Inching closer, we’re at the penultimate position in this countdown. The last entry was okay. It was more a question to Eugene about why the album for me. It was a good listen but it wasn’t anything spectacular. I know he has a way to go but I really want to read his review of that one. Jon meet ether… Ether, Jon. Let’s do the next to last ‘un…
#49 – Live at the Inferno by Raven.
We waited over half the countdown for this one. It was a matter of getting it for all of us. It is available from Amazon Prime Music and I never had any troubles, but it isn’t available on any other streaming service. I also listened when it first was mentioned but am revisiting it with research this time.
I was amazed that so much sound came out of a trio. This is full! If I’m remembering correctly (and I could be mistaken), from what Eugene said it’s a show with no overdubs so what you hear is what they gave. You get hit from the opening until the end. I believe they proclaim that on the album itself. Another drawback to having to listen to stuff digitally, I don’t get to hold the media, thus missing a major advantage of being a music fan; marveling in the packaging, thought and effort that went into an album.
I knew nothing of Raven, just the name. I thought it was yet another five-piece New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) music. They give you all that you’d want in such an album: rapid double kick with galloping rhythms, high-pitched screams, fast guitar riffs, etc. It was all in there. You can tell they were having fun and the crowd seems to be really into it.
This is no “gettin’ by” band, either. They’re the real deal. John Gallagher did things on the bass guitar that many guitarists would be jealous of. Listen to the solo “I.G.A.R.B.O.” That’s him slinging his c**k around. Figuratively, obviously. In fact, he has stated that the title of that song is “I’ve Got a Raging Boner On.” Whether that’s true or not, I have no reason to not believe him. We’ll go with it. Johnny G is also the one with all the glass-shattering screams in a register that makes even me say, wow (if you don’t know, I do a lot of falsetto screams and I’ve kind of gotten to be known for it in the VSS circle; he has me beat). I don’t know how he can growl at the crowd but still maintain the smooth vocals while singing. His jumping from lower to higher registers and back again, in the middle of the phrase is pretty cool. He does it the whole time but the verses of “Break the Chain” is where you can really hear it happen. And, his screams in “Hell Patrol.”
John’s brother Mark is all over the fingerboard. Sometimes it’s almost as if it’s too much, but he seems to reign it in and makes it work. He’s got chops, for sure. His tone is certainly in line with the status quo of NWOBHM era. That’s good – give them familiarity, but then break their face. The tone is heavy and meaty but it cuts through. He’s certainly not afraid of the tremolo bar, either. He whammies pretty darn well. Also, his pinch harmonics are pretty mean.
Future Harry Connick, Jr. audio engineer, Rob Hunter (known to his pals as “Wacko), is the one holding down those cliche galloping beats (not a bad thing) with some pretty mad fills and rolls. I love the crisp snap of his snare drum. He also does the backing vox for the show.
If I’m going to pick things that I don’t like (there aren’t many), I would start with the growling demon sounds in “Hell Patrol.” JG pretty much undermines the ingenious screams with that. I know he was just feeling it and playing the crowd and in 1984, it was definitely part of the landscape. So, just ignore that, I did. Also, nothing else stood out enough for me to gripe about it.
This was a fun listen. It’s probably not something that I’d want to hear a lot of, but I think the boys were good. I’d have it on vinyl if I came across it. They’re still together, at least the Gallagher brothers and a new drummer, Joe Hasselvander (who has no known nicknames). My faves on the album were “All for One,” “Mind over Metal,” “Break the Chain,” “I.G.A.R.B.O.” Thanks Eug for adding it. We have one more to go, I’ll get that assignment today, I hope, and we’ll be ready to close this thing out. Jon, (sigh), nevermind…
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“That complacent tramp setting the world on fire. C***s to smell you’re ready to kill and the father that calls me a liar. You can’t shimmy down, be her in this town. You won’t know the score to the break of the dawn. You’re totally wiped out!” – “Wiped Out” (Hunter/Gallagher/Gallagher)