Black Star Riders - All Hell Breaks Loose

Black Star Riders
All Hell Breaks Loose
Nuclear Blast
I am guessing that when Scott Gorham & Co announced they weren’t gonna come out with any new music under the classic Thin Lizzy moniker but they were gonna call it something else, both out of respect to Phillo, but also possibly because of the fact that the widow and the momma of the absentee, strongly contested the notion, I was kinda relieved.
In retrospect, even if this album had come out as a Thin Lizzy album, well it would not have been the “biggest sacrilege” so to speak, which goes to show, that The “Black Star Riders” the “new” band, that rose from the ashes of the latest touring incarnation of the Lynottless Thin Lizzy, consisting of guitarist Scott Gorham, vocalist Ricky Warwick (The Almighty), guitarist Damon Johnson (Alice Cooper, Brother Cane), bassist Marco Mendoza (Blue Murder, Ted Nugent) and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso (Y&T, Megadeth) did a damn fine job of replicating the sound of classic Thin Lizzy as best they could.
Johnson and Gorham, “sing” sweetly together, Warwick, has the streetwise charm and lyrical ability to come up with verses that pay tribute without aping Phil’s poetry and Mendoza and DeGrasso create an interesting tight and rumbling rhythm section that drives the whole thing with certainty and swagger!
Kevin Shirley, has done a rather plain but very “fitting” old-school production, to this OLD SCHOOL band, it’s up to date, as much as it has to, but it doesn’t try to change their sound, since they are a band that has DEFINED, ROCK MUSIC. PERIOD. No music journalist, is going to tell them how to play.
“All Hell Breaks Loose” which also gives the name to the album, is a mid-tempo brooding rocker, that harkens back to the earlier days of the band and has some pretty strong rhythmical stuff going on... and a whole “desperado” theme about it. Comes fully loaded, the whole six shooter...
“Bound for Glory” again has a “familiar” ramble and not only that, I’ dare even go as far as to say it sort of mimics a well-known Lizzy song, rhythm and riff wise... ah... oh well. Not entirely original... but a nice, plagiarism of themselves with different lyrics. Nice one! There are some more “riffs” and passages that are “reused” but this was the most “obvious” I thought....
“Kingdom of the Lost” is far more memorable with it’s way more Celtic influenced melodies and the harmonies being pronounced, just to underline their glorious melody. Excellent track!
“Bloodshot” is quite similar, but loses the Celtic melodies and just keeps the streetwise attitude of Warwick that un-cunningly sounds like the late “Phillo” here.
“Kissing the Ground” is a little more experimental and melodic trying a stab maybe at creating a radio friendly number, but it somehow, comes off as a little empty and odd.
“Hey, Judas” is more interesting, it’s a ballad, that almost manages to convince that it was “Thin Lizzy” but somehow, betrays, it isn’t... while up to bloodshot, the songs, were – Perfectly – Great, these two are kind of ropey – this one – not so much, but still...
“Hoodoo Voodoo” is another cute, funky interesting number, but it’s not the greatest thing I could think of. It’s quite “different” than what would get someone excited...
But on the other hand the “rolling” “Valley of the Stones” manages to pick-up the pace again...
But only momentarily since “Someday Salvation” stagnates things once more... with is sha-na-na-na-na-na-na… but hey, in the spirit of good fun and folk n’ roll, it works just fine!
“Before the War” is a fast funky number, that has a couple of flashy rocking solos and is quite politically charged.
“Blues ain’t so Bad” is like it’s title suggests a bluesy number and it’s bittersweet and proud and damn good.
All in all, it ain’t so bad a record. It’s got a bunch of “weird” songs in the middle, “weird, not bad”, just a little different, not as catchy, well... I suppose it’s a good “debut” of sorts, for this new “band” of veteran desperadoes... And as long as they didn’t call it Fat Betty, it’s fine by me!