Released: 2013, SPV/Steamhammer
I can’t think of any band more deserving to have a documentary about them. There is a big market for the story of Metal bands, in recent years we have had documentaries about the classic under-dog, working class band from the 70’s; Rush, Anvil, AC/DC, Saxon, Iron Maiden and now Raven. A LONG DAYS JOURNEY is a double DVD set about the iconic NWOBHM band, Raven.
The two-disc set has a documentary that runs three hours and a bonus disc of more songs and full versions of songs that were used in the edits of the movie itself. The movie is broken into chapters each roughly corresponding with an album or era of the band. For example there is a chapter called ‘The Atlantic Years’ which covers those four releases. The chapters are very uneven in length and unfortunately the documentary is not really comprehensive. Releases like GLOW, MAD, HEADS UP, are all completely skipped over and some albums get far more attention than others, but for the most part all the highlights are there. I was glad they didn’t skip over the last three excellent albums, and the chapter called 2001 which detailed the long absence of the band with injury and personal tragedy taking the band away from the music scene for almost a decade.
The movie spliced footage in between interview segments, which I have never been a fan of that style. The documentary is three hours long but if you cut out the 14 songs, it is closer to a standard 90-minute movie. It should have been kept separate. I found after the first time after 2.5 hours of watching I was starting to skim through the songs and go back later. At times there was a disconnect between the interview and the song. For example there would be a interview about the making of ALL FOR ONE in 1983 for example, then the song would be the band in Japan in 1995 or something. I feel there should have been clips from the songs from the album that they were talking about in that chapter. Eg. If you are talking about the LIFE’S A BITCH ALBUM there should have been some footage from that tour or album, but it is hard to accumulate all that footage over 30 years, let alone find something that you can use and then edit. I’m sure they did the best they could with what they had.
The strength of the DVD are the interviews. It is amazing the influence that the band has had on so many groups and people. There are interviews with members of Metallica, Forbidden, Testament, Fozzy, Megadeth, Anvil, Twisted Sister and many industry people, journalists, producers, and record company people. All of them has the same thing to say; how special and unique and influential Raven is.
The packaging is a digipak DVD case, (easily damaged) not a regular hard shell style, which is only a mild annoyance. There is a nice booklet with lots of photos and credits. The production of this DVD was pretty rough. On the back of the booklet inside it says “This DVD is exactly like the band; raw, unencompromising with 0% Hollywood s**t! I'm not convinced that unencompromising is even a word, but that is OK, this is Metal not some spelling bee! In terms of production, ROCK UNTIL YOU DROP does suffer from a few limitations mainly based on the source material.
The documentary was fascinating and well deserved but as the band said it’s pretty raw and unrefined. If you are expecting a Banger Productions (Sam Dunn) level of quality with Dolby HD 5.1 Surround Sound and HD picture you may be disappointed. It is not, in technical terms, the best documentary out there. I’ve seen dozens of Metal films and this is in the bottom half in terms of quality and execution. However, more importantly, in terms of content, it is top notch and world class. Like Raven themselves the movie is substance over style. Any and all Raven fans should check this out and even Metal fans who are just curious about the band should check this out.