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27 October 2010 @ 08:30 pm
Bp's Song of the Week #99: Menrva Realm "Runaway Train"  
Most likely you’ve never heard of this group, a collaboration between a brilliant guitarist and my favorite male vocalist. Rob Evan is the vocalist and right now he and Matt Nathanson are my favorite current male vocalists – there’s something that they do that just reaches deep inside and grabs me like no other male vocalists has in the past couple years.

I’ve been in love with Rob’s voice for some time, the power, strength and versatility. He’s played the title role both on and off Broadway for Jekyll and Hyde, he’s toured on and off and recorded with Trans-Siberian Orchestra since 2001, as well as numerous other productions and projects. He’s not only got astounding vocal mastery of his voice, but he can draw you into any character he’s playing. Obviously on the Menrva Realm album it’s less character based, but his vocal strength still reigns. His performances on this Spring’s Beethoven’s Last Night tour with TSO were some of the best I’ve seen in my concert going days. He’s a genuinely nice guy as well.

The album this track is from is one of those discs that when I play it I’m completely drawn in, but can’t adequately describe why it’s so great. The vocals obviously I love, the guitar work is fantastic, and the rhythm groove is solid and deep (drums are provided by Mark Prator which some folks might recognize from John Wesley (Porcupine Tree’s touring guitarist) solo albums). The album is diverse, has great production, power, and it just rocks. That’s a really weak description, one I can’t believe I’m going to leave as is, but it’s really something you’ve got to hear.

Which brought me to my next dilemma…there were three youtube partial clips of one the epic last track, “Angels” online, plus a free mp3 download of “Heroes.” While “Heroes” is a killer track, very diverse and powerful – see the link below to download – it wasn’t the track I wanted represented as the Song of the Week. Thankfully the folks at Ectronia Records were kind enough to let me post to you tube from the CD so that’s where this week’s track comes from.

Runaway Train

The breakdown around 2:25 shows another facet to Rob’s voice as the mood becomes eerie until the smoothness kicks back in around 2:52 “wake up my child…” This is followed by some awesome and emotive soloing from Ianu (Laurian Mohai) and how about the bell accents on the ride cymbal to transition back into the chorus – what a great touch! Then you’re back on the train running down the tracks at full speed until another shift featuring a brilliant vocal performance from Rob that leaves you wanting more as the song segues into the next cut on the album (you’ll have to buy it to get the full effect).

Runaway Train
so, tell me what it's all about,
'cause I fell of the path today.
mixed thoughts bottled up inside,
explode out of a dangerous mind.
and there's no time to change or choose,
when you're tied down to the tracks of truth.

you're on a runaway train...
a runaway train!

I could not see the turn in time,
why didn't I take it slow?
I guess I had to be alone
to finally figure out where's home.
and if you're tied the same as me,
I'll pray someday that you'll break free.

you're on a runaway train...
a runaway train!

welcome to the runaway train!
if you're brainsick today,
soul school starts at nine.
here you'll learn to speak in rhymes,
unlock your mastermind,
unleash the art inside.

wake my child,
get off this ride!
wake my child,
get off this ride!
wake up, wake up, wake up,
wake up, wake up, wake up,
you've been locked inside!

you're on a runaway train...
a runaway train!

you're on a runaway train so insane!
lord knows, for years I've stayed
tied down to these tracks of mind...
it's kept me numb inside...
and if I die before I wake,
I gave all I've got today,
and if I wake before I die,
I'll take you on another ride...

More Menrva Realm:
Heroes – free MP3 download
Some sample clips: http://www.menrvarealm.com