Release Date: 9th February 2015
'Heavy Train' is the debut album from Black Whiskey, the band with a fine pedigree including ex-Xentrix and Hellfighter vocalist Simon Gordon. We got a taste of what they were about with the excellent five track EP release last year and the band have returned to the studio to double the amount of tracks and present this album.
In their own words, Black Whiskey aren't trying to do something essentially different but they deliver modern and honest quality rock songs, performed with style and an enviable passion for the genre.
Absolutely no argument from me there, and this album absolutely works; it is a brilliant example of classic rock and a highly pleasurable listen - the biggest challenge I found was trying to avoid lazy train-related puns for the review.
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'Idol Rich' starts us off very nicely, a compact song, plenty of colour and texture and a great bridge. This sets the scene for the ten quality tracks, continuing with the hook-laden 'All Seeing Eye' and 'The Devil Rides'.
These opening three tracks are made of the good stuff, but the quality does not tail off, there is no front-loading on this album, and no fillers.
There are some astoundingly good bass lines, as you would expect from Mark T Parkin who has worked with Steve Booker. The funky edge is so well done that when I had my iPod on shuffle the other day, 'Stone Cold Comfort' came on and for the first minute I genuinely thought it was a Black Country Communion track that I hadn't heard before.
This is a compliment on the quality; there is no rip-off here, just really high class tracks. The brilliant guitar work of Kev Ingles and powerful drumming of Rich Bannister combine with Mark's bass and Simon's vocals with a chemistry that just fits into place perfectly.
We are also treated to some fantastic melodic rock, especially in 'The Coming Storm' with tasty harmony vocals. It will be great to see how these songs develop live; I would especially like to hear an extended version of 'Hungry For Bullets'.
'Heavy Train' is a solid album, sitting firmly in the rock genre, with plenty of "sounds familiar, can't quite put my finger on it" thoughts – this is a good thing as it has just the right amount of original flavour to give the band their own identity.
A great solid start for Black Whiskey – here's to plenty more.
1. Idol Rich
2. All Seeing Eye
3. Devil Rides
4. Stone Cold Comfort
5. Hungry For Bullets
6. Save My Life
7. The Coming Storm
8. Heavy Train
9. Tie It Down
10. Can't Kill The Fire