Released: 2012, Ear Music
As much as we try here at Metal-Rules.com, it is hard to review every big album within the calendar year. Just when I think I have got a good percentage of the albums covered, more pop up! Looking back, there were seven releases from 2012 that we should have covered in 2012. Black Majesty, Devil’s Train, Nightmare, Obsession, Paradox, Perzonal War and Trail Of Murder. Better late than never. Enjoy my 2012 Backlog Reviews feature!
In my experience most musicians are creative, open-minded people who enjoy music on many different styles. I’ve read that many of my Metal heroes don’t listen to Metal exclusively. Once in a while a bunch of guys will get together just for the pleasure of making music and do a project that is totally outside of the realm of their main bands. Devil’s Train is one such project. What would it sound like if a bunch of European Power Metal guys made a southern-fried, Blues-based melodic Metal album? It would sound like Devil’s Train!
Devil’s train is truly a magnificent international supergroup. Founded by R.D. Liapakis (Germany, Mystic Prophecy) he is joined by Jari Kainulainen (Finland, ex-Evergrey, Ex-Stratovarius, Masterplan), Jorg Michael (Germany, every good German ever.. Rage, Running Wild, Grave Digger etc) and the band is rounded out by Laki Ragazas (Denmark, Oliver Weers).
There is a line in the Metal themed cartoon Metalocalypse, where the Death Metal band Dethklok goes to the deep south to learn how to play the blues. At one point one of the characters, Swizgar Swigelf is talking to old bluesman about the blues and Swigelf says, “All they sing about is trains!” He has a point. It seems that the imagery of trains, the devil and music from the American south are inextricably linked. The band Devil’s Train naturally has a train on the album cover and a song called Devil’s Train. The 12-track album runs under 40 minutes and includes a cover of ‘American Woman’ by the Canadian band The Guess Who
Musically this is pretty hard rocking stuff. However there are many little flourishes like harmonica, acoustic guitar and slide guitar to add that southern flavour. There are some critics that say Power Metal don’t play with ‘feel’, whatever that is supposed to mean. In my experience to those cynics and critics ‘feel’ means slow. Well, this album is considerably slower than the output of their other bands. Tracks like ‘Forever’ and ‘The Answers’ could have easily fit on a Tora Tora, Southgang, Badlands, Sweet F.A. or Tangiers album back in the late 80’s. There are some pretty punchy songs like ‘Room 66/64’ as well. The Devil’s Train debut effort is a good melodic Metal album. I’m not sure how authentic it is but the guys do an excellent job of reproducing a sound and style that is out of their comfort zone. This is an interesting and successful experiment to my ears but I’m not sure how well the album will be received by the die-hard Metal community. I’ve got a strong appreciation for blues-based Metal so this album is one that does not give me the blues.