Sunday, 11 November 2012

Ravens Creed - The Power (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 9/10/2012
Label: Doomentia Records

Track Listing
1) The Power 02:13
2) Bashed In 01:40
3) Blood Luxury 01:56
4) Wiccan Wanderers 01:26
5) War Cauldron 01:45
6) Raped by the Graveside 02:01
7) Rat King Rosary 01:46
8) Kick to Kill 01:18
9) Buried in the Bin 01:41
10) Atomic Fist 01:59
11) Inappropriate Eulogy 02:18
12) Horse Fucker 01:29
13) The Slaughter House 02:54
14) Silence in Crow Court 01:50
15) Women and Children First 01:42
16) Unleash the Rat Bashers 01:58

Ravens Creed are an English death/thrash band with strong Venom/Celtic Frost/Exodus/Slayer influences, formed in late 2006 by Steve Watson and Jay Graham. Its members consist of members and ex-members of other English bands; after a string of EP and split releases (recorded at the band's own Tenko studios) the band released their debut album, Albion Thunder in spring 2009 on Doomentia Records.

Ben Ward may have jumped ship to focus on ORANGE GOBLIN but as proven on last year vibrant EP 'Nestless & Wild' on DOOMENTIA, RAVENS CREED have lost none of their earth-shattering power!

As a matter of fact, still featuring a cast of A-class metal veterans - Fraser Craske from SABBAT on bass, Jay Graham from SKYCLAD on drums and Steve Watson from cult death-metal squad DESCERATOR on six-strings attack - but now with the addition of Al Osta on vocals, they way sound even more pissed off than before on their sophomore release.

As they say the proof is in the pudding. And with a title as simple and in-your-face as 'The Power', they're in for the kill with thirteen new blasts of proto thrash/death the old-school. Thirteen nuclear nuggets recorded in Notthingham earlier this year that rarely go beyond the two minutes mark and don't even bother beating around the bush. Illustrated once again by the striking of faithful DOOMENTIA collaborator Andrei Bouzikov, this is one album to get violent to while being damn drunk as a skunk....

Ravens Creed is
Fraser Craske - Bass
Jay Graham - Drums
Steve Watson - Guitars
Al Osta - Vocals


Much like the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, there is no apostrophe in Ravens Creed. Also like the HAMC, Ravens Creed are brutal, uncompromising, violent and so, so dangerous. Let me tell you, if you like Venom, early Slayer, Celtic Frost, early Exodus etc. you are in for a treat with this, the second full length from this Nottingham based four piece.
There have been two lineup changes since the first album Albion Thunder. Ben Ward of Orange Goblin fame has left the band and is replaced by Al Osta. Further to this, Rod Boston has replaced erstwhile bass man Frazer Craske. Osta had a chance to flex his vocal muscles on last year's Nestless and Wild EP. Boston has played live- although Craske's swansong is found recorded here.
From the first notes/noise the listener knows that all is present and correct.  An air raid siren cuts through Steve Watson's guitar attack while Jay Graham sets up the first of many precise accent-perfect grooves on the opener and title track. The air raid siren should be taken seriously: what follows is absolute thrash carnage! For those that enjoyed the visceral approach on the first album, there is more of the same here... only more so.
The record is simply unrelenting. It clocks in at under half an hour (much like another thrash classic we could all name), but the amount of quality on display here makes song lengths completely irrelevant. Bashed In is next up giving the listener the aural equivalent of a good fucking hiding in a pub car park well north of London. Bloody Luxury  and War Cauldron continue the Venom/Motorhead/Slayer approach with a massive riff at 1:30sec in the former. Wiccan Wanderers is in between with a more mid paced approach. The production is just right here. You can hear each instrument clearly, but the whole thing still has the feel of dirt and grime just under the surface- a perfect blend of old school values with more freely available technology.
For all the drummers out there, please note the performance of Jay Graham- I love his style of playing. It is precise and thought out to compliment the guitars and vocals. The cymbal crashes are in the right places- every time. Seriously, the man is like a metronome (which I am sure was NOT used for any of this album- no need). Craske underpins the guitars, and works with the drums perfectly- this is a rhythm section as one should be. If you want proof, just check out Raped By The Graveside. Rat King Rosary follows with rampaging thrash grooves.
Kick to Kill stands out for me by being even more horrible than what has gone before- it is a master class in brutality and viciousness. If you have ever wanted to lift something very heavy and needed to get hyped up beforehand; this song is for you- you could maybe start at the 45sec mark as the riff here is nothing short of inspirational. Buried in the Bin sounds a little more Teutonic- think early Kreator- and offers a slightly different shade of black than the other thrash here. Atomic Fist (another standout) follows. If there is such a thing as a “classic Ravens Creed track” then this could be it.
Inappropriate Eulogy follows and dares to break the two minute mark. Galloping riffs lead into a slower section offering another dynamic to the record two thirds of the way in. The full on thrash continues with the delightfully named Horse Fucker, only for a more mid paced Venom-vibed track to follow it, in the form of The Slaughterhouse. The pacing allows the song length to almost reach three minutes (!) and thus there is some room to breathe for the arrangements and cyclical patterns of riffs.
Half stepping riffs give a kind of syncopated feel to Silence in Crow Court in which a nice marching-type groove will get your head nodding. Women and Children First is more compelling thrash (in that if you listen to it in your local supermarket it will compel you to embark on a killing spree). It has, a kind of early Exodus feel to it- fine by me- which you could imagine being enjoyed by all serious metallers from 1985 to the present day. The album is concluded by Unleash The Rat Bashers- a WWII sounding plane engine opens the track and what follows is, naturally, a musical dog fight of horrible urgency. By this time the listener's adrenaline reserves will have been nearly completely depleted. The phrase “heads down, see you at the end” comes to mind- and not for the first time! Osta acquits himself superbly over Watson's razor wire riffs- just as he has done over all the tracks on offer here. It is not often that you hear an album (or see a band live) when there are no weak links to be found. This is one such album and band.
I guarantee that after you listen to this you will be left exhausted. It is so nasty, so feral, that it is almost hard to listen to- think listening through an early Burzum album repeatedly and this will give you an idea of the endurance this record demands. Osta makes you the offer: “Come with me to hell and back...” Take him up on it. Buy it, go and see them live, buy a shirt... support the band and the underground. This album is absolutely superb and will, of course, melt your face

Written by: Richard Maw

Seriously, this is a beyond amazing.  Do yourselves a favour and buy this record now!  DD's here and CD/Vinyl here.  Limited orange vinyl available.  So don't delay.  Cheers to Lukas from Doomentia.


1 comment:

city said...

thanks for share...