Somebody had mentioned to me Australian Metal band RAVENS'HEAD and on their homepage some reviews also raved about them a lot, so I decided to give it a try and get in touch with them. Mission accomplished and here it is: "From The Darkness".
Let me first quote a bit from the reviews? About second track "Play Me For The Fool" somebody wrote "Speed Metal scorcher". Ok, I don't know, which CD that guy had in his player, but either it was not "From The Darkness" or he has a rather, ehm, warped definition of the term Speed Metal… Yes, it is an upbeat song, but not rather faster Heavy Metal and a scorcher to me is an energetic, gripping tune… Anyways, this CD also has been described as classic Power Metal, another term I could not agree with…
Opener "Martyr" starts out quite nicely, traditional Heavy Metal in the style of the Eighties, with a female voice, courtesy of Rachel Pedri, that is rather mid pitched and of a rather raw power than a too smooth vocal delivery, also sounding a bit like from the Eighties. Not the usual Heavy Metal, but what some people might call a little cranky, but good. Not so much, though, once "Play Me For The Fool" comes… I don't know what it is, but here to my ears the voice just doesn't fit with the rest of the music, actually I do not like her vocal performance on this song at all, also because of the rather bleak production that her voice received here, not good, not good…
Following "Arcana" is a lot better, with its MAIDEN-esque guitars and also the flute of "Did You Ever" brings in a nice effect, even though the song has its lengths throughout its six minutes overall, there is just too little happening to really keep up the tension and attention of the listener. How to do a variable and most of all good song all over is proved by the following "The Gates Of Hell", which starts out very calmly and then adds in intensity and also shows us a truly inspired vocal performance by Rachel, more of this please!
Overall the production is not bringing out the best of the band's sound, which does not help, but even though there are some good songs to be found on "From The Darkness", I honestly do not understand the whole ballyhoo around RAVENS'HEAD. Sure, they do not sound like most of the other current and new bands, but still, I do not think that this CD has turned out great, for that it is still too bumpy in parts and the whole thing does not gel the way it is supposed to be, leaving quite a few things desired, at least as far as my ears tell me.
So "Martyr", "Arcana", the album highlight "The Gates Of Hell" or "Sands Of Time" show potential, but my guess is that it still will take a bit until RAVENS'HEAD will actually be able to live up to that potential. (Online May 14, 2003)