Trance - The Loser Strikes Back

(CD, Rockport Records, 2017)

I was really surprised when I first loaded TRANCE’s new LP “The Loser Strikes Back” into the player. I really shouldn’t have since I like TRANCE, and everything they’ve ever released has been very good with the TRANSMISSION stuff included. But for some reason, I tend to forget this from time to time.

It doesn’t happen often that a record gives that instant feeling of joy as the first notes of opening “Thunderbird Rising” did. Joe Strubel’s voice cuts through the riff and the build-up before the song start works perfect. Actually though, a few spins into the record, it makes more sense, when knowing what follows. The song has a very good beat, up-tempo with a catchy chorus-line.

I don’t know how to put this without making it sound negative because it’s not. I really like everything about this record but “The Loser Strikes Back” isn’t perfect; the production is basic, classic, and organic. Compared to a modern sound, this one is a few steps back. It’s not as precise and spot-on adjusted as modern Metal either. But the music is very vibrant and the elation I feel listening to it doesn’t happen often. Frankly, I prefer this kind of real sounding instruments prior to the modern super-compressed adjusted production many records have these days. Just listen to “Star Invaders”, if that isn’t a turn-on you’re not a metalhead! I love melodic mid-tempo songs but don’t let the intro fool you, it’s a heavy and dynamic piece in the verses and that this fantastic chorus-line. It becomes necessary to crank up the stereo when this one’s on. Speedy “Live And Heavy” struck hard right from the start. I really love the phrasing of the vocal line here and this is what is doing a lot for the other songs too. Small pauses and so on generate a fantastic drive in the music. And especially for a fast one like this one it becomes very hitty. It all sounds incredible good.

The title track “The Loser Strikes Back” is another favorite; it’s a bit strange though, since I really hated the chorus line after the first spin. Joe’s vocal tone came across as annoying but it got stuck solid and I kept singing on it for days. Efficient for sure! “Open Skies” has resemblances with “Star Invaders” when it comes to the beat and this is another mid-tempo song. The floating vocal line for the chorus works really well and makes the song stand out in a very good way. It all sounds fantastic.

The epic “Trust /and Glory” is my absolute favorite from “The Loser Strikes Back” with the gnawing beat lurking behind the fanciful vocal line and with just a few notes sticking out to make it noticeable. Fines and grace are what these are called. I’m of course a sucker for massive dynamic tracks but this one really has it all; great melodies, passages, and it still is catchy, and it should work perfect live as well. I think this new one stands very good against classics as “Break Out” and “Power Infusion”, it holds a bunch of amazing songs with strong melodies and the oddities always present in TRANCE’s music, those small details that make them stand out from the mass. Perhaps it is too soon to say but I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re looking at a new classic here.





01. Thunderbird Rising
02. I Want To Live
03. Star Invaders
04. Loser
05. Live And Heavy
06. The Loser Strikes Back
07. Open Skies
08. Trust And Glory
09. Finding You


Joe Strubel - Vocals
Markus Berger - Guitars
Eddie St. James - Guitars
Thomas Klein - Bass
Neudi - Drums
Jens Gellner - Drums