Black Country Communion - V

by Kevin Wierzbicki

The term "super group" seems to be applied much too liberally these days but it is certainly an apt descriptor for Black Country Communion, the foursome helmed by ace guitarist Joe Bonamassa and featuring vocalist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath), Led Zeppelin scion Jason Bonham on drums (Sammy Hagar and the Circle, Foreigner) and keyboards wizard Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo.) Here these heavyweights show their love for and proficiency at performing classic hard rock with a set of 10 original tunes all written by Bonamassa and Hughes except for a couple written just by Hughes. Bonamassa, who is undisputedly the hottest blues guitarist on the planet right now, has been working some harder rock sounds into his solo material lately but here he can really cut loose with some earthshaking riffs like on the hard-hitting "You're Not Alone" where Sherinian's keys work gives the song a distinct Deep Purple vibe, and on "Love and Faith" where Joe mixes Led Zeppelin-like thunder with bursts of psychedelia. The radio-ready "Too Far Gone" features perhaps the best Hughes vocal here although Glenn is spot-on with his emotive singing throughout; the song overall is a great example of the influence of '70s-style, commercially-attuned hard rock on Black Country Communion. For his part Bonham lays down a steady beat throughout without being overly showy (there's cowbell on closing cut "The Open Road"!) and Sherinian flavors the stew perfectly on every cut and he adds a funky rhythm that gurgles throughout "Stay Free." And while the hard rock here is all blues-based there's a full-on blues sizzler in the form of "Restless" where Joe plays in a more familiar mood and Hughes gets to do some low down moaning. It's been seven years since Black Country Communion put out a record and this, their fifth release, is so good that it'll not only thrill those who've been waiting but also easily tide them over for another seven years if it has to.


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