Of all the imagery that metal has become synonymous with over the years, very few have been as lingering, beloved, and feared than that of a goat or anything related to that. The brilliant images of lurking evil and the horns that have a malice just being there work incredibly well, but what other animals could ever be held to the same standard. I’ve always felt bearded vultures could work perfectly, but it’s from the mind of phenomenon Jonny Petterson and former Death frontman Kam Lee that the raven is the harbinger of darkness with the debut album of Nattravnen being everything we could come to expect from two legendary figures of metal!
If you couldn’t already tell, this album focuses on ravens a lot. It’s not hard to see why that idea would work so well given the sinister nature people put upon ravens and their ebony wings gelling perfectly with the shadows is a perfect match. I truly didn’t know what to expect from Nattravnen other than two things: we’ve got the former vocalist of Death back at the helm so that’s always a plus, and we got the glorious Jonny Petterson behind literally everything except vocals, although I’m sure he snuck in there somewhere. “Kult of the Raven” is a top to bottom tour de force of dark death metal executed with extreme impunity with Petterson’s now-famous style that even tries a little bit of experimentation here and there to keep Nattravnen interesting as Lee barrels through all nine tracks with amazing talent and vocal capability that not many others can accomplish. With a little bit of atmospheric doom and black metal thrown into the mix in very small yet tasteful amounts, Nattravnen creates an especially powerful sound with “Kult of the Raven” that we’ve definitely seen in different forms (particularly another Petterson project, Heads for the Dead) but every single time it feels fresh and interesting as we see Petterson increase in skill and variance as a multi-instrumentalist and we see yet again the devastating vocal prowess that Lee brought to help the death metal genre itself become popular all those years ago. There is no question in my mind whatsoever, “Kult of the Raven” should be the start of something amazing as it in itself is fucking astonishing at how devastating it is. Incredibly few debuts can bring such power consistently, and with each spin of this record, I only feel more intoxicated under the spell that is Nattravnen.
I haven’t seen a more potent duo like this in far too long and that’s not including literally everything Petterson has amongst this incredibly busy year for him. While many people are looking to the still hot out of the oven fresh Heads for the Dead debut as one of the more highly anticipated death metal albums this year, I implore you to mark your calendars for the storm that Nattravnen will bring upon ebony wings. “Kult of the Raven” will undoubtedly be one of the last, if not the very last, bastion of great death metal that we will get in 2018 and I’ve no doubt that this name will find its rightful place in many fans’ hearts as it has for mine.
“Kult of the Raven” releases on December 7th via Transcending Obscurity Records!
LISTEN to advanced tracks from “Kult of the Raven” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Nattravnen on Facebook here.