Released: 2012, Mascot Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Was there ever any doubt that a supergroup comprising of Glenn Hughes, that man with that voice, blues-guitar extraordinaire Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham – son of Led Zep’s sticksman, and keeper of keys Derek Sherinian wouldn’t be good? Wouldn’t be great even? Be honest though, when this ‘supergroup’ released their first album just two little years ago did your balls stiffen a little?
There was little cause for concern, particularly from the critics perspective, and the fans as well, as Black Country Communion and its follow-up Black Country Communion 2 both topped the UK Rock Album Chart. As album three in three years Afterglow becomes an even more interesting listen as it may just be Black Country Communion’s closing chapter.
This is down to the controversy and public airings that has slightly overshadowed the album’s release, with Glenn wanting to tour and Joe busy with his own rising solo status. Whilst this may make for miserable listening, Afterglow is casting out its own enticing light.
If the general consensus was that Black Country Communion 2 had a darker hat on, then Afterglow is definitely wearing drama’s crown. Moving between the lighter soul of stuttering-stamping-look over here entrance ‘Big Train’, to the stirring vulnerability of ‘The Circle’, the bridge for the album is Glenn’s voice – it seems utterly timeless with a dexterity that would require a choir of its younger contemporaries to match.
Whilst all of Black Country Communion’s albums have been strongly written, the material for Afterglow was in fact intended for Glenn’s solo stuff, making this a pretty solid line-up. Yet, even with just five days of recording time, each member of Black Country Communion has also been able to put their fingerprints on it. As such ‘Common Man’ has that Deep Purple hangover, with a real emphasis on the keys and drums, whilst the fantastic dual-vocals between Joe and Glenn on ‘Cry Freedom’ make it a insta-favourite, which just begs for a live stage to strut across. ‘Confessor’ is another turbo-charged groover, as is the swinging ‘Dandelion’ whereas title track ‘Afterglow’ is a real epic, that takes both music and vocals from soft to howling in the sweep of a note.
Once again Black Country Communion have delivered the kind of rock ‘n’ roll that they were raised on, and in some cases helped define, and whilst these songs could comfortably have belonged to a different decade they don’t sound ‘vintage’. No matter what the future holds for Black Country Communion their past will always be shining brightly – now we just have to hope that no-one cuts the power to their future.
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs