Well, I had to do a bit of a double take on the title of this one, as it reminded me almost immediately of The Rotted’s “Get Dead or Die Trying” from way back in 2008, but as you can tell a subtle difference in the title. For those of you not in the know, Raven’s Creed have a long history, and in fact if memory serves me correct I think I saw them at their maiden live show back at the first Bloodstock indoor, where they were so new that the then-front man Ben Ward (he of Orange Goblin infamy) was reading the lyrics from a sheet of paper on stage! Since then the band have been through a number of line up changes, settling on Rod Boston (bass, current Bullriff Stampede), Jay Graham on drums, (he of ex-Skyclad and the Clan Destined), Steve Watson on guitars, (of course being the same Steve Watson of Iron Monkey and Al Osta on vocals (currently in Peacemaker).
In the early days, Ravens Creed were essentially very heavily influenced by Venom, though it’s fair to say that their sound has evolved quite significantly. It’s still extremely abrasive, primitive thrash derived nasty noise, but with much more of an individual character. “Off with their Legs”, for example, which appears about halfway through this platter, is a huge, groove laden stomper that seems to sit somewhere between the swinging riff pendulum of modern metal crossed with the leaden crawl of classic “Morbid Tales” era Celtic Frost. Elsewhere, tracks such as “Treacherous Rector” bring to mind classic Discharge inspired punky metal; all attitude, simple riffs and heads-down riffery. Vocally, Al Osta really reminds me of the best moments of Al Jourgensen, with his slightly distorted and gurgling vocals. The spirit of punk fury combined with the primitive, almost early speed metal ethos of the band rally permeates here. I was a fan of 2015’s “Ravens Krieg”, but “Get Killed or Die Trying” really does represent a new level. Watson’s riffing is simplistic here, but produces both immensely satisfying hooks as well as sheer bludgeoning power, particularly with the ever-rumbling underpinning bass of Boston; it’s equal parts Motorhead, Carnivore and the gonzo thrash of early Destruction.
Of the thirteen tracks here, none even go past the three minute mark, and so you’re left with songs that enter the speakers raging, kick over your beer and run off again before you even realise you’ve been sonically mugged. So sure, there isn’t much in the way of variety here: it’s all rage, all the time. You know what? I’m ok with that. I can listen to lace-hanky waving doom death band if I want lovelorn maudlin introspection. You come to Ravens Creed for the equivalent of an aural punch to the head, and they’re on top of their game here. The production manages to weave a path through the required levels of murk and grime for this kind of filthy endeavour, while retaining the sharp edge that gives the guitar it’s bite (see, for instance the utterly incisive guitar tone towards the end of the furious “The Trauma of being hunted”). That’s a neat trick given how it could have all too easily have deteriorated into a muddy, noisy mess.
Support British filth. Support Raven’s Creed.
(8/10 Chris Davison)