The End of Tomorrow Is Only the Beginning: A Conversation with Al Ravage of Ravage

Boston, Mass products Ravage play straight heavy metal for people who like their heavy metal with a double side order of thrash, and their latest disc, the End of Tomorrow, is not only the crowning achievement of their sound thus far in their career, but also the perfect example what of these boys are all about sonically. Though members of the band are in their 20’s, this group has been jamming together for over a decade, and the End of Tomorrow is indicative of tight musicianship, something Ravage surely has. They also have the backing of the of the world’s premiere metal label in Metal Blade Records, so, you know, that doesn’t hurt.

Vocalist Al Ravage took some time to speak with me recently regarding the new record the End of Tomorrow, symbolism, artwork, meaning and so on and so forth.

Get Exposed Music: Tell me about how you signed with Metal Blade Records.
Al Ravage: We had been signed to a small European label in 2005, and we were looking to put out a new album which we had recorded in it's entirety, but we were going back and forth with the label over musical issues and couldn't reach an agreement, so we put together a 6 song EP from the many songs we had recorded and sent it to a bunch of labels. Then I was preparing to put the full-length CD out myself, because we really hadn't heard from anyone and a lot of good labels were folding, and out of the blue Metal Blade made is an offer.

GE: What can we expect from your new disc the End of Tomorrow?
Ravage: A lot of melody, but also a lot of energy and heaviness, as always - a mix of traditional heavy metal and thrash with a unique flavor and songs you will remember and want to hear again - that is a the important thing. We try to make music that is engaging and not boring.

GE: Your sound on the End of Tomorrow pulls from all sorts of sounds, like thrash, power and heavy metal. With such sonic diversity as those, what exactly influenced you guys as a band to write this record?
Ravage: We're influenced by the music we like to hear - early 80's NWOBHM and 70's heavy metal like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest etc. - late 80's bay area thrash like Testament etc. and late 90's Euro-style power metal like Gamma Ray, Stratovarious, etc. That, mixed with our personal experiences and styles, makes our sound.

GE: Given your problems with production in the past, was it important to find just the right producer this time out? How did you know Peter [Rutcho] was the right fit for this effort?
Ravage: We didn't know he would be the right guy until we started working with him and it just came naturally. He hasn't produced a lot of bands like us, but he knows our kind of music because he is a big fan of traditional heavy metal and thrash. King Diamond is his favorite band and King Diamond is one of our favorites, so it was a nice fit.

GE: Obviously I need to inquire about the album title. It can be interpreted all sorts of different ways. What does the album title mean to the band? Do you have your own take on it?
Ravage: Well, I think the song deals with the idea of loss - of what it means to lose everyone one you know and what the world would be like for a person who has to deal with being the only one left - the one who gets to see the end of that wonderful 'world of tomorrow' that was supposed to hold so much promise for mankind. So I guess it is about the dangers of technology etc but also about the values of our relationships with other people as we go through life and about appreciating what we have in the hear and now.

GE: Tell me about the cover art. What does it represent and how did you go about courting a legend like Ed Repka to do it?
Ravage: We simply asked Ed and he was very professional about it and gave us great cover art. The art represents the aforementioned conflict between the progress technology can bring us and the potential dangers - like ending everything we know. If you notice the mechanical spiders on the cover each bear the logo of our fanclub "the Society for Worldwide Ravage" so you can see the Ravage fans taking over the world.

GE: How many ideas did he bring to you guys before you settled on this one?
Ravage: We actually gave him a very basic idea of what we wanted to see and he gave us just one sketch that we thought was really cool. Then he painted it and filled in the details.

GE: Anything else you’d like to add?
Ravage: Stay tuned at our website for the latest updates.