Raven – Over The Top! The Neat Albums 1981-1984

4 CD Clamshell Boxset

Raven, like Venom are an important band, and for many years an underrated part of the history of heavy metal. Indeed, there are many parallels betwixt Venom and Raven. Both bands hail from Newcastle, both are power trios, both signed to Neat and recorded their most lasting works at Impulse Studios. Most important of all… both bands are highly influential! Sadly, a further parallel is neither Raven nor Venom capitalised on the potential of their Neat years, and this is a shame because if ever there was a time to go heavier it was the 80s. Moreover, the bands that Venom and Raven influenced went on reap the thrash whirlwind.

Venom’s recent ‘In Nomine Satanus’ boxset puts Venoms legacy in perspective, and now ‘Over The Top!’ does the same for Raven. All four Neat albums recorded by Raven are here. Their debut Rock Until You Drop, its follow-up Wiped Out, and third album All For One were a huge influence on the fledgling Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth et al. Indeed, Metallica and Anthrax were support bands to Raven on their US tours. This golden period for Raven is summed up perfectly by the final disc, ‘Live At The Inferno’, one of the great live metal abums.

Raven’s musicianship and song-writing is first class, and as I’ve said, the 80s was the time to go harder, something Raven, Venom and indeed Motorhead should have capitalised on. In Raven’s case a move to Atlantic Records didn’t improve their fortunes; quite the opposite.

But this very good value compilation does their legacy proud, with excellent notes by John Tucker, author of ‘Neat & Tidy’, a history of Neat Records. There is also a variety of bonus tracks including the splendidly named ‘Crash, Bang, Wallop!’ EP. There is much to enjoy here.

Essential for any true metal fan!

Raven: Over the Top! The Neat Albums 1981-1984, 4CD Clamshell BoxsetRaven

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (http://toendallwarscomic.wordpress.com/writers/).

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