The main problem for Ravenous was that it came out in 2001. Had this effort come out five, maybe seven years ago, it would have been considered a masterpiece in the world of bands that were continuing to expand upon this style. The album rips open right from the start, attacking the listener with the track “Swallow the Spikes”, which really hits the listener with a highly energetic performance at breakneck speed, a higher guttural performance that has a bit more of a rasp to it, which is common for the band’s material, but really stood out at certain points due to how they kept up the pace of the music at times, as well as blistering drumming that offers a good variety of patterns through the song. The song itself also featured some varying levels in it, showing some complexity through the song, which often was trumped for faster material that was a little simpler and utilized blast beats, and closes on a very somber note with slow music and haunting guitars. This track is enough to get any fan of the style whipped into a frenzy, and for good reason since it’s one of the finest tracks on the recording, and a devastating one at that. However, the album drops down, and often doesn’t reestablish that speed through the album, but the rest of the material presented seems to focus more on atmosphere, such as the closing of “Swallow the Spikes” did.
For the most part, the album pretty much stays the same after “Poison Apple (Eve and Serpentio in the Garden of Eden)”. The songs retain a general mid-tempo pace with guitars that aren’t too complex, focusing more on atmosphere than anything. This becomes rather obvious with the track “Consumed by Darkness”, which goes at a much slower pace then any other track, and seems to focus on the guitars setting a certain atmosphere to the song, which comes off a little weaker than one would hope, but does establish a somewhat dark feeling to the music, especially with the wind sound effect thrown onto the end of the track. Of course, one of the reasons this track sounds so different in the first place is because it’s a cover of the original song by Macabre End. “The Iconoclast Deathride”, however, is an original track by God Dethroned, and is clearly the most diverse track off the album, utilizing a slower speed and keyboards to give off a more haunting, Halloween-like atmosphere that one would expect to hear on a Type O Negative release, which just sounds a little cheesy for this song, especially when the song picks up about a third into it.
“The Mysteries that Make You Bleed” finds the band picking the pace up once more, though nothing like “Swallow the Spikes”, but the song itself has plenty of energy which seemed to be lacking on some of the songs before it, as well as a few tracks after. While the guitars manage to keep up the pace, what really sets the pace of the music is the blistering double bass kicks that come at the listener like machine guns being fired, which are accompanies by some fills here and there, and blast beats where applicable, and a well done old-school Thrash-sounding guitar solo. The title track “Ravenous” also picks the pace up a bit, and is a rather entertaining song that sticks with the consistency of the sound that God Dethroned established throughout the album. While not one of the more stand out tracks of the release like “Swallow the Spikes”, or the single off the album, “Villa Vampiria”. While it retains a similar brutal feel to the mix, it also keeps the energy that these songs have, but for the most part comes off a bit generic. unfortunately, this is about the time the album starts to feel somewhat repetitive, as there isn’t really anything all that new by the end of the release except for a cover of the Death classic “Evil Dead”, which is well done, being a nice homage to the original, and well worth a listen or two.
Ravenous does have it’s share of problems, of course, but even with all these problems, it’s still a great release with a good deal of replay to it past that first listen. The music on the release is solid, even if sometimes it doesn’t fit in, and if there’s a few covers too many dispersed throughout the originals. While covering songs isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s that the album starts to feel repetitive near the end, with the first half of the album really highlighting the potential that God Dethroned has as a group. On the first time through, not much of this will actually stick out, but after a few spins in, the intricate guitar work and drumming will shine through. If you happen upon this effort, it’s well worth checking out.