Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: February 3rd, 2017
Ricky Warwick , vocals
Scott Gorham , guitar
Damon Johnson , guitar
Robbie Crane , bass
Jimmy DeGrasso , drums
When the Night Comes On
Dancing With the Wrong Girl
Who Rides the Tiger
Cold War Love
Testify or Say Goodbye
Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
True Blue Kid
Ticket to Rise
Letting Go of Me
It feels like it would have been yesterday that Black Star Riders released their fabulous debut “All Hell Breaks Loose” and indeed, it was just three years ago. However, the band used these years to become a constant player in rock. The group, that was build in the roots of Thin Lizzy, started back in 2012. Scott Gorham, Damon Johnson, Marco Mendoza and Ricky Warwick began to record new songs that, due to various reasons, didn’t end up on a Thin Lizzy record. The guys decided to publish them under a new banner – Black Star Riders.
“All Hell Breaks Loose” was the title of the album and it was the ignition of a band that gained more rock fans with each album the unveiled. Two years after having released the debut the band pushed with “The Killer Instinct” the next album into the record shops, followed now by “Heavy Fire”.
The newest ‘kid in town’ features ten brilliant rockers that have the potential to make the band even more popular than what they are today. It all starts with the title track. “Heavy Fire” is a moderately paced tune that’s raw and powering, some attributes that also go for “When the Night Comes In”. It’s the catchy chorus, which makes the latter to a special one on the album. Classic metal is the base for “Dancing With the Wrong Girl” before the heavy grooving “Who Rides the Tiger” takes over. Here we talk about a wild ride that leads to the more silent “Cold War Love”.
After having gone through a more sentimental track like “Cold War Love”, it’s again time for some harder stuff. “Testify or Say Goodbye” delivers what’s needed. For me, this tune belongs to the best ones on this great record. The verse reminded me actually of New Model Army before the track turns into an excellent chorus that’s fully reflecting traditional classic rock a la Black Star Riders. This number is a real treat for your ears.A strong bass line kick starts “Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed” and it stays the rhythm that dominates the song that also comes with cool hooks. This is the way hard rock must sound like – groovy and dirty. “True Blue Kid” is a good song even though there are better ones on the album, like the next burner called “Ticket to Rise”. The female background vocals in the chorus add some extra suspense to this tune that is kept again in mid-pace.
We’re getting closer to the end and the last track is near. “Letting Go Of Me” is an excellent choice and a well-done closer. It’s again one of these Black Star Riders tracks that kicks ass. It’s a powerful way of rounding off an album that can easily handle a comparison with the two predecessors.
Overall “Heavy Fire” is an album that is ‘heavy’ and ‘fires’ on all cylinders. Black Star Riders is a vital rock’n’roll engine that energizes and entertains as far as it will go. Good music for a good time, something that’s not too bad for the new 2017 year.
Reviewer: Markus Wiedenmann