I know it’s a bit of a sorry cliché but generally speaking Milton Keynes isn’t really famous for a great deal. The town is built in a grid system, the football team is doing pretty well and I did a half marathon there last year, in all honesty that is about it. Music wise you’ve got the Milton Keynes bowl which has staged many an awesome gig but once again that’s about it. However, there are 3 men making kick ass rock music trying to change all of that.
The 3 intrepid men in question are Oli Brown (Vocals, guitar) Aaron Spiers (Bass) and Kev Hickman (Drums) and together they make up RavenEye. I must confess that until this EP hit my inbox these guys were a band which were not even close to being on my radar… one spin of Breaking Out later and I’m ready worship at the altar of RavenEye.
The Ep kicks off with title track and lead single Breaking Out. There are some records which break you in gently and slowly climb to a crescendo; this record just punches you straight in the face. The ascending guitar riff which builds up to the hook is a thing of beauty, and a thick rolling, pulsating drumbeat pulls the track through the verses by the scruff of the neck. This isn’t so much of an opening track as a statement. Following track Get It Started surely has to be a hit at live shows, if it isn’t I’m handing in my notepad because I obviously don’t know what I’m talking about. I can just hear the crowds shouting ‘Hey! You!’ in line with the chorus as I type. The guitar solo sounds as if it starts off in a tunnel before roaring and soaring into the daylight. This is probably my favourite track on the EP; it’s just got a bit of everything.
Hey Hey Yeah starts off in grittier fashion with a thumping drumbeat battering a way through the next 3 and a half minutes. I’ve been trying to come up with a band to compare these guys to sound-wise but I’m struggling a bit. I think if you take someone like Shinedown, make them grittier, knock some of that polish off and make them a bit edgier then you wouldn’t be too far away.
I like how the band have plenty of classic rock elements to their music, the music sounds fresh but every now and again you get hints of that classic blues style rock sound that anyone who has ever listened to anything from Slash will know so well. And nowhere is the truer than on penultimate track Runaway. Again this one is all about a monster chorus; this one is for the radio I reckon. The blues influence that I alluded to comes crashing through just past the halfway mark with a Joe Bonamassa tinged guitar solo which gives the song a different feel to anything which has gone before it.
Things close out with You Got It which to put it simply is another banger. The track is a bit heavier than the last couple and is big, plodding and imposing in the best way possible. The guitar work once more is absolutely first class and my God those drums hit so freaking hard! (Feel free to add your own expletive)
And that ladies and gentlemen is how you make a hard rock EP.
The thing that I love about this band is that they’ve got a bit of everything. They can rock a big chorus for the live stage, they can tone it down a little and give you a song tune for the radio and then on the flip side they can kick everything up multiple gears and rock your damn face off with the best of them. Let’s face it you don’t get to support Slash on his upcoming European dates by accident do you?
Breaking Out is a hard rocking, head nodding, air drumming triumph of a hard rock record. This might only be their debut but RavenEye have hit the ball out of the park; I tip my hat to you gentlemen.
Breaking Out is out now
Mon 1st Oslo, Sentrum Scene
Sun 28th Bucharest, Arnele Romane
Thurs 2nd Vienna, Castle Clam
Sat 4th Geneva, Arena Geneva
Sun 5th Nice, Theatre de Verdure