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Count Raven - Destruction of the Void (Reissue)

Count Raven
Destruction of the Void (Reissue)
by Martin Knap at 11 June 2018, 6:16 AM

As I’ve said in my review of the re-release of COUNT RAVEN’s “Storm Warning”, “street doom” is a rather fitting description of the band’s sound, in the sense that they are a bit different from Epic Doom bands. COUNT RAVEN isn’t as raw as SAINT VITUS or PENTAGRAM, and a comparison to CANDLEMASS, for example, wouldn’t be too out of place, but at the same time, COUNT RAVEN is a bit less theatrical or “epic", and the lyrics are very far removed from the medieval fantasy lyrics ubiquitous in the genre. Whether you agree with me or on this point or not, COUNT RAVEN are a quintessentially traditional Doom Metal band - fuzzed-out, dark, relentless, SABBATH-worshiping. The music can get a bit monotonous, but as I’ve written in my previous review, one can find grace its simplicity.

I’ve discussed lyrics in my last review rather extensively and I’m going to do so again, because they are a very integral and interesting part of their music, to a great extent because Dan "Fodde” Fondelius is a great singer and the vocals are a focal point of the music. The lyrics are, therefore, very much “in your face”. On this album we see COUNT RAVEN becoming more introspective. Whereas in their first album they focus on social commentary and can get outright political and even conspiratorial (lines like “the pentagram is the Pentagon’s sign” that suggest that the symbol has some occult meaning perhaps), here the lyrics can get a bit more personal. The snarky social commentary, that can come across as a somewhat preachy, is still present, but even in them the lyricist reveals more about his personal feelings and dilemmas (just check out the lyrics on “Hippie’s Triumph”).

The album opens with the heavy and dark “Until Death Do Us Part”, the plodding rhythm and groove have a hypnotic effect on me, as a good Doom song should. The second song “Hippie’s Triumph” has more melody, like some of COUNT RAVEN's songs it feels a bit goofy (I gets because the monotonous way the singer recites the lyrics), but it’s a fun listen. The title song has a very heavy, hypnotic riff that fans of more contemporary Doom band will like, and singer Fondelius does one of his best Ozzy impressions on the chorus. “Let Us Bury The Dead” is a groovy rocker and the snarky lyrics are a good match for the angry tone of the song (you’ll find lines like "You suck the bosses dicks, a sad shape, You put the poor ones down, a human fake”).

The deeply sorrowful song “Leaving The Warzone”, one of the standout songs on this album is preceded by a beautiful VANGELIS-inspired ambient piece “Northern Light” which I wouldn’t mention if it wasn’t so great. It has a really cinematic feeling to it - I could imagine it, for example, in the original Blade Runner movie - and sets the atmosphere for the next song. “Angel of Death” is a song that calls for resistance to evil, the verse tells the listener - in that typically long-winded way - about the evils of this world (here the conspiratorial worldview comes to fore), in the chorus Fondelius sings at the top of his voice “Children of love, arise!”. It is kind of touching if you forget that it is about destroying an international cabal of bankers or something similar. “The Final Journey” has a strong psych-rock feeling to it, and there is even a direct HAWKWIND reference in the lyrics (a flight on a silver machine).

COUNT RAVEN’s reputation as a cult band is well deserved, it is good to see that with the growing popularity of Doom a band like this is being re-discovered and appreciated by a broad audience. In terms of evolution of the band I think this album is a direct continuation of “Storm Warning”, the band is not trying anything that it hasn’t done before, but focuses on perfecting their craft. There are changes, but they are very subtle, and I think they get noticeable only on “High on Infinity”. Namely, some songs become more unhinged and raw, and some more trippy and atmospheric. In any case, “Destruction of the Void” is an essential part of COUNT RAVEN's discography, and if you want to get familiar this might be a good place to start.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.  Until Death Do Us Part
2.  Hippies Triumph
3.  Destruction of the Void
4.  Let the Dead Bury the Dead
5.  Northern Lights
6.  Leaving the Warzone
7.  Angel of Death
8.  The Final Journey
9.  No Ones Hero
10. Europa
Lineup:
Dan "Fodde" Fondelius - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Jens Bock – Drums
Samuel Cornelsen - Bass
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
     


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Edited 17 August 2018
 

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