The Raven Age have been dubbed in many magazines as Britain’s next big metal band and after their recent tour with Anthrax it is truly shaping up to be that this statement is true. Now after releasing their debut album Darkness Will Rise it is showing more than now that this band are gaining traction in such a beloved genre, by those who follow Metal music closely. The album in the words of Guitarist George Harris will cover many different instrumental dynamics that themselves love as Metal fans. Without further ado lets break down this Debut Album.
Kicking off the album is the albums title track Darkness Will Rise, which although acts as more of an instrumental does introduce the album well especially with its immediate follow up track Promised Land. When this opener first comes in the soft strings bring you in gently as it is very juxtaposing to what you may think you are going to get at first, but as the track continues on the band comes in to their own as they show their musical prowess and well constructed instrumental composition. Following what feels more as the first half of this album’s opener is Promised Land which is punchy in the right way. With a introduction to this track which feels slightly cliche for a Metal band it soon makes up for it with Michael Burrough’s vocal performance. Although the vocals feel slightly slugish on the verses of this track there is no doubting the power in Michael’s voice from start to finish on this track. Both of these songs combine in to an amazing opening for this album
Coming next on this debut is a set of three songs. The first of these is what sits as the title track, Age Of The Raven. The song is mainly driven by the drums and bass that in a sense carry the song, similarly to many of the songs on the album. However yet again with the well choreographed guitars and well presented vocal melodies. Overall this track continues on a great set of well constructed songs that excels instrumentally. Following this is The Death March which after a brief fade in simply comes crashing in, and despite being a well constructed song with each part accompanying the other excellently it does feel a little long for a song which doesn’t bring anything new to the table except for a well presented and constructed solo.
The final part of this trio is Salem’s Fate, which starts of slower which is a welcome change at this point on the album, and although it sticks at this slower pace it is somewhat let down by the introduction of the more riff centric make up the album has had thus far. Although there is nothing exactly wrong with this continuation of blasting drums and blaring guitars, this cut could have stuck at a much slower pace giving a nice break from the overly brisk pace the album has been going through at this point.
The Merciful One comes next on this album and yet again shows how well the band work together in creating a track which encompasses a cohesive sound. This is by the greatest cut off the album with a very upbeat track which you can’t help but move along to, the only downside with this track is that it is followed up by Eye Among The Blind. This unfortunately is the weakest cut off the album. The main reason for this is, is because despite the interesting drum patterns everything else on the track feels lack luster, even the vocals which up until this point have been a big highlight of this album.
Another trio of tracks follows on from Eye Among The Blind. Starting with Winds of Change, which is one of the most interesting songs on the album with it’s very slow opening which slowly builds up to this crescendo which allows the band to somewhat explore more. Due to this slow build there is a clear sense of musical knowledge and even when the track kicks in to full swing the overall composition makes this a strong contender for the best track on this release. Following on from the interesting Winds of Change is Trapped Within The Shadows which doesn’t bring anything new to the table similarly to alot of this album.
The final part of this second trio is My Revenge, which yet again excels in terms of vocal presentation but amplify’s the point that none of these tracks truly bring anything new to the album. Almost as if you could pluck any track from this record and despite subtle differences it could be any of the track listing. However, My Revenge does bring along a extremely catchy chorus which shows a different side to Michael Burrough’s vocals
As The Raven Age’s debut album start to draw to a close, the band explore something tat up until this point is untocuhed and this is a somewhat acoustic feeling opening to a track which explodes brilliantly in it’s latter half. The Dying Embers Of Life is a near perfect track with it’s dynamic differences. Accompanying this is Angels in Disgrace which is a full throttle penultimate track.
Closing this debut is Behind The Mask, which with an 8 minute run time which at firs appearances seems daunting but after a very powerful opening half soon drops in to a calmer calmer section which brings a nice and deserved break from the walls of sound that sit throughout most of this debuts track listing. Yet, the song then does pick up again hammering out the ending of this track and the album like it’s life depended on it, however it could have perfectly ended 2 minutes before it does which somewhat weakens this closer despite all of its positives.
Coming to the end of Darkness Will Rise a few things clearly stick in the mind. Firstly, The Raven Age have the potential and most likely will go far in terms of the metal genre. However these songs for the most part are far too long. Although the length allows for more representation of their musical ability the lengths sometimes feel labored and excessive. Alongside this despite some dynamic changes on the album it sticks mainly to this full band and occassionaly deafening wall of sound, even when it feels like the album is taking a swift change ti soon swings back and almost draws away from the change of pace that there had been. However, this isn’t to say that this album isn’t good as it is and any Metal fan will see just how good The Raven Age are bound to become in a year or two