I’ve always pictured the Stockholm-bound The Riven as the Swedish version of Thulsa Doom – similar vibes, similar undertones, and similar upbeat resonances. The RIven, as far as I observe, has always been influenced by the sounds from the golden age of classic rock; the 1970s and 1980s. Their sounds are genuinely hard-hitting, sharp-shooting, and they appear to be the kind of sounds that would make you want to headbang as the exciting memories in your head replay themselves in retrospect whilst you listen to them. In terms of genre classification, they might pass as heavy blues rock with progressive, psychedelic, and classical influences and a strong emphasis on menacing riffs as well as vigorous vocals.
Their sophomore album, Peace and Conflict (The Sign) was recorded at La Cavana Studios by Arnau Diaz, and mixed and mastered by Ola Ersfjord who has previously worked with several renowned names to note, such as Tribulation, Lucifer, and Imperial State Electric– while the album artwork was done by the Paris-based Dutch visual artist Maarten Donders.
Peace and Conflict appears to be strong on NWOBHM-powered hard rock roots. When it comes to the lyrical aspects, they chose to involve rather intricate topics such as the ones surrounding life and death, love and hate, and freedom, while also sonically presenting a wide range of sounds from fast-paced heavy metal to laid-back acoustic cuts. In a form of nine full-blown, explosion-inducing tracks, they managed to produce the purest kind of twin guitar arrangements as well as melodic elements that appear to be intensely vibrant. Peace and Conflict is an honest work of art that instantly attracted the attention of classic rock fans across the scene.
Performing under the lineup of Totta Ekebergh (vocals), Arnau Diaz (guitar), Joakim Sandgård (guitar), Max Ternebring (bass) and Jussi Kalla (drums), The Riven offers a genuine and atmospheric rock experience, almost as though we’re in a (good kind of) psychedelic trip when we listen to it. Their progress in terms of musical career is ever-evolving, and it’s the immaculate rhythm section that keeps the groove going. The vocals that Ekebergh presented are also all-around powerful, especially on the opening track ‘On Time’, which happens to be a track with a strong emphasis on twin guitar lines.
Overall, it’s such a pleasant album to listen to during both good and bad times. I should say their sounds are on par with, if not Thulsa Doom, then fellow Scandinavian rock unit Motorpsycho. Despite being a relatively new band, the sonic experience that the Riven offers is ever-progressing, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from them.
Buy the album here:
8 / 10