MAVERICK – Cold Star Dancer (2018)
Belfast, UK melodic hard rockers MAVERICK are releasing their new studio album “Cold Star Dancer” tomorrow. There have been a couple of line-up changes with guitarist Terry McHugh leaving the band and drummer Jonathan Millar replacing Mike Ross but the rock on which this band is built still remains in the shape of the Balfour brothers, David on vocals and Ryan on guitar.
“Cold Star Dancer” shows that as a band Maverick are progressing, in that songs are occasionally more complex and intricate and the sound is generally a bigger, more rounded one. There is less of an edge than on the previous CD and more songs are crowd-pleasing singalong affairs.
All good things in my book.
Opening with the atmospheric scene setter, “Dusk”, a minute and a half of wind noise with gentle guitar and drumming played over it. It would have had more impact if it was amalgamated as an opening to the title track, which follows.
Title track “Cold Star Dancer” is where the action really starts and the comforting sound of David Balfour’s powerful vocals is a welcoming sound. Great riffing and drumming are the signature of this track and it’s a solid start.
“Myrmidon” follows which has great pace which gets the head nodding and foot tapping. The solo is sustained and fitting – with help from Stormzone’s Steve Moore – and the drumming is once again outstanding. Myrmidons, for those asking (I know I was), were a legendary people of Greek mythology commanded by Achilles during the Trojan War.
There’s a classic ’80s inspired melody with “Kiss of Fire” (one of my favs), and a midtempo pace to “Goodbye”, some kind of a power ballad. Ryan Balfour is in top form here. Both his riff and solo work are high quality.
“Ex Machina” comes next which has a big and powerful sound with David putting everything into it, a well-paced romp indeed. “Magellan Rise” is an elaborated song, with interesting changing moods and tempos.
Another favorite comes with “Seize the Day”, which has a consistent Melodic Hard Rock pace and powerful, emotional feel. This track is also reminiscent of the work of compatriots No Hot Ashes, who purvey a less edgy brand of rock. Quality band, too.
“Kings” starts off a touch steady but builds up nicely with David Balfour’s voice in top form and the nifty solo adding to the enjoyment.
Steve Moore makes another appearance on “Devil’s Night”. This is also David’s finest hour (well, 4 minutes 52) with him showcasing his full range. It’s a nice slice of AOR with a big sound and great rhythm.
To finish, we have a cover of Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” which intrigued me somewhat. I was hoping they would really rock it up but in reality, it’s more of a copy than a cover. It’s not a disappointment, however, and they do manage to put their stamp on it, especially with D. Balfour’s vocals really adding to the track.
“Cold Star Dancer” is a big step forward for Maverick. They have tried to move their sound on, and have mostly succeeded. Alongside the ’80s inspired melodies, now we find elaborated hard rockers, well balanced and produced.
Very weel done guys.
02. Cold Star Dancer
04. Kiss Of Fire
06. Ex Machina
07. Magellan Rise
08. Seize The Day
11. Devil’s Night
12. Jessie’s Girl (bonus track)
David Balfour (vocals)
Ryan Balfour (guitar)
Richie Diver (bass)
Jonathan Millar (drums)
Steve Moore (guitar)