mercoledì 11 marzo 2015

A few great pics of the great show at Rock 'n' Roll RHO!

Thanks RockHard for the great review 


I found NERACRUZ to be an enjoyable discovery amongst an Italian Music scene dominated by unoriginal bands trying to copy a foreign sound. A very interesting Debut album offered by this Anglo/Italian outfit who offer a mix of songs in English, Italian and some...times both during the same song. An excellent production gives a great base to this great product, that although occasionally lack in variety is without a doubt unique. The album gives an initial impression of Litbiba, Cult (Sonic Temple) and Depeshe Mode's dark wave feel all with excellent results. NERACRUZ's calling card is a well thought out sound, cold but at the same time inviting, where Rock and Electronic mix well with a great drum groove, never losing sight of radio friendly melodies and succeeding in the difficult task of giving an international feel to Italian Rock and at the same time an Italian feel to international Rock. An excellent debut and a formation worth keeping an eye on.

Thanks Marcello from



Neracruz, created in '95 by Raff after leaving his native Italy and settling in London. The singer forged an outfit with 2 Brits and 2 Italians all with different musical backgrounds but the right chemistry needed for such a project. A project that combines, in perfect harmony, styles and emotions, such as Dark/Goth, the rhythmic full synth sounds of New Wave/techno, the energetic grind of Rock/Metal, each track its own identity. In 2014 the band signed a deal with 'Valery Records' and released the 11 track album 'NERACRUZ'. The linguistic choice of songs in both Italian, and English (often during the same song), renders this a varied and interesting listen. The Italian lyrics are well thought out which is something to be noted and not underestimated.
Let's have a look at what we can expect from "NERACRUZ".
Deep in dark melancholy, the track "Pure Love" shrouds and pulls us into this turbulent work. One is instantly drawn to the intense electronic melodies that give both body and rhythm whilst keeping an undertone of grinding power and energy.
Raff's voice gives the song "Borderline" a magnetic and charismatic touch.
Other songs such as the single "The Dream" and "Kill Me Not" lean towards a more rhythmic, danceable Techno feel whilst "Look of your eyes" and "War Dance" draw you into an irresistible rhythm from the very first listen.
Tracks such as "Nova" and "Moonwatch" show a more sensitive and intimate side to the band with an almost delicate sound in the first and a rougher rawer sound in the second, while "Fever" mixes rhythm and melancholy resulting in an emotional and intricate track.
We also find tracks such as "The Only One" and "Blind Game" that give us a 'harder' sound whilst not letting go of the all important melody.
I can do nothing but appreciate this offering by "NERACRUZ", a band who's brilliant songwriting capability manage to perfectly combine genres that at first one would think would not mix well. I highly recommend this album, created by excellent musicians who know just what to do and how to do it.


venerdì 6 marzo 2015


When a pure Metal Fan and Metal reviewer gives you a score of 90/100 then you know you're gonna have a great weekend. Thanks to Mattia for the great review...check out their web page for great reviews and news on the music we love:

Check the translation (original is in Italian):
My usual followers, of both this site and our twin ‘Heavy Metal Heaven, know that I’m not a huge fan of the alternative scene, save a few exceptions: a style that doesn’t do much for me personally, preferring to concentrate on my preferred taste of ‘Metal’. However, every now and again something different pops up that catches my eye: in this case I’m talking about NERACRUZ, the Anglo/Italian band with a long career behind them but have only just released their first self-titled album. The band present themselves as a mix of Goth, Rock and New wave with heavy influences from such bands as Depeche Mode and the Cure, whilst throwing into the mix a number of other genres such as Dance, Metal, alternative and post-punk. A powerful highlight of this album is without a doubt the keyboards delivered by Marco “Marco Cruz” Mazzesi, with an ever present persuasive sound cosistant through the whole album and Raffaele “Raff Cruz” Calabrese’s low and warn vocal tones. These highlights give an interesting feel to the album, also down to the instantly memorable melodies, choice of language that changes from both English to Italian (often during the same song), which although an extremely difficult task Neracruz manage to pull it off flawlessly. The album offers a mix that shows style and high commercial probability, without renouncing on a solid Rock base, great songwriting while never becoming obvious: the result being that NERACRUZ, as we shall see in a moment, are a real jewel in this particular genre.
With a brief electronic intro we launch into Pure Love, a medium paced song that splits between Electronic, Rock with a vocal Gothic feel generating an effect both powerfull (the chorus) and rthmic with Steve “Steve Cruz” Pons’s bass shouting out during the verse. A brief ‘bridge’ then back into the chorus that shouts out ‘power’ with a melody that once in your head will not leave again. A simple song structure with a classic feel which remains throughout the album that is not a problem. The song represents three and a half minutes that will never bore you, a theme that opens this album in perfect style.
Next up is Boardeline, a calmer and more flowing piece, edging towards a darker and melancholic sound; especially in the verse which is very electronic orientated that works well with the Italian sung chorus, a chorus that layers power upon what is a calm and relaxing and almost sorrowful undertone. It’s quite a straight forward song that, with the occasional and interesting hidden variation, results in an excellent, inviting high quality track.
The ‘direct’ and ‘hard rock’ opening riff of the The Dream, the ever present electronic element and Raff’s vocals contribute to the creation of a song full of atmosphere whilst also delicate a full of emotion. The song’s structure consists of well contained verses that via a tense middle bridge launches into an extremely catchy and explosive chorus thanks to the almost dance rhythmic section by guest drummer Andrea Dal Zio and the electronic contribution of Marco Cruz, giving this track a touch of exceptional class. This formula is ever more evident towards the end of the song, very appropriate for a song of this high level.
The lighter and melodic feel of Nova is mainly thanks to an expansive rhythm that blends well with Raff’s vocals and an almost synthetic feel in certain parts. The Choruses are explosive and powerful thanks to the Backing vocals and Kevin “Kev Cruz” Fisher’s alternative Rock Orientated Guitar. This mix is possibly the least affective in that it doesn’t reach its full potential. With this I find the song is slightly below the standard of the other tracks on the same album. No panic though, we still have a great offering that is a pleasure to listen to.
Moonwatch opens with an Electronic intro that bursts into ‘hard rock’ that is then is quickly replaced by a synth owned and dominated verse. The song then progresses in its intensity until finally bursting into the heart of the chorus; a chorus that although simple has an immediate impact on the listener. This impact is down once again to Raff’s vocal line that whilst not complicated is very intense indeed. This intensity is also complimented by the use of the English language in the Chorus (the verses are in Italian). It’s worth pointing out how the bridge develops into an almost blues feel enriching the song even further, resulting in probably the best track on the album.
Kill me not goes straight to the point with its Dark and Gothic feel driven by Marco Cruz during the verses. Marco also drives the chorus which are both dense and powerful. Here the formula works a little less than other songs with a songwriting falling towards a more anonymous feel. This track has the feel more of an album filler in what is otherwise an album without faults.
Back again to ‘High Level’ with Fever. An intro, darker than previous tracks, giving instant thoughts to a song bordering on the pure goth whereas the surprise is that it launches into a complicated and rhythmic track. Here we find an interesting unity of a well contained and romantic verses to a full blown explosion in the chorus with its almost pop style harmonies making this track unique. The middle bridge is also good, with its slow rhythm perfectly adapted to the launch of a spectacular and even more intense final chorus. No need to say any more that, although not the best track on the album, is anyway of an extreme high level.
The next track is Look Of Your Eyes, a song sung entirely in English, agitated keyboard sounds and a frenetic rhythm section that set the mood for a possessive sounding chorus, once again dance orientated and very effective indeed. Again the middle section gives colour once again to this high level track.
Now for The Only One, a noisier offering than previous tracks thanks to a more funky and alternative sound; a sound that still follows the classic formula of subdued and rhythmic verses dominated by Marco’s keyboards and Kev’s guitar that although not dominant are well blended and albeit incisive. The chorus then opens up drastically with decisively heavier laden backing vocal tracks that prove to be the best and catchiest part of this excellent piece of songwriting.
Blind Game has a rather different mood and feel, almost alienated from the other styles previously offered, with a sound a little less open and in this case a song that gets straight to the point. The song offers soft and delicate verses, energetic bridges and pre-choruses with their ‘metal’ guitar influences and explosive choruses that although have a classic rock feel are once again contaminated in an interesting way by the keyboards. It does have a slight feel of the ‘done before’ regarding some of the melodies but this is not of concern as we have a great song that grips you from the beginning to the end.
We come to the last end: Neracruz offer us War Dance as the closing track. The most sinister sounding track with a rhythm created through Kev Cruz’s heavy guitar, Steve Cruz’s 4 stringed dance rhythm, a splash of electronic sampling and Raff Cruz’s dark vocal tones that are without a doubt this track’s strongpoint; a mood that renders the chorus even more powerful with its heavy sound and aggressive vocals making the whole thing even more swirling and gloomy. The result is a song quite different from the others, but of absolute impact, which concludes the album with a bang, resulting along with Moonwatch as the finest on the album.
As you can see, in short, Neracruz is an excellent album, which despite its simplicity can even reach the level of ‘masterpiece’. Of course, I must add that I am not an expert in this genre, so maybe my opinion counts for little; on the other hand though, if a metalhead, hard and pure like me, can like (and like a lot) a more mainstream band like Neracruz then well… there must be a reason, right?

Vote: 90/100

venerdì 27 febbraio 2015

Thanks Gianluca Livi from '' for the great review: 80/100 aint to bad at all!



The idea ‘Neracruz’ is the brainchild of singer Raff Cruz, who moved to England in the mid-90s, returning to Italy with an exciting ‘multi genre’ projects in mind.
This Album is a true testimony to this particular mindset. A genuine example of crossover in the broadest sense, the work combines a courageous and defiant mix of genres that would not normally be associ...ated with each other. Rock, Metal, New Wave, Techno, Gothic, complement each other in a certainly unusual, sometimes tricky, but always very interesting product (One interesting mix is the choice of language, sometimes in English, sometimes in Italian),
It follows that the band - although they remain in a circuit largely attributable to the genre ‘Heavy’, notably the gothic and hard rock genres, pay perfect homage to a sound architecture now (almost) forgotten, such as the new wave scene to the darker sound of the cult The Cult’ and the psychological obsessive rhythms of techno/dance.

With that said I must mention that:
a) It’s not the easiest of listens and takes a few attempts to understand the work presented.
b) Proof of a courageous willingness to blend, very rare to find in contemporary bands, at least to these (extreme) levels
For these reasons, the album should be rewarded not only for the message it gives, but also - and especially - the intricate and substantially materialized desire to dare, a capacity very rare in a time when it would be easier to ride the popular and commercially accepted dominated scene to get a more immediate acclaim.

Vote: 80/100


giovedì 26 febbraio 2015

Thanks Marco Aimasso from Metal Hammer for the great Review:



Two geographical artistic identities that contribute to a well-defined mix of new-wave and Gothic Rock.
It’s not difficult to give an identity to the creation known as NERACRUZ, formed in London back in ’95 by front-man Raff Cruz, Italian by Birth, British at heart with a background of collaboration with bands such as Sigue Sigue Sputnik e Underneath What....
Two united souls reflect the choice of style and expression, with lyrics in English and Italian (often alternating during the same song…an interesting and captivating idea), songwriting that pulls ingredients from artists such as ‘The Cult’, ‘Litfiba’ with an added touch of mainstream attitude with a touch of ‘Simple Minds’, ‘Billy Idol’ and Luciferme.
This union of styles works rather well, probably down to the musical capability of the musicians, showing great personality, without falling into a trap of ‘old school’ or ‘parody’ and offering a sound appreciated by modern listeners (as seen through the success of such bands as ‘Editors, Interpol, White Lies etc).
A captivating and almost disturbing album with its mix of light and shadow, balanced and highly convincing, sustained with classy compositions, with a fresh and interesting interpretation thanks to the capabilities of the vocalist who is able to transmit authentic emotions whilst not hiding his own influences (Ian Astbury for example).
With a highly respected production team behind this album (Produced by Nicolo Fragile and mixed by Marco Trentacosta) “Neracruz” are able to bewitch listeners with a fistful of melodic, convincing and well-structured songs that would not be out of place on the darkest and most decadent of dancefloors.
Further underlining the well-executed sensitivity of Marco Marco Mazzesi’s keyboard and I can do nothing but recommend ‘’NERACRUZ’ to listeners who appreciate a sound that through its popular sounding sensation should be celebrated and not only emulated.

venerdì 13 febbraio 2015

Thanks 'Italia di Metallo' for the cool review

From the very first moment I heard the self titled album by 'Neracruz' I realised that this is a rich plate full of temptation. Why? Because of the vast mix of influences present in this album, from Goth, Rock, Metal and New Wave and with lyrics in both English and Italian
This is an interesting product by a band formed back in 1995, driven by Raff Cruz (Vocals and ex collaborator with Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Underneath What) that now present listeners with this highly evolved album in both sound and quality.
No need to go into detail that this is an Anglo/Italian outfit with 2 Brits, 2 Italians and a band leader who moved to London at the age of 15 only to return to his homeland with and suitcase full of experience. You can read more of these details through various social networks.
I would prefer to concentrate on the music and this highly enjoyable album, driven with such songs as the splendid 'Borderline', that bring back fond memories of Andrea Chimenti's Italian New Wave band 'Moda' (not to be confused with the Pop outfit of the same name), and their head on approach to various styles and genres whilst always emerged in pure Rock.
The single 'The Dream', which can be enjoyed through their official video, is rich and full of groove and the delicate ballad 'Nova' retains a high level of quality with it's heavy sound reminiscent of the Cult.
Eleven songs (I've only mentioned my favourites so far, all of an equal high quality) that remain faithful to the vision of reaching a vast audience which with adequate promotion could easily attain. Unfortunately this will be difficult to obtain as the mass media of popular radio prefers to air only 'crap'.
The very cool track 'Fever is as powerful as a marching army and a series of quality tracks that in my 30 years of experience, and I've heard it all, are hard to come by. Nothing is left to chance with this product. From the artwork, booklet and song 'Look of your eyes'; all prime examples of sounds taken directly from the 70s and 80s then fused into something which screams of the new millennium.
This is another great release that demonstrates that NERACRUZ are proud members of a much needed high quality music scene.