Wednesday, 22 March 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Black Star Riders - "Heavy Fire"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 03/02/2017
Label: Nuclear Blast

 
“Let's not mince words here, this is straightforward hard rock. Big choruses, big sounds and big hooks are the order of the day. The production is superb; thick and muscular with the right amount of polish.  Black Star Riders have proved, again, that they are a fine hard rock proposition in their own right and with a strong work ethic, great live show and several albums under their belts, the band seem primed to rule the hard rock circuit.”

“Heavy Fire” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Heavy Fire (4:28)
2. When The Night Comes In (3:16)
3. Dancing With The Wrong Girl (3:21)
4. Who Rides The Tiger (4:20)
5. Cold War Love (4:05)
6. Testify Or Say Goodbye (4:17)
7. Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed (3:38)
8. True Blue Kid (4:17)
9. Ticket To Rise (4:38)
10. Letting Go Of Me (3:44)

The Review:

Black Star Riders are back with another full length studio album. Their line-up has never been consistent, but mainstays Scott Gorham (yes, Thin Lizzy) and Ricky Warwick are still the driving forces along with Damon Johnson and Jimmy Degrasso. The band are on rollicking form here; fans of The Almighty will recognise Warwick's writing style in the opening title track and elsewhere on the record.

Let's not mince words here, this is straightforward hard rock. Big choruses, big sounds and big hooks are the order of the day. The production is superb; thick and muscular with the right amount of polish. BSR grew out of the touring Thin Lizzy line up and you can certainly hear that- as you could on the preceding albums. This time, though, there is more of the band's own stamp on things.

Certainly, “Dancing With The Wrong Gir”l sounds very Lizzy- but “When The Night Comes In” sounds much less so. Warwick's references to god and guns are very much present and correct (as a rock n roll motif, not as an endorsement of either, you understand!). Over the ten tracks there are more restrained moments such as “Cold War Love”, out and out rockers like “Who Rides The Tiger”, familiar harmonies such as those on “Testify Or Say Goodbye” with it's rhyming chorus and so on. You get half time type grooves on “Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed” (and the title track, for that matter) and lots of stellar lead work.

By going all out on ten finely honed tracks, this is a stronger record than, say, “All Hell Breaks Loose”- which was strong in itself. More time together on the road and the studio must surely help- but these rock and roll veterans have been around the block many times, so they know how to deliver anthemic tracks like “True Blue Kid”. Warwick continues his penchant for excruciating puns on “Ticket to Rise”, but title aside, it's a fine low slung groove with some female backing vocals adding an extra dimension. Tough-as-nails/sweet-as-sugar closing statement “Letting Go Of Me” is a rocking note to finish the album on.

Black Star Riders have proved, again, that they are a fine hard rock proposition in their own right and with a strong work ethic, great live show and several albums under their belts, the band seem primed to rule the hard rock circuit. Indeed, a very high UK chart placing for this album shows that the public are taking notice and taking the band to heart, as they should. Catch them live in 2017 and witness the power for yourself.

“Heavy Fire” is available here




Band info: official || facebook


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