A Be­gIn­nIng

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?

Metal Hammer (UK) - - The Raven Age - Words: AdAm rees • Pic­tures: derek Brem­ner

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

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