Irish band MAVERICK has been around for some years and this is their third full-length album. They are still in the process of building their reputation and 2016’s “Big Red” did, or should have done a great job, since in my books it was one of the most impressive hard rock albums of 2016.
So here we are, with really high expectations. The band sounds really focused and determined again. For those of you who are unaware of what these guys sound like, MAVERICK is a hard rock band with a strong metallic edge and “Cold Star Dancer” is definitely their heaviest effort to date. I mean I could easily call them ‘’a heavy metal band with a hard rock touch’’ instead. Think of a heavier version of TYKETTO or try to recall the heavier side of FIREHOUSE (in songs like “Overnight” sensation or “Reach for the sky”) and if you want a more up to date reference point I think Swedes CRAZY LIXX will do (again think of their heavier side).
What I really like about MAVERICK is the balance between melody and power. The songs are strong and convincing but also catchy, with good hooks. Another fine quality of these guys is the freshness they bring to the table. Although the stuff they play has been around for more than 30 years you can really tell this is a band of young musicians out to get you with the music they love. The band also has a ‘’get to the chorus’’ approach with most songs clocking in within the 4 minute time frame and choruses usually kicking in within the first minute. No unnecessary wankery, no distractions, straight to the point.
Singer David Balfour is a fine shouter with a clear melodic voice and the necessary range to pull off up tempo hard rockers and metallic anthems. His brother Ryan Balfour does his best to match him up with his tasty guitar work. The whole band sounds tight, professional and driven. With the help of a really good production they deliver a powerful sound that is true to late 80’s-early 90’s hard rock/metal and still remains relevant with today’s standards. On top of all that they guys have once again succeeded in writing a collection of really good songs that will please their fans and attract new ones.
Metal fans will really enjoy the epic feel and heavy sound of songs like “Myrmidon” (a song about the Trojan war) and “Magellan Rise”, the borderline progressive sound of “Ex Machina” with some great and quite odd keyboards thrown in (think I hear some QUEENSRYCHE in the guitars too) and the fast paced power metal of “Viper”. “Goodbye” and “Seize the day” lie on the opposite side of the spectrum, great uplifting catchy hard rockers. The closing track for such a heavy album comes quite as a surprise; it’s a cover of Rick Springfield’s hit “Jessie’s Girl” from the early 80’s. The pop rock anthem gets a serious THIN LIZZY treatment from MAVERICK and ends up being a tasteful and suitable album closer. No fillers whatsoever and half of the album is standout material.
Definitely a must for any serious fan of melodic hard rock/heavy metal.