RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose
Nuclear Blast
http://blackstarriders.com

Rating: A

Black Star Riders are a new band, who is kinda sorta Thin Lizzy…but not. 

No matter how one attempts it, it’s difficult to describe Black Star Riders and not mention Thin Lizzy, as the two are intertwined musically, physically and spiritually.

To make a long story…well, longer, Thin Lizzy alum Scott Gorham was touring under the Lizzy moniker with a few of the chaps that are in Black Star Riders, and a couple of guys who spent time with him in Lizzy. When the guys started writing some really good rock and roll songs, Gorham was faced with the decision of what to call the band, as he didn’t want to disrespect the Lizzy legacy by writing new tunes without Lizzy leader Phil Lynott being involved. 

Gorham reflected upon the situation at hand and peered into The Musical Well of Greatness, summoning the ghost of Phil Lynott.  After a period of reflection and deep meditation, Scott decided that, while he has channeled Phil in the new tunes, it just wouldn’t be right to call this band Thin Lizzy, so a new band was formed.  Some stayed, some went and Black Star Riders was born.

It was the right thing to do. Let’s face it, if the band just wanted to make some bucks, and have an easier time booking gigs, then Gorham would have kept the Lizzy name and written clones of old Lizzy tunes.

Instead of doing that, however, he wrote new tunes that have the same flavor of other music he has played and written in the past, including what he wrote and played when he was with Thin Lizzy, but with freshness, new blood and with a new band. 

Look, Scott Gorham, when firing on all cylinders, is going to write and play crazy ass guitar licks, and killer, funky, groovy, rhythms, as he was responsible for many of the crazy ass guitar licks and killer, funky, groovy, rhythms in the classic era of Thin Lizzy.  Why should he change?  As it turns out, he didn’t, as Black Star Riders is also full of crazy ass guitar licks, and killer, funky, groovy, rhythms, too. 

Black Star Riders, however, are more than just Scott Gorham, they are a band. Marco Mendoza is one hell of a bass player, who was part of the post Lynott Lizzy family, at one time.  Jimmy DeGrasso holds down the fort on the drums with expertise and guitar hero Damon Johnson steps in and plays his ass off on every solo he touches, as well as becoming Gorham’s Wonder Twin on the classic harmony solos.

“Wonder twin powers…active: Shape of Gibson Les Paul…form of Thin Lizzy!”  

Now, there is one more guy we gotta talk about in this band and that is vocalist Ricky Warwick…not only does he sound like Lynott, he has the same coolness, slyness, lyrical smoothness and even vocal inflections as the late great muse.  He does, of course, have his own take on things, but when one listens to “Bound for Glory” or “Kingdom of the Lost” the sprit of Lizzy is so thick it’s downright creepy—but in a good way. 

The bottom line here is that Black Star Riders have created a legitimate album of maximum guitar riffage and rock and roll attitude and should be congratulated for doing so.  This band is the real deal and while Lizzy comparisons are inevitable, when the music is this good, the songs are all that matters

Pick this one up, play it loud and often...You won’t be disappointed.

Tracklisting:

1. "All Hell Breaks Loose"    
2. "Bound for Glory"  
3. "Kingdom of the Lost"
4. "Bloodshot"    
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"  

By Jeb Wright

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