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RAVEN
RAVEN
Rock Until You Drop - A Long Day's Journey
(Steamhammer Records / SPV)
268:36min

I always thought that RAVEN had a lot in common with Canada's ANVIL. Not so much musically, but when it comes to their incredible strength in keeping true to themselves and not compromising for anyone at any time. Both bands have been around for countless years and both bands have a very dedicated, die hard following, but (unfortunately) they probably will never be able to reach a bigger audience. To appreciate the music of RAVEN is even more difficult than to get into ANVIL, simply because RAVEN have always been so over the top that it's either "love 'em" or "hate 'em"! I actually don't know of anyone (!) who just considers them an "ok" band. I, for myself, always loved them ever since I ordered their "Don't Need Your Money" 7" EP directly from Neat Records back in the very early 80s. RAVEN were so unbelievable extreme in what they delivered that it was like a breeze of fresh air to me back then. The craziness, the insane and totally over the top vocal delivery of bass player John Gallagher, the sheer intensity and speed (remember that RAVEN already played "Speed Metal" before the term was invented and long before an album entitled "Kill 'Em All" got released) and the almost progressive songwriting made them stand out of all the other bands of the NWOBHM scene at the time. Their first 3 albums "Rock Until You Drop", "Wiped Out" and "All For One", as well as the "Crash Bang Wallop" EP and "Live At The Inferno" live album still remained in my collection up to this very day… and probably ever will! I gotta confess that I already lost track with RAVEN several years ago, but whenever I get to hear a song of the later albums, I notice that they obviously haven't changed a tiny bit. And that deserves a lot of respect in my book! Except for the rather controversial "Atlantic years" (with more American sounding releases like "Stay Hard" and "The Back Is Back"), these guys know what their fans like and they still deliver it with the same motivation as in their very early days. The bellies may have become thicker, but RAVEN's attitude is still stuck in the early 80s… and this DVD perfectly showcases their 30+ years long journey with a lot of vintage live footage and a shitload of statements from all members of the band, producers, record label people and several other musicians, such as METALLICA's Lars Ulrich, FORBIDDEN's Craig Locicero, TESTAMENT's Chuck Billy, Greg Christian and Gene Hoglan, MEGADETH's Dave Ellefson, former VENOM (and nowadays MPIRE OF EVIL) members Tony Dolan and Jeffrey "Mantas" Dunn, TWISTED SISTER's Dee Snider and so on. This double DVD has an impressive running time of 4 1/2 hours in total (already the history part on disc 1 is no less than 3 hours long, while disc 2 comes up with a lot of live footage and additional interviews and outtakes). So, this is value for money for every RAVEN lunatic for sure! That "Rock Until You Drop - A Long Day's Journey" still can't compete with other fine rockumentaries such as ANVIL's "The Story Of ANVIL", "Lemmy" or JOURNEY's "Everyman's Journey" is based on the fact that in this case you won't get much private info on the members of the band… everything is just based on historical facts. So, an outside filmmaker and his view on the band would probably have been a better solution here as well. And there's some little bits and pieces on the technical side of things that unfortunately come across a little unprofessional as well: partly there's sound drop offs on one channel or the volume level changes, interviews with members of the band were shot in rather noisy surroundings, the DVD's menu was done in a very cheap, almost bootleg type looking way (my copy not even plays the documentary in its entirety, but returns to the menu after each chapter) and the promotional video for 'On And On' was most certainly just ripped from a poor VHS cassette copy (probably because the original doesn't exist anymore anywhere). If you can live with all that though, I can guarantee you a helluva entertaining DVD that hopefully will be checked out by a lot of people outside the RAVEN fanbase as well! For more information make sure to check out www.ravenlunatics.com, www.facebook.com/pages/raven/137886919586598, www.spv.de

Frank Stöver

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