Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose (Nuclear Blast)Thursday, 30th May 2013
Let’s get one thing straight: Black Star Riders is not Thin Lizzy. That fabled 70’s outfit died in 1986 when Phil Lynott passed away from a drug-related illness. Essentially though, Black Star Riders is guitarist Scott Gorham’s attempt at resurrecting the Thin Lizzy brand and touring at the start of the millennium with a whole host of guest stars and former members. When it came time to record new material, Gorham realized it be a mockery of the Thin Lizzy name, so he smartly switched the moniker to Black Star Riders, with All Hell Breaks Loose emerging as their debut.
I single out vocalist Ricky Warwick because of his husky vocal delivery and penchant for soulful singing. His phrasing is very reminiscent of Lynott, but he manages to sound unique, giving tracks like “Kingdom of the Lost” and Kissin’ the Ground” his own personal spin. “Bound for Glory” is arguably the closest to Lizzy, especially after Goram’s huge-sounding solo roars to life. There are also many satisfying guitar harmonies, most notably on “Bloodshot.”
The Thin Lizzy influences on “Hey Judas” are blatant, but then the band turns over a different flavor with “Hoodoo Voodoo,” mimicking The Almighty and infusing the number with several Lizzy licks for good measure. This trend continues on with “Valley of the Stones,” which picks up the pace and punches back with an immediate tone.
There’s a ton of styles melded together, mostly staying consistent with the quality found on previous Lizzy recordings on All Hell Breaks Loose. Lynott may be long-gone, but Black Star Riders is a worthy successor to the legacy and the hope is for the band to carve out its own niche in the process. I expect big things from this group if they continue to stick it out over the next few years.