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Track By Tracks: Ravenous - Hubris (2021)


1. Carnage in Carthage:

Musically: The song opens with a symphonic-only representation of the thematic riff, bursting into the blazing speed that will be indicative of the majority of the album and the Ravenous approach. This dynamic will be highlighted throughout the album as Ravenous places emphasis on the orchestration to highlight the dynamics of the music. It’s a fast, rollicking opening track to fire up the blood of the listener and set the pace for what’s to come. The brief symphonic opening gives way to an aggressive and driving central theme that is closely held for the majority of the song. Tension is intentionally built throughout from the use of chromatics and denied resolve. A powerful middle section leads into the high-intensity ending -- this song is the spicy appetizer to get listeners in the mood for the remaining courses.

Lyrics (surface): The song recounts the story of the Second Punic War between Hannibal, the Carthaginian statesman and general, and Cato, the Roman soldier and senator. Told from the perspective of Cato, the song remarks on his hubris of seeking to make Rome (an otherwise lowly state at the time) a super power, best encapsulated by the line “the rise of an empire that rules over all, demands the other ones fall - Delenda Est Carthago - Carthage must be destroyed!”

Meaning (hidden): The song is making fun of Sabaton and the idea of turning Social Studies history textbooks into songs.

Best served with: A shot of fireball and a meatball sub

2. Astral Elixir:

Musically: This song is a relentless power-thrash workout designed to be slick but rhythmically exhausting (as demonstrated by the constantly-changing rhythms). The song breaks into a multifaceted and technical bridge that leads into an explosive shred section before a triumphant singalong ending.

Lyrics (surface): A man seeking enlightenment stumbles through a barren and labyrinthine expanse until he is drawn to a mystical spirit guide. She presents him with a potion that sends him on a journey through the reaches of the universe to unlock its hidden secrets. His Hubris both prevented him from seeing what was before him all along and also gives him the impression he has unlocked all the hidden meaning from the Elixir by merely scratching the surface.

Meaning (hidden): The song is about doing psychedelic drugs

Best served with: A tab of acid

3. Son of Storms:

Musically: The song is a 3/4 rollicker reminiscent of the song “Adrift” off of the band’s first album. The song carries itself across a steady tide upon which friends and foes alike can drink and sing shoulder-to-shoulder.

Lyrics (surface): The song sings of the son of storms, an ancient entity with command of skies and all it encompasses. The hubris is not tied to him, but rather the fools that believe they can stand tall in defiance in the face of this mighty god.

Meaning (hidden): The song is about Zelda: Ocarina of Time and the Song of Storms that makes it rain in the game.

Best served with: A fresh-caught fire-roasted Hylian lake trout

4. Die 1,000 Deaths:

Musically: The song follows what many friends of the band call “very anime” - inspired by Japanese Power Metal and following the Eastern Hirajoshi scale (a scale uncommon to Western music) it also follows several reversing scales (as one guitar plays the scale upwards, another plays the scale downwards, creating an intertwining harmony) as well as various switching time signatures in the song’s breakdowns. Musically: Fast and frantic, Die 1000 Deaths is reminiscent of a kaiju battle in the neon-lit streets of Tokyo

Lyrics (surface): The song is about a murderous figure that kills his master in pursuit of ultimate power. His only goal is to finally find a foe worthy of his full strength, and his hubris will kill all in his path in that pursuit.

Meaning (hidden): The song is about Akuma from Street Fighter (R. A. Voltaire’s favorite character to play)

Best served with: A sake bomb and a spicy bowl of ramen

5. Bridgeburner:

Musically: The song is triumphant, epic, and based off of a single chord progression that utilizes different accents (with special emphasis on the 9th, 10th, and 11th tones in the chords). The song is heavily dynamic in pace and intensity - from the slow intro, to the driving choruses, to the gentle middle section, to the emotional climax in order to bring the listener along the difficult journey the characters are experiencing.

Lyrics (surface): The song is about a ragtag army regiment - forged through a traumatic and shared hardship - that is forced to endure repeated tragedy, betrayal, and loss that leads to their dissolution. Their deeds and resilience earns them an ascended position after their deaths alongside other immortals. Their hubris is their false bravado from collective trauma, but that reflexively proves their resilience and worth in the eyes of the gods.

Meaning (hidden): The Bridgeburners are from the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, a longtime fantasy favourite of Jake’s. This song is kind of about “fake it ‘till you make it”.

Best served with: A dry, full-bodied glass of red wine.

6. The Alder Queen:

Musically: The song follows several fast ascending scales in line with the 1815 classical composition by Franz Schubert. The song was noted for its difficulty and stamina required to play it on the piano, and conversely follows a very technical run throughout the song. The song then takes a more positive and melodic turn with the introduction of The Alder Queen, played by Nina Osegueda of A Sound of Thunder, ultimately taking its eerie and morose climactic end.

Lyrics (surface): The song is an alternate take on Der Erlkonig - a poem written by Goethe and later adapted into Opera by Franz Schubert - in which a father rides to get his son medical attention, while the child cries out about supernatural forces trying to claim his life (Der Erklonig - loosely translated to the Elf King or The Alder King). The father continues to console the child, telling them it is simply the child’s imagination seeing these things, but as the child finally cries that he has been captured, the father looks down to find his son has died. The Ravenous rendition features Die Erlkonigin - the Elf/Alder Queen, played by Nina Osegueda of A Sound of Thunder - and follows the trajectory of the original tale with lyrics extracted directly from the original poem from 1782.

Meaning (hidden): The song is about the systematic disregarding of children and their woes. R. A. Voltaire previously worked as an elementary school teacher and often saw the apathy on behalf of the faculty towards the children - often ignoring their plights until it was too late to help. The song has a second, much darker layer of meaning that will not be divulged at this time.
Best served with: a bratwurst and rauchbier.

7. March of Hunger:

Musically: The song heralds the “former” Ravenous sound - straightforward Power Metal - a combination of Judas Priest and Sabaton for a straight Rock N’ Roll headbanger. This song bridges the gap between the 2019 album ‘Eat the Fallen’ and ‘Hubris.’ Complete with 80s guitar harmonies and fist-pumping Rock N’ Roll, this song will remind you of ‘Strength of a Warrior.’

Lyrics (surface): The song tells the story of a hero who did not wish to be the leader of his people, but was forced to lead them on a journey for survival. Upon their triumphant return, their elders warn them not to consume the bounty they have found, but their hubris knows no bounds and as a result, they become a slave to the substance in the form of hideous, twisted figures, succumbing to the control of the beast they slew.

Meaning (hidden): The song is about late-night munchies runs in the Canadian Winter where going to 7-11 seems like an epic quest that you must endure, and what happens from eating their food.

Best served with: A bong rip followed by Taquitos and a Slurpee

8. Claw is the Law:

Musically: The song features ‘The Dread Crew of Oddwood’, and brings the fun, Folk Metal inspired feel from the get-go. With Accordions and Mandolins, the band brings out their token drinking song for the album in an attempt to encourage mass-guzzling, headbutts, and general shenanigans. This song also features an accordion solo, because why not.

Lyrics (surface): The song follows a crew of ravenous beings, drinking twisted concoctions and searching far and wide across the land for whatever vile mix they can consume - they are the proverbial wrecking crew, and their thirst is undying. Their hubris brings them physical suffering in the form of a mighty hangover.

Meaning (hidden): The song is about getting drunk on White Claws with The Dread Crew of Oddwood.

Best served with: Twelve to Fifteen White Claws

9. Onwards & Upwards:

Musically: Without shame or irony, the song is a Power Metal ballad - soft tones that build and eventually hit heavily on just the right moment for a Heavy Metal crescendo.

Lyrics (surface): The song is a call to resistance - no matter how dark and terrible everything feels (especially as you’re trying to write an album in the middle of a global pandemic lockdown, that eventually this too shall pass - onwards and upwards you’ll soar! We lost several friends to suicide and sickness during the pandemic, so we wanted to send our message of hope to help those that may be teetering on that edge. Mathias Blad of Falconer remarked he was very proud to be part of the song, found it very beautiful and was glad to be able to help others as his music helped R. A. Voltaire get through very difficult times in his past.

Meaning (hidden): The band wanted to have one ballad, as Power Metal ballads are a joked about trope in Ravenous social circles so the band decided “Fuckit, why not”.

Best served with: a smorgasbord of comfort food and a hug.

10. ...Of Beasts & Faust:

Musically: The song is a 10-minute Speed Metal epic comprising four sections - 1. The Sermon, 2. Beastmaster, 3. Faust, 4. Hail, Resurrection! The song opens in a eerie swamp where our protagonist comes upon a band of animals playing banjos, acoustics, and clean guitar solos (who does that)!? The melodic basis is from Gustav Mahler’s 1895 “Symphony No. 2”. The song then kicks into full gear as the Beastmaster becomes known. Partway through the song, the tone becomes darker as the Beastmaster is betrayed… thus signaling the beginning of section 3, an entirely different song altogether. Based on Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 (1785), it takes more of a melodic death metal approach full of blast-beats and sinister overtones. The song then has a reprisal to the initial chorus and wraps up in a post-chorus crescendo, forgiving the transgressions that passed and resolving in what could best be described as a “happy ending”. The song fades into an eerie denouement to signify the end of the album.

Lyrics (surface): The song is about the Beastmaster, a glorified representation of a religious figure, or even god (whatever floats your boat). The beastmaster gives his sermon and the animals betray their predatory nature to show they have changed - but over time, the animals cannot help but revert to their true nature, and inevitably tear apart the beastmaster, thus signalling the entrance of the character ‘Faust’, played by Vincent Jones. Faust is the representation of evil, human nature, or the devil (again, whatever floats your boat) - he tells the beastmaster that you can never change the nature of these creatures… Ultimately, the beastmaster heeds the animals to face their transgressions and negates the pact made with Faust as the one true redeeming characteristic of these creatures - love - will always hail their resurrection.

Meaning (hidden): The song is about how people may show their supportive, virtuous, even borderline pious side in the face of a global tragedy or the struggles of others, but the reality is humans, like animals, will always revert to their true nature and desires in the end. The song resolves in forgiveness, as we often do in society, but the hubris of man will always result in destruction.

Best served with: a jug of moonshine and campfire smores

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