Much like Ken Ingwersen’s latest album The Future Looks Bright, Barnabas Sky is a project put together by a guitarist / songwriter, and assembled with an outstanding cast of great singers for each track, from bands Markus Pfeffer admired [hence the title]. A solid collection of heavy rockers and a few lighter melodic numbers. Great hefty sounding guitars, and lots of good songs. Really liking the opener “Legends Rise” and “Say Goodbye To Darker Days” [both featuring Danny Vaughn of Tyketto], as well as the heavy riff rockers “Yesterday’s Gone” [featuring Bob Rock of Impellitteri], and “Youngblood” [w/ Jesse Damon of Silent Rage]. Love the sound and production of this album; nice big guitar sound, well placed keyboards where needed. And pretty cool songs, which I’m looking forward to hearing more of.
The new all-star hard & heavy project BARNABAS SKY comes from the mind of guitarist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Markus Pfeffer (Lazarus Dream, Winterland, ex-Scarlett) from Kaiserslautern/Germany.
The debut album full of catchy hooklines, edgy-groovy rocking guitar riffs and filigree guitar solos is titled “Inspirations” for a certain reason: Pfeffer was able to hire singers from internationally known bands for it, which had influenced him significantly during his musical beginnings: Jesse Damon (SILENT RAGE), Steve Grimmett (GRIM REAPER/LIONSHEART), Danny Martinez Jr. (GUILD OF AGES), Rob Rock (IMPELLITTERI/AXEL RUDI PELL), Zak Stevens (SAVATAGE) and Danny Vaughn (TYKETTO) do the lead vocals on the album.
TYKETTO’s “Don’t Come Easy” was one of the first CDs Markus Pfeffer listened to on an endless loop as a schoolboy in 1991. Three decades later, he composes two songs together with TYKETTO’s golden throat Danny Vaughn, the appropriately titled epic opener “Legends Rise” and “Say Farewell To Darker Days” with elaborate vocal arrangements and poignant lyrics.
SAVATAGE singer Zak Stevens contributed lyrics about the psychological effects of the pandemic for the heavy stomping track “What Lies Beneath”, which is underpinned with down-tuned guitar riffs and subtle orchestral arrangements, and he sings about a legendary figure of Russian folklore in the form of a bird with a woman’s head on “The Alkonost”.
GUILD OF AGES frontman Danny Martinez Jr. from Denver/Colorado dominates the melodic hard rock songs “Breathe Again” and “In My Mind” with his very own timbre and velvety voice. The latter is the album’s first video track with a more than hooky guitar riff and lyrics about the increasingly important attention to mental health.
SILENT RAGE’s smoky-throated frontman Jesse Damon carries the epic ballad “Till The End Of Time” and the rocker “Youngblood”, with AOR legend PAUL SABU contributing backing vocals for both tracks. Nostalgia fact on the side: Interestingly, the Hollywood classic movie “The Thief of Bagdad” starring Sabus’s father was Markus Pfeffer’s favourite film during his childhood. Damon recorded his vocals in North Hollywood at the studio of Bill Metoyer (FATES WARNING, ARMORED SAINT etc.).
Melodic metal siren Rob Rock (AXEL RUDI PELL, IMPELLITTERI, M.A.R.S. etc.) takes over the mic on the riff monster “Yesterday’s Gone” and GRIM REAPER’s Steve Grimmett’s unmistakable voice convinces on the straight rocker “Never Enough”.
As a tribute, Pfeffer has adapted the title tune of the seventies TV series “Timm Thaler” in a “GARY MOORE way” and provided it with deliberate sonic and stylistic reminiscences of Moore’s classic “The Loner”.
Musical guests on the album are keyboardist Thomas Nitschke and pianist Michael Weickenmeyer, drummer/percussionist Thomas Rieder and bassist Bernd Schreiber. The album’s artwork was designed by well-known French artist Stan W. Decker (RAGE, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, MASTERPLAN) and mastering was done at Rolf Munkes’ (CREMATORY) Empire studios in Bensheim, Hessia.
The names of the contributors speak for themselves – there can hardly be more arguments to lend BARNABAS SKY’s debut album an attentive ear.
Tracklist: 1. Legends Rise, 2. What Lies Beneath, 3. In My Mind, 4. Yesterday’s Gone, 5. Till The End Of Time, 6. Say Farewell To Darker Days, 7. Breathe Again, 8. The Alkonost, 9. Timm’s Theme, 10. Youngblood, 11. Never Enough, 12. Till The End Of Time (Piano Version)