Album review: The Raven Age – Darkness Will Rise

Genre: Heavy metal / hard rock

Release date: 17th March, 2017

Record label: BMG

The Raven Age - Darkness Will Rise - ArtworkOver the course of the last twelve months, the stock of London-based melodic quintet The Raven Age has been rising at an amazing rate. In 2016, the metallers spent time on the road with sludgy giants Mastodon as well as one of the biggest rock bands in the world, Iron Maiden, on their Book of Souls World Tour. And already, 2017 has seen The Raven Age support the almighty Anthrax on their sell-out Among the Kings tour of the UK.

They have done all this without releasing a single album. With only one, self-titled EP to their name so far, the rising stars of metal will be unleashing their long-awaited debut, Darkness Will Rise, on March 17th.

When you consider the mammoth tours that The Raven Age has been a part of, as well as their recent sets at both Download and Bloodstock festivals, this may be one of the most anticipated first albums in recent memory. And, taking all into consideration, the record does a fantastic job capitalising upon the momentum that the band’s gigantic tour slots have established.

For those unfamiliar, The Raven Age’s musical style basically encompasses everything from modern melodic metal to classic NWOBHM brilliance. The modus operandi of frontman Michael Burrough is to provide nothing but hard-hitting, clean singing that soars above the low, more contemporary and technical riffing of Dan Wright and George Harris. With guitars that sound like they are fresh out of 2010s’ metalcore and emotive mic work that recaptures the pipes of ‘80s rockers like Rob Halford, The Raven Age is practically the missing link between bands like Angel Witch and Bullet for My Valentine.

The length of the record and the versatility of the music within it are also worthy of praise: Darkness Will Rise clocks in at an immense 75 minutes with thirteen songs (although three tracks have been ripped directly from the Raven Age EP, so a few points have to be docked there). But the diversity of the music justifies the length. The Raven Age specialises in two modes in particular: straight-forward, modern power on cuts like “Angel in Disgrace”, “Age of the Raven” and “My Revenge”, and more emotive, enticing tones on “The Dying Embers of Life”, “Salem’s Fate” and more. While the use of these two differing approaches isn’t exactly ground-breaking, the alteration between the two, sometimes in the space of one song, is what keeps Darkness Will Rise continually intriguing, weaving the listener through the entire record.

Peaking at the grandiose and perfectly paced eight-minute closer “Behind the Mask”, Darkness Will Rise is a glorious experience for rock lovers, young and old. Clearly, it’s a record by metal fans, for metal fans. It is definitely worth the intense build-up that it has been given, and proves that The Raven Age not only deserves all the high-profile tours the last year has provided, but are worthy of far, far more.

And if they keep pumping out records of this calibre, that is what they will get.

Final rating: Darkness Will Rise gets 8 depressing album names out of 10.

Darkness Will Rise will be available physically and digitally via BMG on 17th March.