Ravensire_The Cycle Never EndsOne look at that cover and you knew I’d be the chosen one to review it, didn’t you? And rightly so, as Ravensire has an imposing Throne of Usurpation built directly on the epicenter of my metallic wheelhouse. They rock a burly form of trve metal similar to Visigoth and Ironsword, and since that means  Conan-core, you can expect much Cirith Ungol worshiping, Manowar loin clothing and Manilla Road raging. The band cites Omen and Brocas Helm as key influences and you can definitely hear it in their rough and rowdy early 80s sound. Naturally there are the expected Maiden-isms and nods to all things traditional, but none of that portcullis dressing means a thing if the songs don’t percolate with rancor and rage. Luckily, Ravensire show they can write an epic tune with grit, punch and hooks, which means the battle horn is sounding and you best gird yourself.

Are you girded? If not you’re screwed as opener “Cromlech Revelations” dumps you right into a bloodthirsty battle for honor, glory and booty. Sounding oh so very Cirith Ungol-ly, this is what being trve and kvlt is all abovt! The thick, meaty riffs gallop and thunder and the vocals are raspy, rough and manly. No air raid squealing or balls-in-a-vice wailing here, no, sir. If back hair could sing, it would sound just like this. A tune this mighty may only be followed by an even mightier one, and so “Crosshaven” was forged. Telling of Viking raids and the sack loving folk of the North, this one fuses a sea-faring Running Wild  riff onto the prow of a Visigoth-like stomper and it’s a killer trackaqw with just the right amount of massive. If these songs pass by and you haven’t taken up the sword, you probably never will.

The remainder of The Cycle Never Ends can’t quite live up to the lofty standards of these mammoth tracks, but the album is highly enjoyable nonetheless. “Procession of the Dead” successfully marries Bathory and Exorcist proto-death with doomy Crypt Sermon-isms, attacking like a merciless horde of hoarders coming to take stuff they have absolutely no room for back home. “Trapped in Dreams” puts tasty Maiden flavored guitar-work and overly dramatic moods from Queensryche‘s The Warning through the “Thor Will Smash” filter and you’ll be surprised at the resulting blob of steaming steel.

Ravensire_2016a

The album closes with the “White Pillar Trilogy” and the combined 16 minutes are very solid, with moments of sheer excellence. “Part I (Eternal Sun)” suffers from awkward transitions that make the song feel wobbly at times, but the riffs are engaging and fist pumping and you’ll want a flagon of ale to swing about sloppily. “Part II (Blood and Gold)” is better and more doom-based, and “Part III (Temple at the End of the World)” is better still with an epic segment starting at 3:20 that’s one of the coolest things I’ve heard in a long time.

This is a very guitar-dependent style of music and Nuno Mordred and Ze RockHard (that’s metal!) bring the right size battleaxes to party. They’re well schooled in big, hard charging riffs and their solos feel like a time warp back to the trvest moments of the 8os. The biggest influence to my ears is Cirith Ungol, but they rob the crypts of many a legendary ancestor like Doomsword as the album grinds along. The singer is predictably named Rick Thor and sounds like a cross between Lemmy (R.I.P.), Tann (Ironsword) and Rock n’ Rolf (Running Wild). His rough-hewn, full-throated bellow give the material all the pagan rage it needs though some philistines may find him grating or too unpolished. Lastly, the drums by F are big, earth-shaking and martial in nature, calling you to war as the mighty Scott Columbus (R.I.P.) did on Manowar‘s early albums.

The Cycle Never Ends falls just short of excellence, but it’s so much fun it sent me scrambling to find Ravensire‘s back-catalog (so far unsuccessfully). If you love the throwback style of Visigoth, Argus and Sinister Realm and strive to live a life of trvness, you must immediately quest for this platter of sacred iron. Failure to do so would disgrace your family, your ancestors and your cat. Crom is already judging you for owning a cat, so don’t add to your folly by owning a disgraced cat. Get thee to the Ravensire or to Hell with you!


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Cruz del Sur
Websites: ravensire.bandcamp.com  | facebook.com/Ravensire
Release Dates: EU: 2016.02.05 | NA: 02.12.2016

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  • madhare

    Now you did it. I’m envisioning a Ren & Stimpy style children’s cartoon starring singing back hair. … *shudder*

    • You must mean Ren & Stvmpy!

      • [not a Dr]

        Which would be even more awesome if Ren was replaced with Kylo Ren. They both have the same temper.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Conan-core!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • André Snyde Lopes

    It’s Zé RockHard, not Ze Rockhard. The accent makes the difference between a cheesy bad German impersonation and a genuine portuguese cheese! Oh well, he left the band anyway…

    Also, you know just by looking at the album art this is a Druhm review.

    • Steel cares not for accents!

      • André Snyde Lopes

        You’d care if it was an umlaut, you accentophobe!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    If there’s one thing my cat hates it’s disgrace!
    I think i’ll have to check this one out. I always enjoy a good blob of steel that’s been put through the “Thor will smash filter”. Iron Sword, Satan and Enforcer brought the molten mass for me last year maybe these guys will this.
    Enjoyable review as usual Steel!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    It´s only January and we have a strong contender for Quote of the Year:

    “If back hair could sing, it would sound just like this”

    The fact this quote is about a Portuguese band gives it about 3 thousand bonus points.

    • Between these guys and Ironsword, Portugal is looking mighty and trve these days.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Mighty, trve and hairy.

      • RuySan

        I live in Lisbon and this Trveness is slipping past by me completely.

        • Diego Molero

          Then you are not really living!

        • Light a small boat on fire and set it adrift.

          • Hulksteraus

            Then fire more flaming arrows at it

        • [not a Dr]

          Shouldn’t you be defying the world from an ancient throne to kneel before the power within?
          Get that Glória Antiga, volta a você!

    • Oberon

      The back hair quote sold me on the album

    • The Stormin Mormon

      You read my mind! Seriously the best thing I’ve heard/read all day haha

  • Diego Molero

    There are like a bazillion bands/musicians/albums/songs with the word Thor in it, so original. But hell, this is good.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Anyone else see the fair maiden in the clouds? Not that I look for those kinds of things.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      She’s always there. Even if you can’t see her.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I went looking for the fair maiden and I saw boobs! So I guess I saw the fair maiden.

    • Matt slatz

      Don’t look to hard, you ll find the male genitalia on the tree to the right…..FYI…music is righteous.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        It’s the Metal Rorschach test! Music’s great indeed…. Can’t wait for the release. In the meantime, it’s back to None But the Brave.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    As soon as this cat wakes up and gets off my lap, I’m going to put down my needlepoint, finish my cup of rosehip tea, and forge a sword. I can feel the back hairs tingling already.

    • Hulksteraus

      I have a hammer…

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Then let us join forces and sally forth. The blood of this day shall be an epic memory to thrill our hearts forever!

        • Hulksteraus

          It’s just a claw hammer from the local hardware, but By the Gods I shall join you in this epic and TRVE fight!!

          • Hold that hammer high!

          • Hulksteraus

            I am already calling it “Hell Hammer (from Dave’s Hardware around the corner)”. I have Thor’s Pitchfork next to it in the shed. I shall be raising it and shouting mob rants as Monstereth and I tear through the battlefield defending all that is TRVE in Metal! (It is little known, but Thor is a mean gardener along with his usual God Of Thunder duties)

  • Kronos Sr.

    Kronos will attest that I am more of a mainstream metal head, but after listening to the selection presented here I had to find more. Luckily there was a selection for the entire “We March Forward” album available. It did not disappoint on any level to an older listener.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Sometimes the vocals sound like it hurts the guy when he sings.

    • Pimpolho

      And that’s a good thing.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Some might think it´s a good thing, some might think it´s a bad thing, either way it´s worth mentioning.

  • Wilhelm

    Sounds decent for a DR5 – good music.

  • Martin Knap

    I know I should ask on the forum, but why didn’t AMG review Turmion Kätilöt’s ‘Diskovibrator’?

    • We likely didn’t get the promo.

      • Martin Knap

        that’s good material to review :-)