Released: 2016, Cruz Del Sur Music
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
The latest album from Portuguese metallers RAVENSIRE, The Cycle Never Ends, is a throwback to the days of epic Heavy Metal glory, a collection of anthemic songs that mixes the gritty vocal delivery of bassist/vocalist Rick Thor with melodic dual guitar attacks and song structures that will listeners of OMEN,MANOWAR and CIRITH UNGOL at their epic metal best. The vocals particularly reminded me of German bands like RUNNING WILD and GRAVE DIGGER, and like those bands, there is a tendency of contrasting throaty, raspy vocals with more melodic touches in the music. The production is also pretty much a throwback to the eighties: all of the instruments are heard except for the bass, which is buried underneath the thick layers of guitars. This contributes to the atmosphere of the album, though, sounding like some lost record from the mid to late 1980's period.
While most of the tricks used by RAVENSIRE in The Cycle Never Ends are nothing new, they are played convincingly enough that the record will win over anyone who enjoys Classic Metal. The band does not fool around, as the album immediately hurls itself at the listener with "Cromlech Revelations", showcasing everything the band is about: there are subtle elements of Doom Metal here, though they are used sparringly, just like Italians DOOMSWORD did on their albums, with the aboved mentioned contrast of raspy vocals and melodic music. Most of the material is at a mid paced tempo, yet anthemic enough at times to be enjoyable. There are definitely no ballads or soft segments on this record, though, as it is all devoted to keeping the epic element up front in the music. Guitars evoke images of castles and ancient battles, with dual hooks that tell the story just as well as the lyrics do. The band speeds it up for "Solitary Vagrant" which would sound right at home in a German Speed Metal album from the 1980's with its no nonesense, straight to the point approach. The chorus will definitely stick in your mind, as the band briefly slows down for it, allowing the epic and anthemic elements to shine. Another fast song is "Trapped in Dreams", another definite headbanging moment on the album. As the end of the record approaches, the band throws in a trilogy of songs entitled "White Pillars Trilogy", which begins with the eerie guitar melodies and battle drums of "Eternal Sun". As the band tells the tale of a battle taking place, they make way for part two of the trilogy entitled "Blood And Gold", which is like a reflection on the aftershock of the battle discussed on the previous song. Again the band briefly speeds up during certain sections, which works wonderfully. The album stops with "Temple at the End of the World" which has some nice double bass drum work during the verse as it sums up the trilogy in an elegant fashion.
While certainly not a big game changer, The Cycle Never Ends is a good release in its own right, and RAVENSIRE prove that they can do a lot with just a few things. While it may become a bit repetitive at times, there is still a conviction here that will not let listeners turn the album off, as they will be delighted by how the band rips through their epic Metal material. There are no Progressive or Technical Metal tendencies here, but the band certainly know how what they are doing, which keeps our interest in their music. The album is recommended for people who can't get enough of German Speed Metal from the 1980's as well as lovers of Epic Metal.