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Black Trip: Shadowline
Black Trip Shadowline CD Album Review

Black Trip: Shadowline

Melodic Hard Rock/Metal
4.5/5.0

Being unfamiliar with Sweden's Black Trip, I come to find them via their second album, Shadowline, on the SPV Steamhammer label. And, after several spins, I've been having some head scratching moments. Maybe more like deja vu. Where have I heard this band before. Or better, who do they sound like?

Black Trip Band Photo

Black Trip

At their roots, Black Trip's sound is blurring split of classic melodic hard rock and heavy metal, something around early to mid period New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Yet there was something else in the timbre of their sound. They sound like a certain Irish band. Maybe in the riffs or Joseph Tholl's voice. Maybe the production. Black Trip sounds like some blend of Thin Lizzy and the aforementioned NWoBHM. Nevertheless, they've got the latter's twin guitar harmony, and the rock groove matched some speed. It's clean sound, melodic on all levels. Drop in the abundance of lead guitar solos, and the album roars with the traditional "keep it true" heavy metal with rock groove. That's enough to please me. Best picks: Coming Home, The Storm, Over The Worldy Walls, and the speedy Clockworks. Oh yeah, by the way, no ballads to slow you down.

Yet there's something else in the mix, something else that's defining the Black Trip sound. Then I discovered it from reading the label's one-sheet. Shadowline was produced by Nicke Andersson (Entombed, Hellacopters, Imperial State Electric) at his studio The Honk Palace. Curiously, Black Trip guitarist Peter Stjärnvind is an ex-member of Entombed. Maybe this means nothing, or something. But, while not sounding directly like Hellacopters or Imperial State Electric, the atmosphere of the Shadowline recording sure sounds the same. That's not entirely a bad thing. Andersson has a modest minimal approach which adds a great deal of clarity to the music, the individual participants and instruments. In this sense, Shadowline reflects the mood inherent in early NWoBHM music. Alternatively, Andersson seems to like to give a sort of echo to his production like the vocals and music is rebounding upon itself. All this makes me wonder what this album would have sounded like in another producer's hands.

So what conclusion did I come to for the Black Trip sound? NWoBHM twisted with Thin Lizzy and Imperial State Electric. But that's just me. Otherwise, Black Trip's Shadowline offers some engaging and entertaining tunes.

Black Trip - Berlin Model 32


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In Short

So what conclusion did I come to for the Black Trip sound? NWoBHM twisted with Thin Lizzy and Imperial State Electric. But that's just me. Otherwise, Black Trip's Shadowline offers some engaging and entertaining tunes.

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