Words: Craig Hartranft
Known mostly from the Swedish hard rock underground, Spearfish hasn't had a new album in 10 years. Lately, they've resurfaced as Aussie musician, actor, composer, et al, Jon English's back up band. (I didn't know who he was either, and had to look him up on the Internet. It appears he's quite famous down under.) Having resurrected, Spearfish headed for the studio to record their latest In The Meantime.
I'm sure most every reviewer is going to make this observation, so I might as well it get over with from the start. From the opening several songs, and particularly hearing Thomas Thulin's voice, the band reminded me of Rush, more a melodic rock than prog rock Rush. Thulin has some Geddy Lee timbre in his voice. This, in turn, made me wonder, if somewhere in their past, they were a Rush cover band. The do a cover of New World Man. Don't hold your breath, it's not all that good. Feels too slow. Actually, Thulin reminds of Lee and insert your favorite hair metal vocalist from the Eighties. Anyway. I digress.
Mostly their music is some very tight and expressive classic melodic hard rock. Some have suggested that it's rooted in the Seventies. I'm not so sure. We call it classic rock because it's timeless, and not because of the decade it draws from. So, Spearfish has some sound and important building blocks for their rock. Melody is a strong asset. So is vocal harmony. The guitar lines are sharp and lively with solid leads, from smooth to soaring. Frankly, and not dismissing the importance of the rhythm section, for this power trio, the guitar and vocal parts are the key assets, the definitive parts, of most every song.
After these things, the songs seem as balance between the heavy and sharp and more moderate and subtle. To the former Put Me Down Diamond, South, Conclusion, Hawks Of War are representative, lots of sharp riffage and a heavier bottom end. For the latter, Quicksilver Linings, Gazing at the Moon, Time Will Come, and the closing Under a Bourbon Sky touch something a tad mellower, invoking piano, acoustic guitar, even some symphonic notes at time. Alternatively, Under a Bourbon Sky, though lighter at the start, cranks up with fiery guitar solo in the second half. There's also an instrumental in Ursus Polaris, the longest song, and possibly a bit more proggy. Then there's the weird with Gangsta City Blues. If this is blues, then I'm a white Buddy Guy. Man, does this song drag. But, hey, it's all good for the greater portion of the album. If you missed them or simply want some well-crafted and entertaining melodic hard rock, then you'll dig Spearfish's In The Meantime. (Sorry I don't have a video or other music sample from the album to pitch to you. There's none available.)
If you missed them or simply want some well-crafted and entertaining melodic hard rock, then you'll dig Spearfish's In The Meantime.
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