Not quite a year ago I was first introduced to the band Black Trip on episode 162 of the Decibel Geek Podcast (Episode #162-Fresh Blood Vol. #3). Podcasts do sell albums because from that introduction I immediately went out (by “out” I mean went to my Decibel Geek Amazon page) and got their first album, Goin’ Under. I was not disappointed. Black Trip‘s sound is somewhere between the first Iron Maiden album, old Black Sabbath, and early AC/DC guitar riffs. Shadowline does not deviate from this formula, in fact, it takes it to the next level sonically. Production wise Shadowline has a much clearer, crisper sound to it.
The formation of the band dates all the way back to 2003 and Black Trip has had an interesting history for several reasons. First, both founding member Peter Styarnvind and singer Joseph Tholl switched their primary instruments when they formed Black Trip. Styarnvind switched from drums to guitar and Tholl went from guitar to vocals to create a sound that was more in line with their own personal musical influences. The rest of the band consists of guitarist Sebastian Ramstedt, Johan Bergeback on bass, and Jonas Wikstrand on drums.
Shadowline starts off with the hard driving “Die With Me”. On this song you can really hear the Sabbath influence in verse sections and it is a great way to open the album. “Danger”, the next track, keeps the pace up and has some great harmony guitar parts in it. The tempo slows a little with the title track “Shadowline”, but this song may be the best on the album. It showcases great vocal melody and has a fantastic guitar solo. “Berlin Model 32” has a great beat and cool wailing guitars, while the next song “Over the Worldly Wall” has the first Iron Maiden album written all over it. “Clockworks” is next, and it starts with a great guitar intro and then opens up into a fast a furious finish. “Subvisual Sleep” goes in a bit of a different direction, but has a fantastic chord progression and rhythm guitar section. “Sceneries” is a solid song, but then comes “The Storm” which, to some, may qualify as the “ballad” on the album. It is a good song that showcases Tholl‘s vocals. The album ends on a strong note with “Coming Home”.
Overall, Shadowline is good next step in the musical evolution of Black Trip not only from a song writing standpoint, but also from the production side. I liked all the songs and if every song were worth one point I would rate the album an 8 out of 10. A good listen for anybody who digs early Maiden and Black Sabbath.