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Now the PACK is really BACK - 100%

Metal_Thrasher90, April 16th, 2009

The clearly anti-commercial album title says it all: no more synth guitars, pop metal leanings, horn section, bubble gum and everything else about "The Pack Is Back", fortunately the short Raven commercial era is definitively over. They were dropped from the big label Atlantic, and that's the best that could have ever happened to the band. There would be no more pressure from that record company, which was obsessed with massive album sales, radio hits and money-maker artists. Atlantic didn't care about the quality of the music obviously, otherwise they wouldn't have kicked Raven out, because "Stay Hard" or the "Mad Ep" were really honest metal releases. Anyway, it didn't take so long to the band to realize the commercial way was the wrong path for a metal band. Unfortunately, other band such as their NWOBHm mates Saxon would be playing commercial cheesy stuff by the early 90's (no comments about Def Leppard...). But back in 1987, "Life's A Bitch" along with Anthrax, Running Wild, Exodus or Sodom's records, among others, would make that year a great one for metal.

The stuff here it's raw, fast and powerful. "The Savage And The Hungry", "Fuel To The Fire", "Only The Strong Survive" or "Playing With The Razor" are from the finest stuff Raven has ever recorded, and I would definitively put those ones in the same level as their first 3 album masterpieces. The killer speed metal sound filled with aggression and music ability is back, and the lyrics also became harder, listen to "You're A Liar", "Never Forgive" or the title track ("...I feel like telling the world to fuck off!!!"). On other hand, the songs are still catchy, specially "Pick Your Window" and "Overload", but not commercial at all, that's one of the differences with "Stay Hard". Also the production by Chris Isca and Raven themselves is not commercial focused, something that makes the sound more heavy and tough. And obviously I highlight the remarkable work of the Athletic Rock metallers: guitar virtuoso Mark Gallagher, killer drummer Rob "Wacko" Hunter and, of course, John Gallagher's still crazy and hyperactive vocal style (whose screams inspired thrash vocalists such as Tom Araya by the early 80's).

The remastered version includes two bonus tracks, "Finger On The Trigger" and " Speed Of The Reflex", this last one from the "Mad Ep" and one of the best songs that Raven had recorded while they were with Atlantic Records which also show that their sound started to change into their original amazing metal sound. It's absolutely shameful that a metal masterpiece like the "Life's A Bitch" '98 CD reissue would be so hard to find, I hope someday that will change, not only with this album.

So if you're a 80's METAL maniac or just a NWOBHM or thrash collector, this album can't be missed in your collection.