Metal Overlord

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Hollow Haze – Countdown To Revenge

Hollow Haze albumCountdown To Revenge is the fifth full length album from Hollow Haze and the first to feature new singer Fabio Lione ( Rhapsody Of fire, Kamelot). The album also features collaborations with Antarktica and Wintermoon Orchestra in an attempt to broaden the landscape of the music and give it that epic feel. A feat that the band pull off. There is always something going on in this album, give it a few spins and you will hear so much more than just the song in front of you.

The album starts off with the intro of Room 212 which leads us into Watching In Silence, a heavy mix of guitars underpinned by the orchestra. Still Alive comes blasting out of the speakers before hitting us with a very catchy chorus, this will sound as heavy as hell when played live. No Rest For The Angels has a massive chorus that will have fists pumping as well a solo that will have the air guitars out.

Life Has No Meaning offers a bit of diversity, slowing things down a touch and giving the vocals to really really stand out. We Must Believe will give your neck muscles a good work out, a very uplifting but heavy song. The Answer is another with a great headbanging groove but never loses the melodic presence within the song. Il Tempo Del Fuoco is a straight up rocker, the song lasts nearly five minutes but that passes in a blur. A very enjoyable track.

Hollow Haze bandA Fading Angel’s Life has the potential to become a live epic, it has everything you could possibly want from a Hollow Haze song. There is heaviness, melody, a chorus that is bigger than the Death Star on steroids and beautifully wrote quieter passages. It rolls in at six and a half minutes but leaves you wanting more. Next we have the title track – Countdown To Revenge. Kicking off with fuzzy guitars, this song carries on where A Fading Angel’s Life left off, except this is it’s bigger heavier brother. An acoustic breakdown halfway through the song just sets up the song for the epic ending, there is so much going on here you need to get a good pair earphones, sit in a dark room and turn the sound up. The Gate To Nowhere is an instrumental that gives you time to take in what you have just heard.

Countdown To Revenge is now out and I would urge fans of Power Metal, Symphonic Metal etc to get this, you will not be disappointed.

An outstanding 8.5/10

Fabio Lione: Vocals
Nick Savio: Guitars
Dave Cestaro: Bass Guitar
Camillo Colleluori: Drums

For more information:





Cardiant – Verge

cardiantCardiant’s new album comes at you like a breath of fresh air. It’s good to hear a hell of a good rock album. The album has hints of progressive metal and symphonic metal, but thats all they are – hints. Opener Justice Turns Into Revenge comes straight for you in a blur of riffage, the guitars never let up throughout the track, keyboards swirl but never overpower. Thought’s Inception is a fist pumping, headbanging song. Listen carefully and you will hear some clever work on the ride symbol. The song has a massive sing a long chorus to boot. The is a quiet breakdown during the solo and that really sets the rest of the song up.

Heavens Calling flies out of the block at you in an attack of riffs and soaring vocals, again the keyboards bind the track together. There is everything in here, power, heaviness and melody and even a lighter in the air moment or two. Ever Since starts off in power ballad mode and mixes male and female vocals well. The song mixes piano and guitar very well, sounding very much like early Queen in places. It is a very enjoyable listen, it is very catchy and has sing a long moments.

Believe starts off in Dream Theater fashion before the Cardiant sound takes over, a heavy opening breaks down into a soft female vocal courtesy of Outi Jokinen. Again the song is full of melody and there is enough going on throughout the song so that it never becomes a chore to listen to. Beat Of Heart is next up and is a straight up rocker although there are all the Cardiant quirks here, the song never becomes predictable. Loves Not On My Way starts off with vocal and piano and the thought of a soppy ballad comes to mind, however, two minutes into the song and it kicks off leaving me quite surprised as it turns into an almost fist pumping rocker before returning to the piano and vocals to end the track.

Stranger in me is another quality track with yet another uplifting sing a long chorus. This will be a very enjoyable live song, I ended up just sitting back and enjoying this song without trying to think of what I was going to write, that should tell you how catchy the song is. Break your mind has progressive elements throughout and has raced through to the end before you know it. The album ends with While The Ice Is Cold. A beautiful ballad that will be on my mp3 player for a while. Female vocals take the lead on this one and do not disappoint in the slightest.

This is a very enjoyable album and the musicianship on display is first rate. Cardiant have found a way to keep many genres happy with this one.


A very enjoyable 8/10

Erik Karhatsu – Vocals
Antti Hänninen – Guitars
Marko Lindroos – Keyboards & Backing vocals
Mikko Mänttäri – Bass & Vocals
Lauri Hänninen – Drums

For more info on Cardiant please visit the following links:


Red Rose – On The Cusp Of Change

red rose coverOn The Cusp Of Change is the second full length offering from Red Rose, following 2011’s Live The Life You’ve Imagined. Recorded before they recruited Daniel Berger permanently on drums, the band were able to call on the services of Matan Shmuely (Orphaned Land) to pound the beats. Recorded at Jailhouse Studios in Denmark, On The Cusp Of Change was released in February 2013.

When Roses Faded is the first track and starts off with an eerie middle eastern vibe, with a pounding rhythmic drum pattern that gives way to a keyboard/guitar led opening riff. The chorus is huge, the melody in there instantly catches your attention. Bass and drums open up Chasing Freedom and the song explodes into an excellent hard melodic rock song. There are plenty of guitars, keyboards and vocal hooks to satisfy all rock needs, there is even the big guitar solo. Great rose1

King Of The Local Crowd is a good rock n roll song. Indeed it has the vibe of a seventies Meatloaf song about it. Original Sin explores the bands progressive side a lot more with a lot of musical changes, however those huge vocal melodies still come at you full force. Alone In The Night is an acoustic led ballad that builds throughout the song with an excellent bluesy solo to finish off with.

This Bitter World opens quietly with piano and understated guitar before bursting to life in a blur of keyboards, once again showing that Red Rose know how to write a good rock song. Don’t believe These Tales takes you on a great little musical journey, you can hear a bit of Iron Maiden in some of the bass lines to some full blown Dream Theater. Seize The Day is the final track on the album and is possibly my favourite track of the eight on offer. The track flows along on the keyboards with a touch of acoustic guitars and an emotional vocal.

red rose2All in all, On The Cusp Of Change is a very good album, with some great ideas and excellent musicianship on there. The band have certainly developed as writers and musicians and it will be very enjoyable to hear this album played live.

A positive 7/10

Leve Laiter – vocals
Elnur Aliev – guitars
Deion Kristen – keyboards
Eli Reeve – bass
Daniel Berger – drums

 For more infomation about Red Rose please follow the following links:

DGM – Momentum

DGM2Momentum is album number eight for progressive metal monsters DGM.  Recorded, mixed and mastered by Simone Mularoni at Domination Studios in San Marino, Italy, the band have produced possibly the best work they have recorded. Their previous albums have all been very strong, Frame and Different Shapes being my favourites (go check them out), however, Momentum in my opinion, is a better overall album. Momentum is an instant album, by that I mean that there are things that you will instantly like about this album. When you have listened to the album for a while you then hear a lot of different things, subtle keyboards that sit in the background giving songs extra depth, little bass runs that you never heard before etc. DGM get the progressive metal balance spot on on Momentum, this is a heavy album, a metal album. The progressive side  is always there adding extra colour to the canvas, it is however never overbearing and the band resist the temptation to play for playings sake, which a lot of bands who are given the progressive tag have a tendency of doing.

The album kicks off in great style with Reason which features a guest appearance from Symphony X frontman Russell Allen. The song drives straight at you from the off, there is the sound of a Hammond organ underpinning the whole song, drifting in and out throughout the track. The video for the song is available on the bands website, have yourself a watch of it. Trust is next and starts of at a furious pace, the song contains almost everything, there is heaviness, melody and no little technical expertise. The song contains a huge chorus, with a hook that is going to stay with you for a long time.

Universe flies past you with a burst of double bass drumming brilliance, listen out for the solos in this one, they are played that quickly that Dragonforce are jealous. The drums again add extra heaviness to Numb, however, DGM don’t lose any of their melodic side because of it. So far they have got the balance absolutely right. Some of the keyboard playing in Pages reminds me of Jordan Rudess, no bad thing at all.DGM1

If you know DGM at all then you will know they are masters of the slow burning song that builds into something quite magnificent. Repay is no exception to this as a simple piano/vocal are slowly but surely joined by the rest of the band before the soloing kicks in. The song constantly builds, the understated backing vocals adding extra weight and emotion. Chaos comes at you from the start although still has the singalong chorus that sticks in your head and keeps you humming for a long time.

Remembrance starts with a great headbanging groove, which it returns to often, but not that often that it bleeds the well dry. Overload hits you with a blur of keyboards before evolving into an excellent driven song. There is nothing to dislike at all so far on the album. The heavy opening of Void opens into a slower verse, which takes you on a journey of it’s own musically wise, before the rapid double bass drumming chorus takes over. The song also has a very uplifting set of  solo’s that instantly grab your attention. Album closer Blame once again showcases the vocal range of Mark Basile as well as the energy that his bandmates are more than capable of producing and do produce constantly on this tremendous album.DGM

There is so much more to this album than I can describe in this review, it has been out for a couple of months now and if you don’t have it in your library I would urge you to add it. There is so much going on but without ever sounding confused, or out of sync with the rest of the song. The musicianship is first rate, it’s heavy, melodic, proggy, it has something for all metal lovers and alienates none. A massive well done.

An excellent 9/10

Mark Basile – Vocals
Simone Mularoni – Guitars
Andrea Arcangeli – Bass
Fabio Costantino – Drums
Emanuele Casali – Keyboards

Watch the video for Reason

For more infomation on the band check out these sites




Sound Storm Interview

ss2 There are a few things to consider when your lucky enough to get new music to review. The first thing you have to do is listen to everything with an open mind, that way you will hopefully find something in the music that you can enjoy. You can’t dismiss something  just because it isn’t your favourite genre. You also have to be honest in your review, if you don’t like something, say so, but always give a reason why you don’t like it. It is the same if you like something, let people who read your reviews know why you like it. Sometimes your lucky enough to contact the musicians themselves, that happened to me with Sound Storm. I have been lucky enough to have a couple of online chats with Valerio Sbriglione, guitarist and song writer in Sound Storm. Apart from being extremely handsome (according to the women I know in metal) he is one of the most genuine nice guys in rock. He is passionate about his music and his band, all with good reason, if you have heard the latest Sound Storm album, Immortalia, then you will know what I mean.

I approached Valerio, to ask if he would be available to do an interview for and he could not have been more helpful. I can say that I am not going over the top when I say he has been a credit to his band, himself and metal in general. For his interview, read on.

First of all thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions for We really appreciate it.
Valerio: you’re welcome, I’m definitely glad to be featured on your website again!

For those who have never heard the band before, where and when were Sound Storm formed and how would you describe Sound Storm’s music
Valerio: Sound Storm was born about 10 years ago, but we started to work seriously on the project since 2008, when we recorded the first album “Twilight Opera”.
Basically we play a sort of symphonic metal, but I think we have much more inside. The reason is that we have many different influences, such as extreme metal for example, which is not common in other symphonic metal bands.

I thought that the song writing and musicianship on Immortalia was very strong. How have the band improved as songwriters and musicians since the writing and recording of Twilight Opera
Valerio: Well, the truth is that many songs in “Twilight Opera” were the first experiments we did in youth. You can already find some elements we used in “Immortalia” too, but the new album is much more mature and aware than the previous one. We have also grown as people and musicians!

How do Sound Storm write songs? Is it as a group jamming out an idea that was brought in or does one member do most of the writing then the group add their own bits to it.
Valerio: We are not a band which create music while jamming, we like “studying” what we are going to record and it must be something which “works”. I usually take care of most of the compositions, but first ideas come either from the other guys and me. In “Immortalia” I worked with Alessandro Muscio on all the compositions, and I think we achieved a great deal together. Then every band member adds his own style to the songs, and this is what makes the difference.Valerio

What music were you listening to whilst recording the album and how much influence can the music you are listening to at the time, effect  what you write.
Valerio: I usually don’t like listening to any other music while I’m in studio, I actually prefer to focus on my own ideas. At best I listen to new age or zen music, just to keep the right mood for the recordings! ahahah

If Sound Storm were to appear on a covers compilation album, which one song would you cover. Is there a song you wish you had written.
Valerio: Well personally I’m not a fan of cover songs and cover bands in general, but if I was forced to choose I’ll pick up one old song from Rainbow, “Kill the King” for example

Most musicians are very self critical. Are you ever completely happy with a song you have wrote or played on. How do you know when a song is finished.
Valerio: Obviously not! (laughs) I think I might change a song to infinity if only I could! (laughs) I know that a song is “finished” when I like listening to it at least three days in a row: if I get bored before that, I know something is wrong! Ahahah Well, honestly I don’t know when a song is “finished”.. Mozart used to say: “a composition is complete when there’s the right number of notes, neither more or less”.
I agree with him and in “Immortalia” I often had this feeling.
When you were writing Immortalia, how many songs were written for the album. Are there any unfinished songs that we may hear in the future as bonus tracks etc.
Valerio: Yes, we always have a lot of incomplete stuff, so why not, perhaps someday we can do a b-side album! For “Immortalia” we had to persuade the promoter to put all the songs in the album, ‘cause he thought it was too long.Sound Storm

How do the band decide which songs off the album you will include in the live set.
Valerio: Well, it depends on what live show is it. If we play an headlining show we usually propose songs from both our albums in order to represent entirely what Sound Storm is.
If we are the support band or in a festival, we’d play the most known and representative songs of the band. We choose the songs in a real democratic way: I choose the songs and those remain ahahahah! Really, we only have two albums released so it’s actually easy to create a set list for the shows.

What do the members of the band do to relieve the boredom of travelling when on tour. Especially when touring abroad.
Valerio: The ultimate passion of Sound Storm is Sudoku. During the last tour we did books and books full of Sudoku, but we are all unable to do it except for Ilaria, she’s a fucking Sudoku genius (laughs).
Personally I like reading, playing videogames, taking photos of the landscapes we’re crossing through (my latest passion are the wind turbines of Germany and Holland, don’t ask me why because I don’t know. In Italy we don’t have those, probably this is the main reason), browsing the web and so on.
We usually don’t have time to get bored, rather we get tired (but happy of course)!

If you had a limitless budget could you describe the stage show Sound Storm would produce to match your music
Valerio: Good question! Well, surely I would like to have fireworks everywhere and everytime, I love them!
Then I’d surely like to have an interactive show, with a huge screens and videos, something like Pink Floyd used to have in their shows…It would be awesome, don’t you think?

I heard a quote from a band recently that said ” There are no ego’s in the band until we get on stage, then the gloves are off”. I thought that was a great quote. How do you keep the onstage ego’s from spilling over off stage.
Valerio: I think when you get on stage everything is different than when you are off stage. I mean, when you play a show, either in the smallest club and in the biggest one, you must give 110% of what you can do. Does not matter what happened before or during the show, you must forget everything and give your maximum. This is why the “ego” comes out when you get on stage, because in that moment you must have total control on your show and the crowd, which must be delighted by your performance.
Then, when everything is over, you must go back to being the person you were before, polite and kind as we always are.thCAA79GHA

What are the future plans for the group.
Valerio: We’re already in the middle of composing the new album, I have already composed new tunes that I really like. They’re not perfect (or “finished”, as we said before) yet but I’m definitely satisfied with the work so far.
Then we will have some shows during the summer and then we’ll be on tour again after the summer. We’ll enter the recording studio again in early 2014 for a new release to be scheduled in summer of the next year.

Do the group write constantly or do you set aside a certain time for writing.
Valerio: Personally I love composing, so that’s not a burden for me. When we are not on tour I often compose, so I haven’t a certain time for it. Also, it would sound strange, but it’s not too much time 2 years between the previous album and the new one. In fact  you have to compose, pre-produce, produce and promote it, and this for each album! Add to this some tours and shows, and the time you have to compose the new album is very short!

Finally what are the best and worst aspects of being a member of Sound Storm.
Valerio: The best one is that we compose the best music in the world, the worst is that we are the poorest musicians in the world! Ahahah Seriously, we take this like a job, we are not (unfortunately) the teenagers which play together for fun. I spend the most of my time working for the band: composing, recording, promoting, booking shows, managing. It’s a real job, the less remunerated in absolutely, but it is a job.
But it also gives you the best emotions, satisfaction and feelings, no doubt about this.

for more infomation on what Valerio and Sound Storm are up to please visit their official website:

There is also more information available on the band’s facebook page:


Many thanks go to Disco Dave for the help he has given me. You know who you are.

Sound Storm – Immortalia

Symphonic metal divides the metal family like almost no other part of the genre. Many people dismiss it, simply because they have never sat down and listened to it properly. Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you an Italian band that was brought to my attention recently, SOUND STORM.

If you like theatrical drama in your metal then this is the group for you. Their new album Immortalia gives you everything that a good Symphonic Metal album should. The orchestra, the operatic and metal vocals, the technical playing on this album is superb. If you like the heavier side of bands like Therion then go no further. Immortalia takes over where debut album, Twilight Opera, left off, all of the key Sound Storm traits are there, however the band have developed as songwriters and as musicians.

The album Starts with intro track Immortalia, an orchestral piece that builds and builds, then a minute in, the metal hits, in a duel with the operatic vocals, a good mood setting intro. Back To Life then kicks in with the dramatical intensity turned up. This gives way to a tuneful verse and a chorus that will have fists pumping in no time. There is something in this song for most metal fans, the guitar solo is simply fantastic.

The Curse Of the Moon turns the pace up a touch, then takes it back down, before hitting us with the hammer once again. The vocals are mainly clean, although sound excellent when mixed with the growling vocals of guitarist Valerio Sbriglione. Blood Of Maiden gives us more soprano, with special guest Ilaria Lucille De Santis showing what a magnificent voice she really has, you can envisage the vocalists duelling this out when live on stage.

Faraway starts off with ballad-like piano and guitar which builds and builds into a fully blown rock opera. The string section adding depth and quality to the song. There is also an excellent guitar/keyboard solo that has a progressive element to it. Excellent track. Promises starts as an all out heavy rocker, before the band grab it and give it the Sound Storm treatment. This is the most instant track on the album so far, special mention to drummer Federico Brignolo, whose feet are amazingly fast on the double bass drums.

Call Me Devil carries on the good work with some excelent melodic guitar lines. A middle part piano interlude builds nicely into a keyboard/guitar solo that gives the rack that extra bit quality. Seven Veils has a very strong Middle Eastern feel to it, without ever sounding cliched. Vocalist Philippe D’Orange comes to prominence on this song, this is an excellent song. The atmosphere within the song makes it very heavy.

Next up is Watching You Fading, a keyboard solo leads us into a spanish guitar sounding intro. This is a ballad of the highest order, this could easily be an international single. There will be many lighters held aloft if this is played live. The Drum intro of Wrath Of The Storm leaves you in no doubt that this song is from Planet Metal. The keyboards of Davide Cristofoli keep the song flowing, without ever taking over. The album ends with  The Portrait, the song is nine minutes long but never loses it’s way. Bassit Massimiliano Flak coming into his own with the time changes of the song especially around the six minute mark when the speed metal comes in.

All in all this is a very good album, if you are not a fan of the genre then there is still a hell of a lot to enjoy in this album. There is nothing here too overpowering, everything has its own level and it all fits in perfectly. If they come to England on a headlining tour then go to see them. A stage show to match the music would be truly epic.

Immortalia is released in Europe on August 28th, it will be a strong addition to any collection.

Gun – Break The Silence

Gun are the kind of band that you really can’t help but like, there really isn’t anything to dislike. They have always been like the lovable cousins of the rock world, welcome at every party but no one really took then too seriously.

Well now maybe is the time to sit up and take a bit more notice. There is something new about Gun in 2012, something that is a bit hard to pin point. It may well the change in energy that a new line up brings, it may be that there is no pressure on the band to produce, except for the pressure they put themselves under. Or it might simply be that the band have had the time of their lives making this record, either way this is an album that is full of life. This album sounds like Gun yet sounds nothing like them, not the Gun from their first three albums anyway. Yes the album is full of melody, hooks and chorus’ s to die for, yet with Dante Gizzi hanging up his bass and taking over the microphone the dynamic of the band has changed, much for the better. Whilst Toby Jepson is an incredible frontman, Gun was never his baby. It has always been the baby of the Gizzi brothers, you can hear that passion and commitment on this record.

The album begins with Butcher man. The song begins with a snare roll before the rock n roll fun begins. If your expecting Dante to sound anything like Gun’s previous singers then your in for a shock, he has a totally unique voice, but it matches the music brilliantly. Next up is 14 Stations, a feel good rock n roll song. A good hummable chorus, will be an excellent driving song. Just watch your speed.

The next song has the first massive chorus. Lost and Found is one of those songs that sits in the back of your head and forces you to sing it, even if you end up making your own words up. The drums have an 80’s production sound that makes the song an even more appealing listen. There will be lots of dancing to this when played live, there is even an E Street Band type ending. Caught In The Middle is another excellent Gun rocker, there is something familiar about this song that I can’t quite my finger on, very enjoyable.

The title track Break The Silence opens with an updated sound from the 0141………..album. If the singles chart mattered anymore then this song would be massive, it has all the ingredients. There are hummable verses and another massive sing a long chorus. This is almost perfect arena rock, no wonder the band are getting on some great tours. How Many Roads is a typical Gun slow burner, not a ballad but very atmospheric and retrospective. The song benefits from an excellent string arrangement that adds so much to the song, as do the backing vocals.

As your thinking about playing How Many Roads again, No Subsitute kicks in. This is a classic Gun mid paced rocker, the perfect thing to bring your mind back to the album and stop you thinking of the previous song. Before you know it your foot is tapping along and your humming the chorus. Bad things opens up with a load of punk rock attitude, if you try to keep up with the chorus your going to end up out of breath. Again the song is catchy as hell, only bad thing is it’s over before you know it although it leaves you wanting more.

Innocent Thieves is another song that leaves you tapping away. There is a massive production on this song, and the song totally deserves it, again it has a big E Street Band feel to it. Running Out Of Time kicks off in a classic Gun rocker style, reminds me of the Gallus era. Then this huge chorus comes from nowhere, grabs you by the nether region and drags you in. This is possibly the modern Gun at their best. This could be a live classic for a long time to come.

The last track on the album is Last Train, a feel good dancing song. The band released this in demo form some time ago, it was called Last Train From Central then. It is a very upbeat way to end the album, you leave it with a big smile on your face and thats all you can ask of any album.

All in all this is an excellent return from a band many people had forgot about, they deserve the plaudits they are getting, some of the songwriting on this album is simply fantastic. If they can transfer some of the feel good energy this album has to the live arena then they will simply be unmissable. They have teased us for a while with the live shows and an EP, now they have delivered.

Welcome back boys.