Raventale

Raventale – Planetarium II Review

Raventale – Planetarium II Review

Raventale is a strange one-man act. Founder and multi-instrumentalist Astaroth Merc started the project in 2006 as a vehicle for his atmospheric, droning black metal, but over time the sound underwent massive mutations. Death/doom influences began creeping in and the musicianship grew by leaps and bounds. By the time of 2017s Planetarium, the project was starting to sound like a heavier SIG:AR:TYR, riffy and full of beautiful guitar-work while retaining a powerful black metal core. That album was based around a space theme and the long-form compositions did it justice with expansive vibes and deep, rich moods. For whatever reason, Merc opted to follow that up with a full-on funeral doom approach on 2019s Morphine Dead Gardens, which I loved muchly. Now barely a year later he’s clicked back into blackened mode with a conceptual sequel to Planetarium.” Astronomy domine.

Raventale – Morphine Dead Gardens Review

Raventale – Morphine Dead Gardens Review

“Back in the early days of my tenure at AMG, I found myself reviewing a fair amount of black metal. As it was only AMG and myself writing reviews back then, it was all hands on deck regardless of genre, and that was how I came to cover a relatively obscure one-man Ukrainian black metal act named Raventale. The project of a mystery man named Astaroth (Balfor, Chapter V: F10, et al), Raventale‘s awfully titled 2011 opus Bringer of Heartsore had me enjoying of deep atmosphere on long, meandering compositions that somehow held my attention and transported me to melancholy worlds at discount prices.” Dead gardens, newborn sound.

Raventale – Bringer of Heartsore Review

Raventale – Bringer of Heartsore Review

Ukrainian black metal? With doom and viking elements? By a one man band? Sounds good to me! While Steel Druhm must sheepishly admit to being late to the Raventale party, now that I’m here, I’m a happy fucking camper indeed. That’s because one Astaroth Merc has single-handedly spewed out a very entertaining and enjoyable platter of contemplative, brooding, atmospheric and doomy black metal on his fifth album, Bringer of Heartsore. So good is the material here, I’m willing to overlook that awful, AWFUL album title (plus, I’m assuming English is like his fifth language so mistakes will be made). So what will a listener be treated to on a Raventale album? A composite of Moonsorrow, Helrunar and SIG:AR:TYR (minus the folk acoustics). That means big, sweeping musical pieces, alternatively epic, melancholy and brutal. Sometimes hollow like a dark, empty void, other times ice-cold like Nordic winters, Astaroth weaves many a mood over this relatively short but sweet blackened sojourn. I find myself impressed enough to begin immediate excavation of their back catalog for more rich doomy, blackened goodness. To decide if you might feel the same, read all the fine words below, in order.