Sunday 26 February 2017

Album Review: BLACK STAR RIDERS - Heavy Fire

Black Star Riders - Heavy Fire

1. Heavy Fire
2. When The Night Comes In
3. Dancing With The Wrong Girl
4. Who Rides The Tiger
5. Cold War Love
6. Testify Or Say Goodbye
7. Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
8. True Blue Kid
9. Ticket To Rise
10. Letting Go Of Me
11. Fade (Bonus Track)

This is the third studio album from the band formally known as Thin Lizzy. I still think they made the right decision in changing the name of the band when they decided to write and record original music. A new Thin Lizzy album without Phil Lynott would have been like a new Queen album without Freddy Mercury. The "This isn't Thin Lizzy" comments would have relentlessly overshadowed their creative output, whereas now they can move forward with the respect that they deserve. 

I picked up their debut album All Hell Breaks Loose as I'm not only a Thin Lizzy fan, but a huge fan of front-man Ricky Warwick's old band The Almighty. All Hell Breaks Loose was a very good album. My only criticism is that it felt a little contrived. It was clearly written at a time when it was due to be released under the Thin Lizzy name and consequently, had to not only earn that title, but had to win the support of the old school fan-base. It was as though each track was similar to a classic Thin Lizzy song. "Oh, this one is clearly the new Emerald" etc. Whilst I enjoyed it, I didn't feel a burning desire to check out anything further from them. I heard one or two tracks from their second album The Killer Instinct, but didn't pick up a copy. Now the third album has landed, I decided to give it a whirl to see what I thought.

Opener and title track Heavy Fire is awesome. It's heavier and has a more aggressive feel than previous material. In fact, it reminds me more of The Almighty than Thin Lizzy, which for me is a good thing as I genuinely miss that fantastic band. The second track and first single When The Night Comes In is a great heavy Rock n' Roll song and is a shining example of 'Vintage Modern'. The same applies to most of the album. The production is crisp and modern giving it a contemporary sheen, yet the songs are written with a Seventies flavour and wears the classic Thin Lizzy influences without sounding like clones. With this album, they've got it just right.

Heavy Fire is a really impressive album. I believe this release is key to them breaking the shackles of being the band that was touring as Thin Lizzy, and putting Black Star Riders on the map as a key Rock band who are fantastic in their own right. It's certainly rekindled my interest in the band. I'll check out that second album too, and try to catch them on their upcoming tour with Gun and Backyard Babies.


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