THIS WEEK I’M LISTENING TO...RAVEN All Hell’s Breaking Loose (Silver Lining Music)THIS WEEK I’M LISTENING TO...RAVEN All Hell’s Breaking Loose (Silver Lining Music)

Nothing exceeds like excess, Raven declared back in 1988. And they should know. 43 years since the then-Geordie trio burst onto the scene with their head-turning debut 7” ‘Don’t Need Your Money’ on Neat Records the brothers Gallagher and Mike Heller are back with their fifteenth album – and their first for new label Silver Lining – ‘All Hell’s Breaking Loose’.

If you’re expecting any great surprises from the lads’ new release you’re going to be disappointed. A title like ‘All Hell’s Breaking Loose’ conjures up a mental picture of the considered lunacy and breakneck intensity that are the hallmarks of a Raven album, and what you think is most certainly what you get here. Don’t forget, when Steve Thompson, the in-house producer at Neat, worked on the band’s debut LP ‘Rock Until You Drop’ he would only do three days at a time, such was their over-the-top approach to making the record. And the passing of time hasn’t diminished Raven’s ability to come up with attention-grabbing, jaw-dropping material. Speed isn’t the only ingredient, naturally, but it still plays an integral part in any Raven recipe and opener ‘Medieval’, for example, takes just thirty seconds to slip the leash and race off like a hare-chasing whippet.


But amidst the rapidity and sheer power for which they are renowned, bassist / vocalist John Gallagher, his guitarist brother Mark and drummer Heller also have an often-overlooked but finely considered approach to producing vibrant and exciting – and steadfastly metal – music. There are no spare parts on the album, no passengers along for the ride. Every track brings something to the table and adds to the intensity – that word again – of the (rough) ride, and although the musicians never appear to take themselves too seriously they are desperately attentive when it comes to their craft. Songs like the title cut and ‘Invasion’ have depth and intricacies that demand exploring, while ‘Desperate Measures’ sounds almost like a throwback to the band’s early daze and ‘Victory Call’’s multi-tracked chorus gives it almost a commercial edge, were it not for the forceful drumming and John Gallagher’s perfectly-presented solo. And then there’s ‘Go For The Gold’, which is pretty much encapsulates everything you want from a Raven song in one three-and-a-half minute burst. Truly, “an exhibition of sheer precision,” as the mighty Mr Halford once said...

Video clips:
‘Go For The Gold’ -

‘Surf The Tsunami’ -

© John Tucker June 2023