Black Star Riders have definitely proven that they have “The Killer Instinct” with their second album released February 20, 2015 through Nuclear Blast Records. This was my first time hearing the band, and knowing they are made up of members from Thin Lizzy, I knew that this record would be the treasure it is. Produced by Nick Raskulinecz and recorded in Nashville, Black Star Riders hits the nostalgic mark across the board. Just imagine how insane The Killer Instinct album would sound on vinyl.
Energy-wise, this album starts high and doesn’t come down. Taking an 80’s classic rock style and modernizing it, The Killer Instinct creates a love triangle between Thin Lizzy, Hendrix & Slash influenced guitar riffs along with raw vocals by Ricky Warwick. Scott Gorham, Damon Johnson, Robbie Crane and Jimmy De Grasso tie it all together with everything you want in a rock album. The grittiness of the recording only adds fuel to this beautiful fire.
To single out one song would be foolish as this whole album just brings out the inner rocker in everyone from the title track, The Killer Instinct to the final note in the last track, Little Liar. Starting off with track two Bullet Blues, the signature riff has a definitive similarity to Jimi Hendrix’s Foxy Lady and will take you on a trip that you will not want to come back from. Track three, The Finest Hour starts off a little bit predictable but what saves the song are the short guitar solo and the catchy chorus. However, in its’ entirety it left a little bit to be desired. Track four, Soldiertown will catch you by surprise with the modern guitar riffs and the shout out back up vocals and drum rolls. You will love the guitar solo and punk influence though. There is definitely some of the Thin Lizzy classic style mixed in with the Ramones “Hey Ho Let’s Go!” and a slightly Celtic sound which made the song a memorable one. Track eight, Sex, Guns & Gasoline was the most prominent track on the album due to its Hendrix meets Zeppelin sound. Another notable song is track five, Charlie I Gotta Go, which has a groovy 70’s tone. The lead guitar in this song was clearly the hero and hit Slash status. As mentioned earlier, track 10, Little Liar is the perfect ending to this album with its’ sultry, jazzy feel to its high energy guitar solo and on point vocals. This song truly delivers!
Overall, The Killer Instinct is one album that will not only entice fans with the healthy dose of 60’s, 70’s & 80’s rock and punk influences, but it is solid all the way through and will be commended for its raw vocals, guitar riffs, solos and great hooks. Black Star Riders have officially arrived with this album.