Released: 2000, Metal Blade Records
Editors Note: Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.
Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any websites were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!
We haven’t really covered Raven albums much on this site but there is a reason for that. When the site was founded Metal-Rules wanted to look forward and support what was happening now, not yesteryear. Truth be told, the only reason we haven’t reviewed much Raven is because since our site has started they haven’t been productive at all. The band churned out eight albums in ten years (1981-1991) and then they only put out four albums in the last 20+ years, a massive decrease in output.
This album was a bit of a return of sorts for a number of reasons. By the turn of the new millennium as the band hit their 30th anniversary, Raven had already gone through four distinct phases already in the career. The early and iconic NWOBHM years on Neat records (3 albums) then the often reviled commercialized Atlantic Years (3 albums) although most observers will admit that LIFE’S A BITCH… wasn’t that bad. Then the band churned out two, white-hot, full-on Metal albums that while superb, were quite uncharacteristic as the band lost much of their patented humor. Then into the mid-90’s the band slowed right done and offered pair of lacklustre albums (GLOW, EVERYTHING LOUDER) that many consider to be low points in the bands career.
That brings us to ONE FOR ALL. This album was a excellent move to recapture the early glory years of the band and while the band over the years had lost much of it’s audience, the few of us who did still care, it was a bit of a comeback album. The return to the original sound is evident in a couple of factors. The band decided to use Michael Wagener, who produced their most famous and successful album, ALL FOR ONE. You many notice a similarity in the albums titles between the two? That is not a coincidence. The band also was back on a smaller label, Metal Blade, so the stars were in alignment.
ONE FOR ALL unfortunately has one of those crappy CGI album covers that were cool at the time because of the new technology but in fact they never were cool. The package is nice enough, lots of pictures and lyrics. The sound is superb, Michael Wagener being one of the best, dare I day it, ‘old-school’ Metal producers still in the business. Musically, ONE FOR ALL thankfully is a throwback to their original early 80’s sound. I own pretty much everything Raven ever released and I really enjoy 95% of it, except maybe GLOW, and this album truly recaptures the Raven sound. The songs have a certain rock and roll vibe to them again. That is not to say they are fill of boogie or swing, those terms don’t apply here but it is as if the band said we are going back to do our brand of ‘Athletic Rock’.
The line-up remains unchanged and the Power trio is on fire, rejuvenated and they burn through song after song of classic Raven. John’s voice is as good as it ever has been, check out some of the piercing screams on the oddly titled track ‘Kangaroo’. The brothers are locked in like some sort of symbiotic twins and Hasselvander thrashes the hell out of his drum kit, sloppy and wild. The whole 51 minute album is fast, a race to the finish and they bash down everything in their way without any finesse. It gorgeous to hear again and I’m so impressed that a simple song about driving fast, ‘Get Your Motor Runnin’ can sound so fresh in 2000.
In my mind Raven has always had a parallel career to Anvil, both power trios, two undefeatable buddies/brothers mining the hard luck hero image, both being products of the first wave of Metal and both being almost immediately left behind. Both bands became stubborn dinosaurs refusing to become extinct, much to the delight of few loyalists like myself. That never-say-die attitude has awarded both bands a new respect as elder statesmen, as the kids go back and discover the roots of Metal in the early 80’s. And once in while, the band stand tall and churn out a fantastic record like ONE FOR ALL, that is not only one for all of us loyalists but showing that even dinosaurs have teeth and are still dangerous.