Portuguese Epic/Heavy Metal band Ravensire, are back with their third call-to-arms and a continued flag-flying of the Metal standard, planting it firmly where they please with their now expected drive and conviction. Don’t expect keyboards, symphonic bursts, operatic vocals…or for that matter blast beats or Death grunts – that’s not the Ravensire way – this is Metal…just Metal. No fuss, no embellishments, no frilly edges…Metal. If that sounds good to you, or if you are familiar with the bands previous works then you will not be disappointed.

Led by bassist/vocalist Rick Thor, whose vocals occupy a mid-range gravelled low vibrato of a Grave Digger/Paragon type area, which sets the band up nicely for it’s chosen musical path. Ravensire has it’s roots in Manowar and Virgin Steele, sharing similar current musical territories as BattleroaR and Iron Sword – there’s an undeniable reminiscence of Manilla Road as well, re-affirmed by ‘After The Battle’, a heartfelt tribute to fallen Manilla Road frontman Mark Shelton, which fittingly combines all that Ravensire stand for combined with what Manilla Road have inspired them to do (as well as featuring the UK’s own James Beattie [Terminus] ably helping out on guest vocals). Although this track is just over half way through the album it’s almost a good place to start, as the bands honesty and belief in what they do utterly shines through and this is a great mindset to approach the rest of the album with.

Ravensire exist to play loud and heavy Metal. And they do. Never ones to rush a song, Ravensire are about power and heaviness rather than speed or theatrics. However having laid out their stall admirably and concisely on earlier tracks, the band allow themselves a little indulgence later in the album, where they kick on a bit – like with the Bathory-esque ‘The Smiting God’ and the suitably epic mid-to-quicker-double-kick fuelled ‘The Games Of Titus’, an excellent and engaging way to close the album.

So I think you know what to expect – and that’s the idea really. There’s no hidden pretences with Ravensire and their ilk, they are what they are, they do what they do, and are good at it – and loyally so. Ravensire are in musical essence part of the old guard. Let others dive head-long into the fields to thwart the enemy – the angry, the tricky, the athletic, the technical, the maniacal, the hot-heads – they can all give it what they have for the cause. Then if somehow the foe still gets through, there they will be, Ravensire and their band of brothers, standing stoically at the Metal castle gate. Battle weary and scarred they may seem, but they are an impenetrable line of defence. Thou shalt not pass.

(7/10 Andy Barker)