Review Summary: An excellent start to the band's career.
Hailing from Newcastle upon Tyne, Raven - the nutty trio comprised of the Gallagher brothers John and Mark, on bass/vocals and guitar respectively, and drummer Rob 'Wacko' Hunter - burst onto the scene in 1974 (although with original drummer Paul Bowden), immediately standing out from its NWOBHM peers with its intense, frenzied live performances, boundless energy, and self-described style of 'athletic rock', donning sports gear on stage and often using it to play - or more often, destroy - their instruments. Rock Until You Drop
, the band's debut, is the culmination of this hard work.
Rock Until You Drop
is, above all else, an album consistent in its quality. Every cut displays ferocious energy, charisma and enthusiasm, beginning with the cruise-paced "Hard Ride", upping the ante with "Hell Patrol" (which displays a recurring John Gallagher trademark in its extended banshee wails). The following "Don't Need Your Money" and "Over the Top" are fun rockers, and a break is offered to the listener in the pleasant, bass-backed classical guitar of "39/40". After this, the album really starts firing on all cylinders with an early gold standard in the flawless "For the Future".
The title track opens side two with what sounds like the clap of a crowd - but is in fact the band members walking around a room filled with plastic cups, such is the lo-fi standard of production! However, this is an album which has no problem transcending that, with a second half that easily matches the first. While "Nobody's Hero", the well-covered Sweet medley of "Hellraiser/Action" and "Lambs to the Slaughter" are all of a uniform standard of excellence, the album's true standout is found in the aggressive riffing, relentless double-bass blast and extended instrumental passages of the colossal closing cut, "Tyrant of the Airways", which, among other things, even manages to spoof the Dambusters theme in one of the aforementioned passages. Priceless.
With Rock Until You Drop
, Raven had created an album which displayed amazing foresight in its semi-thrashing ways. It is no wonder that they proved to be as influential on the burgeoning thrash and speed metal scenes. As good as Rock Until You Drop
may be, however, the best was yet to come for Raven.