DEVIL’S TRAIN “Ashes And Bones”
By Dr. Abner Mality
I was in the mood for some down and dirty blues hard rock when DEVIL’S TRAIN came across my desk. Then the name of Mr. R.D. Liapakis caught my eye and I was hooked. Best known as the singer of the power/thrash band MYSTIC PROPHECY, R.D. is one of the best singers in metal. So I definitely boarded the TRAIN after learning he would be the conductor…
I’m glad I did. “Ashes and Bones” kicks ass from start to finish and features not only Liapakis’ smooth voice...the perfect midpoint between Dio and Coverdale...but drum master Jorg Michael who’s pounded the skins for SAXON and RUNNING WILD, among others, and bass player Jens Becker, who’s done GRAVE DIGGER and RUNNING WILD. Those are heavy duty players right there. The screaming guitar here is courtesy of Dan Baune, who is new to me, but who just burns the strings down over the course of the album. Who does DEVIL’S TRAIN remind me of? There’s a strong taste of the great band BADLANDS which featured Jake E. Lee and the late Ray Gillen. There’s also a whiff of WHITESNAKE’s sultry bluesiness. THE QUILL is another band DEVIL’S TRAIN reminds me of.
“Ashes And Bones” is 100% pure late 80’s hard rock with enough bite to appeal to metal fans. Sure, the lyrics and attitude is all cliché. Well, so is almost all of the death and black metal I hear. These guys don’t try to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes (and ears). They just plug in and play what they want to hear. A lot of the songs are fast and crunchy, like “Girl of South Dakota”, “More” and “Smell Sex Tonight”, but they occasionally drop into a slower, smokier feel with the title track and “In the Heat of the Night” (NOT the WHITESNAKE tune!) There’s even a killer cover of CAMEO’s “Word Up” which works better than I would have ever imagined. R.D.’s voice is perfect throughout and it’s such a shame that this guy isn’t known at the level should be. The real revelation is Mr. Baune. In a guitar show down with Jake E. Lee or Zakk Wylde, I think he would more than hold his own.
This was a real enjoyable ride on board the DEVIL’S TRAIN! Hop on if you can!