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CD REVIEW: RAVEN – Extermination

| 7 May 2015 | Reply

CD REVIEW: RAVEN – Extermination
27 April 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Raven - Extermination cover

You’ll be wearing winter clothes in hell and dodging airborne bacon before Raven give up the ghost and fade quietly away, and to prove it they’ve released their thirteenth studio platter, Extermination.

Formed in Newcastle, England in 1974 and a leading light of the NWOBHM movement, the brothers Gallagher (no relation to the Oasis whiners), Mark & John now reside Stateside and have heavy hitter Joe Hasselvander on drumkit demolition duties.

This long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s Walk Through Fire might as well come with a cast-iron moneyback guarantee, because it’s inconceivable to consider any Raven fan – any metal fan at all, in fact – not finding plenty of head shaking crash bang and wallop here.

The band have stretched out in more commercial (The Pack Is Back) and heavier (the trio of albums they recorded for the SPV label in the ‘90s) directions over the years, but Extermination finds the ultra-powerful trio playing to their abundant strengths: a ton of melodic hooks exquisitely balanced with uncompromising old school metal and attitude, huge riffs, a monolithic rhythm section, and John Gallagher’s high pitched near-screaming vocals.

At fifteen tracks and 62 minutes long they probably could have cut a couple of tracks to coalesce a stronger whole – Silver Bullet isn’t going to be anyone’s favourite – but the rest of the album is relentless and startlingly energetic for a bunch of dudes in their 50’s.

Opener Destroy All Monsters is suitably gonzoid, warming the listener up for the riff n’ scream athletic rock assault to follow. It’s Not What You Got and Feeding The Monster are bound to be live favourites, while Scream’s Priest-like metal madness and the Hammer Horror-intro’d One More Day are as heavy and memorable as anything the band has released.

Then you have Thunder Down Under which harkens back to the days of All For One and Stay Hard with it’s gloriously ‘80s riffs. Old school Extermination may be, but its production is cutting edge – in fact it may be the best sounding album Raven have ever made! River Of No Return closes the album proper with something of a departure for the band, its slow burn and Gallagher’s crooning making it practically a ballad for the band, albeit a heavy one. Bonus track Malice In Geordieland is a bit of fun with the brothers having a laugh taking the mickey out of their northern accents.

Pre-orders also came with a bonus disc of covers, called Party Killers, which we’ll review once we get a hold of. For now, rest assured that this is an essential addition to any heavy music collection. Extermination is lucky number 13 for Raven – uncompromisingly muscular, unashamedly full of catchy hooks, and relentlessly enjoyable.

Category: CD Reviews

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