Ravensire – “The Cycle Never Ends” (Cruz Del Sur Music)
Epic Heavy Metal from Portugal! Ravensire play galloping HM a la Maiden during their NWOBHM days but also with a very strong epic element along the lines of Cirith Ungol making them a very tasty package indeed. Skillfully mixing warrior passion with metallic aggression, there’s an unashamed use of ballsy melodies that mix beautifully with the twin guitars exuding a naturally low toned sound that adds even more atmosphere to their strong, memorable riffs when not trading lead breaks like dueling swordsmen! Topping it off come Rick Thor’s vocals that are equally emotional, sometimes almost shaking as he undoubtedly gets lost in the passion, but being gruff enough to make this real man’s metal and perfectly suited to Ravensire’s marching metal anthems like ‘Crosshaven’, with its far out lyrical fantasy of how Sir Francis Drake summoned the Norse gods of that Viking settlement in Ireland to defeat the Spanish Armada! Undoubtedly investing considerable effort in their composing, it’s clear that Ravensire focus on the almighty riff to grab your attention even before the vocals kick in like on ‘Procession Of The Dead’. However, with Thor also being an archaeologist, the rich compositions also take on monumental historical proportions like on the 15 minute 3 part closer of ‘White Pillars’, which is based on the Sintra region of Portugal, noted for its centuries old (re)occupations by the Romans, Moors and Crusaders – and reflected in the album’s title – not to mention the superb music resplendent with plenty of twin guitar work once again invoking memories of 1970s Thin Lizzy. No pretense, no virtuoso trip, but instead an honorable knightly virtue in their metal quest is what the modern day warriors of Ravensire are all about!