What does it sound like?:
If Lynyrd Skynyrd can tour and record with just one original member then Black Star Riders could have remained Thin Lizzy courtesy of Scott Gorham’s presence. But back in 2012 Gorham and ex Almighty frontman Ricky Warwick took the plunge and morphed from a latter day Lizzy into BSR with the release of new compositions and the departure of other alumni Brian Downey and Darren Wharton. And here we are in 2019, with release number 4.
They may not be using the Lizzy name, but the shared DNA shows through. Opener “Tonight The Moonlight Let Me Down” doesn’t so much nod towards “Dancing In The Moonlight” as headbutt it, the catchy opening riff not quite sustained throughout the whole song and then led wholly off course with a sax solo. Why? Well probably because “Moonlight” had one.
However things pick up on the title track, anthemic with a foot stomping chorus and an invocation of Lizzy in “Black Rose” mode. “Ain’t The End of The World” showcases the twin lead guitar attack that Gorham trademarked back in the 70’s although to these ears it’s more than a little similar to “Bound For Glory” from BSR’s first album.
The foot stomping riffs continue on “Underneath The Afterglow”, which is also blessed with more hooks than a fisherman’s back pocket. Best cut of the album for me is “Soldier In The Ghetto” which opens with some funky electric piano and reveals there were plenty of hooks left over.
From this point on things are a little kore of a mixed bag. “Why Do You Love Your Guns” is the first song on the album to eschew a riff driven start and whilst not a bad tune, is probably trying a little to hard. “What Will It Take” backs the bombast down and features some earworm call and response vocals. The Lizzyesque thunder returns on closing tracks “In The Shadow Of The War Machine” and “Poisoned Heart” with BSR adding their own catchy sensibilities.
It would be easy to dismiss the album as not being up to the Lizzy legacy but as fan of the “Jailbreak” era band the truth is that the originals studio albums were always patchy but their reputation was buttressed by their live performances and recordings. This BSR release is very much equal to what has gone before.
What does it all *mean*?
Legacies can be continued without becoming your own tribute band
Goes well with…
Plenty of space so you can stamp your feet
Might suit people who like…
Thin Lizzy (no shit ….)