Raven

Raven are an English metal band that released three albums and a live disc between 1981 and 1984 on the NWOBHM-specialty label Neat Records.

Members: John Gallagher (vocals, bass), Mark Gallagher (guitar), Paul Bowden (guitar, 1975-79), Paul Sherrif (drums, 1975-76), Mick Kenworthy (drums, 1976-77), Sean Taylor (drums, 1977-79), Pete Shore (guitar, 1979-80), Rob “Wacko” Hunter (drums, 1979-87)


Formation

Raven formed in 1974 when Newcastle brothers Mark Gallagher (guitar) and John Gallagher (bass, vocals) teamed with guitarist Paul Bowden and drummer Paul Sherrif. In 1976, Sherrif cleared for drummer Mick Kenworthy; replaced in 1977 by Sean Taylor. They hit the Tyneside bar circuit and opened Northeast dates by fellow up-and-comers, including The Stranglers and The Motors.

In their physical stage act, Raven wore protective sports gear (helmets, masks) and struck cymbals with elbow pads. This, combined with their rhythmic velocity, garnered the descriptor “athletic rock.” In 1979, Bowden cleared for guitarist Pete Shore while drummer Rob “Wacko” Hunter stepped in for Taylor, who surfaced in a series of eighties Tyneside metal bands (Satan, Blitzkrieg, Blind Fury).


First Single

In 1980, Raven trimmed to a trio composed of Wacko and the Gallaghers. They signed with Neat Records, an upstart Newcastle label committed to the burgeoning new wave of English heavy metal.

Raven made their vinyl debut in August 1980 with “Don’t Need Your Money” backed with “Wiped Out,” both group-written rockers produced by Neat co-founder Steve Thompson.

A. “Don’t Need Your Money”
B. “Wiped Out”

Raven opened dates for Whitesnake, Motörhead, White Spirit (5/23: Mayfair, Newcastle), and fellow rising NWOBHM stars Iron Maiden (7/3: Marquee, London). They also gained a support slot on the Blizzard of Ozz tour, the debut solo blitz of metal pioneer Ozzy Osbourne (10/17: Mayfair – with Budgie).


Rock Until You Drop

Raven released their debut album, Rock Until You Drop, in January 1981 on Neat Records. It contains the pre-released a-side “Don’t Need Your Money” and nine other group originals, including “Over the Top,” “Lambs to the Slaughter,” and “Tyrant of the Airways.” Side Two features the Sweet cover “Action.”

1. “Hard Ride” (3:10)
2. “Hell Patrol” (4:43)
3. “Don’t Need Your Money” (3:22)
4. “Over the Top” (3:51)
5. “39-40” (0:51)
6. “For the Future” (4:04)

7. “Rock Until You Drop” (4:02)
8. “Nobody’s Hero” (3:50)
9. “Hellraiser / Action” (Sweet cover) Chinn, Chapman, Scott, Connolly, Priest, Tucker 4:21
10. “Lambs to the Slaughter” (3:51)
11. “Tyrant of the Airways” (7:16)

Recorded 1980
Studio Impulse Studios (Wallsend, England)

John Gallagher – lead vocals, bass, classical guitar
Mark Gallagher – electric guitar, backing vocals
Rob Hunter – drums, backing vocals

Production
Steve Thompson – producer
Mickey Sweeney – engineer

In November 1981, “Hard Ride” reappeared as Raven’s second a-side, backed with the non-album “Crazy World.”

B. “Crazy World” ()


Wiped Out

Raven released their second album, Wiped Out, on June 3, 1982, on Neat Records.

1. “Faster than the Speed of Light” (4:22)
2. “Bring the Hammer Down” (4:19)
3. “FirePower” (3:08)
4. “Read All About It” (3:01)
5. “To the Limit – To the Top” (7:54)
6. “Battle Zone” (3:34)

7. “Live at the Inferno!” (3:54) derives its title from a 1970 live album by an American psych band also named Raven.
8. “Star War” (5:35)
9. “UXB” (3:25)
10. “20/21” (1:36)
11. “Hold Back the Fire” (5:40)
12. “Chainsaw” (5:17)

Studio Impulse Studios (Wallsend, England)
Keith Nichol – producer, engineer


“Crash, Bang, Wallop”

On October 15, 1982, Raven released a standalone maxi-single with three new tracks (“Crash, Bang, Wallop,” “Rock Hard,” “Run Them Down”) and the Wiped Out cut “FirePower.”

A1. “Crash, Bang, Wallop” ()
A2. “Rock Hard” ()
B1. “Run Them Down (Dedicated to Italian Motorists)” ()
B2. “FirePower”

The single appeared in a bright green sleeve with Raven’s three signatures.


All for One

Raven released their third album, All for One, in August 1983 on Neat Records.

1. “Take Control” (3:21)
2. “Mind over Metal” (3:28)
3. “Sledgehammer Rock” (3:58)
4. “All for One” (3:31)
5. “Run Silent, Run Deep” (5:37)

6. “Hung, Drawn and Quartered” (5:17)
7. “Break the Chain” (3:47)
8. “Take It Away” (3:23)
9. “Seek and Destroy” (3:50)
10. “Athletic Rock” (4:40)

Studio Pineapple Studios, London, UK
Michael Wagener – producer, engineer, backing vocals
Udo Dirkschneider – producer, backing vocals

Raven lifted “Break the Chain” in May 1983 as an advance single, backed with the exclusive “Ballad of Marshall Stack.”

B. “The Ballad of Marshall Stack” ()


Raven + Udo – “Born to Be Wild”

Raven teamed with Accept frontman Udo Dirkschneider for the August 1983 single “Born to Be Wild,” a cover of the Steppenwolf classic backed with the original “Inquisitor.”

A. “Born to Be Wild”
B. “Inquisitor


Live at the Inferno

In November 1984, Raven released Live at the Inferno on Neat (UK), Banzai (Canada), and Megaforce (US). It features nineteen live numbers (82:31 duration) spread across four sides; subtitled (in reverse order) Defcon 4–1.

Defcon 4
“Intro / Live at the Inferno” – 2:22
“Take Control” – 3:10
“Mind over Metal” – 3:35
“Crash Bang Wallop” – 3:13
“Rock until You Drop” – 4:26
“Faster than the Speed of Light” – 4:14

Defcon 3
“All for One” – 3:47
“Forbidden Planet” – 4:03
“Star War” – 5:27
“Tyrant of the Airways / Run Silent, Run Deep” – 6:50

Defcon 2
“Crazy World” – 4:50
“Let It Rip” – 4:08
“I.G.A.R.B.O.” – 2:04
“Wiped Out” – 4:10
“Firepower” – 3:40

Defcon 1
“Don’t Need Your Money” – 3:30
“Break the Chain” – 4:18
“Hell Patrol” – 7:19
“Live at the Inferno” – 7:25)

Alex Perialas, Peter Bombar – mobile engineers
Norman Dunn – live sound engineer, studio engineer, mixing
Jack Skinner – mastering at Sterling Sound, New York
Jon Zazula, Marsha Zazula, Tony Incigeri – executive producers


Stay Hard

Raven released their fourth studio album, Stay Hard, on February 14, 1985, on Atlantic Records.

1. “Stay Hard” (2:59)
2. “When the Going Gets Tough” (3:34)
3. “On and On” (3:54)
4. “Get It Right” (4:49)
5. “Restless Child” (2:45)

6. “Power and the Glory” (3:37)
7. “Pray for the Sun” (4:22)
8. “Hard Ride” (3:15)
9. “Extract the Action” (3:04)
10. “The Bottom Line” (3:37)

Recorded 1984
Studio Pyramid Studios (Ithaca, New York)

Michael Wagener – producer on tracks 3 and 8, mixing
Norman Dunn – engineer
Alex Perialas, Peter Bombar – assistant engineers
George Marino – mastering at Sterling Sound, New York
Jon Zazula, Marsha Zazula, Tony Incigeri – executive producers
Bob Defrin – art direction


Discography (1981–88):

  • Rock Until You Drop (1981)
  • Wiped Out (1982)
  • All for One (1983)
  • Stay Hard (1985)
  • The Pack Is Back (1986)
  • Life’s a Bitch (1987)
  • Nothing Exceeds Like Excess (1988)

Sources:

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