RAVENIA — Beyond The Walls Of Death (review)

RAVENIA — Beyond The Walls Of Death album cover Album · 2016 · Symphonic Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
1.5/5 ·
With a line-up containing no less than nine members, Finnish symphonic metal band Ravenia certainly appear to look as if they mean business. The business of creating some symphonic metal music of truly epic proportions that is. They previously released an EP, Wingless (2014), but Beyond the Walls of Death (2016) is their first actual album. Along with the traditional metal complement of a guitarist, bassist, drummer and vocalist the band also features among their ranks two violinists, a violist, a cellist and a contrabassist (not sure that's the right term). The line-up is certainly noteworthy due to the lack of a keyboardist, with Ravenia instead favouring authenticity.

This of course works greatly in their favour, but it's a real shame that the resulting album is a rather bland affair. Ravenia have a strong power metal element in their sound, but Beyond the Walls of Death overall feels very much like a symphonic metal release rather than a symphonic power metal one. The metal element is rather standard for the genre, allowing the orchestral sounds to take the lead but even when playing at speed the whole thing comes across as feeling rather lifeless, whereas power metal is usually an energetic type of music. It definitely isn't a help that the band have a tendency towards what I like to think of as mid-length to long tracks (six – nine minutes) as there isn't really all that much going on to justify such lengths.

Their authenticity is a nice touch and all, but I'm sorry to say that I don't hear much evidence on Beyond the Walls of Death that Ravenia have the song-writing to go with it. The orchestral parts themselves are nice enough, but when that's the best part of a symphonic 'metal' album...well let's just say that's when you know the release has problems, the biggest one I think of which is that none of the songs have any sort of identity of their own, recycling the same basic ideas over and over again until eight tracks later the album is finished. Vocalist Armi Päivinen has a pleasant enough tone to her voice I suppose, but sometimes a singer is really only as good as their material, so her performance doesn't add anything to the album for me either.

I wouldn't call quite Beyond the Walls of Death an offensively bad release, because I do think Ravenia really tried to make something special here so they do get marks for effort, but it may be a case of simply trying too hard, as it's essentially short on ideas and so comes across as boring. There's some small promise to be heard, but not much more.
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