||MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
'Rock Until You Drop - A Long Day's Journey' DVD
When the postman delivered this DVD package through my letterbox it made the sound of "Crash, Bang, Wallop!" as it hit the floor. My jaw immediately dropped too as I knew it could only be one thing, the long awaited DVD from those wacky Gallagher brothers.
No not those smackable brothers from Manchester, but the loony ones from Newcastle who spearheaded the whole speed Metal movement which later transformed itself into what we now know as thrash Metal.
Raven were one of the craziest and fastest bands to emerge from the NWOBHM era who had a singer whose voice which sounded as if he was walking on barbed wire that was buried beneath hot coals of fire. They released two ground breaking albums on the Neat Records label with 'Rock Until You Drop' from 81 and 'Wiped Out' a year later. America and the world was all theirs to conquer.
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However for the third album, 'All For One', our Geordie boys took young bands such as Metallica and Anthrax out on the road for the first time, and it wasn't too long after that as both of those bands witnessed the trio in action upped the ante and thrash was born, whilst the fortunes of Raven soon dwindled as the band followed label advice and followed a slick commercial path.
Like fellow speed Metalling buddies Anvil, Raven carried on throughout the years still turning out music of quality largely ignored by the Metal media.
This documentary follows the story of Raven from their humble beginnings right through to the present day. However unlike 'The Story Of Anvil', this documentary has not been directed by Sacha Gervasi and in the words of John Gallagher himself: "This ain't no Hollywood production, but then neither are we."
For any Raven lunatic this is a must see, but don't expect your Bon Jovi loving girlfriend to snuggle up next to you all evening and enjoy this hard ride because the documentary has a running time of over three hours and that is where, unfortunately, this DVD fails to ignite the fire.
Mark Gallagher has done the editing himself and obviously didn't want to leave too much on the cutting room floor. Bizarrely, when he is interviewed himself, it takes place in a noisy bar and he is barely audible.
Whilst it is great to see early pictures of the band in their youth some of the story is skipped over too quickly with mentions of how they supported the likes of Ozzy, Motorhead, Whitesnake and Iron Maiden but there are no stories to share from those tours and the departure of drummer Rob 'Wacko 'Hunter is simply dealt with with: "When Rob left the band we needed to find another drummer", with no reason whatsoever as to why he left the band in the first place.
Too much time is taken up hearing anecdotes from fans mainly from the US and Germany expressing their love of the band and live versions of songs that are played in their entirety which would've been better saved for disc 2 thus making the documentary flow at a much faster rate.
Lars Ulrich speaks fondly and in depth of his time with Raven as a fan and the tour the two bands did together. Dee Snider sums Raven up the best right at the end of the film by saying: "People talk of the Big 4 of thrash, but really there was 5 and Raven are at Number 1."
Hardcore Raven fans will love it, but anyone with a curious interest is advised to beg, steal or borrow... or better still, just buy any of the first three albums and crank them up...
Watch until you drop!