Support from Iron Maiden. A critically acclaimed debut album. A fearsome live reputation. The Raven Age had everything going for them. So why did they decide to lose their singer and start again?
s another season of summer festival line-ups are polished up, the inevitable questions of where the next big headliners will come from arise once again. While there’s an abundance of exceptional talent across the rock and metal spectrum, only time will tell how many will traverse the steady peaks and sharp descents of the music business to put their hands up for consideration.
When we spoke to The Raven Age’s co-founding guitarist George Harris two years ago, he made no secret of his band’s grand ambitions to reach those heady heights. With a reputation as a live act growing thanks to successful tours under their belts with Anthrax, Gojira and none other than Iron Maiden, and a well-received debut album in Darkness Will Rise, the world seemed to be there for the taking.
But as he and his cohorts have discovered, the road to such realms is littered with hazards and hardships. Not only did they turn away from a major label and take on the more daunting challenge of releasing their next album independently, they also had to contend with fractures in the roster. While other co-founding guitarist Dan Wright traded in the stage for a role steering the band’s path from behind the management desk, the departure of vocalist Mike Burrough was an inauspicious end to the album’s touring cycle. What happened?
“We had just got to the point where it wasn’t working out,” explains George with a brief lapse in the smile that’s seemingly permanently plastered across his face, backstage at a student’s union in Krakow, Poland. They are supporting Alter Bridge’s Mark Tremonti tonight. “We weren’t going to get where we wanted to with Mike so we knew that had to happen. It was a seriously stressful period. It’s one of those things that in the back of your head you can’t help but think, ‘What if this goes wrong?’ But, the band folding was never an option.”
Outsiders were perhaps unsurprised that Mike’s somewhat ill-fitting, earnest vocal style wasn’t working for the Londoners, who were clearly striving for a bombastic, modern heavy metal sound. However, George’s fears were justified; having to replace a frontman is a notoriously difficult hurdle, particularly for