Trucker Diablo Rise Above The Noise
Hold on to your cold beers and denim-covered butts, ladies and gents because Trucker Diablo is back and they are back in grand style. Almost exactly a year after the band took an indefinite hiatus for personal reasons, the guys (minus bass-player Glenn Harrison who decided not to step on board again) have released the Pledge-funded masterpiece Rise Above The Noise. Did I say masterpiece? Well, I only said that because I mean it.
Simply delivering more of what fans already love about the band would have been good enough, but Trucker Diablo gives something above and beyond that on Rise Above The Noise. To be sure, the band still plays its own unmistakable blend of chest-pounding, party-starting hard rock, mixed with a sip of southern rock, and a twist or two of Thin Lizzy. But added to all that satisfying rumble, flash, and lightning is a dark undertow of loss, sadness and longing that gives the music a deeper resonance and a keener emotional edge. There were shades of this on their knockout album Songs of Iron as well (“Maybe You’re The One” being one outstanding example), but it’s brought out and realized more fully on this release.
The first two tracks herald Trucker Diablo’s return in spectacular fashion. “Fight Life” rocks out at full tilt with the guitars ripping and roaring, Tom Harte’s voice lighting the fuse, and newcomer Jim McGurk’s bass reverberating deep in your chest. Then, “Party Like They Started The End Of The World” revs the Trucker engine to the max, with a barrage of killer drums and brawny riffs that just about knocked the breath out of me.
“Somebody Save Me” gives a taste of what Trucker Diablo can do when they decide to cut closer to the bone: Harte’s vocals are full of pain and desperation here, while the music gives the tune the grit and strength it needs. The band then cranks things up with the rousing “We Stand Strong” – a tune that has a terrific 80s rocker feel, fused with a genuine intensity and urgency that really kicks it into orbit.
After getting your blood pumping and your heart racing, Trucker Diablo proceeds to rip your heart out with the masterful power-ballad “Where Angels Fly”. Keith Weir from The Quireboys plays some gorgeous piano here, and Harte’s voice is so good I got goosebumps partway through the first verse. Yes, this tune made me cry and I’m not ashamed to say it. It’s a song that allows the band to show just how good they are at blending deeply emotional lyrics and vocals with the hard-rocking force of their music.
The second half of the album is just as strong as the first. “Girl In A Photograph” features the band in full flight with a bit of Thin Lizzy beneath their wings (that’s always a good thing); while “Take Me To The River” conjures some darker magic with a swampy-bluesy southern rock feel, shifting into a blast of sweaty rock’n’roll heat.
“Murder Ballad” is another slice of power-ballad perfection, telling an achingly beautiful story where the tenderness and passion of the vocals are perfectly matched by the guitar work. Just brilliant stuff from the band here.
The excellent “Sun Deprives The Day” brings a slightly menacing vibe, a heavy groove, and some of the most haunting lyrics on the album: “Buried bones and dust in the wind / No absolution for all who’ve sinned”. All this before final track “Don’t Cry” brings a ray of light, a glimpse of hope, and the possibility of redemption. With its stirring melody, harmony vocals, outstanding guitar work, and the satisfying weight provided by the drums and bass it is indeed the perfect track to close out the album.
Rise Above The Noise is a superb release from a band that I was afraid I’d never hear from again. All I can say after listening to this is: Please, guys – don’t go away again.
- Tom Harte – lead vocals, lead guitar
- Simon Haddock – rhythm guitar, vocals
- Jim McGurk – bass guitar
- Terry Crawford – drums
- Fight Life
- Party Like They Started The End Of The World
- Somebody Save Me
- We Stand Strong
- Where Angels Fly
- Girl In A Photograph
- Take Me To The River
- Murder Ballad
- Sun Deprives The Day
- Don’t Cry
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