Ravenscode are an alternative rock band from Ontario, Canada. Their debut LP, District Of Broken Hope was released early last February. It has a pretty awesome cover, courtesy of Charlie Adlard of The Walking Dead fame. They are the official band of the Oshawa Generals hockey team. Absolutely all of this is positively endearing, but District Of Broken Hope is sadly not that interesting in comparison.
It opens well, at least. ‘Hero’ begins with a bang. You’re immediately hit with a great sense of confidence and passion, and it’s clear that Ravenscode love what they do. They revel in building up a striking intro, and lead vocalist Justin Bezaire has the perfect tone for this kind of music. However, a closer listen to the lyrics reveals tired metaphors. While lyrics do not make a song what it is, the feeling that they give begin to transfer out into the album as a whole. They’re safe; and that’s exactly what District Of Broken Hope is. Everything is tried and tested. As the album goes on, each track takes on a certain formula. You know how the song’s going to start, you know where the guitar solo is coming and you know how it’s going to end. The tracks that deviate from this are the best on the album. ‘Where Were You’, for example, begins with an acoustic intro, has a slow verse before coming in strong with a standout chorus. It even throws in some great ‘na na na’s’ towards the end.
For what it is, it’s all very well made. ‘Hyde’ is possibly the best showcase for the band as a whole, featuring some strong vocal lines, great riffs and a pounding rhythm section. Every song is meticulously crafted. Throughout the whole LP, there’s a certain sense of impetus and drive that can often be lacking from this kind of music. It just doesn’t stop it from being background music. It’s not raw enough; I don’t feel the distress and the heartbreak that the lyrics portray as I listen to it, nor the anger that should be present in tracks like ‘District Of Broken Hope’. It’s radio friendly, which can be both a boon and a detriment. In this case, it’s bit of both.
2.5 out of 5 high fives!