By Mike Delano
If you’re writing about metal in 2015, you’ve gotta roll your sleeves up and do a little bit of digging into the myriad subgenres that exist today, from deathcore to progressive tech death to shoegazing black metal — you know, all the stuff you don’t really care about, but hey, you wanna be up to date on what the kids are up to. Some of the new stuff is good, some is shitty, and mostly it’s just cool to have so many different styles keeping the Sabbath dream alive in one form or another. But every now and then, when your brain has been fried by so many far-out variants, it’s great to have some old-school capital-H-capital-M, Heavy Metal kick you in the head. It busts you out of your funk with, say, the force of a giant mad scientist shoving a glowing neon syringe into the surface of the planet earth (check out that album cover). Raven‘s new album ExtermiNation does just that, and if any band can trace back the roots of metal and wring some fresh sounds out of its origin, then it’s these NWOBHM veterans (40+ years and counting). The whole record sounds lively and pure, from a riotous alien invasion scenario in “Destroy All Monsters” to an anti-conformist fist-pumper in “It’s Not What You’ve Got” and a dozen other battle anthems thrown in for good measure. Youth is overrated — let these old-timers show you how it’s done.