Raventale - Mortal Aspirations
Raventale is a one-man project featuring "Den of Winter" guitarist Astaroth. This album is being advertised as the band’s transformation from depressive black/pagan metal to black doom metal. Interesting way to promote the band as it is still half black metal to me, adding a few slower riffs and some extra keys doesn't make you a doom band all of a sudden but anyway this is still a great album despite the mis-leading promotion. I must stress however this ain't no traditional black metal album so just beware black metal heads, this album is way more diverse than that. The album starts off very doom with a haunting goth/doom sound using keys before it explodes into typical bombastic black metal style. The track is called "The Fall Of The Mortal Aspirations" and is a great attempt at making something heavy and dramatic using keys but avoiding sounding like just another goth/black/doom hybrid. The sound from that out-set is real powerful and is really highlighted on the excellent "My Birds Of Misfortune" which has everything from metallic chugging riffing which got me sucked right away, the track features some breath-taking musical interludes that mellow things out a bit but doesn't sound distracting or out of place. This is one heavy track that also features some strong melody lines and like most of the album, the arrangement is faultless. Raventale gained significant notoriety for their first record and its portrayal of the nature inspired lyrical themes and still a lot of themes remained with this album. One thing that has changed though is the use of English texts which will make a lot of us happy as the lyrics are beautifully written. "A Fading Scent Of Cinnamon And The Naked" once again includes a lot of somber emotive sections but all bundled with some catchy but real crunchy guitar sounds. Astaroth clearly shows he has high standards of musicianship, song writing and diversity and while this album sounds a lot cleaner than the first album from them, it actually benefits the bands style perfectly. The rasping vocals of Astaroth is what gives the songs the black metal edge but this album is diverse enough and has so many strong and sometimes beautiful melodies, it can appeal to a wide section of metal fans who like metal that is powerful emotionally as well as musically. The album is interspersed with instrumentals, most of which are so short that they blend in with the following track so they sound like a integral part of the album. The next major highlight for me is track 8 "Suicide As The Destined End", this track reeks of sorrow and sadness and is the most funeral doom sounding track on the album. The epic sounding track on the album and once again, beautifully constructed and playing. It has a almost symphonic metal vibe to it towards the end of the track, this is a black/doom sound that can make you cry if you let it. A note for fans of the first album from this band, the sound has distinctly changed as well as the style and the shaping of the production around the music has been molded in a different light to the previous efforts, which was a little monotonous on occasions, this has a epic symphonic sound driven by sorrow and sadness while retaining some viscous metallic crunch in places. Hard album to categorize, some doom fans will say not doom enough, some black metal fans will see it as a sell-out which its not at all in my opinion. Hell, i was ready to tear this album apart before listening to it but i was instantly was drawn in by the excellent musicianship and the intense emotional pull that this album has, great album.