By Eric Mackinnon
The Raven Age
Zippo Encore Stage
Friday, June 9 ,2017
The Raven Age's metal CV already boasts some pretty impressive numbers and bucket list moments.
Racking up ONE MILLION streams on Spotify of their début EP? Check.
Dropping an acclaimed début album? Check.
Playing to a sea of fevered fans in South America, seeing the world and carving a name in the cut-throat world of rock and metal? Check, check, check.
Now the London metallers can add earning a prestigious Second Stage slot at the Download Festival to their resume. Hell yeah.
Guitarist George Harris chewed the fat with the New Rock Times this week as he discussed the band's journey to Download, tour highlights, their début album and of course his world famous rock n' roll lineage.
George was probably always destined for a career on the road, making music and selling out areans. After all his Dad is Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris but having a parent as a corner stone in the world's biggest metal band has never added any pressure says his proud son.
“I don't feel pressure at all actually, which surprises a lot of people,” explains Geroge.
“I think to key to that is the fact that I don't care what people think, I just see it as, we're totally doing our own thing, not trying to follow Maiden's career path because that'd be ridiculous.
“We're a new band enjoying doing what we're doing, for example, getting the chance to play second stage at Download Festival. So much has been going on this last 18 months that I haven't really had a chance to get worried about stuff like that, I'm just concentrating on The Raven Age and shutting out all the expectations.”
He continued: “No he never tried to discourage me from the business at all. Neither was he urging me to get into the music industry. He not the type of person to give false hope, if he thought my band had no chance, he'd say so, not that I'd listen to that anyway haha.
“But right away when he heard our songs he believed in us and has been encouraging me ever since.”
The ink is barely dry on the pressings of The Raven Age's debut record which has hit music collections around the world to widespread acclaim. And while he says is thrilled with the response to the album George does confess to having more than a few nerves in the run up to release day.
“The response from the fans has been overwhelming, we've been receiving such positive feedback about the album which is really nice,” he said.
“It's our first album, so it's a big deal for us and we were confident but also nervous about how it would be received. We took such a long time getting the record together and released that we thought people might get fed up and lose interest, but our fans have been incredibly patient and kept the hype alive the whole time.
“The cool thing about the feedback, is that there doesn't seem to be one stand out song that everyone is shouting about, the mixture of favourites is across the whole album and that's really cool to see.”
“I think during the writing process for the EP tracks, we kind of established our own process or template of how we write songs and implemented that. But when it came to the album we didn't really abide by our own rules and we stretched a bit further in terms of structure and what we would typically do next. There's much more of a variation on Darkness Will Rise than the EP.”
George pin-points 'Salem's Fate' as the track which best 'captures the band in a nutshell.'
“It displays almost everything we have in terms of dynamic,” he goes on excitedly.
“It has a slow epic build up type intro, heavy guitars and rhythms, a big soaring chorus and a really heavy 'bang your head' type bridge.
“And it's because of this that we released it as our first single. Our thought process for it was kind of, haven't heard of us? Check this song out and you if you like it you'll probably like the rest.”
Touring South America remains the most memorable tour for the hard working band who have more stamps in their passports already than many of us pick up in a lifetime.
“Playing in South America was really something special. I'd never been before gigging there last year and I was blown away at the first show in Mexico,” continues George.
“The crowd just went nuts as soon as we kicked off, bearing in mind most of them wouldn't have known our songs, it was the first time we've had the entire crowd bouncing up and down, it was incredible.
“Also walking on stage in Sao Paolo to a football stadium full of metal heads without a single empty seat was a sight to behold. That sent shivers down my spine!”
In the past George has been a regular fixture in the barrier front and centre, horns up, head swinging, supporting and cheering on his favourite bands. But this time he will be cranking out his own music from the second stage – a journey to the mecca of metal and the Download Festival bill which hasn't been lost on him.
“I've been every year since 2007 camping with my mates, apart from the last two when we've played and had to shoot off for other shows,” he says.
“I love the vibe at Download, I look forward to it every year so much so it's a real honour to be invited back for the 3rd time and having been stepped up a stage again. Everyone's there for two things, listening to metal and drinking beer, so I don't see how you can not enjoy yourself? One of my favourite memories is from 2007, my first full weekend.
“Me and a few mates were at the very front of one of the tents and I was right at the barrier in front of Nick Hipa losing my mind.”
He adds: “This is our first time hitting the second stage which is going to be incredible! We have a pretty short set time, so it's gonna be a short sharp blast of energy and passion from us boys. We're playing towards the beginning of the festival on the Friday, so we wanna get people moving and loosen them up ready for the rest of the weekend.”