(I Hate Records)
Count Raven is a name well-known to doom heavy metal merchant followers like myself. The Raven had been silent, for some, long thirteen years now! Apparently the original band tried a reformation, but despite some good live appearances was once again not destined to continue. The main-man of Count Raven, Dan Fondelius decided to carry on regardless and recruited new members Fredrik Jansson on bass and Jens Bock on the skins. What with so much time passing and some original pieces falling by the way side. Has the old magic faded away? It is the question swirling in my mind as I prepared to play 'Mammon's War' with muted anticipation. The biggest positive for me is Fondelius staying, as he is the vocalist and much of the character of the old foundation. His Ozzy Sabbath-era vocals, are perfect for this style of classic doom, and, I am admittedly a sucker for this vocal style. The opening track, 'The Poltergeist' grabs you straight away as a hooky, traditional heavy metal burner that should please fans of old. You get some of everything, from the heavy to the emotional, melancholy and introspective. But you are snapped out of the trance with great rocking as well and memorable riffs. It is hard not to enjoy the sullen, epic atmosphere on this album and some of the nuanced and classy background guitar accents of Fondelius are not lost on me. This is a grand return to form for Count Raven in my view. I hope the new line up is solid and they stay around for another long run. Get this.
( Newsflash: Both other guys parted ways with Dan since...-ED)