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Raven's expanded Rock Until You Drop: energetic proof that 'athletic rock' should have been huge

The flying start of NWOBHM might-have-beens Raven lauded with four disc version of Rock Until You Drop

Raven: Rock Until You Drop cover art
(Image: © HNE/Cherry Red)

Lauded upon its release in 1981 as a landmark album for the burgeoning NWOBHM scene, Raven’s Rock Until You Drop remains one of the standouts of the era, a record absolutely buzzing with ridiculous amounts of energy, and playing that ranges from fast to even faster. 

Tyrant Of The Airways aside, it’s pretty much full-on pedal-to-the-metal… er, metal from brothers Mark and John Gallagher – paint-stripping vocals/lead guitar and bass/ vocals, respectively – and drummer Rob ‘Wacko’ Hunter, their influence on nascent mid-80s thrashers undeniable. As a celebration of the phenomenon that was early Raven, this four-CD edition curates a host of other goodies of varying quality, all in one incendiary package. 

There are bonus B-sides (including the excellent Wiped Out) and compilation cuts to fill out the studio album, while disc two presents the band’s Neat Records three-track demo from 1980 (Let It Rip sounds wobbly but great) and a very rough-sounding eight-song demo from 1978. 

The bootleg fun continues on discs three and four with recordings from Sasso Marconi, Bologna and Manchester Apollo, both 1982, the band’s extraordinary live attack largely transcending the dodginess of the audio. On this showing, Raven should have been huge.

Whether it’s magazines, books or online, Essi has been writing about rock ’n’ metal for around thirty years. He has been reviews editor for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, rock reviews editor for lads mag Front and worked for Kerrang!. He has also written the Rough Guide to Heavy Metal and contributed to the Rough Guide to Rock and Rough Guide Book of Playlists, and the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (13th edition). Most fun interview? Tenacious D – Jack Black and Kyle Gass – for The Pick of Destiny movie book. An avid record/CD/tape collector, he’s amassed more music than he could ever possibly listen to, which annoys his wife no end.