Album Review: Black Star Riders - 'The Killer Instinct'

6 March 2015 | 5:24 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Some of the catchiest hard rock you're likely to hear.

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Formed mostly out of the talents of Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders hit the music scene with 2013's debut album, which, accordingly, received much praise. Subsequently, the band won over listeners with their fondness for all things hard rock. Now, the boys return with ‘The Killer Instinct’ described in assertive fashion by the group as “defining” and “the next level” for Black Star Riders.

The album is affirming from the beginning. Catchy and infectious, the full-length focuses and plays on the inviting elements of the group's sound. The mixture of distinctive vocals and memorable bass lines take the listener on a nostalgic journey back to old school Thin Lizzy styles. Equally, the featured guitar solo gives the track some spirit before transitioning into ‘Bullet Blues’. What emerges in the opening one-two punch is a blueprint that mixes even parts melody and agression.

Moreover, ‘Finest Hour’ shows a different side to Black Star Riders as we lose the 70's Lizzy sound and instead see something more country inspired and melodic. Although it conforms to a more ‘radio friendly’ template, the traditional lyrics make this an entertaining and heart warming moment.

While there are definitely some classic Thin Lizzy odes on here, the band manages to incorporate other aspects to define Black Star Riders in its own musical identity. Tracks like ‘Charlie I Gotta Go’ provide some solid grooves, while ‘Turn In Your Arms’ takes lend of greater folk influence.

Ending on ‘You Little Liar’, which, much like the rest of the album, provides tight riffs and solid howls, the infectious elements are retained ensuring the continuity is maintained. With all the best of Thin Lizzy sounds and something extra, this album hits the mark.

Self-described as "defining"; that's exactly what is presented. Memorable and engaging, the collection of tracks simply work. This album has something for both old school Thin Lizzy fans and lovers of more modern hard rock.

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The Killer Instinct

Bullet Blues

Finest Hour


Charlie I Gotta Go


Through The Motions

Sex, Guns & Gasoline

Turn In Your Arms

You Little Liar