In my opinion, the NWOBHM movement started in Newcastle Upon Tyne and Raven burst onto the scene when they signed to local label Neat Records in 1980 and released their classic single ‘Don’t Need Your Money’. They still play with the same verve, point proven on this warts and all live album Screaming Murder Death From Above : Live In Aalborg.
I saw them play a storming set a few weeks after this gig at a NWOBHM festival in Sheffield, they were on fire then and judging by this album, they gave the crowd in Aalborg, Denmark the same treatment! Due for release via SPV/Steamhammer on Jan.18th 2019, the band did not know it was being recorded until they were given the mixing desk tape after the gig. Lead vocalist/bass guitarist John Gallagher has said it’s completely live apart from a tweak when one of his strings broke at the start of ‘Hell Patrol’ and some of the between song banter has been edited out.
The album kicks off with ‘Destroy All Monsters’, one of two played from last studio album ExtermiNation and probably destroyed the hearing of the Aalborg crowd to due to Johns banshee screams and drum battery from Mike Heller. ‘Hell Patrol’ is just as deranged as the original from the version off their 1981 debut album Rock Until You Drop and ‘All For One’ is another call to arms anthem, a crowd pleaser from the off as John asks “Are we all together? Are we all for one?” as his brother Mark peels off a raging guitar solo towards the end and ‘Hung, Drawn And Quartered’ from the album of the same name has an unrelenting drum assault of snapping snares and kick drumming with John proclaiming “On drums, the whirling dervish himself, Mike Heller”.
‘Rock Until You Drop’ is aptly titled and the crowd are in fine voice throughout with the instrumental midsection stretched out for them to try and emulate Johns screams. The curiously titled ‘A.A.N.S.M.M.G.N’ (kindly explained to me by John as ‘Aalborg And No Sleep Makes Mark Go Nuts) is a four minute fretboard frazzling guitar solo. ‘Tank Treads (The Blood Runs Red)’ introduced as “A tender love ballad” is far from that as it races out of the starting blocks and things get even zippier as ‘Faster Than The Speed Of Light’ from the 1982 release Wiped Out shows how much Raven influenced the thrash/speed metal movement and they even took Metallica and Anthrax on the road for early 80’s tours in the US.
‘On And On’ is a good old fashioned no frills chugger as John gets the crowd fired up with “You paid your money, you gotta have a good time!” and ‘Break The Chain’ is stretched out to a party starting seven minutes with soundbites of ‘War Pigs’, ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top’ and ‘Symptom Of The Universe’. Final number ‘Crash Bang Wallop’ just about sums up the performance as they pull out all the stops.
The album will be available on the following formats, CD digipak, 2XLP gatefold, direct download and streaming links.