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Raven: ExtermiNation

NENWOBHM legends’ coruscating comeback.

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

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.