Walter Trout completes his personal odyssey with a raging final chapter of blistering riffs and bleeding ear anthems of vintage blues rock for ‘Battle Scars.’
His record label was set to celebrate his 25 years as a solo artist, but those plans came to a halt with Trout facing the prospect of emanate death due to liver failure. The new album chronical his two-year battle to survive and his recovery and second chance at life in his 50th year as a guitarist.
Backing Trout and his signature Stratocaster on the 11 songs are his long time backing band of keyboardist Sammy Avila, drummer Michael Leasure and a new bassist Johnny Griparic. Cut live off the floor, these songs drop the listener smack dab in the middle of their bombastic assault. The lyrics can, at times be rock & roll cliché, but that is probably endemic of facing death and trying to relate the experience as truthful as possible, for the truth isn’t pretty or as poetic as we want it to be.
Trout take us from the beginning of his troubles, on “Almost Gone,” through his long wait for a transplant among the doomed and desperate in “Omaha.” He reflects on his mistakes over a rocking groove during “Tomorrow Seem So Far Away,” delivers another sentimental ballad to his wife Marie “Please Take Me Home,” and Trout dreams of better days during the straight ahead rocker “Fly Away.” The over six minutes blues track “Cold, Cold Ground,” is about as deep, dark and desperate as a man can get. Thankfully Trout offers us a reprieve from the sonic suffering and closes the album with an acoustic testimony of triumph “Gonna Live Again.”