ARTIST: THE RIVEN
TITLE: THE RIVEN
LABEL: THE SIGN RECORDS
WORDS: SOPHIA WATSON
It’s been said that rock and roll is dead. That the end of the 1970s brought on the death rattle and that MTV destroyed what was left of it with big hair and overproduced choruses. Yet, from these so called ashes bands begin to rise, following in the aged footsteps of Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, Rainbow and all the rest. Swedish born rockers The Riven are doing just that – together with a sprinkling of inspiration from the 60s. Through powerful vocals and big choruses the band’s debut album ‘The Riven’ is on its way to prove that rock can never die.
In a small suburban house in West London, housemates Totta Ekebergh, Arnau Diaz and Max Ternebring were brought together by the calling of rock, and birthed their band through late night song writing – recruiting Olof Axegärd for the role of drummer. Having released their EP Blackbird in 2017, their follow up full length self-titled album develops their sound in an electrifying selection of songs. With tightly constructed guitar solos, albeit simple in comparison to some of the original rock masters, and strong bass lines that are groovy yet dark – perhaps something inspired by Led Zeppelin or Fleetwood Mac – The Riven’s sound produces a nostalgic feeling. The nine track album, recorded at Holy Cuervo Studios Madrid by Ola Ersfjord (Lucifer, Primordial, Dead Lord) was made in ten days, and according to Axegärd “Is loud, is rock, is soul, and prog, it has it all!” – think Greta Van Fleet meets Halestorm.
“Through powerful vocals and big choruses the band’s debut album ‘The Riven’ is on its way to prove that rock can never die.”
The opening title ‘The Serpent’ begins with a catchy guitar riff with a bass line to match drawing you in with its feel-good groove. When Ekebergh’s voice chimes in it is with a powerful irritability that commands the song with authority. This female fronted band is part of what sets them apart from many of the other 70s revival bands of the moment, giving this album a refreshing feeling.
The most recent single from the album, ‘Far Beyond’, begins with guitars like metallic liquid seemingly inspired by bluesy rock – imagine Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown or Larkin Poe. Totta again displays the power in her voice with a haunting chorus as she cries out, into the hot desert of guitar, ‘you realise your deepest fears, good or bad, you don’t belong’.
The album continues to produce powerful numbers, in ‘Shadow Man’, a groovy bass line dances alongside an attractive guitar riff and harmonious drums, with a catchy chorus that is likely to rattle in the brains of listeners for days.
Following from this, the album moves into a slower pace, as ‘Finnish Woods’ echoes an ethereal tone with an aching that spreads through the song. The change in pace is refreshing, yet The Riven subvert the expectations of the listener by easing back into their fast paced rock as a powerful bridge kicks in before snaking back into a slower trance by ending the number with soft wave like guitars that lap into silence.
As the album rolls on ‘I Remember’ begins with soulful wails, as Totta connects with her inner woes. Her vocals become even more animated than before, drenched in anguish they reach into a new level of supremacy as she seamlessly undulates between high and low notes.
“an amalgamation of various different styles stacked together as a deck of cards with which the listener always wins”
Closing the album is song ‘Sweet Child’ which again showcases Ternebring’s talent with a bass solo accompanied by a gentle guitar riff that whispers in the background, leading to the culmination of the album as the words ‘sweet child’ are repeated, and the noise cuts to nothing abruptly in a powerful statement of darkness.
With its progressive rock inspired undertones, big bass lines and fiery female singer, ‘The Riven’ is an amalgamation of various different styles stacked together as a deck of cards with which the listener always wins. This album should be in the hands of any one that likes good rock and roll.