Lion Music
Release date: October 21, 2005

User Review
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Do you ever get sick and tired of changing genres and sub-genres and cross-overs of this and that? Do you hark back to the more straightforward days where when you bought a Hard Rock album you knew what you were getting? Well, the new Locomotive Breath album, Change of Track, could be just what you have been waiting to find.

Swedish-based Locomotive Breath released their first album back in 1997, playing a Melodic Hard Rock/Progressive Metal style. 2005 sees the release of their third album, which marks the debut of former Malmsteen and Talisman bassist, Marcel Jacob.

Marcel Jacob makes his presence felt in the song writing department, with songs that are hard-edged, yet deliciously melodic. The sound of Locomotive Breath could be described as Talisman with the smooth edges sawn off, with a touch of Black Label Society attitude chucked in for good measure.

The real jewel of the band has to be vocalist Mattias Osback, who comes on like a raw version of Jeff Scott Soto. This guy has real soul in his voice, but with a gritty-edged power to it. In the current climate of whiney Power-Pop and growly Nu-Metal/Death Metal/New Wave of something or other Metal, it is so refreshing to hear a singer who can belt out a decent tune in such a convincing and passionate fashion.

Change of Track kicks off in convincing style with “H.M.M.” What H.M.M means is in question, but that doesn’t matter one jot as this track is a real shitkicker. A word of warning, however, do not drive with this on in your car as it’s impossible to listen to this track without planting the accelerator straight to the floor. The bizarre lyrics add a twist to the song … “People talk and track and shoot on your bloated chest … watch you eat a hamster, puts my stomach to the test!” What does that all mean?? Who cares !!! This is a great way to open up an album. One could almost imagine Dave Wyndorf and Monster Magnet kicking themselves for not writing this first.

“Shadow” follows and treads a more straightforward, mid-paced melodic style with Osbacks’ Jeff Scott Soto style emulated to maximum effect. Guitarist Janne Stark comes up with the icing on the cake in the form of a particularly fine solo in the mid-section of the song.

The heavy riffing included in “What I’ve Become” belies the agonising lyrical content of a son desperate for his father’s recognition and approval. The lyrics themselves are poignant and could quite easily sit comfortably within the context of a touching ballad. If this is an auto-biographical piece, then surely the father concerned can look at Change of Track with a sense of pride.

The first of the albums two ballads, “Leaving My Heart With You,” follows but doesn’t quite hit the heights of the preceding tracks. The same cannot be said of “Speed Driven,” which features perhaps the most aggressive riff on the disc, yet is welded together by a finely harmonized chorus.

“Feel My Rage” is another romping thunderfest, powered along by some thumping double bass drum work by Ted Wernerson.

“High on Illusion” is one of the album’s many highlights, where everything really does click in to place. Again, this kicks off with a fine riff that could well be heard the length and breadth of guitar shops across the land. In keeping with the rest of the album, there is a particularly effective harmony vocal to the chorus. The verse is reminiscent to Marching Out-era Malmsteen and the same could be said of “Kingdom of Tragedy.”

Album closer, the instrumental “Gargleblaster” features a plethora of guests, including Hank Sherman (Mercyful Fate), Mattias Eklundh (from the excellent Freak Kitchen), Tommy Deander (Radioactive) and solo star Lars Eric Mattson book results in a guitar fest tribute to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy author, Douglas Adams.

Locomotive Breath have produced a thoroughly enjoyable album full of great riffs, top class melodies, and harmonies topped off by a superb vocal performance… and if you want to hear a great Hard Rock album you’d be hard pushed to find a better example than Change of Track.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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