OK, let's address the elephant in the room right off the bat; for some reason I've just never gotten into NWOBHM legends Raven. No real reason why I guess, but I think I just always paid more attention to bands like Saxon, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, etc., and never felt compelled to investigate the Raven catalog beyond the few cursory songs I'd been introduced to over the years. So, when tasked with reviewing their latest release ExtermiNation, my first instinct was to walk into this with a fair amount of indifference. Big mistake. I have to say, ExtermiNation is a hell of a lot of fun, a collection of upbeat '80s styled metal that just prompts me to bang my head and want to walk over to the fridge and crack open a cold one. Kudos to John Gallagher (bass, vocals), Mark Gallagher (guitar), and Joe Hasselvander (drums) for keeping the spirit of a very special era of metal alive here in 2015.
Most of these songs were seemingly just made for the stage, especially "Fight", "Battle March /Tank Treads (The Blood Runs Reds)", "Feeding the Monster", and the absolutely killer "Destroy All Monsters", which gets my vote for one of the most exciting, pure classic metal tunes I've heard here in the early part of 2015. John Gallagher sounds like a guy 20 years younger than he actually is, his vocals powerful and soaring, while brother Mark churns out one crushing riff and sizzling solo after another throughout, especially on the lethal thrash ripper "Scream", a raging slice of metal that also sees Mr. Hasselvander laying down some acrobatic drum work. The most important thing here is that the majority of these tunes are catchy and grab you from the very first listen, then continue to kick your ass with repeated spins. "Silver Bullet" is a perfect example, as the awesome riffing and Rob Halford style screams grab you by the balls and keep you coming back for more.
My sincerest apologies to Raven for 30 years of ignorance; based on how much I'm enjoying ExtermiNation, I will certainly be investigating what I've ignored now for three decades. Red hot stuff here folks!
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. Destroy All Monsters
3. It`s Not What You Got
5. Battle March/Tank Treads (The Blood Runs Red)
6. Feeding The Monster
7. Fire Burns Within
9. One More Day
10. Thunder Down Under
11. No Surrender
12. Golden Dawn
13. Silver Bullet
14. River Of No Return
15. Malice In Geordieland (bonus track)