One For All


Metal Blade Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


You've got to feel sorry for the British metal trio Raven. At one point, brothers John and Mark Gallagher (with then-drummer Rob "Wacko" Hunter) were considered one of the leaders of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, yet they never achieved anything other than cult status in the United States. While so many other bands from that time have folded (and re-united, and folded again, ad nauseam), the brothers Gallagher (now with drummer Joe Hasselvander) have continued slugging it out, recording albums that keep the same spirit alive that they had in 1981. If only the poor bastards had an audience - and I mean one of decent size.

One For All, the band's 2000 effort, continues in the same path they've followed all along, knowing they don't have to please anyone but themselves with their music. What's a shame is that Raven has always been a band worth following, something I've known since the mid-'80s and their stint on Atlantic. What's an even bigger shame is that this disc (the follow-up in title to 1983's my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 All For One) is well worth your time.

Time has been quite kind to the band, as vocalist/bassist John Gallagher and guitarist/vocalist Mark Gallagher sound as fresh as they did 20 years ago, albeit without the falsetto singing. (No loss, honestly.) Teaming up with super-mensch producer Michael Wagener, and with the more complex rhythm patterns of Hasselvander guiding the band, Raven tear through an album which could have easily come from their glory days of the early '80s if one didn't know better. (The difference? The production is so much crisper, and the band has only continued to improve over the years.)

Listen to songs like "Seven Shades," "Derailed," "Get Your Motor Running" and "Roll With The Punches" and try to convince me that Raven has lost anything over the years. Hell, try to convince yourself. You can't. Oh, sure, a kid just getting into metal might say that Raven is trying to recapture the glory days of metal. Why not? They lived those days, and have been showing audiences for 20 years what that whole scene was about. In a sense, it's nice to see that Raven has stuck to their principles musically, even if it might have meant sacrificing greater fame or wealth.

Ah, but Raven has always had some goofiness factor - remember, this is the band that used to take the stage wearing football pads and hockey masks to keep from beating the shit out of each other. With that in mind, "Kangaroo" sticks out as the only throwaway track. It's not terrible, mind you, but it's hardly up to the same caliber as the bulk of One For All. It's good for a quick chuckle, but quickly relegates itself to a song you'll hit the "skip" button on.

Still, One For All is the kind of album that has the potential to make Raven a respected name in the field of heavy metal again. All they need is people to listen and give them that chance. What are you waiting for?

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Metal Blade Records, and is used for informational purposes only.