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HARDWARES

RAVEN

Rock Until You Drop / A Long Days Metal Journey

(Steamhammer/SPV)

Reviewed by : Kelley Simms
Rating : 8.0

Newcastle, England’s RAVEN bring their self-dubbed “athletic rock” into your living room with Rock Until You Drop, a four and a half hour, 2-disc DVD set. It’s loaded with tons of concert, studio and backstage footage, band and guest interviews. There’s a massive list of exclusive guest interviews from Lars Ulrich (METALLICA), Chuck Billy (TESTAMENT), Chris Jericho (FOZZY) and many more.

Raven were at the forefront of the NWOBHM movement in the late seventies/early eighties and laid the groundwork for the proto-speed metal genre, which then turned into thrash metal. Brothers John and Mark Gallagher, along with drummer Rob “Wacko” Hunter, later replaced by ex-PENTAGRAM drummer Joe Hasselvander, influenced so many other soon-to-be called speed/thrash metal bands. Everyone throughout the DVD repeatedly says how Raven deserve so much more success and should be higher up on the totem pole.

Most of the audio and visual quality is bad. There’s blurry and shaky camera footage, muffled sound, bad transitions and abrupt cuts between segments. There’s also some horrid and unnecessary special effects. However, it’s real, raw and natural, which in weird truth is part of the DVD’s charm. The band’s unbridled intensity and raw energy is captured nicely. It was actually edited by Mark and a lot of the footage was shot by the band themselves while on tour.

One of the best guest interviews is with Lars and he talks extensively about their first trek across America with Raven. However, he gives maybe a little too much away about his love life, escapades, dirty deeds and debauchery. Ron Quintana of Metal Mania fanzine fame tells a funny story about the first time he met the band and because of their accents it was like hearing a foreign language. Megaforce Records founder and ex-Raven manager Johnny Zazula tells a great story about going nuts at a Raven show and out of pure enthusiasm turned around to high five someone and it happened to be Dee Snider of TWISTED SISTER. Even BWBK’s own music expert Martin Popoff makes an appearance. However, some guests are not as well-known and seem to be just random, right-on-the spot interviews with low audio giving it an unprofessional and cheap feel compared to the bigger named musicians.

There’s a lot of funny moments from the band members as well, especially Hasselvander. At one point during a studio recording behind his kit, he does a brief but hilarious Ozzy Osbourne impression. Disc 2 is nothing different than what you’ve already seen on Disc 1. It’s more interviews with most of the same guests from Disc 1, as well as the same live clips but now are the full songs from the actual concerts. The Chicago, Japan and Holland shows are pretty classic and are worth checking out.

Watching this DVD made me want to drag out my All For One on vinyl, Stay Hard on cassette tape and then go back and re-experience their underrated later-era albums such as Nothing Exceeds Like Excess and their 2009 release, Walk Through Fire. Even with all its unashamed mistakes, flaws and raw-quality video footage, Rock Until You Drop is a great way to spend at least three hours of your time.




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