Tuesday, 10 March 2009

WHERE MIGHTY RAVENS FLY

Band: RAVENCLAW
Title: Where Mighty Ravens Fly
Format: CDr on the Atlantida Productions label (Lithuania) catalogue reference AP02, released 2002.
Edition: Unnumbered edition of 1000

Track Listing:
1. In Battle
2. Fenriswolf
3. Shores Of Heaven
4. Valhall (Der Rabenwinter)
5. Ravenclaw
6. A Vikings Journey
7. Hermodr A Helferd (Burzum cover)
8. Power And Might
9. Sword Of Honour
10. Set Sail (A Vikings Journey Part II)
11. Weltenbrand
12. Atlantida (Fighting For Atlantis)

Now then - if I've got this right, the origin of Ravenclaw is as follows. Alex offers a Hrossharsgrani track to the Atlantida label (run by R******s D*********s) for use on one of their compilation CD's - this is the "Atlantida (Fighting For Atlantis)" track that appears on this album as a bonus track. Both Alex and R******s like the end result and, with a shared interest in Viking history and pagan themes, decide to form a band together. And so in 2002 Ravenclaw was born. In 2003 a third member - Dimo (of Bulgarian black metal band Svarrogh) - joined the band.

As an aside, I read once that R******s had an ambition for this project that it would, over time, add even more members ("musicians from around the globe") and develop down more folkish directions. Interestingly, although Ravenclaw came to an end after their second release the multi-national band concept came to pass with Folkearth...which featured none other than R******s and Alex plus a host of others!

This debut CDr was themed on the Viking sagas, as is evident from the song titles. The music style is predominantly spoken word lyrics (in a deep, accented tone) and a myriad of samples - from the 'traditional' Viking effects of crashing waves, battles, and general pillage through to gentle birdsong and mellow background noise and spoken-word extracts from films. Keen-eyed readers out there will have spotted that track 6 'A Vikings Jouney' is an Uruk-Hai album title on which appears the same Burzum cover track as recorded here at track 7.

I have to confess, however, that somehow to my ears this album just doesn't quite add up to the sum of its parts. It's not one I listen to often - literally perhaps once or twice a year - because at the end of the day the songs aren't really there. It's as if a dozen promising introductions had been scored but none of them quite matured into a cohesive, final output. Perhaps that's the reason why after a second split CD with Svarrogh was issued, Ravenclaw faded away into the background as Alex brought his focus to bear on his many other projects?

It's actually quite a hard CD to find now in any event, and whilst a necessary inclusion for the completist it doesn't offer too much in contrast to Hugin's other side-projects.

Edit (06/09/09): One of the two founder members of Ravenclaw emailed Nazgul today asking for his name to be kept anonymously in these posts, re. Atlantida or Ravenclaw releases. Respecting this wish, his name has been duly edited.

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