RAVEN — Rock Until You Drop

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RAVEN - Rock Until You Drop cover
4.17 | 11 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1981

Filed under NWoBHM


1. Hard Ride (3:12)
2. Hell Patrol (4:44)
3. Don't Need Your Money (3:24)
4. Over the Top (3:53)
5. 39-40 (0:53)
6. For the Future (4:03)
7. Rock Until You Drop (4:05)
8. Nobody's Hero (3:53)
9. Hellraiser / Action (5:39)
10. Lambs to the Slaughter (3:54)
11. Tyrant of the Airways (7:19)

Total time 46:36

CD remaster bonus tracks:
12. Wiped Out (4:27)
13. Inquisitor (3:49)
14. Crazy World (3:57)

Total Time: 57:19


- John Gallagher / Bass, Vocals
- Mark Gallagher / Guitars
- Rob "Wacko" Hunter / Drums

About this release

Neat Records, January 1981

Miscellaneous staff:
- Mickey Sweeney / Engineering
- Steve Thompson / Producer

The 2002 CD remaster holds the following bonus tracks:
1. Wiped Out (7" b-side)
2. Crazy World (7" b-side)
3. Inquisitor
4. Lambs to the Slaughter (Radio One Session)
5. Hold Back the Fire (Radio One Session)
6. Hard Ride (Radio One Session)
7. Chainsaw (Radio One Session)
8. Let it Rip (Brute Force compilation track)

Thanks to UMUR, 666sharon666, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
Newcastle upon Tyne, England was clearly the hotbed of inspiration in the 1980s by not only producing the earliest extreme metal offerings from Venom but also the phenomenal success of Dire Straits and also we can add to that resume the inspirational sounds of the early New Wave of British Heavy Metal band RAVEN! Oh yeah! This band has been cited as one of the earliest that influenced the thrash metal world that would emerge. Hard to believe that RAVEN started as far back as 1974 by the Gallagher brothers, vocalist / bassist John and guitarist Mark. Almost as if RAVEN was the inspiration for the Spinal Tap film where drummers spontaneously combusted and disappeared, so too did RAVEN have a hard time keeping a percussionist but Rob Hunter had the honor of appearing on the band’s first album.

It’s also hard to believe how incredibly complex the metal universe has become and when you go back to these humble beginnings when metal was proudly and defiantly emerging from its parent hard rock sounds of the 1970s, it’s refreshing to eschew the modern murkiness of tech death metal, avant-garde excesses and progressive metal compositions that rival any Western classical masters and just go back to when heavy metal was about adolescent fantasies and party rock! RAVEN’s 1981 debut ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP was the perfect album to usher in the early world of the NWOBHM without all the philosophical existential quandaries and intellectual headiness that would follow. This album just simply celebrated banging your fucking head and rockin’ yer ass off!

Back to the band. RAVEN existed from 1974-79 as a hard rock band so got more than its share of influences from all those bands that had their heyday in that era but with patience waited seven years until its debut album was released. The band did get a lot of attention with the 1980 release of its first single “Don’t Need Your Money” and opened for many of the big players of the day such as Ozzy Osbourne, Motorhead, Whitesnake and even an early Iron Maiden. When the band finally released ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP, a heavy metal starved public was eager to embrace any band that had the gusto to take things to the extreme and therefore this debut was met with enthusiasm. RAVEN was also known for its fiery live performances and has even been referred to as athletic metal due to the bombastic nature of the band’s playing.

ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP could never be mistaken for having debuted at any other timeline than the early 1980s with simple compositions that basically take the hard rock paradigm of blues oriented riffing and simply augmented with faster tempos, more extreme guitar solos, more ambitious drumming and a somewhat goofier vocal style where John Gallagher juxtaposes macho growling vocals with sudden King Diamond-like falsettos. The tunes are all catchy but not sophisticated. The album comes off as somewhat of an AC/DC styled blues hard rock only sped up a few notches with more biting irreverence that would fuel the world of speed metal along with the darker sounds of Venom that would inspire new bands to develop the world of thrash metal.

Yeah by the standards of the 21st century RAVEN can sound a bit goofy as the band was more of an inspiration much like neighboring Venom than actually crafting anything that could be the pinnacle of achievement but sometimes just plain old good fun is enough to win the day. ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP was for all intents and purposes a really rockin’ good party metal album somewhat in the vein of the attitude of KISS but only more interesting in a musical sense. The band also paid tribute to its antecedents such as the excellent Sweet cover of “Hellraiser / Action.” In short, RAVEN perfectly caught the real zeitgeist of the early 1980s with ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP. Metal about this time was all about just getting wild and crazy without overthinking things. Sometimes less is more and in the case of RAVEN’s debut, the bold and brash performances outweigh any criticism over production values, artistic statements or avant-garde eccentricities. Basically this is just a really enjoyable good old fashioned metal classic.
Forming in 1975, Raven blasted onto the NWoBHM scene in 1981 with the release of their debut studio album Rock Until You Drop. These guys are pure old school heavy metal, owing much of their sound to Judas Priest while already having their own identity to make them stand out as one of the leading figures of the quickly growing 80's British metal scene.

Most of the album displays a perfect performance of classic heavy metal at it's finest, with influences of late 70's Priest and sometimes a nod to the catchy hard boogie rock of Bon Scott-era AC/DC, with opener "Hard Ride" in particular. It sounds right out of one of those classic AC/DC albums complete with gang shouts and some pretty Angus Young-esque guitar riffs. Speaking of riffs, Mark Gallagher is a master, just take a listen to the godly riff during the bridge of "Over the Top" or the epic gallop at the end of "For the Future". These two tracks are contrasted with a nice little classical guitar interlude "39/40" placed in the middle of the album.

John Gallagher and Rob "Wacko" Hunter provide a killer rhythm section that sounds very loose and free-flowing, which fits perfectly for an album that just wants you to rock till you drop. The bass has a nice thump throughout the album, while you can hear how "Wacko" probably got his nickname with an absolutely pummeling drum performance. John Gallagher's vocals are a bit like a punky Rob Halford, this punk edge can be heard especially in "Hellraiser/Action". Occasionally the band gets into some proto-thrash areas, mainly in the riff during the bridge of "Lambs to the Slaughter".

Every song on the album is killer, but if I had to pick highlights I'd choose "Hard Ride", "Hell Patrol", "Over the Top", the infectiously catchy title track, "Lambs to the Slaughter", and the epic album finisher that is "Tyrant of the Airways". The title track is a slamming rocker that immediately starts the headbanging, and "Tyrant of the Airways" is like a driving drill with a great mellow bridge as contrast.

Already on their debut Raven were at the top of their game, and Rock Until You Drop is easily one of the best records of the NWoBHM. If you're looking for some raw and pure heavy metal, check this killer album out. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!
"Rock Until You Drop" is the debut full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Raven. The album was released through Neat Records in January 1981. It was the first album to be released on the label. "Rock Until You Drop" was relatively successful reaching the No. 63 position in the UK albums chart.

Raven is a three-piece consisting of John Gallagher (Bass, Vocals), Mark Gallagher (Guitars) and Rob "Wacko" Hunter (Drums). The power trio format with basic rock instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums and vocals is audible throughout. This is very basic "to the bone" type heavy metal. Mostly though this is just heavily distorted and aggressive rock´n´roll played at the loudest possible volume. No fancy tricks, just pure sweaty hard rocking heavy metal. Occasionally, like in "Lambs to the Slaughter" and "Tyrants of the Airways", the band venture into more "pure" metal territories and even touches what I´d characterize as proto-thrash. It´s not without reason that German thrashers Kreator covered "Lambs to the Slaughter" on their "Out of the Dark ... Into the Light (1988)" EP.

Musically what drives this album is the raw energy and the obvious enthusiasm for playing music that is on display. The tracks are a bit up and down in quality and some could probably have prospered from a more mature songwriting but it sure is a fun and entertaining album. The sound production is also nice and raw which suits the relatively simple music well. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

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