CORONATUS       Lux Noctis
Massacre Records (release: September 21st, 2007)

First feeling: this Lux Noctis highly sounds like NIGHTWISH's debut albums. A few differences however: half of the tracks are sung in German (we have to say it's a German band) and CORONATUS are led by two female singers who equally share the task, a brunette and a blonde. One more "symphonic Metal with female singers" act ? Yes, but the whole is very nice and well played, with catchy melodies as on My Rose Desire or Hot & Cold. And it's only their first outlet so leave them time to stand out...Laurent

MINISTRY       The Last Sucker
13th Planet Records (release: September 21st, 2007)

Frontman Al Jourgensen announced that The Last Sucker will be MINISTRY’s final studio album. For a couple of years now, his work as an artist had merged with his individual commitment to denounce American president George W. Bush and his administration’s political erring. Now that the "President of the Earth" is about to leave, Jourgensen feels like having a break and getting into something new. But he’s too good a fellow to let his old friend Dubya go without a retirement gift.
And it’s a trilogy: after Houses Of The Molé (2004) and Rio Grande Blood (2006), here’s The Last Sucker (guess who the sucker is…).
"Greed… Power… Corruption…" another big punch on the nose of the bastards who wanted to rule the world and suck the last dollar out of it, but it’s all good for us !
The Last Sucker is not as easy to get into as Rio Grande Blood was: you’ll have to play it a couple of times to appreciate the subtlety behind the sonic storm. But in the end (and that’s the miracle with MINISTRY) each and every song carves its own groove into your brains, from the heavy End Of Days to the primal HxC/Punk anthem Die In A Crash. Special guests Dubya and his minion Dick Cheney reluctantly appear on backing vocals (Death And Destruction, The Dick Song) for our greatest pleasure (it’s not "Spinal Tap" every day in the Metal world). Burton C. Bell (FEAR FACTORY) was probably more cooperative on Die In A Crash and End Of Days, while one can wonder how Jim Morrison would like the hyper speed version of Roadhouse Blues (personally, I dig it !).
MINISTRY’s swan song was recorded with the help of talented PRONG mates Tommy Victor (guitar) and Paul Raven (bass), who already backed Jourgensen on Rio Grande Blood. THE REVOLTING COCKS’ tour guitarist Sin Quirin was also part of the process.
Unfortunately, while MINISTRY was planning to blow their final firework on tour over the world in 2008, bassist Paul Raven died of a heart attack on October 20th, one month after the release of the album. According to the press release, he was working on French Metal legend TREPONEM PAL’s comeback release in Switzerland.
Al Jourgensen announced that he was now to devote himself to his label 13th Planet Records, swapping the microphone for the studio gear and MINISTRY for collaboration with new artists. Dubya’s almost gone, right, but who will speak to America’s conscience if he leaves a clone behind ? The last sucker, really ? "Greed… Power… Corruption…": there are lots of candidates worldwide.David

MAEDER       Maeder
Locomotive Records (release: September 28th, 2007)

- Rock band + Australia + brothers + new album in 2007… err, let me see… you don’t mean… ?
- No, I don’t ! We’re talking about the Maeder brothers, Nic and Sebastian. Along with bassist Kit Riley and drummer Travis Dragani, they’re coming forward as a band under the name of… MAEDER with their first album calleOne might say they really lack imagination and fear that… and still, I must admit the first guitar chords of Never Last really sound like we’re gonna have another copycat of the Young brothers’ band. Hey, wait a minute: it’s not as simple as that.
MAEDER is presenting us with an intelligent blend of classic Aussie rock and melodic vocals, the whole stuff resulting in catchy songs with greasy vintage sound. Nic Maeder’s voice is smoother than Bon Scott or Angry Anderson’s, still rough enough to recall that this is Hard Rock. Some might say that this sounds like AC/DC playing GOTTHARD songs (and the two brothers spent some time in Switzerland)… well, why not, but it’s very pleasant indeed !
MAEDER is the not the kind of band that will move the Metal landscape upside down, still it would be such a shame to ignore this album and deprive oneself of the pleasure of this 12 songs-necklace because it’s only made of pearls and not diamonds.David

NIGHTWISH       Dark Passion Play
Nuclear Blast (release: September 28th, 2007)

If there is a long awaited album, it is this one for sure !  And we've been waiting to catch it out for the reason everybody knows, namely drummer Jukka Nevalainen has changed his brand of cymbals. Err… no, it's not right… it's the new female singer, Swedish Anette Olzon who focuses attention indeed.
The first listening is obviously disconcerting, especially as Dark Passion Play starts with an epic intro about 14 minutes long, The Poet And The Pendulum, on which Marco Hietala already steps in on vocals, still as excellent as with his own band TAROT, and omnipresent on the second track, Bye Bye Beautiful, with a Wish I Had An Angel's rhythmic, and "paying tribute" to the former singer (actually, it seems to be "gunfight at the O.K. Corral"). And the songs link together, even more symphonic in the whole than on Once, with incidentally the heaviest track (Master Passion Greed), fully sung by the bassist this time. Are you sure that the girl is the new vocalist ? Ah, a ballad, Eva, just to get the lead back during a couple of songs, with very catchy Whoever Brings The Night, before the Folk intermezzo with dispensable The Islander and Last Of The Wilds. Yeah, it's always the same with a thirteen tracks album, it's two or three too many.
Report: Miss Olzon is a very good vocalist but she sings in a more common and less warm style, so with the many female singer bands, one can say we had Tarja and the others once, we have Anette among the others now. After all, the musicians didn't want to recruit a clone of Miss Turunen. So, it's done… as a suicide, although NIGHTWISH still stand out of the crowd of their contestants. Now’s the time for the severe test of gigs, where her detractors (already ?!) will go to listen to her singing the old songs. Anyway, the best thing is to wish her good luck and particularly a big heart. But didn't she already have the courage to accept this mission… impossible ?...Laurent

SOUL DOCTOR       Blood Runs Cold
Metal Heaven (release: September 28th, 2007)

A brilliant US Hard Rock album the BON JOVI way but played by German first aid officers, with vocalist Tommy Heart who sings in FAIR WARNING too. It's not their best effort but every track goes off without a hitch.Jean-Luc