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Articles Home » 2015 Articles » Black Star Riders - 2015 The Killer Instinct
Black Star Riders - 2015 The Killer Instinct

ARTIST: Black Star Riders
ALBUM: The Killer Instinct
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
SERIAL: 27361 34152
YEAR: 2015


LINEUP: Rick Warwick - guitar, vocals * Scott Gorham, Damon Johnson - guitar * Robbie Crane - bass * Jimmy Degrasso - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 All Hell Breaks Loose * 02 Bound For Glory * 03 Kingdom Of The Lsot * 04 Bloodshot * 05 Kissin' The Ground * 06 Hey Judas * 07 Hoodoo Voodoo * 08 Valley Of The Stones * 09 Someday Salvation * 10 Before The War * 11 Blues Ain't So Bad



After a turgid and uninspiring début with 2013's 'All Hell Breaks Loose' you'd think Black Star Riders might have learned some lessons. As mentioned in great (and scathing) detail in the review for that album, the bands decision to not record under the Thin Lizzy banner was somewhat laughable, when the album was a Lizzy clone anyway. It made a mockery of their claims which consisted of trying to forge their own identity as a separate band, which as you've gathered didn't happen. This time around journeyman Robbie Crane takes over on bass for Marco Mendoza, with fellow veteran hired guns like Damon Johnson and Jimmy DeGrasso still hanging on for the ride. The tenuous link to Thin Lizzy remains with Scott Gorham obviously, which apparently gives the band free reign to plunder classic Thin Lizzy mannerisms and sounds.

The Songs
I would be more comfortable with this lot calling themselves Thin Lizzy instead of masquerading as a band with some other agenda. The title track is the most blatant copy yet and it's almost laughable listening to Warwick imitate Phil Lynott. What's the purpose behind it? He isn't Lynott and has no business sounding like him if this is a different band. Gorham's riffs give 'Bullet Blues' a retro sound, but like the previous track it's a basic run through of stuff Lynott did better four decades ago. 'Finest Hour' sounds a tad more individualistic on the bands part, like some Gary Moore track from 1989 only not that good. The Celtic guitar harmonies are utilized for 'Soldierstown' which is supposed to be a rousing Irish anthem you might hear in a pub setting. It's unusual to say the least, but Warwick is still there aping Lynott to the hilt. Warwick does his best street poet lyrics on 'Charlie I Gotta Go' trying to sound as gritty and romantic as Lynott, but it just makes me shake my head in both disbelief and cynicism. 'Through The Motions' is an apt title and this is 1980 Lizzy revisited, especially those riffs, which have the classic sound. When the chorus strikes it sounds like a different song, some bland modern rock cut. 'Sex, Guns and Gasoline' is a stale title and not a product of an L.A. Guns or Motley Crue album. It's your basic hard rock workout, stuck somewhere in the early 90's, with Warwick reciting lyrics about some outlaw called Billy and life's hard knocks dealt his way. The opening riffs of 'Turn In Your Arms' have an early 70's Lizzy touch, but fade away once the verse hits. It's curious, as if they're thrown in as a token gesture to remind you that this is 'Thin Lizzy' despite their dropping of the name.

In Summary
This is a slight improvement over the début, but having written that I'm almost positive I'll never listen to this again. It's another redundant hard rock album that relies on the Lizzy aspect to guide it. I simply can't accept this band if they continue to act as a Lizzy copyist yet cling to the notion they're a band with a different path. There's nothing here that suggests they're adopting their own sound, so what's the point of the whole escapade? I said the same thing two years ago and it still fits. There's just nothing special here unfortunately and I'd be shocked to see a third album from the band under this name. Just give in and call yourselves Thin Lizzy.

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#1 | Jez on February 02 2016 12:43:06
The 2nd BSR disc and a step up from the impressive debut from a couple of years back. The Thin Lizzy influence is to the fore on a strong set of material, ranging from the up tempo rockers to the more Celtic influenced ballads, along with some impressive guitar work from Messrs Gorham and Johnson.
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