Dave’s (Decibel Geek’s Man in Japan) #1 Album of 2016: RavenEye – Nova
With the first notes of Nova’s opening track “Wanna Feel You”, I didn’t realize how much of Grunge I actually missed. The crunchy riff, vocals reminiscent of Chris Cornell, and a grinding beat throughout, it brought me way back. But this isn’t early 90’s Grunge, this is 2016 (well, it was when it was released), and the sound has been updated.
In fact, RavenEye has a variety of styles on Nova, as their influences range from Grunge to more modern bands. “Hero” sounds like it could have come from the Foofighters, with a very catchy chorus and a heavy breakdown in the middle. “Walls” makes them sound like a male-led Halestorm, including the requisite screams. And the sort-of title track, “Supernova” is a brooding epic that could have come from Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds to Mars. The tracks are all quite different, too, ranging from compact 3-minute songs to 6-minute indulgences, each of them bringing something new to the sound.
What stands out for me are the solid, heavy sounds from the guitars, especially considering the band is only a trio. Formed in Milton Keynes, UK, bassist Aaron Spiers (from Australia) and lead guitar/vocalist Oli Brown create an ambitious and complex sound that is nicely filled in on drums by session drummer Gunnar Olsen, who replaced original drummer Kev Hickman just before they went into the studio. Brown is a blues guitarist, and it comes through, especially on his solos. The solos on “Oh My Love” and “Wanna Feel You” are particularly bluesy. And drummer Olsen is just as versatile, blending loud, complicated beats with bluesy fills and the occasional straightforward metal bashing. Drummer Adam Breeze took over touring duties in August 2016.
For those of you leaving Miami next week on the Shiprocked cruise, I urge you to go see them. But considering since 2015, they’ve toured through Europe with Joe Satriani, Zodiac, Blues Pills and Slash before the Maximus Festival in South America and headlining last November on a tour through the UK, there’s a good chance they’ll be near you in 2017. I’m hoping for a Japan tour before the summer!