Back in the mid-1980's I would buy up anything that was labeled Christian metal. I was hungry for more and more of it, as there really wasn't much to speak of during that era. Pure Metal Records was one of the few that was signing and releasing quality Christian metal at the time. Bands like Bride and Whitecross were some of their early signings. In 1988 Pure Metal released the first Rosanna's Raider's album titled "Calling Down Fire". As with anything the label released, I rushed out to buy a copy. I still have my original vinyl copy of the album. The cover art by Boris Vallejo, who is a famous fantasy illustrator and had done work for bands like Molly Hatchet, Flotsam & Jetsam, among others. As such, I was expecting something very different from what Rosanna's Raiders delivered. Instead of galloping, triumphant heavy metal, Rosanna's Raiders were playing melodic rock. At the time I thought this release to be rather weak and uninspired.
When Retroactive contacted me in 2007 and informed me they were planning on re-releasing these albums, I was a bit surprised, as I really didn't remember them being very good. Truth be told, I hadn't given them a second chance since I had first listened to them in the 1980's so my memory of them was far from positive. However, Retroactive were having a hard time finding a quality scan of the cover art from "Calling Down Fire". I was able to help them out with this. At the same time, I decided to dust off this old record and give it another spin. Much to my surprise, I liked what I was hearing. Rather than being inferior heavy metal, Rosanna's Raiders deliver solid, melodic hard rock with a nod to bands like Heart. Looking back, I think Rosanna's Raiders were marketed incorrectly by Pure Metal Records. Rather than pushing this band to the metal crowd, who were at the time getting into bands like Vengeance Rising, Barren Cross and Stryper, they should have been marketed to fans of bands like Whiteheart, Petra and Heart.
The production isn't quite up to the standards set by a band like Heart or Petra, but considering the small budget of a independent label like Pure Metal and the time this was released, it's certainly not bad either. The band is mostly composed of husband and wife team Dave and Rosanna Palmer. Dave Palmer handles bass and forms a tight rhythm section with drummer Johno Zaffarese. Rosanna Palmer handles the guitar work and vocals. Her vocals are smooth and well executed. She has a beautiful voice that works well with the melodic nature of the music. Lyrically Rosanna's Raiders steer clear of the clichés of the early heavy metal scene as well and deliver simple confessions of faith.
The 2008 Retroactive reissue is a double CD. Disc one contains both of their Pure Metal releases. Disc two contains an album recorded in 1985 that was previously unreleased on CD or vinyl. The additional track, "One Man" was originally recorded for a Steve Rowe/Mortification tribute titled "Modification". It was the only song from that compilation that wasn't a Mortification cover. Rather it is an original Rosanna's Raiders composition dedicated to Steve Rowe.