Monday, December 10, 2012

Album Review - Divided Kingdom by Ravenface - 9/10

     It is here! After waiting for a few months after the announcement of the album, we have finally gotten our hands on the new Ravenface album, Divided Kingdom. Divided Kingdom is their second full length album, following This Is Annihilation which scored pretty high on my ratings when I got my hands on it. Their latest effort by far exceeds everything that This Is Annihilation had set into stone as Ravenface's sound. For an independent band, the effort and work these guys have put into their music is astounding. Thousands of fans even agree with this. You'll find their sound to be a blend of metal-core and melodic metal, each with their own ups and downs. However, in this work, you'll find the best of both worlds and hardly anything to really complain about.

     Divided Kingdom starts off with a great little instrumental introduction that immediately sets the tone for the album. This tranquil one minute piece sets up an atmosphere of sorts for what is to come. The build up transitions nicely to the next track "Last Man Standing" which turns from a somewhat atmospheric melodic experience to a full out riff driven and heavy piece of work. The melodic sections easily draw you into the music, as well as the greatly placed harsh pieces.

     The title track (which I reviewed recently HERE) is one of the more intense and heavy tracks of the entire opus. Chris Clancy adds a whole new layer to this track with his accompanying vocals. "Divided Kingdom" focuses more on the rougher vocals, with the catchy and clear vocals set in the chorus. This has always been a formula for the genre that aims to please it's audience. Ravenface executes this well.

     One of the shorter tracks, "Savour the Kill" is a song that I wish could be a bit longer in length. However, with that being said, it also aids in the replay value of the album. I can see this becoming a single of some sort, if not being used as a placement. The powerful sections of harsh vocals and "off the wall" guitar work immediately sets this track apart from the others. The melodic sections are addicting and catchy right off the get go.

     "Underworld" has several interesting elements. If you remember the track from This Is Annihilation, "What Happens In Vegas" and enjoyed it, you will definitely dig this track. You'll hear many insertions of the electronic genre thrown in which adds that extra element that could make or break it for certain folks. Of course, I dig this aspect. The chorus is catchy with the melodic cleans and also adding in the "gang vocals" and underlying harsh vocals that really stand out. This ends up being my favorite track as they complete the formula with short and sweet solo that isn't too over the top.

     At the half way point, "Echo From The Sky" servers as the introductory track for the last half of the album. "Sorrow Remains" soon follows with an energy that differs from the previous, which is surprising. This kind of kills the cohesive aspect but not too badly. You can hear the Ravenface sound throughout the album so far, but you also hear a sense of maturity. It seems the band has found their place in the scene, and is able to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Of course this is easily done with just the vocals alone, but the lessened amount of breakdowns and the outstanding melodic sections do just as much justice.

     "Be Silent" should be familiar to quite a few fans of the band, as they have released this as their first single. This is actually one of the more heavier tracks considering the use of harsh vocals and great drumming sections. You hear a few breakdowns before the last section of the song, but they are well placed. Again, the melodic choruses are present and oh so good.

     As we're nearing the last few songs of the album, you would think that the band would be losing steam or coming up with recycled content. However, this isn't the case, especially with "Arise" where it just explodes out of the scene and decimates your ears in the first moments. The harsh and cleans take turns throughout, just as a lot of metal-core bands tend to practice.

     If you're looking for a ballad of sorts during this album, look no further. "Transparency" is the slowest track, but it is still just as powerful as any other song on the album. During my repeated listening to this album, I couldn't quite place where the vocals were at until I heard this. They have a quality much like Default's lead vocalist. This is a compliment, as these vocals aren't heard very often at all, and this also shows how much the vocalist has matured since the last release.

     "Take Them All" ends Divided Kingdom on a great note. The guitar riffs, vocals, rhythms, and just the overall feeling of the track leave a great memory in your ear canal. I'm happy with the order of the album, although it isn't as cohesive as their previous (in my opinion), it still works and works well. "Take Them All" feels like the "last stand" type of track, giving a last effort to get you to repeat the album again. To be quite honest, it works. Every song on this album does this for me.

     If you dig melodies, the mix of clean and harsh vocals, well placed breakdowns and great song writing/composing, you'll love this album to no end. Ravenface did a heck of a job enthralling me into their music with their previous work and they do an even better job with this one. Divided Kingdom will set the plateau for similar artists, as this album is the most solid that I've heard from the genre in a few years. Although the sound may seem a bit more mainstream than most are used to, it doesn't break it like it would for others. Ravenface looks to capture one of the top spots of the scene, and I think they have succeeded. If you enjoyed their previous work, you'll get blown away by this. That is a fact.

Rating - 9/10
Release Date - December 16th, 2012

Track Listing

1. The Leviathan (Intro)
2. Last Man Standing
3. Divided Kingdom
4. Savour The Kill
5. Underworld
6. Echo From The Sky
7. Sorrow Remains
8. Be Silent
9. Arise
10. Transparency
11. Take Them All


James Denton - Vocals
Jack Ormond Prout - Guitar
Rod Collins - Guitar
Billy Dowdall - Bass
Dom Rodriquez - Drums

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