With a name like Captain Black Beard I was fully expecting some full-on, swashbuckling Pirate metal from this crew. This album though is less “Aaaaarrrrrrrrrrrr” and more AOR. The Captain and crew have been playing around the clubs of Stockholm for a couple of years and this is their first release, so is it a hidden treasure or a bit of a scurvy dog ?? ( sorry, last pirate pun, I promise )

‘Hey Man’ starts off things nicely with a good melodic guitar riff which rocks along at a good pace and this really sets the tone for the album in a good and a bad way. Throughout the album the band produce some good music, but I felt that none of the tracks fully satisfied. 90% of the time the song writing and playing are top class, but the tracks lack that last 10% to move them from good to great. What they miss is a killer chorus or hook, you wait with anticipation for the moment to come, but the song bottoms out instead of soaring, these songs are two or three chords away from being classics which is a real shame. I think what holds things back a bit is vocalist Sakaria Bjorklund’s lack of dynamic range which means that the songs have to stick to a fairly narrow band as far as musical key is concerned. That is not to say that Bjorklund is a bad singer, far from it, just that his limited range also limits the band.

Tracks like ‘Don’t Turn Your Back On Love’ and ‘American Dreams’ are well crafted and if melodic AOR is your bag, then these songs are deserving of your attention. I have listened to Captain Black Beard several times now and I do like the disc, I can’t help but feel though that it could have been a melodic rock classic with a few killer hooks, or should that be Captain Hooks…I’ll get my coat…

David Wilson