When I heard he news that Michael Drive aka, Mike Lee, former vocalist of Barren Cross had teamed up with ex-Dio guitarist Tracy G, I was ecstatic to say the least. Tracy’s work on both the Strange Highways and Angry Machines albums is stellar and, Ronnie James Dio is my all-time favorite musical artist. Additionally, I have loved Barren Cross since my youth so in my book this was a win-win situation. The new album Subhuman is the debut release from Gale Force and upon first listen, it sent me straight to the chill factor zone.
This is the sound of a modern age while lending credence to the days of old. Michael has maintained his abilities with laser like precision. His pipes have stood the test of time! Equally impressive is his lyric writing skills which are both clever and innovative. I know he does not really like the comparison to Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson, but it is what it is, and I cannot help but to hear it even here. Personally, if it were me, I would own it! Truth be told I think Mike could give Mr. Dickinson a run for his money. Tracy G is a monster at this stage of his career and his time with the Dio band has only helped to shape the player he has become. Most remarkable! Fat riffs are found throughout including such stand out cuts as the opening track, “Crash & Burn,” The title cut “Subhuman,” and “Rat Race.” One favorite stand out track for me is “Never Say Goodnight” which can best be described as big and not busy with a bass groove that just plain rocks! The album does have some softer moments that are very emotionally charged. “Red Line” is a surprising turn from the rockers that mostly dominate the album with its piano laden balladry. I do not know what it is about album closers, but I find that they tend to be these epic masterpieces and the same can be said for the last tune here. “Riot Act” is simply the best way to end this record. Just in case some of you are curious, the production of the album is very good and easily keeps up with today’s standards. The band produced the album themselves and even released it on their own label.
For fans of good solid hard driving melodic Metal, Gale Force – Subhuman is a must have. It contains every element you might expect from the seasoned musicians who make up the band and some that you would not. May the Force be with you!”