The Raven Age – Conspiracy

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: Corvid Records
Released: 2019
Buy Album: https://www.theravenage.com/conspiracy
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/TheRavenAge/

Band line-up:

George Harris – Guitars
Tony Maue – Guitars
Matt Cox – Bass
Jai Patel – Drums

Tracklisting:

1. Bloom of the Poison Seed
2. Betrayal of the Mind
3. Fleur De Lis
4. The Day the World Stood Still
5. Stigmata
6. Surrogate
7. Seventh Heaven
8. Forgotten World
9. The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships
10. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
11. Scimitar
12. Grave of the Fireflies

Review:

The Raven Age are a melodic metal quintet on Corvid Records, and they were awarded Best New Band 2017 by Planet Rock. Their debut of the same year ‘Darkness Will Rise’ saw them play on the world’s biggest stages with many metal legends. They will be releasing their sophomore album ‘Conspiracy’ on March 8th. Its twelve tracks are catchy, heavy and have classic and modern metal influences, along with alternative rock flavours. Matt comments: ‘We’d rather experiment and invent something totally new that has substance than conform’.

This album has some killer vocal melodies, especially in ‘Betrayal of the Mind’ and ‘Stigmata’. Many similar bands don’t have the composing abilities of TRA. Some songs are better than others, but all are strong in more ways than one. The shredded lead guitar parts rock hard, in that they’re flashy but not over-the-top and Paul Gilbert fans will love them. However, as fun as they are, all instruments frequently feature somewhat cliched power metal/melodic death metal riffs, so I don’t really agree the band have invented ‘something totally new’. That doesn’t matter as much as it might, as the creative singing often captures the most attention.

Harmonically speaking and in terms of mood, things are very safe and uplifting (in an aggressive metal way). However, the sticking to conventions does mean that the music is rather pleasing to listen to and it is even quite anthemic. It could certainly get a crowd going or just a sole listener, but there are a number of bands that write in TRA’s chordal style, too. Again, groups such as Helloween spring to mind, but perhaps more interestingly, so do the proggy Coheed and Cambria.

In conclusion this music is very good, but it is far from new as the band claims or at least aims for. Maybe some of the song structures are a bit ‘obvious’ and typical and could do with some more surprises, and the guitar riffs start to sound kind of samey after a while. The drummer has a powerful and highly competent sound but his beats tend to be very simple and over-reliant on moderately paced double bass drums. This album is definitely worth buying, but it’s not a classic like Helloween’s ‘Keeper of the Seven Keys’, or whatever.

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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