UK metal band, The Raven Age have had a pretty eventful few years. The band formed in 2013 and quickly built up a reputation with their incredible live shows and dramatic musical styling. In 2016 the band found themselves supporting none other than Iron Maiden. The band supported Maiden around the world in 2016 before finally sitting down to work on their debut. To support a band as big as the mighty Maiden before releasing your debut is impressive in itself. After hearing their debut album, Darkness Will Rise, you’ll be even more impressed.
The record starts with a short intro track flowing perfectly into the opening track, Promised Land. Grinding guitars and tense drums build the suspense until the song begins to chug through it’s first verse. The vocals carry the track along into a chorus where they really open up. The contrast of big, wide vocals with chugging guitars is part of what makes this section of the track. By the time the second chorus kicks in you realise why this band has done what they’ve done. The massive choruses just belong on big stages in front of massive crowds. The guitar work throughout the track is impeccable, practising the art of restraint better than many modern metal bands. A track that stands out to me is The Death March. Featuring their signature chugging and guitar riffs and huge vocals, this track carries a pace throughout that gives it a real sense of duty. It’s going to rock your face off and it’s going to do it now. The track still maintains dynamics however, with it’s choruses going a little gentler to give the vocals room to breath.
The band talks about a fondness for the symphonies of classical music and you can hear it across the album. Guitars are layered other each other, creating atmosphere in a way not dissimilar to the instruments in an orchestra. This orchestra is however backed by solid drums and fronted by powerhouse vocals. After The Death March comes Salem’s Fate, a track that opens moody and foreboding before bursting into fast paced riffage. The track shows the bands ability to master the dynamics that many metal bands struggle with, something shown here and in the track The Dying Embers Of Life which builds slowly before exploding into huge choruses and riffs. The closing track, Behind The Mask, continues the themes of drama and ferocity from it’s start. It’s a track worthy of closing both an album or a show. It shows the bands power one more time, in case you missed it.
All in all this is one monster of an album. No track, bar the intro, comes in under 5 minutes. The Raven Age manage to pack every minute of these songs with excitement, emotion and power. There is no weak link in this lengthy chain. This album shows a band with tremendous skill working together to make an album that is not only impressive but listenable. Tracks twist and turn and never become formulaic there’s always something new waiting round the corner. If you like power metal, you’ll love this. If you like any metal you’ll love this. If you don’t like metal, you’ll probably still love it! It’s an album that breaks out of any confines you may put on it. The album is released Friday the 17th of March and is definitely one you’ll want to hear.