“We Are Become Death”? Ravenous Album Review

 

Southampton Thrash Metal band, Ravenous, is bringing a classic sound back to 2015 with their new album “We Are Become Death”.  If you like down and dirty Thrash with obscene lyrics and well mixed sound, this album is right up your alley.  This 2008 old school Garage Thrash band mixes meaningful composition with classic style, clearly heard on this new album.  While the album title sounds like a terrible translation, the band got the title from a quote of Oppenheimer about the Atom Bomb.  I have never been the biggest Thrash Metal fan, but I can appreciate Ravenous’ influences and ambition.  Their ambition for more meaningful composition sets them apart for me, because the old teen angst is an old tired out lyrical theme.  While I am not a fan of Thrash, Ravenous and their new album have a lot of potential to bring something new to the genre.

 

Ravenous is greatly inspired by Metallica, Machine Head, Pantera, and Lamb of God.  Clearly American Thrash has dominated for the past 20 years ( there are elitists that cannot get over it and reject any evolution of Metal or its subgenres).  Ravenous is English, but god they really sound American.  You can clearly hear the Groove influences throughout each guitar, especially on Reverse.  I swear James Hetfield does a duet on Easter Island with Rob Flynn, but it is one vocalist.  The influences are so well pronounced on “We Are Become Death”.  This band has found an identity and will stick with it indefinitely.  If you love Thrash Metal and are looking for throwback sound, this album is definitely for you.  However, if you like something more unique, this album is not for you.  While it’s good Thrash Metal with substance and excellent sound engineering, it is nothing more.  The guitars and drums are solid and well composed, yes, and the vocals are everything you want in Thrash.  But, like most Thrash, every song is pretty much the same.  The only track that truly sticks out to me is, Alone, for its melodic qualities.

 

Ravenous is everything you may want in a throwback Thrash band, but they bring little to the table.  There is nothing that has not been done on “We Are Become Death”.  It almost sounds like a cover/tribute album.  Some people may really enjoy this album and think it is great.  I like it considering it’s Thrash, but I personally would not buy this album.  Ravenous is good and may become a big deal some day, but they have not progressed as far as Thrash goes.  This lack of progression is why I have given “We Are Become Death” such a low rating.  Also, I dislike the confusing, cheesy, and unintelligible album title.  If they want fans to connect with their supposed “meaningful composition”, they should have picked a more direct album title.

 

Album title Suggestions as followed: Abhor.  We Are All Dead.  Deathstiny.  We Become Dead.  We All Die. Death Wish.. etc.

 

Rating 6/10

 

https://www.facebook.com/Ravenousband

 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvAfOS6CLU8wk2K5ajpv2XrECqpJMwgZD

 

http://www.apple.com/uk/itunes/affiliates/download/

 

“Sovran” Draconian 2015 Review

 

Sweden is one of my favorite countries to produce Metal, and Scandinavia has a good reputation for Doom Metal in particular.  My theory is those dreary, dark, and long hellacious winters inspire fantastically dark music.  The guitars become sludgy yet melodic, the drums slow and careless, the bass emanating to your chest, and the vocals chest rattling or painfully clean.  It’s beautiful and haunting depressive music.  It is unlike anything I’ve heard.  Bands like Pentagram, Candlemass, and Count Raven have epicly captured Doom Metal and passed it onto future generations.  However, there is one band in particular I find highly underrated in this sub genre.  Draconian began in 1994, mixing growling vocals with high quality female clean vocals.  There is something so wonderful and otherworldly.  While I love a lot of Doom Metal, Draconian stands out for me more than almost any band (Agalloch being the exception).  They are extremely hard to describe, in a good way.  I feel like any Draconian album is difficult to review, but “Sovran” of 2015 deserves a highlight.

 

“Sovran” is a highly anticipated release for any Doom and Death Metal nerd, but does it deliver?  Is “Sovran” as good as past albums?  A vocalist change in 2010 might have been a surprise, but newcomer Heike stands up to the task of delivering haunting vocals.  Lisa was incredible, but Heike brings this modern clean touch.  Her voice is very reminiscent of the great Sharon Den Adel and the budding operatic Soprano Dianne Van Giersbergen.  This type of voice will bring new Draconian fans in with an approachable clean tone, mixing with the guttural growls from Anders Jacobsson.  “Sovran” is every bit as heavy, dark, haunting, and effortlessly orchestrated as past albums.  Here Lies the Crown reminds me of Behemoth tracks; Slow, dark, mystical, and beautifully Gothic.  The Wretched Tide is all about Doom and Gloom, a little heavier than other tracks.  Every song is at least six minutes long, creating epic after epic.  One of my favorite songs off of “Sovran” is Pale Tortured Blue.  This song is the catchiest off the album and perfectly balanced.  To sum this album up, it is everything you expect from Draconian, but nothing more.  It does not stand up to previous albums

 

“Sovran” is an album that achieves Nihilistic Doom and depressive sounds, while being beautiful.  Stellar Tombs captures these vibes perfectly and is a good beginner track for those new to such great music.  I think that this album lacks some emotion in some tracks, but it is Doom Metal so I will give it a pass.  It is a great album, but doesn’t quite stick in my head.  My problem with most Doom Metal bands is that every track on an album runs together and is pretty much the same over and over.  I would compare this album to that of Ghost Brigade’s “IV: One With the Storm”, because of the Funeral type feel.  However, that release strives above because the dynamics.  Not every track is the same formula.  While Draconian’s formula for “Sovran” and all releases is great and world renown, I think they need a drastic change to keep listeners entertained.  I like this album and a lot of tracks, but altogether it does not evoke the emotion or the power I expected.  It has no groove, no drone, no interesting instrumental parts.  It is kind of flat and boring.  If you don’t turn this album up loud, you wouldn’t really notice it in the background.  I really do love Draconian, but they need more creativity and diversity to keep people’s’ interest.  It’s true to everything Draconian is, but brings nothing new to the table besides a new vocalist that is slightly different

 

Traditional Doom Metal fans and Draconian fans alike will enjoy this album, but I desperately want to hear something more dynamic.

 

Rating:6 out of 10

download

http://shop.napalmrecords.com/draconian-sovran-digipak.html

 

“The Ride Majestic” Soilwork 2015 Review

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After a long hiatus due to head crushingly bad writer’s block, I am back on Metal Valkyrie and back to writing about Metal.  Writer’s block is the most frustrating thing I have to deal with at the moment.  Blocks usually last a couple weeks for me. I thought this three month long lack of creativity was permanent.  I thought I would never get another finished project out again.  I thought this blog was pointless and no one cared about it because I don’t share TMZ news and aim to start arguments.  I write this blog to share my thoughts  for Euro Metal and love for the Euro bands.  I will never have as many fans as Revolver or Loudwire of Metal Underground, but that’s fine with me.  I just want to promote these incredible European bands in America and eliminate the overseas wall between America and Europe.  I also want to connect with fans like me.  I don’t want to be famous, popular, or have any credit, I just want to start a discussion.  So maybe if I keep writing, maybe I can make an impact on someone’s life and create friendships.  Now onto the point, Soilwork.

 

In my Metal journey, I have searched far and wide to find a band that mixes Progressive, Melodic Death Metal, Thrash, and Blues influences.  These four influences create some of the best music in history on their own, but together they could create a new power genre.  In 2013, I finally found a band that perfectly melts these four ores into one new element of Metal.  Soilwork’s “The Living Infinite” changed everything for me and showed me that any sound you’d ever want to hear exists.  That album was powerful, soulful, aggressive, and hard hitting.  It got your blood pumping and your mind drifting in such a unique way.  Soilwork is certainly not your typical one trick pony Metal band and isn’t a band you’d ever hear on atrocious mainstream radio.  But like popular bands, they aren’t afraid to bridge river gaps between genres and let it flow.  This creates a brilliant and unique sound I have not found anywhere else.  

 

“The Ride Majestic” is bombastic and  It flows seamlessly through each track.  The album is a mix between “The Living Infinite” and previous heavier works.  It’s chaotic.  Melody and Thrash/Power riffs, are heard on the opening title track, but the melody eventually dies out.  Heavier tracks like Enemies in Fidelity and The Phantom provide a Groove Metal feel that is fairly new.  Some tracks also have a Prog feel to them.  The final track Father and Son, Watching the World Go Down, is definitely shadowed with Prog influences.  I enjoy the use of different influences in the last track and wish there was more throughout the record.  Soilwork raised the Thrash bar higher with this record, but the interesting intricacies seem to be lacking.  Not every track stands out on this album, but it still remains pretty solid with wicked good instrumentation.  There’s a lot of dynamics and power throughout each track, but I feel like any concept or theme is hard to decipher.  It’s fantastic, but it fails to impress me as much as “The Living Infinite”.

 

TRM’S big upside is Speed’s vocals tend to raise a high standard on this record, more than previous records.  It feels like a vocal performance record, a solo record you could say.  I feel like the vocals change dynamics more than the instrumentation.  The instrumentation is at 100% almost constantly, where the vocals change periodically.  If the music had breakdowns and some more slow melodic parts, it would be more interesting.  They stuck with a huge sound, the same formula as usual.  I expected a lot more dynamics in this record and a theme that stuck out.  “The Ride Majestic” is a misleading title, suggesting something grand and elite.  There is nothing grand about this record, not even in the vocals.  It is a down right dirty Thrashy, Groovy, Power Metal jam.  So, don’t let the title fool you.  However, if you’re a huge fan of Bjorn “Speed” Strid, you are probably going to enjoy it.

 

MV Rating: 7/10