Album Review: Breathe Again // Ravenface
Ravenface are back after a five-year break with their third album, ‘Breathe Again.’ The album is the bands’ first with a fresh line-up including ex-Aliases guitarist Leah Woodward. The band have amassed a newfound popularity since re-releasing their 2012 album ‘Divided Kingdom’ last year, with the album receiving nearly 3 million streams across all platforms. ‘Divided Kingdom’ incorporated some fast, technical riffs but sounded predictable and did not change the game.
Since then, the band has gone from strength to strength. They headlined the second stage at UK Tech Metal Fest and played the second stage at Hammerfest. They have been featured in both Metal Hammer and Kerrang!, so it’ll be exciting to see how the new line up will change the dynamic of the band’s sound. Guitarist and vocalist Jack Ormond Prout said the recording sessions were invigorating, having the “best time writing and performing as a team, creating what we believe to be the best music we’ve ever produced.”
I think that in comparison to the band’s previous work, the new line-up has helped make the sound more accessible. Recent single ‘Breathe Again’ has a strong focus on synths and clean vocals. It isn’t as heavy, with the driving guitars replaced by big reverberated drums and ambient textures, but this offers something fresh and sets the tone for the album. ‘Gasoline’ has a melodic chorus, backed by a piano. I feel like while the production has definitely improved, this takes away the hard-hitting riffs of Divided Kingdom.’ There’s chopped up samples all over the place, which show that the band have widened their sound palette. ‘Tyrants and Kings’ is boring and lacks passion in both the instrumentals and vocals. The chorus feels very predictable, with the chopped samples not adding a great deal to the song.
‘Fighters’ and ‘Taste Like Misery’ combine these elements perfectly, and are some of the best tracks on the album. The breakdown on the former track shows that the band can still go heavy, while the latter track consists of big drums, an even bigger chorus and what sounds like a dark acoustic guitar adding to the atmosphere. The final track of the album, ‘The Line’ is equally dark, with some haunting backing vocals combining very well with the progressive instrumentation, with the guitar solo building up nicely or a final post-grunge chorus.
Even if it doesn’t always work, I respect Ravenface for trying out different production techniques. The synth tracks feel too poppy and don’t have a lot of emotion, while I like the heavier elements and the backing vocals on tracks such as ‘The Line’, which add a bigger depth to the song. This is an album that could well bring in new fans, showing that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos