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The Riven - Peace and Conflict Award winner

The Riven
Peace and Conflict
by Mark "The Beard" McQueen at 01 February 2023, 11:44 PM

The Riven are a Swedish band that, although only around since 2016, deeply embody the 1970’s blues-based psyche rock sound. I guess I would drop them under the NWOBHM moniker, but now-a-days no one really fits cleanly into any one area. Cross pollination of sounds has proliferated the entire Metal industry, and everyone is an amalgamation of styles. I could also say Occult Rock in the vein of Ruby the Hatchet and feel just as vindicated by my selection. The Riven have influences of some early Rush and maybe Thin Lizzy (although I was not a real fan of Thin Lizzy while I definitely like The Riven) it’s just something about their voices and feel that make me think similar. The instrumental “La Puerta del Tiempo” (The Gate of Time) involves a South American Spanish flair, which makes sense as the band spent time in Madrid working on this album.

Sorceress of the Sky, (my favorite track on the release) allows vocalist Totta Ekebergh’s voice to soar throughout the song while still ending with a nice little acoustic strumming finale that eased it to a safe landing. The longer I listened, the more I got into this vocal sound as more elements of the Doom/Stoner genre inundated themselves on the framework of these songs. I was put in mind of bands like Doomstress or Disenchanter with their female leads and strong guitar underlying style of magic music. In particular, the musicality drifting and churning under “On Top of Evil” made that song resemble a stalking beast until the 3:25 mark when the solo began, at that point the chase was on and the song raced to its own capture and kill. Ekeberghs strong clean lyrics throughout also gained high marks from this reviewers’ ears.

By second listen, this had become a band I wanted to see perform live as well as hear. Even the numbers I didn’t enjoy as much like “Fly Free” were still strong enough that I had no desire to hurry through them, and the power numbers like “The Taker” complimented the more ballad like “Sundown”. Across the board, this band hit on all elements of what I enjoy. Overall, The Riven is a band I can recommend listening to, buying their material, and trying to go see at a festival or a show. There’s a lot of material out there and only limited funds for us all. This one is a good investment.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. On Time
2. The Taker
3. Peace and Conflict
4. La Puerta del Tiempo
5. Sorceress of the Sky
6. On Top of Evil
7. Fly Free
8. Sundown
9. Death
Totta Ekebergh - Vocals
Arnau Diaz - Guitar
Joakim Sandegård - Guitar
Max Ternebring - Bass
Jussi Kalla - Drums
Record Label: The Sign Records


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Edited 25 March 2023

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