THE RAVEN KING
Released December 2014
The Raven King have flown in from Gran Canaria, Spain, bringing with them an impressive four-track EP of curious and powerful doom/post-metal. The songs link together well to create an alluring, atmospheric and lovingly imagined release. Hints of black, goth and death underpin the doomy post-metal misanthropy. The gentle fuzz and jangle of the guitars does not quite match the ferocity of the vocals, but nevertheless the two sides of the band’s personality fuse together well.
From the moment that the opening song – ‘I, Bringer Of Death’ – begins with cold wind blowing and great bell chiming, it is evident that The Raven King enjoy using their music to build nervous tension. Ghostly string-plucking is interrupted by a thundering riff – a stoner rock beast given a black edge with Eduardo Rodriguez’s roaring voice.
This in turn is interrupted by a Sabbath-mimicking plod that forms a very memorable and enormously satisfying chorus. The song pauses and reinvents itself, losing and then re-establishing momentum.
The band’s propensity for repeated mid-song lulls is more damaging on the following track, ‘Walls Of Flesh’. Its teasing, deceiving death-doom style is cursed by a refusal to settle on the song’s heaviest / best bits. Instead, The Raven King choose to wander from the path in a dream-like and ultimately futile bid for profundity. Subsequently, the song begins to stutter and the hooks and licks sound uncertain, as if arranged in separate sections rather than one whole.
Likewise, ‘Black Light, Red Death’ is a swirling cauldron of misery and emotion that promises greatness but does not fully explode into existence, before the instrumental outro ‘The World In His Eyes’ ends proceedings on a placidly sorrowful note.
This EP is packed with great ideas and original touches, but these are often impeded or abandoned, resulting in a number of frustrating breaks in continuity. At their best, The Raven King create a gigantic torrent of stirring music that sometimes threatens to overwhelm; at which point, the band backs off to take a gentler route through calmer waters.
Listen to ‘Red’ here: