Captain Black Beard
Sonic Forces

Label: AOR Heaven
Three similar bands: Thin Lizzy/Whitesnake/Heart

Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. Headlights
2. Lights & Shadows
3. Disco Volante
4. Tonight
5. Sonic Forces
6. Time To Deliver
7. Midnight Cruiser
8. Young Hearts
9. Gotham City
10. Emptiness

Steve Newman - vocals, guitar, keys
Rob McEwen - drums & percussion

Captain Black Beard (2011)
Before Plastic (2014)
It's A Mouthful (2016)
Struck by Lightning (2018)


Recorded at Yardstreet Studios in Stockholm, Sweden with producer Dave Dalone

Released 2020-04-24
Reviewed 2020-05-06


aor heaven

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So, Captain Black Beard has been around for a decade now, time flies as some people say. We have reviewed most of their albums and they do generally not disappoint. This new album is called Sonic Forces and has a cover that looks quite modern and pretty interesting. Since the latest album that we reviewed in 2018 they have changed vocalist, and teamed up with a different guy from H.E.A.T. for the production.

It is the same kind of melodic rock that they have done before, with catchy choruses, strong melodies and hooks, the sort of thing that is ever present when you look at the melodic side of the rock and hard rock stuff. The vocalist is good, but also pretty generic, I think the previous one was a bit better but there isn’t too much difference there. The variation over the songs is good enough and playing time feels sensible. It is a good production with strong and modern sound, but I would say that it is also somewhat generic as there isn’t really much in terms of stuff that stands out. They keep within the confines of the style they represent and doesn’t venture out on any adventure or think outside the box.

Solid is a word that comes to mind when thinking and analysing this album, it is a good and solid effort, a good album. The songs are all good, there are no weaker tracks and it is fairly enjoyable to listen to. I would however, say that this is a but here, there is no real standout song and the word déjà vu comes to mind when generic songs like Young Hearts play, it is good to listen to but I doubt that it will make any major impression. Good craftsmanship, they kind of do what is expected and never really dares to venture closer to the edge or to the unknown and in the end I leave this album a bit indifferent.

Fans of Captain Black Beard will find this both good and familiar and they will probably be impressed, the chance is good that the general fan of the melodic rock genre will have a similar opinion. I have found it to be pretty enjoyable to listen to it but it kind of follows the same line as the previous ones and offers nothing really new, too good to be bad but too bad to be really good is probably one way to look at it. The name is probably the most exciting thing about them, perhaps they could make something more dramatic in their second decade as a band.