Rock Company 2021
Drawing the line through this divided world, hard rock veterans deliver a blow to boredom.
This ensemble’s oeuvre may be uneven but no one can call any of Phil Vincent-fronted albums uneventful, and while some could say that it will be difficult to follow 2020’s "Faith Healer" with an equally solid record, “Ultima Ratio” should settle the debate by offering the final argument in the form of ten hard-hitting songs. There’s nothing groundbreaking, of course, in the group’s heavy, if detailed, narrative, yet several cuts are able to break into the listener house and stay there, on repeat, as welcome guests.
Such is the groovy “Hunter” that opens the proceedings with the friendly fire of six-string riffs and fluid licks which seem to drown the voice and, at the same time, give it gravitas, the menacing grace oozing out of infectious choruses, whereas the exciting bite of “Wet Dog” gets drenched in a twin-guitar weave before this frenzied filigree and Vincent’s ivories render the refrain of “The Last Resort” – one of the number’s two lines – full of harmonic light. However, the arena appeal of “Out On A Limb” can’t hide the generic roughness behind “One Last Time” whose AOR allure is slightly undermined as a result, yet the sludgy “Piece By Piece” burns the skin to remain etched in memory – as does “All I Have Left” whose power balladry must feel bittersweet.
Still, “Hope” restores the vigor of it all, bringing “Ultima Ratio” to gritty finale but showing how it should be done when the world is out of fuel and the momentum is born out of music.
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