Monday, February 25, 2013

Review of "Barbarian Winter" by Raven Black Night

Buy this album

1. Fire in Your Eyes
2. Morbid Gladiator
3. Mystery Woman
4. Fallen Angel
5. Black Queen
6. If You Choose the Dark
7. Warriors Call
8. Barbarian Winter
9. Changes
10. Lips of Desire
11. Nocturnal Birth
12. Angel with a Broken Wing

It was late 1999 when Jim Petkoff, the white knight [guitar/vox], and Rino Amoriono, the raven [guitar], met over a cold beer in Adelaide, South Australia: the city of churches and where AC/DC found Bon Scott. This would mark the beginning of Raven Black Night's campaign to bring their traditional metal sound to a worldwide audience.

After deciding to form a doom/heavy metal band, they enlisted Matt Spencer the black night [bass], and Jeremy the godfather on drums. They began building a formidable live reputation, with a style of metal that appealed to many varieties of metal heads in their home town. With their stage adourned with swords, shields, and candles, they spent 2003-2006 criss-crossing Australia, performing at various metal festivals and underground clubs. Drummer Joe Toscano was brought into the band and their first album, Choose The Dark, was recorded and released in 2005.

Choose The Dark garnered praise throughout Australia and Europe, and a track from was chosen for Germany's Heavy magazine's compilation featuring unsigned artists. This all culminated into an invitation in 2007 to perform at the 10th annual Headbangers Open Air in Germany, where the band performed with Candlemass, Rage, and many others.

Several years of touring and festival appearances were to follow: Hard and Heavy summer nights, the Hamburg ballroom, and more dates throughout Australia. In 2010-2011 Jim, Rino with Chris on bass enlisted Matt Enright to record new material for their long awaited follow up cd.

Jim and Rino are prepared to take the Raven Black Night's sound of true metal/doom rock to a global audience. A new partnership with Metal Blade Records and a new album, which is now being written, will firmly place Raven Black Night on the world map of true heavy metal.

Raven Black Night brought a nice change with the old school feel, with the first track “Fire in Your Eyes” showing off catchy riffs. The solo was great as well and vocalist was impressive, pulling off a few highs, gaining my interest right off the bat. The next track, “Morbid Gladiator,” is a great track for bass. It also has another impressive solo and is definitely a shorter track, but is groovy and heavy the whole way through. The guitars on “Mystery Woman” are really heavy and the accompanying vocals gaining in volume added to it. The solo was great especially when the high yells come in. Another track that felt a little short comparatively was “Fallen Angel.” Bring really amazing riffs the whole way through, and incredible solo, and vocals as well.

“Black Queen” is a track that has everything Raven Black Night is good at providing, with some heavy sludgy grooves and solos that make you want to put down your guitar. The great vocal range of Jim Petkoff adds things to the mix. Bringing a clean heavy metal style is the next track, “If You Choose the Dark.” The thing I always enjoyed about this style was how apparent the bass is and its groove along with the solos and the riffs are very catchy, making this one of my favourites. A seven second spoken word in the form of “Warriors Call” gets you ready for the monster of a track, coming in at nine minutes, “Barbarian Winter.” The first riff felt a bit grim which is always awesome, but the track feels a little like ballad with how slow the track felt. Solos in between verses were great, and kept my interest. The last two minutes of this track blew me away bringing dirty gutturals I didn’t know were possible from this band.

“Changes” is a very slow and soft spoken track which, this time around, is definitely ballad sounding. It’s a little cheesy to me, but it isn’t a bad track. The guitars on “Lips of Desire” really come off well from the previous track’s feel. With lots of squeal-y guitars on this track, as well as solos, this track seems to mostly be all about the guitars as that’s all you can really pay attention to as they are all over the place. There’s a really great slow groove to the next track, each instrument seemed to stick out nicely making it a great listen. Half way through it picks up with great solos and a heavier feel although it is a mostly mellow track but great to listen to. A perfect mix of heavy and mellow brings the album to a close on the track “Angel with a Broken Wing, with solos galore and catchy riffs”and even more incredible vocals with highs. This track ends at five minutes in and after a little while of silence there is a short bonus track.

This band is a really tight heavy metal band, bringing old styles back. The grooves and impressive solos and the amazing vocal range of Jim Petkoff as well as accompanying guitars by Rino the Raven make this band in my opinion. I really wish there was more growls as seen in the track “Warriors Call.” They were surprising to say the least and I liked the change a lot from the normal highs. If you like heavy metal and even a little death metal you should check these guys out.

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