Album Review: Black Star Riders - Another State Of Grace

2 September 2019 | 9:37 am | Brendan Crabb

"[T]his is a band not content to merely recycle past glories."

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Thin Lizzy-offshoot Black Star Riders certainly had a handy launching pad. That said, while it afforded them an opening salvo to rock audiences and a marketing angle for label types, the group needed to carve their own reputation to ensure longevity.

Now on album number four, they've successfully done so, but the Thin Lizzy DNA is certainly apparent in cuts like the title track and Ain't The End Of The World, in the dual lead guitar which characterises the songs and the odd Celtic touch. However, the band infuses these songs with an energy and purpose of their own, boosted by Ricky Warwick's soulful, venue-filling vocals. There's a warmth to the performances and the production which proves endearing too.

Elsewhere, the hook-laden and groovy Soldier In The Ghetto possesses a palpable urgency, Underneath The Afterglow offers some hefty riffs, and protest song, Why Do You Love Your Guns?, lays on the grit and gravitas. Damon Johnson's distinctive guitar work is missed, but the new members inject some life into proceedings. The group's modus operandi is readily apparent, but they prove capable of the odd curveball. Note What Will It Take?, on which Warwick shares lead vocals with Pearl Aday. It's steeped in Americana, with an almost Tom Petty-ish vibe, and offers welcome variety.

Given their rich lineage, Black Star Riders are well-placed to continue benefiting from the lucrative classic-rock market. However, this is a band not content to merely recycle past glories.