Thursday, May 25, 2017

Album Review: The Ferrymen - The Ferrymen

Ronnie Romero is the talk of the rock scene right now, since he was selected by Ritchie Blackmore to front the new incarnation of Rainbow. That has put a lot of attention on him, which I will admit I don't quite see. He is a good singer, sure, but the comparisons he has been getting to Ronnie James Dio don't ring true to me at all. And there's the fact that his band, Lords Of Black, haven't made a record I find at all interesting. Why, then, am I so excited about The Ferrymen? That would be because this is the first album in several years written by Magnus Karlsson that isn't a jukebox collection of singers, a way of doing things that all but guarantees I can't enjoy the entirety of a record. Magnus has written countless great songs, and one of my favorite metal records ever (Bob Catley's "Immortal"), so getting to hear him focused on one entity has massive potential.

The album's first track is the first taste we got of the project. "End Of The Road" is classic Karlsson, with chunky riffs, melodic lead guitar, and a hook that slays. It takes a real craftsman to be able to write metal like that, and when he's focused Karlsson is one of the best at it. The fact that he's made a career of tossing off albums like this as though they're nothing is a testament to his abilities. He's made several that would be career highlights for most every band, and several he were projects he never returned to.

Melodic metal, when done right, is the perfect form of music. When I think about what I love in music, it's two things; heavy guitars and huge melodies. That's what The Ferrymen deliver here. Magnus' riffs are simple, but they're plenty heavy to get the blood pumping. The cherry on top of that are the hooks, which are skyscrapers that few writers in any genre can match. In the metal world, it's really only Magnus and Tobias Sammet who have that kind of mastery.

This album also gives a better showcase for Ronnie Romero than anything he's had before. These songs are lively and engaging, which allows me to hear what it is about his voice that has captured the attention of so many. Is he Dio? Of course not. He's not at that level, nor is he as good as Jorn would be (a Magnus written Jorn album is one of my secret desires) here, but he's more than capable of giving these songs what they need. If Ronnie wants to make a name for himself now that he has the Rainbow gig, this project sounds to me like it would make that far more likely than Lords Of Black would.

At a certain point, it doesn't help to go track by track and say the same thing again and again. Let's boil it down like this; The Ferrymen is classic melodic metal like you don't get to hear very often. It's so well-written that it makes most metal these days sound amateurish by comparison. It's a huge sounding record of huge songs, one that could easily prove to be a favorite come the end of the year. "The Ferrymen" is one of the best metal records of the year, and another testament to the power of melodic metal.

1 comment:

  1. If you really like the music, even over just the names, give a second chance to Lords of Black. His second CD is a metal master.