by: TJ FOWLER
Label: Steamhammer SPV
Ok…I am a bit slow to the draw on this one. ‘Shadowline’ came out a few months back and it slipped by me…of course a lot of releases slip by me as I get hundreds of promo invites in my inbox so that I can’t keep up with them all. So I guess on one hand it is bad it got by me but on the other hand…hey I noticed it.
Anyway let’s get to the review. I find myself being drawn more and more to a more traditional sound in my rock and metal music. If you go back to many of my reviews I tend to favor the bands that eschew the slick studio polish that has become more and more typical in metal and hard rock. There are exceptions of course and there are bands whose sound wouldn’t sound right with a stripped down sound but there are FAR more who just don’t sound good period then you add in an over produced sound and they are truly stripped of any kind of a defining sound.
So here we have Black Trip who by listening to them you would think they are an up and coming band emerging from the 70’s pub and bar scene and ready to go to the next level. ‘Shadowline’ at its core is a no frill rock n roll album. It is heavily influenced by Thin Lizzy which is primarily displayed in the vocals of Joseph Tholl who exudes a Phil Lynott quality in his voice. Musically, the band sounds like vintage 70’s rock but also, to my ears, I detected a very early Iron Maiden sound from around the Killers era which offered an interesting mix of styles within the songs. Lyrically, the songs vary in that some of them…sound a little bit hippy-ish. Flower Power it up I guess but not all songs thankfully lean this way but there are a few that came off this way to me.
Overall, Shadowline’ is a solid album but it does have an issue with songs starting to sound the same with a possible exception or two. While the band is talented they seem to suffer a bit from not stretching their wings far enough in their songwriting/musical composition and as a result the overall impact of the album suffers a bit.
Black Trip is going to be a treat for fans of the classic rock era of the 70’s and especially Thin Lizzy fans. Just be aware that what you hear in the first track is pretty much what you will hear in the last track.