Great Metal Albums of 1986: Raven- The Pack is Back

I was supposed to go see Raven supporting Loudness and Twisted Sister in the summer of 1986 but the concert was cancelled. Rumour had it that Twisted Sister were banned from playing in New Jersey but I don’t think there was any validity in that. Anyway, because I couldn’t go check out what I called a new band to me, I had to settle for their album, “The Pack is Back.”

When I first heard the album, I just thought it was a cool metal album but over the few times I’ve listened to it recently, I can’t help thinking how the first half of the album sounds like KISS. That is except for the cover of “Give Me Some Lovin'” which is a cool metal take on the song. It’s almost but not quite as brilliant as Thunder’s cover of said song which came out three years later.

Back to the KISS influence, the title track, which opens the album, could have come right from the quills of either Paul or Gene or whoever KISS got to write their songs at the time. For the record, I am not dissing KISS or their influence on the album because the best track is the third track, “Screamin’ Down the House,” except the power chords are more present. The melody and harmonizing at the chorus definitely sounds like KISS. Like I said, my favourite track on the album.

“Young Blood” is also a KISS sounding song and also with really strong power chords and is also a really cool track. I love the bass solo in the middle of the song which turns into a bass line that compliments the guitar synthesizer solo. My theory is that the KISS influence might have come because Raven were under so much pressure to have a more commercially successful album. It only got to 121 in the US album charts.

Raven sound less like KISS and more like themselves on the second half of the album. Well not the total second half of the album because “Rock Dogs,” while very powerful, still sounds like KISS. Actually, early KISS as this song could have been easily written by Ace Frehley. I guess that’s as good as anyway to change the tide in the album. The use of horns on “Don’t Let It Die” is another reason why they shouldn’t be discounted in a metal song if used properly. Then again, “Don’t Let it Die” does host the best guitar solo from Mark Gallagher on the entire album and he does do some good soloing on the other songs. “Get In Your Car and Drive” is a good example of his guitar work and what Raven are capable of when being themselves. Again, no disrespect to KISS, the dates indicate that KISS were probably a big influence on Raven and that isn’t a band thing.

Track Listing:

  1. The Pack is Back
  2. Give Me Some Lovin’
  3. Screamin’ Down the House
  4. Young Blood
  5. Hyperactive
  6. Rock Dogs
  7. Don’t Let it Die
  8. Get in Your Car and Drive
  9. All I Want
  10. Nightmare Ride

John Gallagher- bass, vocals

Mark Gallagher- guitar, guitar synthesizers, vocals

Rob Hunter- drums

I wonder what it would have been if Raven did play with Loudness and Twisted Sister. Judging by this album, I think they would have contributed greatly to what would have been a stellar night.

Next Post: Dayglo Abortions- Feed Us a Fetus

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6 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: Raven- The Pack is Back”

  1. I didn’t realize the Gallagher brothers had a band before Oasis!! Learn something new every day! 🙂 Kidding!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I bought All For One in 84 but when this one appeared a buddy in high school said it wasn’t near as good as AFO. So I passed on it.
    I think this was there major label debut so I’m sure the suits dictated the sound as well since they were paying the bills!
    Still around today which is impressive.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cool write up. Never heard this but I have a few tracks from cover disks more recently which are brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

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