BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION – Afterglow

Black Country Communion - AfterglowSome bands work really fast. This is Black Country Communion’s third album in the same amount of years, very impressive in this day and age.  According to bassist / lead singer Glenn Hughes, the band wants to approach the way they made records in the seventies which means at least one album a year. So what they have done is to cut the recordings short and together with producer Kevin Shirley, who also produces all of guitarist Joe Bonamassa’s solo albums, they have decided to record everything live and never do more than three takes a song, leaving only lead vocals and guitar solos for over dubbing. That feels like a very good approach, but there is one problem with all of this and that is that they also needs time for touring and song writing. The song writing part could be an issue when songs are being rushed for the sake of releasing albums this close to each other, but fortunately this is not the case with this band. Fact is, they only get better and better with each release.

Originally this album was meant to be a Glenn Hughes solo album as guitarist Joe Bonamassa has a really tight schedule with his solo career and also drummer Jason Bonham plays with Foreigner as well and it looked like there just wasn’t enough time to gather the band for a recording. That’s why all songs were written by Hughes alone. But they all got their schedules together in the eleventh hour and decided to make this a BCC record instead. And what an album it is. When their debut was a bit uneven and its follow up was lots better, this album goes all the way. Every damn song on here is very strong and it’s impressing how a bunch of busy guys like these could write and record such a great album in so short time. “Big Train” is a great opener, a hard rocker that should open their future live shows (if their will be any, more of that later…), “This Is Your Time” is a brilliant 70’s groover with Zeppelin influences, “Midnight Sun” has a very memorable chorus that is almost poppy blues hardrock and “Cry Freedom” is a fantastic 70’s rock / blues stomper which features both Hughes and Bonamassa on lead vocals. The title track is a big, epic ballad, 70’s style – brilliant, “Dandelion” has a great hook and I love the mix between the 70’s and 80’s melodies, “The Giver” is very much Zep, but not so much that it feels like Xerox copy and “Crawl” is a brilliant 70’s slow rocker and the riffs are both Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath in one. Awesome!

This album is easily BCC’s best to date and Hughes still sings like a vocal God, Bonamassa is a phenomenal guitarist and Bonham sure proves that he is the son of John. But what about Derek Sherinian? The guy is obviously a keyboard wizard, but in this band he feels unused as the sound is not very keyboard oriented. What about the future then? Well, Glenn Hughes has hinted that this might just be their last album as Bonamassa just won’t find the time to tour because of his solo career and there’s no way that he will be replaced by another guitarist and Hughes really wants this band to be everybody’s number one priority. If that is the case, then it’s a shame because the world really needs a great, rootsy band like this. Also, BCC is lots better than Joe’s solo stuff and bands are always much cooler than solo artists. Let’s just hope that they will come up with an idea to make this work. Meanwhile, all of us other mortals should get our hands on a copy of this album. Both for your sake and theirs.

Jon Wilmenius (9/10)

Track list:

1. Big Train
2. This Is Your Time
3. Midnight Sun
4. Confessor
5. Cry Freedom
6. Afterglow
7. Dandelion
8. The Circle
9. Common Man
10. The Giver
11. Crawl

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2 comments on “BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION – Afterglow

  1. Best to date! Wow, that is saying something. Looks like I will have to put this on the post-Christmas wishlist. I have the first 2 and the live album, seems silly not to have this too.

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