RAVEN are that rare thing in music, true originals – cut these guys with a razor and they will BLEED true heavy metal – a more intense live band does not exist on this planet!
Hailing from Newcastle Upon Tyne in North East England back in 1974 (yes – 46 YEARS ago!!!) the brothers Gallagher cut their teeth playing the pubs & clubs until solidifying their line up in 1980 with drummer Rob Hunter.
The trio went on to release three of the most influential metal albums of the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) inspiring every band of that era and beyond. Basically, without Raven you just would not have thrash/speed metal…. after all, the band did giveMetallica & Anthrax their first tours!
Following a tumultuous move to the USA, deals with Atlantic Records, indentured servitude and commercialism, Rob left the band in 1987 to be replaced by drummer extraordinaire Joe Hasselvander, who had made his name in cult doom band Pentagram, Savoy Brown and his own solo projects, adding a new dimension to the band.
In 2001, guitarist Mark Gallagher was involved in a near fatal accident – but fought his way back from the brink and the band proved they were stronger than ever! This renewed spirit and attitude was reflected in the title of their 2010 album “WALK THROUGH FIRE” and in the career overview DVD “ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP”.
2014 found the band opening for Metallica (the band that Raven took on their first tour back in 1983) in Sao Paulo in front of 70,000 fans, and completing their finest album to date – ExtermiNation” which was released to universal acclaim from fans & critics alike in 2015!
After a serious heart attack in May 2017 Joe Hasselvander has had to unfortunately relinquish the drum stool….taking over drum duties is the phenomenal Mike Heller (Fear Factory, Malignancy) who has immediately injected high energy into the band!
Following an insane blur of world touring over the last 3 years, the guys are set to release the next RAVEN opus, “Metal City” in September 2020 taking their game to the next level…a scorcher of immense proportions!
In a cynical musical landscape these days, where bands are not “gangs “but faceless corporations, RAVEN are a band that are REAL not FAKE – and proud of it!
The original Riot were active in the mid-70’s-early 80’s, performing at the inaugural ‘Monsters of Rock’ festival, now known as Download, in 1980, and they were tipped to go further and make a name for themselves. A volatile combination of bad luck, ego, record company hassles and the untimely deaths of three band members derailed any momentum the band generated, and led to the band being referred to as ‘Spinal Tap without the jokes.’
Rick Ventura has certainly been around, being one of the original Riot back in the late 70’s, and now one of the mainstays of the current inception of the band as Riot Act. He states while Riot V continue with their latter-day power metal evolution, “As Riot Act, we aim to recapture the sound of the early Riot of 77-83 and bring it into a new era.” I’ll admit to not being overly familiar with the original Riot so can offer no comment as to whether what’s on offer here improves/detracts from the original band, but the songs performed here are stronger and more dynamic than those offered up forty years later. Tracks like ‘Rock City’, ‘Outlaw’ and ’49er’, with guitar licks from Mike Flyntz of Riot V, plus Tokyo Rose, which sounds like an attempt at writing a hit single, are all good driving rockers, and if this is what the original Riot sounded like, it was indeed a pity they suffered the level of ignominy they did.