I’ve been a huge fan of Ricky Warwick for a long time and have enjoyed whatever music he has put out whether it’s the loud punk-metal of The Almighty or his storytelling solo albums and what we now come to know the great rock’n’roll of the Black Star Riders.
On the first trio of the Black Star riders albums, the songs have been largely co-written by Ricky and guitarists Damon Johnson and the legend that is guitar slinger Scott Gorham.
So it was a surprise when it was let known that Damon Johnson was moving on to pastures new and that the vacant guitar player slot was being filled by Christian Matrucci who is guitarist of Stone Sour and also to my delight I have discovered he has had various bands of his own over the years which I have found too have released top draw music but the question is would he gell with Black Star Riders.
Fear, not Christian has not only fitted in but the music is all the better for it.
Starting off this new album titled “Another State Of Grace” we have the track “Tonight The Moonlight Let Me Down” and immediately the ears are treated to a great guitar riff and Ricky’s trademark gruff vocal. Scott and Christian’s guitar mesh together beautifully to create a great rock’n’roll sound and we even have some saxophone added into the mix which fits in perfectly.
On track two we get the song “Another State Of Grace” which was the first song to be released as a single and this song has a big Celtic sound to it with a backing chant of “hey” being shouted which really makes the track stand out.
Up next we have “Ain’t The End Of The World” which is the second single to be released and this track has what I would call the classic Thin Lizzy sound with Scott Gorham’s trademark guitar all over it yet has a freshness that while takes you back to the glory days of Thin Lizzy it also shows how the Black star riders are very much their own band with their own identity.
“Underneath The Afterglow” starts off with a great classic rock guitar riff with a great vocal by Ricky and what strikes me is how Christian’s backing vocals go together so well with Ricky’s that you would think they have been in a band together for years.
“Soldier In The Ghetto” is up next and this track adds a funky intro before relaxing back into a great Black Star riders chorus and shows a band that’s not afraid to mix things up a bit but when they do they do it well.
“Why Do You Love Your Guns” slows the pace down a bit with a beautifully crafted acoustic guitar intro before a crunchy electric guitar riff is introduced to build the song up and a great passionate vocal by Ricky makes this track another winner.
Next up we have “Standing In The Line Of Fire” and this track picks the pace back up with some pounding drums and driving bass and a shredding guitar solo that makes this a great rock song.
“What Will It Take?” is another track which features acoustic guitar mixed with electric to add to a song with great harmonies. Also, we have some great female backing vocals which yet again add another dimension to the Black star riders sound.
“In The Shadow Of The War Machine” is a awesome rocker of a track with some real biting guitar and lyrics that describe the troubled times we are living in yet even though this is a serious song it still has the great harmonies and an uplifting chorus that I hope to hear live on the upcoming tour.
Finishing off the album is the track “Poisoned Heart” and this is how an album should be finished off and that is with style with Ricky’s soaring vocals backed with great backing vocals from Christian and great all-round work from the rest of the band making sure this album goes out with a bang.
Overall words are hard to describe how great this album is because every song on here is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser with no weak tracks or filler to be heard anywhere.
This is a great album that on repeated listens is an album that will keep on giving and in this reviewer’s opinion is Black Star Riders finest work to date.
Buy ‘Another State Of Grace’ Here
Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper