There are a many reasons that generate musicians, and a band’s, drive and ambition like a love of music, a creative urge, or in some cases a rather big ego, which needs caressing. With guitarist and vocalist Steve Moss this urgent need to form The Midnight Ghost Train came from something much more deeper, and painful, with the tragic loss of a close friend. A few changes of line up along the way since he formed TMGT in 2008 he now has Brandon Burghart, former bassist now behind the drums, joined by Mike Boyne on bass in 2014. They definitely have a settled sound, which is in evidence on this their third album in total but the first with the current line up.
Newly signed to Napalm Records, ‘’Cold was the Ground’’ is a sound of a band energised, committed, driven, with a passion to rock. And boy do they rock! The rhythm section provided by Brandon and Mike is immensely tight and drives along like an unstoppable but directed fast moving, er… train. Then there is Steve’s guitar providing simple but effective riffs. There is a slight tinge of the blues in his playing, which creates warm tones in the way Kyuss do. Also, it’s great to hear generous amounts of wah wah pedal being used spread across the album that surprisingly makes this all so refreshing. To top the sound, but this may be a stumbling block for some and divide opinion, is Steve’s hoarse, gravel toned vocals. Think latter day Tom Waits in ‘Filipino box spring hog’ and ‘Hell broke Luce’ mode. In ‘Straight from the North’ and the only song that allows a pause to breathe on proceedings. ‘The little sparrow’, have an air of theatricality about them.
There is maturity to their song writing as they know when to slow it down or have a quiet moment before returning to enormous powerful grooving and rocking. Be warned this album will induce head banging. There are songs that don’t just rock but bounce with ‘BC Tucker’, ‘The Canfield’, and closer ‘Mantis’. Its classic Motorhead tempo time with ‘No 227’ while they take a dip into Doom Metal with its big power chords in ‘Twin Souls’. There are two short instrumentals with the opener ‘Along the Chasm’ and ‘One last shelter’ that fit neatly into the running order and make this album feel not only well thought out but inspired by a special chemistry and a knowing gut reaction.
They have plans to promote this album heavily with a lengthy European and American tour already announced with more to follow, so hopefully they will include the U.K. on their travels.
The Midnight Ghost Train set out to Rock – they have delivered.