I’m naturally drawn to epic types of stories

The Raven Age

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! How are things in your world?

No problem! It’s all good, thanks, yeah. It’s going really well. We’re doing a bit of relaxing, we just got off the Anthrax tour, and back from holiday, so it’s feeling good!

That was a great tour! I actually saw you play in Oberhausen.

Ah right! Yeah, that was a really cool tour, we really enjoyed ourselves. It was awesome.

I really enjoyed your live set, there’s a whole lot of energy on that stage!

Cool, I’m glad you liked it. Yeah, we like to run and jump around quite a bit on the stage, it makes it a bit more fun for us as well! *laughs*

Yeah, absolutely! I have to be honest, I didn’t hear about the band before I saw you play there, and I was really blown away.

Ah, cool! That’s really nice.

How was it to tour with Anthrax?

It was really cool, really, really good. You know, they’re this big, iconic Thrash band. It’s a bit of a challenge for us, because we’ve never played in front of like a Thrash audience before, so it was just different. You know, every gig we play, we’re a support band at the moment, so we’re playing to other people’s audiences and it’s always a challenge to play for another band’s audience. They are there to see Anthrax, so we’ve got to try to win them over. It was very positive for the whole tour. It was kind of like, are they going to respond well to us, are they accept us, are we heavy enough? Are they going to want to hear Thrash Metal, will they be into it? But I think it was a success.

How different would you say is your normal audience from a Thrash audience?

I don’t know. I guess we’re sort of in the same genre, it’s all Metal so it’s all pretty relative, but it’s a lot more melodic, kinda. Not so Thrash-like. We do have elements like that in our tracks, but I think our songs are kind of a bit more dynamic, in terms of the rhythms and stuff like that. I don’t know, it’s weird though. We are pretty heavy in certain parts, we are just very melodic and a bit more modern with it as well.

You are usually classified as a Metalcore band, but I hear many more traditional Metal influences in our music as well, so how would you describe your own sound?

I think we have elements of Metalcore, but I wouldn’t really put us in the same bucket as other Metalcore bands, but there’s definitely a Metalcore influence. There are a lot of Metalcore bands that we looked up to when we sort of got into Metal in the first place, so there’s definitely a direct influence from Metalcore bands, but we decided quite early on that we wanted to stick with melodic vocals, just to try and make us a little bit different, and give us a bit of an edge. It makes the sound automatically a little bit more classic I guess, melody wise. I don’t know, we’ve got a lot more dynamics going on in our music. We listen to bands like Nightwish and stuff like that, which have that sort of epic theme, we are quite into that. A lot of songs are like six or seven minutes long, that’s sort of where it’s represented.

Yeah. On one of your first tracks of your new record, I even thought I spotted a bit of a Blind Guardian feel!

Ah, right. I don’t really know them that well! *laughs* But that’s cool either way eh.

Yeah, it was cool. You just released your new album, and I really loved this release “Darkness Will Rise”. It’s got a great sound!

Thank you!

What can you tell us about it?

It took us quite a while to be fair. It had two and a half years in between the release of our EP, and “Darkness Will Rise”. So it was a long time coming. We had a long time to work on it. We originally tried to get the album out somewhere early 2016, and we ended up going on tour that year for like the best part of six months, so that kind of delayed that release. Then we were going to release it independently at the end of the year, and that kind of all changed when BMG got on board, which was quite late on in the game, and it got delayed even more. That dropped it to March 2017. Obviously it’s got some tracks from the EP on there, it’s not a totally new direction from our EP, but it does have a lot more variety in there, I think, A lot more dynamics in there. It’s not just flat-out Metal songs, it’s got a bit of everything in there. It’s got like a Ballad type of song on there, it’s got more epic-like songs, it’s just got a bit of everything in there. It’s a like a debut album, it’s a gathering of our best stuff today, I guess.

For me it really sounded like a logical continuation of your EP, but more mature in some way.

You think so? *laughs*

Absolutely!

Good, that’s a good thing, us maturing!

It’s a really good thing. I also really love the storytelling on this album, and I was wondering, how do you guys land on lyrics?

It’s myself who has written the lyrics, for this album anyway, until now. I don’t know really, it’s weird, because I never really saw myself as a lyricist. Before we formed the band, I kind of assumed we’d get a singer, and the singer would write all the vocal melodies and the lyrics, that all the concepts would come from someone else. It really kind of took us a long time, having a go at it and sort of developing and developing, and it got better and better. Until I’m happy with it at least. I guess I’m naturally drawn to epic types of stories, which I think fits the music well. There are a few historical events on there, like the Death March in Santa Fe, which I especially thought fits the whole epic feel. It’s why we did the whole video for it. A few of the tracks have more of a personal, self discovery type message in them, but it’s kind of all metaphoric. A lot of people take it in different ways, and sort of relate it to themselves, but it all generally has like a dark type theme.

You really have a love for epic stories.

Yeah, I guess so.

It’s something that also runs in the family I think, if you look at your dad’s work, there are a lot of epic stories there as well!

Yeah, I guess so. It might be a subconscious thing I inherited *laughs*

Yeah. How was it to grow up in a musical family like yours? I guess Metal must be hardcoded in your DNA?

I suppose so, yeah. It was really cool to travel around, and go on tour with my dad at the time. That was really cool. But I’ve never been forced to like Rock or Metal before I started writing songs or anything like that, it’s just a thing I sort of developed naturally.

Where it comes to the new record, what are your favorite songs, and which are your favorite lyrics on it?

That’s a tough question. I kind of like “Promised Land” and “The Dying Embers Of Life” as well. That last one mainly because it’s the different one on the album, it’s more like a ballad type of song, and it’s kind of the first one I’ve written. I have not done anything like that before. Lyrically that’s about a prisoner in Alcatraz prison, in San Francisco. I actually visited there and did like a tour of the prison and stuff, where I bought this book. I actually met one of the inmates, he was doing a book signing thing there. I bought it and started reading about it, and I just kind of got the vibe that it was a really tough place to be in. You are on this island, and you can see the city out the window, where you want to be, and it’s a real punishment. I think that’s probably one of my favorite tracks on the album. Promised Land, lyrically is kind of about the journey I’m going through being a musician. It’s kind of the idea that if you work harder for something, you will be successful, but in this industry, trying to make it in a band, it’s not always quite true. You may give it all you have, and you still might not get there. So it’s kind of about the journey you’re weaving, and the path you are taking, and how you deal with these problems. Yeah, I guess those two are my favorites.

That is a truly interesting subject. If you look at your own story, your new record can already be found in the featured sections of record stores, your previous self titled EP did amazingly well, and you could say you’re on a fast track to greatness. So, how do you experience this rollercoaster ride?

I guess it’s weird. Everything we’re doing at the moment is like the first time we’re doing it, so it’s all so exciting. It’s any bands dream to put out a full length album, and the fact that we got signed to a nice big label like BMG, and we did it all through them, and it’s being distributed around the world… I can actually go into the local record store and pick up my own album, which I did, it’s quite embarrassing, but I did that anyway just to look at it *laughs*. Yeah, it’s amazing. Like you said, it’s a roller coaster ride. You go through a period of thinking like ugh, it feels like nothing’s happening. That’s so frustrating, because you are at home thinking you just want to be active, doing stuff to get the band moving forward, and then everything comes at once. We had the label come in, then we had the release, we had the Anthrax tour, and it was all so mad. But it’s all been a really good experience, and we’re trying to learn as we go along. It’s really exciting for us at the moment, a really good time.

I could tell that it was a rollercoaster ride for you from your tour page. It says no current tour dates, but it has a video that said that you did 72 shows in 36 countries. That’s not just one tour is it?

Yeah, yeah. That was the Maiden tour. Yeah.

Damn!

Yes that was last year, we were lucky enough to get a spot on the “Book Of Souls” world tour, and that was 72 shows in 36 countries in six months! So that’s pretty incredible.

Yes, that’s amazing even.

Yes it was incredible, such an opportunity for us! We visited all these different countries and have seen what it’s like to play in front of different audiences around the world, and what different reactions you get. That’s absolutely incredible.

Do you even have time for yourself on a tour like that? Or is it all work, keep going non stop?

Well we go down to the shows and we’re down there all day setting everything up, but there’s a plane involved and you get to visit all these different countries and you do have some time off, and the evenings and such, so I got to visit quite a few really cool places.

It said on your tour page that you didn’t have any tours planned this year, but are there any new developments to look forward to?

Yes, we actually announced a few tours and a few festival shows in June / July, and there are a few that have not yet been announced, but we’re going to be touring the hell out of the album, as much as possible. We are trying to get on tour around the end of the year as well, perhaps a headline show here and there to test the water, and see how that plays out. But yeah, we’re going to head into Europe and do some festivals first.

That’s exciting stuff. I saw you’re playing Download as well this year, that’s amazing.

Yeah *laughs*. I’m confused what we’ve announced and what we haven’t, so I forgot to mention that. Yes, we play Download as well.

You already did some pretty awesome tours in the past. I saw you even played Wacken, so I was wondering, what was your favorite tour memory so far?

Oh man, I don’t know. Wacken was cool.

Yeah, it’s a really amazing place.

Yes, I think that’s my favorite, in terms of the actual festival. The effort that they put in, and the attitude, that makes the place just look really cool, the way it’s run.

I agree with you there. It’s an amazing festival to play. That leaves me with just one last question and that’s, do you have any last words for our readers?

Yes! If you haven’t checked out “Darkness Will Rise”, pick it up. It’s available on CD and vinyl. It’s our debut album, so it’s really exciting for us. Please check it out, and support the band! That would be awesome!

Thank you very much for talking to us, and I’m looking forward to seeing you again on the road!

Cool, thanks very much!

Randy Gerritse