Published on January 21st, 2015 | by Mike Ainscoe1
Black Star Riders – ‘The Killer Instinct’ Album Review
The challenge is on! Just how far can this review go without mentioning Thin Lizzy, but hey, we’ve already done it. But for the record let’s make it clear from the start that like many others, we offer the utmost respect to Scott Gorham and his gang for picking up and running with the baton, which is the Thin Lizzy legacy, and doing it under the guise of Black Star Riders, who in turn it has to be said are proving to be quite some band.
With ‘The Killer Instinct’, the message is clear in that they are moving, some might say they have moved, away from the Thin Lizzy end of the continuum and have established their own identity. Singer Ricky Warwick has admitted that there was a clear shift in the mindset for this album, there being no doubt over the provenance being purely Black Star Riders. Having toured heavily under their own name, the identity and branding which is BSR is now well established.
Recorded under the watchful eye of producer Nick Raskuinecz, ‘The Killer Instinct’ is an apt title for an album which has taken the potential of their debut to the next level. As with the first BSR record, there’s a more consistent vein to the songs than there ever was in the Lizzy studio legacy. Instead of a few killer tracks accompanied with comparably lesser songs, the material has a much more reliable feel to it. Naturally, the twin guitar sound and Ricky Warwick’s Irish brogue offers up comparisons with that band, and the title track which has been the lead single, and which opens the album is perhaps the one which might be the most guilty. Of course there are the nods to the Celtic connections with the grand arrangement of ‘Soldierstown’ recalling the debut BSR album’s ‘Kingdom Of The Lost’ and moments in the new record, which might be distant relatives of ‘Emerald’ (‘Turn In Your Arms’) and ‘Hoodoo Voodoo’ (‘Charlie I Gotta Go’). While ‘Bindsided’ is more of a smouldering low key Bon Jovi styled piece, ambitious in the general scheme of the album in its epic nature and atmospheric feel, at the other end of the scale there’s the more simple yet effective three chords which go to make ‘Finest Hour’ similarly effective.
What is clear is that the distinctive identity of the Black Star Riders is becoming established not least in the album cover, which shows them developing the theme from their first album. Tasteful yet a little bit sexy! As Scott Gorham has said in talking about the new record, “I still think there’s more to come!” Fingers crossed that they continue to make hay while the sun shines.
(Nuclear Blast – www.nuclearblast.de/blackstarriders)