Raven Lord is a new Power Metal “supergroup” of sorts. This six man team hails from various parts of the world, joining together to create an invigorating project. Their debut album Descent To The Underworld is a melding of many classic influences from the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, Judas Priest, Dio, and Helloween.
Raven Lord is led by Swiss native Csaba Zvekan, former vocalist of Killing Machine. His signature high-pitched growls are predominant in each and every track. There are some instances where Zvekan will perform a Judas Priest “Painkiller” impersonation by singing in an extraordinarily high and screaming style. Whereas in other more subdued tracks he is more reminiscent of the forceful roughness of Jorn Lande. It doesn't matter which style he chooses for each song, Zvekan’s vocals are the driving force with a commanding presence and grandiose temperament.
The other key ingredient to the sound of Raven Lord is the Neo-classical engravings of guitarist Joe Stump. Stump has been around the music industry more than 20 years, releasing several albums as an instrumental solo artist. He has also been critically acclaimed for being one of the top shredding guitarists of all time. He has built a reputation on being a Neo-classical master, and there is no shortage of that on this album and he generally saves his best shredding for the solo sections of each track. He does a great job of letting Zvekan take a clear vocal command during the verse and chorus, however, once his solo’s hit, they are tremendously intense.
One clear downside with Descent To The Underworld is a significant lack of organic necessity. Understanding that most Metal albums of today are put together in bits and pieces, as bands rarely play together live during recording, this album comes off more blatant than most. There is very little cohesiveness between Zvekan, Stump, and the rest of the band for that matter. Each performer is playing their part as scripted, and the producer had banded it all together the best he can. The overall product has a canned feel with a severe shortage of emotion or passion.
It’s difficult to pick one track that stands out as dominant, the general flow of songs tend to meld together and have a very similar sound. However, one of the more melodic and memorable songs is “Seal Of The Cross”, which features a restrained Zvekan during most of the vocal lines, therefore putting forth a more natural singing style. Similarly, Stump does not blow you away with a fiery solo either, but manages to produce a pleasing riff throughout.
Descent To The Underworld is not a piece of work that will blow you away because the overall production is mediocre at best. However, the musicianship and artistic talent is well above average. Unfortunately, the deficiency on making a solid connection with the listener will prevent you from coming back for more.
Official Raven Lord Website
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