Album review: RAVEN – ExtermiNation

Raven

SPV www.spv.de [Released 27.04.15]

It is no secret that I love the legendary NWOBHM band Raven. They have been a constant favorite of mine for the better part of my life. When I learned that they were crowd funding their next album (thanks to Josh and the folks of A Sound of Thunder for doing this,) I gave no second thought to chipping in to make that happen. Even if they album would’ve not lived up to my expectations I would’ve been very happy with my donation.

Of course, after finally fulfilling the dream of seeing them live not once, but twice in the last couple of years I had no concern with their ability to deliver an album that would live up to the standard they have set for the last couple decades. I knew it would at least be as good as 2009’s Through the Fire album which was a damn good album.

The new album is called ExtermiNation, and pound for pound could easily be one of the best albums the band has ever released. It is certainly the best album they have released since their early classic stuff like Rock Until You Drop, Wiped Out, and Life’s A Bitch.

The guys far surpassed any expectations I had of this album. From John’s pulsating bass and age-defying voice to Mark’s masterful fretboard acrobatics to Joe’s heavy metal thunder imbued drums, Raven sound as young and fresh as they did when they were still in their 20’s. I can certainly vouch for the fact that on stage these guys put out more energy than bands half their age.

They demonstrate, through songs like “Feeding the Monster,” “Fight,” “It’s Not What You Got,” and “Fire Burns Within,” that not only were they instrumental in creating that original NWOBHM sound but also were early progenitors of thrash. Frankly, for me, I could rattle off any of the titles from this album, and they would be considered a standout. It has been a long time since an album has captured me as strongly as this one has from the first listen.

Some snarky folks online, when the band released a track from this album, decided to call it dinosaur rock. If Raven were a dinosaur they would be a badass mix of a T Rex and Velociraptor. If Raven has never been your cup of tea, then chances are ExtermiNation won’t change your mind. Old school fans who may have felt the band strayed a bit from what brought them to the game on some of the later albums should be beyond pleased to hear that Raven are back and better than ever.

If you simply love kick ass heavy metal played by some of the best (and unsung masters if you ask me) musicians out there with the pure joy and love of making music, then this is the album for you. Frankly, I’ll be hard pressed to find an album I love more than this one this year. *****

Review by Chris Martin


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