Archive for Windrider

Ravenage release lyric video plus announced for Bloodstock 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd June 2013 by Nico 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/

 

Warhorns Festival Update

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 15th March 2012 by Nico Davidson

We just received news that tickets for Warhorns Festival in York, later this year, should be available on sale soon, well, tomorrow by the earliest. In addition to this, Aloeswood, the solo project of Ravenage guitarist and Windrider drummer Danny Downing, will be making their live debut on the first night of the festival, Friday 21st September.

The line-up now, so far, includes Wolfchant, Nothgard, Ravenage, Old Corpse Road, Annwn, Windrider, Aloeswood and last but not least Cryptic Age.

Warhorns Festival will take place at The Duchess in York on 21st and 22nd September. For more details and news updates, visit the Warhorns Facebook page or just click here.

Interview: Gareth Murdock and Elliot Vernon [Feb 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 26th February 2012 by Nico Davidson

Valkyrian Music’s fifth favourite Scot Alasdair sits down with his two of his favourite pirates, Gareth Murdock and Elliot Vernon for a very length chat.

Ravenage – Fresh From Fields Of Victory [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 20th December 2011 by Nico Davidson

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

cd_cover_small

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

Ravenage w/Support @ Hollywood & Vine, Hull [Live Review]

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 12th December 2011 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Ravenage, Infernal Creation, Windrider
Location: Hollywood & Vine, Kingston Upon Hull
Date: 10th December

All things come in threes as the saying goes and that was certainly true on the cold Saturday night as three of Hull’ finest metal bands were ready blow the proverbial roof off of Hollywood & Vine. It was also the third time that I would be seeing Infernal Creation, Windrider and Ravenage so the buzz of excitement that was in the air certainly added to my excitement as well.

Windrider opened the proceedings though frontman Elliot was absent from the stage at the beginning of the first songIMG_0007 but he did make himself known when he took to the stage in time for the first vocal section. The bassist Hallam was also absent but a replacement bassist called Greig had took his place for the night – Or at least that’s what I’m assuming anyway. As usual, Windrider performed a tight and mighty sounding set though one parts the fierce roar of the guitars and the keyboard samples did sound to be quite drowned out by the vocals but fortunately it wasn’t the case for the full set. The drum and bass work definitely deserve praise as well. “The Hall Of The Slain” was definitely one of the stronger sounding songs in Windrider’s set. Windrider are definitely a band to see if you’re a fan of the likes of Amon Amarth, Ensiferum and Turisas.

Windrider – The Hall Of The Slain

in  (21)Infernal Creation soon took to the stage after Windrider, bringing their fierce and violent brand of British black metal with them. The tempestuous roar of guitars blasted through the amps like a hurricane as the vocal work of Neiph did much to savagely entertain the crowd. The vehement performance of “The Angel Of Endless Hunger” was definitely a treat to listen to as well, along with the feral sounds of “The Insidious Gospel”. Infernal Creation definitely proved themselves to be one of the finest black metal bands in the abyss that is the British metal underground.

IMG_0151And so then it came to the headlining act for the night, none other than Hull’s very own Ravenage, who earlier this year toured with Nothgard, Celtachor and Infernal Creation as part of the Warhorns Over Aengland tour. Taking to the stage in their Viking outfits, they performed a mighty sounding set, most of which was dominated by majestic IMG_0224sounding songs such as “Winter Ternia”, “Let Vengeance Quell My Agony” and “More Beer” from the new album “Fresh From Fields Of Victory” all of which were simply fantastic. The frontman Glyn did much to show what a great showman he is, including bringing out the old sword – Something which I’d only witnessed once before at a show Ravenage played a few years back in Bridlington. Of course the fun didn’t end there as Ravenage performed a fine rendition of “Viking Dream” from their EP “Hardrada’s Fall” and a fun, folk metal version of “Drunken Sailor” that had everyone dancing. Much to my surprise, they finished the show off with a performance of my favourite Ravenage track “Ravenser”, which sounds better live than the recorded version – The recorded version is still epic though.

The crowd certainly seemed to enjoy the show and so did I. If Ravenage, Infernal Creation or Windrider ever come to your town (or city or village or house or farm), you better make sure you see them because all three put on a damn good show and when they’re all on the same bill, “epic” would be an understatement.

Nico Davidson

Ravenage will be supporting Tyr at Fibbers in York on 18th February. To order your tickets, go to: http://asgardonline.co.uk/asgard_events.html

Band Of The Month [November – Voting]

Posted in Band Of The Month with tags , , , , , , , on 25th October 2011 by Nico Davidson

It’s that time of the month, where you get to vote for the next Band Of The Month!

Voting will last for one week [25th October – 31st October].

The nominees are:

XIII
Cryptic Age
Windrider
Northern Oak
Her Dark Embrace
Sea Of Giants
Infernal Creation 
Aonia 

From The Depths Compilation Track Listing Finalised

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 16th October 2011 by Nico Davidson


The track list for From The Depths, which will be available for free download on 17th October, has now been finalised. The compilation will feature tracks by The Obscene, Windrider, Aloeswood, Cryptic Age, Escape From and many more from the international underground music scenes. The compilation will also feature an exclusive, currently unreleased track by Lancastrian metal outfit Wolfthorn. The track list is as followed:

1. ESCAPE FROM – Oni
2. THE DOSADI EXPERIMENT – Predestination For The Labyrinth
3. BLODRAVN – Words Of The High One
4. AONIA – Gift Of The Curse
5. CELTACHOR – In The Halls of Nuada
6. WINDRIDER – Hall Of The Slain
7. BAALBERITH – God that Never Was
8. WOLFTHORN – Light The Beltane Fires
9. REPULSIVE VISION – Force Fed Acid
10. EINHER SKALD – Drinking In Valhalla
11. CRYPTIC AGE – On The Bare Cold Ground
12. HER DARK EMBRACE – Flatline
13. GÜRZ – Göç
14. PASTEL JACK – Trojan Horse
15. ZIYOS – Ascension
16. FOREVER AND A DAY  – Heebeegeebees
17. MORLICH – A Throne in the Darkness
18. THE OBSCENE – Embrace Oblivion
19. ALOESWOOD – Nostalgia
20. NORTHSONG – Mountains Of Madness
21. THECITYISOURS – Ghosts
22. DEFORMATION OF MAN – Dust & Sound
23. HRAFNLBLÓÐ – The Battle (Of Teutoburg Forest)

Collisions – Heavy Echo [2011]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 3rd October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Collisions
Album: Heavy Echo EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Metalcore

Collisions are a metalcore band from Hull, East Yorkshire who started playing shows in February 2011. They their EP “Heavy Echo” was produced by Lee Rule [Obsolete Tomorrow, Ravenage, Windrider, e-Divine Sinn].

”XII” is the first track of the EP, only being a breakdown-styled instrumental lasting for half a minute. “Seige” continues on where “XII” ended. The vocals seem weak and strained and the excessive use of drums doesn’t seem to blend well with the guitars in some parts – Truly disappointing as the drums are beasty. The guitars are powerful and on the verge of being real face melters in certain sections.

“Old Wounds” starts with a very drum dominated sound combined with raw vocals and some guitar riffs. The use of melodic riffs inserts an interesting sound to the track, mush more enjoyable than the overuse of drums. Energy quite literally bursts from this song, this could definitely be a mosh pit anthem at a live show – Let’s hope so. The vocals definitely give the song a brutalising edge. The halfway point of the EP comes in the form of “Don’t Pity Me”, beginning with a loud, aggressive vocal section followed by angsty guitars and drums. The big issue with this song is its length – It’s too short!

”Empty Threats” follows after, starting with an intro that has less emphasis on the drum work, which is fortunate for those who aren’t keen on drum overuse. The guitars have subtle hints of melodic stylings in their composition whilst the vocals and drums bring the powerful, destructive sound. The riffs do progress into something more openly melodic yet keeping true to a heavy touch for the song as well. “The Vigil” is a very calm instrumental for the most part, being somewhat similar to a natural high feeling in its atmosphere. There is a heavy section towards the end but nothing to heavy, keeping the mellow sound there. “IWIHMH” is the final part of the EP, sending the EP out with a loud and face breaking roar of guitars and drums, similar to the way “XII” began the EP.

Though having a somewhat distasteful start, the EP is definitely a treat for fans of metalcore and might even wow some non-metalcore fans as well. The production values are simply amazing as well, giving “Heavy Echo” that crisp, clean sound without betraying the style of the band.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Aloeswood – Forsaken Landscapes [2011]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 1st October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Aloeswood
Album: Forsaken Landscapes EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Post-Black Metal/Folk/Yorkshire Metal

Aloeswood is the solo project of Yorkshire-based musician Danny Downing [Windrider, Ravenage]. Forsaken Landscapes was recorded at Danny’s home and produced by Danny Downing and Elliot Vernon [Windrider, Ravenage] in Muspelheim Studio, Yorkshire.

The first track of the EP is “Farewell”, which begins with a heavy and aggressive riff mixed with precise, barbaric drum work. The guitars have a slight melodic touch that echo through their composition, adding a unique sound to their black metal styling. The vocals are raw and bloodthirsty, mixing well with the riffs. The outro piano medley adds a very solemn sound to both the song and the EP. The solemn sound continues on into the title track “Forsaken Landscapes”, in the form of a clean guitar section. The hate-fuelled shredding of guitars soon takes over though, ruining the mood that had been created slightly. The bass section comes as shock, taking away some of the energy of the music though the guitars soon plough their way back into the song. The vocals are welcomed almost instantly with the melodic riffs, bringing an interesting sound with them. The acoustic sections bring about a certain enchanting folk sound to the song before being replaced by the heavier, distorted guitar riffs.

”The Lake Of Shattered Hope” is one of two instrumentals on the EP and despite the somewhat emo-like name, the track is far from being emo. The entire song is like a slow, mesmerising folk song composed entirely of an acoustic guitar with a touch of viola and cello. “Nostalgia” follows after, carrying on the use of acoustic guitars. The heavy section that follows after builds up towards the introduction of the vocals. There is a brilliant use of female vocal work on this track, provided by Shamsi Modarai. Her voice just seems perfect for the song and style of music. The keyboard sections inject a much-needed atmosphere into the song as well, keeping the track sounding fresh. The EP finishes with the second instrumental “Like Rain To The Ground”. It begins with a calm yet partially heavy guitar part, slowly building up to the introduction of the keyboard voices, adding a subtle beauty to the song.

“Forsaken Landscapes” is different to what you’d expect from a musician who plays in two folk metal bands. While there are elements of folk music, the EP is more black metal orientated with hints of progressive music as well. For the most part, this is a sweet EP and a damn good release in terms of the Yorkshire metal scene. It was everything a good EP should have: Decent tracks, good composition, excellent sound quality and a unique sound.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Forsaken Landscapes is available for free download here.

Obsolete Tomorrow – Beauty Through Chaos [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 31st July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Obsolete Tomorrow
Album: Beauty Through Chaos
Release year: 2010
Genre: Progressive Death Metal/Yorkshire Metal

Obsolete Tomorrow is the solo project of Driffield based guitarist and producer Lee Rule [Ravenage, Windrider, ex-Divine Sinn]. The debut EP “Beauty Through Chaos” [A concept EP revolving around Rule’s life] was released through Rule’s label Xeroxed Records.

The generically named “Prelude” is the first track of the album. Even on a low volume the sheer aggression of the guitars and drums bursts through the speakers. “Battle Ready” comes shredding its way next with a violent combination of raw growls, guitars and drums. The guitars are acute in their composition and playing whilst the drums are masterfully played. The vocals are extremely impressive, almost demonic – Even the whispered growls are a great addition to the track and the EP. The guitar solo is brilliant, very melodic – Mixing well with the aggressive rhythm. Two songs in and the EP is already at a savagely awesome beginning.

The hard-bitten intro of “The Eternal Nightmare” blasts its way next with a ruthless combo of guitars and drums. The synths are a great part of the track, adding a calmness to the hurricane-like force of pure brutality. The drum work is precise but savagely brutal and the vocals are feral and beasty. The double bass pedal barrages are an ingenious addition to the track as well. “Let Chaos Rise” starts with a less rage-fuelled riff, being more akin to progressive metal than death metal, as can be heard in other sections of the track. The guitars and drums certainly show a progressive influence though the vocals keep the angst and aggression. The synths are amazing. There are some death metal elements in the guitars and drums – Good news for those whom aren’t a fan of progressive metal. The highlight of the song would definitely have to be the guitar solo.

”My Asylum” is one of the more lighter songs on the EP, featuring a masterful use of melodic guitar riffs. The track could be easily described as the calm before the storm, which is most true considering the bloodthirsty assault of metal that follows in the form of “The New Beginning” which mixes the aggression and heaviness of death metal with the interesting influences of progressive metal. The drum work is entertaining in its style and playing, blending well with the guitars and vocals. The vocals certainly add the brutal element to the song. The different tempos throughout the track add a new dynamic to the entire EP as well as the track.

”The Rise Of Beauty” is another softer song on the EP, being akin to a mixture of progressive and melodic metal. Surprisingly, there’s a use of female vocals that create the good ol’ “beauty and the beast” effect with the harsh growls. The riffs are very melodic and heavy in some sections. The choir voices from the synths add a very mystical and epic atmosphere to the track. The rough, aggression guitar work contrasts well with the soft, melodic riffs and the female vocals are just enchanting. The EP finishes with “The War Is Over”, another soft, progressive styled track that is the perfect end to a brilliant EP.

Both composition-wise and production-wise, Beauty Through Chaos is a masterpiece. If you didn’t know it was the debut release of Obsolete Tomorrow, you’d most certainly think it was a later release in Obsolete Tomorrow’s discography. Progressive death metal has never been so brilliantly composed! It’s probably the best release in the British metal scene.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Cryptic Age w/Support @ Stereo [Live Review]

Posted in Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 16th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Cryptic Age, Lost Effect, Windrider
Location: Stereo, York
Date: 15th July 2011

The night was certainly a most anticipated event as it was Cryptic Age’s first gig as the headlining band. Originally four bands were booked for the night but one of them had dropped out. The doors were due to open at 7:30pm though didn’t open until nearer 8pm – Though this didn’t deter those who had already arrived for a night of metal.

Critically acclaimed folk metal quartet Windrider were the first to perform. Their usual guitarist, Lee, was absent due to injury so Windrider’s bassist Hallam filled in on guitar whilst Cryptic Age’s bassist Tom filled in as bassist for the night. At the beginning of Windrider’s set, the crowd was somewhat small though they soon filled in after the first song “In The Hall Of The Slain”. Despite playing a small stage, the band were extremely active receiving a great reaction from the crowd, especially with the performances of “A Warrior’s Tale” [The title track of the recent Windrider EP of the same name] and “Slaughter From The Shadows”. It was certainly an impressive performance.

The second band of the night were Lost Effect who describe themselves as “melodic metal”. Their set was certainly most interesting as they mixed brutalising riffs with melodic sections topped off with the clean, operatic-like vocals of the front woman and violent grunts and growls of their keyboardist. Lost Effect had a superb stage presence and clearly wowed the crowd with songs such as “Whispers” and “We Are The Damned”. The only down side to their set was that it didn’t seem long enough.

The headliners, as stated above, were York based power-folk quartet Cryptic Age. Their set began with a metal version of the theme song from “Game Of Thrones”. The vocals were strong, as is to be expected. Cryptic Age interacted brilliantly with the audience in between songs. Some of the highlights of their set include “Homeland”, “Paragons Of War”  and “On The Cold Bare Ground” [all of which can be heard on Cryptic Age’s debut EP “Homeland”]. Their performance of “Bring Down The Sky” was mystifying, almost haunting. Cryptic Age also played some new songs including “Aftermath” and “Maelstrom”. “Aftermath” sounded like a combination of Iron Maiden and Ensiferum due to the very melodic guitar riffs while “Maelstrom” had a very tribal sounding chorus, especially when the crowd sang along.

All in all, the night was certainly an energetic, metal fuelled night with immense performances from three bands. Keep an eye out for these bands as they could soon be on Scuzz or playing at Bloodstock.

Nico Davidson

Interview: Alex Brandsen [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Nico sits down with the “Dutch Drumming Machine” Alex Brandsen, talking about Cryptic Age’s tour and other things.

Nico: Good evening, Alex. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. You’re a drummer in two bands, Ravenage and Cryptic Age, how do you find it drumming for two bands? Is it something that’s naturally easy for you or have you, at times, struggled with it?

Alex: I really enjoy being in two bands, because even though Ravenage and Cryptic Age are relatively similar, I can express different styles and a different overall feeling in the two bands, with Ravenage being more straight, aggressive and fun drumming and Cryptic Age being more subtle, symphonic and ‘intelligent’ if you will. I generally don’t have any problems with drumming in two bands, although I did accidentally started drumming a Cryptic Age riff at a Ravenage rehearsal once…

N: That must have being embarrassing. Speaking of Ravenage, you’re due to tour with them [and Cryptic Age] later this year on the “Warhorns over Aengland” tour. Are you excited about it or are you feeling nervous?

A: Very excited! Really looking forward to touring with Nothgard, and doing some gigs outside of Yorkshire. Not nervous about it really, the nerves usually only kick in 10 minutes before a gig!

N: That’s usually the worse time for the nerves to kick. You recently played Metieval Requiem with both Cryptic Age and Ravenage while sharing the stage with Hecate Enthroned and Skyclad. How was it for you personally to share the stage with two big name bands in the underground metal scene like them?

A: It’s of course a great honour to play with big bands like them, especially Skyclad, as they practically invented folk metal.

N: Speaking of folk metal, Cryptic Age are unique within the folk metal scene due to having a female vocalist. Since the scene is more male-orientated, do you feel that this might be help Cryptic Age become more known?

A: Well there are a couple of folk metal bands that have female vocalists (e.g. Arkona), but the thing that makes Cryptic Age special in my opinion is that Jenny’s got a very wide vocal range, and sings entirely clean. We don’t use any harsh vocals, and that is quite unique I think. I definitely think this is something that works in our advantage, and may well get us some more fans along the road.

N: Cryptic Age recently released the “Homeland” EP. Is there any sort of concept or theme running through the entire EP?

A: Well there isn’t an overall theme or concept to the album, but most of our songs are based on either fantasy and/or mythology, especially Manx mythology and folklore.

N: Is there any reason for the influence from Manx mythology and folklore or is it just something that occurred naturally?

A: It definitely came naturally, although the main reason for the Manx influence is that Jenny is from the Isle of Man. We didn’t really have any influences or themes to go on before writing the songs on the EP. The first part of Homeland (sung in Manx Gaelic) was originally going to be a 1-min intro to the EP, and by then the lyrics of Homeland hadn’t been written yet. Then we put it at the beginning of the track and when we did that the rest of the lyrics about Jenny missing her homeland fell into place. We’ve sort of kept the mythology thing going ever since. Also, instead of writing songs about Norse mythology like most folk metal bands, Celtic mythology comes more naturally to us because it’s closer to our origins, and gives the songs a unique twist I think.

N: Well, Celtic and Manx influences certainly are refreshing for some who are bored of the whole Viking based form of folk metal. Just a few more questions now. Before joining Cryptic Age and Ravenage, did you play in any other bands?

A: I was in a mathcore band for a couple of years when I was still living in the Netherlands, but had to quit that band because I moved to York for my degree back in 2009. I didn’t play in a band for a year, but when I finished my masters in the summer of 2010 I wanted to play live again, and started looking for a band. I found Cryptic Age on gumtree, and soon joined Ravenage as well via Tom, who just joined as their new bassist.

N: You certainly don’t look like a mathcore drummer. Regarding Cryptic Age, are there any events you’re looking forward to partaking in with the band? Aside from the EP release show.

A: We’ve got the Metal 2 The Masses final coming up on the 24th, quite excited about being able to play in front of the Bloodstock judges, and really hoping to win it of course. And then there’s a gig with Old Corpse Road in September, which I’m really looking forward to, as OCR are one of the best local black metal acts out there in my opinion.

N: Sounds like it’s going to be a great year for you and the rest of Cryptic Age then. Final question, are there any bands from both the UK and Dutch underground metal scenes that you’d recommend that our readers check out? Or at least keep an eye out for? Also, thanks again for taking the time to talk with us today, Alex.

A: Except for Old Corpse Road mentioned before, I’d recommend giving Onheil a listen, a blackened metal band from the Netherlands. For a band in the local underground scene, I’d recommend Lost Effect, a melodic metal band from York, who will be supporting us on our EP release gig this Friday.

Cryptic Age will be performing at Stereo in York tomorrow night [15th July] with support from Windrider and Lost Effect. £5 OTD. Doors open at 7.30pm

Northsong – Winter’s Dominion [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 18th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Northsong
Album: Winter’s Dominion EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Symphonic Viking Metal

Northsong is the solo project of American musician Cortland Runyon. “Winter’s Dominion” is the debut EP, due for release 24th June 2011.

”Prelude” begins with the sound of wind, which is eventually replaces by a symphonic section, semi-audible drums and a guitar section. The symphonic sections are grand and majestic, giving the EP a very regal feel. The track is very keyboard heavy, as the guitars only have a small part on this track, however the stream of double bass pedal throughout the majority of the track doesn’t blend well with the symphonic elements. “Mountains Of Madness” begins where “Prelude” finishes. The intro keyboard section has a very Gladiator soundtrack feel to it. The drums can be barely heard over the guitars, keyboards and vocals. The vocals are very death metal-influenced. The guitar sections are rough and aggressive whilst the vocal sections sound very distorted.

”Heathen War” begins with a fast paced and brutal guitar riff. The keyboard sections are epic and heroic-sounding, making the track somewhat sagaic. The drums are still semi-audible. The guitars remain fast paced throughout most of the track, stopping only for a symphonic break halfway through the track and one at the end. Next is “Desperation”. The intro riff is slower compared to that of the previous track. The vocals are still going strong, though still sounding distorted in some sections of the track. The keyboard riffs, however, are thing that stand out most about this track.

The title track, “Winter’s Dominion” begins with a calm, melodic intro mixed with an epic symphonic medley. A fast paced drum section joins in soon after, ruining the intro slightly due to the contrast in speed between the two. The track turns heavier with the introduction of the guitars. The drums however remain seemingly weak. The final track is a cover of Windrider’s “Let Death Be Our Pride”. The track is pretty much exactly like the original except for a slower tempo, weak drums and different vocals, though the clean vocals sound eerily similar to the ones found on the original. However, it is a surprisingly good cover.

”Winter’s Dominion” is a good EP though there is much room for improvement. The EP could have been more enjoyable if the drums were heavier and some parts of the tracks were produced better. However, it is a good debut EP and shows potential for Northsong.

4/5

Nico Davidson

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