“Lovelorn” by Leaves Eyes

Artist: Leaves Eyes
Title: “Lovelorn”
Label: Napalm Records
Release Date: 8/17/2004
Genre: Gothic Metal
Rating: 8/10

Theatre Of Tragedy truly lost an amazing part of their lineup when singer Liv Kristine decided to move on and form “Leaves Eyes”. The band is comprised of the members of Atrocity, along with her Husband Alexander Krull and the end results are simply extraordinary. “Lovelorn” is both a passionate and moody piece of music and it crosses the lines of what is considered Gothic Metal and that which has been labeled as Atmospheric Metal. Both genres offer an appeal that is best heard over being explained however if you enjoy Theatre Of Tragedy’s music you will most probably enjoy this new band. Originally I was not sure what to expect of the piece yet as it started off with “Norwegian Lovesong” I quickly found myself getting deeper into the mood with which the band is setting you on. As you listen to Liv sing you will realize that she has one of the purest and most beautiful voices in Metal today. Her voice is softer than that of a Tarja Turunen who is more Operatic in style, yet I feel that fans of Nightwish will find some accessibility in this group as well. It is indeed great to see so many powerful women singers making Metal stronger and stronger each day.
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“Fantastic Four – The Album” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Fantastic Four” – Soundtrack
Label: Wind-Up Records
Release Date: 7/5/2005
Genre: Alternative
Rating: 7

I feel as though Wind-Up Records have optioned all the recent crop of super-hero soundtracks outside of Spiderman and l use the release of “Fantastic Four” to cement my statement. I had enjoyed listening to the “Daredevil” and “Elektra” pieces so I expected more of the same when it came to “Fantastic Four”. This piece however would be a half and half of good and bad in my opinion. There are some highlights from outside of the Wind-Up family such as Velvet Revolver and Sum 41. Each of the bands delivering a solid track. Simple Plan however simply ruins the classic Cheap Trick tune “Surrender”. Reviewing the contributions from the Wind-Up roster is the tune by Alter Bridge (the new band formed from the ashes of Creed) as well as another track from Ben Moody (co-founder of Evanescence). This time around Ben has Anastacia with him and this track has some heat to it. Ben has been keeping busy since he left Evanescence and hopefully will have a full release soon.
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“One Day Remains” by Alter Bridge

Artist: Alter Bridge
Title: “One Day Remains”
Label: Wind-Up Records
Release Date: 8/10/2004
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8/10

When I heard that the members of Creed minus Singer Scott Stapp would be forming a band of their own I expected very simply “Creed 2”. This was easy for how could a band where the core writer and co founder of Creed would be forming this new project. Mark Tremonti was already ready with this recording just a few months after the announcement of Creed’s breakup was announced. Joining Tremonti (who would be on guitar still) would be Scott Phillips (drums) and Brian Marshall (bass). Mark and Scott had been in Creed for all three albums while Marshall had left after “Human Clay”. Joining the three on vocals would be Myles Kennedy formerly of the Mayfield Four. As I listened to the CD it was immediately apparent that this group would not be an exact copy of Creed and I based this primarily on the difference in vocal register of Kennedy. While Stapp held a deeper resonance that was often compared to Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Kennedy seems to be able to reach notes that Chris Cornell would pull off with ease. A lot of the music is Creed-like and I expected this much for ones writing style would usually take some larger amount of time to change into something different. It is my belief that had Creed remained together that some of these songs would have been on the new album. The similar musical sound surely can appeal to the existing Creed fans. The name “Alter Bridge” is drawn from a personal point in Tremonti’s childhood based on paths and choices.
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“Pariah” by Naglfar

Artist: Naglfar
Title: “Pariah”
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 7/12/2005
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 7.5

With “Pariah” blasting from my speakers I was convinced that Naglfar are capable of giving the critical Black Metal fan a worthy piece of music. This is a CD that any fan of the genre will appreciate. Production on it is top notice and clear. Every instrument cuts through the darkness of this disk like a shard of razor sharp glass. The songs are powerful in their subject matter and musically intelligent containing every required hook expected of a Black Metal band. As I listened I found a number of musical similarities to that of Norway’s Dimmu Borgir with the exception of flourishing keyboard arrangements. This Swedish Quartet is most definitely a perfect companion band to those Dark Gods of Norway. In fact I stress that fans of Dimmu look into this disk primarily while we all wait for that bands next contribution. “Pariah” can sate the hunger for those that are longing for something along these lines in the interim.
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“Killadelphia” by Lamb Of God

Artist: Lamb Of God
Title: “Killadelphia”
Label: Epic Records
Release Date: 6/21/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8/10

Lamb Of God is one of those bands that are setting the new standard in how Heavy Metal is to be delivered to the masses. Combining growling vocal lines and intricate guitar-riffing along with complex drum patterns, they are clearly making sure that they differ from their peers. With the release of the DVD “Killadelphia” you are given a fantastic look inside the bands live performance. You are brought behind the stage and into Sound check where the members and crew give you some insight into the music that they play. As I watched this piece I found it easy to see where the general level of appeal was coming from. This performance was filmed at Philadelphia’s famed Trocadero night club and they really did a great job in filming this show. Generally, I have found performance video shoots to be on the boring side, but in this one they make sure to include a wide variety of angles and close ups. You see all the players and not only the singer D. Randall Blythe. An immediate difference I noticed was clear visual of the drummer Chris Adler, you can almost figure out what he is playing. I liked this aspect a lot since drummers are almost always lost to fog machines or blinding lighting rigs in the videos that get released.
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