Black Trip- Shadowline (SPV/Steamhammer)

Pull on your denim and leather, we're going back to the 70's.
Release Date: 
28 Aug 2015 (All day)

The opening of the 2nd album by Swedish band Black Trip Shadowline hits you right between the eyes with the power opener Die With Me. We’re immediately introduced to many aspects of Black Trip’s musical style. It’s clear from the start they are heavily influenced by 70’s and 80’s heavy music. In this aspect they haven’t exactly brought anything new to the table, but maybe that’s the point. It’s not the most contemplative listen, but it is definitely the sort of album you can sink a few beers to and ruin your vocal chords by singing along!

Peter Stjärnvind and Sebastian Ramstedt lead their way with their vintage 70’s riffing driving the machine that is Black Trip. Whilst at times I felt that the riffing was unoriginal or quite similar to other songs on the album, songs like Danger with its odd meter, and the title track Shadowline were greatly enjoyable and really stick out in your head well after listening. An aspect I thought Black Trip were very strong in was the ability to weave the vocal lines of Joesph Tholl in to contemplate the riffing throughout the album. A strong example of this is the single, Berlin Model 32, which is by a long way the most enjoyable song on the album. The trade-off between the vocals and the guitars in the chorus is insanely catchy and I always found myself going back to Berlin Model 32 before the other songs on the album. Tholl is an interesting vocalist. There are times when I had to check the line-up detail because I could swear it was Paul Stanley singing at me (By no means a bad thing, it simply adds to the 70’s vibe of the music). And other times I was frustrated by him because it seems when he aims for more power or range, it descends into an energetic yell, which lacks finesse. This can be heard in the big “WOAHS” in The Storm.

There are some great moments on this album. The intro to Clockworks reminded me of the opening song of a huge concert which sends shivers down the spine, and the chorus of Sceneries was my favourite moment of the album. The lead work blended so well with the vocal lines. The lead guitar work follows similar techniques and ideas throughout the album. I loved the vintage tone of the solo work, but I’d love it if a few more ideas were presented. My personal favourite guitar solo was Over The Worldly Worlds. Johan Begebäck on bass helped drive the riffing, whilst adding in groovy bass runs several times throughout the album. At times though it seemed the tone was a bit muddy to fully appreciate what he was bringing to the songs. Jonas Wikstrand on the drums kept a solid backbone to the music but rarely does anything to stamp his authority on the music.

Shadowline is a reasonably enjoyable album. 70’s Rock and early 80’s metal fans will crank this album long and loud, but although it has many enjoyable aspects, I feel with a little bit more technique and creativity Black Trip could pull out an even better album.