Schlaf ein


halte meine Hand

Ich bin da

Deine Augen

Schwarzer Engel



Die Kraft


Stefan Gatzemeier (vocals) 

Robert  Fiedler (guitar) 

Ralf Apel (bass),

Sven Tasch (keyboards) 

Frank Heervig (drums)

RAVENDARK : "Traumfänger"             ravendark

review  by Elisabeth "elli" Kellner____   

Ravendark are a Gothic-Rock band from Worbis (Thuringia) in Germany. Being found in 1996 they have gone through some band member changes until they found their current line-up in 2001: Stefan (vocals), Robert (guitar), Ralf (bass), Sven (keyboards) and Frank (drums). Traumfänger released in October 2003 is already their fourth self produced album, although the first one that has full album length. After their first self titled release Ravendark got good critics in the widely read magazines Orkus and Zillo, hopes were high that a deal with a label might come around. (Un)fortunately that never happened and they kept on doing their own music, without need to compromise. That didn’t mean they had no success. Last year the made it to final of the Emergenza, a German wide music competition in which bands from all genres participated.

    Traumfänger mirrors this growing self confidence and their experiences they made during the last 8 years. The 10 tracks of the album are thematically linked, their lyrics being about religion, death, sleep, dreaming, love. The band name is concept – it is always the darker sides of the above mentioned topics that interests them, although they don’t go in the gothic cliché of weltschmerz and longing for death. All their lyrics are in German because as Stefan points out “We are native speakers of German and thus German is the best language to express our ideas and feelings. A lot would get lost in the process of translation.”    

    The order of the songs on the CD is well chosen. Already the first song “Schlaf ein” catches the listener and the melody gets easily into the blood…after the second time you can hum along. Those melody lines are one of Ravendark’s strengths – although not all songs are so easily to get into as Schlaf ein or Gott, maybe the most pop-rock like songs on the album. Nevertheless, the guitars are always in the foreground, sometimes changing roles with the keyboards, that brings some dance like sounds into the music, especially in Gott. But the further one gets into the album the darker and heavier the songs get, like S(ch)ein, the intro of which reminds of doom bands like My Dying Bride, but the songs develops in a quite different direction, including some rap. Ravendark are not afraid to mix styles freely and across genre borders. The influence of some German bands like Rammstein, Oomph! and Letzte Instanz is not deniable, but Ravendark are more than a mere copy, more than “Rammstein oder Oomph! für Arme” as the German saying goes. Talking about clichés: reading the booklet and seeing two young female guest singers mentioned one often expects (and is afraid of) the typical gothic arrangement: dark growling male voices and the contrasting bright, high and warbling female ones. Luckily Ravendark managed to include the female vocals really good into the songs: both Stefan and the guest singers do have a melody line, which give the song a new wholeness. But of course this album is not perfect, the main weakness is Stefan’s singing. He is well able to give the listeners some nice melodies but his articulation needs some improvement. In some songs he just mumbles away, and even I as a native German had problems to get the lyrics. And his articulation of “da” in Ich bin da gives everyone who had some basic musical education in singing the creeps – even if it is done for effect purposes.

    A nice surprise for the listener comes at the end: a hidden track, the acoustic version of the song Schwarzer Engel where especially Robert shows that he can do more on the guitar than just play three chords very loud and very fast. The string arrangements let the listeners drift away, let them dream…and maybe their dreams are caught by a Traumfänger.

    So for all those of you who are interested in Gothic Rock but want to discover something new, check this band out. They have a really good website, the address is: www.ravendark.de (unfortunately in German only).

Rating: 8/10


Elisabeth Kellner    
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