Black Country Communion
Released: 2010, J&R Adventures
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
All right new jacks, pay attention – because once again, you’re about to get schooled. Black Country Communion’s debut, BLACK COUNTRY, is about to become the new standard on how to write a hard rock record in 2010. Here’s four reasons why – Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham, and Derek Sherinian. All I knew about BCC prior to checking out the album was that Hughes was involved, and given his legacy with Sabbath, Purple, and Trapeze, that was good enough for me to at least indulge a listen. But holy smokes people, this is the real freakin’ deal.
I can usually tell within the first 20 seconds of an album whether or not I’m going to like it, and literally within the first 15 seconds of the album’s title track I knew that BLACK COUNTRY was going to kick some serious ass. And then Glenn Hughes unleashed that golden voice of his, in what’s arguably his most potent performance in ages, and I was sold. The title track alone should be enough for you to check out BLACK COUNTRY, but there are 11 other amazing songs that follow, so it’s a win/win either way. The opener rips in with an aggressively simple, driving riff that pulls you in right away and is balanced by Hughes’ amazing wail. I remember thinking to myself – “this is the kind of song that Deep Purple should be writing today.”
“One Last Soul” follows, and is the first single from the album. An immediately catchy number with a passionate chorus, it’s radio friendly with a huge set of balls. Songs like “Down Again” and “the Revolution in Me” shows the band’s propensity for writing the kind of solid blues-based rock tunes that you don’t hear enough of anymore, while “Beggarman,” “Stand (At the Burning Tree),” and “No Time” are straight ahead hard rockers full of deep Hammond organs and slick guitar tones. Though the band didn’t come together until at late last year, these guys sound like they’ve been jamming together for decades, so credit that to the individual professionalism and skill that each of these four guys possess. The mellow, ballad-y “Song of Yesterday” shares lead vocals between Hughes and guitarist Joe Bonamassa (who’s’ got an amazing voice of his own) and is an all together gorgeous track. The 11-minute “Too Late for the Sun” closes out the album as a Cream-styled jam session with some beautiful vocal harmonies and some spectacular musicianship.
Black Country Communion totally blew away any expectations that I had with this album. It’s sensibly heavy from start to finish, it’s got just the right amount of groove to it (even the ballads rock), and it’s got the kind of melody that can only come from experience. Regardless of whatever genre tastes you may generally align yourself with, a good album is a good album - and BLACK COUNTRY is an exceptional album. Seriously, check this album out if you haven’t already, it’s that good.