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Ravensire | Interview


They’ve already done a split with Belfast’s heavy metal heroes Terminus, and they’ll play Dublin at the end of the summer. They’re Ravensire – and they’re epic.

Their Manilla Road and Slough Feg influenced traditional metal is winning more and more fans. And with that amazing fantasy artwork, they’re only gonna grow. Michael Joy talks to the band.

***

Would you explain to those unfamiliar with Ravensire where the band is from and what it is about?

RAVENSIRE started in 2011 in the outskirts of Lisbon and since the beginning our aim was to make pure, unadulterated, raw Heavy Metal.

We’re all far from youngsters and our “careers” as fans of Heavy Metal (in its broader sense) span a couple of decades. This simply means that we knew what we wanted since we started.

We play the music that we, as fans, would to listen, basically!

The term ‘epic’ is one that seems to crop up whenever Ravensire are mentioned. How would you yourself describe the band’s sound?

I don’t have a problem with the term “epic”… In fact if people listen to our songs and call them epic, that just makes us proud as in my view, this term has been thoroughly used to describe great bands!

Talking from my perspective as songwriter, I try to come up with guitar lines full of hooks and throughout the song keeping a kind of melodic and rhythmic coherence no matter how different the parts may be in terms of tempos.

Also, although we’re mostly mid-tempo, we’re known to accelerate or put the brakes on, in order to keep things flowing and interesting.

Ravensire have been compared to everything from Omen to Manilla Road. What would you consider to be the bands musical influences?

Those are two bands that, of course, have their influence on our songwriting, since we’ve been following their albums for a long time. But they’re far from being the only ones!

In fact we draw inspiration from a lot of sources and even the most thrashier band can give us an idea here and there (no kidding, there’s a couple of riffs inspired by SEPULTURA “Schizophrenia” and SADUS “Illusions”).

But, in the end, we’d be lying if we didn’t mention bands like SLOUGH FEG, BROCAS HELM, DOOMSWORD, MANOWAR, IRON MAIDEN, etc. Honour also goes out to HOLY TERROR… A band I’ve listened for the first time in 1989 and to this day is still in my regular playlist!

Epic Speed Metal, if there ever was one!

There seems to be a number of up and coming heavy metal bands from Portugal lately. Could you help shed a little light on what is going on down there?

Talking about the traditional Heavy Metal (let’s not talk about modern sub-genres), if you look on the surface, you’re probably getting a seemingly healthy number of bands.

But if you dig a little bit deeper, you’ll see that quite a few members are playing on multiple acts! That, of course, brings a little bit of variety in terms of bands, but in the end, the fan-base and musicians really committed to Heavy Metal isn’t that big to begin with.

On a normal gig, with an all-Portuguese line-up, if 100 people show up, it’s a smashing success!

Heavy metal is undoubtedly enjoying a new found popularity in the last few years. What do you make of this new wave of bands and where do you see Ravensire’s place among them?

Actually, I think we came out a bit late, hehehe.

Nowadays, most bands showing up are playing the high-speed-spandex-straight-forward Heavy Metal. I see ourselves fitting more in the 2000’s scene with bands like BATTLE RAM, HOLY MARTYR, BATTLEROAR (still going, of course), DOOMSWORD, SKULLVIEW, TWISTED TOWER DIRE, RAM and so many others, than this surge of ENFORCER followers.

But having said this, there are still quite a few bands popping up (or still fighting) to whom we raise our fists in salute, like TERMINUS, THE WIZAR’D, WALPYRGUS, SOLSTICE, THE UNHOLY and quite a few others!

To be bluntly honest, I think this visibility will have a nasty effect, as it will create all types of illusions on the more impressionable minds (I’m talking band-members here) and a debacle of the whole popularity is inevitable, since most of the people are not knee deep into the scene. Then you’ll see these bands moving to other sounds “expanding their horizons”… And we’re back to the few and proud!

The Artwork on all three releases (particularly the most recent one) is quite distinctive. What are the themes are being depicted on them? Were they all done by the same artist?

All our artworks and the TERMINUS side of the split-single were drawn by Pedro Rebelo, a friend of ours whose hobby is drawing those amazing pictures!

Since I saw his work for the tape release of ATLANTEAN KODEX, I was immediately mesmerized by the huge amount of details and also the evocation of the classic illustrators of my youth, like Frank Frazetta or John Buscema. Having spent quite a few hours reading the Savage Sword of Conan and marveling at those dark canvases of violence, Pedro was the obvious choice for our covers!

The split with Terminus seemed to work very well for both bands. How did this unlikely alliance with Ulster’s finest come about?

I’ve been in contact with Dave and James since their demo and our EP came out.

They enjoyed what we were doing and we enjoyed what they were doing! Being like-minded individuals (and stubborn) also helped to consolidate the bond we forged.

So when they were approached by an American label to release a single, they asked us if we wanted to do a split and proposed it to the label.

Everything was settled and in February we recorded “Drawing the Sword”. The initial idea was to release the split somewhere around June, which would be great for us, since we had just switched vocalist with Rick taking Ze Gomes’ place.

That way, we’d have a formal presentation of our new front man and we’d set the path leading to the album which was already being written and planned to be released in October. Unfortunately, though, the label cancelled the release and we had to find another label interested.

We eventually went with Underground Power (who did a fantastic job, by the way…), but with all these setbacks, the single ended up being released more or less at the same time as our album. Well, speaking of this particular release, “Centaurean” is a cracking tune, isn’t it?

You are due to play Dublin in August. Is this the bands first international outing or have you toured other countries before?

It’ll be our second gig outside Portugal, as we played Up The Hammers last March in Athens! We’re very much looking forward to this gig, not only because we have quite a few friends over there, but also because we’ll get to play with our mates TERMINUS in which, I hope, will be the first of many joint appearances.

Also we’ll get to see the ATLANTEAN KODEX maniacs again, with whom we had great fun when they came to Portugal for their release-party of “The Golden Bough” back in 2010, as well as quite a few other encounters in various festivals in Germany and Greece.

Thank you for doing the interview. What can we expect to see from Ravensire in the future?

Right now we’re working on new songs for our upcoming album, which we expect to record somewhere later this year. We have 3 songs practically finished, and we’re working on 5 other songs.

Here’s a triplet of names to whet your appetite: “Cromlech Revelation”; “Trapped in Dreams”; “Procession”. We still haven’t decided if these are the final names, but it won’t stray too much from these concepts.

Thanks a lot, Michael, for this opportunity to speak on behalf of RAVENSIRE. To all those who might want to find out what we sound like, here are a couple of links:

Facebook (for news, infos and other trivia)
Bandcamp (you can listen to the whole album here)

Stay true!

-Interview by Michael Joy ::: 17/07/14

Ravensire play The Pint, Dublin, with Atlantean Kodex, Terminus, Rabid Bitch Of The North and Old Season on August 30.


2 Comments
  1. Nice interview! Here’s the event link for No Sleep ‘Til Dublin if you want to see Ravensire live in Dublin: https://www.facebook.com/events/1413947372200575/

  2. King Hostile Says:

    This is class! Hopefully I will make the gig!

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