Archive for Bernard Cornwell

Ravenage release lyric video plus announced for Bloodstock 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd June 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Heathen metal band Ravenage have recently released the lyric video for their song The Road To Retribution (Northbound Part II) that will be featured on their upcoming album which is currently untitled. The song is inspired by Bernard Cornwell‘s Saxon Stories series which follows the tale of Uhtred Bebbanberg. The video can be viewed below.

In related Ravenage news the band have been confirmed to play on the Jagermeister Acoustic Stage at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air. This will be the band’s first Bloodstock appearance in five years. Ravenage will also headline the first night of Valkyrian Festival in November.

Ravenage online:

http://www.officialravenage.com
https://www.facebook.com/officialravenage/

 

Týr w/Support @ Fibbers, York

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 21st February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Bands: Týr, Ravenage and Maelstrom
Location: Fibbers, York
Date: 18th February 2012

The Jorvik Viking Festival has been a proud tradition and mighty festival in the City of York for many, many years now, so what could be a more epic way to end this year’s festival with none other than Faroese Viking metallers Týr? The show, which sold out, was organised by the nice folk over at Asgard Online (who sponsored Valkyrian Festival last year). After my interview with Týr’s frontman Heri, I waited outside with the rest of the horde that virtually filled the street. By the time I got inside, the venue must have been reaching its capacity as more and more people trooped in along with several people dressed in Viking apparel which included shirts of chainmail. The buzz of excitement could be felt in every corner of the room as the horde eagerly awaited the first wave of a metal assault.

Opening the proceedings with a brutalising onslaught  were the Glaswegian black metal warriors Maelstrom. They opened up with a little song known as At Dawn They Die, a song that featured a truly terrifyingly good use of powerful screams and clean vocals. The guitar and keyboard riffs were executed perfectly like a dagger slitting a throat with precision. The shirt-and-tie wearing quintet then blasted their way through With War We Wander, a quite Turisas sounding track, especially where the keyboards are concerned. The third song they performed, currently unnamed, was quite aggressive sounding though This Dreaded Symphony sounded to have more bite while their final song of the night, Arctica, seemed to the most tragic and cold sounding part of Maelstrom’s set though the keyboards injected a subtle hint of a sagaic sound. One band in and the night was already proving to be an epic event worthy of the Aesir themselves, especially considering Maelstrom’s overwhelming and unique sound. I certainy hope to see these guys again in the near future!

The second invasion of metal came from Hull’s very own Ravenage, who over the years have become one of East Yorkshire’s finest exports and one hell of a live act! This was the fourth time that I had seen them perform and I was sorely disappointed at the length of their set. Their keyboardist, Windrider, was absent as he was touring with Alestorm, so he had been replaced for the night by his mentor whose is known simply as Art. Ravenage made way to the stage in their trademark outfits and opened up with Viking Dream which was sounding more brutal than a mace to the face. The guitars felt like they had a bit of extra crunch as well. Following soon after was the catchy Bernard Cornwell-inspired anthem known as Northbound, which Art pulled off brilliantly and would have made Windrider proud. Ragnar recited a poem that led into the eerie introduction of Shieldwalls Collide. Ravenage finished off with a heavy rendition of Drunken Sailor which led into the final song More Beer! While the performance was grand and epic – as is to be expected with Ravenage – their set seemed lacking. I’m not sure if this was due to the shortness of their set compared to previous shows or the size of the stage that made it hard for them to be active as they have been at other shows. Either way, they were the perfect choice of main support for Týr. Sadly for the York folk, it won’t be until September for the Warhorns Festival when Ravenage return. 

And then came the fury of the Northmen in the form of Týr. I literally had to fight through the hordes of fans, including several blokes in chainmail, to get near the front. A fierce roar of cheers erupted through the venue as they tore through The Lay of Thrym followed by Shadow of the Swastika. During the performance of those two songs, the energy burst from Týr like an explosion. Straight, away, it was easy that the performance was going to be epic as Heri’s vocals were on top form and each note and drum section were played masterfully. They took a quick break to engage in banter with the crowd before playing the catchy song that is Flames of the Free. By the Light of the Northern Star and Wings of Time were certainly two of the most exciting parts of Týr’s set, along with one of my favourite song’s which was the slower-paced, more progressive sounding Hail to the Hammer. The performance of Tróndur Í Gøtu brought a very folkish sound to the set that seemed to go down very well with the sold-out venue. A few songs later came a powerful and overwhelming performance of Take Your Tyrant which almost everyone in the crowd sang along to, making it much more entertaining while others began dancing around and starting a mosh pit, including some of the blokes in Viking-styled chainmail. Sinklars Visa was introduced by Heri having a bit of banter about the Scots, which enticed a group of Scots at the front to hold up the Scottish flag in true patriotic fashion. The cover of The Wild Rover was introduced in a similar fashion, only with banter and jokes about the Irish as opposed to the Scots. Týr ended their set with Northern Gate and Hall of Freedom… Or so it seemed. Every single person in the crowd began demanding more and more. The encore began with a smashing rendition of Ramund Hin Hunge followed by Hold The Heathen Hammer High and By The Sword In My Hand, both of which just made the night complete.

I think I can safely say that Týr are the best live act I’ve seen and I don’t think their studio albums will ever compare to their performance on Saturday night. Týr are definitely a band worth seeing, hell, they’re more than worth seeing. I don’t think I’d be wrong when I say their show on Saturday night could easily compare to an Iron Maiden performance.

The support acts, Ravenage and Maelstrom, are definitely two bands worth checking out as well and they certainly helped make the end of this year’s Jorvik Viking Festival very special indeed. Also, kudos to Asgard Online for a successful first gig.

Nico Davidson

Photography by David Taylor.

Photos of the gig can be found here.

Ravenage – Fresh From Fields Of Victory [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 20th December 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Ravenage
Album: Fresh From Fields Of Victory
Release year: 2011
Genre: Viking Metal/Folk Metal/Melodic Death Metal/Yorkshire Metal

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If were to see Ravenage at a show, you’d think that they’d just walked into the venue from ye olde dark ages but it would be a mistake to think that they’re just another run-of-the-mill costumed band with mediocre talent. Since forming in ‘07 out of the ashes of Heathen Foray, Ravenage have gone to to accomplish great feats such as supporting Skyclad and Hecate Enthroned, as well as touring Portugal, Ireland and the UK along with playing the unsigned stage at Bloodstock as well. It’s been three years since the release of their EP “Hardrada’s Fall” but this year has seen the latest chapter in the Ravenage saga written, recorded and released. I am of course talking about the band’s debut full-length release “Fresh From Fields Of Victory”.

The album starts with the majestic orchestrated track “Invictus Arminius”. While at the first I was confused to as why a band labelled as “viking metal” would write a song with an apparent Latin name, it soon became clear that it’s a reference to Arminius, the Roman-raised Germanic general who led the Germanic tribes into victory at the Battle of Teutoborg Forest. Enough of the history though, one thing that truly sticks out about this track is the amount of emotion it stirs. At first instils a strong feeling of grandeur and heroicness before creating a solemn sense of loss. But that grand sense of heroicness makes a truly great return before the track finishes.

”Triumph In The Trees” takes the album down a more metal dominated route. The vocal work provided by “Windrider” and Glyn is definitely one of the finer points of the song. The keyboards are another strong point throughout the track, though I do feel that they don’t do the first vocal section any justice. Beginning with the sound of horses and conversation, comes the epic track “Northbound”, based on Bernard Cornwell’s books. Musically, there’s a slight hint of a Windrider sound though the sound is mostly Ravenage-dominated. The guitar work offered up by Dagstyrr and Einar progresses extremely well throughout the entire song, mixing it up well with the rest of the music and the vocals. The lyrics show a very strong influence of Cornwell’s “Alfred The Great” series, particularly from the third book “Lords of the North”.

The title track, “Fresh From Fields Of Victory” runs through a similar vein to “Triumph In The Trees”. The keyboard sections add in that orchestrated sound that has become an important piece in Ravenage’s music and the guitars keep that aggressive fire flowing through the music. The acoustic section with the flutes adds a more cam yet folky feel to the music. “Shieldwalls Collide” adds a certain eerie grandeur to the album with its organ introduction, an odd reminder of Manowar’s “Army Of The Dead” though I’m not sure if that was the intention. The bass work from Ragnar sticks out the most, keeping the guitars sounding more powerful while the vocals are most fierce. I think this is the best track of the album.

“Winterternia” is a song I became acquainted with earlier this month when Ravenage performed it at their show at Hollywood & Vine and in all honesty, I enjoy it from beginning to end. The guitar work and the keyboard melodies meld well together like tin and copper being smelted together in the process of creating bronze. One thing that did take me by surprise was the genius use of female vocals – Obviously, I hadn’t heard any female vocals when I heard this song live so it was certainly a nice surprise. “Let Vengeance Quell My Agony” brings back that slight hint of a Windrider sound – Noticeable in the keyboard riffs. The vocals lead the music like a metallic Caesar leading his army against the Gauls. Okay, maybe that’s not quite the correct metaphor to use but I hope you get the picture. The guitar solo is one of the stronger points of the song without a doubt and the cleaner vocals add a certain folky feel that echoes the Windrider sound again.

Nearing the end comes a blast from the past. “The Corpse Hall” was featured on the first Ravenage release “The Ravenage”. The introduction is haunting in a weird sort of way, mixing a certain almost-Gothic sound with a barbaric Viking Meta sound which I find to be a massive improvement from the older version. One other thing I did notice in this newer version is the improvement of the sound quality, so for those who like a clean sound quality, the newer version will be much easier on those delicate ears.

What folk metal band would be complete without a good ol’ drinking song? Certainly not Ravenage with their sing-along drinking anthem “More Beer!”. It starts out with a typical sounding pub conversation between Glyn and Windrider. The two words “More beer” signal in the folky jig of guitars. I found the vocal and piano combination to be disappointing as the vocals seemed to be weak sounding. The chorus is far too catchy and I can imagine it being sung in my head for weeks to come now, especially in the pub. The keyboard sections sound slightly Turisas-meet-Korpiklaani while the guitars have that get up and go crazy feel to them.

Without a doubt, Ravenage’s sound has evolved since Hardrada’s Fall. The composition values are much stronger in my opinion and the songs certainly are Vikingtastic but the one issue I have with the album is the Windrider sound in some of the songs. “Fresh From Fields Of Victory” is truly fine piece of musical craftsmanship and is a must have for fans of Tyr, Turisas and Ensiferum.

4.7/5

Nico Davidson

Don’t forget that Ravenage are supporting Faronese Viking Metallers TYR in February 2012. To order your tickets, proceed to: http://asgardonline.co.uk/asgard_events.html