Album review: CAPTAIN BLACKBEARD – Sonic Forces

CAPTAIN BLACKBIRD - Sonic Forces

AOR Heaven [Release date 24.04.20]

Swedish band Captain Blackbeard released their fourth album, ‘Struck By Lightning’ in 2018 with then new singer Liv Hansson on MelodicRock Records. It was produced Jona Tee (keyboardist in H.e.a.t.) and it was a pretty decent melodic rock album. However, early the following year the band brought in singer Martin Holsner and started to work on a new album with producer Dave Malone, who is also the guitarist in H.e.a.t. (they certainly seem to like working with members of that band). Guitarist Christian Ek and bassist Robert Majd remain from the 2018 line-up and they have a new drummer, Vinnie Stromberg.

Lead single ‘Headlights’ really reminded me of Shy and the late, great Tony Mills, as the vocals and song have a lot of similarities with Shy. The title track is another one in a similar vein, featuring a lovely keys fade out. Elsewhere the H.e.a.t. influence can be heard on ‘Time To Deliver’ and ‘Midnight Cruiser’, although these two along with ‘Gotham City’, are fairly standard songs for the genre.

‘Young Hearts’ is a single in waiting, with a rousing chorus and one you can picture Brother Firetribe doing. Perfectly timed guitar solo on this one too. ‘Emptiness’ is a bit different, as they use NASA recordings and plenty of keys/synths. With an 80s retro feel it verges into Night Flight Orchestra territory.

Martin Holsner is a decent vocalist, perfect for this style of Scandi flavoured melodic hard rock. Not sure who played the keyboards, but they add greatly to the songs on here.

Captain Blackbeard continue to produce good quality melodic rock, however they really need a settled line-up so they can establish themselves and their sound. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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