Ravenword bring soaring vocals, metal guitars, and driving rhythms to bear on material inspired by Edgar Allen Poe in their debut album Transcendence, joining other critically acclaimed symphonic power metal bands on Rockshots Records.
Ravenword actually trace their beginnings back to 2007 when it was a project of keyboardist Davide Scuteri. The idea was to create a symphonic power metal project inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” by combining the poetic style and themes of that age with the music of bands like Sonata Arctica, Nightwish, and Within Temptation. Fast forward all the way to 2019 and the project is complete as Davide added Chiara Tricarico (vocals), Michele Olmi (drums), and Cesare Ferrari (guitar and bass) for the recording.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the first track on the album is also one of the early singles and the band released a lyric video in December, perhaps as an introduction to the band and project. The song itself starts out with some atmospheric thunderstorms and keyboards before the drums and guitars come in bringing a good driving riff, that gives way abruptly to piano and soft female vocals as the verses start. Chiara Tricarico’s vocals are in multiple layers within the song and are incredibly smooth and haunting in some respects and she shows great range and strength with the vocals clear and strong even in the upper registers. Cesare Ferrari provides some fitting guitar solos when needed in the song, but the keyboard solos do seem to distract a bit from the overall power in the song. The rhythm section is strong and driving when needed and otherwise works well to keep the song moving. Even after a short time into the opening song it becomes clear that production and mixing are exceptionally clean and all instruments will be clearly heard. “Life is in Your Hands” is much more straightforward and there is no mistake that it is a power metal song.
Interestingly, the band chose to release “No More” before “Blue Roses” and the song itself is similar is structure and style but is decidedly faster and Chiara’s vocals are more shifted to the soprano compared to the mezzo-soprano in the first two songs. As fast as the song is, I would like it to have a bit of a darker, rougher tone and feel, but this is symphonic power metal, so the overall sound does lean more toward the symphonic than the metal.
“Lullaby of the Last Petal” slows things down much more compared to the earlier tracks and is largely just piano and vocals with some backing atmospheric keyboards. Chiara’s vocals really shine in this stripped down track and Davide Scuteri adds some nice piano solos. The shift toward the end of the song to bring in some basic percussion, backing vocals, and layered in vocal lines add some great complexity and intensity to the track. Later in the album is another, similar slower track, “The Swansong”, which again relies heavily on piano but also makes greater use of backing/supporting vocals than in “Lullaby of the Last Petal”. Chiara’s talent and vocal abilities really shine in these songs that rely more on her to provide the overall tone and feel that the guitars and drums can bring to the other tracks. The rest of the band does join in part way through “The Swansong” but the overall tone was set long before by the vocals and the song progresses nicely through this transition.
The other songs on the album work very well within the symphonic power metal genre, highlighted by Chiara’s vocals and Cesare’s guitar work which while perhaps a bit too smooth and tone and restrained for my liking does work very well within the songs. Songs like “Dylan” and “The Distance” with their rougher toned guitar openings add a nice contrast to songs on the rest of the album. “The Distance” veers more sharply away from the rest of the album in the beginning before settling into verse sections with acoustic guitar and piano. Chiara’s vocals in this song shift from the bright and airy to a much tougher more confrontational tone showing her versatility as she shifts between the styles.
The eight minute long “Bleeding Moon” closes things out on a much quieter note as piano and keyboards carry the day with really only about one minute of loud guitars, making the track a fitting respite from some of the intensity of the earlier songs.
Ravenword join the ever increasing ranks of symphonic power metal bands producing music that draws listeners in to the worlds they create. Perhaps not surprisingly, I hear some parallels to Rockshots Records labelmates, Astralium, whose debut album Land of Eternal Dreams ended up on my Top10 list for 2019. Those who enjoy the symphonic power metal of bands like Nightwish, Within Temptation, Epica, Delain, and others will want to check out Ravenword and keep an eye on Rockshots Records.
Written by John Jackson
- Blue Roses
- Life is in Your Hands
- No More
- Lullaby of the Last Petal
- Rain of Stars
- The Queen of Darkness
- What I Need
- The Swansong
- Crimson Lake
- The Distance
- Bleeding Moon
Chiara Tricarico – vocals
Davide Scuteri – keyboards / composer
Cesare Ferrari – guitar and bass guitar
Michele Olmi – drums
Release Date: Jan. 31th. 2020
Record Label: Rockshots Records
Lyric video for ‘Blue Roses’
Video (audio) for ‘No More‘