I have been a bit of an errant reviewer over the last few days, not getting my column done in a timely manner. I make no excuses but I have a bit busy and my selection of music has been so good I did not want to have to stop listening.CD ReviewsMahavatar: From the Sun, The Rain, The Wind and the SoilBesides having a rather odd name this lot have the whole male/female metal vocalist going on that seems to be rather popular in some metal circles with a slight twist, they have no male vocalist. More metal than Nightwish; there is a good contrast between gruff heavy metal vocals and the more ethereal female ones. It's most striking on the cracking tune "Cult." Oh yes, they only have one vocalist not two. It is one woman singing like that. This lot are on Escapi music and provide quite a bit on this 10 track selection. The band is from New York but it was formed by Lizza Hayson who is from Israel and guitarist Karla Williams from Jamaica. It's goth tinged metal with lashings of ethnic sounds. They are quite impressive all around and well worth checking out either live or on this CD. All in it's all a professional outfit that should go far.Venom: Cast in StoneThis is a re-release to coincide with the recent release of the new Venom album Metal Black and it certainly does its best to give you a reason to buy this album over again. Not just content with a remastering of the original release we have a 15 extra track bonus CD consisting of "classics" remastered and five tracks from their '96 performance at the Dynamo Festival. And unlike some of these kinds of releases there is only one duplication between the rest of this release and the live CD in the form of "The Evil One." This is an impressive package for an extended edition. Malcolm Dome of Classic Rock fame has written a quite impressive nine page piece on the band and the album in the sleeve notes. Well worth seeking out if you want an intro to Venom the band or need the album on CD. And a bloody good value for the money as well. Oh yeah and you can still use it to annoy the dance music loving neighbours. They will just eat this stuff up in Scandinavia.Midnight Syndicate: Retrospective: 1994-1999Rather than just slapping together old recordings for this release, Midnight Syndicate re-recorded their older material to update its sound. Edward Douglas & Gavin Goska never fail to impress with their symphonic goth music. The 24 tracks on there do not fail to live up their normal level of quality.
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