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Count Raven : Mammons War

Count Raven has returned after many years of silence with an album that establishes them as one of the indisputable leaders of the genre we defend on this site. 'Mammons War', the fifth effort of Dan Fondelius' band is Trad. Doom at its best and, from my point of view in any case, their masterpiece. Each song bears its own identity, displaying a rich amount of lyricism, darkness, heaviness and tragic landscapes of all kind.

Fondelius' voice is and has always been Count Raven's trademark, the cream on the top. Often, it has been compared to Ozzy's one; right, no doubt about that, there are obvious similarities. But Fondelius has a talent of his own. His tessitura, his modulated wailing accents appear like an instrument per se, intrinsically woven to the rest of the instrumentation, enriching then the notes and making them all deeper; we certainly have to thank the production for that: there is in every song on 'Mammons War' a thickness, a moving vibration that succeed in giving the album a density and, ultimately, a coherence that, I think, was lacking in their previous works (in this matter also, the track-list order, from second one to the last breath of the eleventh track, is perfectly thought out).

What I find great is also the original Keyboard's parts that draw their inspiration in the rich 70ies prog. scene (like in 'Mammons War', a very prophetic song). Hawkwind, Uriah Heep feed the band's sound. Thrown in the arena are also some clever guitar leads that bring about some exciting dynamics. The promo comes without any lyrics, but, from what I hear, they sound as committed as before, but also less naive - Fondelius hasn't dropped his indignations, be they of a political, a religious or an ecological nature.

The Doom of Count Raven has an other particularity: it is NEVER monolithic. Let's take 'A Lifetime' as an example. Things here are complex: it's first crushing and downed in a very traditionalist way but soon, it becomes twisted and ingenious turns of the melody spur the interest: solos, modulations of the voice that comes to adopt an almost spoken rhythm, acoustic parts, tribal and 'firecamp' moods; it's heroic and full of spleen at the same time. Totally Great, if you understand me; as are all the other tracks, each one being very carefully crafted.

Well, enough words -or not enough- to say the perfection of this album: you have to love it! This is a work whose excellency goes beyond their previous ones, how great the merits of 'High on Infinity' could already be. These guys succeed in propelling us in a grandiose voyage , mystical and glorious, though melancholic and soft. It's definitely an album each trad/epic Doom fan has to own in his collection.

Reviewer's rating: 9.5/10


Tracklist :
1. The Poltergeist
2. Scream
3. Nashira
4. The Entity
5. Mammons War
6. A Lifetime
7. To Kill a Child
8. To Love, Wherever You Are
9. Magic Is...
10. Seven Days
11. Increasing Deserts

Duration : Approx. 68 minutes.

Visit the Count Raven bandpage.

Reviewed on 14-10-2009 by Bertrand marchal
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