Ravenous – Hubris (Feast Beast Records)Wednesday, 3rd November 2021
Hailing from Calgary, Alberta in Canada, Ravenous (a.k.a. Ravenous E.H.) combine a love of books, movies, games, classic poetry, folklore, and historical events with the best of American / European influences from the power and speed metal genres into quite an energetic record for Hubris. Their second full-length release, you can expect ten tracks chock full of soaring vocals, musical themes very culturally moving, plus rhythm section work that can be very thunderous and penetrating, be it slower/mid-tempo for headbanging effect or obliterating through relentless 16th note action.
When keeping tempos at relatively calm pastures for “Son of Storms” or “March of Hunger”, you get the sense that artists like Falconer, Orden Ogan, or Powerwolf come into play when taking in the main rhythms, supporting keyboard layers, and fine multi-pronged vocal support of R.A. Voltaire (think a mix of Hansi/Blind Guardian with a bit of Seeb/Orden Ogan). Accordion, mandolin, and outside vocal support from members of California group The Dread Crew of Oddwood gives “Claw Is the Law” an upbeat pirate/folk nuance to the galloping electric proceedings, making this a latter half favorite with some fluid lead break action between the accordion and guitars. Other guest support comes from Falconer singer Mathias Blad for “Onwards & Upwards” plus A Sound of Thunder’s Nina Osequeda on the Blind Guardian-esque “The Alder Queen” – Ravenous smartly using a wide array of voices to flesh out the ten stories surrounding Hubris – combining fictional characters with underlying real-life experiences from the band into these lyrics. Most of the record though has that hunger and power that bands like Cellador and Dragonforce bring next to the work of Powerwolf, Sabaton, and even Unleash the Archers – as “Carnage in Carthage” plus “Die 1,000 Deaths” should get the masses clapping, charging, and stomping to the speed licks, massive background vocals, and bombastic musical textures that the best metal of this style brings to the table.
At this point everything that can be done in power metal pretty much has been achieved. Now it’s more a question of bringing different influences to the table in a catchy or unique way. Ravenous achieve all the ideal fun, energy, and melodic/hook aspects necessary through Hubris to convert most to their material instantly, and hopefully sustain the appeal through successive playbacks.