Review

BLACK STAR RIDERS All Hell Breaks Loose

Album · 2013 · Hard Rock
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5/5 ·
Kev Rowland
Everyone remembers the first time. It may not be as exciting these days as it was when I was 15, but back then there were no digital downloads and the only way to get hold of music was to buy a vinyl album at a record store. I still have the very first hard rock album I ever bought, Thin Lizzy’s ‘Live and Dangerous’, and have never lost the love I have for a band that for me epitomised what music should be all about. I bought all of their rock albums and was mortified when they broke up and I still hadn’t seen them in concert. “Oh well” I thought, “they’ll be back”. And they were, but with Phil long gone it just didn’t seem the same somehow. John Sykes was one of the guys who convinced Scott et all to get back on the road but he left the band quite some time ago and in recent years ex-Almighty frontman RickyWarwick has been providing the vocals. They have enjoyed touring so much that eventually talk started on a new studio album, which would be the first since 1983’s ‘Thunder and Lightning’, but eventually they felt that they just couldn’t release a Thin Lizzy album without Phil, and Brian Downey and Darren Wharton also declined to get involved so a new name and line-up was required.

So, this is not Thin Lizzy. But Ricky Warwick (vocals), Scott Gorham (guitar), Damon Johnson (guitar) and Marco Mendoza (bass) have all been touring under that name, so it is only Jimmy DeGrasso (drums) who has not been involved. But, I can understand where they are coming from in that without Phil it wouldn’t and couldn’t be the same, so the fact that it sounds like a combination of ‘Black Rose’ and ‘Chinatown’ must be a total coincidence then? The use of Dubliner Patrick D'arcy's Irish whistles, uilleann pipes and bodhran on “Kingdom Of The Lost”, definitely makes one think of the former, while one song after another made me think of the glory years. I am not a huge fan of the very early Lizzy albums, but from ‘Jailbreak’ onwards every single one was a classic and this sits very happily alongside them.

This is not a Lizzy tribute, this is all about the band taking that legacy and honouring Phil by making something he would be proud of. The final words belong to Scott Gorham, who said “Phil would dig it, In fact, I think he’d like to be in the band.”
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