BUG GIRL- Rock And Roll Hell (Middle Class Pig Records)
BUG GIRL hails from Australia and this is the band’s second album. I can highly recommend this to everyone, who’s into sweaty, no nonsense, in your face, rock and roll. Fans of AC/DC, NASHVILLE PUSSY, THE CULT and THE DISTILLERS will know what I mean. The metal version of THE WHITE STRIPES could also be a very suitable description of this twosome from Down Under. The band consists of Clinno on drums and vocals and metal maiden Amber on vocals and guitar. This album contains ten tracks and has a playing time of about forty-five minutes. “Shootin’Fire” is already a great opener. They get their guns ready for title track “Rock ‘N’ Roll Hell”, which will definitely invite you to sing along, even after hearing it only once. “Ian Astbury” must be a tribute to the wild frontman of THE CULT. In “Death On Wheels”, the band sounds a bit like WOLFMOTHER in a way and in “Resurrected” we hear a more laid back, bluesy side of the raw rawk and rollers. While “Hot Tonight” is another nice, fast rock tune, including a speed change in the middle of the song. Next on is “(If I’m In Luck I Might)Get Picked Up”, which sounds like a jam session in a way. It also contains some influences of LED ZEPPELIN here and there. This song was originally written by Betty Davis Mabry, the wife of jazz legend MILES DAVIS. It may sound like the odd one out here, but it fits really well with the other songs though. In “You’ll Luv It In Here”, the band returns to their uncomplicated rock and roll sound. “Suck It” is a shot full of adrenaline, covered in a sexy three minute explosion of rock and roll. The CD closes with “War & Fire”, where the band sounds a bit like WOLFMOTHER again. Okay, this is a real high quality, dirty rock and roll album. And I can assure you, that the band can produce this rock sound live on stage, too. Prove was given, when they supported BENEDICTUM and GIRLSCHOOL in de Pul in Uden (NL) and they rocked down the house completely! I never knew, that two people could make such a loud, cranking rock and roll sound! BUG GIRL does and they proved to be some very fine musicians on this album. Check it out, before it gets you! I’ll give this one the full score, because they really deserve it!
(10/10- Toine van Poorten)

CACTUS- V (Escapi Music)
The best CD of 2006 for me came from the reunited CACTUS. I am a diehard NWOBHM and US Metal freak, but above all a music lover, and the sixty minutes of rock music on this album grabbed me the most in 2006. Already from the first notes on of opener “Doing Time”, this CD caught my full attention to never let loose. The enormous variation in the songs, the great musicianship of the band members and the huge power, that is spread here, is just amazing! This is music for the soul, and I can really listen to this album every minute of the day, every day in the week, every week in the month and every month in the year. It’s timeless music. Just listen to the groove in “High For The City” or the great blues sound of “Day For Night” - aaargghhhhhh gimme more, gimme more!! CACTUS now consists of Jimmy Kunes, a great vocalist with a voice, that is just perfect for the groovy music by this band, Jim McCarty on guitar, Tim Bogert on bass and Carmine Appice on drums. This line up sometimes takes care of a rocking sound like in “Shine”, while at other times, they also fall back on a more laid back sound like in “Electric Blue”. To me, it always sounds exciting. Like the short acoustic blues “Blues For Mr. Day”, which is used as an introduction to the bluesy “Part Of The Game”. It makes the cohesion of this whole album very big and therefore it’s a real treat to your ears to hear the fourteen songs all together over and over again. The album closes with two highlights; “Gone Train Gone” and the instrumental closer “Jazzed”. I really hope, that the band won’t keep me waiting for another thirty (or some) years before they will release a new album, because I am really longing to hear more after “V”. This is my CD of 2006.
(10/10- Toine van Poorten)

DARK ARENA-Alien Factor (independent)
The first samples, that I heard of this American metal band are quite promising and there’s no doubt on my mind, that I am dealing with something special here. They create some kind of mix between the progressive sound of DREAM THEATER and FATES WARNING, combined with US metal like vocals. There are many progressive instrumental parts, that will capture your attention, and this is definitely not suitable for people with weak nerves. The lengthy songs leave enough space for the instrumental outings by this fivesome. Sometimes, they take you back to their early roots with influences from DEEP PURPLE (F.e. “Somewhere”). This song is definitely one of the highlights on this nine track CD. But also the high screams in CD closer “Crystallized” are well worth listening to. On the other hand, I also hear back some distorted vocals in the same song, which don’t really belong to this type of music, in my opinion. Maybe that’s what makes DARK ARENA different from the other bands in this genre. Anyway, the band is searching for a new keyboard player right now, because their former keyboard player recently left the band. “Alien Factor” is perhaps not really what I expected after hearing a few samples, nevertheless they still know to impress me with their adventurous sound. This is only interesting for the real connoisseurs though, who are not afraid of the progressive sound this band embraces, in combination with their US metal-like influences. Check out for the latest news on this band.
(7,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

DEEP PURPLE- Live In Europe 1993 (Sony/BMG)
This boxset contains four CDs, a booklet and two full concerts of DEEP PURPLE recorded in England and Germany in 1993. There is quite a difference between the two gigs here, although they are only a couple of months separated from each other, and have almost the same setlist. There was a huge thunderstorm on the horizon, and very soon the bomb was about to explode. Ritchie Blackmore was constantly argueing with the rest of the band, and soon he would leave DEEP PURPLE to form his own band BLACKMORE’S NIGHT together with his wife Candice Night. The show in Germany is enthusiastic and shows us a band that is in ultimate shape. All songs get a proper treatment and especially Ritchie shows his skills during the exciting guitarwork. You can hear, that the magic is still there. However, this changes enormously, when you hear the show recorded in their homecountry England at the NEC in Birmingham. Ritchie riffs his way through opener “Highway Star”. And in a song like “Anya” for example, they are playing some kind of a game. We want to be in the Guiness Book Of World Records, and we want to play the shortest version of this song from the whole tour. So they simply cut out about five whole minutes. “Speed King” was scratched away from the setlist, and the band sounded very uninspired. The whole gig was more than twenty minutes shorter than the one, that they did in Stuttgart, only three weeks before that gig. I am not used to that with DEEP PURPLE. But in a way it is a good reflection of what happened with the band, at that given time. In that perspect, this is definitely a nice release for every DEEP PURPLE fan. It gives you a good example of the difference between the band on a good and on a bad day. To me, both performances are still of a very high level, and there is no other band, that can come close to the quality of this rock monster. Steve Morse was a good choice as replacement for Ritchie Blackmore, but deep down in my heart I count the days, until Ritchie will return to DEEP PURPLE. The rumour that he would reform the band with Glenn Hughes on bass, David Coverdale on vocals and Jon Lord on organ became very strong for a while, but how many times did we hear about a RAINBOW reunion? It’s a nice rumour to dream away though...
(8,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

DORO- Warrior Soul (AFM/Rock Inc.)
A new album by this blonde rock goddess will always be an important happening to me. She is a true survivor, and prove is given on this new and strong album. Her eleventh album as DORO. This promo disc cuts the songs at the end and let them float into the next song, except for the first two tracks. What we hear is a good overview of what the new songs are all albout. The whole album contains twelve tracks and the special digibook version has two bonus songs and a video clip. The two openers are remarkably strong and heavy, which are called “You’re My Family” and “Haunted Heart”. All the songs have received the typical DORO treatment. Strong riffs, heavy vocal chords and a good balance between the strong emotional outings of Dorothee Pesch herself and the professional musicianship of her band, which consists of Nick Douglas on bass, Joe Taylor on guitar, Oliver Palotai on keyboards and Johnny Dee on drums. After so many successful albums, you would almost ask yourself what must be the next step of this iron lady to reach an even higher level? And here’s the answer, my friends: acting! DORO will appear in a movie, called “Anuk-The Warrior’s Way”. She also sings the title track of the movie soundtrack here. Her talents are so diverse, that she’s easily chosen to be our most fave metal lady! On top of that, she’s blessed with the soul of a true warror and a heart of gold, totally devoted to heavy metal and her fans. DORO is the real ‘defender of the faith’, and we can only respect her for that, because you won’t find many more ladies, who spend their whole life singing timeless music, like DORO does. So hail to the sole warrior with the real warrior soul: DORO!
(8/10- Toine van Poorten)

EIDOLON- The Parallel Otherworld (Escapi Music)
EIDOLON from Canada always knows to fascinate me on their albums. Somehow they are able to create some kind of progressive heavy metal with great guitarwork and tasteful vocal arrangements. The progressive element is very much upfront this time, and the band loves to challenge themselves in lengthy, creative, experimental, instrumental parts, that would suit very well with the likes of DREAM THEATER and FATES WARNING. Same goes for the vocal escapades of Nils K. Rue. Just lend your ear to opener and title track “The Parallel Otherworld”, which develops itself into a ten minute prog dragon, that wouldn’t look bad on any DREAM THEATER album at all. But the music of EIDOLON is definitely rawer and harder, and sometimes the music still sounds pretty much straight forward. The ten songs have a total running time of about seventy minutes and is a safe buy for every fan of the band. The last song on the album is a great cover of the MERCYFUL FATE track “The Oath”, in which Shawn and Glen Drover pay tribute to their employer KING DIAMOND. A marvellous version, that will let the chalk explode from your bedroom walls. This song is just made to play ultraloud! Website:
(8,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

FALCON- Die Wontcha (Liquid Flames Records)
The second album by FALCON is another ‘must have’ for those, who love the sound of the seventies. It would be unrealistic to call this simple retro rock, because therefore it is much to authentic. The sound of FALCON takes back to the sixties and especially the seventies. Just listen to opener “Jimmy Clark”, which tells about the Scottish race car driver. This song absolutely breathes the atmosphere of the very early THIN LIZZY material, and it could be on any of the early albums by these Irish hard rock geniusses. “No Future” has got some wild riffs and dark lyrics. The band even wonders, if there’s a light at the end. Yes, there sure is, my dear friends! Just listen to this album yourself, and you’ll almost see the light blistering. “Elfland’s Daughter” is again a bit LIZZY-like, as far as the guitarsound is concerned. The vocal chords are definitely different. The speed changes somewhere at the end come at a somewhat surprising moment and makes this song very exciting. “Corporate Whore” sounds more like Southern retro rock to me, if you know what I mean. The guitarsound at the end of the song is very psychedelic and over the top and I think, this was meant to be this way. “The Wreck Of The John Deere”captures some exciting guitarwork and sounds a bit doomy to me. I mean, doom in the best PENTAGRAM, early SABBATH tradition here . It’s an instrumental song. “Leader” is a cover of the Australian band BUFFALO, who started their career as HEAD. The band supported BLACK SABBATH in their early days and it’s no wonder, that this song shows a lot of resemblance to these masters of doom. Pete Wells of ROSE TATTOO was one of the members of BUFFALO, who actually wrote this song. “Careless” is once again in the Southern rock tradition, because of the vocals of Perry Grayson. While “Falcon” has got an ominous sound, that fits very well to this song and “Everything There Is To Know” breathes a certain ZAPPA-esque atmosphere. At the end of the song, a sudden speed change makes the guitars cry. Another highlight is born for me with this one. CD closer, “Show You All” was written by former CIRITH UNGOL member Greg Lindstrom. It’s another up tempo rocker with a certain Southern feel to it. Think about the early MOLLY HATCHET material here. If you like a mix of BUDGIE, BLUE CHEER and DUST, than this one is a must for you all. “Die Wontcha” takes you back into the deeper underground sound of the seventees. Wonderful songs with a great groove and some excellent breaks and dominating guitar riddles. I must admit, that the slower approach on their debut album touched me more, but I’m sure this will grow on me in time. I do think, that the FALCON will fly for a long time to come and it won’t die that easily. And I’m glad to. Website:
(8,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

GODDESS OF DESIRE- Awaken The Pagan Gods (Armageddon Records)
Oh no! They woke up the Pagan Gods again, so you’d better hide in your shelters from now on. The best way to have a good listen to this fourth album of GODDESS OF DESIRE is to turn up the volume real loud first. Then raise your right hand, but beware that you only point your little finger and your fore finger in the air as high as you can, then slowly start to move your head up and down, and with your other hand you push the ‘play’ button on your stereo set. After about forty-five minutes just play the ‘repeat’ button again. Got that?!? Right, what you get to hear is old school heavy metal with references to IRON MAIDEN, VENOM, CELTIC FROST and MOTÖRHEAD (“Nothing’s Free”). Most of the times they play at full speed, but even in a song like the more doomy “Bloodstained Sight”, they truly know to impress. The female input is not to be heard on the CD, however it’s an essential part of GODDESS OF DESIRE, especially in the great shows that the band plays. There, Delilah is an unbearable part. She’s in charge of all the female effects, how they call it wisely in their CD booklet. She spits fire and consumes the hungry looks of the male audience, and takes care of some very exciting other show effects that I won’t even talk about in this review. Besides Delilah, the GODDESS OF DESIRE herself, the band consists of Bastard on drums, Lord Arydon on guitar and vocals, and Count August on bass and vocals. Lord Arydon however has left the band after the release of this CD, and he is now replaced by Cape Fear. Every true and devoted metalhead will have to buy this album, which sounds better than the previous one, in my opinion. Just listen to the great VENOM-like ‘over the top’ approach in “Demolition” for example, then you’ll know what I mean. Great stuff to show all the non-believers, what heavy metal is all about. A lesson well-learned in twelve metal tracks, divided over almost forty-five loud minutes. Website:
(8/10- Toine van Poorten)

HAMMERHEAD- Headonizm (High Roller Records)
This is a six track album by the English outfit HAMMERHEAD. I know, that we had an HAMMERHEAD too in Holland with Ian Parry, Dick Stam and Wilco van Beek, but this is the band with Brian Hodgson on guitar and vocals, Buzz Elliot on guitar, vocals and piano, Steve Archer on bass and Tony Steel on drums. Most of the material on this album was written in the mid-seventies and recently re-arranged. The sound quality is perfect, and so are the songs. Just listen to opener “I’ll Be Back”, which slowly builds itself up to a great rocker. The band still exists, and they are actually playing live this very day, on the evening of which I am reviewing their album. On these new arranged songs you can also hear a touch of progressive rock. Which is not strange, when you know that some of the musicians here also played in a band called PLATEAU. They even recorded a song on this album called “Death Lesson”, which was originally written by PLATEAU. “Mushrooms And Beer” is also known as “Hammerhead Blues”, and it closes the A-side of this vinyl release, which comes in a very nice gatefold sleeve including many pics and song lyrics. The song also ends in the well-known slow blues style, by the way. “Victim” is a slow, yet bluesy-like ballad. While “Feel I’m Fallin’” reminds me of PINK FLOYD’s “Wish You Were Here” in a way. Somewhere in the midst, the speed goes up and the song changes into a great headbanger. You never know what to expect with a band like HAMMERHEAD. Perfect music for the real connoisseur. And another great example of a band, that created a style and a sound of its own.
(8/10- Toine van Poorten)

IOMMI- Fused (Sanctuary Records)
It may not come as a big surprise, that I’ve always liked the dark, doomy, and ultraheavy riffs of the riffmaster Tony Iommi of BLACK SABBATH. And I’ve always been a big fan of the soulful voice of former DEEP PURPLE bass player Glenn Hughes. The cooperation between the two of them worked out perfectly well on “The Seventh Star”. However, on the release of last year, “The Depp Sessions”, the magic was gone. This was not the album, that I expected them to record. But those were old recordings, and I am listening to the new stuff now. This is the ‘eighth star’ for me. Ten wonderful songs, that could have been on the “Seventh Star” album for me. Once again, the magic of ultraheavy riffs, in combination with soulful vocal parts is put together, and it sounds absolutely fabulous. Despite the sometimes distorted vocals, like in “Grace”, there is really nothing that sounds bad on this great album It could very well be released as the new BLACK SABBATH album for me, although the purist in me says that BLACK SABBATH can only exist, when Ozzy is behind the microphone. But if you listen to the same “Grace”, you must admit that this is far better than some of the albums that were made under the name of BLACK SABBATH.Just listen to opener “Dopamine”, which is based upon a monstrous riff again. Glenn also plays some bass parts on this magnificent album and if he doesn’t, the role is taken over by Bob Marlette. Kenny Aronoff is the drummer here. “Deep Inside A Shell” is one of the lesser gods here, but the recognisable solo guitar part in the song, easily lifts it up to a higher standard. In “Saviour Of The Real”, we also hear the CHILI PEPPERS adoration of Hughes, vocal wise. Same happens in “What You’re Living For”. It’s not very much upfront, but if you listen very carefully, it’s definitely somewhere in the back. I think, it would be a nice suggestion to put these two heroes together in a studio every now and then and release an album like “Fused”, cause this good old hard rock sound will never die. The young generation can’t do this no more, so let the oldies to their job, and it becomes magic. “I Go Insane” closes the CD. It’s the obligatory ballad, that makes this masterpiece complete. Let’s go insane and turn it on again! Go to: and for all the information about these great musicians.
(8,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

KRUX- Krux II (GMR Music)
The impact, that the first album of KRUX had on me was enormously, to say the least. Never before doom metal felt so lazy and heavy, since the pioneers of WITCHFINDER GENERAL, CANDLEMASS and PENTAGRAM paved their way. Finally, there was new life in the doom genre, that sounded like I wanted to hear. On this second album by KRUX, their sound is not a surprise anymore and it all has been done before on the debut CD. Nonetheless, it still sounds like the sludgy, slow doom metal, that I like to hear, including some firm guitar solos and a slow pace.One of the highlights on the album is a song called “Lex Lucifero”, which contains with some great axework by Jörgen Sandström and Frederik Åkesson. The magic keyboards of Carl Westholm add a special spooky touch to their slow sound. Putting this all together, this second KRUX album becomes another fine, dark piece of art, which may not be missed on the altars of doom metal worshippers.
(8/10- Toine van Poorten)

MOTORHEAD- BBC Live & In–Session (Sanctuary Records)
What a nice compilation of live recordings on this double CD set of the godfathers of heavy metal: MOTÖRHEAD. The two CDs can be divided into four parts actually. First we have the John Peel sessions recorded in 1978, consisting of four songs. Then we hear a BBC Radio One session, recorded live at the Paris Theatre in London in 1979, which contains eight songs. The sound quality is okay. It may not be the best quality recordings, you’ve heard from this band, but there is an high exclusivity level that counts here, of course. The songs are all recorded in the well-known line up consisting of Fast Eddie Clarke on guitar, Philty Animal Taylor on drums and Lemmy on bass. The second CD starts with this line up too, which cranks out another BBC session on June 10th, 1981. The “Ace Of Spades” album was already a fact, and the band was at the height of their success for many fans. Many line up changes followed after Eddie left the band for good. And the line up with two guitar players (Würzel and Phil Campbell) is captured here too with the last BBC session, that is on this compilation. It was recorded on August 16th, 1986. All together these recordings are worthy of a little bit of over eighty minutes divided over twenty-two songs, of the loudest band in the world. MOTÖRHEAD are still very active in the scene nowadays and they always treat their fans right. This nice compilation, that comes with a booklet with liner notes and some very nice pictures is definately prove of that.
(8/10- Toine van Poorten)

NOTRE DAME- Creepshow, Freakshow, Peepshow (White Thrash Records)
Snowy says it all in the liner notes of this brilliant live CD of NOTRE DAME. This is the shit!! I couldn’t have said it better. Now all the horror has come to an end, people can go to sleep again, without peaking under their bed first. The one and only vaudeville, shockrock, cabaret, metal outfit in the entire world has decided to call it quits. They will vanish into thin air. Vampirella will take a flight back to her dark cave, like a bat in the night. The de Sade brothers will be looking for new blood, and Snowy is left behind in his pillory, in a dark castle, far away in the Swedish woods where nobody will possibly find him. The town is called Hallelujahville and, guess what? Yes, he is the only citizen. And so this circle slowly closes itself. The thirteen songs on this live CD give you a perfect overview of the career of NOTRE DAME, that lasted far too short for me. But hey, that’s the will of Nostradamus, it cannot be changed. I wish I was there, when the witching hour started and a new millennium took its start at Sticky Fingers in Gothenburg, Sweden. Twelve NOTRE DAME classics, and a great version of ACCEPT’s “Son Of A Bitch” are on this album, that captures the magic in sound. Not in vision though, but the only thing you can do is imagine the whole picture yourself. It will never be as good as the real show though, but the film crew disappeared into the dark night and nobody has heard from them ever since. Meine Damen und Herren, we present you ….NOTRE DAME live! Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome in the cabaret of the devil tonight! The show starts with “The Bells Of Notre Dame” and from then on, it’s one journey through the sick mind of the maestro extravaganza Snowy Shaw. A mix of dark heavy metal, cabaret, horror and a reflection of things that can only be believed when you were there yourself. This whole review is not a fairytale, but most parts of it are based on fiction. NOTRE DAME is dead, long live the hunchback of the Notre Dame and hail to Jean Paul de Sade on guitar, Mannequin de Sade on drums, Vampirella on sexy voice and Snowy Shaw for bringing us this magic shocking show. Please leave the theatre immediately, and play this silver disc at home at your own risk. Don’t forget to turn up the volume to create your own apocalypse. While Snowy takes a rest in his own coffin, we wish you pleasant dreams. Watch out for an exclusive interview, that we had in Hallelujahville with Snowy or go to for the real truth of the crypts and dark rooms in the Notre Dame. This CD gets the full score, which means 666 points.
(10/10- Toine van Poorten)

ONMYOZA- Garyoutensei (Miya Records)
There is nothing Western style about ONMYOZA. They are dressed up in kimonos, they sing in the Japanese language and they only use these difficult Japanese signs in their CD booklets. Their music also bears this Eastern touch, that you simply can’t deny when listening to it. However, they play some beautiful music. Sometimes ultra heavy and loud, like in “Onikoroshi”, while at other times they sound a bit more modest and almost poppy and dreamy like in “Kumikyoku ‘Yoshitsune’ ~ Raise Kaiko”. But always of an outstanding musical quality. On the different releases that we have, almost every band member looks the same, so I think that the band has a stable line up for a longer time already. Anyway, on this CD we can hear Karukan on guitar, Tora on drums, Matabi on bass and vocals, Maniki on guitar and Kuroniko on female vocals. That was the only thing I could discover in the CD booklet. So thank God for the internet. Otherwise I couldn’t have given you all the information that I have here, right now. In this package there is another booklet with posed pics of the different band members. The most outstanding song on this album is called “Kumikyoku ‘Yoshitsune’ ~ Muma Enjo”, which lasts for about fourteen minutes and contains many mood changes. The sound of ONMYOZA is very hard to describe, but I hear many influences of IRON MAIDEN, DREAM THEATER and NIGHTWISH, added with Japanese vocals. Are you still with me? You don’t need to describe this band in details I think. Just enjoy their great music. The CD contains twelve tracks with a total playing time of about sixty-five minutes. Which means value for money. Which is definitely not bad, by the way, because the Japanese import prices that you pay for these CDs are outrageous high nowadays. Keep this in mind, before buying it!!
(8/10- Toine van Poorten)

PENTAGRAM- First Daze Here Too – The Vintage Collection (Relapse Records)
Name one of the most inspiring bands in the stoner rock and doom metal genre and you’ll soon end up mentioning the name of PENTAGRAM. A band consisting of Bobby Liebling on vocals, Vincent McAllister on guitar, Greg Mayne on bass and Geof O’Keefe on drums, who treated the music scene with inspiring heavy riffs, and the best classical rock sound imaginable. They came close to the sound of other big bands from the early seventies like LED ZEPPELIN, KISS, BLACK SABBATH, BLUE CHEER, BLUE OYSTER CULT and RORY GALLAGHER and they definitely build a bridge to the sound of today as well. The band changed names three times before they finally named themselves PENTAGRAM. They also operated under the name of VIRGIN DEATH, MACABRE and WICKED ANGEL, names that have been adopted by other bands, after PENTAGRAM had distanced themselves from them. The bridge to the music of today has got a lot to do with the name of the band, I guess. Some bands may dig the dirty, doomy sound of the band, too. However, this name is occult, evil and can easily be connected to the doom and black metal scene. PENTAGRAM, the name alone makes you curious to hear their music. And there is plenty of music to enjoy on this two disc compilation. The first disc unfortuantely only contains seven songs with a running time of about twenty-five minutes. That’s far too short, but the sound quality of these songs is really perfect. The other disc contains fifteen tracks and has a (normal) running time of fifty minutes. That’s a little bit more like it. The first seven songs are PENTAGRAM at their best. They also show us, where they got their inspiration from . The ROLLING STONES classic “Under My Thumb” is a good example of what the STONES could have sound like, when they would have done it the PENTAGRAM way. Listening to the second disc, you will notice that the sound quality is a little bit less here and there, but it’s the exclusivity that counts. Some songs only existed on a low-fi one chanel tape and they are available here on silver disc for the very first time. In the first songs, we unquestionably hear the spirit of JIMI HENDRIX wander around. Just listen to “Yes I Do” for example. These guys changed the music to what it sounds like today, maybe without really knowing it themselves. Their music would have had a great impact on upcoming bands, that wanted to sound almost exactly like PENTAGRAM. Here you can hear, how the band sounded originally. A good compilation of live songs, rare outtakes and previously unreleased songs, that were carefully hidden for mankind, but which are now finally released to please the many fans of the band. A ‘must have’ collection for people, who love the heavy sound of the seventies.
(8,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

PLACE OF SKULLS- The Black Is Never Far (Exile On Mainstream Records)
I have the hots for sludgy, dark, slow and greasy doom metal bands. There aren’t too many bands though, that can live up to my expectations of this particular style of metal. Bands like BLACK SABBATH, TROUBLE, ST. VITUS, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE GATES OF SLUMBER, ORODRUIN, THE OBSESSED, PENTAGRAM, CATHEDRAL and CANDLEMASS are the true heroes to me. You can also add PLACE OF SKULLS to this impressive list of names, because they know to deliver the goods. Their sound gives you this ominous feeling, that something terrible is about to happen real soon. The ultimate soundtrack of the demise of this world, so to speak. This new album has a good start with songs like “Prisoner’s Creed” and “Sense Of Divinity”. Sometimes the speed goes up a little, but they never play any real speed monsters of course. The dark feeling remains, so don’t play this record when you’re having a party at home, because you’ll soon end up partying alone. Title track “The Black Is Never Far” contains a very nice guitar solo, while “We Are The Unrighteous” sounds sludgy and dirty again. One of the highlights on this CD for me was “Looking For A Reason”, including an old school BLACK SABBATH guitar solo, like Tony Iommi used to play them in his early days. Thirteen songs, including three short interludes, worthy of about forty-five minutes of ultradoomy metal, that is only suitable for those, who like it dark and slow. PLACE OF SKULLS consists of Victor Griffin on guitars and vocals, Dennis Cornelius on bass and vocals and Tim Tomaselli on drums.
(8/10- Toine van Poorten)

POWER OF OMENS- Room Of Anguish (Metal Ages Records)
This new POWER OF OMENS album is a real beauty. Maybe it’s a bit too much for the average metal freak among us. I can truly imagine that. But the instrumentation, the vocals and the exciting mood and sphere changes in the songs are a real treat to the ears. If you’re into bands like QUEENSRYCHE, FATES WARNING, DREAM THEATER, SHADOW GALLERY, then you can easily sink your teeth into this as well. Hopefully, you will be positively surprised. The music is not too easy to comprehend. And maybe the vocal parts of Chris Salinas are a bit too much alike Geoff Tate. The songs definitely make up for that minor disturbance. There is a lot happening in most of the tracks. The album is based upon the deepest thoughts and believes in the mind of vocalist Chris Salinas. David Gallegos on guitars and keyboards, Alex Arellano on drums and Chris Hering on bass take care of the instrumental parts on the album, which is worthy of nine new songs and seventy-five exciting minutes of progressive metal. The mood is captured very well here. “As Winter Falls” sounds much darker than the rest of the material for example. “The Calm Before The Storm” is an instrumental track, and in a metaphorical way, it is in fact a calm before the storm. A storm, that is called “In The End”, a twenty minute epos, which is one of the highlights of the album. Michelle Loose (BRAVE) adds some beautiful female vocals to this song, by the way. After “Only A Dream” there is another highlight coming up; title track “Rooms Of Anguish”, which clocks in a little bit over ten minutes (!!). No, this band didn’t make it easy for the average listener at times, but the final result remains perfect for those, who like this kind of progressive metal.
(8,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

POWERVICE- Powervice (demo CD) (independent)
There are three songs on this demo CD by the new Dutch hopes in metal; POWERVICE. And I am glad, I can review a Dutch band again, because there aren’t too many new talented true metal bands out there anymore. MOTHERS OF MERCY disbanded recently. They might have had a golden future ahead of them. POWERVICE is another band, that could become biggies in the future. But they still have a long hard road to go. The first steps are there though. Their music can be described as NWODHM, because as a matter of fact they do sound like the NWOBHM bands from the eighties, except they come from Holland. What we can hear is a three track demo of about fifteen minutes. Is that old IRON MAIDEN? No, it is “Behold The Hand Of Glory”, which shows some influences of this band. Great high pinching vocals, an uptempo rhythm and raw guitar sounds. Yes, that’s what we wanna hear. I think, I’m gonna raise my fist already. When the singer starts screaming, we know that the guitar solos are about to start. From there on, you know that this is a great opener. We wanna hear more of this. Another great galloping rhythm appears in “Nightstalker”, completed with some icely high screams. The speed change in the middle of the song is just perfect, and the guitars cry out loud again. Another convincing song. I am afraid, that the end is approaching soon after this, and the band thinks about it the same way as I do, so they called the last song “The End Is Coming”. Life can be so simple. Which is not suggesting, that we’re dealing with a simple song here. This is the longest song on this three tracker and again I am quite impressed. Mainly because it has another good speed change, that reminded me a lot of some very early RUSH material. The guitar solo is top notch material, too.This band is ready for a full-length release. And I hope, that they can keep the spiral going up, because once you’re at the top it can move downwards real quickly. As long as they can keep the line up together, and they don’t change their sound too much, this band is the big promise of the Dutch metalscene for me. The live shows of the band are also very powerful by the way, so they can definitely deliver the goods, when playing live. No more words about this release though. It is up to you now to buy this great demo CD. For more information, you can go to the bands website at or send an email to Mostly you don’t rate demos, but I give this one nine points, which is an honest reflection of the quality of their songs.
(9/10- Toine van Poorten)

QUEENSRYCHE- Operation Mindcrime II (Warner Music)
Is it possible to make a good sequel to one of your best albums after twenty years? The answer in this case would be ‘yes you can’ for me. QUEENSRYCHE made their best studio album in ages with this second and final part of “Operation Mindcrime”. After the instrumental “Freiheit Ouverture”, and the very short spoken intro “Convict”, the album explodes into the loudest song, that QUEENSRYCHE has ever written: “I’m American”. From there on, the album grows on you pretty easily, and before you know it, you’re caught in the Mindcrime web again. PAMELA MOORE is guesting on the album again as the personification of Sister Mary, and Doctor X (played by RONNIE JAMES DIO!) is also unmasked, and he can be heard in another highlight of the CD, called “The Chase”. With short interludes as “Circles”, they make the album to a complete story, just like they did with the first album of “Operation Mindcrime”. They made small connections between the songs, like a book is divided into several chapters. At the end of the CD, we also hear a couple of ballad like songs, but I think that we can state safely, that QUEENSRYCHE has recorded their best album in years, and it definitely has become a worthy follow up to the album, which has changed the history of metal music dramaticly. Although I hope, that the next album will have this mighty good sound. Anyway, the band has proven that they can still create a magic sound. Don’t miss them at Arrow Rock in Lichtenvoorde, NL.
(8,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

RAM- Forced Entry (Black Path Metal Recordings)
RAM is an interesting name in the new true metal scene. The band hails from Sweden and their sound shows a lot of resemblance to the high priests of heavy metal; JUDAS PRIEST. Their first full-length album is called “Point Of Entry” – oops, sorry - I mean “Forced Entry” of course. Well, I must say, that they’ve partly got rid of their image of being cheap JUDAS PRIEST clones or copycats. But in opener “Shadowman”, the band can add another influence on their list: the powerful sound of CRIMSON GLORY. Main reason here is Oscar Carlquist, who sounds very much like Midnight here. The well-known PRIEST sound returns in “The Beast Within”. Thank God for that, because it’s not a disgrace to be influenced by one of the biggest British rock institutes. The grunting voice in title track “Forced Entry” may sound a little misplaced, because it doesn’t really belong to the average sound of this band. However, the cool riffs later on make up for this pretty easily. I was more impressed by the mini album. Okay, it was very much PRIEST like, but the sound was compacter, rawer and much more in your face and direct. The opening sound of “Breaking Through” for example is a bit too slick for a band with a hellish reputation such as RAM. “Infurirator” is very strong again indeed. With CD closer “Burning Scars”, they grab back to the sound of CRIMSON GLORY and back to the beginning of the CD in a certain way. All in all, they close the circle in a very nice way with this dark ballad. There is still room for real true metal in Sweden, and RAM is one of the most important components of the scene. They sound more powerful than WOLF for example and with “Forced Entry”, they delivered a real nice album. Check out for more information about them.
(7,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

SACRED STEEL- Live Blessings (Massacre Records)
I must give Gerrit Mutz credit for what he is doing with SACRED STEEL. Many times I’ve seen the band crank out some nice shows already. Although I must admit, that their later studio material is slowly becoming a bit too thrashy for me. Nonetheless, during a live show they always try to sound as true as possible. This is a double live CD, which comes with a live DVD of the same gig, alltogether in one package. Almost three hours of true German mayhem in one boxset, recorded live in 2004 at the Karlskaserne in Ludwigsburg, Germany. Hear the power, the band attacks their fans, armed with axe and sword. If this is what you’re looking for, it is what you get. Songs about battles, war, heroes, swords and lots of slaughter, it’s all there. Big winner of course, are the men who are armed with the sacred steel. People, who dig the music of bands like OVERKILL, may want to check out the German equivalent as well. After about hundred minutes, and twenty-one songs including the intro, the war is over. This may be a little bit too much to listen to all at once, because after a few songs it all starts to sound alike. Nonetheless, this set is definitely well-worth checking out. It’s an honest reflection of what a SACRED STEEL gig is all about. Website:
(7,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

JOE SATRIANI- Super Colossal (Sony/BMG)
What do I need to say about JOE SATRIANI, that isn’t already said before? Let’s skip the crap and tell you that his new album is out. It contains thirteen tracks and a full hour of guitar explosions from this world class guitar kamikaze pilot. What caught my eye immediately, when I read the CD booklet, is that his main partner-in-crime STU HAMM is not playing bass on this album. Joe does it all by himself. This time he choose to record an instrumental album with the help of Jeff Campiteli and Simon Philips on drums. This does not effect the sound of the album. A mix of fast and slow songs, without too much sidesteps. Joe is really playing on safe with “Super Colossal”, and all eyes are pointing on the man himself again. Because of this, he creates a more modest atmosphere without the spectacular outbursts some of you might expect from him. In “One Robot’s Dream”, he sounds fast and exciting, but right thereafter in “The Meaning Of Love”, he sounds very laid back again. So there’s variation all over, so to speak. Still the guitarsolos in both songs are breathtaking and that’s what it’s all about, when you listen to JOE SATRIANI, don’t you agree? The CD closer “Crowd Chant” may become a crowd pleaser during his live shows. So after all, the new album has become quite nice, but nothing really special. Website:
(7,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

SERPENTS KISS- Serpents Kiss (independent)
This is definitely a name to remember, because I hear a lot of potential in this power metal band from England. Fronted by two lady singers and armed with duelling guitarists, this is an album to check out as quickly as possible. SERPENTS KISS consists of Will on guitars, keyboards and vocals, Mike on guitars, Wayne on bass, Paul on drums, Kate on lead vocals and operatic vocals and Catherine on vocals. The music is a nice mix of NIGHTWISH and IRON MAIDEN. The metal part of MAIDEN, the operatic parts of NIGHTWISH, add to this MALMSTEEN like flashing guitar solos, and the riffing you’d expect from a band like WARLORD and you’ll get the sound of SERPENTS KISS. On paper it may look like a weird combination, until you have listened to the eight great songs here. Just listen to the wild guitar work in “Strider”, and you’ll know this is not just another metal band. It is true metal pur sang. And in combination with the operatic vocals, it’s a concept that has never been used before. In forty minutes, the band presents you eight good metal tracks, in which I didn’t hear a bad sound at all. Anyone, who thought that true heavy metal is as dead as a doornail in the UK is absolutely wrong, and SERPENTS KISS is the living proof of it. A full rating is what they might deserve with their next album, so there’s still a goal to archieve, but this album is already a true killer for me. The CD can be ordered from their website [] or via the email address below at:
(8,5/10– Toine van Poorten)

STRYPER-Reborn (MTM Music)
STRYPER is reborn, and at first I was very glad when I heard this news. The live CD was a great moment, and in my mind I relived their show at the second Dynamo Open Air festival, when listening to it. Also I got views of their live video “Live In Japan”. What a great time that was! The yellow and black attack, back in business, a gift from God himself. And when I heard, they were even making a new studio record, I got more flabbergasted by the day. But that was where the euphory ended. This new album is not what I really expected to hear. A sweet (I should have known, since there are still two Sweet brothers in the line up of the striped reli rockers), sometimes even grungy sound, that could be from every average alternative rock band from America, except from these four sons of the Messiah himself. Opener “Open Your Eyes” is not bad at all, but from that point on the quality goes down and it’s difficult for me to sit this one out, although it only contains eleven songs and has a total playing time of less than a holy mass (forty minutes). Ballads that sound like a mix between “Mama I’m Coming Home” and “Shooting Star” (“Passion”) don’t impress me at all and the remake of “In God We Trust” is only a moment, where I start to realise this CD is finally over. No, I am not sour or angry here. Maybe just a bit disappointed. This is not what I expected it to sound. I remember songs like “C’mon Rock”, “Soldiers Under Command”, “Makes Me Wanna Sing” or even “Winter Wonderland” rocked the hell out of me. And my adoration for the band became bigger every time they rocked these songs out. This “Reborn” release is not the comeback CD that I hoped to hear. Just listen to the poppy sound of “If I Die”. It’s not bad, but it’s not the quality I’d hoped for. Bands like WHITE LION, BON JOVI or EUROPE also sound quite mellow, but they rock it out just a little bit louder than Jesus striped tigers. I will give the album a suficient mark, because the band members are good musicians, but to me they are not playing the right music. Be honest and compare a song like “Wait For You” with any old STRYPER song and you’ll miss the magic, too. STRYPER consists of Michael Sweet on vocals and guitars, Oz Fox on guitars and backing vocals, Tracy Ferrie on bass and backing vocals and Robert Sweet on drums. I don’t hope, that the apocalypse is near for STRYPER. They are reborn, let’s prey for a real ressurrection now.
(6/10- Toine van Poorten)

SURVIVOR- Reach (Frontiers Records)
We have been waiting a looooong time before the new SURVIVOR CD saw the light of day. Was it worth the wait? I have mixed feeling about it, after listening to “Reach” several times. The band opens very well with title track “Reach”, which is a good old school SURVIVOR song. They continue with “Fire Makes Steel”, which is also in the right direction. But halfway the CD, they make some mistakes, that you won’t expect from a band of this calibre. At the end, they return with some good old SURVIVOR classics to be, like “Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and “Don’t Give Up”, but it is not the CD that I hoped for after so many years. The fact, that Jim Peterik left the band was an important reason this album may not sound like the good old SURVIVOR, but in Jimi Jamison they have found a good replacement, I think. However, without Jim Peterik, it seems that the magic combination of good songwriting and singing has disappeared completely. “Give Me The Word” sounds more like FOREIGNER than FOREIGNER themselves. I miss songs, please forgive me, I meant classics, like “Silver Girl”. If you only like SURVIVOR for the biting sound of “The Eye Of The Tiger” or “Burning Heart”, you can leave this new CD for what it is. But if you listen to the album several times, you will hear that the band still knows to write compact rock songs with a lot of sensitivity in it. But sometimes I hoped for a little bit more balls here and there.
(7/10- Toine van Poorten)

P.T.POWER TRIO- P.T. Power Trio 2 (Provoque Records)
It has almost become a fashion to play an album full of covers. It’s not very original, but when you’ve made so many good records already, it’s not strange that you also want to pay tribute to the many great collegues you have. The status to do such things is only granted for the very best in the scene, like RICK DERRINGER, LESLIE WEST or PAT TRAVERS. And PAT TRAVERS presents his second album with his power trio, that consists of Steve Evans on bass guitar and Jeff Martin on drums (ex-RACER X, BADLANDS, BLINDSIDE BLUESBAND and recently also playing with MICHAEL SCHENKER). The guitar prince grabs back to the early seventies with covers from superheroes like MONTROSE, JOHNNY WINTER, TRAPEZE, GRAND FUNK RAILROAD, HUMBLE PIE, LED ZEPPELIN, TOMMY BOLIN, DEEP PURPLE and QUEEN. Need I say more? And in some covers, you will be amazed how close he gets to the original sound. For me, his interpretation of “I’m Yours, She’s Mine” is absolutely fabulous, especially the guitar solo in the middle of the song is almost exactly like JOHNNY WINTER did this himself. While the BB KING cover “Rock Me Baby” is played exactly the way PAT TRAVERS would perform it. And so we get to hear thirteen songs filled with a lot of musical action and loooooong high screaming guitar solos. Ain’t that the way we want it? There are still a couple of dozens of songs, that Pat might want to cover in his career, so I am eagerly waiting for the third album by this power trio.
(8/10- Toine van Poorten)

TRAVERS/APPICE- Live At The House Of Blues (Escapi Music)
I’ve always been a big fan of the guitar prince PAT TRAVERS. I remember 1978, when he invaded Nijmegen with TED NUGENT. Ah, those were the days! After a long absence, the man returned with some blues CDs. But he was back in business again. Through the years, his shows contained more and more old material, and old days relived. Right now, he hooked up with Carmine Appice (ROD STEWART, DNA, KING KOBRA, BECK BOGERT & APPICE, OZZY OSBOURNE and zillions others) and bass funk meister T.M.STEVENS. A magic threesome reliving the sound of magic trios like CREAM, MOUNTAIN or BECK, BOGERT & APPICE. A bit of funk, a lot of rock, high quality musicianship and lots of guitars. It’s not a shame to play a good guitar solo, or do a drum solo for these guys, where these kind of things are not commonly done anymore by most of the so-called rock bands of today. But it’s a must to every fan of traditional hard rock music. The live CD we have here contains all the ingredients, that we are looking for. Lots of sweat, good musicianship, crying guitars and rock anthems. And if you can’t catch the vibe by listening to the CD alone, then you must play the DVD of the show, that’s in the same CD box, you’re holding in your hands. Maybe the set is something you can discuss. But we are dealing with three big names here, so you can expect some Travers, some Stewart material and a lot of songs that capture the professional sound of the three masters. In the WILLIE DIXON classic “Evil”, Carmine Appice goes loose all the way, in a drum solo that some of the older fans might remember from the OZZY OSBOURNE classic “Forever” of the “Bark At The Moon” album. Fantastic! 1982, Dortmund, Rock Pop in concert. Need I say more? I don’t think so! It’s all coming back to mind, after hearing this. You may have reckoned it already. I love the material on this seventy-eight minute live CD. Even the funky sound of T.M. Stevens in the MOTHERS FINEST like “Gotta Have You” appeals to me. The magic is back again. Their debut album was great already, this live album beats it with a knock out in the third round. “Bazooka” is the title of the new album, which will be coming out real soon. I can’t wait to hear it.
(9/10- Toine van Poorten)

VOLNAYA STAYA- Staya (CD Maximum)
Finding the Holy Grail wasn’t an easy thing to do. This band is called VOLNAYA STAYA (=FREE FLIGHT) and they come from Russia. They’re an all-female heavy metal band and their debut album “Staya” contains eleven songs, worthy of over forty minutes of excellent heavy metal songs. “Flight”, the English translation of “Staya” opens strong after the short Russian spoken intro. SAXON-like riffs and a chorus, that simply asks for shouting along to. “For You” has again this early SAXON or ACCEPT sound, and in my imagination I can see the heads go up and down already. After the powerful “Russian Roulette”, we’re in for a ballad called “Don’t Call And Don’t Ask”, which is sung with a low-pitched voice and loads of emotion. The guitarparts in “Give Me Fire” remind me of JUDAS PRIEST in a way. As you can see, these ladies know their classics very well. “Like A Bird Into The Sky” relives the mighty sound of WARLOCK, mixed with the hooky sound of U.D.O. But whatever they may sound like, it’s done with a lot of style and class. They sure sound great and these young ladies stole my heart from the very first moment, that I listened to their album. They are unique, especially in Russia, which is quite conservative in their opinion about hard rock and heavy metal. MARQUIS and PRIMA DONNA are also rock bands from Russia, but no other band knows to play havey metal like VOLNAYA. Just listen to the guitarwork in “My Day” for example. The CD closes with another ballad-like song called “To Return Back”. “Flight” is a killer album of five ladies, who show us that heavy metal is very much alive in Russia. The band consists of Ksenia Timonina on lead vocals, Julie Main on guitar and vocals, Anna Mailova on guitar (recently being replaced by Natalie Terekhova), Marina Malakhova on bass and vocals and Svetlana Deinekina on drums. Have a good flight, while listening to this! Website:
(10/10- Toine van Poorten)

WITCHERY- Don’t Fear The Reaper (Century Media)
You might know, that I’m not really into thrash music. There are some exceptions though. And WITCHERY is one of the newer bands, that made me realise sometimes it’s nice to hear some fast thrash music as well. Their new album “Don’t Fear The Reaper”, with thanks to BLUE OYSTER CULT for the title, they provide the listener thirteen new tracks. Alltogether worthy of forty-five minutes of long waving hair, a thundering drums sound, fast riffing guitars and a vocalist, who screams his lungs out. The short instrumental opener “Disturbing The Beast” may not be what you expected it to be. But they’re only waking up (in other words ‘disturbing’) the beast, which will be awake from the second song on, so don’t be afraid. “Ashes” is dark and doomy and it takes care of some variation in the sound. There are some great machinegun riffs in this song. “Plague Rider” opens like ACCEPT used to do on their albums “Breaker”and “Restless And Wild”. No need to hide, you can’t escape from the plague riders, if they go this fast. You’ll have to experience, what they have in mind for you. “The Wait Of The Pyramids” is another instrumental track. “Immortal Death” also asks for some special attention on this album, because this song was originally writen and recorded by SATANIC SLAUGHTER in 1995. One and a half minute of pure mayhem. It will make your neighbours disappear for a long time. It’s an easier remedy against boring neighbours than ratt poison. “War Piece” is a short, instrumental (again) introduction to the last song on this album, called “Canon Fodder”. “Don’t Fear The Reaper” is another strong album from these Swedish masters of thrash metal.
(7,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

WITCHFIELD- Sleepless (Black Widow Records)
This album contains eleven dark doom metal songs, that could also be a soundtrack album for a good horror movie. The music of WITCHFIELD has its roots in the seventies and is a mix of PAGAN ALTAR, WITCHFINDER GENRAL, BLACK WIDOW, ST. VITUS, CATHEDRAL and PENTAGRAM. Doom, spelled in capitols, heavy, grinding and not meant for the faint-hearted. Opener “The Burial Of Count Orgaz” is just the beginning of this sixty minutes doom fest. Loads of guitar solos, slow beats and soundtrack-like doom riffs fill this record, which is an absolute must to every old school doom metal fan out there. The band of former DEATH SS drummer Witchfield consists of Thomas Hand Chaste on drums and keyboards, John CC Goldfinch on vocals, Andy Cardellino on guitar, Harjo ‘Piranha’ Suppressa on guitar and Baka Bomb on bass. With this line-up, they know to convince me in many ways and this album really belongs to the premier ranks of the dark heavy doom metal scene. On the ALICE COOPER cover “Black Widow”, we hear a guest appearance of Steve Sylvester (DEATH SS) on vocals. The woodwinds on “Void In My Life” and “Inquisitor” were played by nobody else but Clive Jones (BLACK WIDOW). As you can see, this band has already been appreciated by the true masters themselves, otherwise you won’t find back well-known names like that on your album. “Totentanz” is a short instrumental interlude, and the CD closes with another instrumental theme, called “The Burial Of Count Orgaz Finale”. Inbetween these short instrumental songs, is a lot of doom mayhem to discover, so check it out!
(8,5/10- Toine van Poorten)

Back to Main Page