Walk Through Fire
7/2/2009 - Review by: Eric Compton
"Hit me for six, I'm comin' back around"
"Like a Bulldozer I'm gonna knock you down!"
Those meaningful lyrics to Raven's "Bulldozer" is an appropriate description of "Walk Through Fire". Where in the Hell did Raven get this kind of youthful momentum!?! I had some doubts upon aquisition (download...see below distro comments) of this brand new studio release from the UK vets. What are the Gallagher brothers now? 50? 60? 70? On this metallic masterpiece the NWOBHM pioneers have crafted THE BEST ALBUM OF THEIR CAREER! Remember, Raven released their first record in 1981. They were at the center of the NWOBHM movement, at one time even taking out a young bunch of no names called Metallica for a string of curtain jerking. 28 years later and Raven absolutely obliterates their previous efforts and provides ample rock and roll glory in route to showing up today's chart toppers. This is the group's first album since the lackluster "One For All" in 2000 and the first damn album of Raven's career to have NO DISTRIBUTION IN EUROPE OR NORTH AMERICA. This is like a real life Fozzy joke, with the band releasing a monsterous achievement on the only label they could find--King Records in Japan. What a sorry state of affairs when I can find a shitty album like Chickenfoot at grocery stores and gas stations across the universe but a real solid opus fails to make it out of the far East. Damn!
Raven hits on all strides through this 15 cut monster. Mark Gallagher is an axe maniac here, piling leads on top of leads with plenty of speed and fury. It isn't all fast though, with the group nailing some classic hard rock numbers. At times Raven sounds like 1981 with the furious NWOBHM sound and at other moments they pick up a bit of loose fun found around their mid-era. If you like it fast, tight and precise crank up "Against The Grain", "Breaking You Down", "Grip" and "Attitude". For a more meaty hard rock vibe choose "Long Day's Journey", "Hard Road" and "Under Your Radar". The commercial guitar tone dominates "Trainwreck" while the band shows some crushing heavy groove on "Bulldozer". The group even fire off a 6:00 dynamic structure with vocals that don't kick in until the 2:30 mark. This bad boy finishes off with a scorching cover of Montrose's "Space Station #5".
The recording of the album took place at Assembly Line Studios in Virginia. The watchful eye for the even was Kevin 131, producer/mixer of bands like Deceased and Project: Failing Flesh. The production is extremely crisp and polished with a sound that is almost similar in style to Krokus' legendary "Headhunter". Kevin gets the best out of these bands and he really fired up Raven.
On an ending note, this is THE BEST ALBUM OF 2009. Steal, download or import it! Crank the Hell out of it! This is blue collar working man's metal as honest as it can get.
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