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Ravens Gate - Blackstar Machinery

Ravens Gate
Blackstar Machinery
by Lauren Fonto at 04 January 2017, 10:27 PM

RAVEN’S GATE have said that the image of the wheel on their album cover represents a musical and visual unfolding, which in turn signals the band’s evolution. The Spanish band has been going since 2009, and with a relatively stable lineup, I thought it would be interesting to figure out if this album represents a mature and cohesive unit.

The band is mostly melodic, with a touch of black metal vocals and metalcore-like breakdowns. The vocals had a power metal flavor, as did the keyboard parts. Arturo is a competent tenor, and handles higher notes well for the most part. However, I felt that some of the high notes sounded a little bit forces. On the positive side, he gives a passionate performance, especially on tracks such as “The Hollow” and “Niagara”. The black metal rasps add an interesting contrast, and are used sparingly yet effectively. I also enjoyed the three-part harmonies which appeared here and there (as on “The New Wave”, for example).

Power metal is a strong influence on RAVEN’S GATE, and “Nylibrium Fields” showcases this influence. All of the band members shine on this track – from the punchy guitar riffs, the sorrowful keyboards, clear, rich bass guitar and soaring harmonies, this track is definitely a high point of the album. “The Hollow” provides a heavier contrast to the above-mentioned track, while still retaining a touch of power metal in the dynamic keyboard runs. Things take a darker turn a bit later with “The Dance of the Scarecrow”, with some sultry slides from guitarist Carlos Barrera, and some interesting fills from drummer Rodrigo Puché. The tracks I’ve mentioned here have moments of individual brilliance from the members, yet they ultimately pull together to form a cohesive unit.

“Niagara” is a worthy closer, with great composition, passionate delivery and some good guttural vocals from Arturo. The latter shows off his impressive vocal range on this track, with a well-done falsetto part in this case. And again, those great vocal harmonies make an appearance.

RAVEN’S GATE have done well in their approach to modern metal with this album. Their sound might be to the liking of some old-school loyalists, but I think it’s worth giving these guys a chance.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8




3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Enter the Blackstar
2. The New Wave
3. Kill the Enders
4. Powerlife
5. Whirlwind
6. Nylibrium Fields
7. The Hollow
8. In Love with a Shadow
9. The Dance of the Scarecrow
10. Niagara
Lineup:
Arturo “Megamuerte” – Vocals
Aitor Francés – Bass
Rodrigo Puché – Drums
Carlos Barrera – Guitars
Toni “Vanjoker” – Keyboards 
Record Label: Art Gates Records
     


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