Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Raven and the Reaping - The Famine

The Famine is a christian metal band from Arlington Texas. On their album "The Raven and the Reaping" The Famine maintains traditional christian metal influences and style without deviating much from the form set forth by bands such as living sacrifice or thy will be done. 

Christian metal is a pretty controversial topic, rejected by many people for driving in religious points with "brute force" or delivering messages that are inaudible and indiscernible. Where the music is concerned, Christian metal can prove to be pretty awful when compared with their non religious peers within "genres". Out of all of the Christian metal albums I've heard, 70% are a mixture of hardcore, groove metal, and some thrash. Some of the better Christian Metal bands will actually achieve the status as a true death metal band (Becoming the Archetype, Lost Souls, Soul Embraced) albeit, slightly watered down. All of these bands seem to be proficient enough at playing their genre, but there are very few  bands that innovate like the ones I listed. 

The Famine, unfortunately, definitely falls under the same hardcore/groove genre that I listed before. The Raven and the Reaping comes across as a desperate attempt to sound heavy, with occasional  success. Guitar riffs use similar dissonant chords to Immolation, some chugging, and a crashing sound, which I could not possibly describe in text. Unfortunately, the guitar doesn't have any significant impact, and has a very metallic tone to  it that takes away from the album as a whole. the tempo is consistently in an awkward region between "moderately fast" and "slow" that simply isn't  entertaining. When the riffs don't turn out poorly  though, there are some pretty great riffs and some good solos. Like in "Cut from the stone" or "Stitched in plastic". The bass is no different, and is generally unengaging, except there are no solos, and its pushed somewhat far down in the mix.

The vocals are pretty standard screaming, not particularly great, but they get the job done. Like the vocals, the drums are somewhat lackluster, you can tell the drummer is trying, but the drums just dont sound good, they arent fast enough to be considered "technical" and they dont have enough diversity to be good on their own. They're just "meh".

As a whole, the Raven and the Reaping has a couple high points, but it just seems to lack the impact one would really crave and expect from a metal band, as well as originality in any sense of the term. The high points on this album really only scrape average, and the low moments, which are more plentiful, rank as "poor". I bought the album because it was a) pretty heavy and impactful relative to what I had heard before I bought it a year ago, and b) because there are still songs worth listening to on it, and its not painful to liste to, so much as not enjoyable.


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