Black Star Riders
The Killer Instinct


3.0
good

Review

by manosg STAFF
February 27th, 2015 | 26 replies


Release Date: 02/23/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The boys are back in town and still going strong with a solid yet unspectacular sophomore release.

It’s an interesting project to benchmark one of hard rock’s most legendary bands against its newer peers in an era where revival music has become a trend. Because have no doubt, Black Star Riders with Scott Gorham on guitar is almost 100% of the latest lineup of Thin Lizzy. Granted, the fact that these veteran rockers decided to go with another band name is firstly logical and probably an indication of their intention to alternate their sound and maybe evolve it compared to the traditional Lizzy one.

The Killer Instinct is the band’s second effort, released two years after their commercially successful debut All Hell Breaks Loose. In a sentence, this album is a combination of the traditional Irish folk infused blues rock of Thin Lizzy with a strong scent of American modern AOR. Moreover, it’s inevitable not to notice the striking resemblance in the voice and technique of singer Ricky Warwick with Phil Lynott from the very first track. That’s not necessarily a con though as the vocals fit the music and Warwick’s voice is objectively enjoyable. However, where this album fails to perform is on tracks such as “Finest Hour” that sounds as if it was taken from the soundtrack of an American teen movie or “Blindsided” and “You Little Liar” that have potential but are too long their own sake and seem to go nowhere.

The remaining tracks are highly reminiscent of ‘70s Thin Lizzy with their Irish flavored boogie rock. Tracks like “Soldierstown” with the catchy folk guitar lead, “Charlie Gotta Go” and “Through the Motions” that sound as if they were taken from Johnny the Fox and “Turn In Your Arms” with the dual guitar lead a la Lizzy’s “Massacre” are the most pleasing tracks of the album. However, even the best tracks seem to lack that oomph that would lift them to the point of being special. Overall, there’s not a genuinely bad track but a number of average moments sporadically dispersed throughout the album.

On the other hand, the standout on The Killer Instinct is none other than Scott Gorham. The veteran guitarist provides riff after riff and a number of excellent leads and solos. It really is commendable how after all these years of service, he still can come up with such a performance. In addition, the production of the album makes what is mostly a ‘70s Thin Lizzy album sound fresh which is quite a big success.

To sum up, The Killer Instinct is not a bad effort as it does everything it’s supposed to do adequately and even admirably at some points. The guitar playing is great, the vocals fit the overall mood nicely and the songwriting is good enough to make the album an enjoyable experience. Nevertheless, The Killer Instinct seems to lack that extra factor that would add lifetime value and make it stand out as one of this year’s best releases. Fans of Thin Lizzy will probably like the album and find quite a few pleasant moments but I wonder if Black Star Riders’ sophomore effort is an album we’ll revisit frequently in the future.



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All Hell Breaks Loose

Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2015


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A sweet album for Thin Lizzy fans.



Full stream: https://play.spotify.com/album/0ahJCdHNvddouPo4Ej8Tmc



Your comments are most welcome.

Digging: King Diamond - Songs for the Dead Live

Metalstyles
Emeritus
February 27th 2015


8574 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Nice review manosg. I don't really hear that much irish folk rock base here, though. It's much more reminiscent of bluesy americana rock, to me at least.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2015


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks Magnus! A few guitar licks seem to me that they're influenced by Irish folk such as on “Soldierstown” but yeah American elements are definitely felt. Possibly intentionally in order to appeal to the US market.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
February 27th 2015


8574 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Agreed with your rating all the same, it's decent stuff, but nothing hugely exciting.

DrJohn
February 27th 2015


1041 Comments


"even the best tracks seem to lack that oomph that would lift them to the point of being special"

That pretty much sums up the first couple of listens for me (I am not sure there will be a third one). The only thing I disagree with is your view on production. It sounds more FM oriented than what "revivalists" should go for, thus husking the live or "pub-ish" effect old Lizzy had... A very comprehensive and enjoyable review nonetheless, so pos.

Also , you're spot on with "Finest Hour" >>>> utter shiite ;)


danielcardoso
February 27th 2015


11770 Comments


Nice review as usual, man. Pos'd from me, don't know if I'll check it out.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2015


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks Doc! Your production remark is very interesting and even though I do like how the album sounds, I agree that it has an FM vibe.



Thanks Daniel! Yeah, you're not missing much; just a few very good guitar moments but that's it basically.

Sabrutin
February 27th 2015


5946 Comments


Great review, pos'd. I've only heard "Finest Hour" through Nuclear Blast's channel, so I think I'm doing it wrong haha.

Titan
February 27th 2015


19176 Comments


I'm yet to hear anything under their current moniker but plan on getting around to it.

Pos'd manosg, always well written

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2015


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thank you gentlemen. Let's put it this way, if this one was released under the Thin Lizzy moniker it would be better than the first two but not the rest of their discog. Definitely some good moments though.

deslad
February 27th 2015


630 Comments


Awesome review as usual man, pos from me as well. I like Thin Lizzy a lot so I'll give that one a listen at some point.

Digging: Nightwish - Imaginaerum

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2015


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks! Sweet, let me know how it goes.

danielcardoso
February 28th 2015


11770 Comments


Congrats on that feature!

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2015


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks Dan!

hikingmetalpunk
February 28th 2015


2208 Comments


nice pin up

Totengott
February 28th 2015


4223 Comments


Featured, nice. I need to check this out, pos'd ofcourse.

Sabrutin
February 28th 2015


5946 Comments


Congrats man! Heard the t/t via Nuclear Blast, definitely better than "Finest Hour" but I won't check out the album.

Snake.
February 28th 2015


21397 Comments


looks retardedly bad

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2015


11454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks amigos. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad album by any means but nothing to rave about either. Guitar playing gives a lot of today's guitarists a run for their money though.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2015


7502 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"Nevertheless, The Killer Instinct seems to lack that extra factor that would add lifetime value and make it stand out as one of this year’s best releases. Fans of Thin Lizzy will probably like the album and find quite a few pleasant moments but I wonder if Black Star Riders’ sophomore effort is an album we’ll revisit frequently in the future."



Couldn't have said it better myself. I didn't quite like this one and am fairly certain I won't return to it anytime soon.



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