Raven Black Night sounds like they should come from the deep American South, but instead they come from the deep Australian South – the backwater desert known to those who inhabit its sandy wasteland as “Adelaide” (disclaimer: I’ve been to Adelaide, I even bought a Machine Head album there, and I know it’s on the coast – this just sets the scene better). Releasing their first album in seven years, what can you expect from the four noise-merchants?
They profess to churn out epic doom metal with hard rock flair, and this isn’t far off especially if you specify that the hard rock is of the southern variety. Their sound is fuzzy and murky, and the album sounds like it was recorded “live” – underproduced rather than the opposite. To a large extent this works, but on a couple of occasions it’s just a little too sloppy for these ears with a solo here and there sounding a bit too much like the band just jamming. The timing is off by just a bit too much, or the notes don’t quite hit home the way I’d prefer them to.
Criticism aside, it’s not a bad album. There’s plenty to like about it, with the vocals sounding not dissimilar to a faithful attempt at Bruce Dickinson at times. “Searching Your Love” is a good example, though the song needs to be a little shorter. The ending is a little repetitive and drawn out. The band do cull from all over the metal sphere for their sound, with grungy songs and classic metal influences abounding. “Her Sword of Tears” is the longest on the album but remains furious for much of its length before ending on a much more gentle note.
Compare it to the far doomier “Holy Monastery”, for my money where they really hit home with what they’re good at, and you get an idea of Raven Black Night’s range. Whether you prefer one sound, the other, or both is up to individual tastes but one thing is for certain and that’s that there is a lot going on on Run With The Raven.
Run With The Raven is out on October 30th