By Casey Lazar
Black Raven Records is a record shop in Quadra Village that’s owned and operated by members of the anarchist metal band Iskra, as well as some volunteers throughout the community. It specializes in underground punk and metal records that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Originally a distributer that would set up at local shows, Black Raven has served the extreme music community for almost a decade.
As a metal head, I’m used to going into a record store and browsing through a small metal section that consists of things like Kiss, AC/DC, or if I’m lucky, re-issued Iron Maiden albums. Black Raven is very different from other record stores. When I first walked in, I was shocked, and slightly overwhelmed by how much music there was that actually interested me. Like most record stores, Black Raven does have a punk and a metal section, but at Black Raven, they are the majority of the store. Black Raven has a metal section that must be at least twenty times as large as any other record store in the city. Although the majority of Black Raven’s stock is vinyl, they also carry a vast number of CDs, cassettes, books, and other things like patches and studs to adorn your jacket with.
It’s not just the size of the selection at Black Raven that’s impressive; the contents are just as amazing. While you might find a Kiss or AC/DC album in the bargain bin, their main racks consist of things like Darkthrone, Doom, or Hellhammer. Also, you won’t just find a Hell Hammer album – you’ll find a limited edition, glow-in-the-dark German fan club pressing of a Hell Hammer album. Black Raven has some of the rarest albums I’ve ever found, online sources included. If you’re a collector, it can be quite dangerous. Although everything is fairly priced, it’s hard to walk out of the store with only a record or two.
Black Raven records is more than just a record store; It is a community gathering point as well. Wolf, Iskra’s guitarist and one of the people that run the shop, says that Black Raven “has functioned as a meeting place for musicians, visitors, and people who have just moved to the city.” He says that “the social aspect of the shop is very important, and as we hope to move to a larger space soon, we will be able to provide more space for this.” Black Raven also books shows, and serves as a record label, putting out releases from local bands, as well as bands from all over the world.
Black Raven Records is located at 2608 Quadra Street. If you’re interested in metal, punk, grindcore, or underground music and culture, definitely pay them a visit.