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Críticas a Álbuns
Crítica a Álbum :: Raven Lord - Descent To The Underworld (2013)
2013-03-11 16:31:56 | Hugo Miguel Delgado

Descent To The Underworld is the debut album by Raven Lord, a new heavy metal powerhouse featuring singer Csaba Zvekan (ex-Killing Machine), lead guitarist Joe Stump (also Holy Hell, Reign Of Terror), rhythm guitarist George Karafotis, keyboard player Alessandro Duo (also Voodoo Highway), bassist Jamie Mallender (ex-Tony Martin Band) and drummer Rich Smith (also Power Quest). On this album, however, all guitar duties were handled by Stefan Lindholm (also Vindictiv), while the keyboards were playing by Pontus Larsson (also Vindictiv) and the drums by Henrik Hedman (Celestial Decay). All instruments were recorded in different locations and then mixed by Fredrik Nordström at Fredman Studios, Gothenburg, Sweden, and mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering in Los Angeles, California. The band plays classic heavy metal with some neoclassical influences, so Descent To The Underworld, released by Mausoleum Records, should appeal to fans of classic metal bands such as Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen, Accept or (80's albums of) Black Sabbath.

The album starts as every heavy metal album should, with a double bass pounding and guitars riffing along. Csaba Zvekan's voice enters a little later and, although not as sharp and clean as expected, somehow fits nicely in the song, and so does the small backing vocals in the chorus. This is truely a great heavy metal song, featuring interesting and gripping riffs, great soloing and great vocals, moving from a slightly rough tone to sharp scream nearing the end. After The Rebel, Atilla the Hun follows in a more straightforward way, a very direct song, fast and full of screaming, but lacking some of the feeling that made the previous song so interesting. Something that gets fixed with the following Let The Show Go On and Seal of the Cross, both more similar to the opening track. The remaining songs continue along the same lines, varying from mid-tempo to uptempo in a total of 11 songs that will appeal most fans of 80's classic heavy metal - for those, chances are Descent To The Underworld will sound like a wonderful classic heavy-metal album, since now we hardly find albums like this anymore, with classic heavy metal being a dying breed, nowadays... a memory from days gone past, left alone for a handful of classic bands while everyone else is more into other metal subgenres. Also, you'll hardly find a filler track, here - all songs have their own vibe and purpose, so you won't get any of those boring, forgettable, soulless songs whose usual sole purpose is to make the album reach the 40 minute's mark. Depending on personal preferences, some of the songs, like Attila the Hun, Black Friar or Settle the Score may arguably end up sounding not as interesting or catchy as The Rebel, Let The Show Go On, World out of Steel or Sun God, but none of them have that "filler" feeling.

Some of the albums highlights consist of Stefan Lindholm's performance on the guitar riffs and solos, along with Csaba Zvekan's singing skills and the overall composition skills. The bass and drums also add up great effect to the songs, specially during those mid-to-up-tempo moments. Also, the keyboards are not over-the-top, leaving that spot for the guitar, being present only to feed the need of the moment in each song. On the downside, a few of the songs lack that certain something that would make them a classic metal hymn, sounding good but still only average. Also, one could argue that there's too much screaming at times - for my taste, I enjoyed a lot more Csaba Zvekan's rough vocals than his screaming, but that may be not entirely his fault, but more of a production issue. The fact that all instruments were recorded separately - which makes this look more like a solo album with guest musicians than the result of a team effort in composition and interpretation - would also explain some moments that end up sounding a little cold or lacking emotion. Production is also not the best I've heard. It's not that the mixing and interpretation is bad, it's not, but that mechanical / planned feel in some songs should have been prevented in some way, allowing some room for a more organic sound and feel - but I guess that's part of the price you end up paying when all musicians are recording their instruments so far apart from each other. I guess that now that the band's lineup has been settled, they'll have the chance to work their future compositions more as a team effort, so I'll keep my eyes on these guys to check what they'll bring us in their future releases. As for Descent To The Underworld, it's still a very good debut, rating 72 out of 100 in my book.

Rating: 72%

Descent To The Underworld - album cover
01The rebel
02Attila the Hun
03Let the show go on
04Seal of the cross,
05Settle the score
06Promised Land
07Black Friar
08World out of steel
10Metal Knights
11Sun God
Produzido porFredrik Nordström
Produzido emStudio Fredman
Masterizado porMaor Appelbaum
VozCsaba Zvekan
GuitarraJoe Stump | George Karafotis
BaixoJamie Mallender
BateriaRich Smith
TecladoAlessandro Duo'
Raven Lord - band photo