Record Reviews

Album review: Raven “Metal City”

The Gallagher brothers in NWOBHM band Raven are back with a solid and high-energy metal album. It’s 1982 all over again.

I love Raven. The veteran NWOBHM band just keeps going. They just do their thing, year after year, no matter what. The band’s musical style hasn’t changed much since the early 1980s. Well, that’s not really true. Following their relocation to New York City in the mid-1980s, they did play around with a slightly more commercial sound for a bit while signed to Atlantic Records. But essentially, Raven has mostly been about solid, fast and proper meat-and-potatoes metal. That’s what they’re good at and why we love ‘em. Brothers John Gallagher (vocals and bass) and Mark Gallagher (guitar) formed the band in 1974 in Newcastle, England. Their debut full-length album “Rock until You Drop” was released in 1981. In the current line-up of the band, they are joined by American drummer Mike Heller (Fear Factory, Malignancy, System Divide) who joined them in 2017. During last year’s Japan tour, it was evident that Mike is a drummer bursting with energy. He has brought his on-stage energy to the recording studio and seemingly he has also brought some of the craziness from the band’s early days with him. It’s 1982 all over again. The catchy rocker “Top of the Mountain” is one of the highlights on the album. The title track “Metal City”, “The Power”, “Human Race”, “Not So Easy” and “Battlescarred” are also strong cards on this solid metal album. The Motörhead tribute “Motorheadin’” is well proper and very fitting. Lemmy would’ve smiled. “Rock This Town”, a bonus track on the Japanese edition of the album, is fun and a very guitar-happy track to round off the album with. As always, Mark Gallagher’s guitar work is world-class. Without him and his guitar, the thrash and speed metal sub-genres would not have existed. Raven’s influence on metal bands formed in the early 80s cannot be overstated. Thank you for your service, Gallaghers. Keep at it.

Raven’s album “Metal City” will be released on 18th September via Ward Records in Japan and SPV/Steamhammer internationally.