Album Review: Raventhorn – Shadows of Lonehill
This is a concept album, centered around the theme of an Antihero. The central protagonist exemplifies this archetype, alluding to the likes of Oedipus Rex, Kullervo, and Scarface. His name is Seth, synonymous with the third son of Adam and Eve, brother to Cain and Abel, as well as the name of the Egyptian god of chaos, disorder, deserts, and strangers. Our (anti) hero is a badass mercenary, an assassin in the titular town of Lonehill. The stories are timeless, and yet modern, seeming to take place in a Steampunk nostalgia-future. The storytelling is ambitious, with an extensive vocabulary of archaic phrases, (even I had to consult a dictionary for words like ” Somnolence”), and an amalgam of classic literary tropes.
The lyrics reference several literary classics, including masterpieces of Gothic literature. Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of Red Death and Raven are both acknowledged, for example. Lovecraftian lore is also cited. The conceptual story has elements of horror, fantasy, mythology, and fairy tale. The plot reminds me of Victorian ballads, Medieval legends, and classical folklore. Shadows of Lonehill is a pastiche that pays homage and does justice to these beloved stories.
Surprisingly, this is only a two man project. The scope of the music is so theatrical, grandiose, perhaps even Biblical in scale and proportions. Their ambition is admirable. The compositions are as symphonic and well-orchestrated as a movie score. Some melodies have the lilt of Middle Eastern music, others employ the melodramatic flair of a church organ. But each song is unique in its own right.