Looking at the line-up of Raven Lord it is impossible not to imagine and expect their debut album to be a rather accomplished and imaginative slab of creativity, and Descent To The Underworld certainly does not disappoint. It is a thunderous expanse of riffs fired by a furnace of melodic might and invention, an explosion of classic metal all fans of the genre will expel a full passion for.
The sextet consists of the fiery vocals of Csaba Zvekan (Killing Machine, Sardonyx, Emergency), guitarist George Karafotis (Vermillion Days, Operation X), bassist Jamie Mallender (Tony Martin Band, ex-Black Sabbath), keyboardist Alessandro Duo (Voodoo Highway), drummer Lawrence Paterson (Blaze Baley, Iron Knights), and newest member lead guitarist Joe Stump (HolyHell, Reign of Terror). Together they have ignited a sound which combines power metal and neo classical influences to their core heavy metal heart for a towering encounter which commands the ear. Released via Mausoleum Records, the Zvekan produced and Fredrik Nordström (At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Nightrage, In Flames, Dream Evil and Opeth) mixed Descent To The Underworld is a continually enthralling album which offers plenty to reward anyone with a taste for melodic metal if not the genre it is settled in. It is a muscular confrontation at times which sparks as much enthusiasm as the sonic and melodic flames which sear and engross the senses throughout.
The album opens with the compelling charge of pulsating bassline, tightly grasping riffs, and warm mesmeric caresses from the keys of The Rebel. The track is soon blazing with the expansive vocals of Zvekan who rings the emotion and sound from every note with skill and passion to match the guitar play of Stump. It is an impressive start to the release which immediately confirms expectations and more which were in place over the formidable line-up.
Through the likes of Attila the Hun with its Middle Eastern kiss from the keys and surging sonic enterprise, the mesmeric Seal Of The Cross with its symphonic gait, and the rampant hunger and energy of Promised Land, the album persistently offers variety and smouldering imagination to keep a strong intrigue and unpredictability within the umbrella of classic metal electricity. The latter of the trio is an outstanding brawl of seductive mysterious keys, ravenous riffs, and evocative solo mastery from Stump which leaves one breathless.
Further greater highlights come with the majestic yet corrosive Black Friar and the riveting Metal Knights, another song where the keys wash the senses with a golden glow of Eastern promise from within an exhausting drive of devouring riffs and caging rhythms. Both tracks show the band at its best creatively and musically with the vocals of Zvekan certainly in the latter of the two, scorching the small hairs from the surface of the ear with his sonic squalls which run the fine line between pain and bliss for great results.
Descent To The Underworld is an album fans of the likes of Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath will find a rich home within but it also has plenty to keep those of us who do not necessarily find the deepest of riches in classic metal more than satisfied. Raven Lord is a band destined to lead their chosen genre in the near future.
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