Just over five years ago, I was sent an EP from Mosh with a note of “This is totally up your street. Check it out.” It was RavenEye’s debut effort, masterminded by Oli Brown – filthy, fuzzy, blues-drenched hard rock and before the opening track had finished, I had a new favourite band. Fast-forward five years and with a couple of changes in drummers, RavenEye have simply refused to let their feet off the accelerator.
While the band have teased the first song from the upcoming second album and Brown oversees his latest solo album coming to fruition, he’s dug out some other work from the vault – the other songs from the sessions which became the Breaking Out EP and put this under his own name. With fresh vocals and remixed, Unreleased is a short and snappy listen, each song with its own identity, much like the initial EP but still hold that essential DNA which would be the basis of RavenEye.
“Miss Leading” is quintessential RavenEye but that could be levelled at each of these tracks; this one really is representative of Brown’s guitar tone and playing for his more rock-orientated work. An absolute beast of an opening riff which rollercoasters throughout the track, it’s an opening salvo which will take you to the peak before a massive, sheer drop. And all the while, it’s coated in filth and grime as it drags you along relentlessly. Its familiar stomping rhythm throughout against the bluesy but gnarly riff powers the song and is revisited on “Coming For You”, the latter sounding akin to “Hey Hey Yeah”.
Elsewhere, “Sticks and Stones” lets the drum work take a more centre stage in the mix with the riff in the back seat as it has a punk tinge with its ferocious nature. There’s still a good helping of fuzz but the guitar work on this number has more teeth than the other two rockier tracks combined. Meanwhile, the solo which closes out the track has that dangerous sheen you’d find on a Use Your Illusions track. “In Over My Head” closes the EP out with its acoustic strains and Americana twanging. It’s a ballsy move to end on such a tame number compared to the other three tracks but it hits every bit as hard and when it’s done right, like it has been here, it simply works.
The fresh vocals and mixing have served the work well to bring the work into 2020. If you’re itching for that new RavenEye album (aren’t we all?), this will more than satisfy your appetite. Much like the initial EP, this shows the breadth of Oli Brown’s guitar prowess and what a rock song can be as well as acting as another great entry point for newcomers.
Unreleased is out now