Best known as the frontman with Metal Church, Ronny Munroe has one of those voices that absolutely encapsulates the sound of “classic metal”. It might not have been so obvious on the thrash-centic output of his former band, but via a run of solo releases, his vocal power has become more than clear. His huger notes convey a Bruce Dickinson inspired wail, some of the harder edged, theatrical elements occasionally capture a gruffer take on Geoff Tate, and when dropping into something a little more angry, his darker tones have even managed to sound a little like Russell Allen, if only the sometime Symphony X man were coasting rather than attacking everything at full volume and full pelt. There’s no escaping the fact that most of Munroe’s style relies on some very 80s influenced stock, but since the bulk of the material on ‘The Black Watch’ centres around a very busy, very retro sound, Ron’s performances are more than suitable. They’re also one hundred percent committed – both in terms of energy and volume. This album’s blend of classic and power metal is many things, but subtle it really isn’t.
‘The Black Watch’ marks the end of a hibernation period for Munroe. Last heard bellowing on his solo release ‘Electric Wake’ in 2014, his voice retains a lot of that voluminous style, but aided a much more adventurous band – unafraid to explore a hugely bombastic canvas – he’s able to abe both grander and more melodic. Things never shift too far from an old school metal core, but it often feels as if there’s far more here at stake for his fans.