VOJD - The Outer Ocean
February 22, 2018, a month ago
Was really worried about this one, as it is the remnants of Black Trip, one of my favorite new bands in the last couple of years. While exploring new territories, these strangely monikered Swedish hard rockers retain the hallmarks of its predecessor: infectious twin lead gems. None too surprising as the core of the old line-up remains intact, Enforcer guitarist Joseph Tholl still handles bass and husky lead vocals herein, while former Entombed drummer Peter Stjärnvind is featured as one of the six-stringers.
Eleven choices this time around, the opening pair had me all-in: a lively “Break Out” opener and vintage toned “Delusions In The Sky”. Ubiquitous, but especially on the latter of the aforementioned, the essence of Thin Lizzy still heavily seasons the stew, while “On The Run” is the kind of song Kiss churned out in the ‘70s (but never since): simple, catchy guitar jam with “whoo, whoo” backing vocals and false ending. The title track is a trippy Blue Oyster Cult meets Pink Floyd inspiration that would have been out of place on a Black Trip platter, but at home on the expanded Vojd scope. Likewise a meandering, harmonica and piano introduced “Dream Machine”, Tholl doing his best to ape BOC frontman Eric Bloom. Doesn't hurt when it alternately breaks into a “Roadhouse Blues” style jam. Despite the name, “Vindicated Blues” is a straight ahead, toe-tapping old school rocker. Listen to those guitar breaks. A bit of bouncy ZZ Top staccato guitar (“La Grange”) forms the backbone to “On an Endless Day Of Everlasting Winter”, one of the strongest cuts. Recalling the DiAnno years, in terms of speed and intensity, there's “Heavy Skies”.
Some may balk at the lack of “metal” cred, but already a serious contender for my year end list. It's that good!