Few people have the ability to talk about the pain, the suffering and the return to life in the way Walter Trout does. Few, very few, believed and hoped to be able to hear a new album from Trout, given the heavy health issues in which the American artist had been through in the last 24 months. Whereas The Blues Came Calling drew almost an artistic testament, Battle Scars, Walter Trout's new album, marks instead the struggle and the physical and artistic resurrection of this incredible artist.
By Trout's admission, Battle Scars is a Concept Album that, through its lyrics, describes the moments of despair and the desire to fight against the painful physical ordeal Trout has lived in recent times. Despite the hard lyrics, Trout honesty and immediacy of his words go straight to the heart of any listeners. Sonically, the album is a complete triumph. Battle Scars reaches such levels of musical excellence that perhaps the American artist had managed to achieve as a soloist only with albums such as Blues For A Modern Daze or Full Circle in his long and glorious career.
Produced very accurately and beautifully once again by Eric Corne, Battle Scars finds Trout and his band in top form. Trout's guitar has that sound of a lion kept in a cage for a long, long time. Michael Leisure and Sammy Avila, faithful "Compadres" of Trout for many years, combine their talent in playing their instruments with Trout's guitar and harmonica so perfectly and in unison with the American Guitar Maestro, almost sounding like a unique sonic core throughout the album.
Walter Trout's new album is perhaps one of the most rock sounding records he has ever done and the sound that echoes out of Battle Scars goes in perfect harmony with the concept of the album. At first dark and almost sinister in the lyrics, then increasingly steady and powerful, especially through Trout's Wall Of Sound, as to symbolize the will to fight with all his strength against the pain.
Playin 'Hideaway, Fly Away and Move On exude powerful and lightning hard-rock, for which bands such as AC/DC now would sell their souls to the devil, in order to be able to emulate what Trout and his band manage to put together, on Battle Scars.
My Ship Came In and Tomorrow Seems So Far Away are so perfect that not a single note is out of place on those tracks. Cold, Cold Ground, despite the gloomy lyrics, summarizes beautifully in its majestic blues tempo all about Trout's talent, both as a guitarist and as a singer/songwriter.
It is rather difficult, if not impossible, to find any low points in a flawless album like this, that shows so many traces of sonic and lyrical peaks of great artistic value. The acoustic ballad Gonna Live Again that closes the album, sums up everything that Battle Scars is all about. The fears, the hopes, the desire to fight and never give up. And for Trout and all his fans, the absolute certainty to have found once again, through this album, one of the most inspired and talented music artists of this generation.
Giovanni "Gio" Pilato
Battle Scars is available worldwide via Mascot Label Group