Recent reviews!

sky empire - the dark towerstill living - ymmij  souls of deaf - fortune favors the bold age-of-aquariusmarenna - livin no regretsSunrise Auranaut - Inserter





It is about time to give you an overview of reviews for our releases!

  • Musipedia of Metal gives Sky Empire a 7/10 and calls it a fairly impressive chunk of prog that will certainly entertain fans of the genre
  • DMME gives 3 4/5 stars to Still Living’s Ymmij album and likes the band best in the heavier songs
  • Rockportaal really enjoy the Souls Of Deaf album and call it a damn fine album with catchy and fast metal
  • Dmitry from  DMME also had some nice things to say about last years Age Of Aquarius release and adds several new genre descriptions to the varied sound of the album
  • Zeitgeist / the Rocker have lots of praise for the Marenna live album and state that Melodic hard rock fans should definitely be giving it a listen
  • Belgian Metal Shredder found several favourites on the Souls Of Deaf album and describe it as an old-school album that aims to bring some of that classic Motörhead vibe to you but with a typically Dutch flavor
  • Metal Temple are very impressed by the Sky Empire album and give a 10 for songwriting and a 9 for originality!

And in Empire 127 Martin Dambeck wrote several impressions. For Chinawhite, Souls Of Deaf and Sunrise Auranaut. Read in the next documents:

Empire_127_PREVIEW 56-57

Empire_127_PREVIEW 59


chinawhite - differentAnd last but not least the kind words of Mr. H. for Chinawhite:

Rock Company

Another release from the men who never sleep. Yes, Peter Cox (not that one) and Phil Vincent have made another record to go with all their CranstoN / Forest Field endeavours.

Chinawhite, though, is all about the songs of Peter Cox. With all the vocals taken care of by Vincent and the drums coming from Praying Mantis man Hans in´t Zandt they’ve certainly put together a quality product. It’s mainly eighties styled melodic hard rock but they’ve also thrown in a few prog elements as well. It would be no surprise to find some mid-period Asia albums in the collection of Mr Cox.

They kick things off with one of the album highlights – ‘Kiss Of Fire’ – which is as hard rock as they get. The prog starts to arrive with ‘Hello To The World’ and from then on they mix and match as they please. When it works, it’s really enjoyable, although a couple of songs just miss. And just to reinforce the prog credentials the album closes with an eight minute instrumental. Hey! It’s my album and I’ll do what I like. A good one.

And more great reviews for our releases!

chinawhite - differentfred mika - withdrawal symptomssouls of deaf - fortune favors the boldSunrise Auranaut - Insertermarenna - livin no regretscryptic nature - pandorstill living - ymmijtragik - taintedAgain a bunch of reviews have reached our desk. Well, computer actually. For your convenience here a quick overview and the links on where to find them:

Rockportaal wrote an awesome piece about the latest Chinawhite album Different. Find the original here, and an English translation on the Chinawhite site.

Viri AOR wrote about Fred Mika and Chinawhite. These are in Spanish! The Fred Mika review describes it as solid, yet maybe a little irregular because of the style changes throughout the album. Since there are also only 5 star reviews from readers so far, I think it is received well! Chinawhite get a glowing recommended, and you can read a translation here.

Next is Strutter, Gabor has written no less than 8 short reviews on this page. Here his points for them:
Marenna 7.2, Cryptic Nature 7.6, Sunrise Auranaut 8.1, Still Living 7.5, Tragik 8.3, Chinawhite 8.3, Souls Of Deaf 8.1, and Fred Mika 8.4!

Then we arrive at They write about Chinawhite (9/15), Souls Of Deaf (7/15) and Fred Mika (10/15). Just shows that tastes differ…

And to conclude for now, we have Crossfire write about Marenna, leaving them a bit confused 😉

Thanks to the writers, enjoy reading!


still living - ymmijSunrise Auranaut - Insertermarenna - livin no regretsearthshine v - abstract patterns




Of course we send out all our releases to the press, hoping they will write about it. Alas not all magazines and websites let us know, but here a couple of recent reviews we enjoyed reading:

Heavy Paradise on Still Living – Ymmij And with a 9/10 score I think they liked the album as much as we do!

Zeitgeist – the Rocker also wrote about the Still Living album here. Plenty of good stuff according to Mr. H.!

Rockportaal wrote a piece about the Inserter album from Sunrise Auranaut. It is in Dutch, so some quotes:

  • lots of bombastic tinged instrumental prog spiced with jazzy influences with an overall Seventies mood
  • no easy digested songs here
  • a splendid listening challenge

The album gets comparisons with King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Par Lindh Project and classical composers like Grieg and Tchaikosky.

The Metal Mag spent time with the energetic Marenna live album Livin’ No Regrets. And calls it brilliant!

And also some words on the latest Earthshine release Abstract Patterns! Dmitry from DMME has a unique way of describing his listening experiences and had a few smiles to share.

Thanks to all the writers!

Rockportaal on Ymmij

rockportaalDutch site Rockportaal have reviewed the Still Living album, and acknowledge that is a grower! Find the original here, and next is what Google says it translates to:

Melodic hard rock from Brazil poured into a concept album.

This is already the third album of the band that was founded in 2004. In 2005 and 2007 two demos were released, after which it went through various personnel changes until 2012 before the first official album was released. The band consists of vocalist Renato Costa, guitarist Eduardo Holanda, bassist Wagner Souza, drummer Cleber Melo and keyboardist Thiago Nascimento. The band brings rock songs in the eighties style with a modern twist.

The protagonist is Jimmy who leads, in his eyes, hopeless existence. He has seen his heroes fall away and there are no ideals he lives for. If he looks at himself, he sees no reasons why this should continue. The album opens with Reign Of Pills in which Jimmy looks back on the night before. In the songs On The Edge and Call Of The Night we get a better picture of our protagonist. The songs lean on solid guitar work with spaces for longer solos. Costa knows how to determine the mood per song with his vocals, and does not even shy away from high shots.

King Of Nothing shows how Jimmy thinks about himself. The song starts with a nice dark guitar riff after which the drums are added. It is a solid rock song, just like Cult Of The Rough Awakening. Some quieter songs like Haunted are also well received.

Further in the story we meet the friend of Jimmy. Jane’s voice is done by Rosangela C. Taylor. After a confrontation with himself and a conversation with Jane, Jimmy walks out. The Dark shows the fatal end, or does not it? The story seems to have an open end. This is followed by the instrumental As Shallow As It Gets and the bonus number Redemption, especially added to the European market.

An album with a story. A story that clearly emerges and is well composed. The band puts a dozen good songs on this album, it takes some getting used to the style at the first listen, especially through the spoken dialogues here and there. As the number of listens increases, the album grows.

Thank you Edwin!

MusikReviews DE on Ymmij - still livingGerman site Musikreviews have done a review of the Ymmij album from Still Living. But since that is in German, I thought I’d put an English translation on the site. Find the original here, and next is what Google says it reads:

Brazilian at a Dutch label … But with STILL LIVING is at first glance and listen even more unusual. It all starts with the artwork, with which the band aims cramped at teenagers, who are guaranteed not to jump on the completely outdated (albeit timeless) sound that the musicians, who are also not that old, celebrate.

The result is the next curiosity, at least for critics of the eternally old Melodic-Rock formula, because STILL LIVING have spent a lot of material on their third album – and actually managed to not be bored a bit, which has several reasons. The guitars always take precedence, and the focus is on the powerful and empathetic voice of Renato Costa, who does not go beyond stupid love poetry, but the good as bad part of the genre standard, right?

Anyway, this is all about hooks or tunes, and that’s what “Ymmij” is all about. The ballads’ Haunted ‘and’ Mr. Mirror ‘(great piano) bristle before that, of course, but the actual listeners are other songs: the darkly quiet’ Peace or Pieces? ‘, The slightly melancholic’ The Man I’ve Become ‘with (as usual everywhere else) discreet keyboard- use, or the hammering ‘On the Edge’ with particularly rough vocals.

Most of the tracks of the quintet shine through lovingly elaborated unison choirs in just the right places and refrains for the arenas of the 1980s (‘Call of the Night’). You do not need anything more, and that captivates you throughout the entire album.

CONCLUSION: Loose-fluffy fabric for the clientele of BON JOVI, JOURNEY, with smears BOSTON or WHITESNAKE without Coverdale’s power behind the mic from South America, but without the touch of Latino passion. Well, the clichés are somewhere else at STILL LIVING – in the AOR and plush rock of the old school.

Thank you Andreas!

More reviews!

The latest bunch of reviews that have come in:

US site Sea Of Tranquility write about Sunrise Auranaut and The Ocean Of Unspoken Words here. It is well written, and honest, thank you Steven.

Tragik’s latest opus Tainted got a mixed review from French metal site Metal Integral. The original is here, and you can find a translation to English here.

And last but not least some reviews for Still Living and their wonderful Ymmij opus. German site Musikreviews wrote about theme here. And Dutch site RockPortaal’s findings you can read here. We will try to translate to English soon, or use Google :).

Tons Of Reviews!

cryptic nature - pandorstill living - ymmij tragik - taintedOur recent releases have been getting lots of attention around the world. Not all love of course,  but hey we are indies and cannot afford to pay loads of advertising money. 🙂
But still, some very nice reports coming back.

If you want to know what some of the press is saying, check the next links:

UK, The Midlands Rocks: Brian McGowan calls Tragiks Phil Vincent the insider’s AOR hero, so that is quite the compliment in a way. Read his thoughts on the album here. Thank you Brian! Also find reviews for Still Living and Cryptic Nature there.

Dutch Lords Of Metal also wrote about these releases. Not all friendly… But the Still Living one is quite nice. Read that here.

UK’s Woody’s Rock Reviews gave Tragik – Tainted an 8 /10. Read here why.

And also Mr. H. from Zeitgeist / The Rocker tells us Tainted is “another enjoyable release for those of who grew up with this kind of music”. Read his thoughts on his website.

Ymmij leaves reviewers wanting more!

still living - fireworksHere a few more #reviews for the new album Ymmij from Still Living​! And they are absolutely awesome. The one from Fireworks Magazine​ is depicted. Just click to enlarge it.

Roxx2Metal also really liked the album, find that here.
And more from Uber Rock​ (“they could be huge”) and Rock Files Promo​ (“a huge step forward and credits for the amazing work”), the latter also put it in their 2017 Top 20!

So fan of #melodicrock #hardrock and #AOR. You know what to do 🙂

Strongly Recommended for Ymmij

still living - ymmijThe folks from odayrocks have written another strong review for Still Living! Here’s what they had to say about the disc:

The curiously titled “YmmiJ” is the new album from Brazilian Melodic Hard Rockers STILL LIVING to be released tomorrow December 8. It marks a new step for the band as with this third effort STILL LIVING have created some kind of a concept, however all songs work on their own wrapped with infectious hooks that will appeal to any lover of classic / 80s influenced melodic hard rock.

While most of the songs in “YmmiJ” are linked by a story about modern age tribulations of a guy called Jimmy (hence the album’s title, his name backwards “YmmiJ”), you can easily enjoy all songs separately.
And what really matters with STILL LIVING is their music, melodic hooky rockers very well rounded.
‘Reign of Pills’ opens the album in great form somehow reminding me of MISS BEHAVIOUR formula of sweet guitar riffs, nice keyboards, melodic verses and a catchy chorus. Renato Costa owns a proper tenor rocking voice for this kind of rock – a bit accented but it provides an exotic charm, while the rest of the guys are solid musicians.

Harder, second cut ‘On the Edge’ is driven by sharp guitars, even increased on the bouncy rocker ‘Call of the Night’, but next ‘Dusty Blue Shadow’ returns to a familiar Melodic Rock territory.
‘The Man I’ve Become’ is one of my favorites, with a clear American Melodic Rock influx in the JOURNEY vein complete with lovely keyboards and an anthemic feel. ‘King of Nothing’ provides a groovy rocking rhythm and darker lyrics, followed by the quite solid ballad ‘Haunted’ with fine clean guitar creating atmosphere.

The midtempo AORish ‘Peace or Pieces?’ musically brings to my mind Kevin Chalfant’s TWO FIRES, ‘I.M. Jimmy’ rocks with an European touch (compared with Italians WHEELS OF FIRE), and ‘Mr. Mirror’ is another good ballad, this time with piano as main instrument.
Reaching the end, ‘Cult of the Rough Awakening’ is more like a hard rocker, then ‘In the Dark’ is the final short spoken interlude (there’s 4 in the tracklist) before closing with the very melodic instrumental ‘As Shallow as It Gets’.

It’s great to hear bands like STILL LIVING keeping the Melodic Rock / AOR flame alive at every corner of the planet.
“YmmiJ” is solid, entertaining record mixing hooks & melodies with a concept story – follow it or not, in any way you will enjoy it.
Strongly Recommended

01 – Reign of Pills
02 – On the Edge
03 – Call of the Night
04 – Dusty Blue Shadow
05 – Listen to Me!
06 – The Man I’ve Become
07 – King of Nothing
08 – Haunted
09 – Peace or Pieces?
10 – Who Are You?
11 – Mr. Mirror
12 – I.M. Jimmy
13 – Jane
14 – Cult of the Rough Awakening
15 – In the Dark / As Shallow as It Gets

Renato Costa – Vocals
Eduardo Holanda – Guitars
Wagner Souza – Bass
Thiago Nascimento – Keyboards
Cleber Melo – Drums

First Reviews for Still Living and Yimmij!


still living - ymmijFirst review to appear for Still Living’s new album Ymmij is from Spanish site ViriAOR. For those (like me) whose understanding of the language is poor; here an English translation:

Still Living is a Brazilian band created in 2004, which would initially release two demos, Still Living (2005) and Believe (2007). After some changes in their training, they release two albums, From now on in 2012 and Humanity in 2015.

Its members are: Renato Costa on vocals, Eduardo Holanda on guitar, Cleber Melo on drums and Thiago Nascimento on keyboards.

YmmiJ, which is the album that concerns us today, is, therefore, his third album that will go on sale on December 8.

The first thing that calls the attention of YmmiJ, is its strange title, I was thinking about the meaning for a while, until I finally hit on it, but I’m not going to advance anything, to see if the readers discover it.

The cover, has a very worked design, is a comic where it shows a bar of drinks and the band playing live, very curious.

After a first contact with the subjects, I notice that there are some cuts that are spoken, it took me a while to realize, it’s a story! what a surprise! It is a narrative conceptual disc that presents spoken parts and dialogues that assemble the songs to reveal the story of Jimmy, a man trapped in alcohol and drugs, fighting against his own demons. Throughout the disc, other characters will appear as they are, Jane and Stranger, the latter is something like a hallucination or perhaps the voice of conscience.

The disc begins with Reign of pills, where the protagonist begins to reveal his tormented life, a half time of melodic hard rock. It reminds me a lot of the melodic style of the current “Italian school”.

On the Edge and Call of the night – are more dirtier rock songs, with an energy that is almost sleazy rock.

In Dusty Blue Shadow – we find Jimmy talking to Stranger, Stranger pretends that Jimmy faces his fears, it is an energetic theme and a catchy chorus.

Listen to Me – (spoken)
The Man I’ve Become – a track in nineties style, remind me, on occasion, to 91 Suite.

King Of Nothing – another up tempo cut, the rhythmic base hits incisively, concluding the subject in a darker way with a heavy riff.
In a more relaxed atmosphere we find Haunted where the voice of Renato Costa shines in its fullness, which is able to find the vocal balance in each theme, whether it is a ballad or a hard rock theme.

Peace or Pieces – a guitar in the most classic style opens a theme that will turn into a half-time with a rough drumming.
Who Are You? – (spoken)

Mr. Mirrow – more complex, consists of four parts, which introduces the Stranger character in the form of a ballad in a splendid vocal and piano exercise, then it will become a second part more cane to finish the final part in a slow and harmonious way.
I.M. Jimmy, like a cry of help from Jimmy, where the voice looks torn with great contribution of keyboards.

Jane – (spoken) conversation between Jimmy and Jane
Cult of the Rough Awakening – energetic hard rock, where Jimmy shows all his frustration.

In The Dark / As Shallow as It Gets – (spoken-instrumental), here the story is concluded, the end of which I will not reveal and an instrumental closure with orchestral arrangements is added, which impregnate an epic character.

Redemption is an added track for the European edition. Accompanying the piano, magnificent vocal harmonies, spectacular, it would have been a shame to leave it out.

It is an album of melodic hard rock, intelligent and ambitious, where the lyric intention and the instrumentation are found, constructing a stimulating story, in which although the hardrock themes are very meritorious, but the middle times and the ballads are the jewels of the disk. The interpretation of Renato Costa favors the different atmospheres to give meaning to the concept of the disc.

Oh and by the way you have already discovered the riddle of the disc title?

Thank You Alicia!

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