Maverick – Big Red
Metalapolis Records (28-08-2016)
Reviewer – Stephen Brophy
Northern Irelands Hard Rockers Maverick are back with a new album Big Red, the follow up to their excellent debut, 2014’s Quid Pro Quo and it is Big, with guest appearances by Jakob Samuel (The Poodles) and Kane Roberts (ex Alice Cooper) and the added experiences of a European Tour with The Poodles behind them expectancy is pretty high for this release. It is no surprise that the guys have not only reached but surpassed these expectations.
The new album sounds much like the bastard son of the best of 80’s Hard Rock, a touch of melodic metal, with a slightly more modern edge, this album feels like there’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears poured into it, although it’s generally pretty upbeat there’s a certain amount of pain or anguish in there, which without doubt helps to elevate it beyond the norm, it’s often something essential in making great Rock music. As good as Quid Pro Quo was it has to be said that this album is definitely a step up all over and shows the continued evolution of the guys as a band, the songs this time around are bigger, from ‘Forever‘ with it’s booming chorus, gutsy riffs and polished sound, the light and poppy ‘The One‘ that just breezes along, this album is a really nice piece of work from a band on the up. As always Ryan’s guitar work is excellent, Richie (Bass) and Mike (Drums) from one hell of rhythm section and you can hear David’s voice maturing as it develops.’Whiskey Lover‘ is an interesting track, there’s definitely a hint of Lizzy about it, is a cautionary tale in some ways, but still rumbles along really nicely, would love to hear a little guitar duel in this one live, the band are very comfortable with this material, it’s not an all or nothing type of album, there’s nice changes of style and tempo throughout, and it just feels right when you listen right through. As with most well constructed albums favourite tracks swap the more you listen, ‘Beyond The Gates‘ is a little heavier and darker, but damn it hits time spot.
The guys have just released the single ‘Asylum‘ which heavily features Jakob Samuel on guest vocals, it’s close enough to being a duet and it also features some nice guitar work from Kane Roberts, and it has to be said it is a bloody cracking track, really well written and performed. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the band yet go get a listen to this track, I think it perfectly illustrates where they are going, this is the sound of Maverick, to have musicians of the stature of Jakob and Kane guesting on the album at all is a great coup, but you can just tell is the way ‘Asylum‘ is delivered that they guys had a great time in the studio with this one, it’s a real rocker but at the same time not too heavy, no instrument overpowers another in the music, yes of course it’s guitar laden, but when the two vocalists are trading off it’s a joy.
The album closes with a beautiful ballad ‘Fly Away‘, and as with a lot of ballads that I like these days it’s got a haunting feel to it, simple and full of emotion, guitar and vocals are all that’s needed here with David’s delivery spot on. Sometimes it’s right to just strip things back and leave yourself vulnerable and that’s just what they’ve done here, one of those songs that grows on your the more you listen to it. Overall this is a terrific album, and only points to even more to come, already looking forward to album number 3 and we’ve only just got Big Red out of the wrapper. There’s no doubt that this album will bring the band to a wider audience and hopefully mean that they get to play the songs to more people around Europe and further afield. Would be great to see them on some UK Festival bills next year, hard work does pay off and the future is bright.