Album review: THE FERRYMEN – One More River To Cross

Frontiers [Release date: 21.01.21]

The Ferrymen are Magnus (Freefall/ Heart Healer) Karlsson, Ronnie (Lords Of Black/  Rainbow) Romero and Mike (Rage/ Axel Rudi Pell) Terrana.

One More River To Cross is their third album on Frontiers, and this is a much more considered affair. Yes, it can be categorised as Melodic Metal, but the band have shaken off much of the DIO/Primal Fear baggage that tended to weigh down the previous albums.

The competing tensions of power metal traditions versus the freedoms of a more melodic, open handed sound had run their course with on the trio’s previous recordings. And now, this new release is nudging the needle of the band’s stylistic compass toward a more personalised musical style.

The songwriting is sharper, more focused. The songs are in the image of this experienced, professional trio … each track arrives on time, does the job it’s paid for and gets out again.

The PR men talk of huge vocals, epic song structures, mind bending drumming, and… yes, all of the above are present and correct, but the trio have stepped back from the edge with One More River To Cross. There is restraint.

As with any kind of heavy metal variant, there is mood and there is emotion, but there’s precision here too, with the measured arrangements creating their own clearly delineated melodic metal landscape.

Each track is compact, punchy, melodic… Karlsson’s production is flawless. There’s a distinctive clarity of detail on ‘The Last Wave’ and ‘Morning Star’… the band’s seamless merge of guitars, keys, drums and voice resonates like a ringing bell.

Similarly his arrangements. On ‘One Word’ and ‘Shut It out’ the band seems liberated, having apparently abandoned the limiting structures of the heavy metal formula. And still, the music can be fiercely dramatic at times.

Standout tracks ‘One More River To Cross’, ‘The Last Ship’ and ‘The Passenger’ come in a glorious rush of amplitude and unhurried complexity. Like most new tracks here, they sound unshackled from the trio’s collective past in this setting. ****

Review by Brian McGowan

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