With the release of their second album ‘Conspiracy’ earlier this month, The Raven Age embark on a headline tour of the same name, landing in Stoke on Trent last night. Their guitarist and founding member George Harris being the son of Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, had set the expectations high for the group. They brought metal quintet Defences and local group Scars of Credence along for the ride.
Stoke band Scars of Credence brought the night to a sudden start. Singer, Kyle’s vocal style reminiscent of 2011 Andy Biersack, a dark raspy baritone. Bassist Dean took the free space on the floor into his own hands, thrashing and headbanging about, staying amongst the crowd for multiple songs. Their metalcore style brought the energy in the room up fast. Chugging riffs and old school drums beats had the crowd in high anticipation.
Herts-born band ‘Defences’ had to be applauded for their energy and enthusiasm. They gave it everything they had to get a response from an extremely unwilling crowd and didn’t let the mood of the room takeaway from the performance they gave. Cherry’s clean vocals were complemented well by Will’s screaming style. The pair achieved an on-stage chemistry that can be hard to display successfully and naturally. They put across a strong message of self love, Cherry taking the time to say “Life can be brutal, we need to take that pain and use it.” before paving the way for the headliner.
The Raven Age opened straight up with ‘Betrayal of the Mind’ from their newest album ‘Conspiracy’ kicking the crowd into life, a Trivium vibe present. Throughout the night we were treated to a blend of old and new material introducing the fresher sounds of Conspiracy while taking us back to the heavier metalcore ‘Darkness Will Rise’ days. Midway through their set they took the chance to slow the tempo down, vocalist Matt donning an acoustic guitar for a rendition of ‘The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships’. Before throwing themselves back into their regular groove with a, “We’ re gonna go a little heavier now if that’s ok?”.
Singer Matt, though seemingly distant at first, soon opened up and connected well with the Stoke audience. It was heart-warming to see that he took a moment towards the middle of the set to share a personal message about the human subject of the song ‘Fleur De Lis’. He said: “She didn’t like the way her people or her country was run so she decided to do something about it. In a day and age where sadly a women’s voice didn’t count for very much she did unbelievable things because she believed in something. I think that can translate through all the way to today. Our country, our world is in a bit of a fucked up place I always say that’s one person just think what we could do if everyone decided to do something together”.
They brought their set to a close with ‘Angel in Disgrace’, the final words ringing out around the room before the crowd erupted into screams and roars. Thanks declared for supports and crowd, selfies taken, The Raven Age left the stage in darkness and an audience overwhelmed.
Despite the audience lacking in numbers, they kept the room engaged. The fewer bodies lead to a much more personal show for those who attended.
Check out all the photos for The Raven Age’s set below:
(all photos by Joe Williams)