RAVEN – Faster Than The Speed Of Light Cherry Red (3CD)
One of the finest speed metal bands to come out of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, three piece were formed in the early 70s and grew up listening to (and playing) classic rock.
Led by the Gallagher brothers John (bass, vocals) and Mark (guitars), the band signed to Neat in the late 70s and their early material was, as one of their singles stated, Crash Bang Wallop, A good blend of NWoBHM with what would influence the speed and thrash metal scenes. Athletic Rock it was dubbed at the time.
This fine set kicks off with 1984’s Live At The Inferno (originally a double LP), featuring drummer Rob Hunter. Squeezed onto a single CD, this live set is named after a Raven track of the same name and covers material from across their Neat catalogue. High speed metal with rampant energy, listen to this you can actually feel the sweat flying. If you like your metal on the High Octane side of things, Raven really are your band.
Recorded 10 years later, by which time Raven had gone through a more commercial period, they recorded Destroy ALL Monsters Live In Japan. Another very fine live album, recorded in Japan, and now with drummer Joe Hasselvander. The local crowed were well up for anything NWoBHM and their enthusiasm matches the band’s. While Raven were sill reliant on early material (Crash Bang Wallop and Live At The Inferno go down well), later tracks like Architect Of Fear fit in wonderfully. Nice to have here so as to compare the two live sets, with this one on its own being harder to find now.
The final set here is a disc originally recorded in 2015, Party Killers, a collection of covers originally given to backers for a Kickstarter campaign, for the ExtermiNation album. A genuine rarity.
Opening track is Deep Purple’s Fireball and I was seriously blown away as to how good this track is. Tight, modern, blistering, solid rhythm, guitar solo given their own take. Seriously great. And the same can be said of Thin Lizzy’s Bad Reputation. As for Nazareth’s Too Bad Too Sad? Raven’s brightest cleanest metal ever? There are tracks also by Cheap Trick, Budgie, Queen, Quo and Slade (more too), all of which are given the same treatment.
Sometimes cover albums can be difficult to pull off, well this one is worth buying this 3 disc for.
A nice booklet that features comments from the band but, and sadly as the trend now seems to be, no sleevenotes that help put the release and the three albums in context.
Raven are seriously a metal band who more should know and enjoy, and I hope you enjoy this set as much as I did.
Joe Geesin | Now Spinning Magazine