Reviews Archive:

GAMMA RAY - Powerplant
GARDENIAN - Soulburner
GODDESS OF DESIRE - Symbol of Triumph
GOTHIC KNIGHTS - Kingdom Of The Knights
GRACEPOINT - Science of Discontent
GREYHAVEN - self-titled
GRIFFIN - Flight Of The Griffin (re-release)

(Modern Music)

Where does Kai Hansen get the energy to make GAMMA RAY so incredible and rewarding with each subsequent studio release? When I thought "Somewhere Out In Space" couldn't be topped, out comes this 11 song disc to duke out the previous Power Speed effort. Bombastic would be the key word on "Powerplant" layering guitar harmonies over Hansen's limited but passionate vocals while the choruses scream in eternal glory. I'd say the mid-tempo feel that penetrates most of the songs works brilliantly, especially on the addictive "Send Me A Sign", ode to our favorite genre "Heavy Metal Universe" and the Pet Shop Boys' cover "It's A Sin". Another concept record based on a futuristic apocalypse, GAMMA RAY continue to prove that even if this style is incredibly trendprone in 1999, their fervor a nd skill at delivering what fans desire should make them stand above the crowds of wagonhounds. A stable lineup also pays just rewards for this quartet - comfort breeding confident playing and every listen makes me smile more and more. "Powerplant" explodes where shall GAMMA RAY take us next millenium? Hopefully on adventurous plains as the current troop rival the premiere times of PRIEST, MAIDEN and HELLOWEEN all fused as one..
Matt Coe

(Nuclear Blast)

There is only one reason to review this album: Eric Hawk, the insane vocalist of the deceased ARTCH which released a very underrated Power Metal killer album in 1987, namely "Another Return To Church Hill", is back. After years of absolute silence, he contributes on this album as a back-singer and, surprisingly, he sings the main vocals on two songs, "Small Electric Place" and "Tell The World I'm Sorry". On these two great tracks he proves that he has remained an incredible Metal shouter, the Dickinson touch is evident, yet his own emotional timbre makes these two tracks so outstanding and formidable. Thanks to GARDENIAN for making this comeback of the year possible (the rest of the album is a conglomerate of melodic Death Metal, by the way, if anyone is really interested...). Now it's time to bring back ARTCH and create another Power Metal monster. All power to you, Eric!
Heinz Konzett

Symbol of Triumph
(Metal Blade)

GODDESS OF DESIRE have recently signed a deal with Metal Blade records. I want to congratulate them on this, because I know how hard they worked for this. G.O.D. consists of Count August, Grev Drake and Emperor Mark together with female band members Lilith and Delilah. They play solid Heavy Metal or pure Metal, as they call it themselves. Their music is influenced by CELTIC FROST, BATHORY, VENOM and MOTORHEAD.Fast slashing riffs, fiery guitars solos and thundering rhythms, it's all there. The CD opens with "Blaspheme Beasts Convoked" which was already to be found on their picture disc "Let Us Win This War II". We also get to hear "Diabolic Demolition" and "Worship Me" from this release. On "Ride" the vocals reminded me of Lemmy (MOTORHEAD) a lot. On "Wh imps and Bastards", the speed goes up. And a song like "Metal Forever" could easily become the new anthem for every True Heavy Metal freak. What a mighty powerfull drumwork, by the way. AAAAAAARRRRRGHH. Keep banging those heads! This is great stuff, you must admit that! The bandmembers wear animal furs and a lot of leather, spikes and chains. Live they do a complete show with lots of explosions, fireworks and exotic dancing. This is more than music, this is Metal in its broadest form. This is all you readers believe in. GODDESS' goal is to bring back the real Metal. And together with bands like SACRED STEEL and WIZARD they'll succeed, I'm sure about that. For all merchandise, bookings and fanmail contact: GODDESS OF DESIRE/ Count August, Nesdijk 81, 1861 MH Bergen, The Netherlands. Phone +31 (0)72 5818397 or fax at +31 (0)72 5761575 or look on their website at In the meantime I'll have another listen to this mighty release. Metal forever, forever Metal!!!!!!!
Toine van Poorten

Kingdom Of The Knights
(Sentinel Steel)

3 years after their initial album established a foothold for a new record label and showed the world that American bands can still play traditional metal, New Jersey's GOTHIC KNIGHTS burst back with "Kingdom Of The Knights". These 8 songs span a lengthy time period for the band, as newer tracks like "At Dawn You Die" and "Ring Of Souls" sit side by side with older material such as the revamped "Song Of Roland" and "War In The Sky", the latter featuring a more epic/marching edge that shows you GOTHIC KNIGHTS penchant/ respect for metal tradition. The riffing/ soloing of guitarist John Tsantakis carries the band musically, while you'll find some fluid kit work from new drummer Kevin Myers and a high pitched/ theatrical vocalist in Bryan Avatar that may make you think of KING DIAMOND with a twinge of Harry Conklin. Lyrically enveloping dungeons and dragons/ medieval themes, GOTHIC KNIGHTS have created a classy 8 song/ 43 minute plus effort that is topped off by the mesmerizing artistic cover from Ken Kelly. High quality production, music that blends together acts like MERCYFUL FATE, MANOWAR, IRON MAIDEN and SAVATAGE- this is where real metal should be heading and not the crap that most American youth believe to be "heavy" these days (i.e. KORN clones...). Recommended. Contact: Sentinel Steel Records/ PO Box 123/ Rockaway,NJ/ 07866/USA.
Matt Coe

Science of Discontent

Nice to see underground power/progressive metal bands sprouting up from Minnesota- who haven't had many heavy notables beyond POWERMAD. An internet find, this quintet have a debut 9 song/ 46 minute plus CD that should prove worthy if names like HELSTAR, FORBIDDEN or newer acts like ANTITHESIS and TALAMASCA get your ears aglow. You'll see a lot of technical prowess on display through "Science Of Discontent", easily illustrated in the quick riff changes throughout "Attrition" and the instrumental title track. Drum monster Lance Reed moves around the kit like he has six arms and six legs- my jaw dropped in awe during opener "Overwhelm" and continued until the CD finished. Vocalist Matt Tennessen prefers to use all of his midrange and lows to full adequacy, reminiscent of latter day Chuck Billy or current CORROSION OF CONFORMITY styled melodies. "Science of Discontent" isn't for the instantaneous- but the rewards into listening to the speedy Middle Eastern solos within "Behind the Glass" or the bass hero tappings that permeate "The Following" make every stereo pass highly stimulating. Cheers to the technical power of GRACEPOINT! Contact: Gracepoint, PO Box 18181, Minneapolis,MN, 55418, USA Web:
Matt Coe


Progressive rock and progressive metal seem to be two genres that push the envelope of the listener yet struggle to gain wider adulation due to a lack of originality from newer bands. Boston, Massachusetts quartet GREYHAVEN don't struggle with the latter convention, as this initial album traverses all spectrums of gothic, electronic, atmospheric and powerful metal realms- sometimes within the same song as the 11 minute plus "Shards Of Sky" illustrates. GREYHAVEN prefer to have the keyboards often higher in the mix, especially evident in songs like "Setting Sun" and "Downfall" which contain an airy/ spacey tone the soundscape. Vocalist Brian Francis has his work cut out to compete with the furious instrumentation, but does a commendable job with his ENCHANT-like meets AOR styled voice. 4 of the 9 songs clock in above 8 minutes- so prepare yourself for long-winded arrangements and little nuances to digest. I'm split in my feelings on the debut from GREYHAVEN- for while I've yet to hear a progressive band as tru ly dynamic as they are, I have trouble retaining a single song (unlike listening to DREAM THEATER, FATES WARNING or the masters RUSH). Maybe I need another 40 listens under my belt- or maybe this band need to tighten up their arrangements to gain an audience beyond musicians. Contact: Greyhaven, c/o Ethan Matthews, 133 Peterborough St., #11, Boston,MA, 02215, USA. Web:
Matt Coe

Flight Of The Griffin
(Old Metal Records)

Finally somebody gives justice to that classic Heavy/Power Metal underated album. This re-release is just way superior to the previous Steamhammer CD which was a weak cheap product. GRIFFIN is the kind of band that I found totally average at the time it was originally released in 1984 but now it's a different story in those days of mediocrity when a band can release an album as easily as if they go to eat. When it was released, it came out at a time when Thrash was just born and it was much more exciting music than Traditional Heavy Metal, because GRIFFIN is nothing else than a PRIEST/MAIDEN type band but with a harder edge but what they do, they do it real well! You can feel that they played their stuff with conviction and it crushes your head! Best examples to prove that are "Heavy Metal Attack" (a perfect H.M. hymn!), "Submission", fuckin' "Creeper", check out the exceptional vo cal lines in that song and that driving feel, insane! Also "Judgement Day" is another example of brilliance, it's close to Thrash by the intensity delivered in that particular track! I simply love that album, definitively one of the best Shrapnel release at the time along with the all time classic "H.M. Maniac"! That CD version has also three demo tracks as bonus, slightly different versions for two of them and an unrealised track called "Name Of The Dance" taken from their very first demo tape, nothing spectacular just okay stuff. Those guys had an incredible potential but unfortunaly that album like tons of other Heavy/Power Metal releases was released at the wrong time and was totally overshadowed by Thrash music, but it's still time to rediscover it and enjoy it for what it is, a brilliant classic Metal gem!
Laurent Ramadier