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Raven

Rock Until You Drop: The Over The Top Edition

Review by Gary Hill

This new four-CD edition of Raven's Rock Until You Drop features the full album along with bonus tracks on the first disc. From there we get demos and interview and live recordings to fill out the collection. I'll say that the sound quality on these bonuses isn't always great, but there are definite charms to it all. The whole thing comes in a clamshell box with an extensive booklet. Each CD has its own cardboard sleeve. I should say that I previously reviewed all the tracks on the first disc, so for the sake of consistency, those track reviews were taken from or modified from the earlier review.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
CD 1
                       
Rock Until You Drop (1981)
                 
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.
Bonus Tracks:
                      
Wiped Out (Don't Need Your Money B-Side)

This is fast paced, seriously hard rocking and so cool. It has some awesome guitar work. The vocals are often literally screaming.

Crazy World (Hard Ride B-Side)
Another furious raw metal number, this is hot. It's not a big change, but when it's this good, who cares?
Let It Rip (From Brute Force)
Another raw, screaming rocker, this has some definite punk built into it. It's also another that foreshadowed early Metallica.
Inquisitor (From Lead Weight)
Another that makes me think of Judas Priest a bit, this is seriously fierce and mean. It's a particularly meaty cut.
CD 2
               
Meat Records Live to 2-Track Demo (1980)
                       
Don't Need Your Money

Merge NWBHM with punk rock and you'll be pretty close to the sound of this number. It's somewhat raw and fairly fierce. It's also cool. This is definitely punkier than the version that made the album. Of course, some of that might be from the demo quality of the recording. I really dig some of the bass work on this thing.

Let It Rip
Still somewhat raw, this is fierce and driving old-school metal even in this demo form. In fact, this might be more furious than the final version that made the album.
Wiped Out
The bass sound on this is cool. The cut has a raw demo quality, but also a lot of power and driving energy. The instrumental section takes us in some intriguing directions, almost landing along territory that could be described as "metal jam band."
4-Track Demo Session (1978)
                
Inquisitor

The instrumental jam mid-track on this is on fire. The whole cut rocks really well. Yes, this recording is lower in sound quality than the final recording, but it sure rocks like crazy.

Come Up and See Me
This definitely feels more rock and roll than the album version does. There is a punky edge here for sure. I don't like this as well as the final recording.
Cry Wolf
I really dig a lot of the driving energy and riffing on this tune. The vocal performance isn't up the same level, though. The mellower movement is an intriguing change and bit of variety. This has an extensive and potent instrumental break later.
Hitting the Road
A fierce and rocking screamer, this works really well. It's positively on fire at times.
On the Hunt
This powerhouse has some smoking hot guitar soloing built into it. It's quite the screaming hot tune, even in this demo version. There is some great extended instrumental music in the mix.
Going Home
Starting with a mellow section, this tune works through a number of changes. It has some particularly strong sections, but the vocals don't work all that well here. In fact, I'd say that at times those vocals ruin the song for me. Part of that is the fact that they are too far up in the mix.
Turn It Down
Here we get a punky kind of jam. This is a lot of fun. I'm reminded quite a bit of Motörhead here. The tune is a lot of fun. The echoey, trippy mellow movement takes it in an almost space rock direction. That movement eventually gives way to an extended rocking instrumental section.
Hit and Run
I like this rocker well enough, but it's nothing all that special. That said there are some instrumental moments that stand a little taller than others do.
CD 3
                        
Sasso Marconi, Bologna (2nd December 1982)
                       
Faster Than the Speed of Light

They bring things in with a screaming hot jam that really rocks.

Hard Ride
Raw, fierce and fast-paced, this continues the metal assault in style.
Hell Patrol
The edgy, metal meets punk onslaught continues here. They are definitely not letting up at all. This makes me think of early Iron Maiden a little in this live performance.
Read All About It
Not any kind of big change, this is another fierce metal stomper.
Tyrant of the Airways
Now, this brings some melodic metal and variety as it gets underway. It turns more rocking at times, but it also drops to a mellower movement before exploding out into some killer metal instrumental work. The cut comes back out into some powerhouse metal from there.
Drum Solo
As advertised, here we get a drum solo. I'm not a big fan of drum solos, so this doesn't do much for me. Your mileage may vary.
Crazy World
We're back into raw and furious metal zones here. This is solid, but not a standout.
Firepower
Not a big change, this delivers precisely what the title promises.
Hold Back the Fire
Raw and punky, this is another live metal screamer.
Rock Until You Drop
This is another hard rocker. it's cut from much the same cloth as the rest of the music in this live show, but it is still effective.
Hellraiser / Action
A two-fer including the Sweet cover, this is a raw screaming track.
Crash Bang Wallop
Here we get another scorching hot raw metal screamer.
Guitar Solo
This solo is pretty crazed at times. It also covers a decent amount of ground. It really rocks.
Wiped Out
This fits in well with the rest, not really standing out at all.
For the Future
Now, this screamer manages to rise above the fray and really establish itself as a high point of the concert. It's not a huge difference, but rather a more effective take of the concepts shown off during the rest of the show.
CD 4
                    
Sasso Marconi, Bologna (2nd December 1982)
                         
Don't Need Your Money

This song is seriously frantic. It's also raw and punky. I'm not all that crazy about this one. That said, the instrumental section is purely on fire with instrumental interplay and serious jamming.

Bass Solo
Here we get what is described, but this is a distorted and smoking hot bass solo that gets into neo-classical territory at times.
Chainsaw
Furious metal screaming is on the menu here. This works pretty well. The instrumental section later is incendiary.
Manchester Apollo, UK (21st May 1982)
                                 
Hard Ride

Smoking hot metal is delivered here. The recording sound is raw, but the tune works pretty well despite that.

Hell Patrol
This one works really well in this live performance. It's a screaming hot metal jam.
Rock Until You Drop
The recording gets in the way of this to some degree, but the song is good enough to stand up for itself pretty well despite that.
Tyrant of the Airways
Drums bring this in. They launch out from there to some killer metal jamming. There are some hints of Rush on the early parts of this, but with a more metal edge. We get into more pure metal zones for a time, but it drops down later to a mellower movement. There is a powerhouse metal jam before they take it back into the song proper later. This also includes a drum solo further down the road that has some audience response. The number is quite extensive, running nearly ten minutes.
Bring the Hammer Down

Raw and fierce metal is on the menu here. This doesn't break any molds, but it's effective.

For the Future
Smoking hot guitar soloing is the order of business as this gets going. It's technical, swirling and seriously metallic. That holds it for quite a while, but they eventually power out into a driving metal screamer from there.
Don't Need Your Money
This live recording of the song we've heard before really rocks. I think this rendition might be the strongest one here. The recording quality takes a little from it, but not really all that much.
Radio Metro Interview with Alan Robson
The title of this track tells you what it is. It's a fun interview that runs for more than 16-minutes long.
 
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