The Ferrymen – “The Ferrymen” (Frontiers Music)
Quite possibly the super group of the year. The Ferrymen is a melodic metal trio made up of guitarist Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear), drummer Mike Terrana (Rage, Axel Rudi Pell) and Ronnie Romero, vocalist for Rainbow as hand picked by legendary guitarist Richie Blackmore for his recent reunion shows. Together they have forged a rich and bountiful album that draws on their veteran skills while shining in a collective light that is as great as the sun itself! While there are undoubted sounds from their main bands, there isn’t any attempt to resemble or re-create what has already been done to great effect, but to explore new ground while keeping to the melodic metal sound. As you’d imagine, the guitars are raw n heavy, along with Terrana’s hard hitting drums, but they are superbly blended with atmospheric keyboards, heart fluttering guitar solos – and of course, Romero’s superb vocals. Although compared greatly to the late Ronnie James Dio, Romero is more than a clone, and this album allows him to shine in his own light, in this case being more modern rock orientated with a slightly grittier tone. Crafted by Karlsson with Romero in mind, needless to say the 12 deep and classy songs work a treat in the hands of this (very) capable trio! From the flowing melodies of ‘Still Standing Up’ driven by passionate epic hard rock to the awesome power ballad of ‘Eternal Night’ with Romero’s gentle tones complemented by delicate piano and backed by equal amounts of heart breaking power – not to mention Karlsson’s heavenly solo – this is what melodic metal is all about. As for me, it was no more definitive than on ‘How The Story Ends’, ever a true heavy metal piece with its epic swashbuckling tones graced by a catchy melodic chorus, full blooded harmonies and naturally, heaps of passionate soloing. On this album, there has been no expense spared and the superb performances show the band not holding back either, so neither should you in partaking in this stupendous release!