‘Cold Star Dancer’
2018 release from Metalapolis.
David Balfour – Vocals. Ryan Balfour – Guitar. Richie Diver – Bass. Jonathan Millar – Drums.
Anders Wikström (Treat) – Guitar, tracks 2,6. Steve Moore (Stormzone) – Guitar, tracks 3,9,11.
Artist location: Belfast, Ireland.
4.5 out of 5 stars rating.
Reviewed by David.
- Cold Star Dancer.
- Kiss Of Fire.
- Ex Machina.
- Magellan Rise.
- Seize The Day.
- Devil’s Night.
- Jessie’s Girl (Rick Springfield cover, bonus track).
This Northern Ireland band came out of the gate swinging in 2013 with their EP ‘Talk’s Cheap‘, showing us a glimpse of what these guys were able to bring to the table. The following year, in 2014, we saw the release of their first full length album, ‘Quid Pro Quo‘, a wonderful 80’s sounding record with some great songs and definitely a couple of steps up from the EP, proving the band had the chops it would take to be relevant in this genre.
Then 2016 came and with it came Maverick’s sophmore album, ‘Big Red‘, a record that saw the band really hitting their stride and completely by-passing the sophmore jinx. They took everything that worked with the EP and ‘Quid Pro Quo‘ and built on it, making it even better. The release saw them being embraced by the melodic rock community and giving us one of my favorite albums of that year.
Now David Balfour, Ryan Balfour, Richie Diver and Jonathan Millar (with some guest appearances from Treat’s Anders Wikström and Stormzone’s Steve Moore) have returned with album number three, ‘Cold Star Dancer‘ (due out April 6, 2018), and have once again kicked things into high gear and delivered a record full of kick ass tunes, excellent musicianship and superb vocals, proving once and for all that they are here to stay and can more than hold their own amongst some of the biggest names of the genre.
Trying to follow-up such a smashing record as ‘Big Red‘ is no easy feat, so what does the band bring us this time around and does it hold up to the excellent output we are used to from these guys?
Well a short, instrumental intro opens things up for the title track to come barreling through at full speed. This head banger of a song, with it’s very catchy chorus, is everything we have come to expect from these guys and it only confirms that they have not lost a thing and still have plenty more rocking tunes to give us.
Without losing a bit of steam we roll straight into the hard rocking ‘Myrmidon‘ and ‘Kiss Of Fire‘ before slowing things down, if only minutely, with the terrific ‘Goodbye‘.
Track number 6 cranks things back up to eleven with the excellent ‘Ex Machina‘, a rocking little number that I love.
Five songs in and so far all have been standouts for me, this band always brings it and so far the album is stacking up with their best and proving why they have quickly become one of my favorite melodic hard rock bands.
And they show no signs of slowing down as we go into ‘Magellan Rise‘, ‘Seize The Day‘ and ‘Viper‘, all of which continue on with the same great music we have been hearing thus far and keeps things going full steam ahead.
Unfortunately next up is ‘Kings‘ and this is where the record has it’s only hiccup. This is the only track on the album that fails for me. Not a bad song per se, but just not up to par with the other tracks present here and a chorus that just didn’t do it for me personally.
Thankfully though ‘Devil’s Night‘ is right back up to a standout track. Starting out with a voice over from Michael Wincott’s character, Top Dollar, from the classic 1994 film ‘The Crow‘, it moves into a hard rocking tune that is one of my absolute favorites from the album.
The bonus track is a cover of the classic Rick Springfield song ‘Jessie’s Girl‘. The band does a great job and they sound terrific on the track. My only beef with it is that it sounds almost exactly like the original, albiet a bit heavier of course. For me, for a cover to really work well, it needs to be equal parts sounding like the band covering it while also staying true to the original. I will give the band props for having it as a bonus track and not one of the tracks on the regular edition of the album. However that is me nitpicking a bit and, as I said, they do an excellent job with the song and it is not enough of an issue to bring my rating down any.
So, does the album stand up against their back catalogue?
The band seems to only get better with time and they have once again released a stellar record that I absolutely love.
David sounds as amazing as ever and stretches his voice into even higher ranges then I think we have heard from him before. He is a Hell of a vocalist and he shows us over and over that he can hang with the best of the best.
Ryan proves he is a force to be reckoned with on guitars as he superbly shreds his way through each track and the rythym section of Richie and Jonathan are in top form as they show us over and over that they can both hold their own in a genre that boasts some of the finest musicians.
If you have enjoyed any of the band’s music in the past then you are in for a real treat with ‘Cold Star Dancer‘ as the guys get almost nothing wrong with album number three and deliver yet another smashing record.
Maverick never disappoints!
Very highly recommended!
‘Cold Star Dancer‘.
‘Kiss Of Fire‘.