Black Star Riders - Heavy Fire

Black Star Riders - Heavy Fire

(CD, Nuclear Blast Records, 2017)

It’s odd how getting experience can change your impression about a band and the urge to dig into new releases. I liked BLACK STAR RIDERS from the start as Scott Gorham is a favorite guitarist of mine. Also, I was totally hooked on THE ALMIGHTY from day one. It felt like an odd combination on paper at first to mix Ricky Warwick with THIN LIZZY but it didn’t take much seconds into the music to realize that this was a perfect match. The rest of the band has a lot to do with the whole sound too of course, and it was the whole band experience that really got me hooked. Seeing BLACK STAR RIDERS live is a treat, it is working class Metal.

And BLACK STAR RIDERS work hard with “Heavy Fire” being their third release since the band’s formation, back in 2012. And the third one is a Hard Rockin’ piece of music. The opening and title-track of the album sets the mood from the start. Even though the music has a dark and rather gloomy feeling, something THIN LIZZY had in some of their material, the drive is fantastic. The stomp in the song is great and it’s a really strong start. One of my favorites out of the record comes second though; in “When The Night Comes In”, the snare and naked guitar riff combined with Ricky’s voice in the intro are fantastic. And when it all starts, the music holds such a fantastic energy it sends shivers down my spine. Another favorite is “Who Rides The Tiger” during which I had to double-check if I still had the BLACK STAR RIDERS record inside the player. When the vocals start, raw, fat and filthy music comes out of the speakers, touching upon the DANZIG vibe and is heavy as hell. Also the bridge up to the chorus-line is fantastic and the resolution in the chorus-line, damn! This will be really hard to beat and I would be surprised if this doesn’t remain as a favorite song of the year.

“Cold War Love” and a few more songs in the album nurture the THIN LIZZY heritage in a mighty fine way. I’m glad that Scott created a new band for this and I’m really happy he’s still doing what he had been doing great all those years with THIN LIZZY. And the best is of course that they’ve filled the venues on the occasions I’ve seen them. Which shows it’s possible to start over and people will dig it out, which is well worth the effort since BLACK STAR RIDERS really sound fantastic. The up-tempo “Testify Or Say Goodbye” is another favorite; the dynamics in this one are fantastic. The chorus-line is very catchy but the song reeks of melancholy and this is where Ricky as the best. The emotion in his voice is fantastic.

At first though, for the first 2-3 spins I thought that “Heavy Fire” felt a bit flat, with nothing really standing out. But the more I listened, more details surfaced and for each spin the record grew, and after a while basically anything else I put on felt flat. So yes, it took a while for “Heavy Fire” to really settle but it was definitely well worth the effort. Now I’m just waiting for a few tour-dates around here, since if I loved BLACK STAR RIDERS live before, after a super release as this, just imagine how good it will be live.





01. Heavy Fire
02. When The Night Comes In
03. Dancing With The Wrong Girl
04. Who Rides The Tiger
05. Cold War Love
06. Testify Or Say Goodbye
07. Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
08. True Blue Kid
09. Ticket To Rise
10. Letting Go Of Me


Ricky Warwick - Vocals, Guitar
Scott Gorham - Lead Guitar
Damon Johnson - Lead Guitar
Robbie Crane - Bass
Jimmy DeGrasso - Drums