Stan Bush seems to be getting better with age. "In This Life" and "Dream The Dream" were excellent, and "The Ultimate" continues that trend. As with those prior two albums, he again partners with Holger Fath as producer as well as guitarist & keyboardist. You get several excellent anthems, with "Stand In The Fire" perhaps the best he's ever delivered. The "relationship" songs are also very strong. He does play it safe, not venturing out of his familiar territory, but I can't argue about the overall quality of the material.
If you're not familiar with Stan Bush, a good reference point would be the music of 30 years ago, with Survivor (Jimi Jamison era) being a good place to start. Throw in some Journey and Foreigner and Bad English and even some Loverboy, and remember all the great soundtrack tracks from that era, and you'll have a good idea of what to expect. Bush has more of an everyman voice than the artists I referenced, but it is still an excellent voice for this material. The sound is polished, with a perfect blend of guitar and keyboard without being too heavy or too fluffy. I will admit that the lyrics in the more anthemic tracks can be as cheesy as anything that came from the 80s, but I'm a guy who takes comfort in that.
All in all, this is an excellent album for those who enjoy this type of music.