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Raventale - Planetarium Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 18 October 2017, 7:20 AM

Hailing from Kyyiv, Ukraine, Atmospheric Blackened Metal band RAVENTALE was formed in 2005. Since then, they have been prolific songwriters, releasing seven full-length albums through 2015. “Planetarium” is their eight release, in 2017, and contains four lengthy tracks.

“Gemini – Behind Two Black Moons” is the opening song, at just over six minutes. From the start it has a noble but depressive sound, like spring flowers wilting from winter’s last chill. The vocals are in a mid-range for the most part, with peaks of higher note that establish an emotional quality. It also has a lustful sinister sound as well; very enticing, inviting you over to the dark side with a smile and a hidden dagger behind the back. The chord structures are really quite alluring, climbing spires with shadowed beauty. “Bringer of Celestial Anomalies” is much longer, at close to eleven minutes. It has a hasty pace at first, and then some wonderful ambiance is established with clean guitars. Back to the madness, it reminds me of some of the dignity and virtue that you hear on the more despondent side of bands like INSOMNIUM and WINTERSUN. The constant drumming of Khaoth keeps the pace of the song very uniform and allows the guitars to shine. Working into the fabric of the song is a sense of ultimate evil as well.

“At the Halls of the Pleiades” starts off with a more traditional and discernable guitar riff that gives way to some atmospheric components. In Greek mythos, the Pleiades were the seven daughters of the God Atlas and the nymph Pleione, born on Mount Cyllene, and later became a constellation of stars. The vocals are absolutely agonizing here and the music is even more apocalyptic. You picture the world burning around you and there is no escape for what is to be a bloody end to mankind. But there are also softer passages where you can steal hope from a whisper in the air, if you can catch it at just the right time. “New World Planetarium” closes the album. If you didn’t already feel dejected and downhearted, this song will pour salt into the wound. The lumbering pace keeps your hearts lament omnipresent. Hope fades away like an eclipse slowly blackening the sky, leaving you in utter darkness, with no one left. The ending passage stamps the final lyrics “we used to look up at the sky, and wonder about our place in the stars…now I just look down, and wonder about my place in the dirt.”

When you talk about there being beauty in the darkness, wonder in destruction, peace in loss, and solace in death, there isn’t many albums that hit this as hard as “Planetarium” from RAVENTALE. How I haven’t heard about them before is a mystery, but how they can make such magnificent and meaningful music in a genre littered with too many bands holding onto the past is a testament to their fortitude, integrity, and musicianship. If you are looking for that Black Metal album to spark your interest in the genre again, here it is.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Gemini – Behind Two Black Moons
2. Bringer of Celestial Anomalies
3. At the Halls of the Pleiades
4. New World Planetarium
Astaroth Merc - Guitars
Morthvarg Scar - Guitars, Voice
Athamas - Bass, Voice
Grim Me - Keyboards
Khaoth – Drums
Record Label: Ashen Dominion


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