Ravenwoods - Enfeebling the Throne
Aural Music/Code666
Blackened Death
10 songs (37:04)
Release year: 2011
Ravenwoods, Aural Music/Code666
Reviewed by Charles
Ravenwoods, from Turkey, play straightforward music but do so rather well. This is their second album but they are new to me, having apparently started life as a proper unfriendly black metal act before gravitating towards the more mainstream blackened-death proposition they are today. And Enfeebling the Throne is a triumph of hard-riffing metal wizardry that ought really to win the band some new fans.

The first obvious comparison is Melechesh- a lazy one based partly on vaguely-Middle Eastern location, sure, but also fairly appropriate in terms of sound. The band have the highly polished assault of Emissaries, slickly firing out fast and energetic blackened death salvos, generously interspersed with glowering interludes of Eastern ambiance. This means that you would really struggle to call this an original album, though the riffs come so thick and fast, and are often so electrifying, that they get away with it. It doesn’t hurt that they also have a penchant for heavy, Behemoth-like grooves, and consummate thrash professionalism reminiscent of The Haunted, both of which give this a thuggish weight and massive headbanging appeal that may well take them places. The musicianship is superb, particularly the drumming, which is often explosive.

Indeed, there are a striking number of top-notch extreme metal tunes on here, and my job can only be to list some of the highpoints. The title track is a screeching tirade of ultra-tight blastbeats and riffs like twisted steel, climaxing in a screaming lead solo. Upheaven-Subterranean is a riotously fast thrasher with flailingly techy overtones, which then detours evocatively into a shower of airy Eastern strings and percussion. Inward Massacre mixes thrillingly contorted guitar patterns with slowed-down melodic grooves, and closer The Fading Trace ends the album by delving into marvellously sour-faced black metal blasting. Ravenwoods even demonstrates its sensitive side with Stay, a tribute to a deceased friend of the band, which hews a bellowingly emotive power ballad out of this gleaming metallic hulk.

Having spent several months now concentrating on the weirder realms of the underground black metal scene, I’m surprised to be getting this worked up about what (by extreme metal standards) has such a mainstream sound. This should really be competing with acts like The Haunted or Arch Enemy, so immediate are its riffs and so hooky its, er, hooks. The band certainly deserves a wider audience, and Enfeebling the Throne has the potential to bring them to one.

Killing Songs :
Upheaven-Subterranean, Inward Massacre, Enfeebling the Throne
Charles quoted 87 / 100
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