Now in their 41st year, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Raven’s trademark ‘athletic rock’ should now be re-branded ‘arthritic rock’. But against the odds the NENWOBHM (North East New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) veterans have unleashed a superpowered album of pure crackshot heavy metal, a listening experience akin to being hit square in the face by a Dalek’s sink-plunger.
No wonder brawling opening track Destroy All Monsters includes the rollicking refrain: ‘Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!’
In a dour modern-day metal world, this is just so much fun. Raven’s helter-skelter musical approach has always been laced with humour, and nowhere is this more evident than on bonus track Malice In Geordieland, which is sung in a near-indecipherable Newcastle accent and namechecks famous old haunts such as the Mayfair ballroom.
Elsewhere, the song titles tell the triumphal tale: Fight, Feeding The Monster, No Surrender, Fire Burns Within, Battle March/Tank Treads (and holy shit, unlike many of his ailing peers, bassist/vocalist John Gallagher can still scream like he’s being crushed under the aforementioned). Thunder Down Under, a suitably raucous tribute to Bon Scott, rounds off a peerless package. Howay the lads, this is proper mint./o:p