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Count Raven – The Sixth Storm

Count Raven
The Sixth Storm
by Gary Hernandez at 25 December 2021, 4:46 PM

COUNT RAVEN is a Doom Metal band out of Stockholm, Sweden. Their first incarnation was as STORMWARNING in the way back of 1987. In 1989 they transitioned to COUNT RAVEN and then, because the only constant is change, in 1998 they split and somewhere around 2003 reformed. In 2009 they dropped their much-acclaimed comeback album, “Mammons War,” and then went quiet for some 12 years. On October 29, 2021 they emerged from their hiatus and released their sixth full length, aptly named “The Sixth Storm.” Yeah, so a long turbulent history but not so unusual in the Metal scene.

“The Sixth Storm” includes nine tracks and has a run time of over 70 minutes, with two tracks breaking the ten-minute mark. The album is very even keeled, which is to say that for an album that runs over an hour, it gets a bit tiresome. Of course, long and drawn out is an essential trademark of Doom, so that kind of comes with the territory. Thematically the album spends a lot of time contemplating the state of the world, socially as well as environmentally, with, of course, a fairly bleak outlook for the future. Captured in the nasally Osbourne-esque intonation and stretched over sludgy tempos, the sentiments come across as more whinny than foreboding.

The few high points of the album include the opening track, “Blood Pope,” and the second track, “The Curse.” And then they just kind of fall off a cliff—though there is about a four-minute section (at the 6:24 mark) of “Oden” when they seem to resuscitate. Overall, though, it’s too little too late. It’s as if the band just ran out of steam or had no driving impetus or passion to pour into the album to begin with. The production is also off, but I don’t think an improved mix could have saved this album. The underlying songwriting simply lacks vitality. Tracks like “Heaven’s Door” and “Goodbye,” both set to keyboards and synths without a stick of guitar, are just painful.

All in all, “The Sixth Storm” might just represent a bumpy start after twelve years off. Or it could indicate the band should have ended on a high note with “Mammons War.” Either way, I’m hoping the band has one more in them and will prove me wrong. Until then, I’m afraid I can’t in good faith recommend this one.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 4
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.  Blood Pope
2.  The Curse
3.  The Nephilims
4.  Heaven's Door
5.  The Ending
6.  The Giver and the Taker
7.  Baltic Storm
8.  Oden
9.  Goodbye
Lineup:
Dan Fondelius – Vocals, guitars, keyboards, string arrangements
Jens Bock – Drums
Samuel Cornelsen – Bass, keyboards
Record Label: I Hate Records
     


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Edited 05 December 2022
 

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