Published on July 9th, 2017 | by Justin G.
The Ferrymen (Frontiers)
The Ferrymen is the latest metal project from the Frontiers label, bringing together guitarist/songwriter/producer Magnus Karlsson (Allen-Lande, Starbreaker, Last Tribe), vocalist Ronnie Romero (Lords of Black, Rainbow) and drummer Mike Terrana (ex-every other band). DGM’s Simone Mularoni is on hand to mix and master the band’s self-titled debut.
The Ferrymen debut sounds about like what you’d expect it to. Karlsson written enough albums that he has a defined style: heavy, melodic metal with one foot in hard rock territory. This is no exception, sounding like it could double as a Last Tribe or even an Allen-Lande album. The difference comes down, as it so often does, to the choice of singer. Romero is, I think it’s safe to say, a rising star. Listen to him in Lords of Black or on stage with Ritchie Blackmore’s latest Rainbow incarnation and you’ll see why he is often compared to the late Ronnie James Dio. He shows off plenty of that power on this album, though it’s tempered by a somewhat raspy delivery.
Karlsson and company check all of the boxes here. He serves up a dozen new, yet very familiar, melodic metal songs, and the well-crafted solos and melodies to go with them. Romero sounds good, though given how impressive he was on the last Lords of Black album it doesn’t feel like he’s “selling” these songs as much. And of course Terrana is rock-solid. “Cry Wolf” is the album’s high point, coming closest to the old Allen-Lande magic. “Fool You All” and “How the Story Ends” are also standouts.
As a Magnus Karlsson fan, I really wanted to love this album, and on paper The Ferrymen debut should have been one of the year’s best albums. It just doesn’t have the same spark that other Karlsson projects have. It gets the job done, but isn’t as exciting as the recent Freefall albums.
Summary: I wanted to love this, but it's just not quite there.