REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
‘Ride The Rhino’ is the debut album from Stoke-on-Trent hard rock trio Rage Cave.
Since the release of their self-titled debut EP towards the end of 2016, the band have formed a reputation locally for being a strong live outfit, and when they kindly sent me an advance copy, I wondered, “Can they capture the essence of this on a record?”
Well, the answer to that, judging by listening to their new offering, is “Yes“.
They enhance the strengths of the EP, the uncomplicated lyrics, the anthemic choruses, and big, lengthy guitar riffs, while at the same time, improving on what fell slightly short of the mark.
The vocal delivery of Max Jeffries, at times, was dwarfed by the music, and the high notes tended to be a struggle for him, but this time, he does a much better job of making sure those who have yet to see the outfit live know just how robust his singing can be.
The Potteries three-piece have also decided to revisit what were the two best tracks of the EP, ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and ‘Secular Sabbath’, and find ways in which to improve on them.
They are successful in achieving this, the songs, instead of sticking out like a sore thumb, fit in well with the new material, which sees them become more adventurous in regards to their sound.
A major example of this is ‘Neanderthal’, a track which is split into three parts. The first section, subtitled with the band’s name, is a rather bluesy and Black Sabbath-esque, whereas the third piece, ‘Kill To Live’, is done at a more accelerated speed, and takes more of an Iron Maiden influence.
The middle part, ‘Space Haze’, acts as an effective instrumental join between the two, really giving Max and drummer Zak Eyrolles a chance to show how much progress they have made musically, and new bassist Kieron Shore an opportunity in which to introduce himself with some funky basslines.
However, the best is saved until last with the title track.
While holding on to the key components of their sound, the band show off just how versatile they can be, with a pounding djembe beat at the beginning, and spoken word and chanting akin to that of an African tribe prioritised ahead of the usual vocal harmonies.
Even though the EP was a good listen, ‘Ride The Rhino’ sees Rage Cave move up to another level, better able to blend their individual musical talents and diverse influences into a coherent sound that is a more fitting representation of the trio’s powerful live performances.
TOP TRACK: ‘Ride The Rhino’
FIND OUT HOW RAGE CAVE PUT TOGETHER ‘RIDE THE RHINO’ HERE.