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Black Star Riders - Heavy Fire

Black Star Riders
Heavy Fire
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 05 March 2017, 12:58 AM

BLACK STAR RIDERS was formed in 2012 by four members of THIN LIZZY – Gorham, lead vocalist/guitarist Ricky Warwick, co-lead guitarist Damon Johnson and bassist Marco Mendoza – plus former MEGADETH and ALICE COOPER drummer Jimmy DeGrasso. The band’s debut album “All Hell Breaks Loose” was released in 2013, followed by “The Killer Instinct” in 2015. They are back again with their newest release, “Heavy Fire,” which contains ten tracks. Though I have heard good things about this band and their latest release, I am hoping we are not in for a trip down nostalgia lane.

I will highlight some of the tracks on the album that I enjoyed. The title track, “Heavy Fire,” harkens back to yesterday for sure, but at the same time sounds modern and fresh. This is surprising but pleasing to me. It’s riff and vocals based Rock ‘N Roll either way, and the vocals are gritty and sound perfect in the low to mid-range in which they register. “When The Night Comes In” sees the good times continue to roll, with an upbeat sound and full chorus. The lyrics aren’t anything over the top but fuse well with the overall sound. “Who Rides The Tiger” is fist-pumping Hard Rock, with a swift speed and energetic vocals. In some ways, it reminds me of the simplicity of MOTORHEAD, where the power is carried in the riff.

“Cold War Love” is a sweeter track, with acoustic guitars and more introspective lyrics. I suppose you could call this a power ballad of sorts, with a dirty Southern sound, crossing the barrier with more pop sensibilities and emotional impact. “Testify Or Say Goodbye” might be the best track on the album, with an easy listening riff and an outpouring of soul, like any good rock anthem should have. “True Blue Kid” is another winner, with a mid-tempo pace and more of that old fashioned Hard Rock sound. Even the title is reflective of that. “Letting Go Of Me” is the closing song on “Heavy Fire.” It’s a tale of love lost or love unrequited, and carries a quality that you can sing along with, simple but effective songwriting.

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with the album as a whole, after reading first that the band is largely made up of members of a Classic Hard Rock band from decades gone by. There is a movement today in this type of sound making a comeback, as a lot of younger fans were really never able to hear this as they were growing up. Many bands however miss the mark and fail to make an impression with a style that has been done many times over. Instead they rely on past formulas without their own personality stamp. That is not the case with “Heavy Fire,” from BLACK STAR RIDERS.” It’s stick-to-your-ribs Hard Rock that is as energetic as it is comfortable. I can’t find a fan of this style who would not enjoy this album.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

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
Ricky Warwick - Vocals/Guitar
Scott Gorham - Guitars
Damon Johnson - Guitars
Robert Crane - Bass
Jimmy DeGrasso - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 28 January 2023

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