Every so often, the studded gates of rock heaven part and give birth to a ‘super group,’ bringing four impressive resumes under one studio roof, to make rock ‘n roll magic and watch the sparks fly. The collective ambition of Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple), Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater) and Jason Bonham (Led Zeppelin, Foreigner) is manifested in Black Country Communion’s third effort, Afterglow. Expanding on BCC 1 & 2, Afterglow looks to explore new avenues, and capitalize on each member’s respected input. According to Hughes, they wanted to give more focus to the keys, bolstering Sherinian’s unique styling, and embrace Hughes’ extensive range, ferocious yet deliberate.
With the heavy rat-a-tat of Jason’s snare, Afterglow opens with “Big Train,” fueled by percussion, alluding to a bluesy Bonamassa solo, played to his liking. “Midnight Sun” is quoted by Hughes as having a Who-esque tone, with that signature Entwistle sound emanating from Derek’s keys, followed by a killer solo by Bonamassa. On “Cry Freedom,” Joe and Glenn combine efforts for a lead vocal pairing, which suits the track nicely. “Afterglow,” the album’s title track, highlights a gentler Hughes, yet gives glimpse of his range when the edgy riff begins the chorus, as if granting permission to howl. On “Dandelion,” as on a few others, BCC uses a clever technique, having Hughes wail about, while the choral line ‘dandelion’ is sung as a backing; one catchy and effective scheme.
As the review would not be complete without comparison to the late Bonham and crew, “The Circle” is somewhat reminiscent of “No Quarter,” starting slow and progressing to that harder riff and accompanying bellow. Just some food for thought. Like that similar lyrical styling in a ‘dreamlike’ state.
The “Common Man” may be the most appropriate song on the album, in a time of occupy this and occupy that (the whole 99% thing). As if to feed off that all powerful unity and communal spirit, as in the occupy movement, the collective soloing efforts of Joe, Derek and Jason shine on this track in particular.
With the timeless sound of Hughes on the mic, the classy blues swagger of Bonamassa on guitar, one of a kind flare from Sherinian on keys, and a star child by birthright, backed by immense talent in Bonham, Black Country Communion pries the lid off the past, and propels it into the now. What may just be a Zeppelin and Deep Purple lovechild, Jason takes the queue where his father left off, as BCC forges blues and hard rock once again into a relentless, silver-lined set on Afterglow. Album drops 10.29.12.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
- Big Train
- Midnight Sun
- The Giver
The Big Hit
- Midnight Sun
Review by Don Tice