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Captain Black Beard – Sonic Forces Award winner

Captain Black Beard
Sonic Forces
by Alan Stevens at 16 May 2020, 4:50 PM

CAPTAIN BLACK BEARD have been around for about ten years, and have gone through several line-up changes. The most notable alteration between their new album “Sonic Forces”, and their previous work, is the departure of long time vocalist Sakaria Björklund, and the recruitment of Martin Holsner in 2019. This album is like stepping back in time to the late 70's, they have a big up beat sound, strong rock roots, beautiful keyboard playing and fantastic vocals. Revamping the stylings of bands like JOURNEY, FOREIGNER and BOSTON, this album is a modern take on the classic harmony rock and nothing on this album feels rehashed, with each member bringing their own unique twist to this long lost genre.

Headlights” is the first track and also their first single on this album. It is a great example of what this band can achieve, upbeat and feel good with an amazing vocal performance. There is a component of metal, a heavier edge that adds depth and weight to songs like “Lights And Shadows” or “Disco Volante”, where they've done a great job at combing these differing styles to create some truly catchy songs.  “Tonight” is one of the best songs on the album, Holsner really gets a chance to shine on this one, and if you were watching them live you'd be singing along, and if you also consider yourself a fan of WHITESNAKE or BON JOVI, then this is like some sort of long long, unreleased song. Then there's the title track “Sonic Forces” which, I'd describe as a fast and heavy JOURNEY song, the chorus shares a lot of similarities to JOURNEY's “Separate Ways”, and has some fantastic guitar work and meaty riffs throughout, the bassist has some tasty licks, and the solo….is quite different, with some added electronic and computer tones. “Young Hearts” is a very catchy ballad, built to make people dance. The last song on the album “Emptiness” is almost a literal departure from the rest of the album, opening on a soundscape to give the impression we are floating through space. The lyrics are deep and filled with weighty emotion. There's an awesome saxophone keyboard tone that fits the song beautifully, and at the end, the vocals become very post-pop sounding.

I was thoroughly surprised and enjoyed this album a lot, it has some of the best features from those old classic rock bands; the harmonies, big keyboard sounds, and combined it with modern heavy techniques and their approach to the songwriting is strong and apparat. They had a lot of fun making this record, and they have been able to channel their influences and put out a well balanced and fun record.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Headlights
2. Lights And Shadows
3. Disco Volante
4. Tonight
5. Sonic Forces
6. Time To Deliver
7. Midnight Cruiser
8. Young Hearts
9. Gotham City
10. Emptiness
Christian Ek – Guitar
Martin Holsner – Vocals
Robert Majd – Bass
Vinnie Stromberg – Drums
Record Label: AOR Heaven


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