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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Black Country Communion – 'Afterglow' album review

Black Country Communion – 'Afterglow' album review
Released on: J&R Adventures. Release Date: Available now
Black Country Communion (BCC) being Glenn Hughes (Bass/Vocals), Joe Bonamassa (Guitar/Vocals), Jason Bonham (Drums) and Derek Sherinian (Keyboards) are now on this, their third studio album and their combined strengths just continues to shine through.
Sadly in recent months there have been words exchanged between the two main men, Hughes and Bonamassa not even face to face, but through social network Twitter with Hughes’ disdain that BCC cannot commit to full scale touring, due to Bonamassa’s own heavy solo touring commitments.
Apparently now, they have got back on good terms, thanks to their recognition of how great the band itself is and how they are being lauded with massive accolades for their combined talents and at the time of writing, ‘Afterglow’ has hit the charts globally in a big way!
Opening track ‘Big Train’ comes across in a similar fashion to much of the first BCC album, as it is all about quick snappy changes, riffs through the verses but the chorus goes for the throat with its hooks. As the song enters the final third, there’s almost a Police type vibe that kicks in. There’s lots to absorb on this first track which may take some folks some getting used to.
Second track ‘This Is Your Time’ when I first heard it I actually felt it reminded me of early Rainbow, with its heavy and borderline darkness, but then after a number of plays, I hear hints of Led Zeppelin about it, so no surprise there perhaps.
Good groove to it!
Wow! ‘Midnight Sun’ starts off by reminding me of The Who, but then the verse kicks in and it’s way different and that’s really what BCC are all about. They just loved to change direction in each song, it gives their music so much depth and variety it really does.
The chorus is just wonderful, really catchy, but I really do hear some elements that make me think of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’
Tell me you don’t hear it, especially with the intro and then at the end, all the little accents. Good stuff!
OK, ‘Confessor’ was a track I had heard before I got the album and it just blew me away and made me want this album more than ever. It totally rocks out in great style, it again has an element of depth, but it really is a strong rocker. Earth moving vocals from Glenn Hughes, absolutely killer guitar and keyboard solos from Joe and Derek respectively, while Jason's drumming is just so kicking!
‘Cry Freedom’ is the first track on this album where Joe’s lead vocal starts to be heard, as he and Glenn actually share duties.
Some nice bluesy slide riffs from Joe here and there. It really is a track where you feel Joe is totally in his element, with its bluesy groove. Glenn’s vocals are still as strong and he’s giving it his all.
This is once again a very strong album from BCC, again it’s a grower with their unique style, but play it a few times and you’ll feel it!
Title track ‘Afterglow’ is very much in a Led Zep groove, initially with one of Glenn Hughes’ best soulful vocals to compliment it.
It has its light and dark moments too, some where it’s almost Beatles like in places and then during Joe’s solo, he takes the song in a different direction again. It moves in epic style proportions at times. Classy!
‘Dandelion’ is up next and it starts heavy, before easing right back with a haunting like vocal from Glenn, before the chorus picks things up again. Cool track!
Glenn Hughes vocals seriously never cease to amazes me where he suddenly throws it way up there when you really least expect it.

OK, fans of the band will know that BCC like to sometimes throw in a few tracks that rally go the distance – i.e. Six minutes or more. – so they can jam out a little here and there and ‘The Circle’ is one such track here. As was the title track.
The verses to ‘The Circle’ are more generally laid back, while the choruses really push more and where in the verses Glenn sings so soulfully, in the choruses, his vocal is pushed right up there!
  Nice solos from Joe on this one and Derek’s atmospheric keys compliment it all so well.
‘Common Man’ is next and Joe’s voice is heard here to a degree, but it’s clear that Glenn has taken the majority of the lead vocals on this album, whereas on the previous two, it’s been pretty evenly split.
There’s a great, yet short section in the first half where first Derek jams a riff, then Joe does one, then Glenn on bass and Jason a quick runaround too. Nice one guys!
It’s medium paced rocker, that’s a little busy in spots, but not too much. A little funky too in the second half, some great Fender Rhodes sounding keys, then Joe rips out a killer solo. Nice job again guys.
I really love ‘The Giver’ it starts all laid back and mellow and kind of atmospheric and then picks up with a controlled heavier riffing in each chorus, without getting too crazy. It’s almost that Zeppelin like sound again, but still true to what BCC is all about.
Solo from Joe just flurries along in fine fashion before it eases right back to close as it started, so gently. Wonderful!
‘Crawl’ is the final track and it’s dark and heavy style riffing, again quite Zeppelin like in its groove, but there’s something about the delivery from Hughes every time that makes these songs so unique, so Black Country Communion!
So overall, no complaints here on album number three, there is a special magic these guys pull together when they play, that simply is unique.
It’s funny though, as each album seems to take its own uniqueness, the first being perhaps a little more diverse, the second a little more mainstream directed and this third one, really a combination of the two predecessors.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
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