The Rebel –  Ravenscroft (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Rebel_Cover_2.jpgHaving teased us with a couple of releases from this ep, Ravenscroft now unleash the full package, and as expected it just bristles with their trademark classic rock infused sound. Over six songs  it is the perfect mission statement for a band that knows its place in music history, know where they are coming from but are more concerned with where they are going. It is a sound which matched classic rock moves with more modern alt-rock swagger and it also shows sides to them that we haven’t seen before.

Denomination kicks off the ep and this opening salvo of brutal beats and razor edged riffs pretty much tells you what sort of  world you are entering here. Theirs is a world of big ideas made into big music, hard and heavy music, music that balances melody and menace, brims with attitude and grim determination. But, they also prove that they are not a one trick pony as the inclusion of My Dearest One shows, a dexterous power ballad that builds from gentle acoustic precision into a full blown stadium rock work out of the sort that people don’t seem to write any more and this more than addresses that issue.

But for the most part, Ravenscroft are about the grit and the growl, no nonsense, straight down the line rock. Classic rock, hard rock, metal, rock…music…call it what you will but we can all agree that we are in familiar territory here. Not that it is a problem, not everything is about kicking down the barriers and exploring new pastures, some of it is about diving for pearls in familiar waters. And that is just what Ravenscroft is  all about.

Stand Up is an aggressive call to arms, The Chase is a white hot slice of melodic metal, one that doesn’t compromise on wonderful sonic detail and infectious groove but still falls on you like a ton of bricks and the title track is the perfect fist in the air anthem that will unite old fans and new followers alike. This sort of music is done often, too often really, but it is often not done well. That then is the bands selling point for whilst they are clearly playing with familiarity and comfort zones here and wearing their references very openly on their sleeve tattooed arms (presumably, I haven’t checked) they do it much better than most.

Sometimes it is enough just to re-invent the wheel especially if the wheel in question allows you to open up the throttle and take a white-knuckle joyride through the side streets and alleyways of the history of rock before unashamedly heading down the highway to follow in the tyre marks of previous iconic musical suicide machines. Or something…I’m not great with analogy.

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Scene and Heard – CCLVIII : Stand Up –  Ravenscroft (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

14600896_1296781740355796_6550012455315656484_nRavenscroft continue with their mission to keep rock music, especially that infused by its classic halcyon past, relevant to modern audiences. Not always an easy thing to do with the fickle finger of fashion constantly causing scenes to evolve and move on at an alarming rate, when the short attention span of the modern age and the sheer ridiculousness of the amount of music being made these days conspires against you. But Ravenscroft has one thing on its side. Heritage! Although they are certainly creating highly original music, it wears its influences openly like badges on a fading and ripped denim jacket for all to see. Badges that sign post everything from raw 70’s classicism, 80’s stadium sky-scraping, 90’s grunge and the alt-rock of modern times.

But those are just generic labels, more designed for us journalists than of any real concern to the musicians making the music it aims to describe. Call it what you will but we can all agree that we are in familiar territory here. Not that it is a problem, not everything is about kicking down the barriers and exploring new pastures, some of it is about diving for pearls in familiar waters. And that is just what Ravenscroft is all about.

This sort of music is done often, too often you might argue, but it is often not done well. That then is the band’s selling point for whilst they are clearly playing with familiarity and comfort zones, albeit it edgy, spiky and fairly uncomfortable comfort zones…as comfort zones go…they do it much better than most.

A bluesy Zeppelin edge shows through in the shifting dynamics they employ but for the most part they are a full throttle, hard-edged rock onslaught that joins dots between the likes of The Almighty’s uncompromising sound and Soundgarden’s low slung swagger, The Cult’s knowingly wonderful foot on the monitor clichés and a whole host of other sounds from nu-metal to New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

Sometimes it is enough just to re-invent the wheel especially if the wheel in question allows you to then open up the throttle and take a white-knuckle joyride through the side streets and alleyways of the history of rock before unashamedly heading down the highway to follow in the tyre marks of previous iconic suicide machines. Or something…I’m not great with analogy.

Ravenscroft might not change your life, but it might just remind you why you fell in love with rock music in the first place!

The Chase –  Ravenscroft (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

26167178_1768942353139730_8000212857095794170_nTrying to be cutting edge musically is a fine thing to aim for but neither is there anything wrong with sticking to comfort zones, both are necessary elements to the music scene as a whole. The reality though is that whilst the former are off conducting brave genre splicing experiments to varying degrees of success, the latter playing it safe but not really bringing anything new to the table, the most interesting music is being forged in the middle ground. Between the safety net of established rock classicism and the forward thrust of the alt-, the nu-, the post-, genres, the perfect blends of old and new sound are being shaped into great music. It is here that you find Ravenscroft.

Ahead of their soon to be released EP The Rebel, two songs which define their sonic boundaries have been unleashed upon the unsuspecting masses, a calling card for what is to follow. The Chase is a wonderful slice of hard grooving classic rock re-imagined through a nu-metal lens and then pushed even further into the here and now to create a sound which it would be hard to imagine not finding favour with any rock fan. It is big, brutal and thunderous, back beats pound, bass lines throb and salvos of white hot, jagged guitar riffs form the perfect sound clash whilst battle cry vocals lead it all into the music fray. Denim clad old schoolers, dystopian nu-metallers, anti-fashion grungers and alt-rock warriors alike are going to be right behind it.

The flip of the coin comes from My Dearest One, a stadium ballad, a slow burning vibe, a growing dynamic and a crescendoed pay off, yes, it’s been done before, but rarely this classily, swerving the schmaltz and obvious heartstring tugging and instead finally delivering a power ballad that it is okay to like. Now that is something new.

Rock is going through some tough times. Either it is being diluted for commercial gain or brutalised into testosterone driven noise-fests beloved of impressionable teens but with little traction in the mature market. For this reason more and more people are looking to past glories to feed their rock needs, Ravenscroft give as a reason to be excited about the future again, and for that I thank them.

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