The Raven Age, it is a name that seems to do two things, it either goes by you completely as never have hearing of them, or it instantly gets recognised. This’ll be down to the fact that despite being in existence for the best part of a decade, they have only had an EP release to their name. The reason they have managed to get a name for themselves with a good amount of people (and a real solid fan base too) is their relentless and reliably energetic work ethic when it comes to gigs. They haven’t stopped. The plus side to this is that they have earned themselves support slots for some seriously legendary bands as we found out during our trip down to London last month to capture Anthrax, they have their sound, they know what they want to achieve, and they have proved their worth with many even if their style isn’t for all. Finally though, as those dedicated fans have waiting for so long, we have their debut album due for release extremely soon, and we’ve had the chance to give it a spin to see if they can live up to their stage show in the studio.
‘Darkness Will Rise’, as debuts go, and we were told of this when we sat down with the band before their Anthrax show, is something else. Most debut albums you expect to be hitting around maybe the forty or fifty minute mark. No, not with this, seventy four minutes. A debut album with that length can say much about a band, but they are not afraid to do what they want to do it seems and that bodes well. To get it out of the way early, guitarist George is the son of a man that knows how to write music, a certain Steve Harris, so in some ways you expect the apple to not fall far from the tree, but the lengths at which the tracks are played and how they are written is very much nothing like you would expect. Very much at home in the melodic metal World, they do touch upon many other elements to add nice little bits of flavour to the sound, both guitarists George and Dan seem to be able to write seamlessly with passages to flow like ducks to water, the sounds are thick and strong but without any overzealous and pointlessness. They have written tracks that just sit very nicely in your ears which don’t seem to make any point drag. Matt (Bass) is consistently present and powers through with a reliably strong tone throughout which is superb to hear, far too often the bass can be underpowered in the mix for this style of music, the drums too are clear and punchy with some great playing by Jai Patel. Vocals are clear and strong, very rarely is their any break up or raspy harshness from Michael Burrough, something that will help last through their career no doubt.
The albums tracks themselves are well arranged, possibly the closest likeness to Iron Maiden, they do play like individual stories rather than just songs, Promised Land is a prime example after you pass the intro track, a great way to start. Other tracks will already be instantly recognised by fans that own the EP with several of those tracks making the cut too. Catchy choruses, some really infectious riffs, each track has something to offer, and single Salem’s Fate is as strong proof of that, but on such a great size of an album, even that struggles to compete with some of the other tracks. The Death March brings a bit more of an attack to the writing with its galloping pace, but even that can’t compete with the assault of Eye Among The Blind. The entire album just gives and keeps giving. Something that will really make the long wait for release worth it to fans.
It might not be for everyone though, the consistent clean vocals might just not tick the box, the calmer pace rather than an all out break neck pace might be a little tiresome for others, or even the fact that there isn’t much in the way of all out guitar solo’s, but while there may be those that don’t like it, and I for one am not usually much of a fan of this style of metal myself, they certainly deliver the goods, and still remember Darkness Will Rise is their debut too! They’ve plenty of room to grow and soar as a band, something I very much look forward to in the future.
The Raven Age – Darkness Will Rise is due for release March 17th.