Raven (ENG)



by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (306 Reviews)
May 18th, 2015 | 10 replies

Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 40 years on, Raven are still doing what pleases them and their fans. "ExtermiNation" is concrete evidence of that.

The fact that Raven have now officially been together for 40 years is even more important than how good you think the band's latest album, ExtermiNation is going to be. Now 40 years is a long time, so long in fact that you'd surely be inclined to believe that somewhere between the mid-70s and now, Raven were pretty big in the metal circle. As a juvenile 22-year old of course, I can't really tell if they were as widely worshipped within the NWOBHM era of the early 80s as, say the Iron Maidens and Saxons who are still going strong today. What I can tell you however, is that Raven still sound like the no-frills, denim/leather patch-donning wide-eyed metalheads they started out as. Maybe they have a few wrinkles, maybe they don't have as much time to hammer out metal anthem after metal anthem, but at least Raven can still crack out a decent record four decades down the line. The fact that they are, realistically, underrated is a mere side-note for the die-hard legions of fans around the world.

So, 2015's ExtermiNation hits your expectations squarely in the face. There's really nothing else to say. John Gallagher still has that sneering, menacing vocal delivery, his brother still hammers out heavy riffs, and Hasselvander still batters drum rhythms out of the stereo and into your shattered eardrums. ExtermiNation does what it says: It "exterminates". Now if you don't like the first few guitar notes of co-opener "Destroy All Monsters", then you might as well skip the album completely. It's all good metallic fun, and should only be treated as such. Of course there's versatility here-but it's by Raven's standards. You have the slower, heavier anthems ("Tomorrow", "Tank Threads"), the faster-paced proto-thrashers ("Fight", "Scream") and the odd semi-harmonic but no less engaging ballad ("River of No Return"). The interplay between all three instruments constantly lives up to whichever musical direction each song is heading in. For example, album highlight "Scream" is a speedy, snappy little monster which can safely be hailed as one of the best cuts from Raven's extensive back catalogue. Another example, "Tomorrow", eclipses the album opener with a passion for menacing, sinister riff work and some thumping bass in the background to give yet another layer of ever-burgeoning heaviness. The ballad, "River of No Return" is a slightly flawed albeit fluent song to hum along to while you're doing the gardening, with its guitar work leaning sometimes towards AOR territory but maintaining that metallic edge Raven always seamlessly deliver.

Aside from the fact that ExtermiNation obviously sets out to deliver the goods to those who have always loved Raven, and who also know what they're going to get, Raven's latest effort is hampered only by how unnecessarily long it is. This proves a divisive opinion, but heavy metal albums should rarely exceed a solid hour if their sole intention is simply to entertain their fan-base. Nonetheless, as it turns out, ExtermiNation is just a great record, depending on your pre-conceived opinion of a)Raven and b)early 80s heavy metal. Listen to it and love it, or listen to it and cast it aside to gather dust. Whatever you do, you should already know if you're going to enjoy it or not.

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user ratings (24)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Contributing Reviewer
May 18th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Great album, meh review.

Full album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntFikbZKB6I

c/c is most welcome.

Digging: Abstracter - Abominion

May 18th 2015


I feel that the review told me everything I needed to know, and I like that first paragraph. Would pos.

Props to Raven for having maintained 2/3 of the original line-up to this day, the Gallaghers' obstinacy is not inferior to Anvil's haha. In all honesty I don't see myself checking this out anytime soon though.

Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2015


Review is solid.

I've never been the biggest Raven fan so I doubt I'll ever listen to this one.

Digging: Trobar De Morte - Nocturnal Dance of the Dragonfly

Contributing Reviewer
May 18th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I think Raven only really appealed to "true" fans of the NWOBHM scene. I grew up listening to a lot of records from that era in metal history (thanks to my metal-loving father) so Raven inevitably satiated my taste.

Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2015


Great review Robert, interesting album art for this too.

Digging: Blue Oyster Cult - The Symbol Remains

May 19th 2015


Sounds like something I'd enjoy. Great review as always, I've never checked Raven out before though. This as good a place as any to start?

Contributing Reviewer
May 19th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

ComeToDaddy: I'd say so, yeah. Though you may be inclined to start from their 80s stuff and work your way up instead. If anything, Raven are better known for albums like Rock Until You drop and All For One.

June 19th 2015


Album Rating: 3.0

it is as heavy metal as it gets

good review!

December 10th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0

I can't believe this album has been out 7 months and I'm only just learning of it. Big Raven fan since the early 80's but I will admit their output on the last few albums hasn't thrilled me - competent metal but not up to the standards of their first 3 albums... but what would you expect from a bunch of guys in their late 50's? Until ExtermiNation... this is the best stuff they've done in years. They've put extra effort into the arrangements and guitar parts so that it's not the same old ho-hum boring metal riff/verse/chorus/solo stuff you've heard forever.

April 23rd 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

Solid album.

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