THE RAVEN AGE, the U.K.-based melodic metal band featuring IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris‘s son George Harris, will release its third album, “Blood Omen”, on July 7 via Music For Nations/Sony Music. The official music video for the LP’s first single, “Parasite”, can be seen below.
A barrage of riffs from guitarists George Harris, Tommy Gentry and bassist Matt Cox ushers in the “Blood Omen”, alongside the pummeling of Jai Patel on drums and a growl from Matt James (MJ) which transcends into wide-reaching soaring vocals. “Parasite” is bolstered by a blistering solo from guest guitarist Andy James of FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH.
“I’ve known the lads in THE RAVEN AGE for years now,” says Andy. “I really like the direction they are heading with this third record and enjoyed doing a guest solo for ‘Parasite’. It’s a heavy but memorable track that hits you right between the eyes.”
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Having established their name as one of the finest in modern British metal, thanks to two acclaimed albums, 2019’s “Conspiracy” and “Darkness Will Rise” debut in 2017, THE RAVEN AGE have garnered over 75 million streams worldwide and have toured heavily across the globe. For the Essex quintet’s “all-important third album”, as George Harris puts it, they have expanded on every level.
This motivation is written into the album’s concept. Following the theme of its two predecessors, the raven motif looms large, this time centering on the overthrowing of old masters, with the band’s Raven King character coming to prominence. Even in the artwork, things are bolder, a close-up of the Raven King, says George, “taking his rightful place on the throne.”
The theme weaves itself throughout “Blood Omen”, kicking off with “Parasite”, as MJ explains, “There’s the legend about the ravens in the Tower Of London, that if they were ever to leave, the monarchy falls. Without being too political, ‘Parasite’ is hinting at these dark notes of the hierarchy, the bottom feeders that tend to run everything and then screw everything up. Our Raven King, he’s basically ascending to the throne to bring down the monarchy, bring down the establishment, weed out the parasites, as it were.”
“It’s a heavy track,” MJ continues, “We knew we wanted to come back with a real punch between the eyes. It’s the full introduction to our Raven King, and it touches on elements of everything to come. It really shows where we’re going on this album.”
“Blood Omen” pushes everything further than ever before. The choruses are made for arenas, the riffs are taut, direct, and free of fat. It all makes for a grand musical stage on which the record’s concept plays out. “Forgive & Forget” rushes in on a scalding lead guitar riff, while the epic “Nostradamus” is a tale of the great prophet. The heavy, raging “Serpents Tongue”, meanwhile, deals with “deceit, and never knowing if you’re being told the truth,” according to George.
To capture all this on record, the band enlisted the help of long-term producer Matt Hyde (SLIPKNOT, MACHINE HEAD, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE) to lay down the album’s framework, before setting to recording the rest of the album themselves. The final mastering was put into the treasured hands of Mika Jussila at Finnvox (NIGHTWISH, CHILDREN OF BODOM, HIM).
“Blood Omen” is a record of several firsts for THE RAVEN AGE. With the metal end of the operation firmly nailed down, this time around the band were finally able to realize their ambitions of using real strings. Working with noted British cellist arranger Audrey Riley (FOO FIGHTERS, MUSE, COLDPLAY) at the ICMP (Institute of Contemporary Music Performance) studios in London. “Watching a quartet play along to our songs was a whole new experience,” says George. “They just made everything more dramatic.”
The album also sees the recorded debut of new guitarist Tommy Gentry, the prodigiously talented axe-man — whose previous work includes stints with Marco Mendoza and former JUDAS PRIEST six-stringer K.K. Downing. “Tommy was in our sights from day one,” says George. “He’s, without doubt, the most talented musician I know. Not only is he an amazing guitarist, he’s a grade eight pianist, he can score orchestral music, and all that brings something to the table.”
“Blood Omen” is a strong, focused, and ambitious work from one of the most rapidly rising rock bands in Britain and live they solidify this status. They have performed over 400 shows internationally across 38 countries including major festival performances such as the main stage at Download festival, Rock In Rio, Wacken Open Air, Hellfest and many more, as well as touring with the likes of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, VOLBEAT, SHINEDOWN and ALTER BRIDGE.
This summer they will be touring arenas across Europe with IRON MAIDEN, including London’s O2 Arena on July 8. They have also been announced to perform at a number of major European festivals this summer, including Germany’s Rock Am Ring, Belgium’s Graspop Metal Meeting, Return Of The Gods Festival in Italy, Sweden Rock as well as Metal Days in Slovenia.
“Blood Omen” track listing:
1. Changing Of The Guard
3. Serpents Tongue
4. Essence Of Time
6. Forgive & Forget
7. The Journey
8. War In Heaven
9. Tears Of Stone