Black Star Riders: ‘Heavy Fire’ – 5 stars

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Let’s be clear from the start, this is not an offering by a Thin Lizzy tribute act, this is a 100% Black Star Riders album.

Having just completed a successful headline tour of Europe last month, their set list included eighteen songs over two hours with seven from this latest album, six from “All Hell Broke Loose” and four from “The Killer Instinct”, plus one harking back to Thin Lizzy days, “The Boys are Back in Town” played in mid-set, but that after all is a classic and almost everybody plays it.

After the release of their debut album “All Hell Breaks Loose” in May of 2013, followed by “The Killer Instinct” in February 2015, the band have now really hit their stride with this, their third opus, “Heavy Fire”, produced by the man of the hour Nick Raskuliecz.

Black Star Riders are basically an American band with four seasoned, professional top notch rock ‘n’ rollers in Damon Johnson and Scott Gorham on lead guitar, Robbie Crane on bass guitar, Jimmy DeGrasso (now replaced by Chad Szeliga) on drums and Irishman Ricky Warwick on occasional guitar and vocals.  Yes, Scott Gorham was previously one of the lead guitarists in Thin Lizzy, but then Ricky Warwick was the main man in The Almighty and nobody seems to hold that against him.

If you like Heavy Rock (not Heavy Metal, there is definitely a difference there) with a hard hitting bouncy beat, screaming twin lead guitars, a romping bass, hard hitting drums, witty lyrics about fast cars, love and lust and alcohol fueled nights, all sung in an Irish brogue with short, sharp snappy songs, this is the album for you.

As soon as the opening title track, “Heavy Fire”, belts out of your speakers you know you are in for a genuine rock ’n’ roll treat.  The pace never lets up, giving you one up-tempo rocker after another.  When you put this album on in the car, make sure to watch your speedometer as it just encourages you to go faster and faster.

Highlights are a plenty: “Ticket to Rise” is so catchy it should be a single for radio play with its Beatles refrain, oh no, not more comparisons (it’s even got a Rolling Stone’s type female backing vocal ending); the epic acoustic closing ballad “Fade” finishes with a showboating guitar solo, and the all out rock of “Who Rides the Tiger” leaves you in no doubt as to what sort of music this band likes to play.  Then, who cannot associate with a song called “Dancing with the Wrong Girl”?

Sticking to this formula will make 2017 the best year yet for the band.  Thin Lizzy and especially Phil Lynott will never be forgotten, but the Black Star Riders can make their own giant footsteps from now on.

Scott Gorham of the Black Star Riders. (Photo/ Harpic Bryant/Breezeridge Photography)
Scott Gorham of the Black Star Riders. (Photo/ Harpic Bryant/Breezeridge Photography)

Lineup on the album:

Ricky Warwick – guitar and lead vocals

Scott Gorham- guitar

Damon Johnson- guitar

Robbie Crane – bass guitar

Jimmy Degrasso- drums

Track List:

Heavy Fire

When The Night Comes In

Dancing with the Wrong Girl

Who Rides The Tiger

Cold War Love

Testify Or Say Goodbye

Thinking about you could

get me killed

True Blue Kid

Ticket to Rise

Letting Go Of Me

Fade

Note: Written by Hells Bells and Mott the Dog.  Mott the Dog and cronies are often to be found supping a few ales amongst frivolous conversation in Jameson’s Bar Nova Park Hotel, Soi AR, North Pattaya.