Black Country Communion: Self-Titled Album Review

By: Arlene R. Weiss

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Remarkable virtuosity intertwines with a firestorm of ferocity in this astounding self-titled debut album from blues-guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa, the iconic Glenn Hughes, who lent his searing vocals and thundering bass to the likes of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, Jason Bonham, Led Zeppelin’s drumming heir apparent to his legendary father John, and Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian.

The maelstrom kicks off furiously with the first track, “Black Country” a dark and heavy industrial-metal infused workout with Bonamassa speed shredding away. “One Last Soul” boasts a funky flavor with Hughes strutting a more streamlined phrasing and economy to his dynamic vocals stepping up to Bonamassa’s tasty, soulful guitar backbeat.

Hughes’s vocal range is like lightening in a bottle, a belting force to be reckoned with. Though on the title track where he tends to run bombastically rampant, here he reigns in the fireworks to great effect, with straight ahead direction and focus. Singing oh, so wicked and delectably nasty.

Joe and Glenn trade lead vocal verses, dueting quite nicely on “Too Late For The Sun” and the bluesy number, “Sista Jane”, evoking the feel of another supergroup, The Arc Angels.

“Beggarman” oozes playful wah wah effects galore from Bonamassa, and on “Down Again” Hughes and Bonamassa go for a definite nod to Deep Purple.

“One Last Soul,” at 3:52, has it set for the first single release to radio. But the surprise stellar track, “Song of Yesterday”, literally makes this album, and should go to radio where it could captivate an appreciative audience. Clocking in at 8:33, this outstanding song harks back to the ’70s, when classics such as “Stairway To Heaven” proved that great songwriting and musicianship.

As is certainly the case here, long songs like this shouldn’t be edited down and confined to a time slot. Bonamassa sings lead and plays incredibly well on this surreal, amazing odyssey. Beginning lyrically and understated on vocals and guitar, underscored by a beautifully orchestrated arrangement of overlaying strings, Bonamassa slowly builds, then segues into a powerhouse rocker.

Lush and anthemic, a Herculean guitar solo, and bluesy, emotive singing from Bonamassa, make for what should prove to be the climatic signature song of this band when performing live in concert.

Producer Kevin Shirley masterminded this eponymous Supergroup after catching Hughes and Bonamassa burning up the stage at November 2009’s, Guitar Center King Of The Blues show in Los Angeles and set about recording and capturing this tornadic force of musical nature.

Supergroups often burn hot, bright, and burn out fast, much like a supernova, but for however long it lasts…what an amazing, incendiary star. Catch Black Country Communion, as it shoots through the sky.

Track Listing

1. Black Country
2. One Last Soul
3. The Great Divide
4. Down Again
5. Beggarman
6. Song of Yesterday
7. No Time
8. Medusa
9. The Revolution in Me
10. Stand (At the Burning Tree)
11. Sista Jane
12. Too Late For the Sun

© Copyright August 23, 2010 By Arlene R. Weiss


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