Release DetailsLABEL Screaming Ferret Wreckords
RELEASED ON 1/22/2007
Army of Lost Souls
posted on 2/2007 By:
As crowded as the groove-laden modern hard rock scene feels right now, there's always room for another quality ass-kicker and that's essentially what we have here. It won't move you with any sense of depth or sweeping arc of emotion like, say, Wet Animal, but it will entertain, momentarily enthrall and genuinely persuade you to get off your fat unemployable ass and shake like a Jesus bobblehead on the dash of a '57 Chevy.
Nifty little quotables aside, Army of Lost Souls, Troll's follow-up to their self-titled debut, is extremely solid. Go ahead, take a listen to the thick crunch of album-opener "Power" back to back with the nearly majestic acoustic track that follows, "Midnight," and tell me this isn't diversity defined. There's a virtual smorgasbord of elements that Troll somehow packs together to form nine well-orchestrated songs that exist both individually and as part of a greater whole with equal success. Standouts include the boogie of "Blood of Our Enemies" and the epic feel of album-closer "Army of Lost Souls." Wet Animal is a decent comparison but Troll doesn't push emotion to the forefront as often or as skillfully as the Chicago rockers. The group's website mentions Maiden, Sabbath, Deep Purple and Dio. Don't trust the website. Trust me. I don't hear Maiden or Deep Purple. Subtle threads of the plodding aesthetic Sabbath helped create are present, and Troll do inherit the modern crunch of Dio's most recent albums, but they don't exactly know what to do with it at times. The songwriting, while surprisingly strong at times, only skims the surface of the legendary stratosphere in which those aforementioned icons dwell.
Of course, this being a hard rock recording, vocalist Tom Mayo plays a significant role in a thumbs up or thumbs down review. In this case, my thumb isn't exactly at a 90 degree angle, but it's certainly more on the positive than the negative end. His voice is soothing and certainly stands out but I would have appreciated more grit to match the guitar tone. I am sure some of you will disagree, but some potential for visceral emotion gets buried in Mayo's somewhat monotonous tone, "Midnight" being the one exception. One senses that Mayo is capable of more, but is more concerned with staying in control for the sake of the song. He and the band would be better off (and sound slightly less forced) if he just let loose a little and belted something outside of that same familiar pitch.
These songs, while fun, don't necessarily have much depth and the hooks aren't nearly as strong, resulting in an album that comes recommended but with a warning: You'll probably forget this is in your collection after a while. Of course, it will be fun to return to every now and then, but it's hardly a genre landmark.
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