ILLNATH: 4 Shades Of Me: CD

Something a bit different this time, a death metal band with a female vocalist which is cool instead of the typical female fronted metal band with operatic or wispy vocals, this time it’s a female that singing with all out power.

Vocalist Mona Beck gets right down to business and growls like the best of them, making a great change from the typical male vocals, Pete Falk’s guitar work is tight and has some great solos and leads, almost hard rock in the technique, the bass lays down some thickness,  and the drums are pounding away behind making for a grand noise, the only thing that stood out was the drum sound on some of the tracks, a bit flat, no depth and too tappity-tappity-tap on the first song, but it didn’t ruin it for me, it just stood out a bit. Songs “King of Your Mind”, “Pieces”, “Unleashed”, “Not My God” and “It’s on Me” were definite highlights on this album.

This band is doing a great job and this is a really cool album that shows a lot of talent and you should keep your eyes open for them if you see them on tour in your area.


This five piece heavy metal band from Almaty, Kazakhstan have been together since 1992 and until 1997 used the name AXCESS, and released their debut album in 1998.

This album is the first album with new vocalist Ian Breeg and Ivan Manchenko on bass. They play mostly power metal with an 80s feel and vocals up in the higher register of Rob Halford with some lower melodic vocals mixed in. Nice guitar work with some awesome leads, the kind that will make you pick up your air guitar and go crazy, the drumming is great, the bassist has a lot of talent and the production is good enough to hear all of them really well. They start off with my dreaded instrumental intro and have two other instrumentals, but because of the length of the songs on here, from “Project A119” being almost five minutes at the shortest and “Cuban Crisis / Insomnia”, being over fourteen minutes at the longest. Not counting the instrumentals, it is an epic album to listen to and they fit the album’s feel. For once, a band gets it right, thanks guys!

This is not one to throw on and forget about it, it’s an album to get into and hear in its entirety. It has that classic feel from the 80s with parts of JUDAS PRIEST and the SCORPIONS in some parts. I really liked this one a lot more than I thought that I was going to.

HARD RIOT: Living On A Fast Lane: CD

HARD RIOT was formed in 2006 in the city of Heilbronn, Germany and the band consists of four friends who obviously love old school hard rock and do a great job of playing it.

Comprised of vocalist Michael Gildner, guitarist Andreas Rockrohr, bassist Mario Kleindienst and drummer Carmine Jaucci, they released a five song EP in 2009. They list one of their influences to be AC/DC and some of the guitar parts have that feel, but they don’t ape their sound much at all, they have a bit of mid paced KISS sound and feel at times. This band plays classic hard rock with ties to the 1970s and 1980s and would be considered a classic if it was released back then, nowadays, I hope that people give it a chance because this bands kicks ass! I loved the crunchy rock songs like “Hellfire Rock”, “Take Me Down” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw”. The only song that wasn’t one I would play over and over again was the ballad “Nothing But You”, but that’s only because I wanted to rock out, and not hear a slow song. I mean, it’s a good song, but I wanted more hard rock and hope that these guys keep putting out great albums like this in the future. The production is crystal clear on here and the band has a ton of talent with great guitar work, drumming and bass, with some great sung vocals that carry the songs and make you want to sing along with.

This was a definite keeper for me and will get played a lot.

BLYND: Punishment Unfolds: CD

The island of Cyprus is not on the usual metal radar, but that may change with the release of BLYND’s ten song sophomore album.

This four piece band plays a mixture of thrash and death metal, and do a damn good job at it too. You get the chugging sound of the Dino and George both on guitars, mixed with some tasty leads, powerful drumming by Alex, and some growling vocals by Andreas who also handles bass guitar, done with a good job of mixing and production work. The album starts off with the instrumental intro “Divine Gathering”, and they do a good job with it, but I am so sick and tired of bands starting their albums like this, it was different at one time, but now almost everyone does it and bands need to stop it! “Arrival of the Gods” with its powerful modern thrash sound, along with coherent death vocals, and “The Chosen Few” is a melodic track, but also heavy and keeping the  in-your-face attitude of the album.

These four guys hit you with some heavy riffing and pounding drums and the only part that really is death metal, is the vocals, so you get a fast paced thrash album mostly. I really liked the album and I think that if these guys can get on some big tickets and have more people hear them, they will get really popular.

ACCESS DENIED: Touch of Evil: CD

This five piece, female fronted metal band from Poland has re-released their second album on Pitch Black Records that only had a limited release in their home country.

You get nine songs on this album with female vocals that show power and none of that wispy goth metal histrionics. The guitar leads are pretty good, but the production is flat and not clear at all. The drums have that cheap thump sound and are in the front of the mix too much, with the vocals and guitar getting lost. The first song is a nicely done instrumental which kicks things off really well, but the production really hurts the rest of the album. They sing in English and the singer does have a good voice, but the muddiness on the album is too much.

This band shows a lot of potential and I did like them, but when the label re-released this, they should have remixed it or cleaned up the production someway to improve what is an average album now, to an above average one. I hope they get it right next time.