• 7.5/10
    TONY HARNELL & THE MERCURY TRAIN - Round Trip - 7.5/10


Release date: July 2, 2010

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Just when you thought the days of the “Unplugged” series of acoustic cover recordings were over, out comes another version.
Tony Harnell, best known as the former lead singer of the Norwegian Hard Rock/Glam Metal band TNT, gives you his 2010 version of an acoustic themed album.

This incarnation is known as Tony Harnell & The Mercury Train, and the album is titled Round Trip. This album is a collection of songs from TNT and Harnell’s other side project Westworld. There are also three previously unreleased tracks.

If you are familiar with Harnell’s previous work, the songs on Round Trip are quite a departure from the original recordings. He takes a completely different musical direction by offering Indie Rock and Country Music themes. Upon the first initial listen, you may be shocked with the divergence, and the blatant lack of “Metal.” However, taking the music at face value, you have to respect and appreciate the amount of passion and quality which Harnell puts into these songs. Not to mention talent from the personnel of his band, The Mercury Train.

Harnell’s powerful vocals are clearly the driving force in all the tracks on Round Trip. The quality of his vocals is superior. From the opening track “Somebody Told You” he commands his vast range through every section of the song, far better than the original recording. One of the highlights of the album is the song “Shame,” which he shares vocals with Sandi Saraya. Harnell completely transforms this track into a very haunting and enchanting melody. Another high point is the song “Uninvited,” which is a “cover of a cover” if you will. Originally recorded by Alanis Morisette, also recorded by Harnell in Westworld, this powerful ballad is arguably his finest vocal work to date. Also worth mentioning for all you hard core Metalheads, this album even features a ukulele laden song in “Satellite.”

Even though this album is not even close to being Metal, or even Hard Rock for that matter, what it lacks in brutality, it makes up for in quality. Harnell’s vocal work is top-notch. The musicianship is extraordinary. You also have to account these songs are all derived from Hard Rock beginnings. Acoustic Rock has found a home with Tony Harnell, he truly excels with this style. One can only hope that he and The Mercury Train will continue to make music like this.


  • Sean Meloy

    Sean Meloy was a reviewer, interviewer and DJ here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Iowa , USA. By day he is a straight laced, buttoned up, number crunching accountant; armed with his portable calculator. All other times he is a hard rocking Metal head! He spent many hours listening to records and 8-tracks with his father. Classic bands such as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton just to name a few. His father bought him his first record, Kiss Alive II, at age 6. By the time he reached his teens he was discovering all the Classic Metal of the 1980’s; Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, etc. He became a huge fan of the Thrash Metal of the time as well; Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, and Overkill. During the 1990’s he experimented with the Grunge and Hard Rock. However, by the time the millennium came he found himself going back to his roots and rebuilt the music collection he started in his teens.

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