Flying the flag for traditional doom influenced metal down under is barely known majestic riff lords RAVEN BLACK NIGHT. After the opening chords of this CD, I asked myself, ‘How did you miss 2013’s Barbarian Winter?’
The album starts off with some clean choppy phased guitar before unleashing the mainstay of this band; thick power chord riffs that are more than not both rhythmic and also a lyrical melody, if you know what I mean. But what puts this band at the forefront is Jimmy Petkoff’s clean singing – a chalky smooth, effortlessly powerful rock voice. Even in falsetto there’s no doubt this is a man. I’m not sure if he is the lead guitarist as well, but the solos complement the vocals and develop the melodies nicely when their time comes.
There are some blunt reviews for this album on Metallum that suggest the first four songs are great ( they definitely are ) and that things go downhill from track five? I would have to disagree, Black Queen is great! Warriors Call is even better! Strong yet unrefined? Perhaps my punk background gives me a different perspective over some of these metal review sites – there is a time and place for direct simplicity, and tracks 5-7 nail it IMHO. Anyone who can get away with ‘Barbarian Winter, I’m so cold, light the fire, that keep my body warm’ gets a thumbs up from me.
I’m not such a fan of the cover of Black Sabbath’s Changes, it seems a bit pointless to me to attempt something that cannot be bettered. But then, we get Lips of Desire, which sounds like Cosmic Funeral by Cathedral, but with much better vocals.
Anyone who fancies some Sabbath worship influenced by a bit of Manilla Road, and doesn’t mind things a bit rough and ready, could do worse than check out RAVEN BLACK NIGHT. They don’t tour Europe very often, with Athens, Greece being the closest they got to us in 2019. Jimmy Petkoff also plays in a few other bands who I will check out….