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Raven - 1982 Wiped Out



ARTIST: Raven
ALBUM: Wiped Out
LABEL: Neat
SERIAL: NEAT 1004
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 1990, Roadrunner, RR-9386-2 * 1999, Neat, NM037 * 2002, Castle Music, CMRCD493

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: John Gallagher - bass, vocals * Mark Gallagher - guitar * Rob `Wacko' Hunter - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Faster Than The Speed Of Light * 02 Bring The Hammer Down * 03 Fire Power * 04 Read All About It * 05 To The Limit/To The Top * 06 Battle Zone * 07 Live At The Inferno! * 08 StarWar * 09 UXB * 10 20/21 * 11 Hold Back The Fire * 12 Chain Saw

WEBLINKS: www.ravenlunatics.com


Background
There are times during my increasing age when certain things tend to wander from my mind. One of those is how influential and innovative Raven were on their early albums, particularly the début 'Rock Until You Drop' and this seminal recording 'Wiped Out'. Taking a detailed inspection of the début its riffs and use of speed were more developed than anything by Iron Maiden or Saxon and even 33 years later it's senseless that Raven weren't on the same level. But their crowning achievement has to be 'Wiped Out' itself, an album so uncontrollable and reckless that it has few peers. To suggest Raven didn't have a hand in inventing thrash would be ludicrous, especially when digesting this wall of noise. True Maiden were slicker in 1982, but nowhere near as raw. Maybe Raven always were a bit too outside the box, which bassist Mark Gallagher suggested in my interview with him years back and the breaks never went their way, but try listening to this and tell me there was anyone heavier in 1982. I'd be the first to say bollocks in my worst Geordie accent.


The Songs
Listening to aptly titled opener 'Faster Than The Speed Of Light' it makes perfect sense Metallica once opened for Raven. The buzzsaw riffing, frantic double bass drum attack and speed makes for the heaviest early use of thrash to that point. Turned up as loud as possible it's positively ear splitting and sums up everything Raven stood for at that point of their career. There's no stopping them after this, with further assaults in the form of 'Bring The Hammer Down' and 'Firepower', no doubt anthems for aimless English teens among the bleak Newcastle football terraces of 1982 (until Keegan showed up). 'Read All About It' offers another helping of speed metal, but the epic approach of 'To The Limit/To The Top' offers some sedate sequences which were common on the début. 'Battle Zone' resumes the crazed nature of Raven's music, drums flailing with John Gallagher's impossible shrieks, the same pattern repeating on 'Live At The Inferno' and its tale of war and destruction. 'Hold Back The Fire' throws in some interesting bass lines amidst a brilliant guitar solo and it's uniformly thrilling as a whole. The passage from 4:20 to 4:45 gives me illusions of The Who on 'Live At Leeds' with the explosive build-up. That's the pinnacle indeed. The insanity of 'Chainsaw' represents everything Raven stood for then, the title itself the perfect way to describe their style. It's a combination of pure noise and melody that only a select few can put together so coherently and leave you speechless. Listen to the crescendo during the finale and it could almost be primitive grind-core.


In Summary
When Raven returned with 'All For One' a year later they'd toned down their destructive persona in favour of their first signs of a more melodic songwriting direction that would be perfected on their foray into the U.S. in the mid 80's. They recaptured their spirit in the later part of the decade, but it was never as wild or untamed as this. 'Wiped Out' is the sound of metal in all its glory, the way it's supposed to be played. It hasn't dated one bit in 32 years and most likely it never will.


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Tags: Raven 
 
Comments
#1 | gdazegod on January 01 2014 01:21:41
Raven were pretty OTT during the early 80's period, prior to their U.S incursion.
#2 | reyno-roxx on January 01 2014 16:09:38
Agreed, they had more about them pre- US major deal. Funnily enough, I always thought 'Black Star' by Touch had a bit of a Raven sound to it!
#3 | sabace on January 02 2014 15:35:04
great record - love the first two lp's classic
 
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