by Ed RivadaviaRaven were considered one of the brightest hopes in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, but bad decisions and musical inconsistency would de-rail their once-promising career, turning the trio into just another small — albeit important — footnote for this important genre. Raven formed in late 70s Newcastle, England by brothers Mark (guitar) and John Gallagher (bass/vocals) along with drummer Rob Wacko Hunter. Signing with independent Neat Records, the trio joined labelmates Venom in laying the groundwork for what would become known as thrash metal by picking up where 70s noisemongers Motorhead had left off. Not as satanically-inclined or downright silly as Venom, Raven were much better musicians and played with the raw energy and reckless power that epitomized the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. As the movement approached its peak in 1981, Raven rode its crest with the self-labeled athletic rock of their album, Rock Until You Drop, still considered a classic of the genre. Subsequent Neat releases — Wiped Out, All for One and Live at the Inferno — werent quite as focused but helped the band solidify their fan-base and attract the attention of Atlantic Records. Unfortunately, signing with the major record company marked the turning point of Ravens fortunes as 1985s disappointing Stay Hard saw the band opting for an overtly commercial direction. Raven gradually relinquished their pop-metal aspirations, but by the time they attempted a full return to their roots with 1988s Nothing Exceeds Like Excess, their momentum had been irretrievably lost, along with drummer Wacko. The group has continued to record throughout the 90s on a variety of independent labels with new drummer Joey Hassewander, without anything close to mainstream success.