BLACK STAR RIDERS-Heavy Fire
Nuclear Blast Records
I must confess that Thin Lizzy is one of my top three favourite bands of all time. Black Star Riders with former Lizzy-guitarist Scott Gorham as one of the main members is the band that sounds in the vein of Thin Lizzy without just copying. When Thin Lizzy developed their sound with the twin guitars Scott Gorham was an important part of that sound. He, Brian Robertson, the late great Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey created that sound. When Black Star Riders released `All Hells Breaks Loose’ (2013) and follow up `The Killer Instinct’ (2015) it did not make a lasting impression on me. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that I have never ever been a fan of the voice of singer Ricky Warwick. I could never get into his former band The Almighty, to me a band that was pushed and promoted to the maximum by their major record company and the English press without backing that up with fantastic records. On the other hand I was impressed with the past of second guitarist Damon Johnson whose former group Brother Cane is one of my favourite bands (the debut album `Brother Cane’ from 1993 is almost second to none). These three guys form the core of Black Star Riders (existing further of drummer Jimmie DeGrasso and bass player Robbie Crane) whose third CD (again produced by Nick Raskulinecz) is a bit on the short side, but is rocking all over the joint with some excellent songs like ,,Heavy Fire’’ or ,,Dancing With The Wrong Girl’’. Warwick has improved as a singer, has a lot more flavour in his vocal approach and does an overall good job. Gorham and Johnson make me think of the Robertson/Moore/Sykes/Gorham guitar force that made Thin Lizzy sound so out of this world. I cannot help it but the ghost of Phil Lynott is clearly present on this album. Listen to songs like ,,Cold War Love’’ or ,,Testify Or Say Goodbye’’, use a little imagination and you will catch my drift. Black Star Riders are not quite there yet as not all the songs have the same quality, but the band is clearly still developing and are on the right course with ‘Heavy Fire’.