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Thobbe Englund - 'Sold My Soul' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     August 25, 2017    
 
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Classic Metal with a few twists and a little too much genre hopping.

Having been a key member in re-invigorating Sabaton after what looked to be a terminal inter-band schism, guitarist Thobbe Englund has moved on to pastures new. 'Sold My Soul' is his debut solo offering, the band backing him comprising of Elon Andersson (keys), Roland Westborn (bass) and Johan Grandin (drums). Whether the clue's in the album title or not, the first thing that strikes you about '...Soul' is that is bears no relation to Sabaton whatsoever, with little in the way of the chest-beating Power Metal you might expect.

Instead this is an eleven track run through of Classic Metal with a few twists and a little too much genre hopping. Using the ethos of recording "without the, in these days so commonly used, "studio cheating" methods", what '...Soul' achieves is a genuine retro feel that draws on some more recent ideas. In ways it also makes a brand spanking new set of songs sound immediately dated and whether that was the intention or not, it kind of starts things at a bit of a disadvantage.

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What doesn't help is Thobbe Englund's perfectly fine, but hardly exciting vocal style. A lack of range or distinct character making for a reasonably forgettable performance. This is something further highlighted when ex-Civil War front-man Nils Patrik Johansson joins the ex-Sabaton man on 'Wounded Knee' and thoroughly blows him out of the water with a classic Dio-like delivery.

It isn't all bad, the album's title cut and 'Annihilation' possessing the spirit of Judas Priest in their riff and scream, while 'I Am' plays it mean and moody in a The 69 Eyes Goth 'n' Roll style. Add in the pound and pummel of 'Break The Chains', where the "ooh-ahh" chorus chant proves infuriatingly catchy and there's just about enough here to keep you amused. However, the Ozzy Osbourne era Black Sabbath homages (vinyl crackles and all) of 'The Glow' and 'The Ashes' do their best to spoil the mood. Seldom does the phrase "there's nothing wrong with it" make for the strongest endorsement, but in the end 'Sold My Soul' is too much of a hodgepodge of ideas to deserve any more praise than that.

Steven Reid

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