With this column we intend to give young, fresh, unsigned bands the opportunity to let their voices be heard. We will review demos or independent releases of unsigned bands looking for promotion.
Note to our readers: keep watching our giveaways as some of the albums reviewed here might show up there.

If you wish to submit us material to be featured here, contact Urban, who is the head of our A&R Department. His e-mail address is Urban "Wally" Wallström,


NERVESEED: "The Flame That Falls"

Indie 2008
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
16 December 2008

Finnish rockers Nerveseed have been together for a few years, and "The Flame That Falls" is their third release. The band's alt-flavoured mainstream rock sound could very well take them quite far, once they write a couple of killer songs to go with. The three tracks on "The Flame..." all have their merits, but none of them had the "goosebumps effect" on me.

Nerveseed sound to me like a stripped-down Negative, partly because of vocalist Tony Wirtanen's raspy voice, somewhat similar to that of Negative's Jonne Aaron. He sounds very good on the two faster tracks, but the slower "After The Sun" isn't quite as convincing. The contrast between the softly-sung smooth parts and the raspy voice that pops up here and there is cool, but there are parts where he is struggling to stay in key.

The band has obviously paid attention to details when it comes to the arranging, especially some of the bass lines stood out as being quite interesting and melodic. When it comes to the songwriting the band displays a nice sense of dynamics and an ear for a good hook. The chorus of "Here By Your Side" is a good example of that - it really elevates an otherwise dull song to a different level with its' melodic twist. If only this song would have been a bit faster and more urgent...

While Nerveseed didn't quite strike a nerve with me, I have a feeling that this is a band worth keeping an eye on. I'd like to hear them go for a bigger sound and even bigger hooks the next time around - you've got that unashamedly commercial hit song in you, let's hear it!


WEINBAUER: "New Wave Of Finnish Heavy Metal"

Indie 2008
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
17 November 2008

Weinbauer's first (?) demo "Military P" (2001) rates as one of the most hideous discs ever sent to me for a review, and I am suprised to find out that the band is still alive. Apparently they've made a demo called "Heavy Metal Superstars" a while ago, which I have fortunately missed completely. Anyway, they're now back with a new CD, and for some reason they've sent it to us.

Okay, good things first: the band isn't musically nowhere near as hopeless as they used to be. They can churn out recycled metal riffs with conviction, and some of the guitar solos are actually quite decent. They've obviously put a lot of effort into the artwork and the promo leaflet, I can imagine them going over hundreds of photos to choose the ones to go with... and the song descriptions in the leaflet must've taken a few hours to write too. They're that fantastic. Or something. Apparently the song "Pussy Royale" is influenced by Nelson, White Sister and Praying Mantis, and it represents the Weinbauer's softer side, with lyrics like "woman, what you need is dick"... romantic to the core!

The not-so-good things... the band doesn't seem to have any intention to start writing decent songs, and the band's "vocalist" Eddie W. still sounds like an accented Mickey Mouse in heat. Without his vocals and the horrible lyrics the songs would only be bland and boring, but blessed with his whining and the embarassingly bad "poetry" they turn into something that's hard to describe. Well, "crap" might be a good term.

I guess I could give credit to the band for keeping the joke alive for several years, but it really wasn't funny to start with. Head over to their MySpace to check them out if you really want to:


Indie 2008
Review by Satu Reunanen
October 2008

Oh dear ravenous zombie, take this plague off me. This isn't my music at all. Austrian garage punk-grindcore-death-thrashmetal at its worst, I bet. Punk and its subforms aren't exactly the most popular thing right now, that was decades ago, but of course who's to say what you should play, if this is your thing. This fourpiece comes out from their closet now with their first demorelease, and will be releasing a concept album later on. I say they should still practise and practise, and if death metal is their thing as they say, take all the advice from the genre, 'cos there's still a long way to go.

Firstly, nowadays it's really easy to produce even a demo so well, that you can't tell the difference from a release through big record companies and an indie. Why not do it then, unless your purpose is to sound completely underground. That scene has its fans too. Secondly, sending out demos that reveal your bands babysteps isn't what magazines want, if anyone, who's even paying from your demo. If anything, Concrete will find fans from the more brutal scene, their growler DirtyHarry owns a very dramatic sound good for brutal metal, but it's still very unpolished, raw and unbalanced. There's still plenty of work for the band on timing and arranging the songs, it's all now done in what seems like a rush. The drums and guitar are buzzing like a headless fly while nothing really happens, but have a few idearich moments too. Five songs varying between two to four minutes and I can't tell the difference. Give 'em a face-lift and call again, or rather call another site though, that would appreciate brutal metal.


Kingdragon: "Fire In The Sky"

Indie 2008
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
24 October 2008

Bands from Greece aren't a common thing to come by, but here's one, and a pretty good one too. This quartet plays melodic hard rock with lots of keyboards, somewhat reminiscent of Brother Firetribe's heavier material. They are not on the same level when it comes to songwriting yet, but the best moments of this 4-track CD suggest that one can expect better things to come.

Vocalist George Aspiotis has good voice, a bit like grittier Steve Perry in fact, and he adds some cool keyboard parts to the songs. Guitarist Anastasis Fragopoulos does a very decent job too. Productionwise the album is just okay, the overall sound is a bit hollow and the drum sound is quite lifeless - John Karachalios is credited as the drummer but I get the feeling that it's a drum machine doing the work?

The best tracks are the two first ones, "Fire In The Sky" and "Man Of Yesterday". The other two are rather generic hard rock workouts, especially the Kiss-like "Hold On 2 Love". I do like the Giuffriaesque keyboard parts of "Lovely Lady", but the bland chorus doesn't win any extra points.


Ever Since The Day: "Stay Silent Forever"

Indie 2008
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
06 September 2008

I must apologise to the band - they became the victims of a computer crash, and a review already written weeks ago disappeared before I had the chance to upload it. So, here we go again...

This is the second demo from Turku-based modern melodic rock band Ever Since The Day, containing songs "Stay Silent" and "Forever" (oh, clever!). "Demo" doesn't really describe this, as the packaging, production, songwriting and even the attached leaflet (a "monkey release document" - take a look at the artwork...) are all very pro-looking and sounding. Both of the songs have good hooks and I have no doubt that they wouldn't sound out of place on any rock radio playlist. The band's sound is quirky enough to appeal to some alternative rock/indie fans and not too quirky to alienate those into more classic/mainstream rock. That sounds like a winning combination to me...

"Stay Silent" gets my vote as one of the better demo songs I've heard this year, and I'm looking forward to hearing more. Possibly with even better production - keep the melodies, keep the harmonies, but add just a bit more crunch. More power!


STEEL HORSE: "Raise Your Fist E.P."

Indie 2008
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
02 July 2008

HEAAAAAVYYY METAAAAL! Sorry, had to get that out of the way... Spanish Steel Horse play uncompromised, classic heavy metal indeed, owing a lot to a certain British band named after a piece of torture equipment. That's Maiden of course, but you knew that, didn't you?

While Steel Horse offer absolutely nothing original, their metal barrage isn't actually too bad. The guitar riffs are pretty cool and the vocalist Jorge has a reasonably good, raspy voice. His pronounciating leaves a lot to be desired though. For example, the chorus of the title track sounds as if he's singing "rise your feist"... and I really could do without the high-pitched shrieks.

The songs itself could use stronger hooks, but there's a good foundation to build upon. If the band writes new songs with clever, cool melodies and work on the arrangements, who knows what they might become?


COLDSPELL: "Demo 2008"

Indie 2008
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
06 June 2008

Coldspell may be a new band, but they surely don't sound like newcomers. This is one of the best-sounding demos I've heard recently, with a production which can rival most of the indie AOR/HR releases of today. Formed in Kiruna, Sweden a few years ago, Coldspell consists of 5 musicians who have all played for years in other bands. That might explain the very pro-sounding demo.

We've been sent a 7-track CD containing 5 tracks recorded this year and a couple of earlier tracks. The production quality is slightly better on the new tracks, but the "oldies" don't sound too shabby either. Especially the very Dokken-like "Greed" stands out as one of the highlights. Killer guitarwork and a strong chorus. Out of the new ones, the opener "Fade Away" steals the show.

What's worth mentioning is the fact that the band sounds uncannily like House Of Shakira throughout the disc. Unfortunately, just like many of the HOS songs, most of the Coldspell songs are good, but in the end they leave me cold (no pun intended). They're well arranged, performed and produced, but they suffer from a serious lack of hooks. A shame really, as the band sounds otherwise very "ready". Now, they just need to write a few songs with big, sharp and shiny hooks, and they can probably catch themselves a deal.


SECRET: "Annozero"

Indie 2008
Review by Kimmo Toivonen,
10 June 2008

The demo from Italian band SECRET has been sitting on my desk for quite a while. My recent encounters with Italian bands have been quite bad, and the anonymous looking cover and the songs with Italian lyrics didn't exactly whet my appetite... a quick look at the accompanying bio did raise my interest - comparisons to Journey, Ten and The Babys... "hey, this might not be another hopeless death metal disc!"

And whaddaya know, I threw the disc to the player, and ended up being quite impressed! Decent sound, nice melodic songs, lots of sweeping keyboards and a vocalist with very pleasant voice, a bit similar to less high-pitched Freddy Curci (Alias, Sheriff). The Journey comparison is indeed right on the money, and I'd imagine anyone into Alias would like this too. The Italian lyrics might put someone off, but there's no denying that the music is good. My pick for the best song of the demo would be "Vento Di Silenzi", listen to it and the rest of the songs on the band's Myspace page.

DRIVHELL: "Behind The Silence"

Indie 2008
Review by Martien Koolen,
12 april 2008

Drivhell is another Italian prog metal band that sounds too much like Dream Theater.... "Behind The Silence" is their second demo and it features 6 songs. The opener "Your God Is Mine" is filled with typical prog metal characteristics and shows resemblance with bands like Dynamic Lights, Mind Key, Eldritch and of course DT. The rather sweet high-pitched vocals of Jonatan Spagnuolo definitely remind me of Finnish singer Kotipelto.

The best track is called "Mind Dishrag", an instrumental piece featuring lots of interesting guitar solos as well as some neo-classical musical passages. The longest track "Nobody Knows"(over 8 minutes) is musically very fascinating but the vocals really get on my nerves during this track. However if this band works on their non-originality and take their music away from the Dream Theater sound, then these guys might have some good prospects.


MILO'S CRAVING: "The More You Know"

Indie 2007
Review by Satu Reunanen
April 2008

Inspired by the likes of Kansas, Rush, Genesis, Pink Floyd and why not Saga, German Milo's Craving is a fresh newcomer in the stuffy todays metal scene. The duo of Kathrin Elfman and Klaus P. Rausch with guest musicians have between years 2004 and 2007 produced a lightly entertaining and openminded release with many faces. Elfman wrote and composed the album, also playing keys, guitar and bass, while Rausch worked on piano, organs, synth programming and so on.

"The More You Know" is a concept album into various styles, ambient, jazz, progressive with modern sound and elements from movie soundtracks and classic music. The arrangements in 70's neoprog style somewhat break the concept from its essential points, this is after all more of an artsy pop movie soundtrack album. The Kate Bush and Lana Lane influences are strong too, the band oozes similar freshness with them. The spaceous music and clear and high vocals of Elfman (not always right on key) are a good combination. They create a relaxing atmosphere, and it's amazing how the opening track "Prince Of Darkness" with its three chapters and 18 minutes moves quite effortlessly onward, though still being a demanding track to open, and way too long and ambitious in my opinion for the band for starters.

The concept Milo's Craving has created, in all its experimental scattered pieces, instrumental timing gone wrong at times, too lengthy songs with not enough climaxes, is still full of beautiful melodies and Elfman does have a beautiful, somewhat classy prog voice. This is a relaxing and atmospherical debut worthy a listen, and could've offered a lot more. The best songs are the shortest ones, "Pictures And Voices" (still running close to seven minutes), "Draw The Line" and "Will You?".
Milo's Craving


Demo/indie reviews of 2007 are now in 2007 A&R Archive!
Demo/indie reviews of 2006 are now in 2006 A&R Archive!
Demo/indie reviews of 2005 are now in 2005 A&R Archive!
Demo/indie reviews of 2004 are now in 2004 A&R Archive!
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