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Black Whiskey: Heavy Train

I wasn't sure what to expect from a band containing ex-members of everyone from Xentrix and Stargazer to Nakedium and State Blues. However while the results do attempt to stretch things a little through a modern production, what Black Whiskey have ended up with is groove laden Classic Rock, reliant on the Blues, yet with a nod to the more exuberant 80s scene. A band operating in this sphere needs three things to succeed - a powerful vocalist with a voice packed with character. A guitarist as comfortable setting up memorable riffs as he is solos which cut through. And a rhythm section which starts with a mighty groove and simply builds it from there. Impressively Black Whiskey have all three, ensuring their Heavy Train speeds along the tracks with authority and purpose, yet even though singer Simon Gordon reminds in places of Nev MacDonald (Skin, Hand Of Dimes) and guitarist Kev Inglis darts from big slabs of Free like groove to Zeppelin-ish authority, what Black Whiskey can't quite find is a couple of songs which really up the ante and refuse to leave your mind. "Idol Rich" comes close, a sparking riff and pounding beat bringing a vibe somewhere between Bad Company, Jagged Edge and Aerosmith to the table, while "Devil Rides" is almost the definition of groove, the thumping guitars leaving enough space for Gordon to really hit his stride, stretching his voice in a way which sounds reassuringly controlled. For all it has you singing the introduction to "Love Gun" by Kiss over it, "All Seeing Eye" also captivates, jabbing and parrying on a punchy beat, while "The Coming Storm" proves this band can also sit in mid-paced authenticity without sounding one jot out of place.

What there isn't on Heavy Train however, is one stand out track which keeps you fixated for any length of time, none of the never less than excellent tracks sticking in the mind after the end has been reached. In itself that isn't a huge hurdle to overcome, for the performances are universally excellent and, especially if you crank the volume up, the throbbing lines from bassist Mark T. Parkin and thunderous beats from drummer Rich Bannister verge on irresistible. Yet ten minutes after this album is finished, not much seems to have clung on in the mind.

Heavy Train is an impressive introduction from Black Whiskey and one which suggests this band could go the distance. If they could write themselves one sure fire "hit" that the likes of Planet Rock would find impossible to ignore, then it could be the game changer they need. Heavy Train doesn't quite contain such a song, but it sure as hell ain't far away.

Track Listing
1. Idol Rich
2. All Seeing Eye
3. Devil Rides
4. Stone Cold Comfort
5. Hungry For Bullets
6. Save My Life
7. The Coming Storm
8. Heavy Train
9. Tie It Down
10. Can't Kill The Fire

Added: April 4th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Black Whiskey on Facebook
Hits: 1329
Language: english

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