Raven Lord: Descent to the Underworld

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Raven Lord: Descent to the Underworld
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Raven Lord: Descent to the Underworld
Heavy Metal
Mausoleum Records
February 1st, 2013 / February 12rh, 2013 (North America)
Release length: 47:05
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Being billed in the press release as “A new Heavy Metal behemoth” that has been born, Raven Lord present their debut album, Descent to the Underworld for the Metal legions. Forged of members from various noted groups like Holy Hell, Blaze Bayley, and Killing Machine, this new six-piece has been taking the Metal world by storm, receiving plenty of praise from both fans and the press. Given the individuals involved, it should be no surprise that this is an album many state you must keep an eye out for. But, is Descent to the Underworld all that strong an effort, or does it end up falling too short of what the hype machine presents?

If you are at all oncerned about the audio value of this album, there’s absolutely nothing to fear. Descent to the Underworld was mixed by Fredrik Nordström (Arch Enemy, In Flames), and mastered by Maor Appelbaum (Sepultura, Halford). What you get is a high quality recording with plenty of edge. The guitars have a nice mix of cleaner solos and a thick distortion everywhere else that compliments the lighter bass guitar well. The keyboards aren’t too loud, and are as crisp as the cymbals of the drum kit. The bass kicks aren’t that overpowering, but still have a rich click that commands attention against the tight, thicker snares. The vocals are a little louder than the rest of the release, ranginbg from a harsher harmonization to higher falsettos that still have that additional gristle.

Much of the album hits hard with my traditional Heavy Metal performances with that extra bit of bite the production manages to give it. “The Rebel” kicks things off on a but of a restricted tone, but the early Heavy Metal authority for the sake of a rebellious anthem. The production also works with the music to give it a rawer tone despite the modern quality, though the chorus brings it back to the modern day, giving it a touch more emotion thanks to the held notes and background chanting. “Promised Land” has a little more technicality in the chords throughout, as well as some classid Heavy Metal guitar solos worth hearing. The keyboards do give the chorus more substance and bite, as well as an uplifting atmosphere.

There’s also a some slightly epic and energetic tracks that actually greatly surpass the more traditional ones. “Atilla the Hun” is a prime example of the band pushing to grander depths. The main verses have a good deal of heaviness to them, but the chorus is rich with catchy hooks and additional keyboards that push towards that epic terrain. The layered harsher vocals and falsettos during it also make that fact hard to deny, showing the most enthusiasm of all tracks like it were nothing. Then there’s “Revelation,” a jmuch tighter, even aggressive track overall, especially in the vocals that show great dexterity and range. The keyboards are a little more subtle, but still strong enough to make the entire performance far richer than some of the others here.

While Descent to the Underworld isn’t quite the earth shattering album that it’s built up to be, there’s no denying it’s still a kick in the ass. Each track is catcy and well executed, ranging from anthemic, epic, or just downright aggressive yet simplistic. If you haven’t checked out what Raven Lord brings to the table, then you are definiely missing out on a fine piece of Heavy Metal that deserves your attention.

01. The Rebel – 5:36
02. Atilla the Hun – 4:02
03. Let the Show Go On – 4:40
04. Seal of the Cross – 4:06
05. Promised Land – 4:46
06. Settle the Score – 3:31
07. Black Friar – 4:48
08. World Out of Steel – 4:04
09. Revelation – 3:26
10. Metal Knights – 4:08
11. Sun God – 3:58
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

RavenLord (band)
RavenLord

Digital review copy of this release provided by Mausoleum Records via Rock ‘n Growl Promotions.