Album Review: Black Star Riders – “Heavy Fire”
It was pretty clear early on in Black Star Riders’ career that the band weren’t willing to just be ‘that lot who used to be Thin Lizzy’. First two records All Hell Breaks Loose and The Killer Instinct proved that by being good classic rock records that combined a bit of Maiden, Almighty and Lizzy into a solid, modern sound. Now back with their third outing Heavy Fire, BSR have ramped things up another notch and seem to have an even hotter fire burning in their belly.
The standout Who Rides The Tiger is a raucous stomp in which Ricky Warwick somehow finds even more swagger than usual in his vocal delivery, while the underlying groove of Ticket To Rise can’t fail to get your feet moving as the singer belts out the impassioned chorus. The rest of the band are obviously hugely talented and massively experienced, but they exhibit a more natural fluidity this time out, especially on the cowbell-tonking title track, as well as throughout the bass-y rumble of Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed and the lilting Cold War Love.
In fact, throughout Heavy Fire there’s depth, originality and a renewed fervour alongside the warmth of familiarity. When The Night Comes In is pretty reminiscent of some of Ricky Warwick’s recent solo material with added operatics in the chorus, whilst Dancing With The Wrong Girl marks a return to the Lizzy sound as Scott Gorham and Damon Johnson’s guitars float harmoniously around each other. Neither song tries to rip off what’s come before though, they simply take the band’s experience and turn it into something even bigger and more ambitious. A tribute band, Black Star Riders ain’t, and neither is Heavy Fire simply settling for more of the same. This record is fresh and a joy to listen to.
Black Star Riders have always been a band in their own right rather than just the sum of their parts, but here they sound even more of a well-oiled unit than ever. There are some belting, hard rock numbers on Heavy Fire that, although bold and original, still compliment what's come before.