Black Star Riders - 'Another State Of Grace'

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Black Star Riders - 'Another State Of Grace'

This is the fourth studio album from Black Star Riders who were fanned into flame from the glowing embers of Thin Lizzy about seven years ago. In retrospect, it was a wise move because the band couldn't seem to get past the "but it's not Lizzy" syndrome despite the fact that Ricky Warwick was the perfect fit – both vocally and respectfully. Black Star Riders allowed the phoenix wings to explore new directions without being tethered to the Lizzy name.

As far as I am concerned, 'Another State Of Grace' is unquestionably their best release to date. Two new members, drummer Chad Szeliga and guitarist Christian Martucci, have added a fresh perspective, rather like switching marmalade for blackcurrant jam on your morning toast – it's still toast and jam, but nonetheless a refreshing change.

'Tonight The Moonlight Let Me Down' will immediately reassure you; the melody phrasings are old-school and yet there is an edgy modernity to the solos. Without a doubt, my favourite song on the album (and possibly of the week or maybe even the year) is the title-track and it roused my Celtic heart as only an Irish style rabble-rouser can.

'Ain't The End Of The World' is a rocker, pure and simple, and it goes right back to the band's roots. We're in new territory with 'Underneath The Afterglow' because it's punky, edgy and rocky, unlike the positively funky 'Soldier In The Ghetto' which motors along its own riffy road.

'Why Do You Love Your Guns', first visited after the Sandy Hook shootings, is a thoughtful ballad that raises the question as to why still nothing has changed. 'Standing In The Line Of Fire' is a funky, punky headbanger and it's followed up by 'What Will It Take' which is a more traditional number that is elevated by the vocals of Pearl Aday who complements Warwick's singing to perfection.

'Another State Of Grace' has something for everyone. It's an album of vibrant, hard-hitting Rock songs that explore new territory, but it also proves the band are no longer afraid to reference their origins for fear of comparison. I can honestly say that with this release Black Star Riders have finally come into their own.

Helen Bradley

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