The Raven Age, Defences and MSRY Live Review 28th March Underworld, London

Riding on the success of their second studio album, CONSPIRACY, THE RAVEN AGE play Camden’s famous Underworld and bring infinite energy and heavy riffs with them.10/10

Matt James of The Raven Age looks out at the crowd while leaning on a microphone stand.
Matt James of The Raven Age

Words and photos by Jade Greenbrooke

Kicking off the show were MSRY, a hardcore band from Oxford, UK. Before they officially came on stage, the guitarist and vocalist bantered a bit with the crowd and set a good atmosphere before the show even begun. Vocalist Kial Churcher’s energy was unbelievable, completely consuming the stage and the floor. With no barrier between the stage and crowd, it was easy for Churcher to jump off the stage in true hardcore style, especially when he jumped and landed on my unsuspecting knee! He later proved why the metal community is the nicest, personally apologising to me on Instagram the next day, a true gentleman. Despite the near-miss injury, it was impossible not to enjoy MSRY’s set, although if seeing them live you will have to look out for their scarily long microphone cable.

Hardcore metal band MSRY playing live. Frontman, guitarist and drummer all looking evil, due to being lit by sparse white lights.
MSRY: Lovely yet terrifyingly Charles Manson-ish

The next band up were DEFENCES from Hertfordshire, UK. Considering how heavy the first band was, I was surprised by DEFENCES slightly softer sound. They were a perfect example of don’t judge a book by their cover, with two vocalists, Cherry Duesberry, an energetic woman with a powerful, melodic voice, and William Alex Young, a youthful looking gentleman whose voice did not match his screaming contributions. Both their vocal styles harmonised perfectly to fit their Alternative Metal label. The crowd was treated to a spectacular drum solo with two floor tom drums strapped to the band’s, lead guitarist Calum Wilmot and bassist Ian Harrington showing they are multitalented as they assisted official drummer Kyle Parke in opening up the song. DEFENCES had great crowd interaction throughout, successfully making the crowd get low before jumping up in the climax of their song. Overall DEFENCES are an enjoyable band who have potential to headline their own show that size one day.

Defences supporting The Raven Age Live. Dual vocalists William Alex Young and Cherry Duesberry are shown; William is sweeping his hair back while Cherry sings.

The main act were THE RAVEN AGE, who built up the suspense for the packed out room with their intro track ‘Bloom of the Poison Seed’ from their latest album CONSPIRACY. The entire room cheered with joy as they took the stage and threw themselves straight into ‘Betrayal of the Mind’, a showcase of a song from their newest album that defines the bands style of meshing modern and traditional metal. They treated longtime fans to some of their older work too, belting out ‘Salem’s Fate’ which made the entire crowd move, the gentleman behind me being a clear fan of the band, constantly reaching over me to grab onto vocalist Matt James’s hand.

Excited fans reach over photographer Jade Greenbrooke to touch frontman Matt James of The Raven Age in this black and white photo. An amazed looking Matt is in sharp focus shaking hands with one fan while another hand reaches out for him. The hands are out of focus creating a tunnel affect.
A laying on of hands by The Raven Age’s Matt James

James was more than happy to high five and interact throughout the show, gaining instant respect for being so accommodating to the fans. Matt also shows he’s not a one trick pony, slowing things down for their rendition of ‘The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships’, donning an acoustic guitar, accompanying guitarists Tony Maue and George Harris as well as bassist Matt Cox, combined with Jai Patel on drums. This was the highlight of the show for me, THE RAVEN AGE proving their talent as not only a metal band, but a metal band that can absolutely KILL with a ballad. After this powerful performance, Matt James slipped back into the heavier sound, stating to the audience “We’re going to go a little heavier now if that’s okay?” – to no objection from the crowd. Following up with ‘Tomb of the Unknown Solider’, anyone mellowed out by the previous song was bound to have their blood rushing again with the song’s upbeat tempo and the band’s high-energy performance, dominating the small stage throughout the night. Ending their incredible show on a high, THE RAVEN AGE sent us off with ‘Angel in Disgrace’, giving the crowd reason to believe that this band’s big break could be very soon and we’d soon be seeing these guys in much bigger venues. Overall, I’d say a lot of bands who are on the verge of blowing up play Underworld, and THE RAVEN AGE are no exception, if they continue on the roll they have with their latest album, I can see them on much bigger stages soon. 10/10 for a heavy intimate gig in Camden’s underbelly.

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