Raven

Wiped Out

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If you're a metalhead who has never experienced the bombastic, Judas Priest-influenced pleasures of Raven, it's best to cut to the chase and go directly to the British headbangers' most essential and enduring output. That means skipping Raven's inferior Atlantic work and starting out with its early recordings. 1981's Rock Til You Drop is Raven's best album, but 1982's Wiped Out (which Roadrunner/RC Revisited reissued on CD in the early '90s) runs a close second. When guitarist Mark Gallagher, drummer Rob Hunter, and the Rob Halford-influenced lead singer John Gallagher rip into such blistering, ferocious classics as "Star War," "Fire Power," "Battle Zone," and "Live at the Inferno," you're hearing a band that was very much in its prime and had yet to lose any of its freshness, imagination, or vitality. Collectors and completists will want Raven's Atlantic recordings despite their problems, but for beginners, Rock Til You Drop and Wiped Out are definitely the gems to start out with.

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