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Count Raven - High on Infinity (Reissue) Award winner

Count Raven
High on Infinity (Reissue)
by Martin Knap at 11 June 2018, 6:29 AM

Allow me to entertain you with a personal story of how I discovered COUNT RAVEN. I came across their album “Storm Warning” one day in a now closed Metal record shop to which I used to go to clear my head and get away form my worldly concerns. The cover of the album - a classical Dutch still life painting with a golden frame and the calligraphic logo - immediately appealed to me. It was so different from the typical “hesher” metal cover art, unusually dignified; it reminded me of the covers of one of my favorite bands, MASTER’S HAMMER. I wasn’t immediately overwhelmed by them, it really took me some time to get into the music. But slowly they began to grow on me and going deeper into their discography has been really fun.

As I’ve said in my reviews of the previous two albums in their discography, COUNT RAVEN are in some ways similar to “street doom” bands like SAINT VITUS and PENTAGRAM. Although they aren’t as unhinged and raw, they are a bit less theatrical then Epic Doom Bands and have similar lyrical topics as the bands that I’ve mentioned. I think that on “High of Infinity”, that came out only a year after “Destruction of the Void” their sound developed and matured, especially compared to “Storm Warning”. This album to me is the rawest, most unhinged album from these Finnish doom-mongers. The opener, “Jen,” is a dark and trippy song with a fuzzed-out guitar relentlessly playing a heavy sinister riff that reminds one more of Stoner-Doom than then of traditional melodic Doom Metal.

The eight minute “Master of All Evil” is a truly bizarre song. In the verse Dan "Fodde” Fondelius sings about a conspiracy of seven Illuminati families (that’s some pretty wacky Alex Jones stuff right there) in his typical monotonous way - he can get quiet long winded, especially about this kind of things -, but then comes a deeply sorrowful chorus where he sings “Seven families are here, seven years are near” with such sadness and conviction in his voice that it truly moves the listener. The title track is a fuzzed-out rocker with a strong HAWKWIND vibe. The psych rock influences appeared on their previous album as well and here we get even more of them, which I personally don’t mind at all.

The Coming” has a very sinister but also a bit goofy tone, but it doesn’t sound so monotonous (or dull) as COUNT RAVEN sometimes does - especially on their past albums - because they don’t try to fit the melody on the lyrics but do it the other way around (not sure if this is the best way to put it, but so it seems to me). On “Lost World” also with sounds heavily influenced by 70s psych-rock, the guitarist seems to be trying to outplay Jimi Hendrix on this one. The lyrics of both the songs mentioned in this paragraph are neck deep in the wildest conspiracy cookery, but both lyrics are somewhat more cryptic (especially “Lost World” almost seems to promote some kind of mysticism). The slow atmospheric closer “Cosmos” has very nice VANGELIS or TANGERINE DREAM-like instrumental arrangements that are absolutely beautiful.

To my mind, this is album is an underrated classic. I could change my mind eventually, but at this point this is my favorite COUNT RAVEN album. COUNT RAVEN can sound a bit peculiar at times, but I think that on this album they managed to smooth out the rough edges and let their musical talents shine - just try to bracket out some of the more the kooky lyrics – they are act and you have a classic Doom album to rock out to.

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Jen
2. Children's Holocaust
3. In Honour
4. The Madman from Waco
5. Masters of All Evil
6. Ode to Rebecca
7. High on Infinity
8. An Ordinary Loser
9. Traitor
10. The Dance
11. The Coming
12. Lost World
13. Cosmos
14. Chrittes Triumph (Bonus)
Lineup:
Dan "Fodde" Fondelius - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Jens Bock – Drums
Samuel Cornelsen - Bass
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
     


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Edited 21 October 2018
 

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