For whoever lived in Rome the experience of the golden age of Heavy Metal, the magnificent decade of the '80s, Bianco's brothers (Chris and Master) Raff represent much more than a simple rock band.
In early 80's Italian major EMI notices them and finances the recording of four tracks. The contract is ready, but the band that refuses to sign, not accepting the fact that the label wants them to sing in italian. They shared the stage with Gillan and especially with Iron Maiden, for whom they open the italian tour dates in Padova and Milan. A picture of the time portrays Bruce Dickinson with a Raff pin on his leather jacket, the same that he wears on the Number of the Beast. By 1983, Raff finally records its first full length, but what seemed to be the right chance to make the band's name known outside of Italy, remains a dream, thanks to the improvised King Steve Records, one of the many fake labels which in those years cut the wings and the hopes of various bands throughout the country. In a certain sense, the beginning of the end starts right then, after the release of an EP, two North-America tours with the Bianco brothers as members of Raw Power, the unforgettable set in 1985 at “One Heavy Day’ with Venom, Exodus and Atom Kraft. Raff came back for the reunion in 2001 opening live for Uriah Heep, jumping right to these days. The everlasting brothers, so disappointed yet so determined, put together a new, fiery reincarnation of Raff in a power-trio version with the ex Tanatos Tony Arcuri, one of the most prepared guitars in Rome, giving life to one of the band's best line ups ever. And when nobody was hoping for it anymore, finally the heart of ‘Gates Of Fortune’, the ghost album of 1983, lives in these songs. Be it clear that this is not a nostalgic exhumation of dusty tapes which are probably completely useless by now, but new recordings. With Chris's vocals and his throbbing bass better than ever, with Master running like the wind on the wings of his famous double pedal, with Tony grinding riffs and solos, of the songs he had learned years back in that cellar, as if there was no tomorrow! At worst, this record will treat you to 40 minutes of great Heavy Metal: but in these tracks there is something more. It's the squaring of a circle, the end of that sense of challenge and revenge. Now we can say it. It was worth waiting thirty years: Raff are back amongst us.
(words by Giovanni Loria / Classix Metal Magazine)
Available on Cd.
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