BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION: 'Afterglow' (Mascot Records)
Amazingly, the third studio album from this supergroup in just two years, but all good things must come to an end which is a shame because Black Country Communion injected a zest of new life into 70s inspired rock with some solid pounding rock albums that stand up to the greats such as Free and Led Zeppelin.
The writing was on the wall during the recording of this album as Glenn Hughes took on all song writing duties for this album with the exception of two tracks co-written with drummer Jason Bonham. Guitarist Joe Bonamassa took a back seat with this project as he is busy with his own solo career, although he provides some very neat hooks and licks to this album.
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It was handbags at dawn with the promotion of this album with Glenn Hughes using his Twitter account to announce how he felt he was the only one putting in 100% into BCC, which resulted in insults being traded between Hughes and Bonamassa for a little while.
Thankfully both have now taken a few steps backwards and refrained themselves from digging a hole too big to get out of, although the spat did result in an exclusive UK date in Wolverhampton being cancelled.
Just like it's predecessors, 'Aferglow' was produced by fifth member Kevin Shirley who certainly knows how to bring the best out of his artists. The band have the big and bold sound of Free and Zeppelin and if you listen closely enough even has the progressiveness of Rush in places.
The album kicks off with Jimmy Page-like chugging riffs with 'Big Train'. Co-written with Bonham, 'Time Is Your Life' has a mean riff of invading ants at a picnic with a big chorus, 'Midnight Sun' has a driving, thumping feel to it with element of the Who thrown in while 'Confessor' has Derek Sherinian soaring keyboards to the max. Thankfully he is a lot more audible on this album than the previous two.
'Cry Freedom' sees Hughes and Bonamassa sharing vocals on this high rolling shuffle of a tune. The title track 'Afterglow' is an atmospheric epic which features Hughes tearing out his soul as he does on 'The Circle' where he uses his 'breathier' voice, similar to the way he does on Deep Purple's 'This Time Around'. It is one of the album's high points.
Talking of Purple, 'Common Man' has a funky, jamming shuffle going on which would please Deep Purple Mk III fans.
The shadow of Zeppelin looms large over this album but that's exactly what BCC are trying to create. 70's rock from the heart of the Black Country.
The band are not officially over just yet and when the music is this strong one can only hope that they decide to continue. 'Afterglow' is a must have album to complete the trilogy.
You can see MetalTalk.net's Mark Taylor's interview with Glenn Hughes chatting about 'Afterglow' right here. This is well worth a watch...