When a debut EP has six songs, and not one of them hits the mark, it's not hard to predict the artist going nowhere. Such is the case with Marion Raven's Heads Will Roll.
Her voice is nothing special, she can't seem to define her style and she can't write music without hiring professionals to help.
The first two tracks, "Spit You Out" and "Heads Will Roll" try to establish Raven as an I-am-woman-hear-me-roar rocker chick, but she ends up just sounding cute. The first belongs on a teen drama TV series soundtrack; the second (co-written by Nikki Sixx) is one of those songs you swear you've heard before but can't figure out where.
The third and fifth tracks differ in their style, the former delving into '50s-esque rock and the second going all '80s pop-metal. But they suffer the same downfall - Raven sounds too pre-teenish and too naive to eke out "All I Wanna Do is You" and "Good 4 Sex" convincingly. New rule: If you think it's clever to use "4" instead of "for," you're not old enough to sing about anything involving a penis.
To make it worse, it seems Keith Nelson of Buckcherry used some similar riffs in "All I Wanna Do is You" and his real band's "Next 2 You." (Come to think of it, Josh Todd and crew might want to ditch the numbers-as-words titles too.)
On "13 Days," Heads Will Roll's closest approximation of a success, Raven does her best Evanescence impression. Piano, synthesized strings, yearning lyrics and melodies, the whole shebang. It would be worthwhile if it wasn't so derivative - and if it actually meshed with the rest of the record.
The acoustic "Let Me Introduce Myself"? Let's not even go there, what with the laughable lyrics, awkward spoken intro and forgettable melodies.
If you look hard at the cover you can make out a bare breast or two, and Raven spends most of the included "Heads Will Roll" video on her back. That's good, because there are no other reasons to buy this record. There are plenty of female-fronted acts with their own talent and a consistent style - Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Crucified Barbara, Evanescence and Arch Enemy, just to name a few.
Robert VerBruggen (http://robertsrationale.blogspot.com) is an apprentice editor at The National Interest in Washington, DC and an antiMusic contributor.