• NoN (Now or Never) - 'III'

    Now or Never is led by two ex-Pretty Maids musicians: guitarist Ricky Marx and bass player Ken Jackson. As the title suggests, this is their third offering and it starts with a bang! The intro is nothing less than impressive and what follows are ten ballsy hardrock songs, melodic but powerful and bursting with energy. Ricky Marx took his time to write this album that deals with topics like faith, life and afterlife. Ricky calls the lyrics "spiritual" to a certain degree. The rhythms and grooves are impressive. The sound is rough. The riffing is earsplitting. This is hardrock of the 21st century with a boost. Released on September 18 on Crusader Records. (Geert Ryssen)

  • Jakko M Jakszyk - 'Secrets & Lies' (InsideOut)

    From the first notes it is clear which nest Jakko comes from. King Crimson is 'all over the place'! We shouldn't be surprised hence the line-up he recorded this record with. In addition to icons such as Peter Hammill (Van Der Graaf Generator), Mark King (Level 42) and John Giblin (Simple Minds), there are no less than four King Crimson colleagues. However, this is not just a King Crimson copy and that is due to the structure of the pieces that are more conceived as songs, with lyrics on which hard work has been done. Nevertheless, Jakko manages to maintain that progressive feel and that is due to the melodies, the instrumentation and the arrangements. Put a few strong instrumental pieces on top of that and you have an intriguing record. In addition to being a talented and functional guitarist, Jakko is also a gifted singer who has the perfect feel and phrasing to carry this personal and musical richness. (GR)

  • RAGING SPEEDHORN - Hard To Kill (Red Weed Records)

    Raging Speedhorn return to action with the release of their sixth studio album ‘Hard To Kill’.The album was recorded with Russ Russell (Napalm Death, At The Gates) at Parlour Studios in Kettering, UK and will delighten fans of thrashy, heavy and earsplitting aggressive metal. "Hard To Kill is straight-up Raging Speedhorn with added extras,” says founding co-frontman Frank Regan.
    The album - the follow-up to 2016’s ‘Lost Ritual’ is the first to feature new vocalist Dan Cook who replaces longstanding co-vocalist John Loughlin. He's not the only new member: guitarist Dave Leese and former Hundred Reasons bassist Andy
    Gilmour join founding drummer Gordon Morison and guitarist Jim Palmer.
    ‘Hard To Kill’ also features a thundering rendition of T-Rex’s “Children Of The Revolution”. You're British or not ... The pounding metal of Raging Speedhorn is played on a high level in every way: performance, energy, recording quality and credibility. These guys play in the league of the greats in the genre. (Geert Ryssen) (Available on cd, vinyl and digital)

  • CROWN OF GLORY - Ad Infinitum (Fast Ball, release 2020-09-11)

    The sixth album by the Swiss sextet Crown Of Glory is a hit. Their crossover between melodic rock and power metal is an example of how it should be done. The twelve own songs are excellent and two of them get extra shine thanks to the guest contributions of singer Seraina Telli (Dead Venus, ex-Burning Witches). With Heinz Muther, the group has a very strong singer. The record has a flow that retains attention through the melodies and solid instrumental arrangements with flowing guitar lines (Hungi Berglas/Marcus Muther), colouring keyboards (Oli Schumacher) and a driving rhythm section (Lucas Soland/Jonas Lüscher). The technical support by Rolf Munkes and Plec Johansson (H.E.A.T, Night Flight Orchestra) ensures a great sound. Switzerland proves itself again as a special hard rock/metal country. This gem appears on CD and double white vinyl. (Geert Ryssen)

  • ROME - The Lone Furrow (Trisol)

    Rome is essentially a solo project by The Luxembourger Jerome Reuter. The man is particularly prolific and enters himself musically in an idiom that can be described as progressive folk. His lyrics takes social criticism with a main focus on European history. As a European citizen and world traveller, he has plenty of contacts and this time he has taken a number of burly metalheads under his arm as a guest for some songs. Adam Nergal Darski (Behemoth) and Alan Averill (Primordial) collaborate and make 'The Lone Furrow' a more dark record than we are used to from Reuter. Reuter is an excellent songwriter and the record takes us on an exciting musical journey in which the lyrics are central but which can also be enjoyed musically. The solid interpretations and arrangements ensure this. The attentive listener detects here and there a nod to musical icons such as U2, John Lennon or Jacques Brel. This is penetrating neo-folk played with a metal attitude. (Geert Ryssen)

  • CHAOSTAR - Chaostar (The Circle Music)

    The debut album by Greek contemporary music collective Chaostar dates from 2000. Twenty years later, mastermind Christos Antoniou (Septic Flesh) has taken care of the original recordings via a remix and additional recordings. Bonus track 'Haetta' is a new piece. The black vinyl is covered in an equally dark folding cover with new artwork and all the lyrics and credits. The update of the darkwave/neoclassical masterpiece sounds particularly clear and dynamic, which lifts the music experience a lot. The choral parts are beautiful and the classical harmonies in combination with metal-derived elements, continue to astonish! (Geert Ryssen)

  • VELVET VIPER - From Over Yonder

    At a time when grunge is in full furore, German band Zed Yago will release with two strong heavy metal records to the fore of the nineties. With singer Jutta Weinhold they not only have a frontwoman with experience, but also a singer with a fantastic voice. Put a wall of solid riffs and a thunderous rhythm section behind it to perform some strong songs and you'll have all the ingredients to make albums that stand the test of time. The group labels its music as 'dramatic metal'. Jutta is fascinated by ancient sagas, myths and fantasy stories and she incorporates this into her lyrics. While the debut 'From Over Yonder' is the excellent first calling card,

  • VELVET VIPER - Pilgrimage

    follow-up 'Pilgrimage' has the calibre of albums that appear in lists type 'best of all time'. After two albums, Jutta wants to change the line-up, but that turns out differently. She leaves herself and can't keep the name of the group. She continues with Velvet Viper and that explains why these re-releases appear under that name. Alexander Krull has made excellent remasters and on both albums a number of bonus tracks were added that (except for one title) can only be found on the CD versions. They also have new artwork. On these two albums Jutta Weingold casts herself as the female equivalent of Ronnie James Dio; we measure our words! (Geert Ryssen)

  • Q & A Jutta Weinhold


    Both albums will be released on August 21 by Massacre Records (DL, CD, Vinyl)

    Interview with singer Jutta Weinhold on Interviews page:
    http://www.fullcirclemisicblog.be/446624508

Jazz & impro records moved to new page: Jazz & Impro 2020

5. Aug, 2020

Reviews have been split in 2 sections

Reviews about jazz & impro records have been moved to new page : 'Jazz & Impro 2020'. For Jerry Granelli, Solar, Meinrad Kneer, Sonoria, Mia Zabelda, Andreas Willers and Sophie Tassignon go to that page.

  • THE BIG DIRTY - 'The Sex'

    If you are a fan of eighties party/sleaze/hair/pop-metal then this is one for you. The Big Dirty is a British band with an American sound which is ballsy and digestable. Their tunes onare catchy, well arranged and full of energy. If you are a fan of bands like Mötley Crüe or Poison, you should give them a try. This debut album puts them on the map right away! (Geert Ryssen)

  • RAZOR SHARP DEATH BLIZZARD - 'The World Is F***ed'

    Sometimes the name of the band combined with the album title says it all! This is uncompromising brutal metal injected with political views and statements. This Scottish band was formed from the ashes of Ridgeback and Swellbellys. When the speakers spit these songs out, you can hear anger, aggression, desperation, ... For fans of bands like The Exploited or Agnostic Front. Not exactly my cup of tea, but worth mentioning because this band succeeds very well in making their point with a collection of nine blasting songs. (Geert Ryssen)

  • SMILING ASSASSIN - 'Plight Of The Millennial'

    Another British band dealing with the frustrations caused by today's economic and socio -political climate. They sound angry and furious with songs that are full of speed and aggression. 'The Smiling Assassin' refers to the kind of friend that stabs you in the back. Vocalist Garnett: 'With this album we are trying to put a breath of fresh air into the modern punk scene and shed light on the real issues and difficulties our generation face today'. Maybe we'd better listen! (Geert Ryssen)

Scoll down for reviews of:

MalafistuM, Exess, From Hell, Milan Polak, Hellride, Flying Circus, Demonhead, El Misty, Sectile, Vlad In tears, Porn, Ryan Perry, Fughu, Medea, Chaos Over Cosmos, Hubris, Coinmen.

  • MALEFISTUM - Enemy

    MalefistuM is a solo project by Jens Faber of Dawn Of Destiny. The ambition is to bring together various metal styles into one solid creation. Musically Faber delivers a mix of power metal, death metal, melodic metal with a symphonic touch. The album gains extra strenght trough the use of two different female voices in contrast with harsh death vocals. The singers are Melissa Bonny (Ad Infinitum, Serentiy, ...) and respectively on one song each Frederica Lanna (ex-Sleeping Romance), Detty Scherner (Black Messiah) and Eric Dow Helsott). Faber plays all instruments and delivers backing vocals; drummer John S. completes the cast. Musically Faber has accomplished his mission with a steaming record that is fast (most of the time) and rides on the "beauty and the beast' principle when it comes to vocals. The songs are good and the flow of the records is, well ... flawless! References can be made to Ad Infinitum (the prominent presence of Bonny), Ensiferum, Dark Tranquility and Nightwish. If you like this kind of bands then MalefistuM is definetely for you! (Geert Ryssen)

    Released in May on Fastball Music

  • EXESS - Deus Ex Machina

    Exess is a Swiss female fronted band that brings a collection of contemporary rock songs backed with heavy guitar. One could discribe the music as pop metal, but that shouldn't put of fans of heavy rock as the music is pretty heavy but the production and the way the songs are performed by excellent singer Céline Bart make 'Deus Ex Machina' a very enjoyable record to listen to. It's not a right "in your face" sound, but nevertheless takes the attention of the listener. Céline has a deep voice of a kind we don't hear to much by female fronted rock and metal bands. The songs are well crafted by drummer Alan Montanari and guitarist Stéphane 'Front' Froidevaux. The album concludes with a bonus track that is a cover of the classic Tasmin Archer song 'Sleeping Satelite'. You can't go wrong with that one! Nice band, nice record! (Geert Ryssen)

    Released in May on Fastball Music

  • FROM HELL - Rats & Ravens

    American band From Hell is the vehicle of singer/guitarist and horror storyteller Aleister Sinn (real name George Anderson). The band has a new rhythm section on this second effort with Wesley Anderson on drums and Stephen Paul Goodwin on bass; top guitarist/schredder Steve Smyth (of Nevermore fame) is still on board. 'Rats & Ravens' is a horror concept album about an evil witch who brings stolen children back to life as, well ... rats ... From Hell stands for pounding and well played metal, it sounds heavy with raw and screaming vocals. If this is what you're looking for than Aleister Sinn is your man! (Geert Ryssen)

    Released in May on Fastball Music

MILAN POLAK - Can't Please Everyone

Guitar mastermind Milan Polak returns with his 4th vocal album “Can’t Please Everyone”. This album is a little bit darker and heavier than its predecessor “Scarred To Perfection” and features guest appearances by Billy Sheehan, Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal, Tony Franklin, Thomas Lang, Jeff Neal of ‘Boston', Atma Anur and others. This is basicaly a classic melodic hardrock album with some great playin' by the master himself. Polak has also a good powerful rock voice. It's a positive thing that he hired a proper drummer for every track and didn't rely on drummachines. It gives the album extra dynamics. This album is not going to change the course of music history, but it's a damn good album in it's genre. (Geert Ryssen)

Milan Polak: vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, bass, synths & loops. The album was mixed & mastered by Benjamin Schäfer (Rammstein, Celtic Frost, Crimson ProjeKCt)

Tracklist with extra credits:

01) Unborn
02) Numb - drums: Thomas Lang
03) The Future Is Now - bass: Billy Sheehan, drums: Dennis Leeflang, 2nd guitar solo: Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal
04) Can’t Please Everyone - drums: Dennis Leeflang
05) New Life - drums: Dennis Leeflang
06) Savior - drums: Atma Anur
07) Enemy Within - drums: Dennis Leeflang
08) No One Else - drums: Dennis Leeflang
09) Father - Dennis Leeflang: drums
10) Heroes Die Young - drums: Dennis Leeflang
11) Better Man - drums: Abel Sequera 
12) Can’t Let You Go - fretless bass: Tony Franklin, drums: Jeff Neal, piano: Mistheria

HELLRIDE - Goodbyes To Forever

This is the second album by German acoustic trio Hellride. The first one ('Acousticalized') came out in 2013 and this one is announced as being the final album. That's a pity because what this band does with metal is unique. Of course we've had different unplugged records, but this trio writes its songs to be performed with two acoustic guitars and a voice, whilst keeping the spirit of metal. This approach needs a lot of qualities: songwriting, performance, sound and power. Hellride manages to capture all of that in its performance. Singer Tom Klossek has a perfect metal voice and sings with the power needed to make it sound real. The guitars of Kai Passeman and Stefan Gassner sound equaly intense and deep. On the final song there's also drums and lots of strong harmony vocals. Hellride have made one hell of an album to say goodbye. This is music to discover and cherish as an unique way of playing metal. Great album! (Geert Ryssen)

FLYING CIRCUS - 1968

I'm glad to present you a most impressive album. German retro-rock band Flying Circus creates a cross-over between classic krautrock, contemporary progressive rock and a dash of artrock. '1968' is a thematic album dealing with important events during that year in different cities (Paris, Prague, Berlin, Derry, New York, Mî Lai, Vienna, Memphis). The sound of the band and especially singer Michael Dorp reminds of legendary krautband Birth Control, but the sonic universum and musical vocabulary is much richer through the use of violin and the twists and turns in the compositions. To record this album, the band returned to the historic Dierks Studios in Stommeln near Cologne. The spirit of the great days of the past still wades there, this album is the proof. By listening to the complete album one realises that the tag 'retro-rock' becomes irrelevant. There's a musical variation and diversity that lifts the band way above a nostalgic trip. This is an album to take your time for, sit down for and listen to ... and listen again. Everytime there's something new to discover. (Geert Ryssen)

Michael Dorp (vocals), Michael Rick (guitars, backing vocals), Rüdiger Blümer (keyboards, violin), Roger Weitz (bass, backing vocals), Ande Rederigo (drums, backing vocals)

www.flying-circus.com

DEMONHEAD - Black Devil Lies

Although Australian band Demonhead has been active since 2007, this is only its second album. This has given the band all the space it needs to develop itself and to reach a mature level. 'Black Devil Lies' is proof of that. This album rocks like hell! Heavy, but with a good sense of melody, concrete riffs and a pounding drive loaded with stimulating grooves. That's all we need to enjoy a good hardrock and metal record and that is what Demonhead delivers!

Band: Dave Lowes (guitar, vocals), Rüe Power (lead guitar), Dean Lewer (drums), Azz Mammoth (bass, backing vocals)

12 songs + European bonus track. 

The band was scheduled to support Geoff Tate on his European tour 2020.

EL MISTI - El Misty

The debut album by British band El Misty covers a long history of 'getting together'. It's basicaly the band of singer-songwriter Paddy Bleakley and guitarist Kieran Gilchrist who met for the first time in Rio de Janeiro. Both are fans of all things folk, americana, west-coast psych and basic rock-'n'-roll. Their first album is a well produced affair with lots of good songs with West-Coast type arrangements, fine vocal harmonies and great guitar parts. If one didn't know these guys hail from Cheshire, it would be natural to say they are Americans. El Misty knows its craft and has made a very good album in this genre. It creates a full band sound and that makes the music interesting for different kinds of rock fans. If this band can cut it live, it may have a bright future in the circuit of contemporary soft rock, folk-rock, country-rock and Americana! I bet these musicians are fans of The War On Drugs. (Geert Ryssen)

SECTILE - Falls Apart

Ireland is not especially well known for its progressive rock scene, but Sectile may change that perception. The fivepiece released a debut EP in 2016 that was well received in their homeland and that was the motivation to work on new material during 2018 and 2019. Their first album is now a fact and 'Falls Apart' shows a modern progressive rockband that musically crosses over between the great anglo-saxon bands of the past, the atmospheric proggers of the last decades, a touch of postrock and a firm dose of (progressive) metal influences. The album lasts for fifty minutes and unveils seven musical pieces that are melodic, complex and full of variation in pace and sound. This is really a band of the 21st century! For the uninitiated, the cover may suggest some extreme metal thing, but this is nothing like that: clean vocals, well structured compostions and real progressive drumparts. The album is well produced and the mix is in good balance. The playing is excellent and the guitars can be heavy. The flow of the record takes the listener on a musical journey. The tour de force is held until last: 'Dying Of The Lights' is a piece in three parts, clocking in at more than twelve minutes showing everything this band stands for. Music to listen to and to let take over! "Intense" is the best way to describe this album. (Geert Ryssen)

  • VLAD IN TEARS - Dead Stories Of Forsaken Lovers

    Vlad In Tears is already a seasoned band that operates from Berlin. Their 8th album is a well crafted work counting ten songs and a bonus section with six acoustic versions of older songs and a cover of 'Man In The Box' (Alice In Chains). The bonus tracks are only available on the digipak edition. The band is classified as 'alternative' rock, but that is quite restricting as the spectrum of their songs is varied and carries a lot of light and shade. There's even a sense of pop-sensitivity on a couple of tracks, without losing the flow, spirit and sound quality. The acoustic songs show the singer-songwriter qualities of the band with beautiful piano arrangements. Powerful rock tunes, heavy dark atmospheres and melancholic moods are prevalent on this strong album. (Geert Ryssen)

  • PORN - No Monsters In God's Eyes - Act III

    This is the final part of the trilogy that started with 'The Ogre Inside' (2017) and was followed by 'The Darkest Human Desires' in 2019. The third part deals with the main character Mr. Strangler who reflects on his life whilst awaiting execution. His conclusion is that even a monster is a creation of God … Musically this is again a dark industrial musical journey with echo's of David Bowie, Type O Negative and even Pink Floyd. But Porn is still a full blooded metal band that makes fascinating concept albums. This 3rd part of the trilogy is a work of art concluded with a very strong and excellent sounding album. A highpoint in French dark metal with international allure. (Geert Ryssen)

RYAN PERRY - High Risk, Low Reward

It's nice to have a young black artist playing the blues. Ryan Perry hails from the home of the blues, Mississippi. Perry creates a modern electric sound that recalls greats like Albert King and more recent Robert Cray. He sings and plays with a firm tone, his guitar often sounds clean and subtle, but at times also dirty and heavy (listen to 'Hard Times' - ZZ Top would be jealous about that one). Rooted in the deep south, his sound crosses over to modern blues-rock, but also to the later high-end recordings of BB King. The album was recorded in Berlin by a line-up of Ryan (guitar and vocals), Roger Inniss (bass), Lucy Piper (drums) and Jeffrey Staten & Stefanie Bechtold (backing vocals). This is a very entertaining but also engaging modern electric blues record by a man who was raised on sacred ground. (Geert Ryssen)

FUGHU - Lost Connection

The third album by Fughu is nothing less than a masterpiece. The Band from Buenos Aires has made an album that flows into different moods and intensities. Musically they draw on postrock, metal and progressive rock. These are excellent musicians and composers and their singer Renzo Favaro has a voice that fits the style and diversity of the band wonderfuly. The sound and production is equally top! This is an overwhelming musical experience of a rare beauty and depth. The band has already toured with Dream Theater and PFM and that is a perfect example of the fusion they put in their music. The technical level of Dream Theater combined with the subtility and classical cultural feel of PFM. Beside great melodies, there's wonderful guitar, wide keyboards and an excelent rhythm section. It's a mystery why this band hasn't been picked up by one of the progressive labels in Europe. This is really great and original stuff! (Geert Ryssen) 

MEDEA - A Fate Symphony

Dutch guitarist/composer and member of Casual Silence Henry Meeuws delivers with ‘A Fate Symphony’ his fourth rock opera. This time he combines a medical cure for epilepsy with the history of The Netherlands. This may seem a strange mix, but reading the story behind it, it makes sense. It takes ten pieces with a timing between three and ten minutes to tell the whole story. To perform this ambitious work he gathers an impressive cast of singers who each have their own character to play. The instrumental arrangements are played by Henry backed up by a rhythm section (Igor Koopmans and Frank De Groot) and occasional parts by Iris Gilsing on clarinet. As an independent artist, Meeuws always delivers impressive productions as is again the case with ‘A Fate Symphony’. A good balance between instrumental parts and epic vocal melodies makes this album a joy to listen to. There’s enough variation to keep the attention going  and what makes this album extra interesting is the natural organic sound and playing. It’s not a high-end production, but it sounds good and real. No artificial sounding studio trickery spoils the natural sound of the instruments and voices. High musicality of real people makes listening to this album a charming experience. The singers are Bart Schwertman (Kayak), Jos Mennen (Zinatra, Mennen) and Jo de Boeck (ex-Beyond The Labyrinth), John Cuijpers, Bas Dolman, Sandra Peeters, Robbie van Stiphout, Noor van de Voort, Ernst Le Cocq ‘d Armandville (Casual Silence) and The Vocalettes (a quartet of female backing singers) . Henry himself is a very good guitar player who uses his skills in many ways -, with different guitars and sounds (and keyboards). Stylist-wise the music draws on melodic hard rock and progressive metal, without being extreme or earsplitting. A true and honest piece of work! (Geert Ryssen)

CHAOS OVER COSMOS - The Unknown Voyage

Chaos over Cosmos is a progressive rock project by Rafal Bowman. The album opens with a seventeen minute track that puts all in evidence what COC is all about. The piece opens with a cosmic ambient tapestry and then bursts out into an uptempo guitar dominated heavy and energetic progressive rock track with vocals but also with lots of instrumental passages. This is what Rafal says about his project: 'The music is a progressive metal with a lot of solos and ambient/synth/s-f style sounds, it was made by two guys who didn't ever met each other - Rafal Bowman from Poland (guitars, synths, programming) and Javier Calderon (vocals) from Spain.
Main influences are Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Seventh Wonder, In Flames, Pink Floyd and some electronic stuff like soundtrack for Blade Runner from Vangelis (there is song inspired by Blade Runner on the album btw) and some songs from Depeche Mode.' It's a strong collaboration between two musicans from opposite parts of Europe, meeting each other in a musical trip that is worth listening to. The next four tracks vary between seven and ten minutes and prove that Rafal has a distinct vision of what he wants to do: combine progressive rock with hardrock and metal in a way that bands like Iron Maiden (on their longer and more complex tracks) or Demon do. The cosmic touch is an extra element that serves the idea behind the album well. A nice and crystal clear production makes the album a joy to listen to. (Geert Ryssen)

https://chaosovercosmos.bandcamp.com/album/the-unknown-voyage

HUBRIS - Metempsychosis

Metempsychosis is the third album by Swiss instrumental post-rock quartet Hubris. The core of their sound is a poetic atmosphere with ups and downs in tempo and sounds. The band states that 'Metempsychosis' explores the circle of life and death, reincarnation and rebirth. So they do telling the story of different characters of Greek mythology. One of them is Heracles which is the sixth piece on the album, devided in twelve parts evoking the different stages in his life. The music is very intimate and creates a light and subtle ambient mood without disappearing in the background, without losing attention. One of the musical references may be Sigur Ros, but Hubris really manages to stand on its own. Album release (digital, cd an vinyl): March 18, 2020. Check on https://hubrisband.bandcamp.com/ (Geert Ryssen)

COINMEN - Wasting Daylight

Coinmen is a new Belgian rockband that grew out of the ashes of progressive rock band Soulivian. Both singer Peter Vrancx (vocals/harmonica) and Erik Van Hoof (guitar) were joined by new members Regi Gysemans (guitar), Jo Vandenhouten (bass), Bert De Ryck (drums) and Lien Bosmans (backing vocals). They went looking for a new musical horizon ad they found one in heavy, melodic classic rock with a touch of American blues- and country-rock roots. The eight songs on this debut (January 2020) show a band that plays with passion and a healthy drive. These are seasoned musicians that know their craft. The songs are good and have enough variation to keep the listen interesting. It would be easy to call them a retro-band, but that wouldn't be fair as they never give the impression to copy anyone. They just have written eight balsy songs that are performed with conviction and musicallity. So let's say this is just Coinmen as they are. Give these guys a stage on our festivals! (Geert Ryssen)