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Unkindness Of Ravens | ‘Under Stolen Skies’


Right from the first, expertly chosen piano strokes, you know this is really going to be something.

Unkindness Of Ravens are the latest in a string of intriguing Irish bands lately returning to a dark form of independently minded, slightly Gothic rock – each of which have had moments of real glory.

These Midlanders do it slightly better than the others – there’s a great deal more poignancy and weight in their melodies, and it’s quite clear to me that they could in time be brilliant.

As ‘Kiss Of Death’ opens with its beautiful, small ‘g’ gothic piano lament, it could be many things. It immediately has the feels of This Mortal Coil. No small recommendation.

Yet it’s but a harbinger of much greater things to come. It ushers in this album’s absolute stunner – a track called ‘Leanan Sidhe’, which is so good it just might as well have come from something like Clan Of Xymox’ awesome ‘Medusa’ album from way back.

It has that darkwave synth down to a tee; yet with mournful Celtic lyric that makes your skin tingle. All of that before going into a shimmering Goth pop/rock main hook that is just incredible.

I’m at something of a loss to say just how good this track is – it’s so powerful, so full. The vocals are set back in the mix, but full of passion in their own way.

The hammond organ tones and simplistic but precise delivery even suggest later Tiamat in a weird way.

Of course, they can’t follow up such an amazing piece of work, and don’t match it again on the album. But there is much left to savour.

‘Dark Night Of The Soul’ gets close to it, opening with a tolling bell and Type O Negative style church organ, before going into a 70’s influenced occult rock number that’s as much Ghost as anything else.

It builds nicely to a well defined crescendo.

This band are not the finished article, and still have work to do. I find ‘Femme Fatale’ a little clumsy at times, though it’s undeniably smoky, in a sort of Tom Waits ‘way.

‘Deirdre Of The Sorrows’ gets somewhat sludgier as well, which is good, but which does take away somewhat from the piano and synth class of the earlier tracks. They’re obviously getting as much on record as possible, no matter when it was written.

The bottom line though is that there is just an absolute ton of potential in what this band are currently doing. ‘Leanan Sidhe’ is pure magic, and if they can even write one more song as good as it in the near future they’ll be solidifying their standing.

I would prefer to see them pick one style and be more consistent with it, whether that’s the harder rock or the more electro ideas; I just feel they need a real identity to push forward with so that people know what’s what.

A storming effort though, and an incredibly satisfying listen.

3.9/5 – Earl Grey ::: 06/01/15


20 Comments
  1. Sounds good. Very Ulverish in the buildup.

  2. Will definitely be checking this out after hearing that song. Very promising.

  3. BotS (Seán) Says:

    Digging that. Very haunting and I am getting a kind of Sólstafir buzz of it. I’ll be keeping an eye to see how this develops.

  4. Spot on review!

    Excellent release.

  5. Very enjoyable. looking forward to hearing more!

  6. cool band love to hear that live

  7. some video! is that ireland?

  8. is this on vinyl anywhere?

  9. Sounds good though I think the review got my hopes up a bit too high. Will check this out all the same.

  10. No vinyl just cd :/

  11. That was surprisingly good. I like the voice. Good video too.

  12. Good stuff. Great feel to it. Will check out album.

  13. Different

  14. Wow stunning piece exellent vocals video great touch love to see them on tour any gigs

  15. Mary Heenan Says:

    Savage! Looking forward to more from ye!

  16. Liking the sound on this record, looking forward to the album

  17. Wiccawoman Says:

    love this band seen them in Dublin

  18. Martinwyer Says:

    Where can I purchase a compact disc lads?

  19. great combination of sound and video, really enjoyed that video.

  20. Unkindness Of Ravens Says:

    Hello and thanks Metal Ireland and everyone else for the support. Obviously we’re delighted people enjoy the tunes and the vibe we’re trying to create and are quite surprised at how well its been received.
    Lenan Sídhe felt like a bit of a gamble and we really were unsure if people would be into it, but its great to know that trying something different is appreciated and people take the time to check out something a bit outside their comfort zone.
    That darkwave vibe was pure serendipity really and wasn’t intended, but we are big fans of Spoor Aeternus and Lustmord so it came out a bit in our music! Its definitely a direction we’re going to go more in, but we like to be diverse too and use odd instruments that are organic and blend it with the synths and blur the lines between the lot. If its fun and we like it, then we just go for it irrespective of genres and all that craic and sure you know yourselves – you just go where the music brings you, trying to control it, pin it down and bracket it into something nice and understandable is no fun at all.
    Thanks again everyone and the review was a lovely, unexpected surprise that got the New Year going lovely for us – we’re really grateful.
    We have a live band just about to start gigs in one month’s time and hope to play as many places as possible and the CDs will be available soon from Dura Gesta Records (part of Domestic Genocide Records). We had some gremlins with artwork, but by the end of the month there will be lovely digipaks available from the record company by mail-order and with a nice sticker as well! We will put all the details about gigs, CDs etc on our Facebook page the minute we have them.
    Vinyls are coming but it will be a while.
    Thanks again from all of us in the band.

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