Having taken its name from a native American word that means "a special way of catching fish", Spearfish is formed up by members who have been in the music business for over 20 years. With Area 605, their second album, they are now writing their own songs, as opposed to classic 70's rock cover tunes, and doing an admirable job. Though it is still apparent that vocalist and bassist Thomas Thulin is highly influenced by Rush frontman Geddy Lee, both in his playing and singing, the band also tries to branch out a little into early 80's classic rock with songs like "Lonely Souls", "Burning Candles", "Addiction", and "Empty Eyes". As the titles hint, these are classic hard rock type of songs with bluesy guitar solos that steal the show, Ratt-like vocal harmonies which are quite accessible, and solid rhythms loaded with groove.
The band's undeniable love for Rush is still evident. They successfully cover the band's "Limelight" which turns out to be their most noticable work throughout. It is easy to tell that this is certainly not the first time they've played the song, as they previously released a covers album including Rush tracks. The solo on this tune is identical to Alex Lifeson's earlier playing. The longer songs, on the other hand, all over the 5-minute range, while good in their own way, turn out to too drawn-out in some cases, as on "Fate" and "End", as well as the ballad "Burning Candles". Playing lengthy tunes does not make a band progressive rock, and I certainly consider Spearfish more of a band that's inspired by the non-prog side of Rush, Led Zeppelin, Rainbow, and some 80's stuff in the vein of Ratt.
The second half of the album is decidedly better, albeit a bit long. That said, the deeply emotional ballad "Addiction" would have made a killer single if the year was 1986. This is not one of those pop rock tunes - it builds on through dark acoustic guitars with a huge atmosphere, a very melancholic vocal delivery by Thulin, and last but not least a staggering guitar solo by Peter Lundin. Lundin's solos shine and make this a quite enjoyable release along with numerous bass solos on the latter tracks like "Reckoning" and "Broken". It goes without saying that no such release would be complete without a sappy love ballad - and this one is served on the almost full-acoustic piece "All Said 'N Done". Spearfish are by no means an original band, but at least they don't claim to be. They're here to pay homage to the best bands of the 70's and write songs using some 80's classic rock arrangements. If they find the right audience, they'll have a promising future.
- Lonely Souls
- Burning Candles
- Empty Eyes
- All Said 'N' Done
- Losing Myself