Album review: BLACKTHORNE – Afterlife and Don’t Kill The Thrill (2-CD package)

In October 2021, Pete Feenstra chatted to Jimmy Waldo about Blackthorne for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio.  First broadcast 3 October 2021.

The Store For Music [Release date 23.07.21]

Blackthorne is probably one of the more obscure Graham (Rainbow/MSG/Alcatrazz) Bonnet ventures. At first glance it looks anything but: Jimmy (New England) Waldo, Bob (Kiss/WASP) Kulick, Frankie Banali and Chuck Wright, both ex Quiet Riot. In its own way, this was a hard rock supergroup.

The debut, Afterlife (1993) features three co-writes with award winning songwriter/guitarist Steven Rosen, three more with Steve (Autograph) Plunkett, and some sturdy band collaborations, adding up to a solid slab of high calibre rock songs.

It’s a thundering, anthem heavy album, full of ragged edged guitars and Bonnet’s controlled vocal aggression, all underwritten by Banali’s percussive thump.And it’s loud. ‘We Won’t Be Forgotten’ and ‘Baby You’re The Blood’ are the picks, easily head and shoulders above the others, if only because of their lighter touch.

Enterprising UK label, The Store For Music has paired Afterlife with the band’s “lost” album, Don’t Kill The Thrill. Both are augmented by a multitude of bonus tracks. Afterlife with seven, including a fabulously raw, energised 1992 demo of ‘Since You Been Gone’, with a 2018, re-recorded vocal; and “live unplugged” versions of ‘Afterlife’ and ‘We Won’t be Forgotten’. Two high watermarks on this expanded version of the album.

By 1993/4, the world of rock’n'roll has shifted on its axis. The powerful, arguably tighter, harder, punchier, Don’t Kill The Thrill follow up album couldn’t find a label. Now it’s here with ten bonus tracks.

The dramatic, occasionally dissonant ‘Skeletons In The Closet’, and the aggressively infectious ‘Wild Inside’ are the most obvious picks among a close knit batch of exciting, tightly woven rock songs.

Most of the bonuses are demo versions of songs from Afterlife.

And so in a way, Bonnet has returned, with music that contains all the ingredients we expect, some of it previously unreleased and much of it perhaps at a more intimate level. ****

Review by Brian McGowan

Albums that time forgot (Afterlife)

The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 21 November. Next session 12 December. The video above was a Halloween Special, streamed 31 October.

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 31 October 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 2 November 2021.

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From 1 December the Featured Albums and Power Play segments will reflect those artists and tracks featured during 2021.

Featured Albums w/c 15 November 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 MEMORIA AVENUE Memoria Avenue (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 FANS OF THE DARK Fans Of The Dark (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 HANNAH JAMES & TOBY KUHN Sleeping Spirals (Jigdoll Records)

Power Plays w/c 15 November 2021 (Mon-Fri)

THE FORGOTTEN Interstellar (FiXT Noir)
QUILL Riding Rainbows (indie)
DEAD REYNOLDS Uninspired (The Fort)
CAVALCADE Dreaming About (Golden Robot)
HANNAH ALDRIDGE Sinking (indie)
GREYHAVEN All Candy (Rude Records)

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