RAVEN

"All Hell's Breaking Loose" (Silver Lining Music; 2023)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Raven released their first album, "Rock Until You Drop," about 42 years ago. And they've been kicking ass, on and off, ever since. If you need any proof of that, I present to you Exhibit #1: The band's latest album, "All Hell's Breaking Loose."

Seldom has there been an album so appropriately named. "All Hell's Breaking Loose" is ten tracks and thirty-seven minutes of thrashing heavy metal that could have been recorded ... well, back in 1981. The throwback thrash metal sound is addictive from the first track and burns all the way through the tenth. It's all fiery guitars, speeding drums, rapidly pulsing bass and vocals that dare to soar where others shy away.

It's a party album through and through. If you're looking for the token ballad, you'll have to look elsewhere. This is nothing but pure, unbridled, unapologetic heavy metal.

My favorite tracks are the humorlessly entitled "Surf the Tsunami," the hard-driving title track and the nearly out of control "Go for the Gold," which closes the album leaving you wanting more.

I've often said here on these pages that rock'n'roll should be fun and, goddammit, "All Hell's Breaking Loose" is a freaking blast. Buy it now and turn it up past the Maximum on your listening device.

For more information, check out http://www.ravenlunatics.com

"Walk Through Fire" (Metal Blade; 2009)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Raven's "Walk Through Fire" is a good solid dose of 80s style metal. High, screaming vocals and excellent musicianship prove to be a great, unbeatable combination here.

Since 1975, 12 studio releases and numerous line up-changes, the brothers Gallagher (John and Mark) once again show us what great metal is. For years I have heard of Raven but I have actually only heard a few tracks; but I was totally unprepared for the sheer genius of the band on this recording.

Raven has shown me that even though I have been in this business for over 15 years, there is more music in this world than even a veteran reviewer can listen to. "Walk Through Fire" rocks and I will spend a lot of time because of it getting to know this extremely talented band.

You may have a hard time finding a copy of this CD for a decent price. It's apparently been discontinued, and is going on eBay and the like for anywhere from $40 to $100. If you find it going for less than that, buy it!

For more information, check out http://www.ravenlunatics.com

"Raw Tracks" (Metal Blade; 1998)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The title of this CD pretty much spells out what's on it. As stated clearly on the back cover of the CD package, "Raw Tracks" is "a compendium of demo/live/bootleg material - all previously unreleased - RAW RAVEN!"

"Raw" is the key word here. These 19 tracks are as rough edged as it comes. According to the liner notes by vocalist John Gallagher, "90% of this has been pulled from various tapes festering in our basements (I kid you not) and some serious emergency room tactics had to be used to bring 'em back alive - so any pops/clicks/hisses/etc. etc. etc. is part of the deal."

John's not kidding. The vast majority of the tracks on "Raw Tracks" sound like they were recorded on a handheld cassette recorder. But you know what? That actually adds to their impact. And most of the tracks are pretty good. Solid, harder-edged 80s style rockers with real grit and gut. Of the songs that never made it to the expensive studio sessions, this ultra raw format is probably where they sound best - with the band performing them way before they got slick and repetetive.

Is "Raw Tracks" a necessary part of hard rock / heavy metal history? Probably not. Is it fun to listen to? You bet. And fans of Raven will especially think so.

Raven: John Gallagher - vocals/bass; Mark Gallagher - guitar/vocals; Joe Hasselvander - drums/percussion. Drums on tracks dated 1984 - 1986 - Rob "Wacko" Hunter."

For more information, check out http://www.ravenlunatics.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2023 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.