REVIEWS from Snakepit #6 (1999)

ANGELWITCH
Resurrection

independent

Can you believe this? ANGELWITCH who just released a CD without having a record deal? Ten songs show us the slow resurrection of this brilliant band from the NWOBHM scene in the 80's. Throughout the years, after their last studio effort “Frontal Assault”, the band released a couple of demo tapes. These demos have now been put together on one CD. We get to hear the “Psychopatic” three track demo from 1987, the four track EP “Twist Of The Knife” from 1990 and the “Resurrection” demo from 1998. The first two items (seven songs) sound like ANGELWITCH old style. Great metal songs with flashing trash riffs here and there with of course the recognizable voice of Kevin Heybourne. The last three songs were not written by Kevin and I must say, you can surely hear the difference. The sound is a bit more new-fashioned, if you’d like to call it that way. Nonetheless, it’s a great new release and everybody must know that the band is back to kick some serious ass. They now consist of Jon Torres on bass, Tom Hunting on drums, Myk Taylor on guitars and keyboards and of course founder member, guitarist and singer Kevin Heybourne. Keep your eyes wide open, because the new millennium is gonna start with “The year of The Witch”. You can lay your hands on this essential CD by dropping a line to: Angel Witch Productions, 699 Vienna St, San Francisco, CA 94112, USA or e-mail to angelwitch@yahoo.com. So you can witness the resurrection of this great cult band yourself. Who’s the next in line? WITCHFYNDER GENERAL, BITCHES SIN, HANDSOME BEASTS?!? Only time will tell!! (by: Toine van Poorten)

ANNIHILATOR
Criteria For A Black Widow

Roadrunner Records

Jeff Waters is definitely back in town. His new CD “Criteria For A Black Widow” is a true killer! Think about what he presented on the first two albums and you’ll know exactly how this silver disc sounds. Jeff also recruited a few old names back in the band. Ray Hartmann is back on drums and Randy Rampage is doing the vocals again. Dave Davis and Jeff Waters have never been away from the band. Russell Bergquist is handling the bass parts on this CD. An album that brings back in mind the old times. Think about the speed of “Kill ‘Em All” or “Ride The Lightning”, mixed with the diversity that was to be heard on the first two ANNIHILATOR albums, completed with a few slower tracks. The CD opens with “Bloodbath”, which is already one of the highlights. “Back To The Palace” is a sort of continuation of “The Fun Palace”. “Punctured” is a mix of METALLICA with PANTERA riffs. The title track even takes you back to the good old days of ALICE COOPER (vocal-wise). One thing’s for sure though: the magic is back again! “Schizos (Are Never Alone) Part III” and “Mending” are two nice instrumental tracks. You will also find a hidden track, which is just a combination of a few unused samples from the title track. The anger we hear on this CD, is the result of a divorce Jeff went through. The crisis in his life was translated into music and is to be heard on “Criteria For A Black Widow”, the ninth release of ANNIHILATOR, and a damn fine one, too! (by: Toine van Poorten)

ARTENSION
Forces Of Nature

Shrapnel Records

ARTENSION is the perfect blend of RAINBOW, ALCATRAZ with a touch of MALMSTEEN and MICHAEL SCHENKER. John West, singer of the band, sounds a lot like Graham Bonnet. In the ballads, we'll recognize a bit of the old sound of MEMENTO MORI, too. ARTENSION is certainly not a direct copy of the bands named above. They have talent enough to give their sound its own special character. But the Bonnet-like vocals, long instrumental interludes, beautiful guitar and keyboard parts make you think about these names. The songs are compositions of their own. There are ten of those beauties to be found back on this “Forces Of Nature”. “Wild Trip” is the only instrumental track on the CD. On “Guardian Of The Hunt” and CD closer “You Are My Heart (Ode To Autumn)”, West sounds more like Glenn Hughes, putting a bit of soul in his voice. Besides John West on vocals, the band consists of the young and very talented guitar player Roger Staffelbach, further John Onder on bass, Shane Gaalaas on drums and last, but not least keyboard wizard Vitalij Kuprij. TESTAMENT guitarist James Murphy added some solos to this CD as well. If you liked the other ARTENSION CDs and the solo CD of singer John West, you don’t want to miss this one, because in fact the band didn’t change their sound a bit.(by: Toine van Poorten)

BADLANDS
Dusk

Pony Canyon Inc.

Finally, it’s there! And this third CD by Badlands sounds great! The band doesn’t exist for years anymore, but they’ll be remembered for evermore. After “Badlands” and “Voodoo Highway”, they kind of split up. Ray Gillen sadly died in ‘93 after releasing the beautiful “Sun Red Sun” album. Jeff Martin (drums) and Greg Chaisson (bass) formed the BLINDSIDE BLUESBAND and Jake E Lee started a solo career and released the very soft, disappointing album “Fine Pink Mist”. “Dusk” is the title of the third release of this super group. The sound of the album is a cross of the two aforementioned CDs. Heavy southern rock, mixed with LED ZEPPELIN-like grooves, heavy blues rock and a touch of funk and soul here and there. Jake’s guitar is screaming again and Ray’s voice is crystal clear like always (think about David Coverdale, Paul Rodgers and Glenn Hughes). Here and there, the band reduces speed and starts to sound like the good old FREE. Ten songs are on this third CD, which will be only available as an expensive Japanese import CD. I must admit that Jake was one of the less guitar players that Ozzy ever had in his line up (Randy Rhoads will always be the ultimate no 1 for me!), but on “Dusk” you can enjoy his better moments. Just listen to the solo parts in “Fat Cat”!! This CD knows a lot of great moments to enjoy, while waiting for Jake’s new project to come out. Together with Mandy Lion, he’s working on a new CD called “Twisted Beauty”, which will be released under the bands name of WICKED ALLIANCE. I’m very curious, how that’ll sound! (by: Toine van Poorten)

BATTLEHEART
Return Of The Ancient Knight

Independent DEMO CD

BATTLEHEART is a true metal formation from The Netherlands, that has just released their new demo CD “Return Of The Ancient Knight”. It’s always good to see new bands return to the roots of heavy metal like BATTLEHEART does on this CD. There are four songs captured on this demo, with a total length of twenty minutes. BATTLEHEART consists of Mark Snijders on guitars, Ronald van Kuringen on bass, Thijs Brouwer on drums, Roel van Hees on guitars and Mario van der Heyden on vocals. Recently they’ve recruited a keyboardplayer called Geert Jacobs, to create a more bombastic sound. What we get to hear is four songs dealing about warriors, swords, battles and medieval myths. A great production will blow you out of your chair. The sound of the band shows some resemblance with a bombastic sounding MANOWAR and touches of IRON MAIDEN (f.e. opening riff “Hail The Sword”). They sing about the same subjects as the mighty MANOWAR, with almost the same intentions. This is stuff for the true metal fan, who still lives in the early 80’s. BATTLEHEART is surely a name to remember and this demo CD is a good start for them. You can order the CD (which comes in a beautiful coloured cover!!) by sending Hfl 15,- or $8,- to: Mario van der Heyden, ‘t Erf 22, 5374 AM Schaijk, The Netherlands or to Roel van Hees, Laagveld 5, 5411 EP Zeeland (NB), The Netherlands. The postage is included for the people that live in the Benelux. People in foreign countries will have to add 2 IRC’s to that.(by: Toine van Poorten)

GEORGE BELLAS
Mind Over Matter

Shrapnel Records

Here’s another instrumental CD for the people, who like guitar players playing at breakneck (or faster) speed (like me!). George Bellas has teamed up with speed monster Deen Castronovo on drums and Barry Sparks on bass. Both are very well-known for their work on many of these instrumental releases. Thirteen songs are to be heard on this second solo CD of Mr Bellas. Isn’t it dull to hear another CD full of fast licks and solos? you might say. Yes and no. Most of these albums carry the same foundation, but in fact they all sound different. Every guitarist creates his own style and sound. Bellas mixes instrumental guitar music with classical parts. “The Awakening” is his vision on Ludwig von Beethoven, completed with string arrangements. “Violin Solo” (which won’t surprise you) is a short intermezzo played on the violin. “Collage” is also a very short song. “Destiny” is a long slow ballad, while in “Black Hills” we’re treated on a short, but sweet drum solo. As you can see there’s enough room for variation on this CD, but you must like his style to enjoy it. The closer on this CD is a thirty (!!!) minutes classical opus, called “Orchestral Suite”. This becomes a bit dull at some times, although I must admit that it’s very well done, of course. Sometimes you’ll hear old JETHRO TULL and old QUEEN influences back on this masterpiece. Some of you metal heads will have difficulties though, sitting this one out. Besides this, the CD can be recommended to everyone who digs instrumental guitar CDs.(by: Toine van Poorten)

BEWITCHED (Chile)
Dragonflight

Conquistador Records

The second full length CD of BEWITCHED doesn’t start very original. They used the openingstape of OZZY OSBOURNE: the well-known “Oh Fortuna” by Carl Orff. Still, that’s the last negative remark you will hear from me. The rest of this CD is a must for the fans of doomy, melodic black metal. Think about CANDLEMASS crossed with IRON MAIDEN and a touch of MERCYFUL FATE (especially during “The Prophecy/Aquarian Revelation”), and you’ll get close to the sound of BEWITCHED. Their lyrics are Satanic and in Chile they are one of the most important extreme Satanic metal acts. What we hear is fourteen songs that fill seventy minutes of brutal music. BEWITCHED consists of Doomicus Wintry-vocals, Arahn Evil-guitars and Snow-drums. Their debut album “Hibernium In Perpetuum” was released in 1996. Before that, they already released three demos and a split mini LP with the Finish band F-UNCUNT. Opener “Poetry Of My Forrest” is played at high speed, while “Funeral” shows the more doomy aspect of the band. Sometimes the vocals are screamy (“Candles Of Doom”), but most of the time Doomicus sings with a normal voice. During “The Threat Of Winter Community” you’ll hear the wind howl with a short narration running through it. It sounds pretty scary and afterwards the band explodes into “Warfare”. After reading all this, you might conclude that BEWITCHED don’t sound so extreme at all. However, be warned, 'cos they still have a few things up their sleeve at the end of this CD. “Rainfall” is a beautiful slow instrumental ballad with rain and thunder and lightning on the background. The song closes with some fairy tale-like female vocals The outro on this CD is called “Dancing Upon Your Grave”, where voices are screaming and crying with some mystical sounds roaring on the background. The bonus tracks open with the MERCYFUL FATE cover “Black Funeral”, which is done very well indeed. Followed by remix 666 of “Souls Tears”. But they saved the best part until the end. The song is called “Serene Sorrow”, which is a new mix of 'Hades including trance exorcism 666'. That last phrase is a quote from their bio. What we hear sounds like a real exorcism ritual, with lots of screaming and praying. It all sounds very authentic and real and it goes on for eleven minutes, of which seven minutes are actually filled with music. The rest is the ritual I was writing about. If you play this last part very loud your neighbours will decide to move - that’s for sure. Super cool!!!!! The address of Conquistador Records is: Conquistador Records, 27 Fortis Green, East Finchley, London N2 9JL, United Kingdom. Or email them at: mail@supernal.demon.co.uk.(by: Toine van Poorten)

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
Sonic Brew

Polygram Recordings

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY is a whiskey name, and the name of Zakk Wyldes new outfit. His first band PRIDE AND GLORY was the most successful until now, after he decided to leave OZZY OSBOURNE's band. With BLACK LABEL SOCIETY he sounds a bit like this band mixed with some alternative nineties sounds. The guitar playing of Mr Wylde is still very enjoyable. But the compositions are not that catchy as they were in his PRIDE AND GLORY days. They are better than on his solo album “Book Of Shadows”, which was nice but very soft and tender. His songs don’t remind you of his time with OZZY too much anymore. Here and there you’ll recognise some bits and pieces of OZZY and BLACK SABBATH. For example “Peddlers Of Death" sounds a bit like “Sweet Leaf”. But most of the time he tries to create his own sound. And he succeeds in this very well. His guitar sound stays very recognisable, which is the main part of these songs. Second recognisable thing is his lazy, raw singing. “Beneath The Tree” is far too soft for the average rocker. “T.A.Z.” is a fast acoustic interlude like Eddy VAN HALEN did on "Van Halen II" with “Spanish Fly”. If you’re into the rock of the nineties, but with some good guitar work, this might be the CD for you. I’ve heard the man do better things in his past. It’s sludgy, it’s grooving, but it’s no high flyer. Highlight of this CD is the CD closer “The Beginning....At Last”. Let this heavy sound be the beginning of a new era in his life, so I can review his next CD as well here.(by: Toine van Poorten)

BRIMSTONE
Carving A Crimson Carreer

Nuclear Blast

BRIMSTONE hails from Sweden. They are the continuation of HAVOC, who recorded two demo tapes in the mid nineties. “Carving A Crimson Carreer” is their debut CD as BRIMSTONE. The band plays melodic death/speed metal. It’s the perfect mix of the metal of the eighties and the sound of the metal of the nineties. Fast guitar riffs, a solid rhythm and a screaming vocalist. Sometimes the band reduces speed, like in the beginning of the title track, but then that neck breaking riff falls in and the riot starts again. Sometimes the band reminded me of ACCEPT, except the vocals. Responsible for this great debut CD are Jan-Erik Persson on vocals, Daniel Grahn on guitar and bass and Ola Larsson on drums. Eight songs are on the CD, which I liked a lot. Although I must admit that I'd have liked a vocalist like Udo or Rob Halford better with the music that BRIMSTONE plays. Then this would have been an ultimate killer. In “Heavy Metal Kid” they’ve recorded a nice true metal anthem, as the title already predicts. “Carving A Crimson Carreer” is a good first move. Above all, it’s great to see they’re not following the path that was paved by HAMMERFALL. BRIMSTONE - a name to remember.......(by: Toine van Poorten)

BOB CATLEY
Live At The Gods

Now & Then

This CD was recorded live at the Gods Of A.O.R. festival at Maxines in Wigan on November 15th, 1998. Ten songs with a total length of almost an hour. And the sound quality is fairly good for something they call ‘official bootleg’. The CD inlay is filled with some nice color pics. The band consists of Vinny Burns-lead guitar, Paul Hodson-keyboards, Murray Daigle-acoustic guitar, Mike Dimitrovic-rhythm guitar, Sean Gregory-bass, Kyle Lazenka-drums and ex-MAGNUM frontman Bob Catley on vocals. Most of the songs come from Bob’s first solo album “The Tower”. The sound of the songs reminded me a lot of MAGNUM in its good old days. Great melodic songs with beautiful instrumental arrangements and the recognisable sound of the voice of Bob Catley. It’s needless to say that besides songs from his solo CD, Bob also plays some MAGNUM classics here. We can enjoy some great versions of “Lonely Night”, “On A Storyteller’s Night” and CD closer “Just Like An Arrow”. Some people might say this is music for old farts (like me), but I like this a dozen times more than LIMP BIZKIT or KORN or whatever they like to call themselves, the so-called HM bands of the nineties. People who like some decent melodic rock, better check this one out. I think it’s better than the second HARD RAIN CD (also featuring Bob Catley on vocals and his old partner in crime, Tony Clarkin on guitar) 'cause this one sounds a bit too poppy.(by: Toine van Poorten)

CIRRHA NIVA
Enter The Future Exit (MCD)

Parnassus Records

I want you to introduce you to this band from Holland. Especially people who are into progressive power metal and like names such as PSYCHOTIC WALTZ and FATES WARNING, will like this band a lot. “Enter The Future Exit” is a four track MCD, worthy of twenty-seven minutes of high class music. The first two tracks, “Vacuum” and “Sky Decor” are two long epics. They last ten minutes each and are full of speed and mood changes. The vocals of Arnold Kloek (ex-AFTERDARK) are very powerful but still very melodic. The riffs are innovative and complex. A lot of you readers might find this over the top, but if you’re into bands like FATES WARNING, I’m sure you’ll be more than surprised. More than once the changes in the songs will lead you into another direction, especially in these first two songs. We also hear the KATE BUSH-like vocals of bass player Liselotte Hegt. In the second song, “Sky Decor”, the band shortly fools around with some jazzy rhythms somewhere in the middle of the song. Right after that, the band seems to explode into a furious rhythm, so be prepared to bang your heads there! And we also hear the sweet voice of Liselotte again. The other two songs are live versions of “The Dream” and “Redemption Denied”, recorded at 013 in Tilburg on December 27th, 1998. The band already played gigs with SCAVENGER, PRE MORTEM, LACUNA COIL, SKYCLAD and RUDE AWAKENING, to name but a few. The band now consists of Arnold Kloek-vocals, Liselotte Hegt-bass/vocals, Tommy White-drums, Wilbert van de Broek-keyboards and founder members Peter Venema and Rob Willemse on guitar. The MCD can be ordered by sending Hfl 20,- or $10,- to CIRRHA NIVA, Copernicuslaan 58, 5223 EK ‘s Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. At this address you can also order their previous CD demo “No More Psychosis” and their debut CD “The Mirror World Dimension” and lots of interesting merchandising. The price of this great MCD includes p&p, by the way. (by: Toine van Poorten)

DEEP PURPLE
Total Abandon Australia ‘99

DPTA

If you’re born in the early sixties like me, I can imagine that you are a DEEP PURPLE freak just like me. This double live CD was recorded at the Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia on April 20th, 1999. And every live album/CD they’ve released so far is a classic in my eyes. And so is this one. PURPLE sounds very fresh with their ‘new’ recruit Steve Morse on guitar. Only a few songs were taken from the albums they did with the ex-KANSAS/DIXIE DREGS axeman. From the fifteen songs, we get to hear four newer tracks and the rest contains just classic material. The band starts with “Ted The Electrician Mechanic”, which is a kind of a surprise. “Highway Star”, which is usually the opener, closes the CD. Most interesting parts are when the band starts to improvise. Something they did much more in the seventies, then they do now. But in “Pictures Of Home” Steve floats away from the original structure, during a long guitar intermezzo. The tenth track on the first CD is not mentioned on the sleeve, but it’s in fact Steve Morse’s solo spot. If you listen very carefully you’ll recognise pieces of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Amazing Grace” in it. The second CD starts with “Smoke On The Water”. I like this version, ‘cause it also shows us a bit of the past of Steve Morse. With THE DIXIE DREGS he always played medleys that contained short pieces of classic rock tunes. Here he also starts with such a short instrumental medley featuring parts of LED ZEPPELIN's “Whole Lotta Love”, JIMI HENDRIX’ “Fire”, CLAPTON’s “Crossroads”, THE BEATLES’ “Daytripper” and THE KINKS’/VAN HALEN’s “You Really Got Me. Highlight on this second CD is the long version of “Speed King”, where Jon Lord opens with a short piano intro containing a small part of “Show Me The Way To Go Home”. Somewhere in the middle of the song, the band plays another short version of the JERRY LEE LEWIS classic “High School Confidential”. Also Ian Paice (drums) and Roger Glover (bass) get a short solo spot here. DEEP PURPLE live is always full of surprises. I think that’s why I like this band so much. (by: Toine van Poorten)

DOKKEN
Erase The Slate

Steamhammer

Not every come back is a success. The first DOKKEN CDs after his come back were not really heavy. The acoustic CD is quite OK, because it had the same feel as the awesome “Five Man Acoustical Jam” of TESLA. “Erase The Slate” is DOKKENs first CD without long time band member George Lynch. The man sold his heart to his own project LYNCH MOB. His new CD is also reviewed in this magazine. The new guitar player is the ex-WINGER axeman Reb Beach. Besides him, we also find back Mick Brown on drums, Jeff Pilson on bass and of course Don Dokken on vocals. And I think that Reb Beach wants to show us the things that he could never show us in his WINGER days. He’s a madman on the guitar and nobody will hear the difference with Mr Lynch to my opinion. Title track “Erase The Slate” is the perfect opener. From these tones on, you can already tell that DOKKEN is back for real. Eleven new songs mark the come back of DOKKEN. One of the highlights of the CD is sung by drummer Mick Brown and that's a rocker called “Crazy Mary Goes Round”. Sometimes the vocals of Don remind me of Ian Astbury of THE CULT. You can compare their sound to the old DOKKEN days. Melodic hard rock with great guitar solos and a ballad here and there, mixed with a touch of the sound of the alternative nineties. This last part however is not really disturbing, but it's there. Just listen to the beginning of “Haunted Lullaby” and the ballad “Drown”. The rest however sounds as solid as a rock. And the magic is back on stage as well. We witnessed that at the Wacken Open Air festival. In the last song of the CD, “In Your Honor”, the band even sounds like THE BEATLES. Does this surprise you or just offend you? Just listen to it once and skip it from now on, because the rest is really worth listening to it more than once. The hidden track is a short, but powerful instrumental track, in which Jeff Pilson is unleashed, so watch out for it!!! (by: Toine van Poorten)

DR. DEATH
Somewhere In Nowhere

Rising Sun Productions

DR. DEATH was founded in Germany in '91 and released their third CD called "Somewhere In Nowhere". The band consists of Thomas Heiman-guitar, Volker Scheerer-drums, Marco Preusser-guitar/vocals, Mohamed Khemiri-vocals, Stefan Quast-bass, Volker Hampel-keyboard and the female voice of Conny Preusser. They open this CD with the title track, which sets out the coarse. A solid mix of gothic rock and metal, with brutal male vocals and the clear voice of Conny in contrast to all this violence. "Der Erlösser", "Willkommen Im Leben" and "Träume" all have German lyrics, which makes the lyric parts sound even more powerful. "Day By Day" opens a bit strange, in a bit jazzy way, but then continues as a normal gothic rock song. There’s a really neat bluesy part in the middle of "Creeping Into You". Ten songs are on this third release, which is good for fifty minutes of good metal music. Besides the great music, I also want to ask your extra attention for the great sleeve, made by SF/horror artist H.R. Giger. It’s one of his earlier works, called "Birth Machine". This is really cult!! After hearing and seeing this all, I hope they can realise this sound live on stage as well (and after seeing them at Wacken very recently, I must say that I liked the CD better 'cause they sound a bit more powerful on it!). It seems that in the past, they used dancers and pyros during their show. Another visual aspect next to the already varied music. Still, I must admit that a song like "Willkommen Im Leben" isn’t very exciting at all. It sounds more like a dark experimental new wave song and one that's very boring. Nonetheless, "Somewhere In Nowhere" is a nice release. For more info, just go to www.drdeath.de or write to their management at: Creconcert, Ludwig Braunstrasse 26, 36251 Bad Hersefeld, Germany. The CD also comes in a cardboard box with poster, as a limited edition version of three thousand copies only. Broad minded metal heads might want to check this one out.(by: Toine van Poorten)

ESP
Lost And Spaced

Rock Hard Records

Remember UNION with ex KISS members Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick? Well, ESP is the same band under a different name. I think that these guys wanted to have fun and so they decided to record ten covers, which are to be heard on this CD. And I can tell you that it all sounds really well. Especially when you know all the original versions, mostly from songs from the seventies. Opener “Set Me Free” is from the SWEET, but you also might know it from SAXON or HEATHEN. People who still think that THE SWEET weren’t heavy in those days, well have a listen and think again! “Four Day Creep” is from HUMBLE PIE, a band we know from names like Steve Marriot and Peter Frampton. “Free Ride” is from THE EDGAR WINTER BAND. Edgar was a saxophone player and Johnny’s younger brother. He played the more funky stuff, while Johnny was more a man of the old blues sound. “Still Alive And Well” is from Johnny Winter, the bluesy part of the two Winter brothers in those days. This song is followed by a DEEP PURPLE song called “Never Before”. It’s from their album “Machine Head” and a great choice, I think! It’s much less obvious than another version of “Smoke On The Water”. They continue with the KISS song “Goin’ Blind” from the “Hotter Than Hell” album. Another great choice! Then we have the NAZARETH song “Teenage Nervous Breakdown”. Another classic on the list and a better choice than the ballad “Love Hurts”. JIMI HENDRIX may not be missed in a list of seventies bands. ESP covers “Changes” from Jimi’s BAND OF GYPSIES period. “S.O.S.(Too Bad)” is on next, the original version is done by AEROSMITH. Last, but certainly not least, is a second JIMI HENDRIX song called “Foxy Lady”. Here we hear a guest appearance of KISS guitar player Ace Frehley. It’s needless to say, that I'd a great time hearing all these tunes from the time when I was young (long, long ago!) You can enjoy them now again in a bit more rocking version than the originals although ESP didn’t change the arrangements very much. Hopefully they’ll decide to make a second version sometime.(by: Toine van Poorten)

HELLION
Live And Well In Hell

New Renaissance Entertainment

As the title already suggests, this is a live CD recorded at the D’Anza Theater in Riverside, California on March 30th, 1984. They opened for ROUGH CUTT that night. The recordings might not be of the very best quality, but it’s the exclusivity that counts. HELLION shows us what they’re worth in eight songs, lasting for about forty minutes. The CD is released as a limited edition pressing of 1,100 copies, for die hard fans only. It opens with “Break The Spell”, followed by “Don’t Waste Your Love On Me”. This song was played for the first time that night. Same goes for “Run For Your Life”. In England, the band had already done a tour and their mini LP had reached the sixth place in the charts of leading magazines like Kerrang! and Sounds. This very gig was visited by Wendy and Ronnie Dio and it actually led to a management deal. The whole gig is released how it was recorded: live, raw and with some of the mistakes made that night. Pure so to speak. It’s nice to hear all these old songs again. Ann Boleyn, singer of the band, is about to start a solo career and her first album will be released later in the year/early 2000. I hope she’ll sound in the same direction as she did with HELLION. I’m almost for sure, she’ll still be able to raise the roof! The line up of Hellion on this CD consists of Ann Boleyn-vocals, Alan Barlam-guitar, Ray Schenck-guitar, Bill Sweet-bass and Sean Kelley-drums. For more information about this limited live CD you’d better drop a line to: New Renaissance Entertainment (which is as a matter of fact Ann Boleyn’s office), P.O. Box 4825 Valley Village, CA 91617, USA.(by: Toine van Poorten)

HYPERION
Where Stone Is Unscarred

Massacre Records

HYPERION hails from Bergamo, Italy and consists of Alexander Blake-guitars, Fabian Dale-bass, Mark Katen-keyboards, Matt McHantin-vocals and Paul Raymonds on drums. They described their sound as epic melodic, but guitar orientated power metal. A description, which fits the band really well, I think. Some real true metal freaks might wanna refer this as the so- called 'happy metal'. Eleven tracks fill this debut CD. However, the band already exists for five years. In ‘97, they recorded their first demo, which resulted in a record deal with Massacre in ‘98. In May ‘99, they released “Where Stone Is Unscarred”. The songs have that well-known GAMMA RAY/HELLOWEEN/RHAPSODY touch over them. “Arbedit Ad Aeturnum” is an intro, after which the band explodes into “Perpetual Burn”. “The Mirror Of Soul” opens with a piano intro, but changes in another speed killer after about one minute. There’s only little space for the slower parts on this CD, besides the long obligatory ballad “Beyond The Sky”. This song reminded me of the old MAGNUM sound here and there. Highlight for me was “Neverending Winds” which has a spoken intro, a beautiful guitar solo and a powerful instrumental piece in the middle. Next to LABYRINTH (which is also the name of a song on this CD, by the way), RHAPSODY and WHITE SKULL, HYPERION is ready to set Italy back on the map, when we’re talking about (heavy) metal. I'd also like to ask some extra attention for the great sleeve of this CD, made by Keith Parkinson.(by: Toine van Poorten)

ICED EARTH
The Melancholy EP

Century Media

This is an exclusively limited five track EP of ICED EARTH. Only five hundred copies (!!!) were pressed of this one. The EP opens with title track “Melancholy (Holy Martyr)”, which you’ll already know by now. Next we get a great version of the BAD COMPANY classic “Shooting Star”. Matthew Barlow (vocals) doesn’t want to sound like Paul Rodgers in this version. He gives the song his own twist, which sounds surprisingly well. Surprisingly, when you know the huge difference between the music styles of both bands. “Watching Over Me” can be seen as a classic of ICED EARTH already. Then the band explodes into a heavy version of BLACK SABBATH’s “Electric Funeral”. See how easily they change from covering a good rock ballad into doing a heavy doomy metal track. ICED EARTH proves they’re ‘the next big thing’ for the heavy metal kids of the nineties. They show a lot of variation in their sound and that's probably why they never get boring. The EP ends with another own written song, called “I Died For You”. “The Melancholy EP” is out of press right now, but we didn’t want to skip the review of this very limited rough diamond. Our thanks go out to Tony Cannella for making this review possible at all!! (by: Toine van Poorten)

ICED EARTH
Alive In Athens

Century Media

This is absolutely cool! Picture yourself a three hour live concert by ICED EARTH. Because that’s exactly what you get, when you buy this triple live attack called “Alive In Athens” (which is also available as a five picture discs set, by the way). Thirty-one songs are on this document which comes in a cardboard box. For the metal fan of today, this is a real must. It has the same magic like for example “Live After Death” by IRON MAIDEN. The three CD boxes are filled with beautiful colour pics. Do I have to tell you more? I don’t think so. Who doesn’t know “Melancholy (Holy Martyr)”, “Iced Earth”, “Watching Over Me” or “I Died For You”? My ultimate favourite song on this great document however, is the long masterpiece “Dante’s Inferno” from their PURGATORY days. The recordings are taken from two different nights when they played at The Rodon in Athens, Greece, namely January 23rd and 24th. They came up with two different sets to complete this overview of ‘The best of’ ICED EARTH. The Greek audience was an obvious choice for the band, ‘cause they’re very fanatic and they sing every word of the lyrics. This gives you the idea that you’ll find yourself in the middle of the audience, when listening to the CD. “Alive In Athens” is definitely a crown on their work for this well-talented band from Tampa, Florida, USA, who are finally getting the recognition they deserve so much. Funny detail is the fact, that the picture on the backside of the cardboard box was taken at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany ‘98. Sit back and relax for three hours and let it all come over you, ‘cause needless to say this release is something you just can’t ignore. It’s very cool stuff indeed, created by a very cool band. (by: Toine van Poorten)

LYNCH MOB
Smoke This

Pony Canyon Inc.

LYNCH MOB is the band of ex DOKKEN guitar player George Lynch. Besides him, the band consists of Kirk Harper on vocals, Paul Pesco on keyboards, Gabe Rosales on bass and Clancy McCarthy on drums. This CD was released at the same time as DOKKEN’s “Erase The Slate”, but only in Japan. Thirteen songs will attack you in almost seventy minutes time. People who know the band from their previous releases “Wicked Sensation” and “Lynch Mob” will probably get a heart failure when hearing this CD. This CD is only interesting when you’re into bands like 24-7-SPYZ or LIVING COLOUR. Can you imagine this big change? I couldn’t believe my ears either. Title track “Smoke This” is a horrendous rap song and has got nothing to do with rock or whatsoever. In “Chromeplated” we hear some nice guitar work, but still the rest of this song is nothing shocking. With each next song, you start hoping it’s getting better, but every time you’re left off disappointed again. Let’s be short about this failure. “Smoke This”? No, I just quit smoking and I’d better spend my well earned money on something else. The new DOKKEN CD might be a wise choice, instead of this wasted product. Smoking is bad for your health and so is this CD. Better keep away from it.(by: Toine van Poorten)

METALIUM
Millenium Metal-chapter one

Massacre Records

This is the first CD of this all star band featuring Henning Basse on vocals, Matthias Lange on guitar, Lars Ratz (ex ZED YAGO/VELVET VIPER) on bass, Mike Terrana (ex YGWIE J MALMSTEEN/MICHAEL LEE FIRKINS, etc.) and SAVATAGE guitar player Chris Caffery. The foundations of this band were laid in ‘98. From there on, everything went really fast. A three track demo was being made and Massacre Records showed interest right from the start. The band claims to play metal for the new millennium. And so they made up their name. But what about their music? Heavy metal ranging from straight rockers (“Fight”) to speedy metal tracks (“Void Of Fire”) to heavy power ballads (“Metamorphosis”) to metal hymns (“Free Forever”). Nothing here isn’t done already though, but despite that fact this CD is very much worth checking out. They also decided to throw in the old DEEP PURPLE cover “Smoke On The Water”, which sounds slightly heavier in this METALIUM jacket and knows a longer ending than the original version. After this song, you’ll have to run the CD out to hear a tale by a heavy voice. Henning Basse is a great singer. He almost became the new HELLOWEEN singer and he’s only in his early twenties. Next to PRIMAL FEAR, METALIUM is one of the most promising newcomers of this year. Together they will tour in Europe this spring, with SINERGY added to this bill. Although this CD sounds very promising for the future, I must admit the magic wasn’t there during their gig at Wacken Open Air ‘99. Maybe this had something to do with the fact Mike Terrana had just left the band, I don’t know. But they just couldn’t hold the crowds attention. This CD however, is very strong!!(by: Toine van Poorten)

THE MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP
The Unforgiven World Tour

SPV

THE MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP decided to throw in another double live CD. It was recorded in Palo Alto at The Edge in May ‘99, during the ‘Unforgiven’ World Tour. The double CD set contains twenty-one songs and it is worthy of one hour and three quarters of nostalgic hard rock. After the “Michael Schenker Story” double live package, it seems like a non-essential release, but to my opinion it’s always good to hear Mr. Schenker play. This CD also contains some tracks of the latest CD, but most of the people still go for the older tracks of course. Well, there are enough of them on this great release. Not only does Schenker grab back to his past with U.F.O, he even plays the SCORPIONS classic “Another Piece Of Meat”. Just like on his “Michael Schenker Story”, he plays with two different singers namely Keith Slack and Kelly Keeling. Besides these people, the band consists of Wayne Findlay on guitars and keyboards, Shane Gaalaas on drums and Barry Sparks on bass. But who gives a damn as long as Michael Schenker himself plays the guitar and he still does sound excellent! There was a time when he played a bit more accoustic and melodic, but again he proves to be one of the best guitar players around here. On the U.F.O. tracks, you might miss the vocals of Phil Mogg, but this doesn’t mean that the songs don’t sound allright. It’s just the feeling Phil was adding to the songs, that you might miss here. And of course the songs don’t differ too much from the tracks on the “Wherewolves Of London” CD of U.F.O. During “Into The Arena” we’re treated on the instrumental capacities of the band with a drum/bass solo part in the middle. The old fans might miss some tracks from the beautiful live album “One Night At Budokan”, like “Courvoissier Concerto”, “Lost Horizons”, “Cry For The Nations” and one of my own all time favourites “Never Trust A Stranger”, but you can’t always get what you want. I think that Schenker is able to please a lot of die hard rock fans with the release of this double live CD. He certainly did in my case!(by: Toine van Poorten)

MOLLO/MARTIN
The Cage

Dreamcatcher

This is the result of a hopefully long lasting, collaboration between ex-BLACK SABBATH vocalist Tony Martin and THE CAGE guitar player Dario Mollo (ex-CROSSBONES). Besides these two people, the band consists of Ezzio Secomandi (drums), Falvio Gaslini (bass) and Mr Don Airey (keyboards). We’re dealing with an Italian base here. Tony’s work with BLACK SABBATH lasted for six albums, including the “Cross Purposes Live” release. In between Tony also released a solo album called “Back Where I Belong”. This collaboration sounds remarkably well. That is, if you’re into DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW. Not that “The Cage” is a copy of these two bands, but the sound shows enough resemblance to draw this comparison. Mollo sounds as furious as Mr Blackmore in his early days. And Tony’s voice still hasn’t lost much of its power. Add to that the beautiful keyboard parts of Don Airey and the puzzle is complete. Ten melodic rock songs with great guitar solos fill this first CD. Highlights for me were “Time To Kill”, “Smoke And Mirrors” (in which Tony sounds a bit like David Coverdale of WHITESNAKE) and the DEEP PURPLE cover “Stormbringer”. A tour would be nice, after all it has been too long since we saw Tony on stage. ‘Till that time I’ll have another listen to “The Cage”.(by: Toine van Poorten)

VINNIE MOORE
The Maze

Shrapnel Records

Vinnie Moore presents his new CD here, which is called “The Maze”. Ten songs are featured on it. The band is completed by David LaRue (ex DIXIE DREGS) on bass, ex YNGWIE J MALMSTEEN/MICHAEL SCHENKER drummer Shane Gaalaas (who we also find back on the recent GEORGE BELLAS CD) and Tony MacAlpine on keyboards. Only a few people will remember Vinnie for his work with VICIOUS RUMORS in the early eighties. More people will recognize his name for the instrumental albums he recorded in the past. “The Maze” is another instrumental album, which sounds like Vinnie did in his old days. Fast guitar work is the man’s speciality, but sometimes he also sounds very soft and tender. The compositions are often quite complex, like the title track already indicates. In general, the CD sounds very much like a lot of the instrumental CDs on the Shrapnel label. But the recognizable sound of Vinnie lifts the CD above the grade of another average release. He puts a certain feeling in his songs. They are not just speed monsters, trying to break a record in fast guitar playing. No, there’s absolutely more on this CD. In “Never Been To Barcelona” Moore plays the Spanish acoustic guitar. It suits the song with this title very well, but it’s a bit over the top for a ‘rock’ CD. Furthermore, this has become a nice new release by the man, who started his career with VICIOUS RUMORS, but proved to be successful after that period too.(by: Toine van Poorten)

NIJI DENSETSU
Niji Densetsu

Pony Canyon

After the death of Cozy Powell, we saw a stream of tribute CDs coming from the land of the rising sun. A lot of Japanese musicians payed tribute to one of the best drummers in the whole world. NIJI DENSETSU is such a project. Why I chose this particular project to review has got to do with the song choice they made and the guest appearances on the CD. The song choices are not always that obviously, which makes this CD quite different from all these other releases. And so we get to hear RAINBOW songs on which Cozy never played. The CD features songs like “Road To Babylon/Gates Of Babylon”, “Street Of Dreams”, “A Light In The Black”, “Eyes of The World” and “Drinking With The Devil”. Guest appearances come from David Rosenthal (keyboards) on “Spotlight Kid” and “Road To Babylon/Gates Of Babylon”, while Joe Lynn Turner sings on “Spotlight Kid” and “Drinking With The Devil”. The rest of the project contains a lot of fine musicians from which I would like to mention the rendition of the two ex EARTHSHAKER members Tosho Egawa on keyboards and Yoshiro Kudo on drums. RAINBOW fans must definately check this release out, despite the high Japanese import price you have to pay for it. NIJI DENSETSU gives their own twist to some of the songs - mostly in the beginning or ending of the songs. In fact they even play the songs at a higher speed, which gives them an extra dimension and makes it nice to listen to. A good tribute CD for this sadly missed drummer.(by: Toine van Poorten)

PRIMAL FEAR
Jaws Of Death

Nuclear Blast

Together with HAMMERFALL, PRIMAL FEAR belongs to one of the very well-talented newcomers, who’ll bring the heavy metal to a new millennium. PRIMAL FEAR has indeed listened to JUDAS PRIEST very well, but cannot be labelled as a rip off of these gods of metal. They play with the same power and intention. Their live shows are like a steam train which cannot be stopped. With their debut album “Primal Fear” they already knew how to convince the metal heads. This was the sound they were looking for. Ralf Scheepers can sing in a high screaming voice, but also in the lower regions his voice maintains very well. That can not be said about every singer. Add to this the experience of a man like Matt Sinner (bass) and you know you can’t go wrong. This is also illustrated by the fact, that the band sticked to their guns after the success of “Primal Fear”. They didn’t have the intention on writing a hit single and to become a bit more commercial. No instead they keep pushing on the pedal to the metal. Opener is title track “Jaws Of Death”, which is a metal hymn from the book. Very catchy indeed and I’ll bet you’ll be singing this along in no time. Same goes for most of the other songs. They’re easy to sing along to and despite that, they’re still very heavy. Think about JUDAS PRIEST and ACCEPT. They also got their audiences singing along with every song. After touring with HAMMERFALL for their debut album, they will tour with METALIUM and SINERGY for this CD. Many people will bang their heads to these great songs. Highlights for me were title track “Jaws Of Death”, “Play To Kill” and “Nation In Fear”. Don’t miss them, when they come to a place near by you. The CD closes with the RAINBOW classic “Kill The King”. (by: Toine van Poorten)

PSYCHOTIC WALTZ
Dark Millenium

Institute Of Art Records

Institute Of Art Records decided to put out another CD full of PSYCHOTIC WALTZ goodies. After the disbanding of this band, the magic they created seems to go on forever. This release is a good example compiling seventeen (!!) tracks with a total length of about seventy-eight (!!!) minutes. The first segment is called “Penetralia” and consists of seven songs written by Brian McAlpine. The subtitle of this twenty minutes segment is “A Soundtrack For Reaching The Higher Spheres Into Narcotic Dances”. Got that phrase? So you better start smoking these joints, while listening to the songs which were made on the computer of Brian. The songs were inspired by paintings of Mike Clift. This stuff is very experimental and has got nothing at all to do with PSYCHOTIC WALTZ in my eyes. It’s very bombastic and dark and it only contains a lot of synths, except for the last song “Pleasures Of The Flesh”, which contains some more guitar. Then we move on to two songs that were written by Brian, together with Dan Rock. They’re called “Flight To Nowhere” and “The Dream”. These songs are also very experimental. It’s all very well done, but in fact it has got nothing at all to do with metal. Next we hear a studio version of the BLACK SABBATH song “Disturbing The Priest”. Now we’re talking again!! We turn back time to May 20th, 1991, to the Dynamo Open Air gig. From this memorably day, they recorded “Nothing”, “And The Devil Cried” and “In This Place”. The recordings may not be perfect, but they are especially nice to have when you’ve been there yourself (like me). The music segments close with the so-called Las Vegas/San Diego tapes, which were recorded in 1990. They contain three covers, namely “In The Flesh” (PINK FLOYD), “Disturbing The Priest” (BLACK SABBATH) and “Diary Of A Madman” (OZZY OSBOURNE). These are a real must for the fans! The CD closes with a short interview with painter and inspirator of Brian, Mike Clift. “Dark Millenium” might not be as good as “Live And Archives”, but it surely contains some very nice material by this very underrated rock band. The CD book contains a lot of nice drawings and interesting information about some of the songs. I hope they have more material on stock soon for our hungry ears.(by: Toine van Poorten)

SCAVENGER
Devils’ Dinner

Independent

SCAVENGER is a very interesting newcomer from Holland. Don’t expect a new world wonder though. “Devil’s Dinner” is a good debut CD, mixing the good old NWOBHM-style with a bit of MOTÖRHEAD and BLACK SABBATH. The band consists of Dennis van den Berg (bass, vocals), Alexander Kapteijns (guitar, vocals), Johan Mulders (guitar) and Jelle van Stegeren (drums). Opener “Standby” and “Ain’t My Style No More” are songs that will turn back time to about twenty years ago. A lot of NWOBHM bands were sounding like this in their most successful years. But I must admit the ballad “Halfway Down The Stairs” wasn’t that good to my opinion. The band is surely at their best, when the speed goes up. Here and there, it’s obvious that they are from the nineties, ‘cause they take some side steps away from the heavy song structures (for example a song like “Generation X”). Nonetheless, they sound very powerful and spontaneous. And from the gigs (I’ve seen them play with CIRRHA NIVA several times and as support to LOUDNESS this year) I know, they also know how to play a good powerful live gig. During these shows they played the MOTÖRHEAD cover “Ace Of Spades”. If they would have added this song to the CD, it would have been complete. Still there are twelve strong, own penned compositions on this debut CD. SCAVENGER is definately well worth checking out. You can order “Devil’s Dinner” by sending Hfl 25,- or DM25,- to SCAVENGER, Zuid Willemsvaart 241b, 5211 SH Den Bosch, The Netherlands.(by: Toine van Poorten)

SINERGY
Beware The Heavens

Nuclear Blast

SINERGY is a new band full of interesting names. The line up consists of Kimberly Goss on vocals, Alexi Laiho on guitar, Jesper Strömblad on rhythm guitar, Ronny Milanowicz on drums and Sharlee D’Angelo on bass. We know Kimberly already for her work with ANCIENT, THERION and DIMMU BORGIR. But nobody could ever expect that she could sing so beautiful. She is a real talent! We know Alexi from CHILDREN OF BODOM and Sharlee from WITCHEYRY, MERCYFUL FATE and ARCH ENEMY. Mostly these so-called ‘super groups’ are teaming up together to do something that is completely different from what they’re normally doing. But SINERGY’S “Beware The Heavens” is a complete surprise. The variation on it is so big and the CD is so catchy and yet very heavy. It’s a perfect mix between the sound of the nineties and pure heavy metal. Biting riffs, a driving beat and countless guitar solos are the ingredients of the sound of SINERGY. When everybody has received a dose of adrenaline after hearing “Venomous Vixens” and “The Fourth World”, we get to hear a short classic track called “Born Under Fire And Passion”. Right there after “The Warrior Princess” will blow you right out of your chair. Fasten your seatbelts when you’re about to hear this song. The name of GAMMA RAY comes in mind when hearing this track. Title track “Beware The Heavens” is a solid rock song. “Razor Blade Salvation” is a slow ballad with a very nice guitar solo at the end. “Swarmed” pulls the speed up again and contains some nice keyboard parts. “Pulsation” is again very short and classical, a bit in the MALMSTEEN style. “Virtual Future” closes the CD, pounding like a hammer. “Beware The Heavens” is hopefully just the beginning of a long career of this new band. It’ll be difficult to maintain this all-star line up, but fact is this is not a side project but a full time new band. I can only come up with one negative aspect and that’s the short running time of this CD: approx. thirty-five minutes. But after all, those were some very intense minutes. Don’t forget to see them on tour with METALIUM and PRIMAL FEAR! (by: Toine van Poorten)

SPIRAL TOWER
Mindkiller

Massacre Records

“Mindkiller” is the debut CD from SPIRAL TOWER, a German power metal band from Ludwigsburg.. Part of the band started their career in ‘92 as VARIETY OF ARTS. In ‘95 they released a demo as TRAGEDY DIVINE, which led to their ‘96 release “Visions Of Power” on CD. Then the band split up through the departure of guitarist Jórg Knittel and vocalist Gerrit Mutz, who decided to form SACRED STEEL. The name was changed into SPIRAL TOWER in ‘97. The band seemed to have found a more consistant line up containing Alexander Koch on vocals, Sven Podgurski on guitars, Andi K. on guitars, Bernie Altman on bass and El Zubosch on drums. With this line up, they recorded “Mindkiller”, a ten song debut CD full of German power metal. Again we can make a comparison with GAMMA RAY and HELLOWEEN-like bands, but SPIRAL TOWER is definitely heavier. Just have a listen to “Heartkiller”, with its death grunt (!!!???) in the lyrics. It’s one of the heavier tracks on this CD. In “Looking Down On The Moon” we hear a segment, in which the band grabs back to the past. VARIETY OF ARTS sounded a lot like PSYCHOTIC WALTZ in the past, but in the middle part of this CD my mind went also out to this legendary band. This is mainly due to the vocals of Alexander, which sounds a bit like Buddy Lackey sometimes. As a debut CD, it all sounds very professional. If you’re into the German metal sound of today, “Mindkiller” will be a good addition to you collection. By the way: Alex Krull of ATROCITY did the mastering of this CD.(by: Toine van Poorten)

SUPER ROCK SUMMIT
COZY POWELL forever tour-Live in Tokyo

Ayers

This is an absolute must despite the high price you’ll have to pay for it. It’s a live recording of a benefit gig played in Japan last year. A benefit for the late Cozy Powell. (May God rest his soul and we thank you for all the beautifull music you’ve given us Cozy!) On this seventy-four (!!!) minute CD we get to hear ten covers played by an all-star line up consisting of the original LOUDNESS line up. They got some help from Yuichi Ikusawa-vocals, Rei Atsumi-keyboards, Hideki Samejima-bass and the former vocalist of SHOW YA, the beautiful Keiko Terada. We hear some very talented people, playing a lot of well-known classics. And for the people who doubt this, ‘cause they’ve seen the new version of Loudness, they just don’t know what they’re missing. We get to hear great versions of songs like “Kill The King”, “Stargazer”, “Long Live Rock And Roll”, “A Light In The Black”, and “All Night Long” which were originally recorded by RAINBOW. From BLACK SABBATH we get to hear “War Pigs” and from DEEP PURPLE they play “Burn” and “Mistreated”. Last but not least they play the YARDBIRDS classic “Still I’m Sad”. Before “Mistreated” we’re treated on a great guitar solo and one that only Mr Akira Takasaki could play. He sure sounds like in his good old days here. The drum parts of Munetaka Higuchi are done very well and at the end of “Still I’m Sad” he even plays a solo spot. Cozy also played his solo part in this particular song most of the time. I’m sure this is an essential release to every metal fan, but be prepared for a very high Japanese import price, which will be around $40, 27 UK pounds, or 75 DM. I payed about 85 Dutch guilders for it, but it was worth it every cent. We will miss you Cozy, but your music will always live on!!! Additional info: almost the same people are to be heard on the sampler “Cozy Powell Forever”, which is another tribute to this super drum hero. The CD also contains contributions of Munetaka Higuchi and Minoru Niihara (both ex-LOUDNESS members) amongst other great names like Rei Atsumi, Tony Franklin, Carmine Appice (ex-BLUE MURDER) and Keiko Terada, who sings the WHITESNAKE classic “Slide It In”. Again, we have to warn you for the same conditions as the Super Rock Summit CD. This CD also has the same high price label to it. But again the music on it is so great that I simply had to mention it here. It’s an essential buy for every music lover with a bit of self respect.(by: Toine van Poorten)

TAMAS
Live In Budapest

Avalon

Tamas Szekeres is a guitar player from Hungary. A very underrated talent who never really got the respect he earns so much. His guitar sound is a combination of classical music mixed with some DEEP PURPLE/RAINBOW and the well-known instrumental guitar song structures. Although he never really intended to be the new guitar hero. His guitar solos are more in service of the songs and sometimes the ‘shy’ guitarist pushes them a bit more upfront. The man is backed up by Ferenc Debreczent on drums, Egon Póka on bass and female background vocalists Orsolya Ferenczy and Mariann Rozsi. This live CD was recorded on December 12th 1997 at the E-Club in Budapest, Hungary. Special guest star on some of the songs is the ex-VENGEANCE/HAMMERHEAD, now ELEGY singer Ian Parry. The CD is filled with fourteen songs with a total running time of a full hour. The songs are a mix of all the studio releases by TAMAS ranging from his debut CD “Guitarmania” to the cover CD “Guitar Hits”. From the first notes on, we get to hear an honest reflection of a TAMAS live gig, which sounds very intense sometimes through the emotional singing of Parry (for example “Could We Try”). Parry’s voice suits very well with the warm notes coming from Mr Szekeres guitar. “Ice Princess” is a TONY MACALPINE cover and the CD ends with a bonus track for this Japanese release. It’s a great version of the RAINBOW track “Can’t Let You Go”. Although I missed TAMAS’ finest song “Downbelow Station” on this CD, I liked this release a lot. Highlight for me was “Guitarmania” from his good old days. Fans of instrumental guitar songs and RAINBOW should check this one out.(by: Toine van Poorten)

JOE LYNN TURNER
Under Cover II

Pony Canyon Inc.

This is the second cover CD by the ex-RAINBOW/MALMSTEEN vocalist and again it’s a killer! He opens with the DEEP PURPLE song “Lady Double Dealer”, a song which sounds to be only written for the voice of Turner. “Wishing Well” was originally written by THE FREE, but the older readers of SNAKEPIT may also know this song from GARY MOORE and/or BLACKFOOT. Turner stays very much near the original versions of the songs, but sings them with an unknown enthusiasm. “Helter Skelter” is from THE BEATLES, one of their heavier songs. “Rock Bottom” of U.F.O. is shortened to a three and a half minutes piece. The FOREIGNER classic “Waiting For A Girl Like You” is another song made for Turners voice. He can rock, he can sing ballads - his voice is almost suitable to every type of music. Though I must admit the choirs in this particular song were a bit over the top. One of my favourite tunes is the BAD COMPANY song “Movin’ On”: a great rock song from the seventies. Next in line is “Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo”, originally penned by RICK DERRINGER, with again choirs that are a bit over the top. Who doesn’t know the song “The Boys Are Back In Town” by THIN LIZZY is reading the wrong magazine. “Born To Be Wild” from STEPPENWOLF is a much less obvious choice for Joe Lynn Turner, but it still sounds very fresh. “Fool For Your Loving” is a WHITESNAKE classic. The CD closes with the MOUNTAIN song “Misisissippi Queen” and the RAINBOW track “Lost In Hollywood”, which is dedicated to Cozy Powell. On the CD we get to hear renditions of old masters like Leslie West (MOUNTAIN), Rick Derringer, Tony Bruno (ex-JOAN JETT), Vernon Reid (ex LIVING COLOUR) and Al Pitrelli (SAVATAGE). “Undercover II” has become a nice cover CD full of nostalgic songs, which show us the roots of this old RAINBOW vocalist. The quality of the songs is high and I’m hoping he will decide to make a third version in the future.(by: Toine van Poorten)

U.F.O.
BBC Sessions

EMI

After the BBC sessions of SAXON, we see the release of the BBC sessions of U.F.O. Recorded in the seventies we get to hear the sessions they played for Bob Harris (‘74) and John Peel (‘77). Next to that, we get to hear two short live segments recorded at the Hippodrome, Golders Green in ‘74 and at the Paris Theatre in London in 1975. The fourteen songs have a total running time of one hour and they really are a must to every U.F.O. fan (like me). Why? It shows the listener how the band started their career. “Give Her The Gun” for example never came on one of their records. It was released as the flip side of one of their singles only. The ‘75 recordings in London are with keyboard player Danny Peyronel, who dissapeared after that to never come back again. The sound of U.F.O. is so recognizable throughout the years through the renditions of guitar player Michael Schenker and vocalist Phil Mogg. They were the face of the band, especially in the beginning period. Add to this the brilliant but sober rhythm section of drummer Andy “no neck” Parker and bass player Pete Way and you get the ingredients of a rock band that stands for top quality hard rock music. This CD is especially interesting for the die hard fans who already have all the U.F.O. albums. How the band sounds nowadays, you can read in the review about their recent released double live CD “Werewolves Of London”. Fact is. U.F.O. is still alive and kicking after twenty-five (!!!) years and I’m glad they still exist after so many years. This CD shows how it all started for them in the early days. Only the sleeve of this release is big time lame! But the music compensates for that of course.(by: Toine van Poorten)

U.F.O
Werewolves Of London

Zoom Club Records

This double live CD was recorded at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on February 10th, 1998. When you know U.F.O., you can see this release as a sort of “Strangers In The Night” part two. All their classics are on it, from opener “Natural Thing” to “Only You Can Rock Me”; from “Lights Out” to “Doctor Doctor” and closer “Rock Bottom”. The band is in a great shape and consists of Phil Mogg, Michael Schenker, Paul Raymond, Pete Way and Simon Wright. Mr Schenkers guitar work is fast and furious as always and Phil’s voice still sounds the same as in his early days. The songs became classics over the years and even a newer track like “Self Made Man” from their “Walk On Water” CD, fits in perfectly with the older tracks. Some of you might call this band old-fashioned, but the solos of Michael Schenker are still highly enjoyable. The rest of the band are high class musicians that could easily go on for another 25 years or so. The CD was released in the same year as they released the BBC sessions. And so you can make a good comparison of the work of the band nowadays and twenty-five years ago. What the future might bring them is still uncertain. Michael Schenker has just released a double live CD, called “The Unforgiven World Tour” and Phil Mogg and Pete Way just released the new MOGG/WAY CD called “Chocolate Box”. U.F.O. seems not to consist without Michael Schenker, simply because he has the rights to use the name of this unidentified flying object that will hopefully fly on for a long time coming....(by: Toine van Poorten)

VANIZE
Bootlicker

Radiation

In 1988, VANIZE was born. The band consists of Peter Feinhold on drums, Markus Becker on guitars and its founder members Markus Bielenberg on bass and Peter Dirkschneider on vocals (both ex-DANTON). Peter is UDO’s younger brother and he sounds exactly the same as the former ACCEPT frontman. “Bootlicker” is the bands second CD. Their debut “Twins” was released early ‘95. The album contains eleven metal songs with a strong catchy feel. Almost every song is ready to sing along with - just like the old ACCEPT classics. Lots of screaming guitar solos and pounding drumbeats fill the speedy songs. “Tomorrow”, the slow ballad at the end of this CD, is the only point of rest here. The comparison with UDO/ACCEPT is not only tied to the fact that Peter is UDO’s brother. The whole CD could very well be the new CD by this great metal band from Sollingen. So if you want a flashback of the times of “Burner”, “Breaker” and “Son Of A Bitch”, you really must have a listen to “Bootlicker”. In Germany, they’ll go on tour with TESTAMENT and I’m damn sure they’ll make those heads bang again.(by: Toine van Poorten)

Various Artists
Heavy Metal Maniacs Fan club Holland

Independent

This CD was compiled by the Heavy Metal Maniacs fan club in Holland. Stefan van Zijl is the initiator of this fan club. His one and only goal is to bring true metal back to life again. In ’97, he decided to form the Heavy Metal Maniacs fan club. And a lot of die hard metal freaks knew that his intentions were the right one and joined the club. Stefan is a specialist in Dutch metal bands and over the years, he got in touch with literally almost everyone that meant something to the Dutch metal scene in the early eighties. This CD is a compilation of ten tracks. Most of the tracks are previously unreleased songs and they are recorded exclusively for this purpose only. Two tracks were written by fan club members (“Heavy Metal Maniacs” and “Heavy Metal Is The Law”) and were performed by their ‘all star metal line up’. Two hymns about true heavy metal. VORTEX plays a ‘99 version of their classic “Open The Gates”. Other unreleased tracks are “Changes” by the only Belgian band (only their drummer is Dutch) DOUBLE DIAMOND. HAMMERHAWK plays a special fan club remix of their song “Heavy Metal Forever”. The highlight for me is “Living Like A Rat” by SAD IRON, which comes from their unreleased album “The Antichrist”. Just have a listen to the guitar solo at the beginning of this song and you’ll understand why. It’s absolutely f*cking skull crusher!!! DEVIL’S ROPE plays “Killing Man” from their self-titled debut album. BLACK KNIGHT comes with “Rival” from their debut “ Tales From The Darkside” (reviewed in Snakepit #5). Last but not least, we can also enjoy EMERALD’s “D-Day” from their “Iron On Iron” CD and DEFENDER with “Die For You”, which comes from their brilliant debut EP “City Ad Mortis” (which never came out on CD!). The recordings may vary in quality, due to the various sources these songs were taken from. But it’s the magic that counts. The magic that is in all these great pure Dutch heavy metal tracks. And above all it is the thought behind it, that makes this CD unbearable for every collector. The CD is strictly limited to three hundred hand numbered copies only. Get your copy, while it still lasts. Rumour goes, that Stefan is also working on a second edition of this CD. For more information about this CD and about The Heavy Metal Maniacs fan club, you can write to Stefan Van Zijl, Pleiadenstraat 77, 2024 TN Haarlem, The Netherlands. Tel. +31 (0)23 5330037. Heavy Metal is still alive and kicking!!!(by: Toine van Poorten)

Various Artists
Metal Injection (A lethal dose of metal mayhem)

Bad Posture Records

On “Metal Injection” you’ll enter the world of the underground scene of the heavy metal. The bands that are working their ass off to get some recognition, they earn so much. Ten of these hard working bands are gathered on this CD, worthy of forty-five minutes of pure heavy metal. Most of the bands are from the USA. GOTHIC KNIGHTS presents us a demo version of their song “Nightmare Of The Witch”, which opens this sampler very nicely. The demo was already recorded in ‘95. INTERNAL VOID sounds like CATHEDRAL/BLACK SABBATH, pretty doomy without getting over the top. The song is called “Blindside”; especially watch out for the great guitar solo at the end of the song!!! IRON RAINBOW is a name you might have heard before. Their single “Metal Man” is really great and now they surprise us with their version of “Man On The Edge”, originally done by IRON MAIDEN with Blaze Bailey. One of the best tracks they made with this singer, to my opinion. Another great band is OCTOBER 31. Their contribution here is called “The Chosen One” and is very HEAVY!!! “Reborn” by S.A. ADAMS opens with some strange noise, before it gets loose. They present us a demo version of this song, which has a killer speed. It’s over before you know it, but your bedroom will look like a mess from you jumping around. Watch out for the neighbours! Another band that already got some bigger attention is THE LORD WEIRD SLOUGH FEG. Their song “The Room” sounds a bit like BLACK SABBATH, but watch out for the great speed changes in the middle. Great guitar solos at the end of the song make this to an absolute killer. SHINE’s “Powertime” is heavy and short and not really my cup of tea, when I have to compare it with the rest of the bands. SORCERER hails from Sweden. Their song is called “The Highlander”, which is a demo track they recorded in ‘95. VANGUARD is from Tokyo, Japan. “March Of The Battalions” bears some great guitar stuff. All instruments on this track were played by multi instrumentalist Junichi Uchida, therefore the song might sound a bit static. However, the guitar work is excellent! Last track on this CD comes from TWISTED TOWER DIRE. “Starflight Requiem” is a long epic which bears the female vocals of Janet Rubin (who’s no longer in the band) and it has again some great guitar work. It’s obvious that after listening to this compilation CD, metal is still alive in the underground scene. Now it’s time for these bands to present themselves to you. This CD is a good start. You can order the CD by dropping a line to Bad Posture Records, P.O. Box 92, Middle Island NY 11953, USA, or visit: www.notarecords.com. When the disease is false music, you need a “Metal Injection”.(by: Toine van Poorten)

VORTEX
The Dawning

Top Hole Records

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is true cult metal!!!!! VORTEX from Groningen have released a compilation CD called “The Dawning”. It contains the “Metal Bats” EP, a few re-recorded tracks like the title track of their first full length LP “Open The Gate” and much more. If you don’t have the original albums, it’s now possible to hear the magic metal of this band from the Northern part of Holland. Hear cult tracks like “Metal Bats”, the hymn “Open The Gate” and one of my favourites “With Witches Help” with its great opening tape. The guitars cry, the vocals scream, the drums are rolling and the bass sounds like thunder. This is true cool heavy metal, made to play really loud!!!! Most important people in the band are guitar player Martjo “The Whirlewolf” Brongers and singer Jurjen “Thundervox” Tichelaar. They are the driving force behind VORTEX. Yes, that’s right!! They still are the driving force, because after some line up changes, VORTEX is ready again to attack their fans with their metal sound. “The Dawning” is just the beginning of what’s about to come. It’s a good reflection of what the band stood for from 1979 until today. A great show, a solid metal sound and a cult status by their fans (especially in Germany). You really get something in return for your money here. Over seventy minutes of cult heavy metal is compiled on “The Dawning”, which has a beautiful coloured sleeve painted by the VORTEX logo designer Robert Leerentveld. The band is currently recording some new songs, which will possibly see the light early next year. We’ll keep you informed if something happens. All the other things you need to know about this band can be found in the interview in this very issue of Snakepit. Contact address: Martjo Brongers, Gorechtkade 47, 9713 BE Groningen, The Netherlands.(by: Toine van Poorten)

WHITE SKULL
Tales From The North

Nuclear Blast

This is the third full length release from this true metal act from Italy. It's the first CD for their new label Nuclear Blast. Nothing has changed really. The band still sounds very tight and powerful. The new CD brings a full hour of true metal, although I thought the intro "The Quest" was a bit over the top. The rest of this CD just can't go wrong. WHITE SKULL was helped out by Chris Boltendahl - the frontman of the old school German metal outfit GRAVE DIGGER. "Tales From The North" tells the story of the brave Vikings. It's a concept CD about these warriors from the North as main subject. Their music is best to be compared with HELLOWEEN, GAMMA RAY, HAMMERFALL and a bit of old MAIDEN and SCORPIONS. The guitar solos however, lean a bit more to the fastness of MALMSTEEN. The riffs are speedy, the guitars biting and the drums are beating. And the vocals?? Chris sounds very much up front sometimes and Frederica De Boni, who's actually the singer of the band, is hardly to be heard on this CD. Which is a shame, 'cause she's a much better singer. I wonder who's gonna do the male vocal parts on their upcoming tour. Although I made some remarks here and there, I still think we're dealing with a high class super band here. Raise your sword and wave these brave Vikings farewell, as they're sailing towards you on their upcoming tour. Don't miss them! The CD comes in a great cover by the way, with again a masterful painting on it. An excellent piece of work!! For more info on this great Italian band you can go to: http://users.iol.it/white_skull.(by: Toine van Poorten)

WYKKED WYTCH
Shallow Grave

Independent

Here’s a sampler of the brutal trashband WYKKED WYTCH . The band has got a complete new line up which now consists of Demoness Ipek on vocals, Demonic on male vocals and bass, Sage on guitar and Lord Matthias on drums. And from what I hear here it’s sounding great. The song structures have become a bit more complex and brutal. Two songs are on this sampler from their new full length CD “Dispelling The Myth”. I can only say that after this I’m really looking forward to hear it cause these songs ask for more. Especially the guitarplayer is very cool. His solos scream and make the first song, “Shallow Grave”, complete. Also cool is the end of this first song. After this flashing solo the song slowly dies and ends with a soft rolling thunder in the background. The second song, ”Ripping Flesh” is again amazingly heavy. Think about NAPALM DEATH and you’ll know where their sound goes to. Again you’ll be surprised by the great guitar solo at the end of the song. WYKKED WYTCH will come to Holland next year, after they’ve released their new album. Now they’ve played a gig already at the DISMEMBER Festival in San Antonio, Texas, supporting S.O.D, MORBID ANGEL and DANZIG. Demoness Ipek is still one of the most brutal frontwomen I’ve ever heard and I will highly recommend you to check out this band cause you’ll be in for a treat. For the latest news on WYKKED WYTCH you better check the band’s website at www.wykkedwytch.com. You can also email them at wykkedwytch@aol.com or drop a line to The WYTCH, P.O. Box 265, Skippack, PA 19474, USA.(by: Toine van Poorten)


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