Finland’s Valravn have carved deeply from (and into) the Nordic traditions of black metal. The band’s debut album, Prey, for the budding Primitive Reaction label, reaches across ignominious generations. Highly focused yet not never fearing what’s on the outside, Valravn’s black metal pivots on fast-paced aggression yet woven throughout are attention to songcraft detail, where other emotions play out. Indeed, those genuflecting at the altar of The Shadowthrone, Heaven Shall Burn… When We Are Gathered and Lead us Into Darkness will find much darkened solace in Valravn.
The track Primitive Reaction and Valravn have chosen for Decibel, “The Raven,” starts out with a folk-music inspired gait, but quickly removes the veil for a nasty, full-on attack that can only be described as frost-bitten and moon drawing from heights of the Northern Tropic. But Valravn are clever song-masters. The folk motif returns, but this isn’t dancing in the woods with tights, fairies, and pan flutes stuff. No, this is menacing, eat-you-alive black metal hewn from darkest spirits and most ancient wood from the Kaldoaivi. “The Raven” is Prey’s most memorable spell, and the last one on Prey.
Say Valravn from high above the Below: “‘The Raven’ is an important song to us and for the whole album, as it serves as a kind of a finale for the album and it is about the sinister, mythological Valravn we’ve named the band after, and of whom is pictured on the album cover. It is also one of the more varied and dynamic songs off the album, oscillating throughout its duration between melodic and more aggressive parts.”