Reviewed by Ali Blackdiamond
Artist: Black Country Communion
Label: Mascot Music
1. Big Train
2. This Is Your Time
3. Midnight Sun
5. Cry Freedom
8. The Circle
9. Common Man
10. The Giver
BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION are back with their third album “Afterglow” which will be released tomorrow, Monday 29th October, via Mascot Records.
The band comprises of vocalist/bassist Glenn Hughes (DEEP PURPLE, TRAPEZE), drummer Jason Bonham (LED ZEPPELIN, FOREIGNER), keyboard player Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER, ALICE COOPER,YNGWIE MALMSTEEN,BILLY IDOL) and blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa.
The album was written within 6 months and recorded in Westlake Village, outside Hollywood, USA during 5 productive days. As Glenn explains: “I wanted this album to have more acoustic moments than the previous two. I wanted to hear more of Derek and I wanted the more angelic voice of Glenn as well as the more aggressive one which there is on songs like “Crawl” and “Midnight Sun”. Above all I wanted more drama.”
As with the two previous albums, “Afterglow” was overseen by producer Kevin Shirley who has a catalogue of hit records by bands such as IRON MAIDEN, AEROSMITH, LED ZEPPELIN and EUROPE. It was his idea to put Hughes and Bonamassa together after seeing them jamming onstage together in 2009 and is the groups “unofficial” fifth member.
The album begins with Big Train which I wasn’t too sure of at first, but after several listens it really grew on me with its catchy melodies and the great vocal range demonstrated by Glenn, backed up by the brilliant drumming of Jason. The next track This Is Your Time grabs me immediately with the deep grooves of Joe’s guitar intro, which keep up the pace throughout the song, a perfect combination with Glenn’s vocals and the great music written by Jason. Midnight Sun comes crashing into my ears next, the pace really picks up and Glenn’s vocals are top notch, he’s not called “The Voice Of Rock” for nothing! For me, the song evokes sounds of Deep Purple and there is a brilliant guitar solo by Joe, he can make it sing! Confessor is another fast paced track with excellent turbo charged drumming. I love the melodic sounds of the chorus and the Hammond organ sounding solo by Derek.
Cry Freedom has shared vocals between Glenn and Joe. Glenn feels that he and Joe sing well together and I agree: Joe’s more laid back style perfectly compliments Glenn’s raw edged sound. The title track Afterglow is long at 6:06 (but not the longest track) and has a quiet intro, but full of atmosphere. The song then builds into that familiar Black Country Communion sound and Glenn’s powerful voice kicks in. Plenty more melodic guitars here to keep fans happy. Dandelion is another slow paced song to start with and picks up soon enough, as with all these songs the whole sound is polished but also with a rawness that keeps it rocking. The Circle slows the pace and has a dream like quality to it, a very relaxing vibe, more great vocals. This track really demonstrates the power and depth to Glenn’s voice and is one of his favourite tracks. Common Man has that classic ’70’s sound, ‘groovy’ is the main way to describe the guitar and bass line and again that Hammond organ sound adding more texture and feeling. This song really sounds to me like the band are having an awesome jamming session together in the studio and is one of my favourites. Again more classic sounds on The Giver then to the last song Crawl: I love the sound here, Glenn’s rasping edgy vocals and a huge sound. There is yet another great guitar solo and awesome powerhouse drumming, another favourite for me. I’m very happy the band saved this track from “BCC2” to use on Afterglow, a great aggressive song to finish on.