Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ravensire - The Cycle Never Ends (2016)

Portugal's Ravensire bring to mind herculean marches of manly metal might like those from Manowar as illustrated by Frank Frazetta and written by Robert E. Howard. While I don't recall if such a thing ever happened in the world of heavy metal, I definitely feel such a statement applies here. Rick Thor's thunderous bass riffs doubled with F's drumming bring about that mighty feeling of doom, yet there's also a great deal of classic heavy metal here; which is basically the kind of act that it boils down to. I'm also a bit reminded of Hansi Kursch in early Blind Guardian when it comes to the vocal approach here, which makes Thor's performance feel ancient, even legendary. The band also employ two guitarists, Nuno Mordred and more recently Mario Figueira who just joined the act as of this album. It's Figueria's first record and from what I can tell, it's a fine performance that seems to emulate everything that this genre of metal stands for. It is the fire and the dragon, it is the titan and the column, the sword and the spell, the battles between gods, demons and mighty men. It is filled with pounding solos, just the way your mother used to make in the warmth and fire of eighties metal. I'm not sure if the current generation of metalheads will get into what they call “dad rock” but don't even let me get started on that again. I should have had kids years ago and would probably end up being a stepfather in any case, so maybe this stuff is for me after all. But scratch that – children should grow up with Howard and Lovecraft, I think. I'd have treasured them far more than the stories I was reading at such an age, not having known of either man prior.

In any case, this is the kind of record that comes with might. It's like picking up an album and gaining immense strength just from holding it. It's like Conan's sword, which is far too heavy for you to pick up. These gentlemen even have a three-piece epic about the majesty of architecture and ancient temples called “The White Pillars” which seems to further cement their awesomeness as it shows what they're really capable of instrumentally. In particular, the solo section in “Temple At The End Of The World” is absolutely fascinating as it demonstrates the kind of awesome solos that I remember hearing from this genre. Altogether, The Cycle Never Ends is filled with monstrous doom riffs, a powerful vocal performance and about fifteen hundred pounds of testosterone. This is man's metal, for men by men. I'm just glad to see that it's an approach not lost and I wish Ravensire the best with this one and future efforts. I definitely think that fans of Manowar, Manilla Road, classic Blind Guardian and even Iron Maiden will find something to like here and you're sure to hold your axe highly to this one. Speaking of axes, I'm also reminded of Golden Axe with this one, which again describes the atmosphere perfectly. Not only is it mighty, but it's finely crafted and has the spirit of the metal gods looking over it from high above the horizon.

(8 Tracks, 43:00)


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