CD Reviews

Raven - 'Walk Through Fire' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 20, 2010    
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This album shows a band that still knows how to deliver to their fans.

This is an album that seems to pummel through relentlessly – and is completely evocative of the sort of stuff that this NWOBHM outfit have previously regaled us with since their inception in the mid 1970s. It is the first release since ‘One For All’ in 2000 following which the band went on enforced hiatus for five years following the calamitous accident to guitarist Mark Gallagher in 2001 when a wall fell on him, crushing his legs. Followers of the band will be relieved to know that Mark’s playing is as incisive and sharp as it ever was, whilst his vocalist/bassist brother John is still able to belt out the songs with the usual high-pitched devil-may-care attitude of yore. Nor must we forget Joe Hasselvander whose determined and powerful pummelling of the skins keeps everything on course through the thirteen newly recorded tracks (plus brief menacing ‘Intro’). The album is rounded off by a live version of ‘The King’ – a song that debuted on their 1988 offering ‘Nothing Exceeds Like Excess’, which marked the completion of the band’s current line-up with the recruitment of Hasselvander.

The first four songs following the ‘Intro’: ‘Against The Grain’, ‘Breaking You Down’, ‘Under Your Radar’ and ‘Walk Through Fire’ are all in yer face, typical full throttle numbers whilst ‘Bulldozer’ is a slower, sleazy song. ‘Long Day’s Journey’ continues the more subdued tempo that following an atmospheric introduction erupts into a classic hard rockin’ song that is destined to become a live favourite, with a tasty guitar solo. ‘Trainwreck’ again steps things up a gear and is a strangely effective number that could be described as an amalgam of UFO and The Cult! ‘Grip’, ‘Running Around In Circles’, ‘Hard Road’, ‘Armageddon (The Beginning)’, ‘Attitude’ and the cover of ‘Space Station #5’ (Montrose) vary in intensity but hold no surprises for the hardened Raven fan, the old-school metal sensibilities remaining to the fore. If this is your thing you will not be disappointed – though by the same token I do not see the band attracting any new advocates.

Clichéd ‘Walk Through Fire’ may be – but it shows a band that still knows how to deliver to their fans and there is plenty here for the serious headbanger. There is nothing to suggest that they will not be planning album number thirteen sometime soon!

Paul Jerome Smith

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