The music of German band Red Raven was unknown to me. But when I checked the line-up in the album's booklet, I found out Red Raven is fronted by Frank Beck, well known lead vocalist for the great Gamma Ray. Something that sets expectations. As the title might suggest, Chapter Two: Digithell is the successor for the 2014 release Chapter One: The Principles. The more I listen to this 2017 release, the more I think it's a pity I missed that one. Red Raven is not a real progressive rock band, but blends melodic metal parts with heavy metal and hard rock with the addition of delicate smoother parts. Resulting is a nice varied album. Alongside vocalist Frank Beck, both guitarists Patrick Frey and Bernd Basmer are members of the band. Bass player Martin Reichhart and drummer Sebastian Berg close the band's ranks.
After a short acoustic intro; A Perfect World, where Frank's voice already impresses, Collapse turns on the volume and power. Strong riffs and delicate melodies go hand in hand with the solid double bass drums. Vocal wise, Frank can be nicely melodic and powerful, raspy at the same time. His vocals are the perfect ones for this kind of metal. Dance With A Freak, Running Out and Save Me are both pretty solid heavy metal tracks, perhaps even some hunches of Frank's other band. But every time he still is able to reach for the dedicated Red Raven sound. The tracks that appeal to me are the ones that seem to combine the heavier parts with mid-tempo sections, so are Out Of Memory, On My Way and Unbreakable compositions that surprise you, due to this fine combinations. A song like Proud is adventurous on one side, but due to the über solid bass and “typical” German vocals, bombastic on the other. The result is one of the more inspiring tracks of the album. Note, Frank Beck has a very nasty Udo Dirkschneider referring sound at some places during this track, love that! The album's title track Digithell also displays the rough raspiness in Beck's voice, lifting the song up. Towards the end of the album, Until The End Of Time shows a relaxed part, well suited to the ongoing powertrain, that Chapter Two: Digithell is. This little acoustic part definitely proves the high quality of Beck's voice. If you haven't found out yet. Listening to this final track, you will also be impressed by the wonderful playing of the two guitarists on the album in nice solo parts and great melodies.
Red Raven came up with a very, very solid successor for their debut album. Although Chapter Two: Digithell is pretty much a metal album, I would suggest to take a listen and fall for the beauty of red Raven's music.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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