The Raven Age
Samstag 18:55–19:35 @ Engelbert Strauss Alternastage
It’s every band’s dream: a football stadium filled with ecstatic fans chanting your band’s name, screaming every lyric, fists in the air, lost in music, bonded as one in rapturous communion. This was the scene The Raven Age witnessed each night when they accepted an offer to support British metal legends Iron Maiden on their wildly successful The Book Of Souls world tour in 2016.
“It was an amazing experience,” admits guitarist Dan Wright, “a tour we’ll remember forever. It was an insight as to what can be achieved with hard work, the right attitude and brilliant songs. This is just the start of our journey, of course, but that tour laid out the goals our band should aspire to. We couldn’t have wished for a greater motivation or bigger inspiration for what The Raven Age could be.”
Such aspirations were far from the minds of Wright and fellow The Raven Age guitarist George Harris when the pair were first introduced in 2009 via their respective girlfriends. Back then, the teenagers were in thrall to metalcore acts such as Killswitch Engage, Parkway Drive and Avenged Sevenfold, and shared a mutual love of lavish film scores and stirring classical symphonies. Gradually a vision for their own music began to coalesce and the notion of forming a band took hold.
With the recruitment of drummer Jai Patel, bassist Matt Cox and powerhouse vocalist Michael Burrough, The Raven Age emerged as a fully-fledged band, playing their first gig in February 2013. Self-managed and proudly independent, the quintet self-released their debut EP, the self-titled four track The Raven Age EP, in the summer of 2014 and hit the road hard, racking up tour supports with the likes of Mastodon, Gojira, Tremonti, Delain, British Lion and Ghost. Packed tents for their performances at Britain’s premier metal festivals, Download and Sonisphere, bore witness to the quintet’s burgeoning reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting live bands. And then came the invitation to support Iron Maiden on a six month trek that would take the young Londoners from 55,000 capacity stadiums in South America to New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden and beyond.
“We went to places like Australia and New Zealand on the other side of the world and there were people in the front row who knew the words to every single song, and that was a big shock to us,” admits Dan Wright. “One track, Angel In Disgrace, actually hit number 3 on the iTunes Metal chart in Australia. Worldwide, our Spotify plays went through the roof [The Raven Age EP is currently approaching 2.5 million plays on the streaming service], and obviously our profile soared. But beyond that, the tour made us more confident as a band, and gave us the belief that we can take this further.”
Emphatic evidence of this comes with the imminent release of the quintet’s debut album, Darkness Will Rise. Recorded at Barnyard Studios in Essex with English studio wizard Matt Hyde, whose CV includes work with metallic heavyweights Slipknot, Machine Head, Bullet For My Valentine and Trivium, the 13 track album is compelling proof that The Raven Age are ready to fly. Set for release on BMG on March 17, at the climax of quintet’s current tour with US thrash metal godfathers Anthrax, the album heralds the dawning of a new age: The Raven Age.
“It’s been a crazy journey so far,” Wright adds, “and there’s a big expectation now with the album coming out on a major, but we’re really sure of our music and our ability. Now we have this attention, it’s time for us to stand on our own feet and show that we’re ready for the next chapters in our story.”