Black Star Riders - The Killer Instinct
Nuclear Blast
Hard Rock
10 songs (46:11)
Release year: 2015
Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat

Kudos to Black Star Riders. Any once-famous band with as much history behind as they have would be well within their rights to use their original identity. But out of respect for the memory of Phil Lynott and the legacy of Thin Lizzy, the band decided not to release new music under that name, and so Black Star Riders were born. The band is led by guitarist Scott Gorham (who played on the classic albums), joined by a mix of musicians that includes former Ratt bassist Robbie Crane, Alice Cooper guitarist Damon Johnson, Jimmy DeGrasso (who has played with everyone from Ozzy to Megadeth) and former New Model Army guitarist Ricky Warwick, here the distinctly Lynotty vocalist. From the opening title track onwards, Warwick sounds enough like Lynott to carry the music by himself, yet considering the long experience across the band, the music is good enough to keep fans of Thin Lizzy happy.

Of course, it's not the heaviest band in the world, but if in some alternate universe the classic line-up of Thin Lizzy survived then they would be making music very similar to this – melodic and catchy, with enough skilled guitarwork from Gorham and Johnson to keep classic rock fans entertained. After the Lizzy-esque opener, with lots of lead guitar and Warwick's vocals up front, the groovy Bullet Blues adds a touch of heaviness, a simple but infectious chorus keeping your foot tapping. Semi-ballads like Finest Hour and Blindsided have a touch of country rock to them, complete with slide guitar, but that's more than made up for the folk influence in Soldierstown, a real throwback to Emerald, and Turn In Your Arms, while the grooving power of Sex Guns & Gasoline and the closing guitar heroics of You Little Liar bring the album to a close well. It would be one of the better rock albums I've heard lately even without the Thin Lizzy connection, and is certainly enough to make me want to see the band live. A more than solid album from a band fans of Thin Lizzy should investigate.

Killing Songs :
The Killer Instinct, Bullet Blues, Soldierstown, Turn in Your Arms, You Little Liar
Goat quoted 78 / 100
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