Raventale – Dark Substance Of Dharma – review

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Another good album from a reliably good band, as Raventale stick to their familiar formula.

Again demonstrating they’re nothing if not consistent, Raventale bring out their seventh full-length album, an outwardly aggressive yet palatable block of professional grade Black-ish, Death-ish metal with loads of speedy double-kick drums for the headbangers and a liberal heaping of synthesizer icing for those who like to get a bit mystical while they’re at it.

No major changes to Raventale’s familiar formula appear on ‘Dark Substance of Dharma’. Raventale continue to embody the core musical mission of Solitude Productions, they’re just faster about it compared to many of their labelmates. After an enjoyable if generic intro, ‘Dark Substance’ spreads its wings over familiar territory: loud and meaty guitars strumming over steady, propulsive drumbeats. Angry, mid-range vocals are not far from Dimmu Borgir’s Shagrath, and the mix is topped off with a layer of keys to make for a nicely conjured vision of soaring over forested landscapes in the moonlight.

‘Dark Substance of Dharma”s overall impression is of well-played but ordinary metal – there’s no glaring flaw to point at, but neither is it particularly resonant. Distinct high and low points are absent, instead, it’s a flat and even affair with a few breaks into quiet moments and virtually no peaks of cresting emotion. Certainly this may well be what the band intended. (Things do change colour a bit on the biting album closer).

At the end of the day, ‘Dark Substance’ is another good album from a reliably good band, with all the right pieces fit precisely in place. There’s a sense of contendedness, that Raventale are happy to occupy the place they’ve worked to carve out for themselves. Any Raventale album, this one included, would be a good try for listeners of Insomnium or My Dying Bride looking for where to go next.

Tracklist :
1. Intra-Mantra
2. Destroying The Seeds Of Karma
3. Dark Substance Of Dharma
4. Kali’s Hunger
5. Red Laugh’s Walking
6. I Am The Black Tara
7. Last Moon Fermata

Duration : Approx. 42 minutes