Album Review: Atorc – Under the Raven Banner (Self Released)

Formed in 2012, the battle-hardened folk-metal warriors of East Anglia known as Atorc have become a force to be reckoned with on the UK metal circuit. Sharing stages with the likes of Evil Scarecrow, Whispered, Manegarm and Grimner. They have received praise for their diverse sound and powerful live show.

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Utilising soaring classic metal vocals alongside harsh growls, over fleet-fingered guitar and violin work and raging double bass drumming, the group’s music has drawn comparisons to the likes of Ensiferum, Turisas, Iron Maiden, Bal Sagoth and Bathory.

The group will be releasing their successfully crowd-funded debut album ‘Under The Raven Banner’ on April 4th 2019.

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Atorc have said:

“We are excited to introduce to the fans a new chapter in the sagas of Atorc, as we battle together “Under The Raven Banner”. We are all very proud of what we have accomplished, ’Under The Raven Banner’ represents the beginning of a new era for Atorc. This album features our best production and performances to date, and is packed with epic, anthemic songs – blending catchy folk-metal with black metal drum work and classic heavy metal vocals, while Huldra’s outstanding violin playing elevates the band’s sound to new heights that we know our heathen warriors will love to hear. “

 

A long time coming, the big question now is if Under the Raven Banner was worth the wait. Happily, the answer is a resounding yes. Under the Raven Banner is ten tracks of hard and heavy folk metal. The kind that gets the blood well and truly pumping while lifting the mind, body and soul. Exciting, fun, interesting, fist in the air head-bangers and that’s just the title track!

Whereas that track is very much rooted in a more ‘battle metal’ feel, The Mead Hall really ups the folky style that everyone loves about Atorc. A wickedly inventive combination of violin and guitars. All while the vocals demand you sit up and pay attention to Atorc’s decree. Such a high energy track, it really pulls at you and will be an absolute banger live.

The expertly blended folk and metal elements continue into Hammer to Anvil. A track that pushes the metal to the forefront. The guitars come out fighting before we get the thrilling melody of Maidens of the Shield (a personal favourite).

After a short interlude with Sonvngarde, the soft guitar melody bleeds into Voice of the Storm as the pace picks up. The ‘jig’ like rhythm is folk metal at its best, bouncy and fun but still rooted in heavy-ass riffing and deep thrums of percussion.

The end of the album sees the folk metallers show off their heavier side with both Ragnarök and Shieldwall. The former is a really hearty number with booming double bass drumming powerful enough to give heart palpitations. While the latter’s vocals reaches death metal levels of roaring and the guitar soloing is on par with the best of classic metal. A super energetic finish that will see many a fist punching the air. As Atorc close out their great folk metal debut in absolute style.

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Atorc – Under the Raven Banner Full Track Listing:

1. Hrafnsmerki
2. Under The Raven Banner

3. The Mead Hall
4. Hammer To Anvil

5. Maidens Of The Shield
6. Sovngarde
7. Voice Of The Storm
8. Isle Of The Brave

9. Ragnarök

10. Shieldwall

 

 

Under the Raven Banner can be ordered now over on Bandcamp. Find out even more about Atorc and keep up to date with their news via their Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram. Check out their YouTube Channel for videos!




Atorc - Under the Raven Banner (Self Released)
  • The Final Score - 8.5/10
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