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

Black Country Communion – Afterglow
J&R Adventures

www.bcccommunion.com

Rating: B+

Glenn Hughes has been on a creative spree rarely seen from musician’s a third of his age. Back with the third album by Black Country Communion, titled Afterglow, this one may be the best of the trio. The sound is part Led Zep with a lot of the Who’s Next era Who thrown in for good measure. Add some Deep Purple and Humble Pie and you see what this band is all about. These are very lofty comparisons but they are deserved. The best part is that Black Country Communion also interjects a ton of originality making this an album that comes to life as soon as the listener presses play.

The album kicks off with “Big Train” and the Hughes/Joe Bonamassa/Derek Sherinian/Jason Bonham magic is evident from the opening note. “This is Your Time” is a Zeppelin-esque rocker that features a huge riff from Bonamassa and a passionate vocal from Hughes.

The album continues to get stronger with “Midnight Sun” and then goes over the top with the rockin’ “Confessor,” which features not only amazing musicianship, but also a sweet solo by keyboardist Sherinian.

“Cry Freedom” is another great tune – this sucker is full of them. The title track will grow and grow on the listener until they crave to hear it time and time again. “The Circle” has that BCC magic that has made this one of the favorite ‘new’ classic rock bands in the world.

“Common Man” is an old school epic song with guitar solos from hell. The only rub here is that the opening riff sure sounds like “Tom Sawyer” by Rush. Hopefully, Alex, Geddy and Neil have enough money that they don’t need to call their lawyers to complain. The rest of the tune, however, is unique and, musically, features some of the best moments on the album. “The “Giver” is the true sleeper on the album. This is a powerful song, musically and emotionally.

The band is a powerhouse of talent both in performance and composition. Hughes, a gifted singer, tones down his shriek to normal human hearing levels. His restraint affords him one of his best overall vocal performances on an album in his entire career.

As great an album as this is, and as great a band as this is, one may wonder why the never see tour dates being posted (or at best very few dates, all overseas). The answer is simple, Joe Bonamassa has become one of the most sought after blues players on the planet and this means Black Country Communion plays second fiddle. It is understandable, yet it is a shame, as this band should be touring coast-to-coast in the USA.

Hopefully, Joe will find a way to keep the magic alive as Black Country Communion is a great band and all three albums are excellent. This music needs a chance to be heard live. Until that happens, though, at least we have Afterglow, two other studio discs and one live album to listen too.

By Jeb Wright

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