Floor Jansen – Paragon

Paragon Album Cover Art

Floor Jansen – Paragon
Crash Records
Release Date: 24/03/23
Running Time: 34:39
Review by Simon Black

Like many people I only really came across the highly impressive Ms. Jansen after she had joined Nightwish in 2013, but the building blocks of this album date back to her days in fellow Symphonic pioneers After Forever. Although highly respected, the band petered out after a decade or so, but this highly anticipated solo album has thematic content dating back from those days, as well as being lynch-pinned around the highly talented multi-instrumentalist Gordon Groothedde. Groothedde had producer duties back in the After Forever days, but he is a hugely talented musician and songwriter in his own right and plays a huge amount of the instrumental content on this album as well as contributing to the song-writing.

She may have been the voice of two fundamental Symphonic Metal acts, but that’s not what “Paragon” is about. Stylistically this is a soaring piece of very mainstream Pop-Rock that just happens to have one of the best Metal vocalists on the planet behind it, which is why it really straddles the two seemingly incompatible audiences very well. At the end of the day, it’s that astounding vocal range, power and charismatic performance that is going to bring people to this album, and Jansen absolutely hits the spot here.

Her vocal performance doesn’t pull any punches at all, so don’t expect a watered-down version of her normal self – it’s just the music is more way less loud and heavy but has lost none of the complexity and technicality behind the arrangements. Whereas in Nightwish, she’s sharing a busy stage with a shed load of talented players bouncing off each other, this record is all about her, and consequently steps back to let her shine. That said the arrangements are far from simplistic, with progressions that allow her to show her enormous range and build presence as the songs unfold. They are also all quite short, all under four minutes and focussed on telling a story, many of which take on a different light when viewed through the prism of her recent battle with cancer (‘Hope’ and ‘Invincible’ in particular). 

If you want soaring huge metal epics, then her day job band is where you probably should head, but if you want an insight into what makes Floor tick then yes, you are going to be pleasantly surprised. 

‘Me Without You’ Official Video

01. My Paragon
02. Daydream
03. Invincible
04. Hope
05. Come Full Circle
06. Storm
07. Me Without You
08. The Calm
09. Armoured Wings
10. Fire


Floor Jansen – Vocals
Gordon Groothedde – Bass, Guitars, Drums, Piano & Keys, Strings & Brass, Midi,
Backing Vocals
Ivo Maarhuis – Drums
Ton Dijkman – Drums
Wouter Hardy – Piano & Keys, Midi, Strings & Brass, Midi


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Anneke Van Giersbergen – The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest

The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest Cover Art

Anneke Van Giersbergen – The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest
Inside Out Music
Release Date: 26/02/2021
Running Time: 41:51
Review by Dark Juan

Alright, me old muck spreaders? It is I, your Northern overlord, Dark Juan, here once again to regale you with tales of derring-do and heroism on the field of battle. Not about me, you understand. If there were ever a time I was required to serve in the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom I’d head straight for the RAF’s recruitment office. You see, the RAF are sensible. Unlike the Army, the RAF sends the officers out to fight their war while all the lower ranks stay home and drink cocktails and occasionally tinker with something expensive and probably explosive. Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t want old One-Tooth Joe from the Black Bull pub on the corner operating a computer based killing machine worth £100million at supersonic speeds on the frontier of a hostile state. That’s what Wing Commander the Right Honourable Algernon Charles St. John Cholmondeley- Featherstonehaugh is for. One-Tooth Joe can be better employed putting oil in the trucks at the base where the good WingCo will be landing after dropping a thousand pounds of laser-guided explosive death on some miscreants somewhere in the Middle East…

None of which has anything at all to do with what I am supposed to be doing, which is listening to the latest record from the absolutely wonderful Anneke Van Giersbergen. Yes, the estimable and superb vocalist of The Gathering, VUUR, The Devin Townsend Project and many other records has returned with a selection of new music. A warning – if you are expecting the face of Anneke that is the metal queen version, you are going to be gravely disappointed with this album as this is a record that proves the versatility and uniqueness of Anneke Van Giersbergen as an artist in her own right, untrammelled and unconstrained by genre or style. Indeed, the actual music on this record is incredibly sparse, most of the time just some simple percussion, some strings and an acoustic guitar, and the clear and bell like tones of Anneke’s unique voice, sometimes multitracked into some sublime harmonies.

The album is based around the fact that there was a period in Anneke’s life and marriage that involved profound upheaval and heartbreak and this album is her catharsis. To that end, the lyrical content is woundingly personal and honest when discussing feelings and the sense of loss and suffering that she had been experiencing at that time, and the internal discussions she was having with herself. The title itself suggests that in order to get to the sunlit uplands of life you have to go through the black times to appreciate the light. Which, to be fair, during these current times of pestilence and lockdown rules, is a timely reminder that suffering now will bring reward in the future and that you must remain focused on attaining normality again.

Musically, the album reminds me in many places of Kate Bush and Cyndi Lauper – not because of the voice (because Anneke is quite unlike any vocalist ever) but because of the sheer disinterest in fitting in with any standard or genre. ‘Hurricane’ is the most Bush like of the songs on here, with choppy, unpredictable harmonies and vocals and a strange sounding acoustic riff. It is musically intrepid even with the simple instrumentation and multitracked harmonies and cheerfully stomps all over any notion of fitting in. Talking of stomping, ‘Survive’ does just that, percussion building into an almost war dance while Anneke builds from a soft, lilting vocal into a powerful contralto shout and drive for the survival of her relationship. This is the theme of the whole record – Raw emotion and agonising honesty over music which is just a vehicle for what Anneke wants to say to her husband. It is not a record that was ever planned to be released, in my opinion, but it is a public affirmation of love and a desire to make everything right again and to never stop fighting for her marriage. In that regard, it is one of the heaviest records of all time because of the naked heartbreak and pain on display, but it is by no means a heavy metal record. Not even a little bit.

If anything, it is the aural equivalent of Kintsugi – The Japanese art of repairing broken things with precious metals, because the value and the beauty of the repaired thing and the continued love and appreciation of it only increases. This album is musical Kintsugi and that is its sole purpose. Taking that as a basis for my critique, then, Anneke Van Giersbergen has repaired her relationship and shot it through with veins of silver and gold and made something stronger than ever before and musically has welded those precious metals into the open wounds of suffering she was displaying and sealed them closed with profundity and honesty and gold and silver and made herself transcendental. Therefore, this record is a colossal success on that front.

But, because I am a hard headed and black hearted bastard, I have to remember that I write for a heavy metal website and this ranks among the least musically heavy records I have ever heard. However, one of my scoring criteria is that the music has to be interesting, and Anneke van Giersbergen delivers interest in spades. The lyrical content couldn’t be any heavier if it tried (I’m not talking about dragons and fucking demons and succubi here, I’m talking about the themes of loneliness and suffering and love dying and there being desolation all around you – that shit is heavy as FUCK and if you disagree you’re frankly wrong, mate) and although the music is gentle and sweet, it still holds you in some form of rapture. The sheer beauty and versatility of Van Giersbergen’s voice is amply displayed and flits from soft, almost inarticulate (the kind of sounds an upset child might use to comfort themselves) crooning through to full powered, vibrato fuelled rebellion, and her delivery is never less than utterly flawless. This is not a record to listen to. This is a record to feel, and frankly Dark Juan is fucking disgusted with himself for actually having been affected by this album and discovering that he hasn’t actually purged all human emotion from his twisted black soul. Although that could be because I have adored Anneke Van Giersbergen’s voice since The Gathering released ”Mandylion” in 1995.

I’m extremely conflicted. This album is a work of emotional subtlety and exemplary songwriting prowess and musicianship and deserves a huge score because it is a tumultuous rollercoaster of emotion and pain and redemption, but it is not a heavy metal record. Fuck it, I’ve decided…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Anneke Van Giersbergen 9/10 for a record that doesn’t just tug on the heartstrings, it rips them out and beats you to death with the wet ends. Moving, affecting and utterly captivating, this record is worth the expense simply for the cathartic effect it provides when you want heavy emotion but not heavy sounds. However, I have deducted a mark because it isn’t a heavy metal record and I write for Ever-METAL.com. This should not be taken as a demerit, it’s just that Anneke’s album ain’t a metal one although it is heavy as fuck.

Agape (Lyric Video)

01. Agape
02. Hurricane
03. My Promise
04. I Saw A Car
05. The Soul Knows
06. The End
07. Keep It Simple
08. Lo And Behold
09. Losing You
10. Survive
11. Love You Like I Love You


Anneke Van Giersbergen Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

WINO – Forever Gone

WINO – Forever Gone
Ripple Music
Release Date: 26/06/2020
Running Time: 46 mins
Review by Alun Jones

Who remembers that old TV programme, The Fall Guy? You know, the one where the Six Million Dollar Man becomes a stuntman/bounty hunter, getting into all kinds of daredevil scrapes whilst pursuing the bad guys? At the end of every episode, old Lee Majors (for it was he) would be seen chilling in his backyard hot tub, mulling over events whilst drinking a cold beer and smoking a big, fat cigar.

Well let it be known that I, too, like to relax in the tub with a beer after a long, hard day of whatever-the-fuck-it-is-I-do. None of your business, really. Just take it from me, I need to unwind in a mass of bubble bath, with candles and refreshment. And of course, some music, just to add to the ambience.

This might not sound very metal to you, but let me tell ya: this new album from doom metal originator Scott “Wino” Weinrich would make ideal tunes for chilling in the tub. Or pondering lost loves and fortunes in a dusty bar. Or sound tracking a lonely drive across the desert, escaping an inevitable encounter. But to be honest, I like the bathtub metaphor best, ‘cos I’ve not used it before.

‘Forever Gone’ is stripped down and intimate; the title song itself is just Wino the man, plus acoustic guitar. Beautifully melancholic, the listener can really get lost in this. ‘Taken’ also ploughs a lonesome path, with Wino’s voice revealing a soulfulness that I’d never appreciated before.

For any fans of The Obsessed or Saint Vitus who were hoping for something louder and more aggressive, there’s not too much of a leap from familiar ground really. Other than the sonics, the emotions of loss and despair are what unifies Wino’s other output to this endeavour. ‘Dark Ravine’ brings a more Americana style to the proceedings, but it’s all still intense as hell, whether the guitars are turned right up or not.

It’s not all gloom, though: ‘You’re So Fine’ introduces a laid back, country blues number that sounds almost boogie-ish. Throw in a great cover of Joy Division’s ‘Isolation’ and this is an album that’s certainly full of surprises.

Great music can create images in your head for your own movie; “Forever Gone” is one of those. Melodic yet mournful, intense and introspective, there are dozens of stories to be told within the grooves of this record.

01. Forever Gone
02. Taken
03. The Song’s at the Bottom of the Bottle
04. No Wrong
05. Dark Ravine
06. Dead Yesterday
07. You’re So Fine
08. Crystal Madonna
09. Lavender and Sage
010. Was Is and Shall Be
11. Isolation



Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Johnny Gioeli- One Voice

One Voice Cover

Johnny Gioeli- One Voice
Frontiers Music
Running Time: 40:25
Release Date 07/12/2018
Review by Tsarina Wilson

On hearing the first track of “One Voice” I thought I had pressed play on a Jon Bon Jovi track by accident. I checked but it was definitely Johnny Gioeli, so I carried on and just had to listen to it all.
Johnny has been around the music industry for a few years (25 I think, sorry Johnny) but his sound is so fresh and new-sounding. Johnny has been in Hardline, Crush 40 and played with Axel Rudi Pell but he decided it was now time to do something on his own.
Ok, he is not totally on his own as his band consists of himself on vocals, Eric Gadrix on guitars, Nik Mazzucconi on bass, Marco Di Salvia on drums and Alessandro Del Vecchio on keyboards. But Johnny woke up one day and thought “I just wanna do this, I’ve always been so faithful to the groups I’m in and I remain that way, but I just thought it was time to do something on my own and see how it goes, for the creativity and the freedom to express myself.” “One Voice” is the outcome and we are very grateful he decided to do it.
A big portion of the money raised for this album, through a crowd funding campaign, is going directly to help a young man named Joe Barber. Joe needs help to recover from an accident last year that left him paralyzed, and if I didn’t like Johnny already because of his sound, I like him even more now. I am humbled by this action and he has my total respect.
This whole album has a feelgood factor from the first track to the last. It’s rare you get a whole album that you can dance around to, yet chill to at the same time but this one is that album. It gives you guitar rock with some pop undertones, along with some great melodic rock.
The track ‘Deeper’ is a softer ballad but it still has that rock hint to it and ‘Let Me Know’ has a chorus that you just have to sing along too. Mind you, that’s pretty much the whole album! It has an up-lifting vibe all the way through. Its solid rock songs which Johnny’s voice easily adapts to, from the rockiest tracks to the ballads.
But also, let’s not take anything away from the guys he has with him. They are a great band which compliment him so well. There is a drum beat that has your foot tapping more than once, especially on ‘Hit Me Once, I’ll Hit Ya Twice’ and guitar solos which just melt you! What more could you ask for?
The emotional ride on this album is one that takes you from totally bouncing around to back down to earth with gripping ballads like ‘Price We Pay’, and with lines like “how much is life gonna cost you” it is talking about the fictional lives people live these days, which get you nowhere in the end.
Johnny has an amazing knack of writing catchy songs, whether this is a fast rock track, or a heartfelt ballad and these songs will get stuck in your head. It’s rare that someone is the whole package, to be writing such great tracks and sounding so good singing them too, but this album proves it can be done.
It’s a solid album of pure rock songs, heart-warming lyrics but delivered with a rocky punch. If this is the first solo album I am genuinely hoping there will be more to come.
3- One Voice
4-Mind Melt
7-Let Me Know
8-Hit Me Once, Hit Ya Twice
9-Price We Pay
10-Out Of Here
11-Oh Fathers

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bob Kulick – Skeletons in the Closet

Skeletons In The Closet Cover

Bob Kulick – Skeletons In The Closet
Vanity Music Group
Release Date: 15/09/2017
Running Time: 43:55
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

You must be doing a good job as a review website when someone approaches you to review their latest album, right? But, when that someone is none other than American guitarist and Grammy Award winning record producer, Bob Kulick, you must be doing an awesome job! Well, that’s exactly what happened to us at Ever Metal headquarters and we are honoured to review his latest album ‘Skeletons in The Closet.’

Best known for his studio work with Kiss and his tenure with WASP, Bob was born in Brooklyn, New York, and is the older brother of former Kiss lead guitarist, Bruce Kulick, who, incidentally, was put forward for the job by Bob, himself.

Bob took a chance in 1973 and auditioned for the lead guitar spot in the then-new band, Kiss, but, although he impressed the other members of the band, it was the glitzier, Ace Frehley, who had auditioned directly after him, who was chosen to fill the spot.

Despite this, Bob later played (albeit uncredited) on four Kiss albums: Alive II (he played on three of the five studio tracks on the second side), Unmasked (where he played guitar on the track Naked City), Killers (playing on all four of the new studio tracks) and some minimal work on Creatures of the Night. He also played guitar on Paul Stanley’s 1978 solo album and on his 1989 solo tour.

But his contribution to the music world didn’t stop there. He has also worked with the likes of Motorhead, Meatloaf, Doro, Lou Reed and Tim “Ripper” Owens as well as playing guitar on WASP albums The Crimson Idol and Still Not Black Enough. This, as well as forming his own bands Balance, Skull and Murderer’s Row, have earned him 11 platinum or gold records throughout his career.

So, what of this album? Well, after a career spanning over forty years, this is actually Bob’s first solo album!! Recorded at Vegas View Recordings in Las Vegas, and produced and engineered by Bob himself, along with Bobby Ferrari, this is a collection of five new tracks and five classics from his albums with Skull and Murderer’s Row and features an array of musicians.

For a first solo album it would have been nice for all the tracks to be brand new ones, but I don’t really know much about Bob’s catalogue, so they were all new to me. While this is fine with me, older fans might feel a bit cheated by this.

Despite this, Skeletons in the Closet is a feel-good album, with lots of great rock tracks. The first half of the album consists of the five new tracks, probably the best of these being “London”, which tells the story of Jack the Ripper, and features the vocals of Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. The only slightly ‘dodgy’ track of these five being the cover of “Goldfinger!” I didn’t really see the point of it and didn’t think it quite worked. I would have much rather seen another track like “London” or opening track “Rich Man”.

As previously mentioned, I don’t know much about Bob’s back catalogue so none of the classic tracks were known to me, but my favourite of these must have been title track “Skeletons in the Closet”. Sounding like it could easily have been pinched from the back catalogue of WASP, it features the vocals of David Glen Eisley, although he could easily be mistaken for Blackie Lawless (who I actually thought was singing at first!)

This album was never going to break any new ground, and I can picture some of the “older” music fans saying that it’s all been done before but even if you buy it simply for Bob’s guitar playing, its more than worth it. I’ve had this in my car for over a week now and I am still not bored with it, each track sounding better the more times I listen to it.

So, if you are a fan of technical music and poetic lyrics then this is not the album for you, but if you like a bit of rock you can listen to loud in your car with the roof down then go and get a copy of this! I loved it and I am sure you will too!

01. Rich Man
02. Not Before You
03. London
04. Goldfinger
05. Player
06. India
07. Skeletons in The Closet
08. Guitar Commandos
09. Eyes of A Stranger



Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.