Words El Jefe.
While The Midnight Ghost Train have been around for quite a few years now, I first heard them when their second LP Buffalo was released. Heavy blues, and also with a great cover of the traditional tune Cotton Fields, done with only drums and vocals which was one of my favourite tracks on that LP.
Following up 2012’s Buffalo with Cold Was The Ground, this time around The Midnight Ghost Train have lashed out with some seriously heavy duty brawling stoner-blues rock, with the big busted voice box of Steve Moss once again a key feature. But let’s not forget his guitar playing either. Awesome!
New bass player Mike Boyne and his devastatingly relentless bass riffs could well be the secret weapon on this record too. His playing is something akin to a man-made earthquake. And there’s the drummer, Brandon Burghart, and his jackhammer to the guts ‘tude. I should also note that with much of the material, the drums are the centrepiece and what gives this band so much of their drive. Roll all of this into one and you get a fucking bruising blues from hell masterpiece. But they’re not about the technicalities of playing, they’re all about the rock. An important difference as far as I’m concerned.
Along The Chasm rolls along in fine style, barely stopping to take a breath. This all too short instrumental shows the passion and power of this band well, and is a great opener.
Cue a few of TMGT’s signature behemoth tunes to power through and suddenly meet the pinnacle of their power with The Canfield; relentless drumming, and monster riffs that never quit.
Straight To The North has a slick groove and some funky rock / call and response guitar / vox.
No. 227, this is flat out rock’n’roll. No bullshit or sleight of hand, just a heart of darkness and no place special to go.
Coming directly after No. 227 and channelling Tom Waits’ Shore Leave is The Little Sparrow, with its spoken word and minimalistic instrumentation is the one concession to subtlety here. But this is just the light at the end of the tunnel. The positioning on the album is also crucial, proving to be the calm before the storm.
Twin Souls comes straight at you with some more freight train drumming, and basslines that grip you by the throat.
TMGT finish with Mantis, a savage burn on classic rock, and one of my favourite songs on this collection.
Yeah, TMGT clearly weren’t paying attention. Instead, they got off the boat, hauled their gear into the studio and set about creating the soundtrack to the apocalypse. Much like the classic Clutch LP The Elephant Riders, Cold Was The Ground is a record that will only grow and take on a life of its own in years to come.
The Midnight Ghost Train – Cold Was The Ground is OUT NOW through Napalm Records.