Raven, Earthen Grave and more at The Abbey Club (2010)

The Abbey Club (Chicago)

Raven, Earthen Grave, Bible Of The Devil, Stone Magnum, Diamond Plate
DimK: It was Saturday night and RAVEN were in town, so, METAL TEMPLE geared up […]
By Maria Voutiriadou, Dimitris Kontogeorgakos
September 19, 2010

DimK: It was Saturday night and RAVEN were in town, so, METAL TEMPLE geared up to celebrate the British's bands 35 years of Metal. Indeed, this crazy trio has been around for so long and in fact has offered more to the scene than it has been acknowledged from most of the metalheads. But, that night there was a personal celebration, since 20 years ago I watched RAVEN live in Greece at my first Metal concert ever. This was a gig that has been imprinted in my heart for many reasons that are not the subject of this live report.

Having scheduled an interview with the band, we arrived early at The Abbey Pub, a venue that seemed to be just perfect for the occasion. After meeting John Gallagher and talking a little for my RAVEN t-shirt (what a cool guy he is!), we found a convenient place to sit and enjoy the four supporting bands until the mighty RAVEN. Usually, I am not mentioning the ticket prices but, watching 5 bands for 12 euros is a price that simply cannot be left without a comment.

DimK: The first band that got on stage exactly on time was the Chicago based thrashers DIAMOND PLATE. I have watched this trio two years ago and I had been impressed by their young age and the very tight performance. The music is the in-your-face Thrash Metal, following the current trend of the traditional Thrash revival with similar bands like WARBRINGER or MUNICIPAL WASTE using the German recipe with one bass player / singer and one guitarist (of course there was a drummer). Although, DIAMOND PLATE did well as a supporting act I did not notice significant improvements as compared to their appearance two years ago. Ok, the guitar sound very good with killer solos but the songs are nothing that special. I think they need to work more on the composition and come up with something more original. But their on-stage performance did meet all the Thrash standards and that was a success for this young band.

MariaV: Chicago is a small city, really! Two months ago I was at the 'OzzFest' and next to me stood a HALFORD die-hard fan which a couple of minutes before Metal God's appearance began to sing having the same reading and now, there he was, standing on the center of The Abbey Pub's scene as STONE MAGNUM's singer! I mean, wow! I thought that maybe he was a member of a local band but I couldn't imagine that I had the chance to watch them on stage! But the rest belongs to history; STONE MAGNUM is a band from Michigan City, Indiana and knows how a band should look like on stage. The solid and heavy guitar tunes combining with the clear and deep vocals of the frontman who is a shooting star on stage, gives a unique doom and dark combination that makes the difference from so many other doom Metal bands. We had the chance to hear "Rolling Storm", "Pictures Of Your Life" and my favorite "The Fallen Priest" amongst others, in complete contempt of the fact that they had some sonic problems because of the leading mic. But a great band, that's how should get over these: with the inextinguishable thirst for Metal!

DimK: After the very good performance from STONE MAGNUM, it was time for BIBLE OF THE DEVIL who had made me such a good impression with the latest release, "Freedom Metal" of 2008. The Chicago quartet took over the stage and by the gathered metalheads, it became obvious that there was a solid fan-base at the band's hometown. "Judas Ships" opened their setlist with the groovy rhythm that was so fitting for a live performance. Although, the almost MAIDEN-esque double guitars were coming loud clear from the PA system, there was a problem in the vocals that were not that clear. And for this specific Stone genre, the vocals play a crucial role enhancing the melody in the music and cannot be neglected. Nevertheless, this sound situation did not seem to bother the guys in the front lines who had such a pretty nice time with BIBLE OF THE DEVIL. I also did have a nice time with them –despite the low volume of the vocals– especially with the new tracks "Ol' Girl", "Night Oath" and "The Turning Stone".


  1. "Judas Ships"
  2. "Night Oath"
  3. "The Turning Stone"
  4. "Ol' Girl"
  5. "Sepulchre"
  6. "Hijack The Night"
  7. "The Auld Dirt Road"

MariaV: After the indifferent appearance of BIBLE OF THE DEVIL (according to my taste), it was time to enjoy on stage EARTHEN GRAVE, a six-piece, Chicago-based band that would give the baton to the headliners of that long night, RAVEN. Tony Spillman and Jason Muxlow on guitars with the legendary Ron Holzner on bass and the 'machine' Scott Davidson behind drums shared the tiny stage of The Abbey Pub with their frontman, Mark Weiner for almost an hour and they traveled us beyond their music's doom-ness. "Death On The High Seas" was the opening track for EARTHEN GRAVE and immediately understood what this was all about: pure doom melodies mixed with some 'prog' versatility (especially in the rhythm parts) and an unusual voice for this genre that gives the absolute dynamics to every song and just make it unique.

During EARTHEN GRAVE's 55 minutes appearance, some highlight moments were the amazing, hair-rising cover of WITCHFINDER GENERAL's "Burning A Sinner" that also you can find it in their "Dismal Times" Ep and the guest appearance of RAVEN's drummer, Joe Hasselvander that came on stage to join EARTHEN GRAVE in another cover, PENTAGRAM's "Relentless" showing us that doom Metal still flows inside his veins, no matter the 25 years that have been passed since "Relentless" release and headbanged our heads for good. "Fall In" was the final song for that doomy treasure discovery of the night that consists of so many talented musicians who seemed to be very bond and so 'true' on stage. If a band with no album wants to have successful and be noticed, it has to make a good impression in a live set and make the crowd to search for some more. I hope to catch EARTHEN GRAVE pretty soon, especially in some local doom festival or something.


  1. "Death On The High Seas"
  2. "Blood Drunk"
  3. "Beneath A Shovel Load"
  4. "Burning A Sinner"
  5. "Dismal Times"
  6. "Relentless"
  7. "Fall In"

DimK: After the 20 minutes delay during which we watched RAVEN setting up their own gear, the music went down as the NWOBHM legends were getting on stage. Although the attendance was less than I was expecting (shame on you Chicago metalheads) counting less than 80 faces there was a loud reaction and a definitely warm welcome. It seemed that only the die-hard RAVEN fans came that night and that was not bad after all. Without losing time (it was already 15 minutes to 01:00 am) the Gallagher brothers and Joe got in business and hit us with the fast "Take Control". During the interview I noticed that these guys were looking a little bit tired being on the road all this time under the powerful jet-lag effect and wonder whether they could make it on stage. But, their state had nothing to do with the show that we witnessed that night. Leaving aside Joe who had to sit behind his drum kit, John and Mark were 'plugged in' and there was nothing capable to spoil their mood. During our discussion they said that they are still fans and watching them jumping up and down like kids I totally understood their saying!

No pause and RAVEN stepped the gas pedal with the sing along "Live At The Inferno" and "All For One". There was no warming up with the Brits; they hit us right from the start in full speed and it was good that the 30+ audience followed their lead. John was singing and pounding his bass guitar in a constant motion and in perfect harmony with his brother. Mark was sweating over his guitar with his 'athletic rock' attitude (even if the band has nothing to do with this term) having such an honest and happy face that almost brought tears to my eyes. These guys are 100% dedicated to the music giving teaching the young bands how things should be."Now, here is something for the old school fans! Are there any old school fans here?" Of course there were and with question John introduced "Rock Until You Drop" from RAVEN's debut and legendary album.

There was no slowing down in their performance; not even with Mark's insane guitar solo during which John, like a genuine older brother, was standing on the side of the stage watching his brother doing his stuff. Things got heavier with the medley "Speed Of The Reflex" / "Run Silent, Run Deep" / "Mind Over Matter" while my personal favorite "Faster Than The Speed Of Light" was the perfect occasion for some old school headbanging. While listening to this track one can understand RAVEN's contribution to theS peed Metal scene keeping in mind that this track was released in 1982 as the album opener for the excellent "Wiped Out" album. To my satisfaction the gathered metalheads did seem to enjoy the tracks "Breaking You Down", "Bulldozer" and "Long Days Journey" from the latest and killer album "Walk Through Fire" that is die-hard NWOBHM gem released in the 2010!

"For The Future" marked the end of the band's regular setlist that said 'goodnight' and stepped off the small stage of The Abbey Pub. Everyone starting shouting the band's name proving that RAVEN's onstage energy and mood did not go unnoticed and was fully appreciated. So, John returned and picked up his trademark red bass guitar and did a short solo playing with the different pedals showing his passion about music and live performance. Mark and Joe joined him onstage and hit us with an extended version of the "Break The Chain" that also featured a cover song medley comprising parts from Ray Charles, BLACK SABBATH, JUDAS PRIEST among others (there is no way to remember these tracks since I was so pumped up).

So, after 100 minutes of pure energetic Heavy Metal, the mighty RAVEN stepped down thanking everyone for spending that Saturday night with them and inviting everyone for an after-show beer. After all these years, this band shows a genuine respect to the fans by leaving aside the obvious fatigue to meet some people and promote RAVEN. Again, I have to wonder how many young bands are that dedicated to the music and have the strength to do a little more to gain a couple of fans? For the time being I have sadly to answer to myself negatively and throw another rhetoric question to you; what will happen to the Metal scene and to all the fans after bands like RAVEN have retired? I don't want to even imagine…

RAVEN setlist:

  1. "Take Control"
  2. "Live At The Inferno"
  3. "All For One"
  4. "Breaking You Down"
  5. "Rock Until you Drop"
  6. "Speed Of The Reflex" / "Run Silent, Run Deep" / "Mind Over Matter"
  7. "Long Days Journey"
  8. "Faster Than The Speed Of Light"
  9. "Bulldozer"
  10. "On And On"
  11. "For The Future"
  12. "Break The Chain"

(photos by the Crash Bang Wallop)



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