Back in 2002, a guest appearance by Scott Gorham on the title track of ex-Almighty main man Ricky Warwick’s debut solo album “Tattoos and Alibis” may have gone unnoticed by many. To those who took note, there was a notable spark, and a creative seed was sown deep in the fertile Irish soil. Fast forward 8 years, Warwick was asked to assume vocal duties in a reinvigorated Thin Lizzy for an extended period of touring. The decision to record new music was undertaken by the band and after some line-up changes and a new identity; Messrs Gorham and Warwick, alongside Damon Johnson, Marco Mendosa and Jimmy DeGrasso formed Black Star Riders. “All Hell Breaks Loose” is the debut album from a group of musicians with classic rock flowing deep in their veins.
“Bound for Glory” was the obvious choice for a first release as it is swathed in the unique style that made Thin Lizzy so special. It’s a to-the-point story of struggle against the odds. Gorham’s unmistakable rhythm and fills are present and the dual harmonies between himself and Johnson are tight with a natural chemistry. “Kingdom of the Lost”, incorporates Celtic melodies and themes that echo pre-Nightlife Lizzy but mixes it with the heavier edge of later releases. It’s also where proud Belfast native Warwick, comes into his own with subject matter that is close to his heart.
The incendiary “Valley Of The Stones” and the roaring title track could have been Almighty numbers from yesteryear. The carefree and upbeat “Someday Salvation” contrasts with the laid back menace of “Blues Ain’t Bad”. Mendoza’s bass lines rumble over smartly styled Lynott-esque wordplay on the catchy “Hey Judas”. When you listen to Black Star Riders, you now learn what an understated contributor Scott Gorham was in Thin Lizzy. Warwick has always been a striking songwriter in the vein of Cash, Burns and Lynott and his style fits perfectly with Gorham’s crafting. By breaking free of the shackles of their former incarnation, Black Star Riders have been given free reign for new ideas and styles. None more so than on the refreshingly different, “Before the War” or the duelling “Bloodshot”.
Black Star Riders is a band of compadres, playing and writing music that, like the aforementioned seed, has been laying dormant, waiting for its time to grow and bloom. That time is now and on “All Hell Breaks Loose” Black Star Riders have given us a collection of classic rock anthems for a new generation that embraces the past with a present day attitude.
“All Hell Breaks Loose” is released May 24th (EU), May 27th (UK) and May 28th (North America) on Nuclear Blast.
1. “All Hell Breaks Loose”
2. “Bound for Glory”
3. “Kingdom of the Lost”
5. “Kissin’ the Ground”
6. “Hey Judas”
7. “Hoodoo Voodoo”
8. “Valley of the Stones”
9. “Someday Salvation”
10. “Before the War”
11. “Blues Ain’t So Bad”
Black Star Riders are :
Ricky Warwick – vocals, guitar
Scott Gorham – lead guitar, rhythm guitar
Damon Johnson – lead guitar, rhythm guitar
Marco Mendoza – bass guitar
Jimmy DeGrasso – drums, percussion