December 11, 2015 Mike Tramp – Nomad (Album Review)
Who is Michael Trempenau, otherwise known as Mike Tramp? Those too young to remember, or have just been living under a rock for three decades, need to educate themselves on who he is. Tramp, a Danish musician best known for his work with Hard Rock bands White Lion and Freak of Nature, has released several solo albums. With a third installment of his trilogy, Nomad is yet the best one of the three. It started with 2013’s Cobblestone Street, then 2014’s Museum, and now the release of Nomad, on August 28, 2015 via Target Records. He calls it a trilogy of his journey, to show who he is and where he stands.
To the mainstream fan, he obviously stands at the forefront of Heavy Metal, from 1983 to the present, and with plans to continue. The strong, yet meaningful lyrics on 1987’s “When the Children Cry” and 1991’s “Till Death Do Us Part” made it clear, Tramp has skills. Remember White Lion’s cover of Golden Earring’s “Radar Love” in 1989 that so many still like better? That was Tramp’s skill set and most excellent vocals. Long flowing manes, tight pants, and lyrics to die for were all epic factors of the growing music scene of Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, and Mike Tramp. He left a huge imprint on our minds and souls. He is still doing just that with Nomad.
Most of the songs on this album are true introspection of the world around us, and Tramps’ understanding of it all. He gives simple explanations of what is going on around us, alike Marvin Gaye’s way with words; heartfelt and with clarity, but with a nice rocking beat to the lyrics. It all fits very well together, especially with the vocals of Tramp, sounding as good as it did back in the ’80s. His style has not changed, but it is easy to feel his intensity has grown, and each song has its level of this. With hard-hitting beats and emotional content, he makes his opinion of social commentary well known and without compromise.
“Wait Till Forever” and “Counting The Hours” are great examples of his journey on introspection of self and the ability to voice what he has discovered about it. With lyrics such as, “There’s a man in the mirror/and he’s looking at you/ Got no time to be weary/Gotta do what you do/ Gotta keep movin’ on,” displays how he faces the realities in his life, along with “I’m searching for something that I don’t understand/I’ve been looking for answers in the palm of my hand/Is it something I said?” He clearly has no problem questioning himself and all that is around him. Rare to find that lately in songs, many lyrics are simply not honest enough for this questioning.
“Bow and Obey” has a nice eclectic sound, with a Rock undertone and some really interesting Mid-Eastern tones to it. He goes on to comment on today’s dilemmas with lyrics, “When borders don’t mean anything and gates open wide/Inviting the enemy in/Are we deaf /Are we blind,” he is clearly expressing what so many want to, but do not. He touches on many issues of our society, including drug abuse, superbly, in “High Like A Mountain.” He states, “On the road that will lead to nowhere/Want to bet it’ll take you somewhere/When you get to the end/It’ll be too late.” Unlike so many songs by others, that do not take the road on the reality of drug abuse, Tramp does. He does the same with “No More,” a powerfully written and expressed anti-gun, anti-violence song, repeating the lyrics, “No more, no more, no more/I can’t take no more/What the hell is going on?/ Everybody’s got a gun/The world is spinning like crazy/Immigrants and refugees/Law and order travesties/You know, I thought I was crazy.” Again, social commentary in its most honest form. So wonderful to hear, reminding the listener of days gone by, when these types of lyrics were popular and fruitful. Well, Tramp has brought back social consciences.
“Stay” and “Moving On” keeps the Hard Rock beats and hard-hitting drums of the ’80s in full force. The piercing guitar and full front vocals make these tunes a nice remembrance of what many remember as Hard Rock, and some newcomers are discovering. Along with this, Tramp includes some softer Rock in “Who Can You Believe” and “Live to Tell,” also nostalgic pieces of the Rock world that Journey and so many other bands made their imprint with. In “Live to Tell,” we are reminded of the pain and suffering one goes through as they watch a dear friend fall apart, in this case, from participating in the antics of war. The hard-hitting, emotional wording, “So glad I knew you so well/You’d be the story that I’d tell/Cause I will live to tell,” makes the listener feel along with Tramp, the emptiness yet the tribute to a dear lost friend. The days of anti-war songs were long ago, but thanks to Tramp, he has brought them back to the forefront of the music world, thankfully.
Nomad has something for everyone; a collection of social commentary that is raw, hard-hitting, and honest. The familiar Hard Rock sounds of the ’80s can be very comforting when accompanied by clear honest vocals and lyrics that so many are already thinking about. It is a special skill to be able to pull all this together at a time when the world is in chaos and so many genres of music are not discussing it. Mike Tramp is discussing it all, and will no apologies. He has done a special favor for his listeners by creating this album, and it is a great and effective piece of music that ends his trilogy of albums. It is evident that Tramp put much into this search for self by creating this album and sharing with the world. CrypticRock gives Nomad 5 out of 5 stars.