Raventale offer up a nice mix of aggressive, doom riddled black metal laced with enough atmosphere to keep the air from going stale. Hailing from the Ukraine, their new album Bringer of Heartsore released on Solitude Productions should provide enough latitude for listeners of all walks of metal. Delving into this work does provide a challenging task at first, but it seems to present a lot to the listener on the surface.
One of the first things you will notice on Bringer of Heartsore is the atmosphere and emotion that completely envelop the listener. Heavy staccato riffage blends almost seamlessly into melodic, transcendental passages and back into the aggressive as can be observed on “The Last Afterglow Burned” and the opener “Anything is Void”. Keyboard arrangements do not overwhelm the album as guitar, drum and bass are pushed to the forefront and made to be the centerpiece— ambient keyboard atmospheres are interspersed sparingly and are well placed.
The song “Twilight – The Vernal Dusk” tends to drag on a bit too long before a meaningful, haunting solo is encountered, but it is worth the wait. This is an album that will reward the patient listener as they uncover hidden gems throughout the entire experience. The downside of the album is the monotony accompanied by five minute plus songs; although changes do seem to happen at almost perfect spots before the integrity gets too stagnant. “These Days of Sorrow” just does not have enough atmosphere and tends to wear thin after repeated listens. While on the other hand “Breathing the Scent of Death” is the staple of the album and manages to perfectly capture a certain intensity and enough emotive content to make it memorable.
Fans of black/atmospheric/doom metal will find a lot of merit in this endeavor. Bringer of Heartsore is most definitely a commendable effort and should be experienced multiple times. Sadly, it is difficult to envision this album staying in one’s collection and being played a couple years down the road. A lot of credit should go to Astaroth as this is the work of one man and it is always something to applaud.