Thundering and growling, Ravenheart set out their stall early doors with the single “Locomotive”, which is loud, chugging yet articulate. This pretty much sets the tone for what follows – top-notch balls-out hard rock - but with their unique spin. All metal credentials are proudly on display: subterranean vocal? Check. Piledriver bass and drums? Check. Attitood? Check. The odd four-letter word? Check. Insanity and destruction motifs? Hell, yes! But what are these things here? - could they be….? Good gods Mother, I do believe …. they’re proper tunes!
TBH I expected the worst when I was asked to review this: a metaller I ain’t. Come on… too often it’s just (whisper it) a fucking unholy racket. However…..I’m a dedicated, fully paid up, card-carrying Ravenhearter. Because this is music with an edge, an unexpected side order of intelligence, wit and even, dare I say, elegance. (Check out the sideways slide into Eastern music on “Better Off Dead”).
This band has “it”, in spades, buckets and skips. With a dash of not-taking-themselves-too-seriously. They ain’t my brothers: they’re heavy. What lifts them up above the mainstream? Well, for a start “Bad Dreams” rhymes “night” and “light” with “shite”, and for that alone you’ve got to love ‘em. Baying wolf noises on “Big Bad Wolf” (and a touch of bad language) – this is rich, colourful, tasty stuff.
Have you ever seen Ravenheart? They actually look quite scary, but when you get to speak to them, they are as lovable as a basket of kittens. A complex set of characters, they blend together so well that the results are not just musical - they are a solid band of brothers. (And their good ladies are in the same vein. I can’t shake the vision of Lyn’s missus attending rehearsals, sat on the sofa knitting while all around her Valhalla rages…..)
Moving aside from that heartwarming domestic vignette, this is playing of the highest order: squiddly guitars courtesy of Sean and Joel, heartbeat by Ants, punchy drumming and backing vocals from Lyn, and that gorgeous leonine growl of Duncan’s, surprisingly well-spoken in contrast to the usual grunting delivery inherent in metal. Never has a hard rock vocal sounded quite so cultured.
With more hooks than a yard of Velcro, I assure you that this is a very tight album of complex, multi-layered songs that you’ll hear just twice and be singing all week. It’s a heady brew; the music slips into your brain like a hand into a mailed glove, and pays a month’s rent in advance.
Buy, listen, enjoy and be changed forever...... Fiona Andrew!
Not sure how other bands go about new tracks, but about 99% of the time we come up with new songs by just jamming, we improv anything and when we find a great riff we play around with it and extend parts, add bridges and what-not and before you know "voila" we have a new song. It's a fluid and flowing way we go about it but it works.