We live in a creative community. Through the spirit of instant communication, awareness of ability and talent can spark new projects that take on a life of their own. Devil’s Train consists of three notable names within the power metal sector: vocalist R.D. Liapakis (Mystic Prophecy), drummer Jorg Michael (Stratovarius) and bassist Jari Kainulainen (ex-Evergrey/ Stratovarius), along with guitarist Lakis Ragazas. Their first studio offering, a 12 song self-titled record, surely has the makeup and songwriting excellence to become a viable touring entity if the membership wishes to pursue that route.
The riffs are thick, bluesy and highly engaging- Lakis really hones in on the essence of classic hard rock and updates the Led Zeppelin/Whitesnake sound on early winners such as “Fire And Water” and “Roll The Dice”. He also knows how to build up a solo segment, his fiery shred technique during the 2:53-3:15 section of “Find New Love” some of the best work I’ve heard since John Sykes 1987 album interpretation of Whitesnake’s “Crying In The Rain”. R.D. Liapakis proves he can be more engaging with the material, displaying some of his personality and good nature on “Room 66/64” and the much calmer, almost Pink Floyd-like “The Answers”. Jari and Jorg display the appropriate measure of restraint compared to their previous powerhouse skillset- setting the bottom end grooves that make the riffing, melodies and songwriting shine.
Devil’s Train take on The Guess Who’s “American Woman” as a cover, and its decent enough I suppose but I would have rather heard another original cut and have this tacked on as a bonus for international markets. With no tracks over 4 minutes, you can consume this album very easily and I found myself taking in songs like “To The Ground” and “Sweet Devil’s Kiss” multiple times whatever I was doing, whenever I could, wherever I was going.
Let’s hope this will not be a one-off project. I know R.D. would have to juggle the work of Mystic Prophecy with Devil’s Train, but there’s so much to the good for both bands to remain distinct and give the public some incendiary high caliber material for years to come.
Rating: 5 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe