In a world where there are thousands of bands on numerous streaming and download sites competing for attention, how does a band manage to stand out among the masses? It all comes back to the same thing; that same advice that experienced music industry professionals always give to young bands: The song. Write great songs, and people will notice.
RavenEye is a UK-based rock trio formed in 2014 by guitarist/singer Oli Brown, along with drummer Kev Hickman and bassist Aaron Spiers. Their latest album is Nova, and while the melodic hard rock style isn’t groundbreaking, the songs and Brown’s impassioned vocals separate this from the sea of hard rock bands in the music world.
The opening track, I Wanna Feel You, sets the tone for the album with the soaring vocal melody lines. Again, it’s the song…Brown reaching for the heavens with his voice and guitar, while Spiers and recording drummer Gunnar Olsen provide a perfect counter with their furious backing track.
Walls is a masterpiece of arrangement and production. Complex melodies and unexpected chord changes, unusual effects on the guitar solo, and an irresistible vocal hook in the chorus that showcases Brown’s impossibly high vocal range. Oh My Love flips the table in that it’s Brown’s guitar that takes center stage this time with his Hendrix-like solo (the song ends with guitar feedback fading out, also reminiscent of the cool stuff that Jimi would do on his recordings).
Madeline is a great example of three world-class musicians completely in synch. Listening to this tune, one wonders how many hours Brown, Spiers and Olsen must have spent in rehearsals and preproduction making the musical impossibility a reality.
The final cut on the record is Eternity. It’s a complete departure from the other ten songs in that it starts with a gently-picked acoustic guitar. Given the heavy nature of the rest of the record, one waits for the inevitable electric guitar-fueled power ballad to kick in. And sure enough, at about halfway through the song that’s exactly what happens. Yes, it’s not unique to end a hard rock record with a power ballad—on the contrary, it’s almost mandatory. However, Brown and company do such a great job on the song that it’s a fitting coda to Nova.