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Articles Home » 2009 Articles » Toja - 2009 Train Of Life
Toja - 2009 Train Of Life

ALBUM: Train Of Life
LABEL: Avenue Of Allies
SERIAL: 09 03 0004
YEAR: 2009
SPONSOR: Gregor Klee, Avenue Of Allies


LINEUP: Tommy Rinn - vocals, guitars, bass, percussion * Jan Thielking - guitars, keyboards, programming, bass, percussion, vocals * Tim Dierks - drums * Ole Dietz - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Train Of Life * 02 No Cross * 03 Just A Love Song * 04 First Love * 05 End Of A Nation * 06 All Of My Love * 07 Slave To The Machine * 08 Hold My Hand * 09 Night To Remember * 10 Circle Of Lies



You've seen our news articles from Avenue Of Allies regarding the dual releases of Fab Box and German outfit Toja coming up shortly (Sept 11). We've covered Fab Box already, the focus this time is on Toja, a band revolving around the duo of Tommy Rinn and Jan Thielking - To and Ja originating as a combination of their christian names. The duo were previously with the band Syder, who released one album back in 1997 called 'May Light'. Twelve years on, and Toja deliver an album that is deep, majestic, symphonic in parts, grandiose in others. I'm hearing a combinations of influences: Zeno, Magnum, and Saracen when they move into that symphonic realm, and Judas Priest, Savatage and Black Sabbath when they heavy it up. An interesting swirling mixture indeed. The material on 'Train Of Life' has been written over a four year period (August 2005 to December 2008), and finally sees a release in mid-late 2009.

The Songs
Co-produced by Toja and former Roko band member Mark Bugnard, 'Train Of Life' will take some listening to get to the bottom of it. I had to give this a few spins to absorb, but I'm glad I did. Leading off with the title track 'Train Of Life', it's very reminiscent of Saracen circa 'In Vox Excelso', with the vocals infusing a Rob Halford like delivery. Nice start. The Saracen connection continues into 'No Cross', with its monastery/monk choir intro and very British sounding symphonic pomp style. We segue into the acoustic ballad 'Just A Love Song' which invokes thoughts of Judas Priest in their earlier days (think 'Before The Dawn' from 'Killing Machine'). For something different, Toja introduce 'First Love' with a series of handclaps before rockin' out in a modern context. 'End Of A Nation' is a great track, again with Saracen influences, plus a little early Magnum thrown in for good measure. 'All Of My Life' features a huge multi-layered vocal intro, before settling into a mainly flowing acoustic piece. Moving into heavier territory is 'Slave To The Machine' though not as heavy as the songtitle might suggest. 'Hold My Hand' is a symphonic ballad, it didn't grab me, and I moved forward into 'Night To Remember'. Excuse the Pink Floyd guitar intro as the song shifts into a riff-based mid-tempo excursion, sort of like Gotthard meeting Saracen.. If you can imagine it. The finale 'Circle Of Lies' features an orchestral layer of strings, horns and woodwinds, but comes to life by the halfway mark. Again, it's hard for me not to compare this to prime-time Saracen, and considering Rob Bendelow's men are one of my fave bands, Toja have a significant headstart.

In Summary
The album clocks in at 51 minutes, and will appeal greatly to those of you into that heavier symphonic/pomp sound as covered by those bands mentioned earlier in this article. Considering Saracen's 'In Vox Excelso' is one of my favourite albums of the 2000's decade, it came as a huge surprise to hear Toja simulating their sound, with an album that is very well produced and full sounding. Perhaps not as dynamic and theme based as 'Vox In Excelso', but still a great listen for those of you with open ears and open minds. Surprise package of the 2009 year for me so far.

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#1 | Eric on September 02 2009 01:06:00
Very Halford sounding vocals and I like what I hear over at the web site. Anything referenced with Saracen and Zeno will get my attention!
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