Sunday, November 1, 2015

Walter TROUT: "Battle Scars"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Mascot Records/Provogue
Review by Martien Koolen

This is the much-anticipated follow-up to Walter Trout's superb 2014 album The Blues
Came Callin'. Battle Scars is a chronicle of Walter Trout's survival after his liver transplant; staring death in the eye and not knowing if he would live to go on making his music.

On this excellent new album are 12 tracks dealing with his battle between life and death and the lyrics are really emotional and also give a message of hope and will power. The album kicks off with Almost Gone, featuring harmonica, two superb very bluesy guitar solos and of course very emotional lyrics dealing with Walter's illness and his survival. Another highlight on the album is Please Take Me Home, a classic blues ballad with almost magical, out of this world guitar solos; showing that Trout is still one of the best guitar pickers in the bluesrockworld.

Fly Away is an up tempo blues rocker with a catchy chorus and a mean, almost swampy, howling guitar solo. Move On is maybe the "heaviest" song on Battle Scars; a blues rock track with heavy riffs and hooks and two mean and lean guitar solos. My Ship Came In features Trout on harmonica again, but the song almost explodes with the howling high guitar in the end. Cold, Cold Ground ia another Trout milestone and reminds me of good old Jimi Hendrix, as it is a classic slow blues song filled with astonishing guitar work. Trout's guitar solos on Cold, Cold Ground are probably the best on the entire album.

Unfortunately Trout also composed two mediocre tracks for Battle Scars, being the utterly boring acoustic Gonna Live Again and the last track called Sammy, Sammy which in fact only features one minute silence and a speaking voice! Without these two missers, Battle Scars would have received the perfect rating from me; but this album again shows/proves that Trout always will have a special place in my blues (rock) heart; especially if I listen to outstanding tracks like Cold, Cold Ground, My Ship Came In, Please Take Me Home and Fly Away. The emotional, heartfelt lyrics do the rest: "Last year has been one where the blues truly came calling and I came face to face with death more than once."(Walter Trout). Battle Scars is a fantastic blues rock album and I hope that Walter (with his new liver) will live for many more years and make excellent albums like this one. Highly recommended for lovers of real blues rock with steaming guitar solos; play it loud and often!!

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