By Steve Earles
Ravens Creed are one of the truest metal bands around, and it’s been a pleasure to see them become so. I first heard Ravens Creed when Dave Gedge at Bad Acid gave me their splendid ‘Militia of Blood Sacrifice Demo’ to review, it stood out like a septic thumb from the more mellow (by comparison!) sounds of the rest of the reviews in that particular issue of Bad Acid. I was also fascinated by how ferocious their then vocalist, Orange Goblin’s Ben Ward sounded. Clearly the great man was channelling his inner Cronos!
Ravens Creed didn’t do mellow… they did (and still do) ferocious, lean, no-frills metal. Subsequently I would go on to review their full-length debut on Domentia Records, the marvellously titled Albion Thunder(one of the best British metal albums of recent years), and interview Ben Ward and guitarist Steve Watson for Zero Tolerance and Bad Acid.
Since then there has been a significant change in Ravens Creeds line-up, with Ben Ward amicably leaving his position to concentrate on Orange Goblin full-time (a move that has paid off with both An Eulogy For The Damned and a ferocious touring schedule). Ben has been replaced with Al Osta, who, I’m pleased to say has not only maintained Ben’s high-standards but added his own strong identity to the vocals. This man could strip paint at 100 metres!
So, many band’s second albums are utter disappointments. Not so The Power, opening with a whail of sirens, there’s no mistake, this band have declared war. Steve Watson has often told me how much he detests the myriad of sub-genres of metal that have sprung up, and from start-to-finish, Ravens Creed deliver an immense fusion of Venom and Discharge. Songs like ‘Atomic Fist’, ‘War Cauldron’ and the splendidly named ‘Silence in Crow Court’ are a razor-edged riposte to any tendencies towards commercialism (Ravens Creed know this word only as a curse and insult!). The majority of the songs hover around the two-minute mark, the entire album clocks in at under 30 minutes, and you know why? There are no unnecessary solos, no frilly acoustic intro, this is metal stripped of all the fat, Ravens Creed are a lean, metal killing machine. Steve Watson is the riff-master, laying down hellish barrages of riffs, Sabbat legend Frazer Craske delivers Geezer-Butler-on-steroids bass, and Jay Graham provides more quality drumming in one album than Lars Ulrich has in his entire career. Al Osta must gargle drain-cleaner to sound so ferocious. Legends!
I have to give credit to Doomentia too, for the marvellous sleeve that encases The Power, it would give a hippy many nightmares (which is as it should be!), and just cries out to be released on vinyl to show off the incredible art-no cheap photoshopped cover here, this is the real deal. As are Ravens Creed.
The Power will definitely be in my top ten for 2013, and if you love metal it should be in yours too