ALBUM REVIEW: The Raven Age – Conspiracy
London-based melodic metalcore outfit The Raven Age release their sophomore album, Conspiracy, via Corvid Records. After a successful early stage of their career, supporting the likes of Killswitch Engage and Tremonti, they’ve gained quite the following in the metal scene. We gave Conspiracy a spin to see how it fares in comparison to their previous record, Darkness Will Rise.
Bloom of the Poison Seed opens the album with a soft melodic guitar passage which touches into folk territory, setting the album up to be one to be somewhat introspective and emotional. This softness, however, is short lived as Betrayal Of The Mind kicks in – heavy, stunted-guitar paired with harmonising vocals make for a promising punch for the start of Conspiracy. “Why am I here, is this life worth living?” chimes and pulls the heartstrings – a common occurrence throughout Conspiracy. The use of historical references as a metaphor for personal journeys makes for a captivating and rather relatable listen, and also shows the time and effort the band have put into the record.
Conspiracy takes an interesting turn on Stigmata, one of the highlights of the record. Compared to previous tracks, it acts as a showcase for the band’s talent as it evolves from its core origin, guitarists Tony Maue and George Harris play around with more mellow, post-rock passages whilst vocalist Matt James demonstrates his vocal ability excellently, and the record experiences an almost ethereal mid-break before an explosive solo hurls you back into their signature sound. These moments occur relatively frequently throughout Conspiracy, and in comparison to Darkness Will Rise, The Raven Age have grown up a lot. They’ve taken the strong aspects of their origins and honed them, with new additions Maue and James pushing the bar higher with their guitar skills and vocal range/dramatics respectively.
What The Raven Age seem to excel at through Conspiracy is taking the formula for a well-structured melodic metalcore track, and injecting it with an abundance of emotion through the stories being told. We also hear experimentation with other genres seeping into The Raven Age’s arsenal, with the post-rock introduction of The Day the World Stood Still before it bursts into a more traditionally metalcore sound. The record beings to sound a little repetitive in places, but these moments are quite short-lived as sparks of intuitiveness and creativity are rife, sending you through a plethora of emotions and stories reflective of the band’s individual experiences. The record’s closer, Grave of the Fireflies is an 8-minute epic which encapsulates the band’s talent as individual musicians, rounding Conspiracy off excellently.
To those who were around for the rise of metalcore, especially the likes of Killswitch Engage, Conspiracy will be right up your alley. Its emotional, anthemic choruses which immediately sink into your brain act as anchors for them to play around with grooves, post-rock, and other styles to keep you intrigued. Offering a more sophisticated blend of metalcore, we see a bright future ahead for The Raven Age.
Standout Tracks: Stigmata, Seventh Heaven, Scimitar.
For Fans Of: Bullet For My Valentine, Killswitch Engage, Avenged Sevenfold
Written by: Jordan McEvoy