THE FERRYMEN – The Ferrymen

Hand on heart, how many out there is starting to think that all the “supergroup” projects is getting old? Like enough already? Well, I sure am. Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few of them out there that are really good but enough is enough, kind of. Maybe this wasn’t the most positive way to start a review of an album but when I heard about the new project The Ferrymen – featuring lead singer Ronnie Romero (Lords Of Black, Rainbow), guitarist Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear, Free Fall, Allen-Lande) and drummer Mike Terrana (Yngwie Malmsteen, Axel Rudi Pell, Beau Nasty) – my first thought was ‘Oh dear, not another one of those…”. Nothing against the musicians, they’re all at the top of their game, it’s just that it is starting to become rough to separate them all. Still, there was something about this project that made me interested anyway, when I had gotten used to the thought of yet another supergroup coming our way. Ronnie Romero is a guy I’m very curious of – because of his Ritchie Blackmore connection, of course. Romero’s band Lords Of Black failed to impress me much, too much power metal for my taste, so I was hoping that with Karlsson involved, maybe this would go in the footprints of, say, Allen-Lande – a project I really like. Romero has a killer voice and since I have heard very little of him in Rainbow, I want to hear some more.

The album bursts loose with “End Of The Road”, a pure heavy metal track, hard, heavy, dark and bombastic that feels like a fist in gut. But it also comes with a striking melody that’s catchy and it’s not a far cry from the first Allen-Lande album – at least that was my first thought when I heard it. That bodes well for what’s to come here. “Ferryman” is both heavy and fast paced and musically it’s equivalent to the latest Primal Fear album. This is metal with a strong melody and a memorable arrangement and the good vibes for this record continues. The subsequent “Fool You All” keeps the fast pace up but even though it do have a memorable melody and a catchy chorus, it fails to floor me completely. It’s not bad, it only feels a bit perfunctory. “Still Standing Up” keeps the tempo up and the song is somewhere between hard rock and metal style wise, again in the Allen-Lande vein. The refrain is really majestic and very effusive – my favorite so far.

Extremely catchy is also “Cry Wolf”, a belt buster with a big, fat rhythm, catchy riffs and an effective melody and chorus. Style wise it sounds like the perfect mix of heavy metal and AOR – and Romero sings the living daylight out of it. Brilliant! “One Heart” is a huge, bombastic and ballsy heavy metal power ballad. It contains a captivating pop melody and in my book, this is a hit – fantastic! “The Darkest Hour” is heavy and – as the title suggests – dark, it’s very propulsive and a rhythmic jawbreaker with a chorus stickier than super glue. A real killer and a winner. “How The Story Ends”, however, is mediocre and the verses leaves me indifferent. It do contains a pretty catchy chorus that pretty much saves the song. It is ok, but not more. Some symphonic undertones accompanies the heavy metal in “Enter Your Dream”. It is big and pompous, a bit on the neo-classical Yngwie Malmsteen side of metal. It’s good without being extraordinary.

“Eyes On The Sky” is  a fast, standard heavy metal tune where neither verse or chorus brings anything exciting to the table. Safe to say, the song doesn’t really go anywhere but in one ear and out the other and when the song ends I can’t remember squat – skip alert! Ballad # 2 is called “Eternal Night”  and it’s big, pompous, ballsy and powerful, still with a chorus to die for and an awesome vocal performance from Romero – very catchy without being the least cheesy or mawkish. Closing track “Welcome To My Show” is a classic 80’s heavy metal track, like a punch in the jaw – fast, aggressive and hard but without losing the melody or catchiness. A good song and a really good way to close a metal album of this calibre.

Overall, this is a very good album. Musically, The Ferrymen lies somewhere between heavy metal and plain hard rock with a small – a very small – chunk of power metal here and there. The quality of the songs lies somewhere between good and great and even though there are no really crap tracks on the record, it do contain a few fillers. The biggest problem with the album is that it’s too samey and not diverse enough – many of the songs sounds too alike and when finished listening it’s a bit hard to tell all the songs apart so a bit more variation wouldn’t have hurt. When it comes to Romero, his voice fits this album like a glove and it’s getting more and more understandable why Ritchie Blackmore chose him as the new Rainbow singer. For fans of Magnus Karlsson and all his projects, this album will probably hit a home run and hopefully this album will not be just a one-off.

7/10

Tracklist:

1. End Of The Road
2. Ferryman
3. Fool You All
4. Still Standing Up
5. Cry Wolf
6. One Heart
7. Darkest Hour
8. How The Story Ends
9. Enter Your Dream
10. Eyes On The Sky
11. Eternal Night
12. Welcome To My Show

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