Raven

Stay Hard

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Although considered a very important contributing force to the emergence of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Raven's grip on musical (and lyrical) credibility was always tenuous. With the release of their first major-label offering, Stay Hard, the trio dropped right through the thin ice of lunk-headed, near cartoonish metal imagery and sound. The pounding intensity of earlier efforts like Rock Until You Drop and Wiped Out made up for the intellectual shortcomings of the band's self-proclaimed athletic rock, but on the heavily commercialized Stay Hard, none of this excitement or energy is present to help the band safe face. Senseless tracks like the title track and "Get it Right" are as pointless and formulaic as bad '80s metal gets, and Raven only reference their pure metal roots only once on the (unintentionally) ironically titled instrumental "The Bottom Line." Pure energy and enthusiasm is what separated -- or perhaps saved -- this group, and sadly there is hardly any of it on Stay Hard, a record that signaled the decline of an influential, but limited, metal band.

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