Ravenia - Beyond The Walls of Death
Inner Wound Recordings
Cinematic/Symphonic Metal
8 songs (55:00)
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Joel
Surprise of the month
Ravenia is a Symphonic metal band from Finland, that is anything but traditional. By that I mean, instead of an impressive keyboardist or composer arranging all of the symphonic and orchestral parts, it is compromised, of two violinist, cellist and viola player as well as contrabass player. So this nine piece band goes all in, and what comes out is truly special for a genre expecting the norm. Violins are nothing new to metal, bands have utilized them before, for that matter symphonies have been used for entire albums, albeit being for live performances or studio recordings. With their ambitious debut, as Ravenia cemented a new status within a genre where the expected, is just that?

Beyond The Walls Of Death opens with For Those We Forsakened, strings and drums open the song up, and the song builds up with double-bass drumming, and singer Armi Paivinen's three and a half octave range is utilized. Her lower register is something unique, which a lot of her contemporaries don't use or even have. While it is almost a bass in tone, she can easily raise her voice, whether it be gradual or immediate. The rhythm and playing of the percussion parts are impressive, even more so then the double-bass drumming that is so precise, it sounds like a drum machine. Into Oblivion is one of my favorite standout tracks on the disc. The track's orchestral parts, are a mixture of a shorter staccato(short notes), marcato(slightly longer held notes over the staccato ones), and the normal legato(held) notes. The fact the that various parts are played by real musicians, adds to the epic nature of the metal parts of the band. All of it is held together by Paivinen's commanding vocals. Again she is not standing so far out in the mix, that is drowns out the music. Compliments to the engineer for what must have been a difficult mix. With We All Died For Honor, you can watch the video HERE. Cinematic, dramatic, and epic all in that right sense. There Is But One Path and In Silence, are similar with the progressions of symphonic parts and the fast double-bass druming and fast tremolo guitar picked parts. A repetitive thing the band does in a lot of the songs, and while this a nitpick, it is something I noticed. Fortunately it is not the same rhythms or same notes musically, but it is something I picked up. When Darkness Reigns also stands out to me, with a section just past halfway that easily could be an epic movie soundtrack piece with guitars added to it. The vocals coupled with a more basic drumbeat, and the layers of strings, makes this section haunting, melancholic, yet serene all at the same time. That same senses(feelings) follow with The Fallen, a slower mid paced song, that is full of emotion. We Stand As One is another mid-paced song(though the latter half does speed up), that highlights Paivinen's vocals.

Easily the biggest surprise of 2016 so far for me, something I knew nothing about, and enjoyed every minute of it. If you have an interest in classical music as well as the more cinematic and symphonic side of metal, then Ravenia's Beyond The Walls of Death may be the cd you had no idea you wanted! When listening to Ravenia, I am reminded the best music in the world, is not what you just hear, but is also what you also feel, when you listen to it!

The Band IS: Armi Päivinen – Vocals
Samuli Reinikainen – Guitars
Veikko Ringvall – Drums
Toni Hintikka – Bass
Ville Koponen – Violin
Erkki Lasonpalo – Violin
Janne Ahvenainen – Viola
Juuli Ilmonen – Cello
Tommi Laitinen – Contrabass
Killing Songs :
Into Oblivion, We All Died For Honor, When Darkness Reigns, We Stand As One
Joel quoted 83 / 100
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