One thing was clear by the end of Raven's set at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn Wednesday night. Namely, that rock and roll will live forever. The nearly forty-year-old band had the crowd wrapped up in their enthusiasm by the end of their first song. Fists pumped, hands clapped, and the converted sang along in unison.
This should come as no surprise, however, since it is Raven and unbridled enthusiasm has long been their trademark. What is surprising is how much boyish enthusiasm they were able to muster for the Brooklyn crowd, alternately goading them and goofing around with each other, just two brothers playfully taking jabs at each other. In some ways, Raven almost seems to be to heavy metal what the Ramones were to punk: the folks who play the music for the fun of it when compared to their more dour peers.
Case in point: Black Anvil, the band that played just before Raven.They played an intense set of blackened death metal. Their set was for the most part viciously pummeling, save for a few moments of dark tranquility, and lead singer punctuated the effect by ending the set by storming off the stage and walking out of the room while guitar feedback was still drenching the crowd. Anything resembling humor or "fun," which the headliners reveled in, was wholly absent.
A mix of both was local band Fantom Warrior, who played their first set in 25 years prior to Black Anvil.
"Twenty-five years of smoldering hatred is about to be released, because 'Your Souls Are Mine,'" declared lead singer/bassist John Chernack. For their part, Fantom Warrior demonstrated that they know how to hammer away at a steamrolling riff before shifting gears into a chugging breakdown. Mostly went over well, save for a couple of awkward tempo changes.
Local band Hypoxia opened for the four bands that played that evening.