Album Review: Black Star Riders – “Another State of Grace”
Fourth album from the group occasionally known as the 21st century incarnation of Thin Lizzy, and Another State of Grace very much sees the band on business as usual mode, as evident when the muscular rock ‘n’ roll of Tonight The Moonlight Let Me Down (not a cover of the old Merle Haggard number in case anyone’s wondering) kicks this album off.
The thing is, when you’re as accomplished at what you do as BSR are, there’s often a good argument to sticking to what you know and when the title track kicks in with a ferociously powerful guitar line recalling Lizzy’s Emerald with Ricky Warwick snarling out some prescient lyrics about the Troubles, it’s clear that they’re on good form here – make no mistake, Phil Lynott would’ve been proud to call this one his own. Ain’t The End Of The World is powered along by that unmistakable chiming guitar work from Scott Gorham, and is another powerful knockabout slice of rock that’ll have your foot tapping along.
And thus it continues for the rest of the album to be honest. There’s the odd twist along the way such as the skittering organ on Soldier In The Ghetto and the downbeat acoustic-led Why Do You Love Your Guns? and What Will It Take? but for the main part, Another State Of Grace is pretty much what you’d expect from Warwick and Gorham – solid, muscular rock ‘n’ roll with good tunes and musicianship to make sure you’re more than happy to listen to it through without losing interest. The chugging In The Shadow of the War Machine is probably the album’s highlight and bears the formula out well. Certainly, the legions of BSR fans out there will be more than happy with it.
Very much a case of no alarms, no surprises and business as usual here then. But when you’re this good at what you do as this band are, business as usual is definitely better than no business at all.
It's clear that Black Star Riders have very much found a formula and are doggedly sticking with it, but at least it's an enjoyable formula. "Another State of Grace" is 40 minutes of chugging riffs, hooks that stick in your head and solid musicianship which'll sound good over a few pints the same way their forebears Thin Lizzy always did. For those who enjoy this band, this should serve as a good addition to their catalogue.