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Raven

Rock Until You Drop

Review by Gary Hill

This 1981 release was Raven's debut. These guys never got the attention they deserved. Right out of the gate, they were among the best of the indie metal coming out via the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. They are considered to be a big influence on thrash, and you'll hear some Metallica foreshadowing on this. This is contained on a new box set I reviewed for this issue (and the track reviews are the same here), but I wanted to do this as a separate retro review, too. I highly recommend getting this as part of that set, but considering the importance of the band to metal and the fact that this was where it started, it seemed a good idea to call special attention to it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hard Ride
They waste no time. A count in gives way to hard rocking sound. This is part AC/DC, part pure metal and part punk rock. This is fierce, catchy and so cool.
Hell Patrol
This definitely makes me think of early Iron Maiden. This is another metal screamer. It's not as instantly accessible as the opener was, but the guitar riffs are all class. I can make out some K.K. Downing in some of the little guitar fills here. The closing section really reinforces the Judas Priest thing.
Don't Need Your Money
Fierce old-school metal is on display here. This has more of a mainstream hard rock vibe to some of the vocal parts. There is even a punky edge to this in some ways. Iron Maiden is a valid reference again.
Over the Top
As cool as everything to this point has been, this ups the ante. It's a screaming hot, raw metal stomper. It's one of the best cuts of the whole first CD.
39-40
Less than a minute long, this instrumental features delicate and melodic acoustic guitar work. It's a classy piece and a nice interlude.
For the Future
Feeling even fiercer after the sedate piece that came before, the opening riff on this again makes me think of Judas Priest. These guys drive out into some killer raw metal from there. The sound on this is classic and very strong. It's easy to see how this influenced Metallica and the thrash scene, but I think Motley Crue took something from this, too. The closing bit definitely has that early Metallica thing at its core.
Rock Until You Drop
The title track comes in percussive. It launches out with an almost raunch and roll kind of vibe. There are some cool instrumental breaks on this thing. The vocal sections are pretty straightforward hard rock, but those instrumental bits definite foreshadow thrash.
Nobody's Hero
Frantic, furious and very cool, this is screaming hot rocker. It gets a bit of a parental advisory on the lyrics. This is another that calls to mind Iron Maiden. It's also another that's an obvious precursor to Metallica and the whole thrash school. There are some intriguing shifts and changes on this.
Hellraiser/Action
No frills hard rock meets metal on the screaming first half of this. They turn it out into a punk meets early metal version of the classic Sweet tune for the second part.
Lambs to the Slaughter
This definitely makes me think of "Steeler" by Judas Priest. It's high energy, fierce and so tasty.
Tyrant of the Airways

There is a furious, vicious edge to a lot of this song. Yet that ferocity is tempered by a melodic mellower movement, too.

 
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