Released: 2015, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Carla (Guest reviewer Denmark/Romania)
2012 saw four members of THIN LIZZY (Ricky Warwick, Scott Gorham, Damon Johnson and Marco Mendoza) come together with former MEGADETH and ALICE COOPER drummer Jimmy DeGrasso. On that merit alone, BLACK STAR RIDERS sparked an immediate buzz. Now in place of Mendoza on bass for BLACK STAR RIDERS is Robbie Crane (RATT, ADLER'S APPETITE, LYNCH MOB, VINCE NEIL), and away we go with album two, THE KILLER INSTINCT.
Warwick and his BLACK STAR RIDERS collaborators reportedly sat in debate over whether or not to make "THE KILLER INSTINCT a THIN LIZZY album. The end result is part THIN LIZZY and part something else as the band reaches for its own style. Starting with “Killer Instinct” the track that gave the album its name, we are greeted with a typical ‘70s THIN LIZZY sound, a more rhythmic “Whiskey in the Jar”. Powerful, well-organized riffs and the extremely catchy chorus is the main ‘attraction’ on “Bullet Blues” and will definitely become a hit. “Finest Hour” shows a slightly different dimension of BLACK STAR RIDERS as the band finally shakes off their ‘70s LIZZY’s aura in favour of the more contemporary, radio-friendly melodic rock. “Through The Motions” and “Sex, Guns And Gasoline” combine the classic and the modern into a pulsating, raw hard rock mixture, both embroidered with tasteful guitar licks and a blazing solo. The final tracks are Irish folk oriented “Turn In Your Arms” and “You Little Liar” very Lynott’ish.
Ricky Warwick does sound like Phil Lynott but he is also has his own style and leads the band confidently. Robby Crane and Jimmy Degrasso provide a solid rhythm section and there are some great riffs and solos from Damon Johnson and Scott Gorham. The biggest surprise however is the quality and diversity of the songs that move between hard rock, a few slower tracks, with some Irish influences in the mix as well especially in “Soldierstown”.
All in all an excellent album and one that will get me checking out Ticketmaster for the next live dates in my area.