Classic rock supergroup defies the odds to deliver a great debut LP.
Greg Moffitt 2010-09-20
The term ‘supergroup’ is something of a golden albatross. On one hand, it tells us here is a band of established, successful musicians whose combined talents will undoubtedly deliver the sonic equivalent of The Second Coming. On the other hand, it tends to arouse astronomical expectations which are almost never met. Wade through a few albums by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Firm, Traveling Wilburys and Power Station, for example, and you’ll get the picture.
Although ambivalent about the supergroup label since their inception last year, Black Country Communion feature a formidable line-up of familiar names with a century-plus of experience between them. Joining vocalist/bassist Glenn ‘Voice of Rock’ Hughes (Deep Purple/Black Sabbath) are former Dream Theater keyboard player Derek Sherinian, drummer Jason Bonham (son of late Led Zeppelin sticksman John) and guitarist Joe Bonamassa, currently one of the top bluesmen in business.
As pools of talent go, this one’s deep, and the old saying "If a bomb went off in that studio, etc" definitely applies. With direct links back to the mighty motherlode of Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, it’s no big surprise that BCC have delivered a dozen shots of timeless, classic rock. It’s ballsy, bluesy, even soulful at times, and with none of the bleached-out blandness that ego-clashes and endless compromises can bring. It’s no secret that things weren’t always super-smooth between them, but they got over it, got on with it, and the result is simply stellar.
Drawing on all that experience without sounding like you’re long enough in the tooth to have all that experience to draw on is a magical thing. Hughes in particular is on fire and in better voice than ever. Somehow – God alone knows how – wasted years of cocaine and Mars Bar binges (don’t ask) haven’t trashed any part of his anatomy required for singing. Blazing performances aside, the key here is the songs, which are wonderfully crafted. The title-track is an attention-grabbing opener, while current single One Last Soul is simply outstanding, but there’s really nothing here that shouldn’t be. These guys have defied the odds to deliver a collection that’s all gold and no albatross.
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