Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Honor/ Graveland- Raiders of Revenge (2000)

Raiders of Revenge is a split between the iconic Graveland and the relatively unknown Honor. What unifies the two groups is their Polish pride and xenophobia, not their music. This is an unbalanced split between a run of the mill heavy metal act and a sub-par outing from a world-class extreme symphonic metal band. 

The Honor side of the split is quite weak. Honor plays a straight forward style of heavy metal that emphasizes chant-along choruses. However, the choruses really aren’t that inspiring or catchy. The riffs are quite pedestrian and the vocals are just plain bad. The vocals lie somewhere between shouting and gruff singing. One gets the feeling that the vocalist shouts because of his poor range. That is confirmed on the god-awful ballad, “Thousand Years Bond,” which contains some embarrassing moments in which the singer’s voice cracks as he tries to hit higher notes. The musicianship is also mediocre. The band plays in a clean and organized manner, but lacks any identity. It’s like listening to the solo work of the guys who record the background music for TV ads. There are some decent keyboard passages, i.e. the end of “Antichrist’s Hammer,” and a few OK riffs, i.e. the opener on “Wrath,” but by and large Honor fails to produce anything worthwhile. 

Graveland’s side sounds fairly similar to the songs found on 2000’s Creed of Iron. These are long, expansive songs that center on heavy riffs and regal synths. While the musical style is fairly similar, the production has a much more hollow sound, which is not a good thing. Also, the drums are poorly mixed with the cymbals being annoyingly loud. The first two songs are slightly below Graveland’s typical standard for this time period. These are decent pieces of aggressive epic metal, but neither can hold up to the tracks on Immortal Pride or Creed of Iron. These definitely feel like leftover songs from the prior two albums. The exception is the glorious “Into Death’s Arms,” which holds its own. The main riff packs some serious force and the male choir samples create an intense atmosphere. The song steadily builds toward an excellent chorus full of swirling string samples and pounding bass drums.

Overall this split cannot be considered a success for either group, though I’m not sure what would be a success for Honor. This just isn’t a very talented or interesting band, and their mediocre vocalist really makes the project a hopeless cause. As for Graveland, this was probably just a chance to record some B-sides that otherwise would not have seen the light of day. This is about on par with the Raise Your Sword! EP: two decent but underwhelming tracks and one killer track. 

Honor: 3.5/10

Graveland: 6.5/10

Overall: 5/10 

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