album reviews

Tokyo Motor Fist – ‘S/T’

posted 21 Apr 2017, 09:46 by Paul Woodward


(Frontiers Records)

Review by Woody

If the thought of Trixter’s Steve Brown creating an album with Danger Danger’s Ted Poley has you salivating in anticipation and bouncing up and down like a kid hyped on sugar, then trust me just go and buy the album NOW! You won’t be disappointed, you’re going to love this no holds barred full on old school melodic rock album which gives us genre die hards everything we want from our music! You may want to get the plastic sheeting down in case of spillages and *cough* accidents when you crank the Fist right up, as it is best enjoyed at maximum volume.

Although you’d expect it to have a Trixter/D2 mash up going on it’s not as obvious as you may think, yes, those flavours are obviously in the mix but it feels like a unique band with its own specific feel. The songs are written, crafted and performed by experienced melodic rockers who obviously adore the genre and know what elements about it make it so magical. So, they crank it up to such a high level that even the hardest to please melodic rocker can’t help but smile and admit how awesome this album is. It’s nothing new, they haven’t reinvented the genre they have just given us a balls to the wall melodic rock album full of life, energy and unashamed love for this style of rock.

Poley has put in one of his greatest vocal performances ever and his delightful melodic vocal gets me every time. He even puts in some very emotive vocals (think D2 ‘Don’t Walk Away’) that hit me instantly especially on ‘Get You Off My Mind’! Brown bombards us with juicy riffs but it’s those licks and subtle hooks which have me grabbing my air guitar and totally wrapped up in the songs.

These songs are overloaded with hooks and melodies that stick in your memory. Brown and Poley have created an album which is truly indelible and I expect melodic rockers to go absolutely nuts over it!

This album is insanely addictive and I find myself playing it over and over like it’s a joyous celebration of melodic rock. It’s one of those albums that confirms why I love this genre and why I’ll never give up on it. You’ll find yourself singing along, bopping around to all these delicious melodies and memorable choruses you’ll be unable to resist these songs dragging you in and making you smile!

Track Listing: Pickin’ Up The Pieces / Love Me Insane / Shameless / Love / Black & Blue / You’re My Revolution / Don’t Let Me Go / Put Me To Shame / Done To Me / Get You Off My Mind / Fallin’ Apart

Album Rating: 9/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Love Me Insane

Sammy Berell – ‘Passion Dreams’

posted 21 Apr 2017, 09:28 by Paul Woodward


(Dark Force/Sound Pollution)

Review by Woody

Taking his cue from eighties metal guitar virtuoso icons like Yngwie Malmsteen, Sammy Berell’s debut album shows his love of those artists who inspired him clearly and he has created a very retro sounding album. It could have easily have been written and recorded in the Mid-eighties when Malmsteen and Impellitteri were at the height of their popularity. It’s produced by Daniel Flores, who as I’ve come to expect provides a sterling production job yet again! He gives the songs a nice polish and modern production values but he doesn’t hinder or disguise the extremely throwback sound of the songs – he allows them to reveal in their eighties glory!

To be honest though the album fails to ignite my interest and I found it a very uninspiring collection of songs. There’s no denying Berells immense guitar talents which he showcases at every given opportunity and perhaps even sometimes when he should let a song breath. There was a couple of occasions where theirs a cool keyboard lick or intriguing guitar riff and he just widdles loudly over the top of it which just annoyed me! Music is always about the songs and nothing on this album resonates with me or even remotely captures my attention.

Berell’s style will appeal to fans of guitar virtuosos from the eighties era, his songs contain that same bombast and pomposity alongside strong classical music influences. This is an album for fans of the Guitar, it’s guitar widdling overload, but therein lies my problem with it - it’s guitar widdling overkill. I know lots of people who like fast paced high pitched noodling will be frequently unleashing their ‘O’ face throughout this album, but my own personal tastes mean’s It tends to be too convoluted for my simplistic tastes and leaves me bored.

Singing the majority of lead vocals is Michael Vescera who is in full on Eighties metal wailing mode, some of these performances would make Rob Halford proud. Lyrically the album is a tad underwhelming although some of the more fantastical lyrics should appeal to retro metal fans who like Dio and the like. Goran Edman who guests on a couple of tracks has a voice which is much more to my liking but the tracks he sings have little impact on me.

Fans of this style of music should check out ‘Passion Dreams’, ‘Star’ and ‘Starlight’ which are the strongest tracks for me.

Track Listing: Judgement Day / Midnight Flier / Memories Never Die / Sinner (Little) Sinner / Red Light Eyes (Devil In Disguise) / Passion Dreams / Star / Crown Of Thorns / King of Kings / Drakker / Sacrifice / Star Light / War

Album Rating: 3/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Star Light

Tytus – ‘Rises’

posted 19 Apr 2017, 12:45 by Paul Woodward


(Sliptrick Records)

Review by Woody

Italian’s Tytus are old school NWOBHM and the song writers obvious love of the early eighties metal boom is evident in the multitude of styles they incorporate into their own sound. There are elements of Iron Maiden, specifically in the melodic guitar soloing alongside the metal bite of Judas Priest and the gritty rock of Saxon.

‘Rises’ for me though is a little lacklustre and pales in comparison to the bands it aspires to rub shoulders with. It’s a bit like fan fiction, it has the heart and desire and knows all the right things to make it work but it will always be amateur and a second-rate version of the original. It’s not a bad album, it just doesn’t step into the light and capture the essence of the genres sound. They probably borrow too heavily from their influences and the different elements don’t always work mashed up together. There are bands out there who are replicating NWOBHM in a retro fashion but with modern twists and production values who make this album sound extremely dated and seemingly lacking creativity in their song writing.

There are a couple of nice moments shining through, some cool galloping bass lines and soaring melodic guitar soloing but the songs always feel a mess and there isn’t a song that feels totally cohesive to me. So, as I’m listening to the album through it never connects or hits me, I gave the album as many spins as I could to see if eventually something would grab my attention, sadly it didn’t. I try to look for positives when reviewing so I can be fair in my judgement but even after repeated listens I found myself struggling to find those things I could highlight positively. I struggled with the vocals from the offset which didn’t help, genre fans may be less bothered as their typical metal, raspy, guttural vocals this genre tends to favour but I just found them off-putting.

For me ‘Rises’ is for NWOBHM fans only, it’s not an acquired taste but it does need the ears of a genre devotee to get excited by these songs and enjoy this album as a whole. I know there is elements to these songs and their structures that will be enjoyed by fans of the genre especially those who crave that original sound the pioneers of the genre created in the infancy of this style.

Track Listing: Ode to the Mighty Sun / New Frontier / Haunted / 325 AD / White Lines / Omnia Sunt Communia / Inland View / Desperate Hopes / New Dawn’s Eve / Blues On The Verge of Apocalypse

Album Rating: 1/10

Woody’s Essential Track: N/A

Daxx and Roxane – ‘Ticket To Rock’

posted 19 Apr 2017, 12:25 by Paul Woodward


(Justice Brothers)

Review by Woody

There is something really exciting about Switz hard rockers Daxx and Roxane that really hits all the right buttons with me. Although their sound is based in Classic Rock there is something undeniably fresh about them and their songs are so energising that they are destined to fire up any listeners and have live audiences bouncing!

Their sound has a strong raw classic rock base, then they add to the mix the energy of eighties hard rock creating swaggering fist pumping rambunctious rock n roll! Obviously, there is a lot of blues rock going on especially in their guitar riffs and that should make fans of Brit rock heroes Thunder and Skin very intrigued and pleased by these guys. Although vocally they owe more to the booze soaked grit of Bon Scott and those biker rock acts of the late seventies than the more powerful and booming vocals of Danny Bowes and Nev McDonald.

Daxx and Roxane give us non-stop, no frills rock riffage and gritty vocals that is beyond energetic and should get live crowds rocking with ease. These guitar riffs imbed themselves in your head and the energy they inspire in listeners should get even the most lethargic of bodies up and rocking like a madman!

The current classic rock scene has an abundance of acts but unlike many new bands Daxx and Roxane don’t get bogged down or restricted by the genres dogma therefore that freedom in their writing allows for a real freshness and puts their own stamp on a much-loved genre.

One of my favourite tracks ‘House of Nothing’ has a strong Brit Rock flavour and because I get a vibe from it that makes it sound akin to Thunder and Skin, whom I was a big fan of in my youth, it made it an instant hit with me.

This is a fantastic album from start to finish, it never lets up from bombarding us with infectious riffs and rhythms that energise and excite! I’m surprised these guys aren’t more widely known especially here in the UK where fans of Led Zeppelin, Thunder, Skin and the new wave of Classic Rock bands are still dedicated and loyal to this style of rambunctious rock n roll! If you like rock in general you’re going to love this and if you’re a classic rock fan you may need to hold on to your pants after pressing play!

Track Listing: Ticket To Rock / Girl Next Door / House Of Nothing / Lust and Love / Leaving For Tomorrow / Wrong Side / Good Vibes / What Was / Wild Child / Hard Rockin’ Man

Album Rating: 9/10

Woody’s Essential Track: House Of Nothing

Black Diamonds – ‘Once Upon A Time’

posted 17 Apr 2017, 08:26 by Paul Woodward


(AOR Heaven)

Review by Woody

Once Upon A Time is the third album from Switzerland’s sleaze tinged heavy rockers Black Diamonds. This album wears it’s influences clearly and those Motley Crue similarities frequently pop up especially in the guitar riffs, the LA strip bands are obviously a heavy influence on the bands song writing and attitude driven performances. It’s loud and rambunctious and guitar riff driven rock but the choruses are boosted by been drenched in vocal harmonies which add an extra layer of melodic sheen and give the songs a commercial touch.

It has a strong old school flavour, but it doesn’t feel retro at the same time. These guys and this album fit in well with the current wave of sleaze rock, especially those emerging from Scandinavia. While the LA strip influence is clear and the Scandi edge obvious and that gives the songs a modern tweak, I also keep getting reminded of Brit rockers The Almighty! It’s only in touches and I wouldn’t say there is a direct similarity but it’s the rawer more volatile sound of The Almighty that I detect – less polished and far less glamorous and sexual than their obvious inspirations from the LA strip.

Vocalist Michael Kehl doesn’t have the greatest vocal, but in fairness his style fits well in the sleaze genre and it does have a rebellious snarl to it. It’s in the guitar riffs that the album captures me with lots of energy and drive and there is some really infectious licks and riffs throughout. It’s those guitar hooks that bolster the songs on this album’s impact on me and I’m really impressed with guitarist Andreas Rohner’s creativity. It’s a decent album but for me it lacks that killer blow to make it truly stand out and end up spending a lot of time blasting out of my stereo. Sleaze fans should be more than happy with this album but I feel it needs just a couple more knock out choruses which could have elevated this album from decent to awesome very easily.

There is good mix in the variation of the songs, a few guitar riff driven songs, a couple of commercial flavoured ones with anthemic edges and some impactful power ballads. A Track that really stood out for me quite quickly is the mid-tempo ballad ‘Pieces Of A Broken Dream’ which I’m sure will be a big hit with established and genre fans in general.

Track Listing: Tales Untold / The Ghost and the Shadow / Love Stick Love / Romeo and Juliet / Pieces of a Broken Dream / Love, Lies, Loneliness / Thrillride / Vampires of the Night / Not Going Home / Hard To Let Go / Years / This Is A Love Song

Album Rating: 7/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Hard To Let Go

Stefanie – ‘S/T’

posted 2 Mar 2017, 14:38 by Paul Woodward


(Escape Music)

Review By Woody

The eponymous Stefanie is a singer songwriter from Pennsylvania in the United States. On the surface, she creates songs in a pop rock vein, but there is a lot more to her song writing than that blunt observation suggests. Her music is a real amalgam of styles and influences, there are some modern country touches in there which are at times accentuated by Stefanie’s vocal delivery. But there is a strong guitar edge which adds a strong Americanised modern rock flavour. Add to the mix a touch of blues, slight alternative twists and a healthy dose of potent melody and you get a really unique vibe but at the same time one that has broad appeal.

Sometimes there is a blues inflection to her voice, sometimes a country one, but in overall terms Stefanie has a really cool and mesmerising voice which has a really soothing tone to it which really appeals to me and draws me into her songs. Lyrically this album is quite deep and meaningful and I was really impressed by these thoughtful and emotional lyrics. She manages to steer away from clichés and obvious lyrical trappings whilst touching on very common subject matter which is easy to relate with and connect to. Although there are some quite soft influences in the mix there is always a strong guitar presence which gives many of the songs a nice heavy edge to their brand of pop rock that gives the songs more impact and urgency to listeners.

There is some really great song writing on display here, both lyrically and musically. This is definitely an album that people who appreciate something a little deeper and personal will really enjoy and get invested in. These quality songs are also wonderfully brought to life by some tremendous musicianship and the superb vocals of Stefanie. If you enjoy the style of music Stefanie has created here then you will find there are no weak tracks or fillers, making it a very solid album. It’s just about which songs you connect with the most that will reveal your own favourites and which tracks you personally feel are the strongest.

‘Everything You Need’ is a real carefree number with tinkling piano’s and a big chorus – it’s one of the most overtly pop tracks on the album. ‘Word Man’ is very evocative and is quite an emotional song with a heart-breaking tone, this is a song I think many will relate to. ‘Stranger’ has some intriguing lyrics and is a heavy edged modern country song.

‘One Life’ is an upbeat rocker with a very positive and inspirational vibe. Ballad ‘Hello Love’ has a powerful and entrancing chorus and has strong country touches. ‘All I Know’ is probably the track that demonstrates the most obviously, that blend of modern rock and modern country that is prevalent throughout Stefanie’s song writing.

Overall this self-titled album from Stefanie is a solid and enjoyable collection of songs which I can highly recommended. This album should appeal and interest a wide cross section of music fans given the mix of styles evident throughout. If like me regardless of style you need your music to have a strong melodic core, then that’s exactly what you get here. Well worth your time to check out, especially for lovers of female rock vocalists!

Track Listing: All I Know / Master Of Disguise / Stranger / Everything You Need / Word Man / Hello Love / One Life / In My Shoes / The Second Time Around / The Song I Was Meant To Write / We Will Fight

Album Rating: 8/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Hello Love

Sweet Mary Jane – ‘Winter In Paradise’

posted 22 Feb 2017, 12:16 by Paul Woodward


(AOR Heaven)

Review By Woody

New Swedish melodic rock band Sweet Mary Jane have some very experienced musicians in their ranks and Winter In Paradise is their debut album. It’s full on traditional sounding melodic rock with lots of loud keyboards and melodic guitar licks. Their smooth soft rock has a mixture of traditional Scandi melodic rock and splashes of Survivor, Journey and that eighties American AOR sound. It’s produced by Lars Chriss who has done some outstanding behind the scenes work with many melodic rock bands of late and yet again he has given this album a great shine and smooth production, The SMJ guys should be very happy with how he has helped present their songs.

Winter In Paradise is an enjoyable collection of songs, it’s very pleasant and easy to listen to but it’s not quite a dynamite album. It may not be an earth-shattering record but it is a fine and impressive debut album and I look forward to more music from them in the future!

Sweet Mary Jane vocalist Tomas is the brother of genre legend Steffan Berggren of Snakes In Paradise fame, their voices aren’t similar though both having different flavours to their tone and delivery. I was really impressed with Berggren’s smooth voice which suits this style of rock perfectly adding an extra layer of silk to the songs polished sheen. Something that frequently stands out for me is Keyboardist Tomas Nasslin’s contributions, many of his prominent keyboard licks get right under my skin and for me his performances increases the overall impact of the songs on me.

On the whole Winter In Paradise can be very moody, atmospheric and have a touch of darkness to it – it’s not bleak, far from it, but it does have a cold tone at times, so the album title seems very fitting to me!

While I did enjoy the album from my initial play it is an album that benefits from repeated listens. I found that it made the songs have an increasingly better impression on me. I also picked up on other bits and pieces in the songs that I initially missed giving me a deeper appreciation of the songs and the musical talents of the band especially the Keyboardist and Guitarist Per Olof Asberg.

‘Madeleine’ is commercial and radio friendly with a potent sing along chorus. ‘Fire In Your Eyes’ has prominent Keyboards and a wonderful guitar lick, the chorus has a melancholic touch and is extremely memorable. I love the pumping synths on ‘Surrender’, it has a killer chorus which is totally addictive. The guitars give the song a real drive that push the songs impact deeper into you.

Beautiful mid-tempo ballad ‘Angel Of Mine’ has some really touching vocal melodies and a strong chorus that sticks with you. ‘Carry On’ features pumping synths and great guitar licks and it’s sweeping chorus has a bittersweet feel to it.

Winter In Paradise is an album that should please and be enjoyed by AOR and Melodic Rock fans even though it may not set the underground scene on fire. If you like atmospheric and moody soft rock this is definitely one for you to check out!

Track Listing: Fire In Your Eyes / No Retreat, No Surrender / Winter In Paradise / Madeleine / Miracle / Carry On / Angel Of Mine / Surrender / Keep The Fire Burning / Don’t Be Too Late

Album Rating: 7/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Surrender

Lionville – ‘A World Of Fools’

posted 22 Feb 2017, 12:06 by Paul Woodward


(Frontiers Records)

Review By Woody

A World of Fools is the third album from Italian’s Lionville who are led by guitarist Stefano Lionetti and once again features the lead vocals of Swede Lars Safsund. This one is perhaps a tad beefier than its predecessors but not dramatically so, it is still pure AOR. Getting Safsund involved has always elevated the impact of this band and yet again he delivers a dynamic and emotive performance. For me Safsund is one of the best AOR vocalists of the modern era, his vocals are impeccable, beautifully melodic and more importantly they convey the emotion of the songs in an extremely stirring way.

I’m not taking anything away from their previous albums which I enjoy immensely but I feel A World Of Fools is perhaps their most complete album and shows off their beautiful songs in an instantly delightful manner. The songs are all lush, smooth landscapes dripping with melody, unforgettable hooks and the production of the album intensifies that sound, when people crank this album up they should instantly get wrapped in the music.

There are some really beautiful melodies which can warm your heart one minute and then break your heart the next! It’s unbelievably smooth and has touches of West Coast, Journey and Toto in the mix. As you’d expect there is plenty of humongous choruses and lots of backing vocals and harmonies bolstering the smoothness and strengthening some melodies.

There are so many hooks on this album it’s hard to not get ermmm hooked! Even in one song there can be a few hooks going on throughout that drag you in and have you giving that repeat button on your stereo a battering. The hooks are not always obvious in your face ones, there are some subtle guitar and keyboard hooks imbedded in the music that will snap you up and on repeated listens will become ingrained in your mind.

It’s a summertime album, it’s bright, beautiful, ultra-melodic and straight from the heart. There are plenty of melodic guitar licks, awesome sweeping keyboards and knock out emotive vocal melodies. There is some really heartachingly moving musical moments that have me cranking the volume and I know these songs will stick with me over time. These songs will cement themselves into your consciousness with their powerfully indelible choruses and moments of sheer beauty.

I connect with these songs comfortably and effortlessly, it’s full of emotion, passion and heartfelt lyrics, these are things I look for and desire in my music. I know I’ll not only be playing this album a lot over the coming months but given its impact on me I suspect it will have a lot of longevity with me and become one of those albums I always return to.

‘All I Want’ is one of the beefier rockers which has an impactful chorus and some killer keyboards! ‘Paradise’ is delightful AOR with a stunning harmony drenched chorus. The beautiful keyboard intro to ‘One More Night’ grabbed me instantly, It’s absolutely beautiful with a heartfelt and infectious chorus – emotive and captivating. Super smooth ‘Show Me The Love’ has a huge chorus and is heartachingly beautiful and the pre-chorus has me cranking the volume straight up to maximum!

This utterly brilliant slice of soft rock perfection is definitely keeping the AOR flame burning!  A World of Fools is a stunning pure AOR masterpiece and not only does it belong in every connoisseur of this genre’s collection it’ll also win the hearts of all AOR fans instantaneously. These guys write songs that are simply sublime to my ears with the added boost of Safsund’s emotional vocal delivery taking them into the stratosphere. A nigh on perfect album, an essential purchase for all AOR and Melodic Rock fans.

Track Listing: I Will Wait / Show Me The Love / Bring Me Back Our Love / Heaven Is Right Here / A World Of Fools / One More Night / All I Want / Livin’ On The Edge / Our Good Goodbye / Paradise / Image Of Your Soul

Album Rating: 9/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Show Me The Love

The Wild! – ‘Wild At Heart’

posted 13 Feb 2017, 15:54 by Paul Woodward


(SPV/Steamhammer)

Review By Woody

Canadian’s The Wild! caught my attention recently after stumbling across them on YouTube, so I was very keen to check out this album Wild At Heart which is actually their second and it quickly capitalises on their recent run of critical acclaim. I’m actually surprised their first album flew under my radar!

Their sound is based heavily in the blues and if you stripped these songs to the bone there would be a traditional blues number at its centre. These songs are soaked in booze, full of rambunctiousness, totally carefree and full on rip snorting dirty raw rock n roll! There’s an infectious energy to the album as a whole and those shout it out loud choruses are sure to make these guys really popular with fans of no frills, no nonsense rock.

This album should be a dream for fans of blues based hard rock with its booze soaked rebellious biker rock touches. It should also appeal to fans of traditional blues because those influences are worn with a badge of honour and are very prominent in the song writing. I also detect touches of AC/DC in their blues drive and Guns N Roses in their rebellious energy. Wild At Heart is full of addictive rhythms that will get under your skin and involuntarily stomping along. Amongst the energy is some low-slung guitar riffs and swaggering rockers accompanied by gritty and gravelly vocals. The Wild! strip rock right back to basics and deliver fun time, beer swigging, uncompromising rebel yelling rock!

Check out energetic rocker ‘Best of The West’ with its stomping guitar riff and kick ass chorus, the addictive rhythms of ‘Livin Free’ and the swaggering rock of ‘Ready To Roll’ and ‘Down At The Bottom’ to sample these guys at their best! Blues traditionalists should go straight to ‘White Devil’ which is pure blues and booze fuelled rocker ‘Another Bottle’ is a sure fire hit with rock fans in general.

Wild At Heart is really enjoyable, you can just switch off to it, crack open a bottle or two, crank it up and rock out all night long to it! They may use every cliché in the book and their sound isn’t exactly unique but they take a well-loved rock n roll style and crank it up and deliver it with energetic gusto so damn well it’s so easy to find yourself punching the air and head banging along! It’s not going to change the world and it’s sure as shit isn’t thought provoking but it’s the perfect slice of rock to get any party energised and rocking!

Track Listing: Ready To Roll / Livin’ Free / White Devil / Another Bottle / Best In The West / Six Hundred and Sixty Six / Rattlesnake Shake / Run Home / Down At The Bottom / Kansas City Shuffle

Album Rating: 7/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Ready To Roll

Edenbridge – ‘The Great Momentum’

posted 13 Feb 2017, 13:57 by Paul Woodward


(SPV/Steamhammer)

Review by Woody

Austrian Symphonic Metal act Edenbridge are one the genre’s most consistent acts and are one of the bands from within this specific genre I keep an eye on. Principal Composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lanvall knows this genre inside and out and knows exactly what fans of this very defined genre crave. The Great Momentum is another fine example of what Edenbridge can do, with Lanvall’s compositions always been intriguing, grandiose and epic. I’m positive established Edenbridge fans will be left jumping for joy upon hearing it!

Like a lot of Symphonic bands, it combines ethereal vocals, epic keyboards and orchestration with a pounding and forcefully rhythm section and unforgivingly heavy and fast paced metallic guitar shredding. Although the music can come across on the surface as very heavy and seemingly blunt in its directness there is also some quality musicianship at play for those who immerse themselves in the music. Theses flourishes and sometimes they are subtler than the bombastic metal onslaught which powers the songs are what highlight Lanvall’s song writing genius. You’ll hear how he combines a very traditional classical style of musical structure with the energy and aggression of modern metal. He uses a whole host of musical instruments to enhance his own brand of epic and grandiose symphonic metal.

Yes, it is very heavy, but there is lots of ambience and atmospherics painted atop and beneath the brash exterior and its heavy grind lifting the overall sound into a more accessible one. Vocalist Sabine Edelsbacher has the perfect voice for this style of music it has that ethereal tone that draws many genre fans to it. She has a borderline operatic style, which obviously sits well with classical compositions. Her vocal style really adds an extra sense of otherworldliness to the music, soaring and it can be very dramatic. You also get spotting’s of choral vocal harmonies which add a punch to a songs impact and is something I know is insanely popular amongst genre fans, hence the reason these styles of harmonies are used to create drama as frequently as possible.

There is a surprise vocal guest on ‘Until The End Of Time’ and I almost didn’t recognise it at first, but Erik Martensson (Yes, he of Eclipse fame) puts in a real cool and unexpected soaring vocal performance. It’s an epic piano lead Ballad on which Erik duets with Sabine, it’s beautiful and operatic in nature.

Stand out tracks for me include ‘The Moment is Now’ with its prowling guitar riff, beautiful keyboards and it’s soaring and catchy chorus. The whimsical ballad ‘Only A Whiff of Life’ which has some cool intricate acoustic guitar licks and atmospheric keyboards. Another is ‘Return to Grace’ which kicks off with some killer melodic guitar soloing before dropping some heaviness into the mix, lots of fast guitars and full on pomposity!

For me personally though it’s held back by it not been commercial enough for my own tastes, it does have its commercial moments but not enough to fully immerse me in their sound. The Great Momentum is a very strong album which I will return to occasionally but more importantly I think Symphonic metal fans will adore these compositions and I would be genuinely shocked if the album is not embraced by and large by the core symphonic audience. If you’re into Nightwish, Within Temptation and Epica, you should definitely check this album out.

Track Listing: Shiantara / The Die Is Not Cast / The Moment Is Now / Until The End Of Time / The Visitor / Return To Grace / Only A Whiff of Life / A Turnaround In Art / The Greatest Gift Of All

Album Rating: 7/10

Woody’s Essential Track: The Moment Is Now

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