were considered one of the brightest hopes in the New Wave of
British Heavy Metal, but bad decisions and musical inconsistency
would de-rail their once-promising career, turning the trio into
just another small — albeit important — footnote for this important
Raven formed in late 70's Newcastle, England by brothers Mark
(guitar) and John Gallagher (bass/vocals) along with drummer Rob
"Wacko" Hunter. Signing with independent Neat Records, the trio
joined labelmates Venom in laying the groundwork for what would
become known as thrash metal by picking up where '70s noisemongers
Motorhead had left off. Not as satanically-inclined or downright
silly as Venom, Raven were much better musicians and played with
the raw energy and reckless power that epitomized the New Wave
of British Heavy Metal. As the movement approached its peak in
1981, Raven rode its crest with the self-labeled "athletic rock"
of their album, Rock Until You Drop, still considered a classic
of the genre.
Subsequent Neat releases — Wiped Out, All for One and Live at
the Inferno — weren't quite as focused but helped the band solidify
their fan-base and attract the attention of Atlantic Records.
Unfortunately, signing with the major record company marked the
turning point of Raven's fortunes as 1985's disappointing Stay
Hard saw the band opting for an overtly commercial direction.
Raven gradually relinquished their pop-metal aspirations, but
by the time they attempted a full return to their roots with 1988's
Nothing Exceeds Like Excess, their momentum had been irretrievably
lost, along with drummer Wacko. The group has continued to record
throughout the '90s on a variety of independent labels with new
drummer Joey Hassewander, without anything close to mainstream
success. — Ed Rivadavia