Although routinely overshadowed by Venom and Motörhead in the pages of metal history, Raven did more than most to inject the genre with the youthful vitality and snotty aggression that eventually led to the birth of thrash. Now well into their fifth decade as a band, the Geordie trio deserve to be properly reassessed, and these reissues of their first and third studio albums, and 1984’s almost comically vicious Live At The Inferno (7⁄10), offer a sturdy starting point.
Listening to 1981’s Rock Until You Drop (8⁄10), it’s hard to recall another debut album from the last 36 years that erupts with quite so much electrifying intensity. Songs like Hell Patrol and Over The Top are harder, faster and more powerful than anything else that was going on at the time.
Brothers John and Mark Gallagher’s precise chops and drummer Rob Hunter’s unrelenting momentum add to a sense that Raven were bullying heavy metal into the future, with mad eyes and shit eating grins plastered all over their lager-stained faces.
1983’s All For One (9⁄10) is even better, not least because it features Mind Over Metal and Hung Drawn And Quartered, two of the most ridiculously exciting metal songs ever recorded, plus Athletic Rock, a thunderous showcase for John Gallagher’s insane falsetto. Even ignoring a truly unhinged cover of Born To Be Wild that numbers among five bonus tracks, it’s an outright classic.