Iron Maiden's first leg at their "Book of Souls" World tour, and you actually went to the concert when the doors opened, then you probably saw The Raven Age, the opening act for the entire tour. Now, why did this band get such a fantastic opportunity? Well, one of the members in the band is George Harris, the son of Steve Harris, so obviously it had nothing to do with that, must be something about this band potentially being one of those up and coming bands that everyone will have heard about ten years from now.
Anyway, now that they are done supporting the legends, The Raven Age have completed the work on their debut album entitled "Darkness Will Rise", and I hope you all are ready for it, because it is a big one. No, not big as "one of the most anticipated releases" big, but big as in a big album. "Darkness Will Rise" contains 13 songs that takes a hour and 14 minutes to get through, which is a lot to swallow, especially since this is a new band. The material here could almost fill two albums with the preferred length of 40 minutes, so why go big instantly when you got an entire career ahead of you? Not to mention that three out of four song from their self titled debut EP are included here as well ("The Death March", "Eye Among The Blind", and "Angel In Disgrace"), which is really unnecessary.
It does not help either that the album has a lot of the same tone throughout its run time, nothing that really stands out in any shape or form. It could be that the music here is kind of dated (melodic metal with very little riffs or solos that was popular about ten years ago) that makes it so stale, I honestly do not know, but I know that an album that has no form of ups and downs are just the same as an EKG, flatline equals death. Once again, this is a problem that could have easily been solved (or at least minimized) by cutting some songs from the set list.
In terms of quality though, there is not much to criticize here to be honest. The production is clean and big, and the band obviously has some sort of talent. It would have been fun to see some more personality in the performance, but it works here, and once again, they are still in their early stage of their careers, so they have the time to evolve as musicians.
But this all leads me back to what I stated before, why are they rushing things? Releasing so many songs in one go, all sounding roughly the same as well. We got some nice tunes here, like "Promised Land", "Winds of Change", and the three previously released songs (which I would not find unnecessary if they had just cut out a lot of other fillers), but they are few and far between. If the band would have just restrained themselves, then they could have produced a really nice product here.
So obviously this is not nearly as competent as what Iron Maiden is doing, so I will not compare too much there, however I would like to compare this album to another Maiden son's debut, Austin Dickinson and his band As Lions who released their debut "Selfish Age" earlier this year. That album is way more dynamic, but it is also much more inconsistent, which is why it loses ever so slightly to The Raven Age. After all, "Darkness Will Rise" is a fine album, nothing extra ordinary, just a consistently mediocre debut record that could potentially be the start of something good. I really hope that the band gained a lot of experience the last year, because they will need it if they want to reach the next level, both live and in the studio.
Songs worthy of recognition: Angel In Disgrace, Promised Land, The Death March
Rating: 6/10 Dying Embers