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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Black Country Communion ‘2’ album review

Black Country Communion ‘2’ album review
Released through: J&R Adventures. Release date: Available now!

First off, what a phenomenally talented line up, there I said it!

The combination of an ex-Deep Purple legend in Glenn Hughes - The man that Ronnie James Dio (RIP) bless him, said was his favourite vocalist. – alongside the extremely talented Joe Bonamassa - Whose own solo career just goes from strength to strength and deservedly so too. – who at times vocally reminds me of classic Paul Rodgers, is just perfect!

Add to that the Led Zeppelin ‘endorsed’ – Well, what else would you call him?! – Jason Bonham on drums as well as the phenomenal talent who is Derek Sherinian on keyboards and you have yourselves, one of today’s, without question, best super groups imaginable!
I give you Black Country Communion!
As much as I enjoyed the first album from B.C.C. , it took me some getting into, but now we know what these guys are all about ‘2’ comes along and simply casts in stone, this magically talented ensemble of musical genius!
I would love to see these guys live, it must be something else, seriously and all I have heard on that front, is nothing but good if not great reports! Ah well, maybe one day …

So, what do we have here?
When I first heard ‘The Outsider’ I was stunned! What an absolute killer opener for these guys, it just kills, as it storms on!!!
I cannot leave it there, I really can’t, it is so, so powerful! A great vocal from Mr. Hughes, so powerfully driven by his bass line and such strong drumming from Jason Bonham and then the interplay between Bonamassa and Sherinian simply reminds of the best times from (Ritchie) Blackmore and (Jon) Lord, stunning!
Holy cow, I’d have bought the album on the strength of this track alone, I kid you not!

‘Man in the Middle’ is almost presented vocally in a Steven Tyler style, I know, I know, Glenn is so much better than Tyler! - I'm sure I'll hear something about that! Then it has such a great mid paced rockin’ groove, it brings to mind Led Zeppelin and the interchanges kind of enforce that sound. They’ve really got something special here, without question. I love it.

With an almost melancholy start, we get ‘The Battle for Hadrian’s Wall’ with a great vocal from Joe Bonamassa and the track just grows into something special, almost not unlike a Bad Company feel and I know I’ve said of the Rodgers comparison, but tell me you don’t hear that vibe too?! The song overall has it’s laid back moments and then it’s pick up spots too. Great balance!

‘Save Me’ next has a kind of atmospheric start, with a haunting distant vocal from Glenn Hughes, then in kicks the groove.
This is very similar to a lot of the sound that the band established on the first album, it’s so rich, yet a slower pace, again in a Zep kind of like style. Here’s the thing – And I know I’ll get some stick for this! – I wasn’t the worlds greatest Zep fan, but there’s something about what B.C.C. have captured here that really grabs me. It just sounds so epic like and Sherinian orchestral stabs – Unless there is an orchestra on here?! With little information on who else plays on here besides the obvious culprits. – that it makes the song immense.

In ‘Smokestack Woman’ they just keep that same kind of groove going and it’s another slow to mid paced rocker. The tempo is laid back and steady, but the guitar riff rockin’! Tasty solo from Joe too!

Ha ha! ‘Faithless’ rides a similar groove to the last, but Joe’s guitar work on this takes the song to a whole new level and the rest of band just hangs out there keeping everything steady, plus Derek Sherinian has a mystical theme going all the way through as well. Nice!

There’s a kind Free / Bad Company feel to ‘An Ordinary Son’ but it’s so much more than that. There’s light and dark where it’s nicely held back through the verses and then the pre-chorus and chorus builds and rocks out.

When you just take a moment, to play this a few times over and listen to what each of the players contribute, it’s just great the full sound the band creates. Glenn joins in on a verse to take the lead vocal to break things up a bit and its cool the way it plays out.

I love the groove to next number ‘I Can See Your Spirit,’ it’s punchy as heck and kind of combines both a Zep and Purple feel, it’s great!
Joe really rips up a solo too, short and sweet and then Derek gets his spot too, so much in a song that’s little over four minutes, nice!

Some tasteful blues on ‘Little Secret’ next and surprisingly Joe lets Glenn sing this one, when you might expect him to sing it, it’s nicely done indeed. Sounds like something right off one of Joe’s own albums, that put simply Glenn does a great job on and is a clear indication of the mans complete ability to sing the blues just as well as rock or funk …, but then most of his fans - Me included! – already knew this!

‘Crossfire’ starts initially a little psychedelic sounding and then gets into classic Glenn Hughes funk rock / soulful groove territory, more so perhaps than any other BCC track before. I think it’s great that the band has done this.
In the second half of the track, it gets into a more melodic rock groove to wrap it up nicely.

It’s funny, I think this album tends to show perhaps a little more diversity to it than the first, but knowing Glenn and Joe’s styles from prior to this project, it doesn’t surprise me and in fact make the album click for me, quicker than the first.

Last track here is ‘Cold’ that has a haunting, almost eerie sounding laid back start. Love Joe's guitar tone here, it’s beautiful!
It’s a steady number, kind of almost power ballad like in most of the first half and then the tempo pick up and Joe just conjures up another great solo, before the track then eases back to the earlier groove and finishes as it started with some beautiful laid back guitar.

These guys have just raised the bar from their first release, seriously! This is an excellent album that cries out, no, make that yells out, demanding attention and folks, you deserve to give it just that. Classy stuff indeed!
So, how are you guys going to top that on the third BCC one, huh? Can’t wait to find out!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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