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Raven Black Night: Barbarian Winter

On their latest release for Metal Blade Records, Barbarian Winter, Australian band Raven Black Night are trying very hard to hone in on that undeground classic metal sound that acts like Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road, and Omen perfected in the early to mid '80s. Well, if you know anything about those three bands, then you can understand that this is not something that is easily done, as each one of them (and there are many others who graced the scene as well during that time period) were pretty damn unique and brought a lot to the table, which sadly didn't result in much success, though Manilla Road is still out there making great new music. As for Raven Black Night, they as well are looking to combine early power metal with doom & thrash, which, more often than not, works pretty well here on Barbarian Winter.

Lead singer Jim The White Knight (yeah, exactly) stands out front and center with his high pitched wailing and nasally mid range, like a strange hybrid of Manilla Road's Mark Shelton, Lemmy from Motorhead, ex-Candlemass Messiah Marcolin, and Geoff Tate. Sounds bizarre right, and it often is, as Jim goes from gravelly snarls to piercing 'to the heavens' wails at the drop of a hat, which for some might be jarring but if you dig, say, King Diamond, you'll feel right at home here, as this guy is all over the place just like the mighty King. Most of the songs are heavy enough, sort of doomy early power metal-ish chugging anthems long on stellar, crunchy riffs and ripping lead guitar solos. Highlights include "Morbid Gladiator", "Mystery Woman", the groove laden "Fire In Your Eyes", the Candlemass/Black Sabbath doom monster "Black Queen", and the haunting 9-minute title track, complete with some of the most menacing riffs on the album. The band even approaches some interesting Rainbow/Scorpions/Queensryche sounds on the proggy "Angel With A Broken Wing", as scorching wah-wah lead guitars meet soaring vocals, Jim & fellow guitarist Rino the Raven really rip it up.

Overall, this is pretty good stuff, and while I could have done without the uninspired remake of Black Sabbath's "Changes" (the vocals on this one just are not good), there's enough solid doomy power metal goodness on "Lips Of Desire" and the above mentioned songs to recommend this one to anyone who likes heavy, underground sounds.

Track Listing
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

Added: March 24th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 2285
Language: english

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