JOSEPH THOLL - Devil's Drum
December 20, 2019, a month ago
Former Enforcer guitarist, who was also the driving force behind Black Trip (and their currently altered VOJD moniker), the prolific Tholl now issues his first proper solo effort. On these nine tracks, Tholl handles vocals (even drums on one track and has some guesting help from Robert Eriksson (Hellacopters), Jakob Ljungberg (ex-Tribulation), both on drums and Tobias Lindqvist, the man who made Tholl switch from bass to six-string, in Enforcer, a dozen years ago.
Musically, the understated material steps away from his better known outfits, yet retains a link to the past. Case in point, the jangly, sarcastic opener, “It's Just Rock N Roll”, with more than a hint of Black Trip in its groove. Some might say these are just ideas, not fully developed songs, as most fail to crack four minutes and half are over before the clock hits 3:00! Piano notes greet the gradually building towards crescendo “They Fell From The Sky”, which might be a Ghost outtake (minus any of their fellow Swedes' lyrical content). It fades out, with Tholl's voice morphing into intergalactic/radio static. Speaking of extraterrestrials, mid-tempo and female vocal accompanied “Follow The Fire” has a Blue Oyster Cult vibe, especially the singer's calm, Eric Bloom voice, atop sporadic keyboards.
The title track, appearing exactly halfway through the running order is a minimalist piece, until the guitar break kicks in, a rare moment of intensity and the most aggressive. “In Eternal Rest” recalls Black Trip's “Berlin Model 32”. The literature claims he strove to have a more contemporary edge to the usual, ‘70s tinged hard rock. If that means adopting a Tom Petty vocal delivery, as on “The Passage By The Sea”, then he succeeded. Acoustic, talked lyrics leads “I'm The Machine”. Damn shame the whole album is over in less than a half hour.