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

Black Country Communion - BCCIV
J&R Adventures

Rating:  A

When tensions between bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes and guitarist Joe Bonamassa hit critical mass five years ago ending Black Country Communion no one predicted any sort of reconciliation. But like the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes, coupled with an olive branch of sorts to Hughes from Bonamassa last year, BCC is back with their strongest collection of tunes yet!

BCCIV is a monster of a record. The sum of its four parts rounded out by drummer Jason Bonham and keyboardist Derek Sherinian takes this collection of tunes to places the previous three records could only dare to. The time apart did all parties well both in the songwriting and in its execution. Within its ten tracks is a mix of heavy rockers, AOR gems and some bluesy riffs that only Smokin’ Joe could put to tape.

“Collide” is the beast that begins this aural odyssey. A “Black Dog” of sorts for the new millennium.  Bonham’s drums channel the legend of his late father John from Led Zeppelin with a “When the Levee Breaks” thundering vibe. Other rockers like “Sway,” “The Crow” and “Over My Head” prove that a sixty six year young Glenn Hughes still has the pipes and the lungs but unlike the previous outings doesn’t over sing the songs trying to prove that he still has it. The proof is here. “Wanderlust” is a perfect slab of AOR that would sound great at radio and will probably be an in concert staple if they return to the road for more than the one off show here and there.

The best track and my personal favorite of this collection is “The Last Song for My Resting Place.” Bonamassa’s lone lead vocal on the album containing the light and heavy dynamic that makes this song an instant classic. Mandolins and violins give way mid-track to one of the best guitar solos Bonamassa has laid down on a BCC record yet. The collection ends with a bang with “When the Morning Comes.”

All parties have not committed to a full scale tour other than a couple one off dates here and there. Hopefully there will be enough of a buzz to send this quartet out on a US trek. If not we can hope that this will be just the beginning of a long term musical partnership.

Track List:
1. Collide.
2. Over My Head.
3. The Last Song for My Resting Place.
4. Sway.
5. The Cove.
6. The Crow.
7. Wanderlust.
8. Love Remains.
9. Awake.
10. When The Morning Comes.

By Jay Horrocks Jr.