The names speak for themselves; Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham, Joe Bonamassa, and Derek Sherinian. The bands these four individuals have played with, which include Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Bloodline, Dream Theater, KISS. Billy Idol, Alice Cooper, Yngwie Malmsteen, Trapeze, Gary Moore, Hughes-Thrall, Foreigner, UFO, Paul Rodgers, are equally as legendary. Toss in Producer Kevin Shirley, who has worked with everyone from Journey, Aerosmith, The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, HIM, Slayer, among others, and you have the makings of the latest 'supergroup', Black Country Communion.
So, does the music on their self-titled debut live up to the hype? Well, it certainly does!
If you like early/mid-70's styled hard rock with a slight bluesy edge, then you should definitely head on over to the Black Country Communion. Vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes is perhaps the guy with the most lineage here, and his return once again to hard rock (his recordings with Tony Iommi having been the only other hard rock/metal styled project he has worked on in what is a mostly funk-rock filled last decade) is very welcome here. Check out his rumbling bass and screaming vocals on the heavy opener "Black Country" for proof that this guy can still deliver the goods in a big way. If the track "One Last Soul" doesn't make it onto FM rock radio, there's something definitely wrong with the world. This is a great, catchy hard rocker with hooks aplenty, featuring a charming vocal from Hughes and some sizzling, Eric Johnson inspired lead guitar work from young upstart blues great Bonamassa. On "Thje Great Divide" the band churn out some quality 70's inspired hard rock, with Bonamassa's riffs and Sherinian's smoldering Hammond leading the charge over some bubbling grooves from Bonham & Hughes. Images of the greats like Humble Pie, Free, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin can be heard on the rocking "Down Again", a perfect vehicle for Hughes and his bluesy wailing, which also features a scorching solo from Bonamassa. Speaking of the guitarist, his Hendrix/Trower influenced wah-wah soaked licks are all over the energetic "Beggarman", and his dreamy, epic layerings give a certain Jimmy Page feel to the extended cut "Song of Yesterday".
The bands take on the Trapeze classic "Medusa" will send chills up and down your spine, as Bonham thunders away on his kit while Bonamassa's snarling riffs and Sherinian's insistent Hammond rage away amidst another stellar vocal display from Hughes. Sherinian whips out the Mellotron for the heavy & chilling "Stand (At The Burning Tree)", and "Sista Jane" channels both AC/DC and Cream for a wild mix of hard rock, metal, and blues. Near 12-minute closer "Too Late For The Sun" is just a great 70's inspired blues-rock rave-up, chocked to the gills with textured guitar work, swirling Hammond, pounding rhythms, and powerful vocals.
The CD comes with a bonus 40 minute DVD that includes interviews with the band, rehearsal & studio footage, and two sizzling live cuts from a convention earlier this year. The band scorches through "One Last Soul" and a cover of the Deep Purple classic "Mistreated", which is a must see for any hard rock fan. Hopefully the band will also play that tune on their soon to be announced tour. Producer Shirley has a lot to say on the DVD as well, almost giving the impression that he is the driving force behind the band.
In summary, Black Country Communion have arrived, and arrived with a bang. Here's hoping they stick around for a while and continue to give us great music like they have here on this fabulous debut.
1. Black Country
2. One Last Soul
3. The Great Divide
4. Down Again
6. Song Of Yesterday
7. No Time
9. The Revolution In Me
10. Stand (At The Burning Tree)
11. Sista Jane
12. Too Late For The Sun
Bonus DVD-music video, interviews, and live footage.