Overall Score: 6/10 Consistency: 5/10 Vocals: 8/10 Memorable Songs: 6/10 Pros: Michael's voice | When they get it right, it's very good Cons: Far too long | Some songs feel very repetitive
The full length debut album from UK metallers The Raven Age, Darkness Will Rise, has attracted a lot of fanfare prior to its recent release. A lot has been written, both good and bad, so now it is time for the Rock Sins take on it.
It’s clear that there is some talent in the band from the off. In particular vocalist Michael Burrough has an enjoyable tone, reminiscent in places of As Lions’ Austin Dickinson (which itself is somewhat ironic given that fellow Maiden offspring George Harris plays guitar in The Raven Age) but thankfully sans any of the “vocal effects” used in the recent As Lions’ release. The rhythm section of Jai Patel and Matt Cox is solid throughout without being spectacular, while the twin guitar attack of the aforementioned George Harris and Dan Wright offer some well thought out shredding in places.
There are unfortunately a couple of big issues with the album. The first, and most seriously, is the length. Clocking in at 13 tracks (which under normal circumstances would be fine), the album runs to over 75 minutes long. Whilst it is undoubtedly good in places, there is simply not enough quality or variation in the tracks to hold the listener for that length of time.
When The Raven Age get it right, such as with first track proper Promised Land, which has a fantastic intro and holds the listener throughout, or with the terrific riffing on Winds Of Change, they are a hugely enjoyable band. Indeed, there are other songs with good parts to them, it’s just that many of them, Salem’s Fate and Trapped Within The Shadows to name two, outstay their welcome. If the songs were one to two minutes shorter, they would hold the listener’s attention more easily, as some of the repetitive elements would be removed, and thus the albums two biggest problems would be solved.
Darkness Will Rise is by no means a bad album, but nor is a great one either. There are definite signs that The Raven Age *could* be great. As the band matures they will hopefully find the recipe for success, keeping the enjoyable elements of their sound whilst exercising stricter quality control. Time is on their side, and it will be very interesting to see where The Raven Age go from here.
Darkness Will Rise is out now on BMG.