Hard Rock from Schweden already has a long and good tradition and if you then also have a personality of the domestic Rock scene as guitarist in Janne Stark and then also have named them after a JETHRO TULL classic, then that basically is only good omens for LOCOMOTIVE BREATH's "Train Of New Events".
Founded in 1995 by former OVERDRIVE guitarists Janne Stark and Kjell Jacobsson, they released an album called "Train Of New Events" in 1997 after which the label went belly up. After a whole bunch of line up changes 2002 saw the release of the album "Heavy Machinery", after which there were even more changes...
But here we now have "Train Of New Events", which is the first album, plus the EUROPE cover "Scream Of Anger", three of the five songs off the 2000 demo and the Japanese bonus track "Captured", which has been a remnant from their OVERDRIVE days, completely with new cover. Why the whole thing has been re-released is not quite clear, but let's listen in, maybe I'll find out why...
Well, partly I do that indeed, because in the course of the almost 52 minutes we get good, quite typical Swedish Hard Rock, which does not turn into Melodic Rock, but rather has some more progressive elements, which definitely do not sound like standard. Instead of sounding shallow or losing itself in nothingness, the sound of LOCOMOTIVE BREATH sounds a bit cranky, in the vocal and guitar lines we sometimes have a light KING'S X touch, as for example in "A Frozen Soul".
"29 Strings" then is pure instrumental Prog music, which I don't have an ear for, even though well played, the fuddling goes onto my nerves pretty quickly... The following "High By Nature" then takes up the progressiveness and induced it into the Hard Rock sound of the Swedes, which is surely a nice change for Prog fans, but even though I like quite some Prog, something in the sound of LOCOMOTIVE BREATH bulks, when they let that vein run lose a bit more. Also because the vocals follow this and do not follow such catchy lines as on the first songs.
"Fight With Love" is an excellent acoustic ballad, which gets something very special by the way the acoustic guitars are played, while after that they turn back towards the slightly progressive Hard Rock. With one exception and that is the already mentioned cover version of EUROPE's "Scream Of Anger", already covered by NOSTRADAMEUS last year, which is done very well and contrary to the rest of the album is quite a bit faster and heavier, still great.
LOCOMOTIVE BREATH definitely are not the usual Hard Rock band, but are something for the more sophisticated minutes in the life of a Hard Rocker, which then again is not that easily digestible, especially when the Prog comes out and the band starts to fuddle. At the same time I could also imagine that a Proghead might be a bit disappointed by the rather limited Prog factor... Everything is played almost flawless, just a bit between the chairs. Still quality. (Online October 28, 2003)