Review: Raven – All Hell’s Breaking Loose

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Raven - All Hell's Breaking Loose Silver Lining Records

Raven flies again!

Veteran new wave of British heavy metal group, Raven defied the odds on June 30th, 2023 and dropped one of the most fun, hardest hitting and most enjoyable records of the year. Almost fifty years into their career, they show yet again why they are regarded as heavily influential and also have some tricks up their sleeve. Released via Silver Lining Music, their 15th studio album All Hell’s Breaking Loose is an absolute thrill ride with a multitude of standout tracks that will please old fans and new.

One element that stands out right away is the cohesion between the band members. The Gallagher brothers (no not the “Wonderwall” guys) over the years have demonstrated that their familial bonds extend to their locked-in playing style. This is bolstered even more by maybe their finest drummer yet. Mike Heller (Ex-Fear Factory), who joined the group in the studio for their previous 2020 record “Metal City” works brilliantly with the Gallaghers. His long tenured stick work for many bands and session drumming career lend credence to his talent, and it’s on full display here as he has many keynote moments on the record. John Gallagher’s bass work is thick, groovy, chunky and adds an extra layer of muscle to the band’s sound. He does this all while helping keep their speed metal style uniformly aerodynamic. His lead vocal delivery is still strong and he projects a commanding and enthralling presence on the record. His higher range reminds me personally of another comparably influential icon, King Diamond. Mark Gallagher’s guitarwork is akin to a swiss army knife. He can do it all and has a riff or change up ready for any situation. From shredding solos to anthemic riffs, his presence is felt and is a part of why this album is such a wild ride.

“Medieval” is a solid opening to the track and reaffirmation of the tried and true Raven sound. The drums have a furious old speed metal vibe that compliment the excellent bass and guitar work fabulously. The backing vocals are a highlight as well. The track isn’t very lyrically complex but it’s a fun bruiser of an opener. This track transitions brilliantly into the signal that initially caught my attention, “Surf The Tsunami”. There’s this classic energy to the song that conjures up nostalgic sound pallets of metal days long gone by, that make it such a treat to hear. It’s brawny, dumb fun for everyone. Bonus points for the King Diamond-esq vocal parts. “Turn of The Screw”, is an absolute highlight. From the moment I heard its stunning opening riff, I knew the record found its stride and blasted off from there. This is a far more focused cut than the first two tracks. The bass work in particular is phenomenal.

“All Hell’s Breaking Loose”, is a worthy title track. Its high octane energy, badass gang backing vocals, thunderous drums and sick interlude and guitar solo make this a thoroughly enjoyable cut. It’s a silly and chaotic number in the best way possible. To bring back the comparison from earlier, this track is how King Diamond would sound if he was the lead vocalist for Deep Purple. “The Far Side” is an absolute ear worm. From it’s chorus, fantastic shredding and powerful drumming, it’s an all around awesome track. “Desperate Measures” kicks off with one of the most memorable opening sections. The track builds well to its gang centric chorus and fully carries through as one of the most entertaining cuts on the whole record. “Victory’s Call” another high octane ripper with enough moments and changes to keep you engaged. Raven, is in top shape, and carries the momentum of the last few tracks and continues striding through the runtime briskly. This is where I realized it’s not just a series of really well constructed songs, but also a superbly put together record.

“Edge Of A Nightmare”, has one of the best Melodies on the entire record. This is the track I have found myself returning to the most. It really harkens back to that classic NWOBHM Sound. It’s such a fun listen. Can’t recommend this cut enough. With the album getting close to its end, the screeching guitar and cranked bass of “Invasion” keep the energy high. “Go For The Gold” is a fitting, high octane finale. All the elements of the record are present here. The great backing vocals, ripping guitar, and destructive rhythm section haven’t let up for the entire runtime of this album, and this track is by no means an exception.

Raven proves time and time again on this record why they’re so legendary. It’s not a group of veteran rockers past their prime taking a victory lap, it’s a tribe of legends riding a wave of resurgence and perseverance to continued praise and prominence. While there might not be much staying power to some of these tracks, and it’s a pretty straight forward release, it’s a hell of a good time. For those who love the early innovators of metal’s European expansion and evolution in the late 70s this is for you. For those who fell in love with the likes of Saxon, Diamond Head, Mercyful Fate, Angel Witch, & Motörhead and hold reverence for this sound, All Hell’s Breaking Loose is a must listen for you.

Standout tracks: “Edge of a Nightmare”, “Victory’s Call”, & “Turn of the Screw”

 

Raven’s All Hell’s Breaking Loose gets 4.5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell out of 5

 

All Hell’s Breaking Loose is out now via Silver Lining Music.

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