Death and extreme metal have always been somewhat of a niche genre in metal. It has nonetheless managed to attract a huge following over the years, with some of the biggest names becoming global brands. California-based Raven Black is a more recent entrant into the maturing genre with their new album 13.
13 opens with “Sticks N Stones”. Two things that are worth noticing within the first minute of the album. First, this song is heavy. It’s the type of song that opens concerts with an immediate push pit. The second thing is that you never lose the vocals in the music. A problem with some bands in the genre is that whispered vocals can be rendered incomprehensible by the mix, and screamed vocals are nearly impossible to understand. Raven Black sidesteps both of these problems in “Sticks N Stones”. While the song had a ‘softer’ (if you can call it that) intro leading into the song, “Monster” has no such thing. It launches straight into body-rocking headbanging and screaming. It breaks up a near constant tempo with quieter parts where the vocals are the central part of the experience at several points, giving the listener a few moments rest between the walls of sound.