CAPTAIN BLACK BEARD
STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
Released on April 25, 2018 (MelodicRock Records)
Swedish band Captain Black Beard has released its fourth album, and the first with new singer Liv Hansson as well as under a new label… moving from Perris Records to MelodicRock Records. Much is made about the band’s new musical direction, with the press release stating the album is, “…unleashing a wave of powerful new anthemic, pure melodic rock songs.”
Reading that seems like a relief, considering the Sleaze Roxx review of their previous 2016 offering, It’s a Mouthful, which stated: “I don’t like to give bands negative reviews for many reasons, but mostly because they work their asses off to be the best they can be. And good for them. Bands don’t need some reviewer to undermine them. With that caveat out of the way, I am free to say that I’m less than impressed with Captain Black Beard. The music is bland and superficial, and on the poppy side of hard rock.”
Admittedly, I wrote that review, so approaching this new record was without expectations. And, yeah, opening track “All The Pain” seems much more of the same, with a limpy intro keyboard and pretty ’80s pop-rock generic sound throughout. But then, “Perfect Little Clue” rocked me. This was way different from the last album. Maybe it’s the new record company, or the band’s new direction. Let’s see how the rest of Struck By Lightning works out.
Seemingly not so well with “Believer.” As track 3, it’s slow, mid-tempo, and boring. Hansson’s vocal mix is too overwhelming to make the average guitar line stand out. It’s the same for “Picture Life.” Maybe if the mix was better, and certain keyboard elements were scaled back, it could be a better tune. If there’s nothing I hate more than too many ballads on a rock record, it’s the superfluous use of keyboards. “Gotta Go” shows that and more. While the verse has decent rhythm guitar and vocal work, the chorus ends up fresh out of 1988 Anne and Nancy Wilson style Heart, which is too bad.
“Out Of Control” isn’t awful, but isn’t memorable either. The song speaks to old school mainstream rock, just as “Dead End Street” or “Struck By Lightning.” “Nobody Like You” tries and fails to reflect southern US blues. The guitar sound and effects are all wrong, and there is little similar attitude to the presentation. This could be a much better song… as written… if there was more thought put into the production. Using a dobro or even a slider here, it would be much better. Closing track “Straight Outta Hell” might be the strongest of this album’s offerings. It’s good hard rock with a great line and good vocals. Hansson shows some decent range here, more than most other tracks.
I stand by my review of Captain Black Beard’s previous album. I did not like that at all. The band’s new release Struck By Lightning is leaps and bounds over It’s a Mouthful. That said, the band still needs to focus on its sound… is it guitar or keyboard driven rock? I can’t endorse Struck By Lightning, but I can suggest it’s a stepping stone to the next level and miles beyond the previous offering.
01. All The Pain.
02. Perfect Little Clue
04. Picture Life
05. Gotta Go
06. Out Of Control
07. Dead End Street
08. Struck By Lightning
09. Nobody Like You
10. Straight Outta Hell
Liv Hansson – vocals
Robert Majd – bass
Christian Ek – guitar
Vinnie Stromberg – drums
Reviewed by Metal Mike for Sleaze Roxx, May 2018
Captain Black Beard‘s “All The Pain” video:
From the album “Struck By Lightning”, out April 25th 2018 (via Melodic Rock Records), by Swedish melodic rock band Captain Black Beard. www.captainblackbeard.net Contact: [email protected] Thanks to Peter & Danne for the cool cars!
Captain Black Beard‘s “Dead End Street” video:
From the album “Struck By Lightning”, out April 25th 2018 (via Melodic Rock Records), by Swedish melodic rock band Captain Black Beard. www.captainblackbeard.net Contact: [email protected] Thanks to Jona Tee for screaming at us!