Released: 2014, Indie Recordings
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
What's a guy to do when your main band is on hiatus? Form a rawer, more vicious hardcore band, that's what. And that is exactly what CULT OF LUNA's Johannes Persson has done – enter RIWEN. With this debut EP, Persson et al. are simply laying down streamlined hardcore to assault the eardrums – are we sufficiently bludgeoned?
In short, yes. “Riwen” is a chunky, rough and bristling affair with a focused approach and no-frills but with that comes memorable songs. Opener “Nature Calls Us Back” is everything that you'd expect from hardcore – solidly structured, hard-hitting and positively frothing at the mouth with fury, whilst centrepiece “Values” is the typical speed demon all albums require, with an almost unrelenting pace and flaying riffs flying everywhere, punctuated by the raucous and abrasive vocals of Lindkvist.
Closer “Karlsgrundet” slows things down a little bit and adds a slight cinematic quality to proceedings, with the inclusion of atmospherics, clean passages and elements of light and shade. It adds a great piece of variety to the typical hardcore fare of the first two tracks, and gives a gentle nod and doff of the imaginary hat in the direction of Persson's main band.
It's exactly what you'd expect from a hardcore album – it's not reinventing the wheel, but it's a great start to the band's existence. It sets a great precedent for future releases, but the band should not ignore the more innovative closer's ideas. More of this on a full-length to intersperse the brutal parts will make for a cracking album. Great start; looking forward to the debut album.
Review by: Lee Carter