Black Star Riders - All Hell Breaks Loose (Nuclear Blast) 2013

1. All Hell Breaks Loose (4:15)
2. Bound For Glory (4:09)
3. Kingdom Of The Lost (4:44)
4. Bloodshot (4:03)
5. Kissin’ The Ground (3:06)
6. Hey Judas (4:11)
7. Hoodoo Voodoo (4:16)
8. Valley Of The Stones (4:15)
9. Someday Salvation (3:05)
10. Before The War (3:39)
11. Blues Ain't So Bad (6:15)
12. Right to Be Wrong (3:35)

Many members of Thin Lizzy have done shows and toured playing tribute to Thin Lizzy and Philip Lynott. Guitarist John Sykes apparently convinced Scott Gorham to get back on the road and tour under the Thin Lizzy banner. This band toured for years. I saw them opening for Deep Purple and quite enjoyed the show even if it wasn't Phil behind the mic. However, it also wasn't quite the same either. Eventually Sykes left the fold and in more recent years ex-Almighty frontman RickyWarwick was brought on to perform the vocals. Eventually the band started to talk about recording new music and releasing it under the Thin Lizzy banner, which would be the first since 1983’s "Thunder and Lightning". Eventually, however, they decided to change the name since it just wouldn't be the same without Philip. As well Brian Downey and Darren Wharton declined to get involved, thus Black Star Riders was born.  Ricky Warwick - vocals & guitar, Scott Gorham - guitars, Damon Johnson - guitars, Marco Mendoza - bass and Jimmy DeGrasso - drums.

As might be expected from a band that has been touring as Thin Lizzy for years, the music on "All Hell Breaks Loose" is very much in the style of classic twin-guitar Thin Lizzy. In fact, much of the music contained falls somewhere between "Black Rose" and "Chinatown" with a few songs even recalling earlier recordings. The band use of Dubliner Patrick D'arcy's Irish whistles, uilleann pipes and bodhran on "Kingdom Of The Lost" most definitely recalls "Black Rose". "Bound for Glory" was the albums first single and features some of those dual guitar harmonies that Lizzy made famous. Of all the songs on this album it sounds the most Lizzy-like of the bunch. It really could have been a lost Thin Lizzy track. Oddly enough Scott Gorham had nothing to do with the writing of this song. One track that definitely stands out is "Blues Ain't So Bad" a song with a dark groove 

The biggest question will be, what about the vocals? Ricky Warwick does have the sly coolness and some of the vocals stylings of Phil Lynott, but he is not a clone either. However, on songs like "Bound for Glory" or "Kindgom of the Lost" Warwick definitely recalls the spirit of The Rocker. 

Black Star Riders is not Thin Lizzy, nor are they a Thin Lizzy tribute. This is former Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham's new band. In as much, they have written an album of songs that honors the spirit of Lizzy while managing to sound like a new band. 

Killer Instinct Black Star Riders - The Killer Instinct (Nuclear Blast) 2015

1. The Killer Instinct (3:32)
2. Bullet Blues (4:54)
3. Finest Hour (3:56)
4. Soldierstown (4:50)
5. Charlie I Gotta Go (4:14)
6. Blindsided (6:00)
7. Through The Motions (3:47)
8. Sex, Guns & Gasoline (4:00)
9. Turn In Your Arms (3:50)
10. You Little Liar (7:08)

11. Gabrielle
12. The Reckoning Day
13. The Killer Instinct [acoustic]
14. Blindsided [acoustic]     
15. Charlie I Gotta Go [acoustic]
16. Finest Hour [acoustic]

"Killer Instinct" is album number two for the super group that grew out of the band touring as Thin Lizzy. This is a good, solid album from front to back and is better than the debut. The songs are catchier and the riffs are better. Again the Thin Lizzy comparisons are inevitable. A song like "Bullet Blues" could have been on Lizzy's "Thunder & Lightning" with those heavy riffs, dual guitar harmonies and catchy vocal melodies. Likewise the title track is complete Thin Lizzy from the guitar licks to Ricky Warwick's replication of Phil Lynott's lusty howl. Other tracks such as "You Little Liar" and "Blindsided" are heavy hitter s as well. Both tracks clock in at over six minutes and feature meaty guitar riffs and licks, as well as some infectious melodic hooks. The celtic marches of "Soldierstown" carry a bit of a Thin Lizzy vibe as well, but with a more punk vibe. I do confess that on the first listen I wasn't completely won over, but with each listen after the album improved and my longing to hear it grew.

Thin Lizzy were a legendary hard rock band that has inexcusably been given the shaft by American classic rock stations for one repeated song. However, fans know that Lizzy weren't a one-and-done act. Their music was powerful and their catalog packed full of classic songs. It's very cool that Warwick and company would continue to write tunes in the spirit of Philip Lynott. However, Black Star Riders are more than just a tribute act to Thin Lizzy. They have their own identity and their songs stand on their own. This album isn't just "The Boys Are Back in Town" regurgitated. This is serious heavy rock.

The 2-CD version features two non-albums tracks as well as acoustic versions of a few album tracks. This version of the CD is essential for any Thin Lizzy or Black Star Riders fan.

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