The Raven Age. Think tank. Newcastle. 23.3.19

With so many sub-genres and descriptors available nowadays (Metalcore, rock, metal, thrash, death, hardcore) god only knows what to call loud, melodic, rock bands anymore.  Even Download, the world’s supreme rock festival, which brands itself as ‘The UK’s premier rock festival’, is described in opposing terms through various supporting websites including ‘The rock and metal extravaganza’ (Skiddle), ‘One of the world’s greatest rock and metal festival’ (festiticket) and ‘the place to go for pop and punk’ (a ticket reseller).

It sounds potentially trivial, but if it’s not properly managed a genre can be destroyed when marketers and critics start creating, and mixing, more and more sub genres.  One look at dance music in the late 90s, with it’s band of infinite subs (hard core, happy hard core, garage, speed garage, drum n bass, jungle, trance, house, happy house, funky house, techno, trip-hop, etc. etc.) and you will find evidence of tribal, silo’d, collectives of people, dressed differently, often unwilling to step outside of their sub-genre and mix.

If music is supposed to be one of the last remaining ways to bring people together, then these sub-genres aren’t helping much are they!?

If you were being blunt, and trying to put unhelpful genres aside, you might simply call The Raven Age a band who play rock music loudly with a huge amount of passion.   And you’d also describe them as being a band full of potential.

A few weeks after the release of new, well received, album ‘Conspiracy’, the Raven’s are on terrific form tonight, clearly enthused by their new long player and it’s belief in the power of stepping outside of one particular sub-genre of rock.   Bringing these elements together tonight, the Raven’s demonstrate sufficient playing ability to adapt to different tempos of playing, varying styles of delivery and contrasting approaches to their live performance.   Stand out performer of the evening is recent addition, guitarist Tony Maue, who’s energy and excitement clearly provides the band with an optimism on top of which they build their show.  Relentless in his playing and driven to whip the crowd up when possible, Maue is the heart of tonight’s show and one of the key reasons why tonight’s show generates so much audience participation.  Well played Mr Maue.

The other reason for so much participation is the quality of the songs being performed and with two albums worth of material to dig into, tonight’s show feels less rushed than previous outings with the Ravens and more like a headlining performance by a band in control, and confident with, their identity and their sound.  An attitude that drives their whole show this is a band hitting full confidence and managing their live performance by being able to confidently take risks and mix sub-genres.

What ‘age’ The Raven Age are referring to is an interesting question; wouldn’t it be a great step forward if this was an age of less sub-genres.  Excellent.







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