Album Reviews

Black Star Riders – The Killer Instinct Review


Released by: Nuclear Blast Entertainment

Release Date: February 20th, 2015

Genre: Hard Rock



Line Up:

Scott Gorham – Guitars
Ricky Warwick – Vocals, Guitar
Robbie Crane – Bass
Jimmy DeGrasso – Drums
Damon Johnson – Guitars


Track list:

The Killer Instinct

Bullet Blues

Finest Hour


Charlie I Gotta Go


Through The Motions

Sex Guns & Gasoline

Turn In Your Arms

You Little Liar


If you thought the Black Star Riders were a one off project, aimed at pacifying disgruntled Thin Lizzy fans who felt the Lizzy name was being used as a cash cow, wrong. Following up the well received debut, All Hell Breaks Loose, the band are now standing on their own two feet with the imminent release of their second album, The Killer Instinct.

And it’s the title track that kicks down the door on this album, a bawdy belter that’s packs a serious punch. Also, Gorham and Johnson’s twin riffage is still as tight as a hangmans knot. Bullet Blues represents a growing maturity in the bands songwriting. An odd statement maybe, considering the vast experience of each member, but this brash rocker is a track that was lacking on the first album.

I love it when one of those songs comes around that you fall in love with instantly. The stunning Finest Hour just drew me in straight away, a simple melodic gem that’s knee deep in classic American rock. The first real sniff of Lizzy comes with the Emerald like Soldierstown, the trademark Celtic guitar licks are as resolute as always. If ever there was a song that announced Ricky Warwick as the singer in Black Star Riders, and not the guy that sings Thin Lizzy songs, Charlie I Gotta Go is it. Vocally, Warwick always delivers, but lyrically he tells his story with gritty poetic honesty.

Acoustic is not a word that was ever associated with Thin Lizzy, but BSR are continuing to grow their own identity, and with the sumptuous Blindsided, they take their versatility to a new level. But like it or lump it, the Lizzy association is still the fulcrum of the band, and Through The Motions incorporates a lot of that classic sound. A decent song, but could’ve been a whole lot better.

Any song that has a guitar remotely like Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well can’t be bad. And Sex, Guns & Gasoline is a bloodybelter. A dirty, greasy rocker that’s drenched in sin. The band are firing on all cylinders here, especially the mean rhythm section. Drum assaulter Jimmy DeGrasso has without doubt filled the massive void left by the legendary Brian Downey. And new guy, former Ratt bassist, Robbie Crane, seems to have slotted in effortlessly following the departure of Marco Mendoza.

Once again the Gorham/Johnson partnership is five star on the swaggering Turn In Your Arms, with a Native American tale, Warwickonce again displays his A level lyrical intelligence. You Little Liar closes the album with an epic thump. The songs climaxes with an apocalyptic guitar solo that hasn’t served it’s purpose if your ears aren’t ringing. All in all a great hard rock album, that’s safe and traditional in parts, but way more adventurous than the debut album. When the Black Star Riders come to a town near you, be sure to saddle and ride with them.


Written by Brian Boyle

Ratings    Brian    9/10

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