Available as a Japanese-import since last summer (minus the live cuts, replaced by ‘Necessary Evil’), "Walk Through Fire" is the transplanted Brits’ 13th studio effort, accompanied by several Eps and in-concert recordings. The formula has remained fairly constant, yelping bassist John and guitar runs from Mark. ‘Against The Grain’ is a high energy kickoff and the first four songs are fine to these ears. Then comes ‘Bulldozer’, which could be a leftover from "The Pack Is Back" session, very commercial, too commercial for Raven this late in their career. Admire the attempt to branch out, but are they really winning any new audiences in 2010? Only some decent guitar prevents ‘Running Around In Circles’ (with John humming!) from suffering a similar fate. The bluesy begun ‘Long Day’s Journey’ sees the bassist try to sing (Dokken style, minus mini-falsetto) for probably the first time in his life (at least on record). Despite the title, ‘Trainwreck’ and ‘Attitude’ gets things back on a solid (proto-thrash, metal) footing. Mid-way through he reverts to more comfortable (for him at least) territory. More judicious paring of songs, maybe 13 total, would have made the presentation even stronger.
It’s still about the live show, if this gets Raven on the road, which it appears it will, I’m all for that!