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Raven - All For One (Reissue) Award winner

Raven
All For One (Reissue)
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 01 July 2021, 6:57 AM

It’s truly hard for me, as a writer and an old Metalhead, to deal with old classics from the past, because I try to evade becoming emotionally involved in reviews. It’s not for that ‘professional’ thing that some magazine writers speak about (and fanboy is your goddamn mother, got it?), but to keep my mind focused on what matters. But it’s hard to have in hands to write about a band as RAVEN and not become involved, because they are one of the greatest names of NWOBHM for my generation. And to deal with this reissue of “All for One” is, at the same time, a chance and a challenge.

Originally released on 1983, and with the band having a growth in their popularity, it was the first time that the trio had a better production, so their personal Metal way (that they called ‘Athletic Metal’, and in reality was one of the foundations of what Speed Metal and Thrash Metal would be in the future) could be better understood by every listener. It’s melodic and heavy, with catchy touches of classic Hard Rock from the 70’s, but extremely personal and full of a massive energy (to the point that it was common to see the drummer Rob playing with his hands and hands on the shows back then), and with excellent melodic lines and instrumental technique, along charming vocals (sometimes with an ironic approach, and with extremely high pitched screams), this is one of the musical fountains from where METALLICA, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX drank on those days. But on this release, the band focused more on heavier and hooking parts than on the speed, but their musical identity is untouched.

As they played some dates on USA back in 1982, they had the idea of using a better producer to improve things and make their work acceptable for a broader public (but once again: without losing their musical identity), so they entered Pineapple Studios, in London (UK) having Michael Wagener (the same one who worked with DOKKEN, and more noticeable with ACCEPT on “Breaker”, what made the trio hire him), on the production and engineering, along with them and Udo Dirkschneider himself (who did the backing vocals). The final result is something brutal, clean and defined in every aspect, a classic and massive sonority usual on the first half of the 80’s. But the work done by Patrick W. Engel (who worked on the transfer, audio restoration and mastering from an unreleased Megaforce Records sterling cutting) and with the cutting done by SST Germany on Neumann machines improved things a lot.

As mentioned above, I’m compromised due my past (I’ve been a Metalhead since 1985, so it’s usual to be a RAVEN’s fan after all), so the 10 original songs will have an explosive and massive crush on me. But songs as “Take Control” (a ferocious, hooking and heavy track, with a heavy artillery created by bass guitar and drums), “Mind Over Metal” (one of their hits, with very good melodies and amazing vocals), the Hard Rock appeal of “Sledgehammer Rock”, their classic “All for One” (that presents the core of their musical identity, with sharp guitar riffs and seductive chorus), “Hung Drawn and Quartered” (that is in the vein of their previous work, for it’s a fast song with tons of energy and good melodies), “Break the Chain” and “Seek and Destroy” (both songs that are live hits of the band due it’s catchy appeal and energy) will present what RAVEN is to new generations. But the bonus songs “Born to Be Wild” and “Inquisitor” (used on a 7” single, having Udo sharing the vocals with John), “Ballad of Marshall Stack” (used as a 12” B side, a brutal song with a very good work from Mark on the riffs and solos), “The Power and the Glory” (recorded on “All for One” sessions, but that was left without being released for years), and the live version for “Mind Over Metal” (recorded on 1983, during the tour, and that shows the strength and energy of the trio, and how this songs was really a hit for shows) are precious gems for the fans (especially because it will be released on a double vinyl format).

It’s a pity that “All For One” was closing a chapter in RAVEN’s history back then. It’s because “Live at the Inferno” was their final release on independent labels, and their next albums (1985’s “Stay Hard” and 1986’s “The Pack is Back”) would make the trio to move backwards on popularity (they didn’t earn new fans, and lost a vast number of older fans). Obviously, 1987’s EP “Mad” and “Life’s a Bitch” brought the trio back to its own way, but the damage was already done. But forget this old man’s complains and enjoy “All For One”. It deserves, RAVEN deserves and you deserve too.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Take Control
2. Mind Over Metal
3. Sledgehammer Rock
4. All for One
5. Run Silent Run Deep
6. Hung Drawn and Quartered
7. Break The Chain
8. Take it Away
9. Seek and Destroy
10. Athletic Rock
11. Born to Be Wild
12. Inquisitor
13. Ballad of Marshall Stack
14. The Power and the Glory
15. Mind Over Metal (Live 1983)
Lineup:
John Gallagher - Vocals, Bass
Mark Gallagher - Guitars
Rob “Wacko” Hunter - Drums
Record Label: High Roller Records
     


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