Formed in 1974 in Newcastle Upon Tyne by brothers John and Mark Gallagher, Raven have stuck to their guns through thick and thin resulting in their 13th studio album release ExtermiNation currently available via SPV/Steamhammer Records. Fan friendly formats include a CD Digipack with bonus track ‘Malice In Geordieland’ and a green vinyl double album with a gatefold sleeve with a bonus track and CD in a paper sleeve.
Raven were at the forefront of the NWOBHM movement and were signed to the Neat Record label, releasing 3 albums with them. The first 2 were genre defining classics. The 1981 release of Rock Until You Drop contained the legendary ‘Don’t Need Your Money’ 45rpm single and souped up covers of Hellraiser and Action by The Sweet. Wiped Out, released in 1982 influenced many thrash metal bands with it’s warp speed riffing.
So here we are in 2015 and after playing ExtermiNatio I went back to Raven’s early albums and there is no difference in intensity well over 30yrs later especially in the vocal delivery of John Gallagher! Album opener ‘Destroy All Monsters’ sets the bar high with John’s trademark howl wailing over Mark’s thick, driving riffing. Other highlights are following track ‘Tomorrow’. This brooding chugger and snarled vocal compete with some brutal double kick drumming from Joe Hasselvander. ‘It’s Not What You Got’ is anthemic metal. The main riff matches the vocal as it builds to the chorus of ” It’s not what you got, it’s the way that you rock”.
Drum driven ‘Fight’ is full of stabbing Scorpions like riffs. ‘Feeding The Monster’ sees John pushing his voice off the scale over a barrage of riffs. ‘Fire Burns Within’ is another intense slow burner with 2 face melting guitar solos. ‘Scream’ is chock full of clubbing drums and thick riffs with a surprisingly melodic chorus. ‘Thunder Down Under’ is a clever play on words as this tribute to Bon Scott has some neat AC/DC song title references throughout but personal favourite is album closer ‘River Of No Return’.
It is a strong contender for radio airplay and is the closest thing you will get to a power ballad featuring John’s finest vocal on ExtermiNation.
Raven band line up :-
John Gallagher – Vocals/bass guitar.
Mark Gallagher – Guitars.
Joe Hasselvander – Drums.
Album track listing :-
Destroy All Monsters.
It’s Not What You Got.
Battle March/Tank Treads (The Blood Runs Red).
Feeding The Monster.
Fire Burns Within.
One More Day.
Thunder Down Under.
River Of No Return.
Malice In Geordieland (bonus track).