Monday 15 September 2014

The Ravenna Arsenal - Beast Manufacturing (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 11/07/2014
Label: Self-Released

Beast Manufacturing” DD track listing:

1). The Star Spangled Bastard 04:25
2). Sonic Blood 05:00
3). Chariots 04:21
4). Clockstopper 06:07
5). Queen Bee 07:50


Not to be confused with The Ravenna Training & Logistics Facility, The Ravenna Arsenal is a seasoned, well-oiled, war machine from the overcast lands of Northeast Ohio. Bold riffs, 21,000 plus acres in size, rumble and whirlwinds of magical frequencies sweep you into another dimension, far away from the objective world.

The Band:

Ken Royer
Aaron Shay
Mike Shea
Bill Govan


Beginning with a star spangled banner section under a sample into a vaguely Americana section, “The Star Spangled Bastard” sets a nice tone for the tracks to follow. “Sonic Blood” starts with a lurching Queens of the Stone Age style riff. The lead guitar over the first verse has a really cool druggy country vibe. The unexpectedly clean bridge is a nice touch as well with some nice subtle female backing vocals.

The third track “Chariots” starts with the heavy bringing some chugging riffing into some nice breaks. Great use of open space on this track makes the heavier parts that much heavier and breaks the song up nicely. An unusual track in that it gets progressively less heavy and slower tempo as it progressesm, definitely some great song writing.

“Clockstopper” has one of the more interesting opening riffs I've ever heard which sounds vaguely like Adrian Belew playing doom. The heaviest track on the album you can tell by the verse it's crushing live. The riffs when the song opens up at around the 2:20 mark are pretty fantastic with some heavy dirty blues riffing. The acid-fried country solo in the bridge is pretty slick as well. Closing with some guitar freakout duelling lead section reminiscent of Mastodon's oddball track “Bladecatcher”, this is the best track on the album and the one that showcases Ravenna Arsenal's musicality the best.

The closer “Queen Bee” starts with some sultry sexy jazz drumming under some nice 70s lead guitar melodies. The second half of the song when the riffing kicks in is pretty badass and the middle section of the song involves fast subtle riff variations over some frantic vocals. Transitioning into an open section again for a big spacey outro bringing a nice close to the album.

The mix and tones overall are excellent and all instrumentation is clearly audible. The drum kit in particular sounds excellent and allows the intricacies of the playing to really shine. “Beast Manufacturing” is a solid effort that deserves to be heard with a cool blend of art-rock weirdness into groove metal/rock seamlessly blending styles as diverse as country into sludge rock into an amalgam of awesome. Get it below.

Words By: Chris Tedor

You can pick up a copy, as a name your price DD here

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