Raven recaptured their spirit in the later part of the decade, but it was never as wild or untamed as this. ‘Wiped Out’ is the sound of metal in all its glory, the way it’s supposed to be played.
Written by: Dangerzone
ALBUM: Wiped Out
SERIAL: NEAT 1004
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: John Gallagher – bass, vocals * Mark Gallagher – guitar * Rob ‘Wacko’ Hunter – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Faster Than The Speed Of Light * 02 Bring The Hammer Down * 03 Fire Power * 04 Read All About It * 05 To The Limit/To The Top * 06 Battle Zone * 07 Live At The Inferno. * 08 StarWar * 09 UXB * 10 20/21 * 11 Hold Back The Fire * 12 Chain Saw
WEBLINKS: Site Link
There are times during my increasing age when certain things tend to wander from my mind. One of those is how influential and innovative Raven were on their early albums, particularly the debut ‘Rock Until You Drop’ and this seminal recording ‘Wiped Out’.
Taking a detailed inspection of the debut its riffs and use of speed were more developed than anything by Iron Maiden or Saxon and even years later it’s senseless that Raven weren’t on the same level.
But their crowning achievement has to be ‘Wiped Out’ itself, an album so uncontrollable and reckless that it has few peers. To suggest Raven didn’t have a hand in inventing thrash would be ludicrous, especially when digesting this wall of noise.
True, Maiden were slicker in 1982, but nowhere near as raw. Maybe Raven always were a bit too outside the box, which bassist Mark Gallagher suggested in my interview with him years back. The breaks never quite went their way, but try listening to this and tell me there was any band heavier in 1982. I’d be the first to say bollocks in my worst Geordie accent.
Listening to aptly titled opener ‘Faster Than The Speed Of Light’ it makes perfect sense Metallica once opened for Raven. The buzzsaw riffing, frantic double bass drum attack and speed makes for the heaviest early use of thrash to that point. Turned up as loud as possible it’s positively ear splitting and sums up everything Raven stood for at that point of their career.
There’s no stopping them after this, with further assaults in the form of ‘Bring The Hammer Down’ and ‘Firepower’, no doubt anthems for aimless English teens among the bleak Newcastle football terraces of 1982 (until Keegan showed up). ‘Read All About It’ offers another helping of speed metal, but the epic approach of ‘To The Limit/To The Top’ offers some sedate sequences which were common on the debut.
‘Battle Zone’ resumes the crazed nature of Raven’s music, drums flailing with John Gallagher’s impossible shrieks, the same pattern repeating on ‘Live At The Inferno’ and its tale of war and destruction. ‘Hold Back The Fire’ throws in some interesting bass lines amidst a brilliant guitar solo and it’s uniformly thrilling as a whole. The passage from 4:20 to 4:45 gives me illusions of The Who on ‘Live At Leeds’ with the explosive build-up. That’s the pinnacle indeed.
The insanity of ‘Chainsaw’ represents everything Raven stood for then, the title itself the perfect way to describe their style. It’s a combination of pure noise and melody that only a select few can put together so coherently and leave you speechless. Listen to the crescendo during the finale and it could almost be primitive grind-core.
When Raven returned with ‘All For One’ a year later they’d toned down their destructive persona in favour of their first signs of a more melodic songwriting direction that would be perfected on their foray into the U.S. in the mid 80’s.
Raven recaptured their spirit in the later part of the decade, but it was never as wild or untamed as this. ‘Wiped Out’ is the sound of metal in all its glory, the way it’s supposed to be played. It hasn’t dated one bit in all the years since, and most likely it never will.