Raventale are a band (primarily consisting of Astaroth Merc) from the Ukraine that I serendipitously stumbled across a few months ago, getting into their quite brilliant Dark Substance of Dharma album very quickly. The particular disc under review here is a reissue of their very first album On A Crystal Swing (to give it the English translation - the actual original language title is На хрустальных качелях), whose recording dates back to 2006. The reissue, which I've listened to quite a few times now, also contains three demo tracks from 2005. Stylistically On A Crystal Swing is not hugely different to their more recent aforementioned album, but there is more of an emphasis on a doom-like atmosphere.
The next track, Небес смолистая чернь, is probably my favourite, again with doom-laden vocals, a beautiful keyboard-constructed string effect overlays majestic guitar riffs against a mid to slow paced rhythm section. After that is a two-minute break from power chords in the shape of Дождя колыбель, which is a piano instrumental piece again backed by a string effect. That leads nicely into the solid nine-minute closer, На хрустальных качелях. As mentioned above, the reissue (pictured) contains three additional tracks at the end, which were not present on the now out-of-print former edition. These are basically variants (shorter too) of the tracks I've talked about above, and interesting enough in their own right to warrant a place on the collector's shelves.
Whilst not a supreme listen overall, the album strikes me as a very strong debut, symbolising what was to come. I've since bought all of the Raventale albums, mostly released by underground label Solitude Productions (although this particular one is by Bloodred Distribution). My intention is to cover all of them over time; in the meantime I'm hoping more music fans discover the skilled beauty of Raventale's refined brand of black metal.