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Raven Lord - Descent To The Underworld

Raven Lord
Descent To The Underworld
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 28 February 2013, 9:20 PM

Heavy Metal as the underworld's most efficient tool to capture an attention in our ordained way of life, it sounds quite intriguing. The raven ride will inflict the music like a fast spreading plague across lands and nations, and really who said that the Metal is on the verge of extinction and not relevant anymore? The unbelievers and non-followers will falter and succumb to mayhem for their foul play. As one of the latest spawns, straight from the shores of hell, stands the RAVEN LORD commanded by two individuals starlets that have been active in the Metal world for a few decades, the aggressive front, and also rough screamer, Csaba Zvekan (ex-KILLING MACHINE / ex-EMERGENCY) and articulate shredding master, Joe Stump (Solo Career / HOLY HELL / ex-REIGN OF TERROR). However, RAVEN LORD couldn't have been as prominent as they are without the implementation of the completing crew with George Karafotis (VERMILLION DAYS) at the rhythm guitaring, Jamie Mallender (ex-TONY MARTIN) thumping the bass, Lawrence "Larry" Paterson (BLAZE BAYLEY / ex-SHADOWKEEP) skinning the drum set and the atmospheric harmonizer at the keyboards, Alessandro Duo (VOODOO HIGHWAY / BLACK WINGS). You may recognize this crew as a sort of a starting supergroup as each and every one of those marauders breathes straight up Metal but also flicks of Hard Rock. Just recently some of this crew threw the first rock at the world with a debut album following the name of "Descent To The Underworld", via Mausoleum Records (The label that once was the haven for plenty of classic Heavy Metal bands). Stefan Lindholm, which left the band a while a go, took charge of the guitars throughout the album, Hendrik Hedman deployed his drumming skills and Pontus Larsson mastered the keys. In overall, I had plenty of expectancies for this one, and of course for such a distinguished crew of musicians, but after listening to it for of several times I was a bit disillusioned, glory did seem to be just around the corner, about the end result.

"Descent To The Underworld" is no more and no less than a powerful presentation of straight up Heavy Metal with marginal entries to contemporary Euro Power Metal and vulgar, and modern, patterned Hard Rock, mainly rhythm based without providing a melodic end. Along with its intensity, partially provided by the pompous production floating above, with steel strings attached to the music, RAVEN LORD referred their material to sound darkened and somewhat even grimmer at times. Think about being smacked by a hammer in black, full force and shady. I felt gushes of late ANGEL DUST along with EVERGERY through several of the tracks, yet burning brightly red in comparison to the former bands. To counter the gloomy corollary, there seems to be a strong vibe, like raising gristly fists into the air, screaming for the sky, in the vein of PRIMAL FEAR, ACCEPT and I won't count out a few American Power / Thrash Metal outputs in the vein of nowadays VICIOUS RUMORS and the early features of the devilish nature of 80s METAL CHURCH. This highly potential concoction of darkened audacity along with the fire breathing décor created speculator rhythm guitar riffs, heavy and unsparing, banshee like soaring vocals, neo-classical lead guitar instrumentation that clicked well here and there, nice glow of the keys and a tight rhythm section sharing the heat. "Black Friar", a wondrous anthem, "Promised Land", "Settle The Score", "Sun God" and "Let The Show Go On", proved that you are listening to a gifted pack of wolves, in for the kill, read to shred and destroy with an even heart and a sense to create long time memories. I would put those as potential class exploits.

I believe that I just described should have been a potential slayer of an album, a direct hit of crushing. However, I had a few issues with this release. First, there is the enactment of Lindholm's Neo-Classical, Malmsteenish at best, creed into the music. In terms of production, it was hard for me to make a connection between the modern bombastic sound of the songs mixed with Yngwie Malmsteen's signature Fender type sound. Several of his shredding soloing seemed out of context, both in sound and direction of the solo writing, to the songs those were a part of. Sometimes it didn't make sense. Also it felt to me as if Lindholm's soloing were so distinct as if he wasn't involved with the recordings of the rhythm guitars (I may be at fault but you can't argue with an impression) as it seemed to me that he got his space to show his worth at the lead fretwork and that is it. Furthermore, aside from the songs that I mentioned, which were quite good, I deemed the others as a little above the normal with attempts to reach higher grounds but without reaching them. "Attila The Hun" is a mere pack of screaming cries, "Metal Knights" could have been something else but it turned out to be boring, "The Rebel" with tons of potential of becoming a hit, failed to impress me in a way that is hard to explain. Generally, I like this band and I believe that they can be one of the strongest lineups in Metal music showing clear paths to the 80s and jump right back in our current time line. Maybe an ass will be kicked on the next album.

3 Star Rating

1. The Rebel
2. Attila the Hun
3. Let The Show Go On
4. Seal of the Cross
5. Settle the Score
6. Promised Land
7. Black Friar
8. World Out Of Steel
9. Revelation
10. Metal Knights
11. Sun God
Recording Lineup:
Csaba Zvekan – Vocals
Stefan Lindholm - Lead / Rhythm Guitars
Jamie Mallender – Bass
Henrik Hedman - Drums
Pontus Larsson - Keyboards

Current Lineup:
Csaba Zvekan
– Vocals
Joe Stump - Lead Guitars
George Karafotis – Rhythm Guitars
Jamie Mallender – Bass
Rich Smith - Drums
Alessandro Duo - Keyboards
Record Label: Mausoleum Records


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Edited 31 March 2023

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