When the British/American metal trio Raven left the Skråen stage at the end of November 2017 after their acclaimed concert in Aalborg, Denmark, brothers John (bass, vocals) and Mark Gallagher (guitar) along with new member Mike Heller (drums) didn’t foresee their show being recorded for posterity.
“We were surprised of course, since nobody had informed us of this beforehand”, John Gallagher explains. “We had a flash drive with the recording delivered to usand when we checked it, we realized that – barring some small technical problems – we had a truly magical live recording on our hands. It was a near perfect concert thanks to the great
atmosphere inside the hall and our out of control attitude – since, you know, we weren’t aware the show was being recorded.”
On 18 January 2019 “Screaming Murder Death From Above: Live In Aalborg” will be released on CD, double LP and in digital format by Steamhammer/SPV. It’s the unbridled show of a band who has been writing metal history for the last 45 years.
“The live recording is truly exceptional”, Gallagher confirms. “There were merely one or two small issues, which are bound to happen at a live show such as this: Some irregularities with one of the microphones, and I broke a bass string during the second song of the evening, during “Hell Patrol” actually. Fortunately, both problems could be resolved and we’re able to present a virtually perfect Raven concert to our fans.”
This is all the more surprising, as Raven had to overcome a difficult situation in the spring of 2017: Shortly before the start of their US tour their long-standing drummer Joe Hasselvander suffered a heart attack, putting an end to his active music career. After a few temporary replacements, it was quickly decided that Mike Heller (Fear Factory, Malignancy) would be
Raven’s new drummer.
“Mike rocks”, Gallagher enthuses, “for our first performance, we could not rehearse with him because of the tight schedule. We just discussed the songs for 30 minutes and … boom! … he played the set practically without mistakes and he`s a such a breath of fresh air to the band. It’s clear from the way he picks up the pace how much he enjoys being with Raven. In some of his former bands, he was limited in the way he played, with us, he’s completely at liberty to improvise and go crazy!”
This delight in playing is reflected in every single note on “Screaming Murder Death From Above: Live In Aalborg.” Raven expertly combine their own classics with pieces from their newest album “Extermination,” for example “Destroy All Monsters” (Gallagher: “An incredible live song, which we play, like, ten times as fast on stage as in a studio”) or “Tank Treads (The Blood Runs Red)” along with songs we haven’t heard from Raven in many years:
“I believe ‘Hell Patrol’ hasn’t been in one of our set lists in 15 years. The same goes for ‘Hung Drawn & Quartered’ we haven’t played that one in a very long time. It was a lot of fun to come back to those songs again.”
As to the differences between the current “Screaming Murder Death From Above: Live In Aalborg” and earlier Raven live recordings?
“We have of course gotten better and better on a technical level over the years. Also, on “Destroy All Monsters/Live in Japan” (1996), you can clearly hear that I was wrestling with voice issues due to a bout of laryngitis. And if you compare “Screaming Murder Death From Above: Live In Aalborg” with “Live in the Inferno from 1984,” it almost seems as if we had taken sedatives back then”, Gallagher says laughingly and concludes with: “The Aalborg recording matches the energy which Raven is exuding 100 percent. It’s the best representation of us as a live band yet.”
Read our review here.