Raven

The Pack Is Back

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The second in a string of lackluster major-label releases for Raven, The Pack Is Back continued the band's mid-'80s streak of more-produced and less-interesting commercial rock offerings. While more coherent and less clichéd than 1985's Stay Hard, this post-Def Leppard attempt at crossing over from the ranks of underground to commercial metal heroes was no less a failure. Simplified, mid-tempo anthems dominate this record's track list, as Raven dishes out dumbed-down gang vocal choruses that want to be anthemic but lack the character and songwriting instincts inherent in the work of more successful hair metal acts, like Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe. The clunky Spencer Davis Group cover, "Gimme Some Lovin'," is just one example of how out of touch Raven had become with their core audience, who felt a much greater allegiance to the group's New Wave of British Heavy Metal roots than any quasi-pop trickery and of-the-moment sonic packaging. By the time The Pack Is Back was released in 1986, Raven's best work was well behind them, and pop-metal washouts like this one are simply afterthoughts when compared to the band's strong early career work.

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