Raven Lord, a multinational band, wears their metal influences and hearts on their collective leather sleeves. With their debut, Descent to the Underworld, the band is after a 'true metal sound; it's classic heavy metal with more than a small dose of traditional power metal. While not necessarily uncommon, Raven Lord delivers their metal with the accent of neo-classical guitar, provided by virtuoso, teacher, and all-around fret wizard, Joe Stump.
I'll admit after the first spin, I didn't want to like Descent to the Underworld, and I'm certainly a classic metal fan. The reasons were two. First, I tired of Csaba Zvekan's (Killing Machine) screamo metal vocals rather quickly. While not quite as excessive as Sean Peck, Zvekan can go over the top with ease. Second, Stump's guitar work or style simply didn't seem to fit this type of heavier traditional metal. It often reminded me of those old Mogg-Way albums where George Bellas provided the leads. His neo-classical guitar didn't quite fit Mogg-Way's blues-laced hard rock.
Alternatively, Descent to the Underworld deserves a second spin. Sure, Zvekan can be whacko screamo. But listening to songs like Settle the Score or Let the Show Go On proves that he's more than that, his range is quite versatile. To Stump's fret work , it grows on you simply because he such a good musician (though at times still felt that some solos were just 'dropped in'). Eventually, Raven Lord and Descent to the Underworld reminded me of a hybrid of Cage, Primal Fear, and Malmsteem albums, and that's not all that bad. Take the time to check them out. Best cuts: the aforementioned Settle the Score and Let the Show Go On, along with World of Steel, The Rebel, and Revelation.
Raven Lord's Descent to the Underworld offers blistering traditional heavy metal, propelled by some power metal, and lit up by Joe Stump's neo-classical guitar style.
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