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Articles Home » 2009 Articles » Raven - 2009 Walk Through Fire
Raven - 2009 Walk Through Fire

ALBUM: Walk Through Fire
LABEL: King Records (Japan)
YEAR: 2009


LINEUP: John Gallagher - bass, vocals * Mark Gallagher - guitar * Joe Hasselvander - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Intro * 02 Against The Grain * 03 Breaking You Down * 04 Under Your Radar * 05 Walk Through Fire * 06 Bulldozer * 07 Long Day's Journey * 08 Trainwreck * 09 Grip * 10 Running Around In Circles * 11 Hard Road * 12 Armageddon * 13 Attitude * 14 Necessary Evil (bonus) * 15 Space Station #5 (Montrose cover) * 15 Space Station #5 (Montrose cover)



Not long ago I wondered to myself what the status of the latest Raven studio album was, having been told by John Gallagher himself back in 2005 that it was near completion. Imagine my surprise then when I did some scouring and discovered the album had been released back in March! Talk about zero promotion and lack of media coverage for a group of heavy metal legends, who bounced back from Mark Gallagher's near fatal accident in 2001 against the odds. Nevertheless the album is finally here and the question is can the lovable lunatics still cut it 29 years since their classic debut? For the most part yes, erasing the memories of 1999's rather weak 'One For All'.

The Songs
In vintage Raven style opening track 'Against The Grain' is fast and a wall of noise, living up to the best of the bands classic sound with the riffing more aggressive than it was a now staggering decade ago. 'Breaking You Down' flirts with some frantic rhythms and near thrash drumming and the sound of 'Under Your Radar' is identical to the classic 'Nothing Exceeds Like Excess' album of 1988, almost to the point that it sounds like a leftover from that raucous affair. Great start! 'Walk Through Fire' could be one of the heavier tracks from 'Stay Hard', with a real 80's atmosphere, which automatically earns it the thumbs up. Curiously 'Bulldozer' doesn't quite live up to the title, opting for slow chugging riffs, which don't excite much as do the stunted melodies. The album loses some momentum with a host of slow tracks, which although heavy do not have anything close to the impact of the faster tracks, which are Raven at their best. 'Long Days Journey' and Grip' are victims of this and once the tedium of 'Running Around In Circles' sets in the wheels are in real danger of falling off. 'Hard Road' is another 80's influenced rocker, much more up to par, and 'Attitude' resumes the speed finally, keeping my interest after my eyes began to flicker...A cover of Montrose's 'Space Station # 5' is handled in typical Raven fashion, the band well at ease with the timeless classics pent up fury.

In Summary
I'm not going to fool anyone into thinking this is anywhere close to the best of Raven's catalogue, despite the decade long break between albums. However, it surpasses their last few albums of the 90's, but barely thanks to some rather dull slower songs where the band forgot to insert melody. When they get it right there's not many better, it's just a shame it isn't more consistent. If it was I think this would be up there with the likes of 'Wiped Out' or even 'Nothing Exceeds', the latter of which remains the crowning glory of this enduring lineup.

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