Nuclear Blast [Release date 03.02.17]
This is album number three from Black Star Riders and it is an album which does what is says on the tin as the old saying goes. ‘Heavy Fire’ is the heaviest record yet from a band who continue to go from strength to strength. The band have thrown off the shackles of the ‘used to be Thin Lizzy’ moniker and have solidly established themselves as a major player in their own right.
The intent is clear from the outset with the title track rocking hard and heavy. A change of pace and rhythm in the middle section melds seamlessly with the main riff demonstrating a high quality of song-writing which is repeated throughout the album.
Two preview tracks were released in the build up to the full album appearing, namely ‘When The Night Comes In’ and ‘Testify Or Say Goodbye’, the latter of which received regular rotation on mainstream national radio, again signalling the band’s current status.
The variety of tracks on the album helps to keep the interest levels high, from the all out, balls out rock of ‘Who Rides The Tiger’ to the slower ‘Cold War Love’ Black Star Riders cover all bases. The guitar work of Damon Johnson and Scott Gorham is a feast for the ears with the traditional twin guitar sound cutting through with great effect. Ricky Warwick also puts in a top performance on vocals, again he gets better and better with each release and has the perfect vocal delivery to compliment the guitar onslaught.
‘Ticket To Ride’ throws in a new twist with a group of gospel like backing singers who all appear to compete to have the last word at the end of the song, give it a listen and you will hear what I mean. The album rounds off as it began, in full throttle, with ‘Letting Go Of Me’ which gallops along led by some excellent drumming from Jimmy DeGrasso who puts in a great performance on all songs.
Most of the tracks on the record were written by Johnson and Warwick who have turned into quite a team. With the quality of the music on this record and the band now settled into a stable unit with the full time addition of Robbie Crane on bass I can only predict even greater things for the band. Never has ‘coming under Heavy Fire’ been so welcome! *****
Review by David Wilson
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Power Plays w/c 9 October
ALMANAC Losing My Mind (Nuclear Blast)
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MIKE PETERS & THE ALARM Heroine (indie)
WICKED STONE Another Round (indie)
FOZZY Judas (Sony Music)
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