Raven performing live in 2008.
L–R: John Gallagher, Mark Gallagher, Joe Hasselvander (behind).
|Origin||Newcastle, England, United Kingdom|
|Genres||Heavy metal, speed metal, NWOBHM|
|Labels||Neat, Megaforce, Atlantic, Combat|
|Past members||Paul Bowden
Mike "Mick" Kenworthy
Rob "Wacko" Hunter
Raven began creating a sound which was rooted in British hard rock, with progressive rock tendencies, and a willingness to take musical chances. The band's highly-energized live show and interaction between band members developed a unique image and style of play, described as "athletic". They began wearing guards, helmets, and plates from various sports (hockey, baseball, etc...), and incorporating them into the playing of their instruments (for instance, elbow pads and hockey masks were used to strike cymbals). Their music began to develop into a unique amalgam of speed & power - heavily influencing the genres of speed/thrash metal and power metal. The band have a reputation as an extremely energetic live band - and for regularly destroying their equipment.
They started by playing local pubs & working men's clubs in the North East of England - occasionally opening shows for punk bands such as The Stranglers & The Motors.
Eventually, the band signed with Neat Records, the legendary, low-budget metal label of the North. They released their 1st single "Don't Need Your Money" in 1980 and embarked on a number of UK shows opening for bands such as Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard of Oz, Motorhead, Whitesnake & Iron Maiden. Their first album "Rock Until You Drop" was released to wide acclaim in 1981, leading the band to tour Italy and the Netherlands. Their second album, "Wiped Out" was released in 1982 and was influential on creating the burgeoning thrash and speed metal genres, making an impressive showing on the UK charts at the time.
Sufficient noise was made for the American market to take notice and New Jersey's Megaforce Records signed them, issuing their next recording in the States as All for One in 1983. The band came stateside in 1983, and toured extensively on the "Kill 'em All For One" tour with young thrashers Metallica (on their first tour) as their opening act.
Manager/Megaforce founder Johnny Zazula believed that Raven was major-label material, and kept them touring constantly until the big labels noticed. The infamous Live at the Inferno recording, released in 1984, was a product of one of those tours. Atlantic Records signed Raven to a worldwide contract after a minor bidding war (major label contracts would follow for Metallica and Anthrax in the following year). The band moved its permanent base from Newcastle to New York.
Stay Hard was released in 1985, and proved a minor hit on the strength of single/video "On and On". The Atlantic years proved to be less than stellar for the band. A drastic shift in a more commercial direction came at the label's behest, with many die-hard fans being alienated by the slick, lightweight production of The Pack Is Back. However, the band redeemed themselves with a return to form on the "Mad" EP in 1986 and the "Lifes A Bitch" album in 1987 before arranging their departure from Atlantic.
After the tour for Life's a Bitch, Rob "Wacko" Hunter left the band in late 1987 to spend more time with his new wife and family. He would later pursue a career in audio production and engineering, eventually working with jazz musicians Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr..
Virginian Joe Hasselvander (ex-Pentagram) joined as drummer in late 1987, and the band dropped the outlandish image for a more conventional denim-and-leather look for their 1988 release Nothing Exceeds Like Excess. After, the advent of grunge and the dissolution of their record label Combat Records led the band to concentrate on continental Europe and Japan, where they retained more of a following.
The band recorded and toured until 2001, when a wall collapsed on guitarist Mark Gallagher, crushing his legs. Raven went on hiatus for nearly 5 years, from 2001–2004, while the guitarist rehabilitated., though Raven never officially disbanded. Following a number of US shows & European festival appearances (Bloodstock, Keep it True, Bang Your Head) the band completed work on a new album "Walk Through Fire" initially released in Japan on King Records in 2009, then securing releases in 2010 for Europe on SPV and in North America on Metal Blade. The album was well received both critically & by the fans & the band have been steadily playing live..playing the European festival circuit, making a triumphant return to Japan..and playing their first shows in South America. Currently the band are set to release a retrospective DVD entitled "Rock Until You Drop" featuring footage from 1982 onwards, and interviews with Lars Ulrich, Dee Snider, Jon Z, Dave Ellefson, Chuck Billy etc.
- Rock Until You Drop - (1981)
- Wiped Out - (1982)
- All for One - (1983)
- Stay Hard - (1985)
- Life's a Bitch - (1987)
- Nothing Exceeds Like Excess - (1988)
- Architect of Fear - (1991)
- Glow - (1994)
- Everything Louder - (1997)
- One for All - (2000)
- Walk Through Fire - (2009)