Album Review: Black Star Riders – “The Killer Instinct”
Ricky Warwick’s name seems to have been popping up on my review list quite a bit recently. Having listened to both of his new solo albums in the last couple of weeks (reviews due up on these here webpages in the near future), last month also saw the release of the second album from Black Star Riders (the band which mutated out of the 21st Century incarnation of Thin Lizzy), which features Warwick on vocals.
The Killer Instinct is pretty much a straight continuation of BSR’s 2013 debut All Hell Breaks Loose, with Warwick’s whisky-soaked vocals and Scott Gorham’s harmonised guitar lines unmistakable from the outset. But the key is that it’s got exactly the sort of big fist-pumping and gang chant choruses that justify the plaudits that this band receive.
This is very much business as usual (although the saying about when business is this good, why would you change it definitely applies here), but there are a couple of curveballs thrown in which prevent The Killer Instinct from getting too similar for its own good, such as the dark balladry of Blindsided (probably the album’s high point) and the Guns ‘n’ Roses-isms of Sex, Guns & Gasoline. These keep the flow going nicely and ensure that you’ll be listening to this one until the end.
So yeah, don’t expect any surprises here, but the key is that Black Star Riders do what they do very well, and that’s what keeps them sounding both relevant and exciting in this day and age. And for a band that’s been going in one form or another for over 40 years now, that’s no mean achievement.
A solid second effort from BSR which continues the work done on their debut nicely without sounding like it's repeating itself. You can see this album going down well with the fans and it sounds like it'll make a good transition to the live arena. Definitely worth a listen.