Released: 2013, Mausoleum
Reviewer: Igor (Guest Writer/ Serbia)
The debut album by Raven Lord sends listener through an 11-part metal journey with heavy neo-classical influences. A swedish shredder Stefan Lindholm (Firecracker, Vindictiv), sounding as inspired as ever in his career of thoughtful guitarwork, is matched with Csaba Zvekan's (Killing Machine, Sardonyx, Rough Angel) gritty, yet melodic vocals. Csaba is doing a great job of showcasing soaring highs at just the right moments, hitting the sweet spot between harshness and technicality.
Still, think not Yngwie Malmsteen, or even Vindictiv clone, as the sound is more American power-metal influenced - at moments showcasing energy similar to the seminal album of Outworld (feat. Rusty Cooley on guitar), albeit a bit less progressive overall, this is evident on the tracks like 'Attila The Hun' and 'World Out of Steel'.
Now, Lindholm's solos and riffs have a life of their own, as they are what brings real depth to the melodies here. The guy never sounds repetitive or dull, and I never caught myself thinking 'he's overdoing it now' on this album, which is exceptional considering his Malmsteenesque background.
It's important to mention that current Raven Lord guitarist is Joe Stump (Joe Stump's Reign of Terror), an associate guitar professor at the Berklee College of Music - as he replaced Lindholm soon after the album came out. Joe's 20+ year long career is filled with outstanding, mostly instrumental neoclassical metal releases and there is little doubt that he is a top-notch choice for Raven Lord - it has already become obvious at the live shows (still be aware that Joe is at moments so loud that he can probably make your ears bleed - at least this was my impression at the recent R-Mine Metalfest in Belgium!).
From the first seconds of 'The Rebel' until the closure of the epic 'Sun God', DESCENT TO THE UNDERWORLD manages to stand apart from cliches, and still be as catchy and memorable as your favorite power metal anthems. It's easy to sing along to choruses as soon as after the first listen, and fans of the genre can admire the overall heaviness . If you've lately listened to something that you'd rather bang your fists to then merely bang your head, then you know what I'm talking about. Mixed by Fredrik Nordström (At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Nightrage, In Flames, Dream Evil, Opeth) and mastered by U.S. mastering engineer Maor Appelbaum (Sepultura, Halford, Yngwie Malmsteen, Angra, Dokken), as expected, this release has a punch that is simply a joy to listen to.
Can't wait for more music from these guys!