Raven Walk Through Fire

Raven Walk Through Fire
Raven, the underdogs of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, will get the last laugh when all is said and done, as the band are — shockingly — still putting out solid albums, like this latest full-length. They've had their lows (being pressured to make Twisted Sister-like cartoon rock in the '80s and a more recent life-threatening accident where guitarist Mark Gallagher had a wall fall on him; he's recovered fine), but Walk Through Fire, their first full-length in a decade, is a highpoint. Opener "Against the Grain" is fast and hysterical, but super-catchy and memorable. "Breaking You Down" actually finds vocalist/bassist John Gallagher singing in a higher-pitched voice than the first tune, which is shocking; his air-raid siren vocals put the Halfords and Dickinsons of the world to shame. "Running in Silence" is a great example of the lost art of classic metal melody. Although the album gets a bit bogged down — there are one too many mid-tempo tunes and the intro, Montrose cover and live songs are a bit extraneous — it's mainly wildly enjoyable, showing off superb songwriting chops while still being hell-bent on having a good time even after all these years. (Metal Blade)