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Black Country Communion: Black Country Communion

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.

Track Listing
1. Black Country
2. One Last Soul
3. The Great Divide
4. Down Again
5. Beggarman
6. Song Of Yesterday
7. No Time
8. Medusa
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.

Added: December 20th 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 2379
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Black Country Communion: Black Country Communion
Posted by Mark Johnson, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-12-20 17:27:56
My Score:

Kevin Shirley's inspiration to bring together Glenn Hughes, vocals and bass, and Joe Bonamassa, lead guitar and vocals has provided one of the best rock/blues bands and albums of the year. Add Jason Bonham, drums, and Derek Sherinian on keyboards and many people are talking about this band as the next supergroup.

For me, it's easily the best debut rock/blues album of the year. These guys lived up to the super group label. Every note a jem and every moment one you want to enjoy completely. Blistering guitar with original themes. Solid, dynamic vocals with full range along with the full power of bass. Drums that bring back memories of his father's work. And keys that fill in all dimensions of the sound. The makings of a great band. Bringing back the power and glory of the best of rock and blues from both sides of the Atlantic. Bringing home a sound from deep within the Black Country.

This album was recorded almost as a live studio album within one take. I don't know how they could have done better.

I read somewhere that Glenn is already feverishly working on the follow up album.

1. Black Country – Joe's heavy bass line opens this one before Jason's rocking drums blast through, followed by Glenn's screaming voice, "I am a messenger, this is my prophecy, I'm going back to the Black Country!" This one jumps out and grabs you by the throat and says, "Remember when band's used to rock?" "We're back!" Joe's blistering guitar licks roar the piece into a blazing inferno that just brings back all those memories of Jason's father's band. A blistering anthem to begin the story for this band. You will be thankful Kevin Shirley put these guys together. The candle is lit and the slow burn is about to begin.

2. One Last Soul – A song written by Glenn specifically for Black Country Communion. The first single and one of the best songs off the album. Glenn opens this one with great vocals supported by Jason's drums and Joe's axe, "You were born in a jet stream down in South Caroline. Got a roll in the big scheme, now you're ready to shine. You're the one last soul who can win it. You're the one last sole if you try." This catchy hook will have you singing along long after the song ends. Glenn still has the power to lift those high screams and does a great job feeding the fire of this song.

3. The Great Divide – A clever guitar riff from Glenn opens this one with some very cool guitar work in the background as Jason keeps great pace. Glenn's voice is powerful as he continues to lift the level of each song to a new high with those screams and yells. He also balances it with a good mix of solid delivery when he is not screaming. "So let me ride the Great Divide, it's beautiful." So is the guitar work on this piece. Picking that reminds you of all the great guitar masters of the 70s.

4. Down Again – Power bass like it used to be played. Then Glenn roars through, "I left my house in the south of the city and they call me a vagabond." Keys from Derek that will bring back solid memories of the best of Deep Purple. Those cool sweet blues keys you remember from some of rock's best hard rock and heavy metal bands. Solid bass and power lead riffing with Jason slamming the skins. Rock like it used to be. I wish the keys and Joe's lead play at the end of the song would have gone on even longer.

5. Beggarman – Heavy fuzz lead guitar picking, ala Hendrix that just blows this one open, along with Glenn's bass and Derek's organ keys filling in the spaces. Blues like it used to be. Jason's pounding is perfectly timed to provide the rhythm behind this cool rock/blues mix. Besides One Last Soul, my favorite blues/rock number of the first six, (used to be an LP side) of the album. Joe's lead work is simply out of this world. This song is an 'animal'. Glenn's vocals really drive this along with Joe's picking. You can tell these guys had fun with this song and the entire album. The love of music shines through.

6. Song of Yesterday – My favorite song on the album and it may be my favorite song of the year. This song brings back so many memories of Paul Rodger's greatest songs with the Firm and Bad Company. An epic like Midnight Moonlight, All the King's Horses, and of course Live in Peace. Although the memories are there and the title harkens back to the past, this is original and Joe's voice sounds grittier than Paul's.

The lyrics are deep and all members of the band fire like a perfect eight cylinder engine. An epic 8:33 minute song which slows everything down after five solid rockers full of fire. The lead guitar is supported perfectly with bass and cymbals before Joe reaches out, "I hope, true passion, after many years, I will listen. A heavy weight, upon my chest, like a wailing wall." His singing brings the feeling through to the listener of that long grueling ride up and down the highway of rock n roll. Strings, flutes, the sound of pipes and a small orchestra are added to bring the full soundscape. Did I say epic? The mood is set perfectly. Then those blasting drums and guitars. "I fly away. Gonna fly away. Like a song of yesterday." The orchestration is wonderful, but the guitars and drums really bring this one home. Joe's lead work on this one really stands out and mixes perfectly with Jason's drums and Derek's keys, supporting in the background. You just don't want this one to end.

7. No Time – Back to that funked up rock with heavy bass, drums and slithering lead guitar. The opening drums almost made me think we were gonna roll into the song Rock n' Roll off LZ IV. "There's no time my brother. There's no time to make it right." That funky guitar riff just hooks you and never lets you go. The chorus sing together, "I open my mind and I'm healed by the sun."

8. Medusa – The song that captured Kevin Shirley's imagination. When you first hear it you understand why. A remake of one of Glenn's Trapeze songs. Dreamy guitars, synths and symbols before the full drums enter. Another one of my favorites on the album. The guitar chords and riffs are some of the best on the album. A good solid slow blues rock melody builds with all guns firing before a rocketing lifting guitar piece that will bring back many memories from some of your favorites from the 70s. One of Glenn's best vocal performances on the album. It is so nice to hear all of these powerhouse musicians firing off some of their best material on the same album. Not saving anything for the cutting room floor.

9. The Revolution in Me – Rough bass and lead guitar grind through the soundscape and slam this one into your ears. Joe soars, "Like the fields of Dunkirk, still a revolution in me." Bringing back the spirit of the 70s revolutionaries to the power thud of Jason's drums and Joe's fiery lead jams. Then Derek's cool keys drive home his best section on the album before dropping off in support of Joe's screaming lead. Sounds like all of these guys have been working together for years not months.

10. Stand (At the Burning Tree) – Heavy slamming lead coupled with bass and Jason's power drums gets this one off to a quick start. The most Paul Rodgers sounding lead vocals yet. But Glenn adds his own character to the sound as strings; keys and that heavy bass just rock you. Then Derek lets loose with those cool organ keys, and Glenn's bass and Jason's steady drums work in tandem. Joe's blistering guitar soaring in and out of the mix.

11. Sista Jane – An almost AC/DC Back in Black opening to this one with Joe and Jason blasting the speakers. Joe and Glenn share the vocals on this one. The guitar riffs and keyboard support are stellar. An almost Crθme sounding guitar riff turns into a Townsend, Who inspired spectacle. Just awesome! 6:55 minutes of lightning jamming and thunder drums. The keys will bring back some wonderful Who highlights at the end.

12. Too Late for the Sun – This one opens with a heavy influence of Crθme with keys supporting. The album's epic at 11:21 minutes. The drums are solid. Derek's organ keys just bring back so many memories. Glenn's vocals drive home the power of this epic. Joe's guitar riffs are original and ring throughout, but when he starts jamming around the middle, he, Glenn and Derek do some spectacular work along with Jason's hammering drums. Can't wait to see this live someday. Another song, despite its length, you do not want to end.

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