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Tholl, Joseph: Devil’s Drum

There’s a theme at the heart of this album that Joseph Tholl doesn’t want you to miss. Most of it comes through in the track “It’s Just Rock ‘n’ Roll,” but you can also hear it in “Devil’s Drum.” At first glance, the theme appears to look backwards to celebratory songs like the Rolling Stones “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I like it),” but there’s more to it than that. After all, this album isn’t just a rock and roll album, nicely settled into the comfortable beats and rhythms of the past. Instead, Tholl is imagining what it might be like to get caught up in the music and discover where it wants to go. The title track captures this wish by imagining a supernatural drum that seduces the listener to hear new things he or she has not considered. It’s pretty good stuff.

Given that Tholl is best known for his extended stint in Enforcer, it makes sense that he would like listeners to hear something a little different. But it wouldn’t be right to call this album a rejection of the heavy stuff; it’s more of an attempt to see where the music will go without any consideration for genre. The result is a straightforward rock album that owes a little something to the 1970s and a little more to garage rock. The whole thing is tinged with a dreamy quality that is both dark and melancholy.

Joining Tholl are several talented players, all of whom help give this album a grounded yet pulsating quality. Fans of Enforcer will likely be surprised, especially since Tholl never quite embraces his former riffy qualities. On this album, the guitar is rarely flashy or assertive; instead, it helps establish the mood more than anything else. For those who want to give this album a spin, I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised. Tholl is having a good time and the songwriting is consistently strong. It’s nice when solo albums like this avoid fluff or put everything into a single.

Fans of rock should find something to enjoy here. I also think fans of Tholl’s other projects will also like it. For me, I thought the title track as well as “It’s Just Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Black Birds,” and “They Fell from the Sky” were cool. For those wanting a deeper dive, check out “The Passage by the Sea,” especially the chatty lead guitar.

Track Listing:
1. It’s Just Rock ‘n’ Roll
2. They Fell from the Sky
3. Follow the Fire
4. Black Birds
5. Devil’s Drum
6. In Eternal Rest
7. The Passage by the Sea
8. I’m the Machine
9. Through Endless Skies

Added: November 22nd 2019
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1313
Language: english

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