Review Summary: Raven's finest moment, and the end of an era for the band.
The last in a trilogy of career-defining albums, Raven's All for One
shows that by 1983, the band had truly arrived, ready to take on the world. The first Raven album to be treated to a professional production, the change since previous effort Wiped Out
is apparent as soon as All for One
charges right out the gate with the bone-crushing power of opening cut "Take Control" - aside from the clear sonics, the songs have been slowed down slightly, lending a huge boost to the band's heaviness and power. The mayhemic follow-up, "Mind Over Metal", however, makes no such compromise, while the more musically simplistic "Sledgehammer Rock" is still a fun tune to bang along to. All for One
really hits full throttle with the frenetic, gloriously over-the-top title cut (complete with fret-scraping dive-bombs from guitarist Mark Gallagher), and from here on, the band pulls no punches: the absolute high point of the album is the epic "Run Silent, Run Deep", which tells its tale of submarine warfare amidst soaring riffs, lengthy instrumental passages, charmingly 1980s metal banshee wails and backing vocals, and even a lengthy John Gallagher bass solo.
Side two continues the winning streak with the warp-speed "Hung, Drawn and Quartered", which serves as a reminder that Raven have not forgotten their old ways, with its breakneck tempo, grisly lyrics, frenzied guitar work and relentless double-bass drumming assault. Driving single "Break the Chain" follows, and great as it may be (especially with its infectious riff), it's easily eclipsed by the effortlessly catchy and surprisingly melodic "Take it Away", which would have made an even better single. The slightly eerie, ultra-heavy "Seek and Destroy" discusses the prospect of nuclear annihilation, and final track "Athletic Rock" references the band's self-proclaimed style and closes the album in fine form.
All for One
, along with the sheer intensity of the band's live performances, eventually netted Raven a record deal with a major label, Atlantic. Unfortunately for both band and fans alike, Raven was abused by the label and led in a more pop-oriented direction before being unceremoniously dumped through lack of promotion, effectively killing the band's once-freewheeling momentum along with the band's chances of delivering a comparable follow-up, cementing the status of All for One
as a stone-cold NWOBHM classic and Raven's finest work to date.