Raven was formed in 1974 in Newcastle, England, by brothers John Gallagher and Mark Gallagher and Paul Bowden.
Raven began creating a sound which was rooted in British hard rock, with progressive rock tendencies, and a willingness to take musical chances. The band’s highly-energized live show and interaction between band members developed an image and style of play-the-band, described as “athletic”. They began wearing guards, helmets, and plates from various sports (hockey, baseball, etc…), and incorporating them into the playing of their instruments (for instance, elbow pads and hockey masks were used to strike cymbals for a unique performance angle).
They also opened for punk bands the Stranglers and the Motors.
Eventually, the band signed with Neat Records, the legendary, low-budget metal label of the North. They released Rock Until You Drop in 1981, and Wiped Out in 1982, making an impressive showing on the UK charts at the time.
Sufficient noise was made for the American market to take notice and New Jersey’s Megaforce Records signed them, issuing their next recording in the States as All for One in 1983. The band came stateside in 1983, and toured extensively with Megaforce bands Metallica and Anthrax, both of whom would gain a place of prominence in the growing thrash metal movement.
Manager/Megaforce founder Johnny Zazula believed that Raven was major-label material, and kept them touring constantly until the big labels noticed. The infamous Live at the Inferno recording, released in 1984, was a product of one of those tours. Atlantic Records signed Raven to a worldwide contract after a minor bidding war (major label contracts would follow for Metallica and Anthrax in the following year). The band moved its permanent base from Newcastle to New York.
Stay Hard was released in 1985, and proved a minor hit on the strength of single/video “On and On”. The Atlantic years proved to be less than stellar for the band. A drastic shift in a more commercial direction came at the label’s behest, with many die-hard fans being alienated by the slick, lightweight production of The Pack Is Back. However, the band recorded two more studio albums and the Mad EP before leaving Atlantic.
After the tour for Life’s a Bitch, Rob “Wacko” Hunter left the band in late 1987 to spend more time with his new wife and family. He would later pursue a career in audio production and engineering, eventually working with jazz greats Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr..
Virginian Joe Hasselvander (ex-Pentagram) joined as drummer in late 1987, and the band dropped the outlandish image for a more conventional denim-and-leather look for their 1988 release Nothing Exceeds Like Excess. After, the advent of grunge and the dissolution of their record label Combat Records led the band to concentrate on continental Europe and Japan, where they retained more of a following.
The band recorded and toured until 2001, when a wall collapsed on guitarist Mark Gallagher, crushing his legs. Raven went on hiatus for nearly 5 years, from 2001–2006, while the guitarist rehabilitated, though Raven never officially disbanded.
Raven came back on th elive front playing European festivals in 2005/2006 and started work on the album “Walk Through Fire”which was released on 2010 to both critical & fan acclaim. The band consolidated on this success playing in Europe, Japan, and South America. In 2015 the band released “Extermination” and recieved even better reviews & acclaim.
In 2017 Joe Hasselvander suffered a serious heart attack and had to bow out of the band….new drummer Mike Heller came on board in June 2017….the band played over 100 gigs in 2017 including a US tour..Euro headlining dates and as special guests on the Dirkschneider European tour.. In 2018 the band has been hard at work on a new album, did a Euro headline tour and opened on the Saxon European tour.