RAVEN – The Complete Atlantic Recordings; ‘Stay Hard’ [Wounded Bird remasters 2019]
Reputable reissue label Wounded Bird Records has just remastered all RAVEN Atlantic Recordings from the 80s, taken from the original master tapes. With origins in the early British metal movement, by 1984 Raven had passed under American management and secured a deal with Atlantic Records.
“Stay Hard” is the first Raven album recorded in the US, with a style oriented to the rising Californian glam hard rock sound, and for that matter Michael Wagener was hired to mix and co-produce.
“Stay Hard” is a transition album taking Raven into more commercial territory for the first time, yet somehow it still rocks heavy.
Much of the commercial appeal has to do with producer Wagener who gives the band a much cleaner sound than their first three British studio albums.
The guitar tone is nothing short of killer (probably one of my favorites Raven ever had) and really helps drive the riffs onward. Also, there is a plentiful supply of leads, and solo’s on here some of which are pretty impressive.
Raven always delivered as far as riffs were concerned, and this album also showed a bit more variety than their previous efforts, but only in a more mainstreamed type way (check out “Pray For The Sun”, and “Get It Right”).
John Gallagher’s vocals totally ingrains that fighting 80s youthful spirit of anger and all out partying. Also taking a look at the album cover, showing what appears to be a man with a woman going down on him, you can really get a feel of the times.
The choruses are catchy and arrangements in a very traditional hard rock based way – great bridges also, check out “On and On” for an awesome bridge / chorus structure.
The title track is a mid-paced hooky anthem, ready for the arenas, while “Hard Ride” is a rewritten, re-recorded version of the song off the band’s landmark debut complete with a much more catchy chorus and new blazing clean solos.
“Extract the Action” is an excellent and hard n’ heavy song and definitely one of the highlights on the LP. The instrumental “The Bottom Line” is a cool song as well, but includes a horn section, which is quite bizarre for Raven.
For me, this album is the British answer to Twisted Sister. Raven were ready to make it big with this American landing. The entire album is actually solid, with its contagious commercial feel and ‘pop metal / proto hair metal’ approach.
This was a much needed remaster on this underrated, rockin’ album, a true representation of the 80s rock sound.
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01 – Stay Hard
02 – When the Going Gets Tough
03 – On and On
04 – Get It Right
05 – Restless Child
06 – Power and the Glory
07 – Pray for the Sun
08 – Hard Ride
09 – Extract the Action
10 – The Bottom Line
Lead Vocals, Bass – John Gallagher
Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer, Vocals – Mark Gallagher
Drums, Drums & More Drums – Wacko