life’s a bitch
It's been with us ever since they formed. They did, after all, start off with a single entitled "Don't Need Your Money", which sounds a little like your standard hard rock song, hokey and silly, and songs like "Hard Ride" weren't all that aggressive either. But the real gems of this album are of course, the fast and aggressive songs.
The sort of songs that Raven had created that would inspire power, speed, and thrash metal bands, like Metallica among others. We had to go through two albums deprived of those awesome songs and the later of which, we all know, was absolutely disgusting. One of these truly magnificent songs is "Pick Your Window". Just listen to that hyper-fast tempo and that frighteningly aggressive hook! We haven't had that in a while!
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Not only that, but the song's opening riff is a bit more complex as well, consisting of a flurry of notes, much like the song "Read All About It" from their "Wiped Out" album. This proves that Raven has come quite a long way from producing hooks that were lacking in terms of complexity, and that's just how Atlantic Records liked them. My favorite song on here, however, is unique in its own special way.
It then kicks into gear with an aggressive riff intro and then eventually, a fast-paced aggressive song featuring Raven's NWOBHM-style hooks. The chorus and the riff that plays between the two solos of the song are also melodic.
That riff, in particular, having the same melody as the bass riff at the beginning of the song. It's a song that I feel borderlines on power metal, due to its melodic nature and fast tempo. The fact that it's about dogfighting Spitfires in the midst of the Battle of Britain during World War II, a topic that isn't so cliched, makes the song all the more epic. Unfortuneately, they couldn't have done so at a worse time, for this was the late 80's here, a time when most metallers were engrossed in more faster bands, such as Exodus or Slayer, and a few of them are embracing a few new subgenres of metal; death metal and grindcore.
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For obvious reasons, it's a shame that this album got so overlooked when it did. It totally is. Need I say more?
The previous two albums "Stay Hard", and "The Pack Is Back" would have any Raven fans completely dismissing the band as total whores, but thankfully Raven managed to wise-up, realize what they had done was wrong, even flat-out admitted and told the truth about their need for fame and fortune. Now I'm not a drama queen, but if you tell the truth when you know what you did was wrong, I'm very lenient and generous. Thankfully Raven pick-up their instruments and go back to what they were known for and it completely shines through.
It perfectly sits right between the three mentioned genres and thank-fucking-god for guitarist John Gallager because outside of "Wiped Out", this features some of his fastest riffs. Bassist Mark Gallager also managed to get the force and command back in his voice. The album is divided into two different types of songs; speedy-as-fuck NWOBHM-inspired thrash metal and hard-rocking metal tracks that are more mid-tempo that are more in touch with early Raven.
If you're going to listen or even buy this album, it's worth it for the first 3 songs alone. Unfortunately for Raven, even though this was a back-to-basic sound and even some of the heaviest stuff they had written up this point in their career, they were starting to suffer from the fallout of their previous two albums which alienated most of their die-hard NWOBHM fan base and shortly after "Nothing Exceeds Like Excess", they would fall into obscurity in the 90's.
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Raven is one of the many legions of bands in the "shoulda been bigger category" but a decade or more of poor business decisions and bad management have kept this powerhouse of NWOBHM underground even to this day. The bands midcareer release 'Life's a Bitch' is possibly their best, showcasing the bands talent not only as song writers, but as musicians as well.
The guitars are heavy and fast. We, on the other hand, worry about death constantly. Even small children learn very quickly that everyone has to die, even their mums and dads, and even they themselves, and it frightens them. Death, however irrational it may be to fear it, is for most of us a terrifying prospect almost right from the start.
Virtually our whole lives are overshadowed by our own never very far off and always potentially imminent death, the spectre of non-existence, as well as the death of everything and everyone we love and hold dear. If there is anything that defines us as humans, it is the knowledge of our own mortality. Hence, if we hope to transcend our human existence, to become more and other than human, then we will have to find ways to overcome our mortality. In order to become properly posthuman, if that is what we want, we need to realize postmortality.
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