Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ravencult-Temples of Torment

From what I’ve heard, not very many people in my country know about Ravencult (I don’t know about Europe). Ravencult has been one of my favorite black metal bands since they released this album. They have done many things for me like influencing the music I write, and opening my eyes to the underground black metal world (the extremely unknown bands). I have been searching everywhere for this album on CD, and if anyone can help me get a copy or knows where to get one, PLEASE tell me! Ravencult is my favorite Greek band of all time, and I currently know someone that is originally from Greece (currently in USA) that is friends with Ravencult. There is not much of a biography about them, although I did learn that they are quite popular in Turkey, Germany, Norway (home of black metal), Cyprus, and of course Greece. The band is in fact involved in the occult, and is open about it (both of which I admire). They are also one of the most creative and talented black metal bands I’ve ever heard.

I noticed on Spirit of Metal that they have had more than one vocalist, I’m not sure whether their current one is the one that does vocals on this album or not. Probably the first notable quality in their music is that they are one of the faster black metal bands. But they also have a sound extremely similar to that of Darkthrone’s, only faster. It is very important that in any type of music, that the drummer and bassist are very tight and on tempo. And the Ravencult bassist is very tight with the drummer, on top of their bassist being one of the best bassists in black metal. They don’t overdo the treble in the overall sound. It seems that they have the equalizer set to something like the “classical” setting (where all of the frequencies are the same volume). I have noticed that in almost all of the Greek bands that I have heard, they occasionally use a certain keyboard sound that really gives the music an atmospheric sound. Another thing that one finds in this band that is not commonly found among black metal is that the vocalist has really mastered the black metal vocal style. He takes this, and ads sort of a scream to it to make the vocals sound amazing.

I discovered this band via YouTube on this video someone put together showing his favorite black metal bands. The specific song by Ravencult that was played was “Commence the Burning of the Heavens”, which still remains my favorite song on the album. The song that reminds me of Darkthrone the most is “The Needles of Truth”. This is mainly due to the lyrics being said almost completely off tempo which gives the song an interesting atmosphere. “Blessed in Heresy” is a song full of technical drumming. Overall I would give this album a perfect score due to the fact that I can’t listen to it without listening to the entire album and that there isn’t a song on here that I don’t completely enjoy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Iron Maiden-Powerslave

Powerslave is definitely a milestone in the history timeline of heavy metal. This was also my first Iron Maiden album; therefore I am extremely relieved that I chose this as my first impression instead of one of their mediocre albums. This record was released when the Maiden vocalist at the time was in his best condition, because it seems that his singing and vocal range went downhill right after Powerslave in records such as Somewhere in Time. Then it started to go uphill right before my favorite album, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. I’m writing this review from the perspective of someone that barely knows anything about the band other than that they have had more than two vocalists over the years. But I have listened to their music a lot and am very familiar to their sound and music. So I will give my opinion and views on the music the best I can.

I think that this is one of Iron Maiden’s heaviest and fastest records. It’s not quite as experimental, focusing on more of a tight, solid sound. For some odd reason this album reminds me a lot of Whitesnake’s self-titled album. I think that mainly that is because the band had down-tuned guitars and bass, but still had a really melodic and technical sound. One thing that I would like to point out that really is a useless fact is that this is the first Iron Maiden album where the logo on the cover isn’t red. They didn’t use a red logo on the album cover after that until No Prayer for the Dying, and then they didn’t use one until The Final Frontier. There’s something that plenty of people out there probably haven’t noticed. Another thing that I like to think about is why did they choose to have a whole ancient Egyptian theme? That’s something that I’ve always wondered. This album is not only one of their heaviest; it mainly has a very mystical, progressive sound. I think that this is their most unique album because the band members got a lot the most during this time period, and they really wanted to take a break from touring so that they could take more time to create something completely different than their past albums. I am going to say this again, I think that this album is the best first impression to people who are new to the Maiden world. This is another album that if you want to feel the full effect of it, you need to sit down and listen to it, it’s an amazing experience that never gets boring no matter how many times you repeat it.

The record kicks off with a really mystical, progressive song known widely as Aces High. I personally think that the chorus is dull and could use to be more colorful. The drumming in the song is exceptionally simple most of the time, with a few parts of extreme technicality and speed. I noticed that the band rarely plays that song live anymore. The only live album that I have noticed that song in is Live After Death, which was recorded soon during their tour supporting Powerslave. My personal favorite song off the record is 2 Minutes 2 Midnight. This song was one of the Maiden songs that helped define the basic heavy metal sound for the 80s. Flash the Blade is a song than I’m not much of a fan of. Mainly because it’s an overall repetitive song. I noticed that Avenged Sevenfold played a cover of this song in their album Diamonds in the Rough. Those are the songs that stick out to me the most. I would give this album a 15/20.