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Raven - "ExtermiNation" (CD)

Raven - "ExtermiNation" CD cover image

"ExtermiNation" track listing:

1. Destroy All Monsters
2. Tomorrow
3. It's Not What You Got
4. Fight
5. Battle March/Tank Treads (The Blood Runs Red)
6. Feeding The Monster
7. Fire Burns Within
8. Scream
9. One More Day
10. Thunder Down Under
11. No Surrender
12. Golden Dawn
13. Silver Bullet
14. River Of No Return
15. Malice In Geordieland (Bonus Track)

Reviewed by on March 25, 2015

"The Gallagher brothers and Baron von Hasselvander sound exponentially younger than they look and kick bigger ass than they did in the heyday. With that trademark formula of hooks, heaviness and rock ‘n’ roll, 'ExtermiNation' is a total win."

Really? Has it been five years since Raven put out an album? Relentless touring and the release of the phenomenal DVD retrospective “Rock Until You Drop” in 2013 put a dent in the agonizing wait since the release of “Walk Through Fire.” One thing about Raven – its about as visible of a band as you can encounter and it seems age hasn’t slowed the group down a bit. Backed by a successful Kickstarter campaign, the band brings forth both a new album in “ExtermiNation” and a new covers album “Party Killers.” As a lifelong fan, I could easily say that “ExtermiNation” is not only an incredibly produced sonic assault, but the band’s most ferocious album since 1991’s “Architect of Fear.”

Take songs like “Battle March Tank Treads,” “One More Day,” “The Fire Burns Within,” and you can see where some of the inspiration for “ExtermiNation” comes from: “Heart Attack,” “Sold Down the River” and “Part of the Machine” – all from…you guessed it, “Architect of Fear.” However, with superior production this time out combined with John Gallagher’s timeless vocals, the songs on “ExtermiNation” sound younger, fresher, and more merciless than ever. By employing the formula of hooks and fun (described next), the album just feels incredibly energetic and alive. For those seeking something different, check out “River of No Return” – which gives off a “So Close” or “The Dark Side” vibe (both from the 1994 release “Glow”).

If there is one thing that Raven never forgets – it’s that all real music begins with a hook to make it great. It takes more than just “heaviness,” though “ExterminNation” has its fair share of that. Most of all, they ALWAYS keep it fun with a healthy dose of rock ‘n’ roll. This formula has endured for the last 35 years and has been the basis for some of the most consistently iconic material in the history of heavy metal. Stacked with amazing hits like “All for One,” “Rock Until You Drop,” “Hell Patrol,” “Mind Over Metal” – most bands would have tried to pass off a half-assed album only to rely on the past glory to garner fan forgiveness. With tracks like “Fight,” “Scream,” “Thunder Down Under,” and “Feeding the Monster,” Raven smashes the metal right in your face in the same classic fashion that the band has done in virtually the entire time heavy metal existed – complete with the auditory activated smell of leather, denim, and sweat and the sensory propagated studs to chin that comes with every exhausting live performance.

Perhaps the best part about “ExtermiNation” is you can clearly visualize songs like “No Surrender” and “Destroy All Monsters” (ironically, the title of the 1995 live release from Japan) in the live setting with Mark Gallagher’s trademark hysterical facial expressions and Baron Hasselvander’s sinister smile behind the drum kit. The band is built for the live setting – one where Raven never, ever disappoints even after so many years crushing city after city. The band still holds the distinction of creating one of the best live releases of all time “Live at the Inferno” (check it out if you want to capture the real feel of the Raven live presence).

Raven puts forth the most relentless release since “Architect of Fear” and its most supersonic album since “Nothing Exceeds Like Excess” and that is pretty much all there is to know about the quality of the material on “ExtermiNation.” The Gallagher brothers and Baron von Hasselvander sound exponentially younger than they look and kick bigger ass than they did in the heyday. With that trademark formula of hooks, heaviness and rock ‘n’ roll, “ExtermiNation” is a total win.

Highs: Ridiculously catchy rock 'n' roll infused metallic assault as only Raven can produce.

Lows: None.

Bottom line: Score another instant classic for the old guys! Raven begins the "ExtermiNation" of crap acts around the globe!

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)