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Black Star Riders: All Hell Breaks Loose

Despite the passing of Phil Lynott over 25 years ago, Thin Lizzy had not completely disappeared after the death of their founding member and leader. During the latter part of the 1990's and into the 2000's, John Sykes, Scott Gorham, and Brian Downey resurrected the band as a tribute to Phil and took the band on tours all over the world playing all the hits. At some point Sykes dropped off and Gorham & Downey continued on, finding additional players to help keep the spirit of the Lizzy alive and well. When the itch came to write some new material, the band played around with the idea of releasing a new album under the name of Thin Lizzy, and ultimately decided against it, creating the moniker Black Star Riders. Founding member and essential drummer Downey decided at that point to step aside, so Gorham continues on with the new band, which includes Ricky Warwick (vocals/guitar), Damon Johnson (guitar), Marco Mendoza (bass) and Jimmy DeGrasso (drums).

All Hell Breaks Loose, their brand new album for Nuclear Blast, was recorded and mixed by producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Black Country Communion, Aerosmith, Rush, and many others) at his The Cave studios in Malibu, California, and the mastering duties were handled by Bob Ludwig (Jimi Hendrix, Rush, KISS, Led Zeppelin, and others) at Gateway Mastering Studios in Portland, Maine. So, seeing as the band decided to work with these two heavyweights, you just know that All Hell Breaks Loose is going to sound great, and it does. The first thing that hits you about this Thin Liz...umm, Black Star Riders album, is, well, that it sounds remarkably close to classic Thin Lizzy. Warwick has a vocal style that is hauntingly similar to Lynott's, so right off the bat you have that 'voice' need to make the Lizzy connection. Of course, Gorham is on board, and his guitar licks and solos are legendary, pairing off with Johnson to get that classic twin guitar sound. From the very first spin of All Hell Breaks Loose, all those trademark elements are there, and the tunes are catchy enough to provide those instantly memorable moments. Tasty hard rockers "Valley of the Stones", "Bound For Glory", "Kingdom of the Lost", "Hey Judas", and the killer title cut all feature those patented riffs, harmony twin guitar leads, groove laden rhythms, and Warwick's emotional, ballsy vocals. "Someday Salvation" however doesn't really work, kind of a schmaltzy, ballady tune that Lynott could always pull off but this collective struggles to, and "Blues Ain't so Bad", while a decent enough Trower-ish blues rocker, kind of sounds out of place here. Otherwise, most of All Hell Breaks Loose is damn solid, and a hell of a lot better than I expected.

Longtime Thin Lizzy fans will no doubt eat this up, and while some no doubt will see this as a glorified tribute band (and maybe that's kind of what it is), there's no denying what a great homage this is to a legendary band. Well done by Mr. Gorham and Co..

Track Listing
1. All Hell Breaks Loose 4:15
2. Bound for Glory 4:08
3. Kingdom of the Lost 4:43
4. Bloodshot 4:02
5. Kissin' the Ground 3:06
6. Hey Judas 4:11
7. Hoodoo Voodoo 4:15
8. Valley of the Stones 4:15
9. Someday Salvation 3:05
10. Before the War 3:39
11. Blues Ain't so Bad 6:15

Added: May 25th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 3020
Language: english

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