RAVEN
"Walk Through Fire"

(Metal Blade)

01. Intro
02. Against The Grain
03. Breaking You Down
04. Under Your Radar
05. Walk Through Fire
06. Bulldozer
07. Long Day's Journey
08. Trainwreck
09. Grip
10. Running In Circles
11. Hard Road
12. Armageddon (The Beginning)
13. Attitude
14. Space Station #5
15. Live At The Inferno (Live)
16. Rock Until You Drop (Live)

RATING: 8/10

Yet another veteran band from the storied New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), England's RAVEN stood apart from the herd for their outrageous image and a style called "athletic rock" that at times bordered on unhinged. While classics like "Wiped Out", "All For One", and more commercially accessible (though not in a sellout sense) albums like "Stay Hard" and "The Pack is Back" contained more than a few toe-tapping rockers, RAVEN is a band whose status was held up as much by the images as the songwriting. Fast forward to the close of the 21st Century's first decade and brothers John and Mark Gallagher (vocals/bass and guitars, respectively) and drummer Joe Hasselvander (PENTAGRAM) have come roaring back with an album in "Walk Through Fire" that is sure to please the RAVEN Lunatics and convert more than a few fans that had previously been unexposed to the British threesome.

"Walk Through Fire" is anything but an attempt to cash in on a retro trend with rehashed ideas and tired playing, "Walk through Fire" is the sound of guys with fires in the belly and chips on the shoulder, and the playing is top notch. "Fire" is the key word here; as in the trio is on freakin' fire! Every track is filled with killer riffs, hot solos, and stand-up-and-shout choruses. Ain't a damn bit of filler on this album either. Songs like "Breaking you Down", the reckless 'n wild "Trainwreck", and the boogie-riffing stutter of "Under your Radar" will have you playing air guitar, singing a happy NWOBHM tune and loving every minute of the kicking taken by your ass. Speaking of which, the title track is a great, no frills rocker with a notably infectious chorus, yet another example of game-raising songwriting. Interestingly enough on the rousing "Against the Grain", John Gallagher sounds a bit like vintage Biff Byford (SAXON), which isn't surprising when one considers that the cutting occurred from the same cloth.

Sit back down; we ain't done yet. The cover of "Space Station #5" from MONTROSE's vaunted debut is a grand choice and easily one of the most underrated metal songs of all time. The live versions of "Live at the Inferno" and "Rock Until You Drop" are a nice touch as well, giving the old timers a blast of nostalgia and introducing the virgins to a golden era of metal. That's right; you get 13 new tracks (counting "Introz'), a slam bang cover, and two live classics all for one low, low price. Order now!

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