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Comprised of Mystic Prophecy frontman R.D.Lipiakis, ex-Stratovarius sticksman Jörg Michael, Symfonia/ex-Stratovarius bassist Jari Kainulainen and Greek guitarist Lakis Ragazas, Devil's Train are a fairly exciting prospect on paper, and one that translates well to record on this, their eponymously titled debut offering. And considering their present and former bands, one would expect a collection of songs exuding power metal par excellence. Not so, for the combined talents of these four men have forged a style and sound that is very much riff-driven blues rock. I use the word rock in a very loose sense as just about every track on 'Devil's Train' has a heavy groove and sonic vigour that treads the middle ground where rock meets metal. A heavier Chickenfoot if you like. Lipiakis' vocals are actually not too dissimilar from Sammy Hagar with his gruff delivery and are ever so apt for the music over which he sings some fairly clichéd lyrics (but, again, clichés that are apt for the music). Onetime Stratovarius bandmates Michael and Kainulainen also deliver the goods on drums and bass, but it's Ragazas' fine guitar work where the album really shines as he riffs his arse off throughout, overlaying the up tempo rhythms with some seriously heavy groove fuelled playing. Then there's his rather amazing virtuosic lead work where every solo beams resonantly through the mix with a rich, warm tone, often embellished with a touch of wah. Devil's Train work incredibly well as a unit and it's hard to fault their debut for what it is. However, original and innovative it is not so the formulaic and predictabile nature of tracks becomes more evident as the playing time progresses on an album that holds few surprises. The formula is repeated so much so that you can actually skip to where you'd expect to hear a solo in a song and, lo and behold, there'll be a solo awaiting your ears. However, far be it from me to criticise an album for something it's not trying to be so if you enjoy the heavier side of energetic blues-based rock then Devil's Train are well worth a shot.
Review by Mark Holmes
5th March 2012
1) Fire and Water; 2) Devil's Train
3) Roll the Dice
4) To The Ground
5) Forever
6) Sweet Devil's Kiss
7) Find New Love
8) Room 66/64
9) Coming Home
10) Yellow Blaze
11) The Answers
12) American Woman
"...a heavy groove and sonic vigour that treads the middle ground where rock meets metal."