, this is raw, intelligent and most of all, ORIGINAL metal! Get info on how to purchase the CD here:
http://www.texasmetalunderground.com/finalvengeance/ Band’s mySpace profile: www.myspace.com/finalvengeancetx
Dimitris Starakis

Russian Power Metallers Eclipse Hunter reveal upcoming release info

An independent label NewRock Music signed Eclipse Hunter to release their debut album – “ONE” on September, 28th (Russia, CIS & Baltic States). The album was recorded at Black Obelisk studio; mixing and mastering were done by Dmitry Borisenkov (Black Obelisk).
Vladimir Ermakoff (Mechanical Poet, Black Obelisk), Richard Ofsoski (Sedition, Ofsoski), Max Oleynik (Ivan Tsarevich, Anj), Yuri Kondrashov (Melancholy) and Alexey Korovkin (Callisto) also contributed their talents to record this long-awaited album.


Album tracklist:
1. One
2. Freedom
3. I’ll Never Forget
4. Train of Dreams
5. Angel
6. I’m Going Down
7. Lost Symphony
8. Fading
9. Coming Home
10. Awake
11. Eternally

Band's website for further details: http://www.eclipsehunter.net/jpg/one.jpg

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gray Broderick - Realms OF Fire CD review

Gray Broderick – Mythic Realms CD (Mythic Force Records)
I am always delighted when I get to receive efforts from musicians I truly appreciate. “Realms Of Fire” is another instrumental CD that features the wonderful melodies of Gray’s talent. What I always notice in Gray’s works is that the album flows and each and every song has something to add to the listener’s joy! "Realms of Fire" includes a variety of songs, from fast-paced Neoclassical pieces like “Requiem”, “The Castle” and the self-titled track to outstanding emotional tracks like my favourites “Twilight Prelude” and “Golemn”. It so rare nowadays to discover a guitarist that can compose memorable riffs in each and every song he records and Gray is definitely one of the few chosen ones. The dreamy atmosphere that his albums reflect made me a fan of his work and I am sure that the same feeling will also have every person that purchased his albums. I’ve heard from many people that Neoclassical music has become a cliché and the guitarists that follow this style are becoming more and more repeatable. Well, “Realms Of Fire” proves them wrong! Always support musicians that do not follow the current trends and decide not to follow the direction of the “blowing wind”. I strongly encourage Gray to form a band and compose some vocal songs since. I am sure that the final result will be astonishing! You can check his mySpace profile: http://www.myspace.com/mythicforce and find the links where his CD’s are being sold. Gray is also selling his songs through iTunes. His personal web-site: http://mythicforce.com/home.html
Dimitris Starakis

Thursday, September 3, 2009

7th Reign – Fallen Empires CD review

7th Reign – Fallen Empires CD (Independent Release)

The ideal outcome for a newcomer band is to show steadily progress on each album that unleashes. 7th Reign managed to reach that goal and revealed to us an outstanding release, destined to become a Power Metal classic! I remember my comments on their debut CD but now I can assure you that this quartet managed to release an even better album! Melodic, pompous powerful and atmospheric Power Metal is served in “Fallen Empires”, with the mighty voice of Brian Soulard delivering some harsh and high-pitched vocal wizardry! My pick in 7th Reign, guitarist Marios Panayiotis is in constant great shape, playing some astonishing riffs and solos in brilliant songs like “7th Reign”, “Betrayed”, and the 10-minute opuses “Deliverance” and “Requiem For The Dead”. I love the Neoclassical attitude that Mario has in his performance, filled also with some Symphonic keyboard parts, something that makes his parts an absolute experience. I strongly believe that “Fallen Empires” is one of the best, if not the best album of 2009, without any single drawback in it! I am not a fortune teller, but I predict that their next album will surely be released under a big record label! Don’t let this CD pass unnoticed, you’ll miss a state-of-the-art! Visit the band’s web-site: http://www.7threign.com/ and their mySpace profile: http://www.myspace.com/7threign

Dimitris Starakis

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Edgend - Newcomer Prog /Power band

if you are into Symphony X, check this talented band and pre-order their album "A New Identity" !

http://www.myspace.com/edgendband

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Inner Strength's 1993 album "Shallow Reflections" has been re-released!

The newly re-mastered and expanded edition of Inner Strength's 1993 album "Shallow Reflections" is now available world-wide through Retrospect Records!

This new release also contains (for the first time ever on CD) 4 bonus tracks from the bands 1991 EP "Within The Dream", including newly recorded vocals by Scott Oliva for the song "Believe (You and I)". These bonus tracks have also been completely re-mixed!!

You can get the CD here:
http://www.retrospectrecords.com/products/inner_strength.html

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rachel Mother Goose interview

Japan has been always a fascinating musical destination for me and recently I had the opportunity to communicate with Mikka, singer of one of my favorite Japanese bands, Rachel Mother Goose. RMG, the brainchild of guitarist Hideshi Ueki, is ready to release a brand new album this winter and I asked Mikka to give us more info concerning the band. Feel free to support the always amazing Rachel Mother Goose!!!!

When you first joined Rachel Mother Goose? Have you sung in any other bands before?


Mikka: As I remember, it was in the early months of 2003. Till then I joined a few original bands mainly in Nagoya, but they never had a sound like RMG.


You have a great reputation as a band in Japan and you also release new stuff often? Do you enjoy most working in the studio or playing live?

Mikka: I'd love to release a new album as soon as possible. I enjoy working in the studio, since I have unbounded images when we're making the new stuffs. But I love playing live more, because it's very happy when we feel at one with the audience.



Are you satisfied from the sales of your records?

Mikka: No, I'm not. I hope much more people listen to our music.



Tell me about your guitarist, Hideshi Ueki. He is a guitar tutor in Osaka, if I remember well. Is he the leader of the band and how well do you cooperate with him?

Mikka: No, he's not a guitar tutor in Osaka. I always discuss the melody, the lyrics and the setting of the song with him. He writes music but I always give him my ideas or new attempts.


Have you ever thought of releasing your albums outside Japan? You already have a good reputation in Korea

Mikka: I remember the show in Korea clearly. We appreciate the warm and exciting response. We'd love to release our album in many other countries, and of course we'd love to go on a tour. But I have to be able to sing in English better first.


You also sing in another band named Rahu (ラーフ). Could you describe me the style of this band?

Mikka: I started RAHU almost the same time as RMG. If I place RMG to HR/HM, I must say RAHU has the wide-ranging music style, singing in Japanese. Basically it's HR but sometimes pops, sometimes Celtic, sometimes funk.... and often people say it's progressive. RAHU could have horn sections or even dancers in the show! Such a free style music is RAHU's attractiveness.


You released two songs in the last couple of years, "Fiercest Warrior" and "Out From Under", but both of them were published in demo formats. When do you plan to release your new album?

Mikka: We're just working for the new album. I'm not sure if we'll have those two songs in it yet, but I think we will. We'd love to release it by this winter.

Add anything you may want

Mikka: I appreciate that we have the good environment to express our music freely. Thank you for reading. To the members and the fans,

Love,

Mikka


Band's website: http://www.geocities.jp/rachelmothergoose/


Dimitris Starakis

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Magic Starlight 'zine on Facebook!

Yes, we're officialy now on Facebook!
Check us there and don't forget to add us as a friend!!

http://www.facebook.com/magicstarlight

Friday, July 10, 2009

Leviathan are back with a reunion concert and a live CD/DVD

Yes it's true! The wettest dream of all Progressive Metal fans will become reality!
On September the 19th,
Leviathan will be playing a reunion show in Colorado, USA! Featuring vocalist Jeff Ward and John Lutzow along with ronnie Skeen on guitars, the majestic band will record the show and plans to release it also on CD and DVD format!!
The set list, according to John Lutzow, is shaping up to look like this:

Salvation
Friends imaginary
Census of stars
Speed kills
Degenerating paradise
confidence not arrogance
if walls could talk
fear of change
sanctuary
run forever
mindless game control
Leviathan

and bonus

Turning up broken

John Lutzow is taking already requests about pre-ordering or adding more info about the forthcoming Leviathan re-awakening release on:
inkpenexor@msn.com Feel free to e-mail him and express your support to the mighty Leviathan!!!!!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wicked Waltz – New Track “Man Made Faith” review

Wicked Waltz – New Track “Man Made Faith”
The talented band from the US strikes back with a newly recorded track! I was really curious to witness their comeback after their magnificent debut mini-Cd “Chapter 1”. “Man Made Faith” showcases the heavier side of the band, with Jason delivering some high-pitched vocal lines, deeply influenced from Rob Halford. Wicked Waltz proves once again that their talent is multi-dimensional and can compose astonishing melodic Metal songs, but also Molten Metal dynamites! I was completely satisfied from the pompous structure of the song and I can already imagine how perfectly the song will fit the band’s live playlist! Well done guys!
I contacted guitarist Micah in order to ask his opinion about the new recording and here’s what he replied: “We had a lot fun recording this song in the studio. Of course being in the studio is always a blast. When you're in there you are able to get a better grasp of the song and are able to come up with different ideas to improve it. We tried a couple new things to give this new recording a different feel than our previous CD (Chapter 1). There's just something about being in the studio that makes feel good about what you’re doing. And of course it feels really good to have people sending us messages wanting to hear the new song. We just hope everyone enjoys it.
There are no release plans for our new material for the time being. We honestly did this mostly for ourselves and to give people a taste of things to come. We have a lot more music to be heard and we will try to get as much done as we can afford. And when we able to have more songs recorded we will release a new CD for everyone to have”. Band’s website: www.wickedwaltz.net band’s mySpace profile: www.myspace.com/wickedwaltz
Dimitris Starakis

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wheelrunner – Bloodpaint CD review

Wheelrunner – Bloodpaint CD (Emotion Art)

The Athenian trio released its first full-length right before the end of 2008, showcased its talent in the hard Rock roots and it’s quite interesting to see a young band perfoming their favorite music. Wheelrunner was formed in 2001 and two years released also their first 6-track demo. After numerous live performances, the band released in 2003 their second demo titled “Rock 'n' Roll Lover”, including 6 tracks, while in 2004 the band was searching for a label and released a three-track promo, simply entitled “Promo 2004”.

In their debut full-length, Wheelrunner deliver in-your-face hard Rock with energetic and’ atmosphere. The whole result is quite professional, proving that the trio from Athens is really watching their steps. Songs like “Proof Of Love” are sending the message to the fans and prove that the band is really explosive when playing live! I witnessed their energy myself when I attended their headline performance in RETHYMNO ROCKS! Festival #1 and I can assure you that their songs are made for their concerts!

I encourage you to listen to their songs and witness their energy for yourself! Band’s mySpace profile: http://www.myspace.com/wheelrunner

Band’s management: http://www.myspace.com/emotionartmusic

Dimitris Starakis


Friday, June 19, 2009

Bracaglia - Falling Star review

Antony Bracaglia – Falling Star (Independent Digital Release)
I’ve been following Bracaglia’s steps since 2007 and finally I have been able to download four brilliant tracks from iTunes! His debut effort is entitled Falling Star and features the amazing vocal performance by Erika Tandy. Erika is known from her previous work in the Texan quintet Ignitor and currently handles the vocal parts in Poseidon’s Anger and Drifter – an Iron Maiden cover band. Another guest-star is the gifted keyboard player Michael Troy, who currently tours and records with the one and only Yngwie J. Malmsteen! Bracaglia’s and Troy’s explosive guitar and keyboard duel is reflected in the two instrumental tracks Frenetic” and Thermopylae”, with the outcome being extraordinary!

I was able to scrutinize “Falling Star” and I am pretty sure that Bracaglia is ready to conquer the global Neoclassical Metal scene. Relentless guitar work, flashy neoclassical solos filled with inspiring arpeggios and that distinctive Fender Stratocaster sound give the fans what they really need. Erika’s vocal lines in the song “Falling star” are truly out of this world and surely make her a worthy candidate for the Female vocalists’ Hall Of Fame! Don’t expect any operatic vocals here, Erika delivers a harsh, wide range voice that is ideal for such a demanding music! The same atmosphere is met in the fast-paced “Live By The Sword” in which the combination of thundering, metallic vocals, virtuoso guitar work and wonderful keyboard intro completes a true metal hymn! The only thing that Bracaglia should improve in the future is the production, since his compositions should have a better sound. I am pretty sure that if he signs a record deal, then the world will welcome an inspiring and amazing guitar hero! Support this multi-talented artist (Bracaglia also creates custom overdrive pedals!) and buy his music either from iTunes or from Amazon.com

Bracaglia’s mySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/abracaglia

Dimitris Starakis

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Magic Starlight 'zine on Twitter!

Yes, Magic Starlight 'zine is officially on Twitter!

You can check my opinion on recent purchases and newcomer bands, plus other things as well... follow us!

http://twitter.com/katsuohta

Dimitris

Thursday, April 23, 2009

OSV Interview

Innovative, mind-expanding, remarkably gifted. Cosmetic words for musicians like Garry Oppert, a unique drummer that always tries to express himself through the magical language of music, are never enough. Along with bassist Steve Sexton and with the valuable help from Brandon Vaughn, they formed the project OSV that’s gaining success and reputation as time goes bye! Garry answers the questions and cannot hide his enthusiasm about the forthcoming 3rd CD. Please pay attention to the words of a man that serves the musical spectrum for more than 20 years…

How was the band formed? Why you chose to follow the path of instrumental music?
Steve (Sexton) and I got together and formed the project in 2006. The story began 20+ years ago as together we @ 17 years of age formed the the original band "Knight" that later became the well known underground success "Oblivion Knight". Back in those days we parted ways due to musical differences and as Steve developed Oblivion Knight, I formed the band Virtual Reality and recorded two demo's and had some underground metal success...Steve and I had not seen each other or played together in 20+ years. In 2006 we reconciled our differences and agreed that together along with VR keyboardist Brandon Vaughn we could form an all instrumental project, incorporating some of the latest top end guitarist and that might actually work as a successful project...well the Mission began and OSV's first CD "Mission One" was born....we got more positive feedback than we ever imagined, so we ventured ahead with the new CD "Second Thoughts" and with its well received success thru CDBaby and Itunes we are now starting the bass and drum tracks for the 3rd CD tentatively entitled "Chapter Three."

Which are your main influences and how would you categorize your music?
Well this is a very diverse question...me personally I am a prog metal old school rock/funk guy..Band wise I would say....Dream Theater's early work, Iron Maiden, Fates Warning w/ Mark Zonder on drums..and newer bands like Pagans Mind, Dreamscape, Dali's Dilemma..Lemur Voice...I guess some of these are not so new but still had a major influence on my style...Drummers that impacted me are Neil Peart, Mike Portnoy, Virgil Donati, Thomas Lang...etc etc... the list goes on and I personally try to get better at my drumming on a weekly basis...I am always blown away by how good some of these guys are and how far they can take the instrument.....

How difficult was to combined guitarists from all over the world and inspire them to adopt the band’s style?
With today's technology and being somewhat of a computer "guy" it was very easy...we used sites like yousendit.com to send and receive large wave files and basically work as if we were all here....its an amazing technology that I am sure will be very common place in the near future...and probably already being done in mass....

The language of music is widely accepted. How difficult is to express your feelings with the absence of words?
This to me is easy...as long as the listener is in tune with an instrumental project....I guess some people have to have a vocalist to get the full effect...but I personally have always loved the instrumental side of things..for example if Dream Theater was all instrumental I think they would have had even more success in the prog world over the last 15 years...at some point forcing vocals over prog sections becomes an annoyance to me...but that's only my opinion..there are a few really top end singers that I love to hear out there...Nils from Pagans Mind and Roland who used to sing with Dreamscape come to mind right away...there just are not any Ronnie James Dio's or Bruce Dickinson's out there anymore like the old days...

Are you satisfied with the response you received from the sale figures of your debut?
To be honest it blew me away...I really did not expect us to sell very many....but honestly its been more successful than I ever imagined...

Do you plan any live concerts or it’s difficult to make it true due to lack of present band members?
Unfortunately, I don't see this ever happening...just due to our life style as well as getting everyone involved together...it would be an awesome thing but most unlikely...

I know that you also rehearsed and recorded some tracks featuring Matthew Mills on guitars. Do you plan to invite him again and release some tracks from your collaboration?
This could happen in the future - Matt Mills is a great guitarist...On this project Steve and I did not want to be quite so "neoclassical" in our delivery....we felt that Matt's style would be more of that direction than we had initially planed, so we opted for some other guys who were a little more versatile in their own playing...again Matt is a great player and a great guy.

Tell me about the astral covers you choose for your CD’s. Do you want to connect your music with our galaxy?
This was more my mind set in the beginning and I think Steve has adopted to his as well! (laughing)..... yes we are dreamers and thought-provoking individuals....this is how we see things in our mind’s eye...if the listener see's it that way then we feel you will fall right in to this concept...

Is there any chance of including vocals in your songs, regarding your future releases?
Steve and I are always kicking this around...he is long time friends with John Arch of Early Fates Warning and I have approached Nils from PM about the possibility...but who knows what the future may hold...

Which other guitarists do you plan to invite in OSV?
This my friend is a great question...since "Chapter Three" is now looming we will be on the search....we have two or three in mind right now that we would really like to work with...yet to be determined...

Do you also participate in other projects as well?
My original band Virtual reality has some material that I think would do well with the prog fans....I am trying now to sort thru the older material and some of the newer material to see where we are as for as a new CD release... Hopefully this will come to fruition..

Add anything you may want.

Dimitris, thanks for your time and support..I have been listening to and playing music for a very long time it seems...and in this day and time it is hard to find anyone who will take the time to do interviews or even show interest to the underground bands...you seem to be one of those people....Thank you and God bless..

Dimitris Starakis

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Timefall - Into The Shadows CD , Your Days Were Mine Mini-CD reviews

Timefall - Into The Shadows CD, Your Days Were Mine mini-CD
What an encouraging fact to witness newcomer Power / Prog Metal bands that their talent is taken under serious consideration! Timefall is one of the highlights of the previous year, since they released a brilliant EP, which made every fan of their music to long for a full-length album! The band was formed in the summer of 2006 and the following year they released their debut entitled “Into the Shadows”. Their style is quite melodic Power Metal music and a vocalist (Jonathan Tatum) that is expressive and quite talented. “Into the Shadows” features the 18-minute long epic track “The Last Day on Earth” which showcases the band’s abilities and highlights the essence of a project free from musical boundaries. Definitely a noticeable debut.However, the big step forward for Timefall is their newest EP “Your Days Were Mine”. Unfortunately, the EP includes only two songs, but despite its minimal content, it can easily win the prize of the “EP of the year”! Wonderful musicianship from all band members, full of passion and faultless playing! I was happy to witness that the self-titled track combines the Power Metal might along with Progressive Metal parts, more vivid than their debut. The band still focuses on melody and emotion through their music and this is clearly reflected on the amazing song “If I Failed”, a composition full of Eastern influences (a musical direction that I always adore and Timefall also adopted in the song “Betrayer” from their debut EP). The guitar wizardry of Matt Sheperd and the tremendous vocal abilities of Jonathan Tatum form a powerful duet full of talent and multidimensional abilities, so note down their names; they’ll increase their fame really soon! Power/Prog Metal devotees must discover and support Timefall since they can offer much to the scene and can build a great career next to British bands like Balance Of Power, Threshold and others as well. Check out their website: http://www.timefall.co.uk/ Band’s mySpace profile: http://www.myspace.com/timefall
Dimitris Starakis
P.S.: Jonathan will also be singing in Eumeria’s debut …check out his amazing vocal performance in the song "Heirs Of Peril": http://www.myspace.com/eumeria

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Braver Since Then Interview

It was impossible after tracing John Lutzow not to ask him for an interview, concerning Braver Since Then and of course Leviathan. One of the most talented musicians from Colorado has new music to offer us and his talent cannot be put under criticism. John expresses his statement on Leviathan’s past and split-up, but also shows his enthusiasm on a possible scenario of reforming this extremely talented band again. On the other hand, he explains why Braver Since Then is a band he is proud of. Ladies and Gentlemen, John Lutzow reveals it all…

Since there’s a little bit of mist, concerning the formation of Braver Since Then, could you give us details on this matter?
For some reason, I always knew that I wanted to form “Braver Since Then”, even when I was in Tyrant’s Reign (which later became “Quiet Room”) or my nine years in Leviathan. “Braver Since Then” always stuck with me as a great name. It was taken from a line in Cyrano DeBergerac. Growing up I always remember watching the Steve Martin remake of that story, called Roxanne. This movie really stuck with me and formed my romantic outlook on life. There is so much meaning behind the name “Braver Since Then”, If you know what leads up to that line in the movie you would see where I am coming from. So to me, “Braver Since Then” is not just words. It tells a whole story about wanting something so much and doing everything you can to be recognized and always falling short of the prize, be it love, victory, or any reward because of how things look on the surface. It is a metaphor for how most people in the world are only interested in nicely packaged, easy to swallow entertainment or art while something truly meaningful is right there hidden under layers hoping to be discovered. Like I have said before, It was always my intention to make a band out of the members of Leviathan once we broke up. I have worked with Derek Blake, the vocalist/bassist since high school. He was at one point going to be the singer in Leviathan also but that is a different story.

The initial reaction from a Leviathan fan after the first approach to BST’s works might be surprising. If I ask you to spot the differences between the 2 bands, which ones would they be?
I don’t know. I am a bad judge of music. To me all music either falls into one of two categories. Good music and bad music. To me all of my music is the same style. I am always wrong about the genre or styles. To me I never thought Leviathan was that heavy, but when I would play some for older people they would think it was death metal or something. So to me the only difference between BST and Leviathan are the vocals. Leviathan traditionally had higher metal sounding vocals and Derek’s voice is more alternative sounding. Which I always wanted for Leviathan. I didn’t want to have typical metal sound. The songs themselves are the same.

Which are the main lyrical issues that Braver Since Then deal with?
Most of the writing comes from what would be my diary. When I have things in my head I sit down and write. Later when I need to start putting together songs I work through the words and structure what would be a good amount to convey the emotion I was feeling at the time. That might be another difference between my old stuff and BST. I know how to better edit my thoughts and words. I can condense them down so that there isn’t ten pages of lyrics trying to be stuffed into a 5 minute song. That is a complaint I heard about my Leviathan songs. They were always a little long winded. Now days though I try to test my self as a writer. I need topics, I am not as narcissistic or self absorbed as I used be. I don’t write about my emotions that much anymore. I always was afraid of creatively drying up as a writer. To me the lyrics were always the most important thing. I would put music to lyrics. Most people I know do it the other way around. They write the music then try to throw some words over the top and just hope there is some cohesiveness. As I am older now, I am grateful that I can still write. To me the sign of a good writer has always been if you can be given a topic and write intelligently, passionately and still tell the story with poetry you might be worth something.

Your previous CD’s had no or restricted distribution! Haven’t you tried to solve this problem?
You know that has always been the problem for my music. Leviathan tried so hard to find a good label or distribution. We worked harder than any band in Colorado to be professional. We never got what I feel we deserved. As far as BST goes. I have sent CD’s to every label I could find. The only place that was willing to take a chance was “just for kicks” distribution. They bought a bunch of CDs from me without having heard them. I think they are disappointed though, because they aren’t interested in our new album. So for me, I just wanted to get the music out there and make it available. In my mind I still think if people liked my writing from Leviathan’s CD’s they will like what we are doing now. We are 3/5’s of Leviathan after all. My songs on the last two Leviathan albums were really only BST anyway. Ron Skeen never played on the recordings when we did the albums. So once again the only difference between BST now and Leviathan ten years ago is Derek on vocals instead of Jeff Ward. For now? We are working on that.

Why did you choose “Short On Patience, Burn In Haste” as the title of your current album?
I am glad you asked that question. Patience has always been my biggest weakness. Every bad thing that has happened in my life has come from lack of patience. However the reason for using this title has a more personal significance now. I had already planned to use this title but in the middle of recording the album, I was called away because of health problems with my mother. She ended up passing away one day when I was in session. This definitely put a shadow over everything. I felt guilty that I had not been there for her, all because I was in a hurry to get the album done. Projects haunt me once I start them. I don’t sleep when something is pressuring me. I feel I have to complete things before I can rest.

You chose Itunes to release your new album, but also your previous efforts as well? Why?
This goes back to the other question. It is only for lack of anything better. To tell you the truth I think if Leviathan was just hitting our peak right now we would have sold twice as many albums because of the easy access to music online. We wouldn’t have needed a label. We had a good following world wide back then based on our reputation and constant good reviews of the albums we did on our own. Prospective music fans could have listened to our music online and then made the purchase instantly. They wouldn’t have to deal with going to a shop to only be told they have to order it. So as long as your fans know you have music available, they can reach it.

Do you play live often? Is there any vivid support from your hometown?
BST plays about once a month. That is enough for me. Our biggest disappointment is that we never got to tour Europe and Japan. The local scene in Denver isn’t that good. There aren’t any bands like us right now. Clubs don’t care about us. Even though they all say they liked Leviathan and respected what we did, we still don’t get any favoritism.

Leviathan was a prosperous band and highly appreciated by numerous Power / Progressive Metal fans from around the globe. Describe to me how you joined the band and also some of your most memorable moments.
Prosperous? What do you mean by that. We never made any money. Our only reward was the feeling of being in a great band and knowing that a few people liked our music in Europe and Japan. We know that we sold over 20,000 copies world wide but still never made any money, in fact lost money almost every album. The labels made money but we didn’t. The only project that any of us did that was profitable was Ron’s side project, “Iron Fortress”. Ron got that project paid for and received a few thousand dollars afterwards. As far as how I came into Leviathan, Ron Skeen asked me to join in 1990. Leviathan was a great local band. Everyone I knew all said the same thing. The drums, bass and vocals were great but the Guitars were the weakest link. Ron wanted to change that. He still is one of the most underrated guitarists out there. Before I joined Ron and the other guitarist had such bad tone that you couldn’t hear what they were doing and they would stand in front of their amps and not move. That made it hard for people to be interested in what they were doing. Ron wanted to get a guitarist that was more like the shredders on the scene like, Yngwie, Marty Friedman, Tony Macalpine, Jason Becker etc. So I joined as a hired gun so to speak.

When did you finally realize that Leviathan came to an end?
It ended badly. Just like a cliché, it ended over money. We were probably going to separate after “Scoring the Chapters” anyway. At that point I was doing almost all of the music and Ron was handling the business side of things. He had a growing family and was removing himself from the band. He owned the rights to the name “Leviathan” so the other members and I were going to keep going under BST. That was the plan I had anyway. It didn’t work out because of how badly Leviathan broke up. We broke free from Century Media because they were in breach of contract with us. They promised us many things and never delivered. We started working through the idea of releasing “Scoring the Chapters” on our own. All of the numbers showed us we could release it ourselves and make a profit. We set out to record the album our way, the way we always wanted to. The entire process up until the point where the band separated was a dream coming true. We were all friends and enjoyed being together. We were making what was to us our best music. I got to spend almost a full month at Morrisound studios. I got to do what every guitarist dreams of, it was like a kid in the candy store. What ever guitar or amp I wanted to use I got to go and borrow to record every part. Anything I wanted to try I got to. We finally had a great singer and got to fully utilize our vocal assets with Derek and I doing harmonies. Before we started the project we had everything set to show that if we sold 3000 copies we would be able to pay for the entire project and make money. We lined up distribution before we recorded the first note. Every thing went bad once the album was done due to Century Media playing hard ball with us and Black listing us to the Distributers. They weren’t allowed to buy from us or it would affect their ability to receive product from Century Media. That caused tension among Ron and I due to issues over money. It tore the band apart. BST was supposed to continue but I was so beat down by the music industry I quit playing. So did Trevor and Ron. Jeff and Derek kept playing in other bands.So to date we have only sold about 1500 copies of STC which is sad because we sold over 3000 copies of our first CD with no help.

How difficult was it for you to find the strength to go on with Braver Since Then? Was it also hard for you to continue composing music that was not easily accepted from the masses and also without any financial support?
It was very difficult. I completely quit playing, I sold all my gear and started pursuing my childhood dream of Racing Motocross. I did that for a few years then got hurt really bad. I figured that was a sign to start playing music again. I built a studio in my house and start recording with Derek again. For many years I tried to contact Trevor and Jeff Ward again with no luck. Ron and I started talking again. I always sought his opinion and approval of my music so I sent him copies of every album I did. Once BST became a full band again with a real drummer I always asked Ron to play with us, but he said he was done. About a year ago I found a number for Trevor Helfer. We contacted him and asked if he wanted to get together with Deke and I. We told him we needed a drummer after a problem with the first BST drummer. He said he didn’t play anymore and didn’t have a drum set. I borrowed a kit and he came over. Within a few minutes we were back playing Leviathan songs we hadn’t thought about in eight years. It was amazing. We were so tight together. That is something that I had been missing for so long. Musical anonymity is easier to live with if you have a great band.

You once tried to contact George Lucas, by sending him your music. Could you tell me more about this?
Well, that is a very long story. It was an Idea I had to make a movie about the crazy, obsessive Star Wars Fans all around the world and how there is almost a cult religion around it. The short and skinny of the concept revolved around an album I did as a solo project in between the last two Leviathan Albums. It was called, “Threading the Stoneneedle”. It was an instrumental with a story being told over the top of the music using dialog from the Star Wars Radio dramas. The rest of the crazy idea never happened. I am sure that George Lucas never even listened to what I sent him. This album’s music was actually closer to heavy progressive stuff than anything else I have ever done. It will be available on Itunes also or directly from our web site. http://www.braversincethen.com/

Do you still contact Ronnie Skeen? Shall we continue to dream about a possible Leviathan reunion?
You know what, Ron and I had been in contact with each other consistently over the last few years until Trevor joined back up with Derek and I. I am not sure why Ron stopped emailing me because of Trevor. I invite him to every show of ours, but he never responds. Oh well. As far as a Leviathan reunion goes. BST is working on that. After three years of lost contact with Jeff Ward we just found him. He is back in Texas again with his family. I am trying to get him to move back to Colorado and rejoin with us. He gave up music for his family. He told me that he would definitely sing on our next album though. So Leviathan fans be ready. Our next BST album will be heavier and basically the same line up as “R,Q,P,O” and Scoring the chapters. As far as my songs were concerned anyway. Like I said before. If there is any way we could come to Europe and play we will be there. I heard Jag Panzer and Titan force were playing some Festivals. If the interest and funding were there for Leviathan/BST we would go in a minute, 4/5ths of us anyway.

Colorado has an important Metal heritage and I don’t know how to explain it, maybe it’s something in the air you breathe! Musicians like Harry Conklin, Corey Brown and others as well are favorites of mine. Which are your picks from the local scene?
My favorite local bands from the past were Titan Force, Monkey Siren, Foolish Pride, and Dotsero. I don’t think any of those bands are still around however.

Tell me about your future plans.
We have two CD release parties this month and after that we are just going to continue to play and write material for our next album. Our main focus is to get Jeff Ward back in the band. As promised our next album will be much heavier and more technical. With Trevor in the band it pushes me to the limits again.

Add anything you may want.
Thanks for all of your work and encouragement over the years. I appreciate all the support and help the Progressive music fans have given us. Thank you.

Dimitris Starakis

Friday, April 10, 2009

OSV – Second Thoughts CD review

OSV – Second Thoughts CD (Independent release)
The all-star instrumental project that features drummer Gary Oppert (Virtual Reality), bassist Steve Sexton (founder of the mythic band Oblivion Knight that recently re-released their stuff through Steel Legacy Records, check
http://www.steel-legacy.com for further details) and Keyboardist/Guitarist Brandon Vaughn released their second effort and prove once again that their talent is inexhaustible. It’s pretty amazing to witness an all-instrumental Progressive Metal/Fusion CD that doesn’t include even a single boring or tasteless moment, due to lack of vocals! Well, these guys have gained insight to the above mentioned musical genres and definitely know how to compose brilliant music, which is strongly focused on melody. “Second Thoughts” features also virtuoso guitarists like Marcel Coenen, Jonas Tamas, Agah Bahari and Borge Olsen that contribute their unique style and the outcome is pretty diverse and innovative! OSV is maybe a grandiose example of talent, gathered in an album, so I am pretty sure that all enthusiasts of music that stands the test of time will obtain this work! Deeply emotional melodies, combined with inspiring and sensational solos, along with memorable riffs is the big advantage of the project. Some may be believe that creating an album with musicians that cannot join you directly in the studio is an enterprise, but OSV prove this opinion wrong. The project is definitely down to earth; they do not make grandiose plans about becoming one of the most famous projects in the world, but they surely have accomplished their goal, but composing music away from boundaries and clichés. I state myself as a fan of their talent and as soon as you get their albums, you’ll become one too! Check the band’s mySpace profile for further info: http://www.myspace.com/osvsecondthoughts
Dimitris Starakis

Monday, March 30, 2009

Scale The Summit – Carving Desert Canyons CD review

Scale The Summit – Carving Desert Canyons CD (Prosthetic Records)

I remember when I purchased the band’s debut, “Monument” from Nightmare Records and I was surprised when I witnessed that all songs were instrumental ones! Scale The Summit are quite popular and this is a pleasant outcome, since their style will definitely encourage artists to express their creativity without sticking to the typical clichés (music with vocals). “Carving Desert Canyons” is their brand new second album and features 8 songs, all in the instrumental vein. I could categorize them as Progressive Metal, but they balance at times with Fusion and even some minor Lounge atmosphere (guitar-lounge suits better I think!), so the word “Experimental” that appears on their mySpace profile is the most suitable for their musical identity. “Sargasso Sea” is my pick from their CD, but the whole creation spins smoothly and quests the listener to pay attention to unpredicted mood through the songs. Complex music and wonderful riffing from founding members Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier, which contribute their style to the band’s trademark, with endless arpeggios, power chords and impressive talent! This particular musical style can and must attract many fans, since it helps the scene to breathe and grow endlessly! All four musicians are young of age and truly talented, full of energy so the future belongs to them! Let’s all support this prosperous four-piece band and wish them to remain faithful to their innovative style. Never forget that music is food for the mind and Scale The Summit can feed you well! The band tours currently in the US in order to promote the CD and I really wish them to visit Europe in order to present their work overseas! Band’s website: http://www.scalethesummit.com band’s mySpace profile: http://www.myspace.com/scalethesummit
Dimitris Starakis

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Max The Axe's Blazing Star interview

Max The Axe's Blazing Star second demo proved how a newcomer band can progress and create some fabulous music. Max, the talented 29-year-old Italian guitarist was kind enough and really fast when he send his reply to my questions. Enjoy the interview of a multi-talented musician!!

When you decided to form this project and why?

Honestly,I've always had a dream about giving life to a project or a band, about writing songs....in 2005, many things changed in my life, and the only wise thing to do was starting from the very beginning. Bad times make you realize what you really want. So I focused my goals, than started composing songs like "Blazing Star" and "Love Criminal", as well as "Still Holding On" and "Winds of Conquest". Only the first two tracks were included in our first demo, if you remember.

Your passion for Neoclassical Metal is obvious. What forced you to follow this qualitative genre?

I'm not here to be a sort of rip-off or somebody else's clone. I've always loved music from Rainbow, Europe, Queen, Deep Purple, Scorpions, Black Sabbath, and of course the absolute genius of Hendrix and Yngwie. Those artists are simply over the top, it would be a foolish game tryin' to clone them. Anyway, affinities with the music I love is quite obvious and natural. I listen to a lot of Baroque and Neoclassical Music as well. I'm here to play by the heart, not to keep following others' style....in the next cd I'd like to include some blues tunes, since Stevie Ray Vaughan is another real genius for me, or some "atmosphere" as David Gilmour used to. Blazing Star change their skin every single day, eheheheh!

Italy has a lot of talented guitar players. Name me your favorites.
You could not believe in what I'm about to say, but I'm not involved at all in Italian music & guitar scene. I live in my own world, I hold on to Yngwie, Blackmore, Hendrix, Vaughan, and tons of other great heroes from the past, in Italy we have gifted guitarists like Giacomo Castellano which are mostly famous as session-men or tutors, but not as songwriters. I love Claudio Simonetti, he's a real keyboard ninja!!!!

Alessio Vanni is your singer. How did you decide to include him in the recordings?

We were searching for a vocalist which could remind us of Joey Tempest, Mark Boals, David Byron....and here it is!!!!!!! I think we've chosen the best around.

Tell me also about your collaboration with contrabassist Michelangelo Zorzit

He's a dear friend, and he's very professional. I asked him to come in my studio with his contrabass, and I let him listen to the backing track of "Still Holding On". He recorded some takes and I choose the best one. I think he did a great work, that contrabass part is really inspired, I think it perfectly fits with the chords....especially with the Major variation on the pre-chorus! What do you think about?
One of my favorite tracks on your 2nd demo is "Ice & Stone". Which are your favorite tracks from your demo?

I only wrote the music for "Ice & Stone", you should ask Tomas. Well, this is always the most difficult question to answer: at the times of our first demo, I've always preferred "Blazing Star" simply because I was not so ok with the first version of "Love Criminal". But in this case, how can I say "I love my son more than my daughter"??? You know what I mean, man. I think "Still Holding On" is the best song I've ever written...but I could tell you the same about "Excalibur", "Visions"...
Tell me about the lyrical content of your songs.
My lyrics are loud & clear: I write about passion, feelings, love, freedom, everything that common people faces everyday in life. "Winds of Conquest" is about American Natives,because they're people which suffered and fought hard for their land and their freedom. My songs are about truth, not about vikings or other shit.....I'm not interested in speaking about foolish or easy themes, my message is about the will to face difficulties, about living our life with both mind and heart. "Excalibur" is based on John Boorman's movie, which is one of the best memories from my childhood. "Visions" could seem a "fantasy" tune, but it tells about rising again like the Phoenix from the ashes, and that's almost BLAZING STAR's story!!!

In your official website you mention that Max The Axe’s Blazing Star is only a studio project. Have you ever thought on organizing a tour in order to promote your works?


We're working hard to find out the best elements we need to set up a complete band and shouting our Rock on stage, too! It's only a matter of time...

You are also a fan of the Italian Horror and cult movie scene! Which are your favorite director’s /movies and why?

I always loved cult movies from all around the world. You had Mastorakis, if I remember well...something like "Island of Death"....or "Chrysalis Day"...am I correct? I think Italy is absolutely the best country for horror movies, more than U.S.A.; we had Lucio Fulci who was a sort of Jim Morrison shooting movies. I love his no-compromise films, his totally unchained attitude. Dario Argento had his great moments too, but he's not so constant through time as Fulci was. Have you ever watched "They've changed face" by Corrado Farina??? It's one of the best examples of 70s Italian "art" cinema. I also love Spanish director Narciso Ibanez Serrador, who recently produce the home-videos "Peliculas para no dormir": take a look at those shorts, my friend!!!!

Tell me about your future plans. Have you started composing music for your 3rd demo?

Of course!!!! I have many ideas written on scores, including one song inspired by some Lovecraft novels...it tells about nightmares, that are actually the real monsters inside our mind. There's also a new track, even if it's still incomplete, about all the heroes from the past, not only concerning music but also politics, cinema...it talks about passion and dedication to the cause that people had once. Nowadays everything is poor of meaning, there's no more passion.While working for Blazing Star, I'm also giving my contribution to a "written documentary" about Rock and Hard Rock History, that could be posted in a few days on a Italian Heavy Metal Website. A friend of mine asked me to write some memories, some feelings about playing Hard Rock...and so I accepted to help him in this adventure. Unfortunately, it will come in Italian only.
We first came in touch through mySpace and I want to know if this helped you to spread your reputation. Do you have contacts through mySpace with other underground bands as well?
I think Myspace is the best communication channel by now, not only for a band but also for a magazine, for a director, for an actor, for a shop ecc. I don't like "Facebook", instead: it seems to me like The Big Brother...you know....I'm not so ok being monitored 24 hours a day by other people. Through shit like Facebook, we'll go like George Lucas' "THX1138".....if you know what I mean.

Add anything you may want!
First of all I have to thank you very much for your incredible support, I've read your review and I'm very happy to know you enjoyed our music!!! We're always happy if people understands that we're a honest, sincere Rock band. I hope your readers will be interested in our new demo-cd "Blazing Star II", too!!! A big CIAO to you, to your readers and to Greece! Blazing Star's still here to Rock!
Dimitris Starakis

Wicked Waltz – Chapter I mini-Cd review

Wicked Waltz – Chapter I mini-Cd (Independent Release)

I discovered this US band when I listened to Progpower’s IX showcase sampler D-CD. Their featured song was titled “A Heart That Cannot Bleed” and their Power metal style with some Progressive elements immediately caught my attention. The band was formed in 2004 by guitarist Micah Nicholson and they immediately started spreading their good reputation by giving concerts and participating in compilation CD’s. 2008 was a big year for the band, since their very first release saw the light of day. “Chapter I” includes four songs that provide unique thrills to the listener, from the opening “Lifemare”, to my favorite and catchier “My Last Wish” one of the most brilliant songs I’ve listened to lately!). The big advantage of Wicked Waltz is the solid twin guitars, played my Micah and Jamie, which create a powerful “background” for the intense keyboard parts that play an active role to the band’s musical identity. The voice of Jason is deep, melodic and flexible, something which is necessary for a demanding role in this band. The sextet form Alabama doesn’t deviate from the US melodic Power Metal style with some Progressive Metal elements as I wrote before, but their originality and creativity is obvious and make them stick out like a sore thumb! In case anyone is afraid to stick its neck out, I can easily say that Wicked Waltz is a bright hope for the scene and this is not an inept remark! I can tell you that I long for their full-length CD and I am pretty sure that you’ll feel the same when you obtain and enjoy “Chapter I”! Band’s website:
www.wickedwaltz.net band’s mySpace profile: www.myspace.com/wickedwaltz
Dimitris Starakis

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Braver Since Then - Short On Patience, Burn In Haste CD review

Braver Since Then - Short On Patience, Burn In Haste CD (Stonefellowship Recordings/Independent Release)
Thank God for mySpace! Yes, this is the ideal prologue since through mySpace I was able to trace John Lutzow, the guitarist of one of my favorite Progressive Metal bands – Leviathan from Colorado, USA. John wanted to express his endless artistic expressions and formed BST. In 1994 the band started to become active and endless studio hours helped John to write down material , in order to release their debut in the fall of 1995. It was called “Naming my Pain” and it mostly included instrumental tracks, with a few vocal songs as well. After their debut, BST released 5 albums and some of their songs were put also in Leviathan albums such as “Born Unto” and “Legacy Departing”, that can be traced in Leviathan’s farewell CD “Scoring the Chapters”.
Braver Since Then is a band free from musical borders and it's hard to categorize them. The main ingredient on each and every song is one: intense feeling. There are parts in which the listeners can recognize some Leviathan parts out of the intelligent and prototype riffs that John creates, but also there word “prog” includes each and every influence that an artist can attract. The music is not as heavy as Leviathan’s musical style, as it includes many acoustic guitar parts, but there are riffs and solos that still carry the trademark of the glorious band. One fine example is the riff from the opener “Picture Perfect” or the song “Projecting Feelings”. I surely missed those intelligent riffs that only Leviathan used to present to us and I was quite happy that Braver Since Then and John are active and still present us their vivid talent. Female vocals also accompany at times Derek Blake’s voice, while musical parts are combined with catchy keyboard playing. BST will attract many fans of Prog Rock music, but also many people that are interested in original and “unpredicted” material.
I strongly recommend checking and supporting their music, since talented musicians and wonderful lyric writers like John Lutzow need you help in order to continue to give us pleasant surprises! “Short On Patience, Burn In Haste” is now available through iTunes and for further info, feel free to check their website:
http://www.braversincethen.com/
Dimitris Starakis