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Blackthorne: II - Don't Kill The Thrill

Releasing one album, Afterlife, in 1993 before going their separate ways, Blackthorne were a minor supergroup featuring Graham Bonnet of Rainbow, MSG and Alcatrazz fame, Bob Kulick who worked with Michael Bolton, Meat Loaf and Kiss, Jimmy Waldo who played with Bonnet in Alcatrazz and prior to that New England, Chuck Wright from Quiet Riot, Giuffria and House Of Lords and Frankie Banali also of Quiet Riot and briefly WASP who attempted to swim against the grunge tide with a straight up, commercial edged, rock attack. Oddly for that debut Kulick insisted on coaxing a Brian Johnson meets Udo Dirkschneider like rasp from one of the best singers in rock, something the critics savaged in the press. In truth however that did Afterlife a disservice, a strong set of songs highlighting the underrated guitar skills of Kulick and keyboard work from Waldo, while bassist Wright and drummer Banali, as they did for Quiet Riot, gave a seriously solid display. As for Bonnet, for some it was a love it or loathe it style that he actually handled really well, even if he didn't sound 'at home' doing so.

However, disillusioned, Bonnet packed it in and moved home to Australia, but not before a second album was demo'd, the core trio of Kulick (also handling bass), Waldo and Bonnet recording eleven tracks for Don't Kill The Thrill. The lack of a rhythm section means that these songs were driven by a drum machine and the unfinished state of the recordings leaves them a little rough around the edges. However with the title track a stirring, heavied up House of Lords like rocker (Waldo is excellent here), "Wild Inside" hitting like Lick It Up era Kiss covering "TNT" be AC/DC, "Skeletons In The Closet" taking its cues from Dokken and Tyketto and "Twist The Blade" again echoing a Kiss style, there's every indication that this follow up could have bettered the debut. Especially with Bonnet giving, for the most part, a much more natural (if still aggressive) performance.

Not happy with delivering a previously unreleased album, Cherry Red/HNE have also unearthed a further 20 bonus tracks. Six of which come from a 1994 showcase gig at Foundation Forum, while nine come from a 1992 club show that was recorded prior to the debut being released, where, what sounds like a very sparse crowd are treated to a selection of Blackthorne, Rainbow and MSG cuts alongside a gritty rendition of Free's "Wishing Well". Unfortunately the sound quality here isn't top notch but it's hard to suggest these shows aren't great fun.

Four interviews are also included where the band big up their prospects and, interestingly, Bonnet gushes about his singing style in the band something the Malcolm Dome penned liner notes with contributions from the three main men, make clear he absolutely hated and was forced into. In the end that issue, the band's inability to get backing to put together a tour and a lack of critical and commercial success caused Bonnet to walk, his contributions to the liner notes stating it was "...a very stressful and traumatic time in my life and I just couldn't face going through it all again". In the end he only contributed to the writing of two of the songs on Don't Kill The Thrill, the band collaborating with ex-Giuffria frontman David Glen Eisley on six of the tracks, some of which were reworked by the equally short lived Murderer's Row featuring Eisley, Kulick, Waldo, Chuck Wright and drummer Jay Schellen.

Don't Kill The Thrill is a clear example of what might have been and in the case of Blackthorne it all feels like a missed opportunity. However with the musical climate against them and a singer who clearly didn't believe in what the band was all about, the writing was on the wall from the start. Which is a real shame when you hear the clear potential displayed here.


Track Listing
DISC ONE: DON'T KILL THE THRILL
1. DON'T KILL THE THRILL
2. WILD INSIDE
3. SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET
4. DREAMIN IN THE HIDEAWAY
5. MAN IN THE BLACK HAT
6. TWIST THE BLADE
7. JUDGEMENT DAY
8. INSANITY
9. SANCTUARY
10. PARALYZED
11. SAVE ME


BONUS TRACKS
12. AFTERLIFE/WE WON'T BE FORGOTTEN (LIVE FOUNDATIONS FORUM 1994)
13. HARD FEELINGS (LIVE FOUNDATIONS FORUM 1994)
14. CRADLE TO THE GRAVE (LIVE FOUNDATIONS FORUM 1994)
15. JAPAN SONY MUSIC TV INTERVIEW 1
16. JAPAN SONY MUSIC TV INTERVIEW 2
17. JAPAN SONY MUSIC TV INTERVIEW 3
18. UK TV INTERVIEW / WE WON'T BE FORGOTTEN (ACOUSTIC IN UK)


DISC TWO: LIVE RECORDINGS
1. DESERT SONG (FOUNDATIONS FORUM 1994)
2. BREAKING THE CHAINS (FOUNDATIONS FORUM 1994)
3. ALL NIGHT LONG (FOUNDATIONS FORUM 1994)
4. WILD INSIDE (FRESNO AUG 29TH 1992)
5. SINCE YOU BEEN GONE (FRESNO AUG 29TH 1992)
6. HARD FEELINGS (FRESNO AUG 29TH 1992)
7. WISHING WELL (FRESNO AUG 29TH 1992)
8. BABY YOU'RE THE BLOOD (FRESNO AUG 29TH 1992)
9. WILL YOU BE HOME TONIGHT (FRESNO AUG 29TH 1992)
10. BREAKING THE CHAINS (FRESNO AUG 29TH 1992)
11. WE WON'T BE FORGOTTEN (FRESNO AUG 29TH 1992)
12. ALL NIGHT LONG (FRESNO AUG 29TH 1992)
13. WE WON'T BE FORGOTTEN (ACOUSTIC - LIVE IN JAPAN 1993)

Added: September 17th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Don't Kill The Thrill at Cherry Red
Hits: 1315
Language: english

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