So here we go with Part II of our RAVEN feature…the album review. ExtermiNation is out now via Steamhammer/SPV Records and it’s really, really fucking great. If you want old fashioned speed metal combined with serious rock riffage then I really think this is the album for you. The trio of John Gallagher (bass, vocals), his brother Mark (guitars), and drummer Joe Hasselvander have definitely struck oil with this release. 15 tracks of metal fucking metal await anyone brave enough to press PLAY. Kevin 131 is a master at production, which is why this record shines. Right from the outset “It’s Not What You Got” was destined to be my favorite. That riff is priceless and immediately takes me back to 1980-something, back to the days of turntables in my old room while four of us tried to sit on the same bed and headbang.
Another one I really dug was “Battle March/Tank Treads (The Blood Runs Red)”. From the intro to the meaty battlefield of the song, you just know you’re in for greatness. John Gallagher sounds terrific on not only this one, but every single track. “Feeding the Monster” sounds like it was ripped from 1981 and transplanted here in 2015 to save us all, just a fucking excellent song! The guitar sound on “Fire Burns Within” will 100% have you checking your doorknob to make sure your place isn’t about to go up in flames, while “Scream” will have all the maniacs going ballistic, especially if RAVEN decides to play it on the upcoming tour. Pure thrashing speedy greatness! “One More Day” opens up with some guitar pyrotechnics before transforming into an armored tank in the Steel Riff Division, hell bent on flattening you.
ERMAHGERD guys!! “No Surrender” is maybe .5 away from being the best song on this disc. It is a fucking summer jam, tailor-made for backyard BBQ’s as the chef bobs his head while flipping the burgers. Assuming you ARE at a metal BBQ…if not, what the hell is wrong with you? “Silver Bullet” also takes a nice big slice of the riff cake and John lets out unimaginably high wails on this one. Vocally this guy is unstoppable, trust me. Combine that with the whole band coming together at the right times and this is one big bastard of a song! For a complete 180, the band hits us with “River of No Return”, a slower number that still hits in all the right places. Mark’s watery, chorus-y guitar sound is perfect for the mood of this one.
Closer “Malice In Geordieland” is completely sung in slang. It’s the accent from Newcastle in the North of England, very Geordie. It’s a fun way to end things and a riff-rocker that the band simply must play live over there. On the other end of the spectrum “Destroy All Monsters’ has that chorus, the one you just can’t shake hours after hearing it. A great opener, and one hell of a RAVEN song! At the end of the day these guys have put out a great record that everyone, and I DO mean everyone who calls themselves a metalhead should own. It’s not only excellent driving/speeding/getting a ticket music, but it’s also a big statement from one of the defining bands who helped shape the speed metal landscape. In other words, GO GET THIS FUCKING ALBUM RIGHT NOW!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “It’s Not What You Got”, No Surrender”, “Feeding the Monster”, “Silver Bullet”, “Fire Burns Within”, “Scream”, “One More Day”