Saturday, February 09, 2013

Raven Black Night-Barbarian Winter

Metal Blade Records

From the looks of things it has been a long, tolling journey for this Australian band. Raven Black Night, who were formed in 1999, has seen more then it's fair-share of line-up changes. They spent more then a few of their formative years criss-crossing Australia playing live where/whenever they could. Having released their first album back in 2004, the well-received "Choose The Dark", it's only now that they are able to release a proper follow-up. In their time together they also issued a couple of demos. This is the band's sophomore release and a sign that hard work and dedication pay off. Getting to the heart of Raven Black Night's sound is a bit of a challenge though. There's some doom elements (Black Sabbath and Witchfinder General) and some classic heavy metal (Dio, solo Ozzy and Judas Priest). There were moments when I couldn't help but think of Merciful Fate and other times I was picking up on the early work of Oz (the band). And then there is the N.W.O.B.H.M. elements (other then the Witchfinder General that is) that hold this album together. Pound for pound Iron Maiden is the most obvious name that comes to mind. In an alternate time-line I could almost imagine that Raven Black Night are what Black Sabbath would have sounded like if  they had been influenced by a (early) Bruce Dickinson-lead Iron Maiden. There were other N.W.O.B.H.M. acts that came to mind too like Samson, More, Witchfynde and Cloven Hoof, but it's Iron Maiden you hear the loudest (or quietest as in the case of the band's doom vibe). Speaking of doom/Black Sabbath and the such the band does a decent enough job with their cover of "Changes". While it doesn't match the impact of the original it's interesting to note that their own material comes off stronger then this Ozzy classic. You'd think that a great song like "Changes" would stick out, but it's a so-so experience compared to the band's own compositions. The way in which Raven Black Night is able to pull in these classic heavy metal and N.W.O.B.H.M. guitar solos and then give it a doom coating is, for lack of a better word, cool. There's a real heavy metal vibe that you get from listening to "Barbarian Winter". For those of you that love classic heavy metal bands and the whole N.W.O.B.H.M. movement

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