Are you in the mood for some NWOBHM? Why not try Raven’s 1983 record All For One. This was the noisy Newcastle band’s third studio album and was produced by none other than Accept’s singer Udo Dirkschneider.
The sound is earthy, workingman’s Heavy Metal with rumbly bass, steady drumming and midrange vocals that would sound at home on a Thrash album. It has a very pure and honest sound, with hints of Motorhead and Saxon; it toes the line between amped-up rock n roll shuffle and proto-Thrash, often within the same song. Think of Angel Witch playing faster or Diamond Head if they didn’t listen to Progressive Rock.
Its not as heavy as fellow Geordie NWOBHM band Venom, but its definitely raw and energetic, with more emphasis on attitude and energy than excessive virtuosity or structural complexity. They’ll still bust out a solo when necessary, but there’s a certain punky attitude.
When you listen to John Gallagher’s vocals here, it would be easy to imagine this is the sort of thing that influenced the likes of Paul Baloff or Randy Rampage. There’s even a certain closeness to Anvil if you squint your ears.
Owing to Udo’s fine production job, this record is cleaner and more professional sounding than the albums and EPs which preceded it, but musically the band were still in their early excited phase, so it isn’t commercial like their major label releases. Its got charm, raw power and enthusiastic performances, but you can clearly make out every note, so it’s a real best of both worlds situation. People often call this one of the band’s best albums and its easy to see why.
If you’re interested in exploring the band, who took Metallica and Anthrax out on early tours, and the album which was produced by Accept’s singer, then I’d recommend checking out the songs “Hung, Drawn & Quartered,” “Seek & Destroy” and album closer “Athletic Rock” (titled after the band’s proposed name for the style of music they play) as the tester songs you use to see if its something you want to buy.
If you get it nowadays, you’ll usually get bonus tracks, two of which feature guest singing from Udo, including a cover of Steppenwolfe’s famous “Born To Be Wild.” It adds some extra value to the record, and gives you an extra incentive to check it out. For me, the bonus track “The Power And The Glory” is one of the best tracks on the disc.
Overall; All For One is a strong album and if you are in the mood for some early Metal then its definitely something you should consider trying out. There’s some great tunes, a good attitude and a sense of consistency that makes the whole thing flow.