CD Review: Raven’s “Party Killers”

Since the late 1980s, I’ve been collecting hard rock and heavy metal CDs.

CD Cover for Raven’s “Party Killers”

“Party Killers,” Raven

Originally released in 2015 by an independent label.

Iron Shield Records, 2021 reissue

There are 11 tracks in total, with a total run time of 36:45 minutes.

Raven’s Party Killers CD was a case in point for me. For a diehard music collector, the most satisfying feeling in the world is when you finally find that last elusive, hard-to-find piece that completes your collection of a particular artist. This cool collection of hard rockin’ cover tunes was released in 2015 as a bonus incentive for those who donated to the Extermination album’s Kickstarter fund raising campaign. I couldn’t participate in the Kickstarter campaign, so I missed out on Party Killers… and having that gap in my otherwise-complete Raven discography had been bothering my collector’s O.C.D. ever since.

This must be how big-game hunters feel after a week in the wild (hah) when they finally catch that big water buffalo! I had given up hope of ever finding a copy of Party Killers in the wild, so I was ecstatic to learn that it was about to be reissued on CD in a limited-edition format by Germany’s Iron Shield Records. Naturally, I ordered a copy from the band as soon as they became available, and when it arrived in my mailbox this week, I did a happy dance.

Of course, the fact that Party Killers is an awesomely obnoxious, balls-to-the-wall, loud ‘n proud listen only adds to the victory!

Cheap Trick’s cover of “He’s a Whore”

The Music

Raven has always enjoyed covering songs; their back catalog has included Raven-ized versions of Sweet (“Hellraiser/Action”), the Spencer Davis Group (“Gimme Some Lovin'”), Thin Lizzy (“The Rocker”), and Montrose (“Space Station #5”) over the years, and when you see them live, the middle section of “Break the Chain” is always set aside for a jam/medley where you might hear bits of Black Sabbath. On Party Killers, the trio (brothers John and Mark Gallagher on bass/vocals and guitars, respectively, and drummer Joe Hasselvander) continue the tradition, ripping through a set of eleven classic tracks by the ’70s hard rock, glam rock, and power pop bands that inspired them to pick up instruments and make noise in the first place… and they are clearly having a blast the entire time!

The Gallagher brothers’ frenzied guitar and bass abuse (along with John’s trademark high-pitched squealing vox) are in fine form throughout, as is the band’s signature high-pitched squealing vox. Raven transforms Status Quo’s “Is There a Better Way” and the Edgar Winter Group’s “Queen of My Dreams” into chugging metal treats, but my personal favorite track on the CD is their killer cover of Nazareth’s “Too Bad So Sad,” whose vocal harmonies have been stuck in my head for days. I was rockin’ out with my metal horns in the air by the time the disc wrapped up with Sweet’s “Cockroach” and David Bowie’s “Hang On to Yourself,” and making a mental note to check out the original versions of some of these songs on YouTube, because clearly I’d been missing out on some cool, classic stuff! The rest of Party Killers featured an intriguing mix of bands and songs that I had heard of but may not have heard before. The scorching rendition of Thin Lizzy’s “Bad Reputation,” as well as the pummeling rendition of Budgie’s “In For The Kill,” are both highlights. I have to admit that I was only familiar with a few of the songs on Party Killers, including Deep Purple’s “Fireball,” Cheap Trick’s snotty “He’s a Whore,” Queen’s “Ogre Battle” (which sounds absolutely massive here!) and Slade’s catchy-as-hell “Tak Me Bak ‘Ome.”

Baby, Shag-a-delic!

To Sum It Up

Obviously, I’ve been having a lot of fun with this album, and any Raven Lunatic who missed out on Party Killers the first time around should get a copy as soon as possible, before they’re all gone!

It is, without a doubt, a killer party! You can learn more about this release at Iron Shield Records, or order a copy directly from the band via their official Facebook page (tell them I said “hi!”). This CD will undoubtedly spend a significant amount of time in my player in the near future.

Leave a Comment