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RAGE CAVE – ‘Ride The Rhino’


Rage Cave Album Cover


‘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’












Rage Cave band photo

RAGE CAVE (from top): Kieron Shore (bass), Zak Eyrolles (drums), Max Jeffries (vocals/guitar)


Towards the end of 2016, Stoke-on-Trent outfit Rage Cave emerged with a self-titled debut EP.

The release immediately got positive reviews, with many loving the band’s hard rock sound, containing elements of metal, funk, blues and punk.

Now, in the first month of 2018, vocalist/guitarist Max Jeffries and drummer Zak Eyrolles, along with new bassist Kieron Shore, are preparing to unleash their first album, ‘Ride The Rhino’.

Max went into more detail about how their forthcoming offering was put together, as well as what can be expected from it.

How did the initial idea for your debut album come about?

The idea of the album stemmed from Kieron stepping in on bass after Justin’s departure. Me and Zak thought that we needed to make a statement and show people what the new line-up is about.

We wanted to take a more professional approach with the album as opposed to our previous EP and we recorded it over six days. We just wanted a more mature sound to come across and blow the old EP away, as we don’t think it did us justice.

From where did the title ‘Ride The Rhino’ come about?

The title of the album originated when we played a festival in the Peak District called Rec Rock. It’s a family-orientated festival that was really fun to play – we stayed the full weekend.

On site, there was a massive resin-build rhino statue (the mascot of the festival) and we got Zak to crawl all over it and we took a few photos – one of which Zak decided to ride the thing like a horse. Zak mentioned we should call a song ‘Ride The Rhino’, and it ended up as the album title!

How was the recording process?

The recording process of the album was one of the best experiences as a band we’ve had yet. We had enough time to make something that we were completely happy with, as opposed to something we were indifferent about.

Tom from Riff Factory was a really nice guy and helped in every way possible and has produced what we think is a great record with us!

How would you describe the album, both lyrically and musically?

The album is a compilation of different styles bouncing off each other and blending together. We think it makes the album very unique in that it is influenced by such a wide array of music.

For me personally, Annihilator were a big influence for me going into this record, as I discovered them at Bloodstock Festival last year. I loved them. I couldn’t get enough, and had been listening to them solidly for months by the time we recorded the album. A little bit of them couldn’t help but seep into the album!

Kieron describes the album as “Balls to the fucking wall, from front to back!

How is ‘Ride The Rhino’ different to your self-titled debut EP?

The album is so different to the EP, mainly because of the timescale we recorded it in. We were able to really take our time over every section, and we were able to make our musical vision a reality! Massive credit to Tom here!

We found we were also able to write things on the spot as well that made the tracks even better. For example, the intro to the title track was recorded on the last day in the studio! Very spur-of-the-moment – but well worth it!

Since the EP came out towards the end of 2016, Justin Miller, the band’s original bassist, has left. What were the reasons behind his departure?

Justin had to leave the band due to some personal issues he was having, but there was no bad blood at all!

You now have a new bassist, Kieron Shore. How has he fitted in with you and Zak?

Kieron was a friend before our bass player that me and Zak had known for years! Zak recognised his talent on the bass before me, as I only knew about his guitar playing from our GCSE music class. Zak told me straight away when we learned that Kieron wanted to join.

He’s added a lot of flare to the music, and we have gelled very well together. He takes a lot of care in crafting his basslines and is an outstanding bassist! Some of the bass tracks on this record are insane!

Will the band be playing some live shows to support the release?

We will be appearing on 6 Towns Radio on the 25th January for a live performance and a chat about the album. We’ll also be appearing at The Underground in Hanley in a ‘Metal To The Masses’ heat in hopes of playing this year’s Bloodstock Festival.

Apart from that, there’s not much else we can tell you at the moment about gigs, but plenty more will be added, some we can’t announce yet!

What have you got planned for the rest of 2018?

Our plans for 2018 are to keep writing more and more music and to keep Rage Cave alive and well. We hope to be playing more kick-ass venues, bigger shows and partying harder! We couldn’t be more proud of how our 2017 turned out, but most importantly the record – RIDE THE RHINO!

Rage Cave Album Cover










RAGE CAVE – The Freebird, Newcastle-under-Lyme, 11/11/2016

SUPPORT: Filth, The Skirr, Lost Notes




The Staffordshire settlement of Newcastle-under-Lyme played host to fledging local rock trio Rage Cave, who were in town to promote their recently released self-titled debut EP.

In support, there were three other Potteries outfits who also look to have bright futures ahead of them.

Therefore, it was no surprise to hear that tickets had sold out prior to the gig.

Having supposed to commence proceedings at half past seven, a lengthy delay (caused by the late arrival of the sound technician) meant that things didn’t properly kick off until an hour and a half later.

However, immediately from the moment the first guitar string was plucked, courtesy of female-fronted alternative rockers Lost Notes, it was clear that it had been well worth the extended wait.

The intimacy of the venue enabled the bands to engage freely with the crowd, who quickly got into the swing of things, snapping up the free car stickers provided by indie rock ‘n’ rollers The Skirr and seeming to genuinely enjoy the high quality of music on offer.

Psychedelic rock four-piece Filth seemed to be just at home playing in the mosh-friendly environment as they were when I saw them at the more indie-oriented The Exchange in Hanley a few months back, and got just as enthusiastic a reception.


It was then finally time for Rage Cave to take to the stage, and they couldn’t have wished for a better debut headline set, playing with the confidence and energy of a group with many more years of experience, and no doubt enjoying a boost from the atmosphere, which was probably one of the most vibrant I had ever experienced at a gig.


I think that Rage Cave are a band to keep an eye out for in the future, if they can play sets like the one I witnessed, with the crowd singing along to the rallying vocals of frontman Max Jeffries, when they are barely out of school, then it will definitely be interesting to see what their gigs will be like when they all reach their mid twenties.









RAGE CAVE – ‘Rage Cave’ (4/5)



‘Rage Cave’ is the self-titled debut EP from the emerging Stoke-on-Trent rock trio.

This release has been eagerly anticipated by those who have seen their live sets, which have got stronger with each performance.

There were questions about whether they could translate the essence of this on to a record.

However, the good news is that they have comfortably succeeded.

Listening to the EP, it is clear the band specialise in a sound that seems to be heavily influenced by the works of such classic groups as Black Sabbath, but with a contemporary edge at the same time.

The hooky guitar solos of frontman Max Jeffries are the centrepiece, being heavy, progressive at times and infectious.

Coupled with the vocals, it results in some well put together compositions that linger in your mind for quite a while after listening.

On some of the tracks, they also show that they are certainly not afraid to experiment a little.

For example, ‘Stop, Go’ begins with a guitar riff being played at breakneck speed and the band chanting the title of the song, it’s rather punk-esque.

Credit must be given to them, as you can tell that they have put a lot of hard work and effort into making ‘Rage Cave’ a very solid debut, and based on this, it can be said that they can only get better from here.

TOP TRACK: ‘Devil’s Advocate’





Rage Cave interview photo


Rage Cave are a metal band from Stoke-on-Trent, comprising of Max Jefferies on vocals and guitar, Justin Miller as the bassist and Zak Eyrolles on drums.

Having only got together towards the end of last year and playing their first gig a few weeks back, where they were given a good reception at local rock venue The Underground, it seems the fledging group, with their diversely-influenced sound, have a bright future.

I recently chatted to them about what lies ahead.

How did the band first get together?

JUSTIN MILLER (BASS): Me and Zak used to hang around jamming at a studio in Stoke called Star Trek, which is run by a mate of my dad’s.

We began looking for a guitar player and one day, Max turned up.

MAX JEFFERIES (VOCALS/GUITAR): We all used to go to the same school.

I knew Justin had been playing music for a few years, didn’t know that
Zak had been playing the drums for ages and we got together that way.

We initially had a singer, but he never showed.

JUSTIN: He turned out to be a bit rubbish anyway.

MAX: So I had a crack on vocals and it stayed that way.

How did the name Rage Cave come about?

JUSTIN: I was in a band before called The Carriers and when we were thinking of band names, Rage Cave came up.

I thought that sounded cool, so I brought the name with me.

MAX: It kind of goes with what we’re trying to do to be fair.

ZAK EYROLLES (DRUMS): We’re upbeat. We don’t really have that many songs at the moment, even though we do have Secular Sabbath.

MAX: A slowish one yeah. I don’t play guitar on that one, I’m just singing.

It’s a slow part of our set.

How would you describe your music?

MAX: You can kind of say it’s rock. From there, I don’t really know.

JUSTIN: It branches off a little, doesn’t it?

There’s some funk influences there.

MAX: Also Jane’s Addiction, Primus, that sort of thing.

ZAK: Sort of like punk rock, isn’t it?

MAX: The bassist from one of the bands we played with, Lovesick for Mina, said we were quite punky.

It’s kind of straightforward, but there’s also a lot going on at the same time.

How did you get the gig at The Underground?

MAX: I got in contact with Dominic Webber, who’s one of the booking people there.

He told us there was a vacant support slot for a gig headlined by Silverchild, and we just basically said “Yeah”.

ZAK: At the moment, Max is basically the manager.

MAX: Yeah, going on social media etc…

ZAK: He’s getting us all the gigs to be fair.

How long have you all been together?

MAX: We only got together around December, January. Since then, we’ve been practising once a week, for about four, five hours.

During the gig at the Underground, Max’s guitar string snapped. That must have dented your confidence a bit, what with it being your first gig.

MAX: Yeah, it was pretty appalling, and it happened just when we were really getting into it.

ZAK: To be fair, I don’t think a lot of people noticed.

MAX: I think it ruined it for me rather than for others, because as Zak just said, nobody really noticed.

For our next gig, we’ll be much better prepared.

We’ll be playing at The Full Moon, a pub in Newcastle-under-Lyme, supporting a band called Chokehold, which Justin’s dad is a member of.

With the recent European Union referendum resulting in the UK deciding to leave the EU, can you see it affecting the British music industry in any way?

MAX: I think it will in terms of British bands touring Europe.

It’ll definitely be more expensive and more difficult.

It will be more of a nightmare for musicians to come here from overseas, what with visas, work permits etc…

Is it an aim for you to tour Europe one day then?

MAX: Yeah, definitely. Europe more than America really, because they seem to have better crowds, especially in places like Norway and Sweden.

Also, the audiences over there seem to be more dedicated.

What bands/artists are you inspired by?

MAX: I like listening to a lot of stuff. At the moment, I’m listening to a lot of Blink-182, Twenty One Pilots and everything.

I’m also into prog a lot, I went to the Techfest warm-up gig recently, and I like instrumental music, so I try to keep some of that feel in my solos, but it’s very difficult with just one guitarist to try and do that kind of stuff, because the harmonious lead doesn’t really work in a one guitar scenario.

JUSTIN: I listen to a bit of everything. Jazz, funk, that’s what I listen to in my spare time, but it’s not the kind of music I play in the band.

I just love music, to be honest.

ZAK: I don’t really have a specific musical taste. I like all music really, put any radio on and I’ll listen to whatever music’s on it.

MAX: We just collate it all into one thing really.

ZAK: It isn’t about musical taste really. We just see what’s the best fit for our songs.

We all had ideas for riffs before the band started, so we brought them in and put them all together into songs.

MAX: Rather than have just one idea at practice and try and put it all together, we like the idea of jarring it all together.

In a few of our songs, there are jarring differences in certain parts.

We kind of like that, because it represents all of us rather than as individuals.

You’re from the Potteries. What’s your view of the local music scene?

MAX: It’s pretty good really. At the moment, there’s a few bands around that are quite good.

Sertraline, the band we’re supporting when we play at The Sugarmill in August, they’ve been on a massive tour of places like Manchester and Birmingham and now they’re returning to Stoke.

There’s a few other local bands, like Psyence, which we saw at the Lymelight festival a few months back, they’re really, really good.

There seems to be a lot of indie bands as well that I don’t listen to myself, but it’s good to see so much music coming out of Stoke at the moment, because it’s not really a place you would normally associate as being known for music.

In terms of songwriting, is it a group effort or is it down to just one or two of you?

MAX: It’s mainly me and Justin.

ZAK: Yeah, they usually come up with a melody and rhythm, and I’ll add a drum beat to it.

MAX: Zak will sometimes chip in, telling us “It’ll sound better like this, it’ll sound better like that.”

But it’s me and Justin who come up with most of the ideas.

It’s not often we’ll write an entire song in one go.

ZAK: It’s usually a three-week progress.

MAX: Three or four practices and then we’ve kind of got a base for a song.

ZAK: In the first week, we’ll bring our ideas, see what works, what doesn’t.

Second week, someone will bring in ideas for lyrics.

Then in the third week, we polish it all up, see how it works.

JUSTIN: I’m all about the breakdowns, me!

MAX: Yeah, you’re good at them! They’re not as in metal breakdowns, where it’s all chuggy.

We do have a song like that, but the rest are all like, you slap a lot in the breakdowns, and I try to keep up what he’s playing, because he’s really, really good with the bass.

JUSTIN: I make some complicated riffs. I sit there and I’m like “how can I make this more complicated?”

Have you got anything lined up for the near future?

MAX: We’d like to something out by the end of this year definitely.

Whether it’s all the songs we’ve written so far or not will be an economical thing, whether we can afford to record them all.

JUSTIN: We’ll try and do as many as we can.

Personally, I’d rather wait until mid next year and then release an eight track EP, rather than do a four track EP out this year.

MAX: Yeah, it’ll probably end up with something like that, and we’ll want to get the best recording we can, because there’s no point half-arsing it.

ZAK: If we do it for mid next year, as Justin said, it’ll give us more time to polish it all up and make everything sound the best it can.

What’s the long-term aim for Rage Cave?

MAX: Personally, I’d like to go on tour around the UK, that’s kind of a minimum really.

That is where I would feel successful, as it were, like I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do, and I can probably see us do that in the next year or so, going round pubs and clubs playing gigs.

I’d be happy with that, but I think everyone’s ultimate goal is to get to Europe,  then maybe America, play academies, then arenas whatever.