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Raven – “Wiped Out” – [Neat Records]

wipedout

Raven was founded in 1974, although the first recordings didn’t come out until the early 80s. Fronted by the charismatic Gallagher brothers (no, not those ones), Raven were simulaneously situated at the crest of the ‘Heavy Metal’ wave and the beginnings of the Speed Metal sound. Like other bands on the U.K.’s Neat Records (e.g. Venom) their sound was a little too rugged to follow Judas Priest and Iron Maiden into the realms of superstardom, but they did garner a rabid underground following, many of whom went on to invent Thrash Metal (in the same spirit of friendly oneupmanship that has driven Metal to its present extremes).

‘Wiped Out’ is the second Raven album, released by Neat in 1982, the same year as Priest’s ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ and Maiden’s ‘The Number of the Beast’ as well as Tank’s ‘Filth Hounds of Hades’ and, in the U.S., Manilla Road’s ‘Metal.’ Coming at such a critical time, it’s understandable that Raven didn’t make a bigger splash, but to my punk-ass modern ears they seem essential.

Raven may have been one of the first Heavy Metal bands to understand that male falsetto can be used to tremendously perverse effect, paving the way for twisted screechers like King Diamond and Hirax’s Katon. W. De Pena. Bassists/lead singer John Gallagher delights in driving his bellows up the wall into nails-on-chalkboard muppetry and beyond. Mark Gallagher’s guitar shredding gives some idea of why Raven later chose to deem themselves ‘Athletic Rock.’ A nice mix of the technical and the accessible, jumping between Motorheadish boogie-woogie and elaborate edifices of wank.

Warning: may cause a desire to bleach your hair, wear sleeveless tees, ride motorcycles, pump iron, shag birds, drink beer and rock all night.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on July 18, 2017 at 5:43 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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