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Black Star Riders – The Killer Instinct – Album Review

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Black Star Riders
The Killer Instinct
Nuclear Blast
Out Now
Review by Matthew Clewley

Black Star Riders are back for another album after the success of their previous effort, All Hell Breaks Loose. The band consisted of four members of Thin Lizzy (Warwick, Gorham, Mendoza and Johnson) and Jimmy DeGrasso (RATT, Megadeth), but now with Marco Mendoza’s departure another former RATT member, Robbie Crane, joins the party for another triumphant record for not only Black Star Riders, but for the world of modern rock as a whole.

All Hell Breaks Loose charted at a respectable number 25 in the UK, whilst The Killer Instinct has charted higher than All Hell Breaks Loose at number 13, but does the sale of an album mean it’s any good?

Of course, as you’re going to listen to this you’re going to compare this to Thin Lizzy, so do expect that from The Killer Instinct. The title track is the introduction to the album, with it’s beautifully melodic and insanely catchy vibe coming off that shines the spotlight on the album immediately. Bullet Blues is a slower song, with a more heavier riff it still has that nod of a appreciation the first song delivered. Finest Hour gives a beautiful blend of acoustic playing and guitar riffs with a ballad aspect to it. Soldiertown adds a brilliant fast paced Celtic feeling to the album, showing Thin Lizzy’s Irish roots.

A softer song from the rest, Charlie I Gotta Go has a smooth riff accompanied by a brilliant guitar solo to add to the groove of the song. Blindsided turns down the heaviness even lower to off such a gentle yet expertly played masterpiece. There is a cheeky wink at Jailbreak’s direction with Through The Motions, giving such a simple yet satisfying riff and offering a surprising bang near the end of the song with a solo that rips through your ears.

Sex, Guns and Gasoline seems like a typically named rock song, but it’s such a delight to listen to. The chorus is splendid and after a few listens you’ll be singing this to yourself for days. With a battleground theme plopped straight into my head, Turn In Your Arms is played and sung remarkabley. You Little Liar is a whopping 7 minutes and 8 seconds, personally I think it doesn’t need to be that long. Instrumentally it’s brilliant, but the chorus just ends up being repetitive until the second solo.

Black Star Riders once again modernise the great Thin Lizzy sound, The Killer Instinct keeps a firm grip on the classic rock elements as well adding a modern sound to the mix. It’s got a heavy groove that flows through the album, showing masterclass songwriting and accomplished musicianship.

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