The Ferrymen: One More River to Cross
I must admit I have a rather strange malady; I simultaneously dry heave and roll my eyes every time another paint-by-numbers supergroup bounces onto the scene. These (often) cynical cash grabs are just so brazen in their lack of authenticity, and the "bands" that are crafted via these Frankenstein-eqse means have about as much natural cohesion and charisma as two junior high school kids slow dancing together for the first time. This particular outfit, The Ferrymen, is the brain seed of the one and only Magnus Karlsson, who has his finger in seemingly every pie that the Frontiers Records diner has to offer. So, knowing all of this, it should come as no surprise that The Ferrymen's new album One More River to Cross is actually a really well done intermingling of Power Metal and melodic hard rock/AOR.
Swerve! Yes, it surprises no one more than myself that one of these projects has finally struck hold, but here we are. Karlsson is a damn good guitarist and songwriter, and with two supremely capable cohorts joining him in the boat this time around, One More River to Cross offers soaring and memorable tunes that easily outclass the Allen/Olzons and Kiske/Somervilles out there.
Those two cohorts are world class drummer and man-of-a-thousand bands Mike Terrana and singer Ronnie Romero, who you've probably come to know from his stint as the "new" singer of Rainbow. These two guys are pros, and deliver their performances here with class and plenty of vigor. The double-kick drums speed and pound, and Ronnie's voice is just sublime. His voice is often compared to that of the late great Ronnie James Dio, and while I can somewhat understand that thanks to the power and subtle rasp in his delivery, he's got a voice that is still very identifiable and unique in the Metal realm.
Now knowing who The Ferrymen actually are, it shouldn't surprise you much that OMRtC is very much rooted in the traditional Euro power metal template, but there's a glossy sheen and radio-friendliness on a lot of the tracks here that tends to come with the territory of these record exec crafted supergroups. The catchy hooks and melodies fit Mr. Romero's voice like a glove, and the whole vibe just works. Damn near every song has a banger of a chorus, and you have to wonder what kind of deal with the devil Karlsson has made in order to acquire such a limitless stockpile of melodies.
The entire album is worth the price of entry, but special note should be made of "City of Hate", and "Hunt Me to the End of the World". The former is a blistering metallic fireball that definitely eludes to Karlsson's membership in Primal Fear, while the latter is an example of The Ferrymen at the height of their radio-ready hook Avantasia-isms. Really though, there's not much to be found on OMRtC that won't keep your interest if you gravitate towards melodic metal of any persuasion.
A pleasant surprise, and one that seemingly relieved all symptoms of my mysterious dry heaving eyeroll, One More River to Cross is a great effort from a trio of metal veterans that finally realizes the potential of getting multiple metal musicians with big names into the same room with the goal of creating something truly memorable. I reserve the right to turn my nose up at such projects in the future, but this one has left me thoroughly impressed and hoping for similar results when the next one of these hits my desk.
1. One Word
2. The Last Wave
3. Shut It Out
4. City of Hate
5. One More River to Cross
6. Morning Star
7. Hunt Me to the End of the World
8. Bringers of the Dark
9. The Other Side
10. The Last Ship
11. The Passenger
Added: April 7th 2022
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
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