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Review: Raven Soul - 100 Bleeding Hearts
Raven Soul
100 Bleeding Hearts

Label: Independent
Year released: 2009
Duration: 35:10
Tracks: 8
Genre: Gothic Metal


Review online: September 13, 2010
Reviewed by: Adam Kohrman
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Rated 3.6/5 (72%) (5 Votes)

Many fans have passed off the genre of Gothic Metal as nothing more than music for angsty preteen girls. It's a shame what the overcommercialization of bands like Lacuna Coil has done to the genre's image. Does anyone still remember the over the top suicidal tunes of Sentenced? I guess not. People just associate the genre with unjustified depression among teenagers. While Gothic Metal certainly has that appeal, it's unfair to blanket the genre with such assumptions. Here is Raven Soul, who fall somewhere in between that stereotype and Sentenced worship. There is the usual "majestic" vocals which that lead simply written songs to very catchy choruses among minimal instrumentation.

This is a bit more than your usual Gothic fare. Most bands fall into the pitfall of trying to sound too majestic, and as a result, just sound boring. Leaving their mediocre female vocalists freedom to show off their limited range punches a one way ticked to Sleepville. Raven Soul rarely fall into these problems. On the contrary, they write straightforward, sometimes terribly catchy songs. Even the bad songs on this album are pure earworms, which is where the Sentenced worship comes in. In fact, Raven Soul sound the best when they are aping their supposed heroes. I hate to award such points for a lack of originality, but this is an exception to the rule.

But that's not all, there's a bit of that irritating pandering going on here. Raven Soul certainly (and possibly deliberately) cater to a younger audience with their music. It's not the accessibility or the listenability that's bothersome, but how they invoke whiny angst-ridden themes. It's flat out childish and annoying. While these songs might otherwise be enjoyable, they come off as tiresome and groan-inducing. It's not that these emotions don't have a place in music, they've just become clichéd. They seem whiny -- and frankly-- wussy, unable to convey the powerful and undeniably cool despondency of bands like Candlemass and My Dying Bride. They go for majesty with their sadness, and sometimes Raven Soul just can't do it.

This is a mixed bag. Fans of Sentenced will totally dig this, as a handful of songs sounds as if they came right off The Cold White Light. Though a lot of people will feel put off by its poppy, pandering tendencies. In either case, Raven Soul can write some very catchy material.

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