Archive for Ravenage

Cryptic Age – Homeland EP [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 13th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Cryptic Age
Album: Homeland EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Folk Metal/Power Metal

Since their formation, Cryptic Age have been a rising star in the British underground metal scene, having shared the stage with the likes of Ravenage, Hecate Enthroned, Windrider and Skyclad. “Homeland” is the first chapter in their epic saga.

The title track, “Homeland”, is the first track of the EP. It begins with the sound of thunder and rain. Vocals are soon heard over the rain. The Manx Gaelic lyrics are a great touch to the track, giving it a very Celtic feel. With the introduction of the symphonic sections, combined with the drums, bass and guitar the track turns aggressive yet beautiful. The vocals are monumentally powerful, more so than most soprano styled vocals. The symphonic elements bring a very intense, epic sound whilst the guitar, bass and drums bring good ol’ fashioned heaviness. The keyboard solo and the guitar solo that follows can only be described as “sagaic”.

”On The Cold Bare Ground” is the second track of the EP, beginning with a dark and mysterious sounding riff. The riff eventually transforms into a something heavier for a short while before going back to the softer, darker riff. The track does turn heavier again though with an increase in tempo. The vocals ring strongly throughout the track. The drum work is acute and precise. Like the previous track, the solos are mind-blowing.

The third track, “Bring Down The Sky” begins very folky, with an acoustic intro and a long symphonic note. The vocals work very well with this intro, conjuring up images of a small Celtic village. The drums add a new dynamic to the track as well. Whilst the first half of this track is slow paced, the second half increases the tempo. The guitar solo is astounding, brutal and masterfully played. The wittily named “No Folkin’ Way” is the second to last track of this so far majestic EP. Like the previous track, it has an acoustic and symphonic intro, though it is short lived before the electric guitar dominates. The symphonic sections are grand sounding, blending well with the guitar riffs, bass and drums. The only downside to this track is the lack of vocals.

The last track is “Paragons Of War”. Straight from the beginning, there is a somewhat heroic-sagaic sound resonating from the combination of drums, bass, guitars and keyboards. The vocals complete the track, adding a very majestic touch to it. The guitar and bass sections are brilliantly played and the drums are definitely are a highlight of the track. And the solos are nothing short of grand and noble.

Cryptic Age, despite been young, are clearly a talented quartet of musicians. No doubt that “Homeland” is but the first chapter in a long and legendary saga for these Yorkshire lads and lass. Female fronted metal has never sounded so good.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Ravenage – Hardrada’s Fall EP [2008]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19th April 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Ravenage
Album: Hardrada’s Fall
Release year: 2010
Genre: Viking Metal/Folk Metal/Yorkshire Metal

Since making their debut on the UK metal scene, Ravenage have been carving themselves an epic saga of Viking Metal. The latest chapter in their saga is their debut EP “Hardrada’s Fall”, entirely based around Harald Hardrada’s ill-fated invasion of England.

The opening track is “Northern Scheme”, an entire orchestral track which sets a most epic atmosphere before the brutal onslaught begins. “Northern Scheme” is the type of track you’d expect to hear on the soundtrack of a film like “Gladiator”. The second track is “Viking Dream” which begins with a rousing death metal styled war cry combined with a brutal guitar intro and an epic keyboard section. The drums increase the heaviness of the track, while the vocals keep it brutal. The keyboard and guitar sections have a brilliant epic sound to them and the guitar solo just perfects this track.

“Three Hundred Ships, Ten Thousand Men” begins with an excellent combination of drums, choirs and the sound of the tides. The introduction of guitars and vocals on the track elevates the sheer brilliance of the composition and sound. While the bass section near the middle of the track is unexpected, it brings a small amount of excitement upon the ears before the track turns brutal. The keyboard sections keep the melody within the track, whilst adding that extraa hint of epic. The conversation between the character of Hardrada and one of his men towards the end of the track keeps the track interesting while keeping true to the sound and concept of the EP. The track finishes with a piece of poetry speaking of the battle between the Saxons and Vikings at Stamford Bridge.

The title track “Hardrada’s Fall” is next. It begins with an epic keyboard intro, combined with the character of Hardrada speaking of his death and his ancestors awaiting for him in the corpse hall. The track soon turns heavy and brutal. There is a use of clean vocals, which adds a very folk metal element to the track. The drums and guitars work well with the melodic keyboard sections. The guitr solo is one of the highlights of this track.

“Ravenser” begins with the sound of birds singing, combined with a fast-paced keyboard intro which turns out to be the calm before the storm on this track. The track soon turns heavy, with the guitars and drums working with the keyboard sections. With the introduction of the vocals, the track takes more of a melancholy sound but this doesn’t stop it from been a great track. There is more use of clean vocals on this track as well, which gives it that epic folk metal feel. The chorus of this track is very hypnotic, especially when the aggresive vocals perform it. “Ravenser” is certainly the best track of the EP. “The Pyre” is the final track of the EP. Just like the opening track, this is entirely orchestrated. It has some-what of sorrowful sound to it. This track is a brilliant way to end this EP.

“Hardrada’s Fall” is a brilliant combination of metal, historical fact and folklore. Each track breathes new life into the tale of how Hardrada came to England only to meet his ill-fate at Stamford Bridge. The production values of the EP are just amazing and the sound couldn’t get any better. Ravenage have clearly done the tale Hardrada’s fall justice.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Windrider – A Warriors Tale [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 1st April 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Windrider
Album: A Warriors Tale EP
Release Year: 2010
Genre: Folk Metal/Viking Metal/Yorkshire Metal

“A Warriors Tale” is the latest release from one-man, Hull-based musical extravaganza Windrider. Starting with “The Hall of the Slain”, one is bombarded straight away with the epic sound of keyboards combined with guitars and drums. Straight away the track sounds very Ensiferum influenced. The vocals are top notch. The guitar solo half way through just screams “epic” down the listener’s eardrums.

Straight after, comes the title track “A Warrior’s Tale” featuring some brutal sounding guitar work in its intro with some excellent synth work. The vocals slightly more brutal than on the previous track. The drums have a very technical meets “in your face” kind of sound, which works well with the keyboard and guitar.

The next track is “Across The Sea” and the track title itself gives the images of Nordic warriors braving the seas in quest of women and fame. The track begins with a solemn sounding keyboard melody alongside a guitar riff. The track turns heavier once the vocals are introduced and the use of clean vocals adds to the folkish feel of the EP. This is definitely the best track on the EP.

“Slaughter from the Shadows” is the final track. It begins with a vocal & keyboard intro, which goes on for a good minute or so before the tempo increases and the vocals turn more aggressive. The use of guitars throughout the track works reasonably well with the rest of the instruments and the vocals.

The EP is well produced and composed. It is another part of the legacy in the making known as Windrider and is one of the most epic pieces of musicianship that your ears will ever have the privilege of hearing. Windrider for number one? Hell yeah!

5/5

Nico Davidson